Monday, October 29, 2007

I prefer my own ... mostly

I go back and forth on my opinions about plastic surgery. In some ways, its an important medical field that can really change the lives of accident victims and cancer patients. But I hear India Arie singing "Video" in my head.

"Don't need your silicon, I prefer my own — What God gave me is just fine." I love her message and always sing that line louder than all the rest. I am against superficial plastic surgery to take something that is "just fine" and make it fake and unreal. But I also know that there are people who look in the mirror and hate what they see every day of their lives. Some are born with huge blotchy birthmarks or with moles they find unattractive. No matter how many times I sang "What God gave me is just fine," I was still horribly self-conscious of the raised mole on my belly button throughout my pregnancy. My sister-in-law wanted to take some belly shots of me and I wouldn't let her (unless I had my hand over my belly-button) because I hated that mole so much. Now I feel like I've missed out on an important time that I'll never get back.

I know that there are women who feel this way about various parts of their bodies, like their noses for instance. (Trust me, I'm Jewish, I know.) And sometimes it doesn't seem like the worst thing to get a little confidence boost if it really makes that much of a difference in how you feel about yourself.

I can't help but think that if I were to get that mole taken care of before it was time to get pregnant again, I'd be a lot happier. It's a little disappointing that I can't really go to this place though. Plastic Surgery UK because if I'm going to do something scary to my body, it might as well be done by people with a good reputation for knowing what they're doing. Maybe they'll open an American branch sometime soon ...

My perfect little pumpkin

During my break from work on Saturday, my husband dragged me to a garage sale at our neighbor's house. There was something I had to see, which is pretty unusual. He's not normally into garage sales and the like. Anyway, we got there and this woman was selling a ton of kids stuff, including (bum bum bum ... ) HOMEMADE Halloween costumes! She had a fuzzy pumpkin one that fit Ben perfectly! I'm so glad that he's not going to be a Mal-wart Elmo.

Seriously, we do not need to support them and we do not need to have him dressed like every other kid in this teeny tiny town. (We were back there on Sunday picking up pull-ups and the Elmo costumes were sold out anyway, so we got doubly lucky!)

I'm glad to help out this woman who had all these costumes she made for her kids and grandkids just hanging around, and I'm glad to buy something made with love instead of mass-produced in China. And I'm glad that it was only $5!!!!!!!!

We are on our way to escaping this rat race, I just know it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Uptown Saturday nights

I am so jealous of this awesome event in downtown St. Augustine, Fla. It's called Uptown Saturday night and its always on the last Saturday of the month. That means one just went by on Oct. 27 and there will be another on Nov. 24. It runs from 5 to 9 p.m., its totally free to go,(even parking is free!) and they have all sort of nifty entertainment like shopping, live music, book signings and more.

The thing that caught my attention the most was the fact that many shops will hold an open house with wine tastings and refreshments. You seriously cannot tear me away from free food. I would also love to look around at the St. Augustine shopping because I have such a soft spot in my heart for antiques. My husband and I fell in love with an antique bud vase in Ellensburg a few years ago and I absolutely had to have it, never mind the price. (For some reason, I haven't been allowed to look in antique shops since then.) But not all antiques are expensive, and even the ones that are pricey are worth it, because by buying things that already exist, you're helping keep down the amount of new crappy, made-in-China junk that is shipped out to big box stores every day. If we stopped consuming so much, they'd have to stop supplying so much, you know?

I think that Uptown Saturday nights is a brilliant way to revitalize a downtown that needs a boost, or to just bring even more attention to one that's already thriving. Really, all you would need to get something like this going is the participation of the shop owners. And what shop owner isn't interested in attracting more business to their store? Once you have a big event going on, and everyone's talking about it, people start to remember that the downtown shops are there, even during the weekdays. My town could really learn a thing or two from St. Augustine.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Letting the baby drive

After we went out to breakfast this morning for my birthday (paid for by very generous friends, yay!) we weren't sure what to do with ourselves. It was 9 a.m. on a Saturday and we were already out, dressed and fed. Nothing here is really open that early, so Stephen decided to offer to let Ben choose what we would do. He asked him if he wanted to go home or on a drive.

He picked drive. And then, just for fun, we went ahead and let him choose where we'd go. Not like, "where do you want to go?" but like, every time we came to an intersection, we'd say "left, right or straight?" and he'd pick. And amazingly, in a slightly, but actually not very roundabout way, he started heading the car straight for the mall! Ha ha ha. We warned him that the mall doesn't open until 10 a.m. on Saturday, but that we would look just to be sure. (That way, we weren't the bad guys by saying "no") and sure enough, Penny's was having a special early bird promotion. Every thing in the store was super on sale. We got holiday gifts for my mom and his mom, and still had $10 left to spend to get a $10 off coupon. So basically, we were shopping for free at that point. Stephen found the clearance rack in his section and picked out three really nice polo type shirts that were on sale for $2.97. These were $30 shirts!!! Not like he needs shirts, but we got three nice ones for free, so hey, who can argue?

Next we went out into the mall, (it was 10 a.m. by now) and were planning on letting Ben do what he wanted, but then we saw that the liquidation store had closed for good and was putting shopping carts out front of their leftover merchandise, marked FREE.

