Musings of a crunchy, domestic goddess

Just another mama musing about her kids, Attachment Parenting, activism, photography, and life in general

Brown rice, millet, quinoa – oh my! February 27, 2005

Filed under: Food,Health,Natural living,Vegetarian — amygeekgrl @ 2:20 pm

Having a child can make you examine your own eating habits a bit more closely. It’s true that Ava is only consuming breastmilk and baby food at present, but soon will come the day when she’s eating table food alongside Jody and me and I want that food to be as healthy as possible. Also we just found out Jody’s cholesterol is a little on the high side, so that’s another motivating factor for me to attempt to cook a bit more healthfully.

I have to say that for the most part our eating habits aren’t that bad. We rarely eat fast food (thanks in part to how turned off we were after watching “Super Size Me” – definitely worth watching if you haven’t yet seen it) or when we do it’s Taco Bell, and I try to make a lot of our