Holy crap! We got lightbulbs, several books, some clothes, an Easter basket for Ben and some kale seeds for next spring. Actually, we got more than that but I don't remember it all. A Halloween mask, I think. Anyway, our Penny's receipt said we saved $150 and who knows how much all the free liquidation store stuff was worth. All because we decided to let Ben drive. :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

That's why they call it VIRAL marketing

I was tagged by Carrie at Rantings of a Woman. I freaked when I saw how long this meme is, but realized that it's for a good cause. In fact, its the best one I've seen. It's kind of like a chain letter for adults, except we all benefit right away. Plus, it's a great way to make a bunch of new friends really fast!

*Start Copy Here*
This is an open meme. You do not have to be tagged to join in. All you have to do is follow the rules.Please let me know when you have added your site by leaving a comment on “Complete List” with a link to your post. This will insure an up-to-date list, giving you even greater distribution. You then have the option of copying the growing list back to your siteRules:
Create an inventive post titleWrite a brief introduction to the meme.
1.Copy from “**Start Copy Here**” through “**End Copy Here**”
2.Paste into your post At the end of the “*list*”, before “**End copy here**”,
3.please add your name, site name (with link), a very brief description (2-3 sentences) of why you blog, and your most important, most representative, or most relevant post (with link.)
4.Tag at least 5 others to participate.
5.Leave a comment and a link to your post on “Complete List
My name is Mel and I am the Author of Attitude, the Ultimate Power, aka Monday Morning Power. I blog because I am passionate about happiness and living in the moment. I want to spread the concept that we are in control of our own lives and can choose how we act and react. My site is focused on the Pursuit, Capture, Care and Feeding of a Positive Mental Attitude. One of my most representative posts is “Happiness Vs. Human Nature.
I am Max and I offer weekly articles on MAX. Why do I blog? I do it because I want to share my thoughts with you guys. I present a new and interesting way of transmitting philosophical thoughts: funny, engaging and intriguing! My funniest, yet intriguing, post is "Don't you just love People?"
I am the Great and Powerful Baba Doodlius. My 100% factual blog The Thoughts and Sayings Of Baba Doodlius is intended to educate all of you curious readers about the Truth behind the Great Secrets of the Universe. I have the Truth! Can you handle the Truth? For a sample of my powers of enlightenment, read my Revelation of the terrible secret of Bigfoot, aka Don't get stepped on.
My name is Amelia and I am the Author of Amel's Realm. I blog because I need to voice everything in my world so that I won't explode. My site is all about thoughts, experiences, fears, problems, misadventures, hopes, and dreams of an introverted tropical girl in a foreign land (Finland). One of my most representative posts is On Trust and Relationship.
I am Geoff of and I blog for reasons as diverse and as fickle as my moods. Mostly I blog because I'm firmly convinced I've figured a few things out and that the world will benefit from my experience the same way I've benefited from others' experiences. One post that I feel captures my emotional involvement and my ire (but not my humor as much) is Decision time.
My name is Judy and I am the Author of ~~Sugar Queen's Dream~~. I blog because it's cheap therapy and I have something to say. I feel my most powerful post is called “The Myths of Smoking......
My name is Sindi and I have written a blog entitled Life is a roller coaster!. My blog is based on the ups and downs of everyday life. I started blogging because I was going through some hard times and I wanted to meet new people to talk to. I like to write and was hoping people might enjoy reading what I have to say. I think the most inspiring post I have written to date is We Effect So Many.
People call me the Midgetmanofsteel (although I’m neither a midget, nor made of steel). I am the sole author the blog Mental Poo: a mostly true and humorous account of things that have happened to me, are happening to me, or are just filling my head and taking up valuable space where images of women should be. You can get a sneak peek into my mess of a brain by reading “Raisins are People” – a true account of my son’s first field trip.
My name is Sandee and I have a blog called Comedy Plus. My blog is just for fun, and I started it to poke fun about everyday life. My reason for blogging is to have fun and meet new friends. I have done both beyond my wildest dreams. I have posted lots of jokes, but when ask what my favorite joke is, I always pick Anger Management.
My name is Lynda. I blog to as a way to expose my writings and to spread my knowledge on the subject of love. My primary blog (I have 15) is lynda's loft. My favorite piece would be I LOVE..... I have over 300 original poems and posts dealing with the wonderful and painful world of love. I love love!
My name Adrian, although most of you probably know me as the Mighty Genie King. I am the author First Time Dad. I started blogging as a way to document my growing up pains as my wife and I raise our daughter. I hope that one day my daughter will be able to look at this and get an idea what life was like "back then". Now I blog about everything but the main focus is still the same! One of my favorite posts is Goodnight Sweetheart! Hello Basil! Eh...Who's Basil...
Hello, my name is Ann and I'm the author of A Nice Place in the Sun. I blog because I care about people and want to make them happy. My site is focused on humorous, inspiring, and nostalgic posts about life, children, and memories. My most representative post, or the post where I'm most myself is "The Craziest Experience Of My Life."
We are a team of writers, and everyone calls us NAFA, so that would be our name. We are the proud authors of NAFASG©™ - United And Dedicated Behind You™. Blogging, to us, is a form of spreading useful information and sharing our knowledge to every part of the world in order to contribute to the betterment of our global community. The post that we feel would be representative of our blog and the global community at large is The Sociological Interaction.Hola!
This is Mariuca and I blog because writing is what makes me whole. I write about anything under the sun from life, love, friends to cats and work. I tend to write best when under pressure and my personal favourite post from Mariuca is Love in Disarray.
My name is Susan and I am the Owner of ~~Wake up America ~~, which is a political, right leaning blog. I blog because I believe we need more voices out there to separate fact from fiction, to support our troops and to high light the lack of ethics from journalists today. I feel my most powerful post is called "Are You Proud to be an American......""Here I am :-)
My name is Mauro and I'm the author of 1 Million Love Messages ... maybe the biggest love challenge in the blogosphere. Why I blog ??? Because I believe that bloggers can make a difference in the world. That's my challenge! My favourite post it's (for sure) Adam Donkus & Lizzie's Love History."
Hi there World I am Aussie, the author of Little Aussie Cynic and I want to Breathe among others. I was recently asked:"Why Do you Blog?" this takes me back to the beginning... I started blogging in an attempt to get people thinking, using my cynical humour as a tool to make people laugh, think and at times get the blood pumping.... Each of my Blogs takes in a little peice of my varied personality but the one which discribes me best would have to be There is Always a Natural Way the latest edition to the Aussie Cynic Family...
I am Zubli Zainordin, in Total Happiness, I organize the Book Project blog and co-author Santa's Community Blog and Hall Of Fame Blog. I blog with the purpose of documenting about my self for my own reference, my future generations and friends who prefer to know me. I also share vital and valuable information entirely on total happiness. I believe in Santa Claus and I share the Spirit of Christmas within this Blog World. In addition I promote bloggers, their blogs, and invite them to share their blogging experiences, and together with Shinade, I review their blogs and award them with the Zubli and Shinade Recommended Read awards. Those who continuously show continuous blogging improvements shall be residence of the Hall Of Fame blog.
I'm Holly from Mama Pajama. I am a stay-at-home mom to my two year old son, Cameron. He is such a joy in our lives. I just stumbled across blogging after watching a television show. I wish I had found it sooner, as it has been so much fun meeting people all across the globe. It's my own place to share about my family, interests, likes, dislikes, etc. I love that I've found my own little circle of blog buddies that will read the stuff I have to mundane or silly as it might be! LOL It's fun leaving others comments, and knowing that something I post or comment just might make someone smile that day. I'm already having a hard time turning off my computer at night, so I'm hoping to keep this blogging addiction under control. My favorite post so far is Lucky Girl.I'm Kathleen of Invisible Keepsakes.
Well, I blog because if I don't, I'll go mad and get very hard to live with. I need a tableau for my creative endeavours. I write poetry. That is to say, I am a poet. I'm not a great poet; nor am I a deep poet, but I love wordplay and creating images and entertaining people with my ideas and interpretations of events and news and random topics. I've written quite a lot of poems, some have even been published, but I think the one I would have you read is Bad Dawg #7 because I feel so strongly about it.
I am Beth or Skipper - whoever you are most comfortable with, and I author My Life Starts at Forty Two. I am really trying to turn my life and myself around - and become the best me that I can. It is not always easy with family, illness, etc, but I refuse to give up. This is my journal of journey. One of the best posts that I can use to describe me is The Decision.
I am Delirious the creator of Lifeonalimb. I always wished I could have my own little newspaper and write all of the columns myself. But since I probably wouldn't make enough money to pay for the paper to publish it, I decided to go the "free route" instead. I don't think this is my best post, but probably one that most people would enjoy; death-defying Stop in, check it out, leave a comment, then go get therapy.
I am Bridget from "And Miles To Go Before We Sleep" I am a stay at home mom of five young children, ages 1-12, three of which have special needs. Two of my boys are afflicted with Autism so it is a very busy household. I started bogging because our family moves around a lot and we ar very far away from our families and this was a great was to stay in touch with them. I met so many great people through blogging and I enjoyed it so much that I now feel like it's another job (one that I enjoy). My favorite post so far has to be The Old Tree In The Middle Of The Dry Desert.
My name is Winsome Gunning and I am an artist who started blogging about `The Creative Process’ and `The Power of Listening to Silence’ on Winsome Gunning Art Walk. From my own listening to silence came A New Green Earthmy personal voice for green change. About DioxinAbout Simple Ways and A Green Earth are also my voices for green change. On these two blogs I publish contemporary green news from around the world.
I am the wily Blogolope, and I blog for fun and to get things off my chest and hopefully be funny.I created Blogolope because I thought it would be fun, simple as that. Blogolope to Assist Santa, Elves if a funny post. is an example of the issues about which I have felt compelled to write.
Hi, My name is Janice Ng & I'm the miracle mum from "This is a miracle". I started to blog to document the foot steps of my 2 boys : Amos & Zachary. With this blog, they are able to look back what they have been through: their joy, excitement, laughter, fighting, crying, screaming... etc when they grow up. One of my favourite post is "The loving brothers" on how the 2 brothers showed they tenderly care through a piece of strawberry cake!!
My name is Stine, a Norwegian mother of 6, and I blog at Mother's Home!. I have recently created another blog/site, Mother's Got A Dot Com. Why? First, for my own enjoyment. I've gotten to "know" so many lovely people since I started, and blogging has become an addiction (Sound familiar?) Second, I'm continually amazed that I can actually earn a little extra doing what I enjoy so much... I also get to let out some steam sometimes, as in Stage Mums.
My name is Misty Dawn, and I blog from the middle of nowhere, at My Dogs Keep Me Sane. I began this blog at the advice of one of my best friends. It's purpose was to give me a place to talk about the frustrations of moving to another state and moving away from my family and friends. Now, it has become so much more than that. Blogging has become an addiction for me. I now use my blog to earn income; I have met so many fabulous friends; I share my writing and my photography; I share my stories, whether they be funny, serious, or sad; I can share my frustrations and my emotions without worrying about being judged for what I say... There are no words to encompass what blogging and the people of the blogosphere mean to me... and that is why I blog. My favorite post would have to be Rough Tough Farm Gang because it is a fun post that will make people smile. I'm not saying it is my best or most thought-out post, but it is my favorite.
My name is Tammy and I'm Mom Knows Everything. I don't pretend to know everything, but I tell my kids I do. I started blogging when a friend suggested it. I have found that not only is it a great way to relieve stress, but also a great way to feel better about myself. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. I think my favorite post would have to be My Dad And John Wayne. It may not be the best post or the one that got the most comments, but writing this post really helped me deal with the death of my father.
My name is Carrie and i am keeping busy raisig my four children and trying to keep two blogs on the go. Rantings of a Woman and Jabber Jaws. I first got started with blogging when I was seeing how much fun my friend was having and to be honest the money was really starting to sound nice. Now it has become so much more than money with all the new friends I have been making. A couple post that I find myself thinking back to is first Baking Cookies with my 3 year old son, sometime it's the little things that matter the most and Helping a Friend, she is so dear to me and I would do anything to help her out. Kim you've got my vote!

My name is Suzanne and my blogs are Miss Kitty Fantastico and The Synergizer's Journal. (I'm working on coming up with better names!) I started blogging back when it was called journaling. I was a newly wed and needed an outlet for my thoughts and feelings. Later, I became hooked on comments and started meeting a lot of new people. One of my favorite things about meeting friends online is that you get to talk to people who you probably wouldn't meet in real life. Now, I'm a working mom and have started blogging for money to help make ends meet. My favortite post (at least in recent memory) was a Mama Talk column I wrote about my husband for Father's Day. It's called Priorities change when husbands become fathers.

End Copy Here**

I tag:

Kate at

Kiki at

Jodi at

Melissa at

Ami-Chan at

Monday, October 15, 2007

Music meet-up

I bet most of you have heard of the band Death Cab for Cutie, right? They were on the 2007 Grammy CD, so if you haven't heard of them, you're kind of behind the times. Well, did you know that they started out as an indie band in Bellingham, Washington? They were playing all the clubs when I was in college, and yes, I knew the name back then, but sadly never made time to go out and hear them perform.

(Now that I live in Aberdeen, I’m always hearing from people who knew Kurt Cobain and wish they’d gone to one of those house parties and heard him perform in his heyday.)

Anyway, it’s pretty rare that indie bands and/or “garage” bands see that kind of commercial success. And honestly, a lot of them are fine with that. One of my college friends was a Cutie fan and was disappointed when they became more mainstream. Indie music is like a secret cult, you know? It’s just not as fun if everyone knows your secret!

Of course, indie music isn’t any fun if NO ONE knows the secret either. No band wants to perform in an empty venue. There’s a very fine line where the bands want to stay — attract fans of your particular niche, but not become so popular that you lose yourselves and start conforming to the mainstream.

This Web site, IndieMV - Musical Intercourse, helps Indie bands, both new and thriving, do just that. Fans and bands can connect with each other and just hang out. Bands can post videos and blogs, as well as win a chance to play at a Unite Against AIDS concert in Montreal! Wow.

Fans can also use a personalized option called “sliders” that allows them to search for bands on a very detailed level. This custom option helps the fans to connect with performers who play the music that they most want to hear.

Flip that profile

I was stuck for an idea for quite some time, but then my husband suggested that I do my next profile on these house-flippers that we met at an open house the other day. He is obsessed with real estate and anything to do with buying, selling, improving or renting houses. Basically, if it involves making money, he wants to do it.

To be honest, the whole idea kinda scares the crap out of me because I’d hate to be left in the lurch if he dropped the ball on fixing it or finding renters or whatever, and suddenly we’re saddled with two mortgages instead of extra income. But one of the reasons that I’m excited to do this profile is because I want to talk to real people who’ve suceeded at this business in our little town and see what their experience has been. Plus, house flipping is incredibly trendy right now, so I bet a ton of people will read the profile. And maybe we can even make some new friends when I’m through with the business part of the deal. They were really nice.

Check out these deals!

I am really excited about this new site I found with a ton of Online Coupon Codes. They have hundreds of merchants, they update on a daily basis, and they are really easy to navigate. There are coupons from quite a few respectable companies that I haven't seen on any of the other sites. You should check out some of these BabyUniverse coupons and Gap coupons.

Considering this is the first year I have a paypal account and I now have the inside scoop on how to save money by shopping online, I'll be surprised if I even set foot in a big box store this holiday season. I'm glad too! When you shop online, you don't have to listen to nauseating Christmas carols on repeat. Plus, you can do it in your pajamas :-)

Worth the wait!

It's been almost exactly a month since Ben moved into his new room.

Here's how things have been going:

1. He sleeps through the night about once a week, give or take. The heater seems to have a good effect, but its not the only factor. (He slept through Saturday night, and I slept from 11 p.m. to 7:50 a.m. Wahoo!) The other nights, he usually wakes between 2 and 4 a.m. Once as early as midnight and several times as late as 6 a.m. It's pretty awesome. I wonder how long it will be before I am able to sleep through the whole night again ... I also wonder how long it will be before I no longer feel like sleep is the most important coveted thing in my life. My husband gives me a hard time about still being obsessed with sleep now that Ben's been sleeping well for about a month, but I was sleep deprived for 21 months before that. I don't know how long it takes to build back such a huge deficit, but I know it hasn't happened yet. Yesterday, after sleeping in until 8 a.m. with that huge block of uninterrupted sleep (not that I still didn't wake up briefly a few times anyway) I also took a nap with Ben from 1 to 2:15 p.m. and went to bed at 11 p.m. AND, I was exhausted!

2. Ben doesn't seem to have an opinion about the bedframe vs. mattress on the floor. He needs a step stool to get up into bed, but that doesn't seem to bother him either. He doesn't sleep any better or worse on the raised bed than he did on the floor, although I think it's cuter, more comfortable and warmer. It also makes the whole room feel more open, more like a child's bedroom. Sadly though, last night at 1:30 a.m. Stephen heard a big thunk and soon Ben was in the hall crying. So he might have fallen out of bed. :-( Hopefully, it only takes the once before he learns not to do it again. The strange thing is, he's been sleeping on a tall bed for basically his whole life. We had our mattress on the floor for a few months when he was like 9 to 12 months old, but that was a whole year ago. He's been sleeping alone in tall beds since then (minus the time we had his mattress on the floor) and never fell out. Maybe its just that his bed is a twin instead of a queen ...

3. We're working on making his room look more attractive and inviting. We got some wooden letters and painted them orange. So now the wall says "B E N" and he likes to point at it. He's learned to recognize a capital B in almost any context because of this idea. Totally cheap too, about $2 a letter and $1.50 for the paint. Well, it worked out so well, that we went back to the crafty aisle and picked up some wooden stars. (Ben is currently obsessed with stars.) I painted them white (isn't that what color real stars are anyway? Certainly, they aren't yellow ...) and am outlining them in glow-in-the-dark puffy paint. It's time consuming so it might be awhile until I'm ready to put them up, but I'm sure he will love them. He loves having stars to say goodnight to and is always so sad when its cloudy and there aren't any outside. (Which is getting to be always, because its fall ...)

4. The dresser is still sitting there, brown and ugly. I kind of figured this would happen. Oh well. His bed is nice white kid furniture style and my mom saw how bad the dresser looked. Maybe she'll get us a better one.

5. Oh and uh, let's just say its been nice having our bedroom (and our privacy) back after all this time. I'm still a proponant of sleeping with babies, and will be definitely be doing it again with our next child, but I am very glad that there's going to be a decent break inbetween sleeping with Ben and sleeping with baby number #2. I also get a whole lot more backrubs than I used to. :-)

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with how everything has been turning out. I've even put him to bed all by myself a few times in this last week. I won't say that was fantastic, but I did it. More on that another time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tool solutions

Every single time my husband works on a project around the house, he leaves his tool box out and our toddler gets into it. He pulls out nails and hammers and screws and the power drill and whatever else he can get his baby hands on. Then he runs off with it, hiding screws who knows where, so that later I'll be sure to step on one with bare feet. Ouch. I've been telling him that he needs to put the tool box back right away, but he never does. I know it's heavy, and that he goes nuts if he puts it back and then 10 minutes later finds something else that needs to be fixed, but this has got to stop.

I was browsing this Web site that features gifts for him and saw that they sell tool carts which would be perfect for our situation. That way, the tools would be not only high up, but also on wheels, so it would be easier to put them away. What a great idea!

this is a sponsored post

An uh-oh

I wrote this woman after seeing this article linked in the breastfeeding community on lj.

I said:

"Dear Jeannie Babb Taylor,

I loved every last word of your article on breastfeeding. I write a column called "Mama Talk" for the newspaper I work at in Aberdeen, Wash., and occasionally mention that my 22-month-old is still nursing. No one has specifically said that they have a problem with my writing about it, but I know I get funny looks sometimes. And outside of the office, coworkers occasionally say things like, "Oh, that's right, you're still nursing ..."

I am so glad that someone educated and respectable has spoken up on this vital topic. Your column was filled with more than just the grim statistics, but witty observations about why it is that this problem persists even though, especially as a society, we all should know better. Thank you so very much for becoming a voice for all of us underground "boob nazis." (Maybe someday, that horribly offensive term will be replaced with something that mainstream America can embrace.) Your article was an inspiration and I plan to spread it as far as I can reach."

What I meant was linking it all over the intrawebz, but I didn't realize that I had accidentally written her from my work email. (I clicked on of those "contact the author" buttons and that's where it took me. It was late at night and I wasn't paying much attention. Opps.)

Well, she wrote back,

Suzanne, thank you so much for the encouraging email. Congratulations on nursing your little guy for 22 months. That’s wonderful! My children have nursed anywhere from 14 months to 4 years. Did you know some women have begun calling it “full-term breastfeeding” instead of “extended breastfeeding” -- to get away from the idea that they are extending (dragging out) the breastfeeding relationship. I really hope that we will see breastfeeding normalized, as you say. It should be bottlefeeding that is exceptional, not breastfeeding. I’ve heard worse terms of address than “boob nazis” – How about “nipple nazis?” Personally, I prefer lactivist!

Anyway, thanks for writing! It’s always exciting to hear from other columnists.

Oh, I see that you are also an editor for the paper. If you’d like to use the article as a “guest columnist” submission, I’d be honored to send you the Word file.


Jeannie Babb Taylor

Yipes! Do I tell her I meant to contact her as a fellow blogger and not as a fellow journalist? Do I actually bring up the idea of running the column with my bosses? (They're all guys!) or do I tell her we're not interested. We are! I am , anyway. I guess I could just not reply, but that seems lame too. Man, I so did not mean to mix blogging and work like this!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Take your best shot

When we were dating in high school, my husband tried to explain to me all about how much fun it was to go paintballing with his friends. Well, I remained skeptical, and believe me, I was horrified the first time I saw what he looked like when he got back. I asked him how on earth paint could leave welts on his body and he explained to me its because you use paintball guns to shoot the paintballs at very high speeds at your opponents. Oh. And this is fun, because?

He then went on to explain that its like playing spy games, and way more fun than laser tag or other painless sports because its the risk of getting hit that makes it such a rush. I drew the line at letting him get his own paintball gun, because I didn't want him going all the time, but we do have a paintball course nearby, and he hasn't been once since we've moved here. There's part of me that feels bad that I made such a deal over it when we were younger. Now, I kind of get the idea of why you would want to do something so crazy and exhilarating. It brings excitement to an otherwise mundane existence. Maybe I will get him some paintball supplies for the holidays. This Ultimate Paintball Web site has pretty good prices, and I know it would be a huge surprise for him. I always get a ton more points for gifts that are completely for him and not something that I will be using too. Can't imagine why ...

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Discipline 101: Maintaining an even keel

You will never meet anyone more vocally against corporal punishment than I am. I don’t hit my kid, period. No matter what he does, and no matter how many times he does it.

With all my heart, I believe that even if it seems to work, spanking teaches children “valuable” life lessons like “Pick on people who are smaller than you” and “When you’re mad at someone, you should physically hurt them.”

I know that not everyone agrees with me. And I’m not here to start a big fight about it.

But I can admit that sometimes my 22-month-old son really pushes my buttons.

In fact, he’s found buttons I didn’t even know I had.

Attention please
My goal was to read about an eighth of the Sunday paper so I wouldn’t be in the dark when I showed up to work on Monday morning. I knew I was ignoring Ben, but he seemed to be OK playing by himself in the kitchen. But it didn’t take long before he grabbed a few pellets out of our dog’s dish, showed them to me and said “No Holly-dog food. Time-out” and then burst into hysterical tears before I even picked him up.

Clearly, he was seeking out my negative attention. But even prior to this incident, I was not feeling comfortable with the way he was reacting to his time-outs. They only caused him to cry and they did NOT stop him from repeating the behavior.

Something needs to change
I decided to get a few books from the library for tips and suggestions. It didn’t take long before I figured out what my husband and I were doing wrong.

Basically, we were letting him go too far, giving him too many warnings and second chances, before finally getting angry and sweeping in with a punitive time-out. “That’s it! You’re going in time-out!”

Instead, we’re now trying to do the time-outs earlier, with just one warning, and be much less emotional about it. “I’m sorry you chose not to follow that rule. Now you have to have time-out.”

After the time-out, we used to go through a complicated apology ritual that I thought was helpful, except that nothing was changing. So now, when time-out is over, he gets nothing but love at first.

Later, when he’s calm, we can talk about why he got the time-out and think of ideas together about how to avoid another one. (If you think a 22-month-old is too young for this, you’ve never met my kid.)

“Ben, I see it’s hard for you to leave Holly’s food alone, even though you know the rule is ‘No dog food.’ What do you think would help you to follow this rule?”

“Holly dog food pick up please”

So we picked up the food. Problem solved. During Holly’s meal times, we explained that Holly had to have her dinner now and maybe it would be easier to leave her alone if we went and played with blocks upstairs.

Consistency is the key
Obviously, adjusting to this new regimen was hard for him. It was hard for me too, as I am used to being more lenient with him because I don’t have the energy to go through the time-out ritual every single time he does something wrong.

By the end of the first day, he was clearly exhausted, frustrated, angry and sad that his whole baby world was being turned upside down.

You could tell he was thinking, “What do you mean I get a time-out for taking a box of Cheerios off the counter? I ALWAYS do that!”

But soon, he was telling us when he needed a time-out. It didn’t stop him from crying about it, but things were better. We gave him choices. “Do you want to walk up the stairs or do you want Mama to carry you? Do you want time-out in your room or Mama and Papa’s room?”

Of course he still cried, but they were manageable tears, not hysterical tears.

The differences we saw in his behavior were clear. When we finished his bath, I told him it was diaper time and he laid down in the diaper changing area on his own.

(Previously, we had to chase the naked baby around the house for a few minutes to get him wrangled down for a diaper and pajamas.)

When it was time for stories, I told him, “This is the LAST story. After this one, it’s bedtime.” And when it was over, he said “Night night time!” and marched up to bed.

How awesome is that?

Yah, so normally i don't put mama talk here, but i wasn't wanting to put this one on lj for lots of reasons. one of them is that quite a bit of this column is lifted word for word out of lj entries! that's not something i've really ever done before, but they asked me to write it on an off-week with very little notice. so you gotta do what you've gotta do. i don't think i can get in trouble for plagerizing myself :-)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

It's called the WORLDWIDE web, right?

I've noticed that one of the problems with google is that it tends to be quite U.S-focused. What if you wanted information on a company in another country? Well, I just found this cool Web site called masterseek that lets you research a huge database of global businesses. You know a site is really international when you can chose from 20 different languages to display the text.

It's free to view company profiles and learn about their products and such. Companies from more than 75 countries have signed up for this service, so it looks like if you want worldwide attention, this is a good place to start.

Round and round

I typed up something for my husband while I was at work today so that he'd be able to work tomorrow. (It's the disclaimer form you sign saying yes, i know a massage therapist isn't a medical doctor, etc.) I emailed it to myself so that I could print it out at the library. I just don't just the work printers not to accidentally print a copy of it two hours after I've left the building. Anyway, now I'm at the library but can't get it open because apparently the library computers won't let you open attachments, only save them to a disk. That's right, a disK not a disC. Who the hell has disks anymore?

So I tried to call Stephen to tell him what the problem is but he doesn't have his phone. Oh well. He and Ben can play in the kids section while I make a few quick $$$ and then hopefully he won't be too mad that I will have to stop by work at some point before 12:30 p.m. tomorrow to print this thing out for him. Hopefully. :-)

New friends, yay!

I owe my new friend a big thank you because I found out that there was more money to be made out there on the interwebz than I had previously thought. I had helped her out before and just now (bad me!) gotten around to doing a link trade with her.

I was thrilled when she wanted to friend me (I get absolutly giddy over new friends!) and decided to backread her blog a little to learn more about her. I found out, among other things, that she got married the day before my son was born, and we have another friend in common, besides Kiki, who "introduced" us. (She didn't really do anything, but she was nice about it when I started trolling for links in her journal, so that's got to count for something, right?)

So yay for new friends and lots of link love and a little more money for my poor family.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Holiday wish list

About five years ago, money was tight and so my husband and I agreed not to spend more than $10 on each other for the holidays. It was one of my favorite years ever because we got a chance to really be creative. To get my idea, I paid attention to what he complained about more than anything else. It didn't take a genius to realize that he was pretty miserable about how cold it was in our Bellingham apartment. So since I had an Old Navy coupon, I got him a pair of pajama pants. They were $9.99 and therefore I didn't break any rules. (We hadn't discussed tax!) He was absolutely thrilled. They were the first pair of pajama pants he'd ever owned (no joke) and I just got him to get rid of them a few months ago. Due to being worn all the time, they had a few hundred holes in them. He's gotten other pairs since then, but those first ones were always his favorite.

Well, the holidays are racing up on us again, and of course, money is still tight, but I really want to get something for Ben. He will be 2 by the time Christmas and Hanukkah roll around and I believe he will be old enough to appreciate a gift from his parents. (Last year, we figured everyone else got him so much stuff we didn't really need to get him anything.) But since it will most likely be on video as well, I am wanting to get him something meaningful, something he'll remember. I am leaning toward just using these Petsmart coupon codes to get him a goldfish, because I know that is something that's pretty affordable and he will really love. My only concern is do I get a cheap one and replace it every time it goes belly up in the bowl, or do I get a more hardy, but less interesting Beta? Stephen is leaning toward a regular goldfish because Ben likes them a lot and they move around constantly, which is much more exciting for a toddler than a fish that just kind of sits there.

Regardless, I know that wherever I do my shopping this year, there's a ton of ways I can save money online by shopping with coupon codes. This is one of my favorite sites, because they are constantly adding more coupons from stores I shop at anyway. And plus, when you do your shopping online, you avoid lines and crappy customer service by over-worked and under-paid employees.

Everybody likes new stuff

Ben used his potty once on Monday and again yesterday. This is a relief because a few months ago he was routinely using it about three times a day, and then all of a sudden, he would have nothing to do with it. And we didn't change what we were doing either ... weird. Anyway, Stephen suggested that we get him a better one and it might encourage him to stay with it this time. I admit, the old lame boring white one that my mom saved from when I was 2 years old isn't that fantastic. It falls apart easily and isn't attractive to kids. So I agreed to go to Mal-wart and look at singing potties. Well, the one we were wanting to get was sold out (the next one up was nearly twice as expensive, yipes!) so we left without one. We did get a few pairs of pants and some polo shirts on clearance though.

AND, we got a big wooden B, E and N, as well as some orange paint. Now his room walls won't be so bare. I was going to get started last night but accidentally fell asleep with him when putting him to bed while Stephen was at choir. Opps. Oh well. The extra sleep was nice, anyway. Now that he sleeps through the night, I've been pretty lazy about getting to bed at a decent time. I mean, when you've been waking up every two or three hours for nearly 22 months, sleeping for six or six and a half hours in a row feels like a dream! It's only after a week or so of this that you realize you do actualy need at least seven and a half hours on average to not feel lethargic at about 2 p.m. and beat at about 9 p.m.

Live and learn.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

There must be a better way!

It used to be that the most frustrating thing about traveling was having to make Hotel Reservations. I know this, because I worked in a hotel when I was in college. They put us through rigorous training on how to up-sell the rooms and the hotel and give the customer a big story about why it was taking so long. First, a customer would call and say "What are your rates?" We'd say, "Well, what dates are you looking at, because our rates change depending on when it is." (That was only barely true. We charged a slightly lower rate on the weekends, but that was the only difference.)

Then we'd ask them what kind of room they wanted, smoking or nonsmoking, two double beds or a queen, and if they were interested in one of our suites. (The purpose of this was to make sure that the type of room they wanted was actually available on the days that they were looking at. We did not charge a different price for different types of rooms. We were not allowed to tell them that, though.) Then, (this was always my favorite part) "Let me tell you a little bit about our hotel while the computer brings up your rate ... (the rate is sitting right there on the screen while you do this.) "We have an outdoor pool, room-service from Mitzel's American kitchen, a conference room and a business center. (We were only required to list two, but it was just as easy to say them all)

THEN, we were allowed to tell them that the rooms were $88 per night. Some people thought this was a great deal and others said "No thank you" and hung up. The point of the long to-do over it was to make sure that they knew it was a NICE hotel so they didn't wig out about the rate right away, and also so that we could say "Would you like to make this reservation now?" and if they said yes, all we needed was a credit card number and the room was already booked for them, since we checked availability beforehand.

And the worst part was we had to do this every single time ANYONE asked about our rates because we got secret shopped by our own company all the time. If you got a perfect score, including answering the phone correctly and saying thank you at the end, they gave you a $10 bonus. Which was awesome, but frustrating because they'd typically only call once a month and we'd get rate requests like 10-15 times in an eight hour shift. Most people put up with the crap we gave them, but a few got pretty mad about it. I have to admit, I'd be frustrated too, if I were calling eight hotels in an area to find the best rate and it took more than 5 minutes per call! That's like 40 minutes just to save a few $$$, are you kidding?

Thankfully, these days, most people are smart enough to book their hotel rooms online. A Web site like can tell you all about the pool and room service that each hotel offers should you be interested, but if you just want the cheapest rate and that's it, they can do that. And its a lot faster than doing it yourself!

Would you like mayo on that?

I drempt that I was pregnant and all I could keep down was mayo and I was eating it out of the jar. Just so you know, I hate mayo and woke up very grossed out, and yet for some reason was compelled to put some on my turkey sandwich at lunch today. What?!?!

Do you know how much trouble I would be in if I were actually pregnant? Dude, next summer is going to come along soon enough. We just got Ben sleeping in his own room, he's still nursing, though much less than before, and I haven't even started sleeping through the whole night yet myself! The last thing I need is to have to force wean or deal with the creepy crawlies that come from nursing while pregnant.

So why the mayo? I could not even begin to tell you.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Say cheese!

For my 21st birthday, I'd asked for a camera. My husband bought me a digital one and I was disappointed. I thought I'd never learn to work the thing and that it was a passing fad anyway. I mean, how was I going to make pretty photo albums if my pictures were stuck in digital form? I was seriously upset with him about this for several months. A side note: He used the camera that he'd just purchased for me to take this shot (my avatar) of me while we were walking to the bar in downtown Bellingham. Once he taught me how to upload it to the computer, I decided to make a user-pic from it.

Well, that was almost exactly five years ago! I'd had my lj for just one month at that point, and no one really knew it existed. I was using it more as a personal diary than a way to communicate with friends and family. Now, I'd be lost without my digital camera! (We got a new one for the holidays last year.) How else would I share cute photos of my son with everyone I've ever met? Photo albums do still have their place, but in today's online world, I'm glad I finally let my husband teach me to work the camera. Sure I'm not an expert, and I occasionally still take pictures of my feet while trying to figure out if it's on the right setting, but my favorite thing about digital pictures is being able to immediately erase the bad ones. I can't even believe how many pictures in my childhood photo albums feature me with my eyes shut!

If you are one of the few people left on this planet who doesn't own a digital camera yet, you should check out these Nikon cameras. You can get a slender one like ours for about $120. I'm considering suggesting it to my aunt, who never knows what to get for her pre-teen daughter. Marissa will be 13 this November and is very interested in photography. I know it's a present she'd love.

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It's my party, I'll micromanage if I want to

I know I said I was much more excited for Ben’s birthday than mine but that was totally back in September. It’s only 25 more days until my golden birthday! (Ever since a friend called it that, I’ve been way more giddy about turning 26 on the 26th.)

It looks like we are going to have a party of some sort. I would like to invite a lot of people, so it’s like the cool parties at Jessi and Jerry’s house. I wish I knew how to phrase things correctly though.

Here is what I want to say on the invites, but I probably need a better way to say it then this:

Suzanne is having a golden birthday party! She is turning 26 on the 26th and thinks this is the greatest thing ever. She also thinks you are a cool person and are therefore invited. Feel free to bring your spouse or partner. The party starts at 5:30 p.m. and kids are welcome.

Here comes the tricky part

However, please plan to either lay them down or leave the party when they get cranky. Suzanne cannot stand to listen to tired, crying children, especially on her birthday. It’s hard for kids to behave themselves when they are tired. And when tired kids cry and then get in trouble for doing things when they can’t help themselves, Suzanne has to go into the bathroom and cry too.

If you have reason to believe that your kids will have trouble going to sleep in a strange place and are interested in socializing with adults and having a few drinks in the later hours of the evening, please get a baby-sitter.

I know its my party, and I could just put a hard and fast rule, like many brides do, that says something like “No kids after 8:30 p.m.” or something. Or worse, “No kids at all.” But that’s hardly fair because Ben will be there until his bedtime. People will be mad if I say they can’t bring there kids and ours is there, being a ham.

Plus, I have some out of town friends with kids. I’d love to see the kids and have them hang out with Ben and stuff, but if I tell them they have to ditch at 8:30 because they brought their kids, they probably won’t come at all or won’t bring their kids at all. That’s sad. I want the kids there, REALLY! Those people are welcome to lay their kids down if they are cranky, or something.

Maybe I could hire a baby-sitter to watch all the kids together ... though that still doesn’t eliminate the cranky problem. Seriously though, when people have their toddlers up past midnight and then spank them for doing things like climbing on the dining room table, I really do have to leave the room and go cry in the bathroom. I know it’s their choice to parent however they want to and not any of my business (hense the not saying anything at the time) but I do not want it happening on my golden birthday.

Suggestions are welcome.

PS: This is an open party. If I know you, even just online, most likely you’re invited. Drop me an e-mail if you really think you might be able to come. If I know you, but you live very far away, I won’t hold my breath, but you’re still invited. :-)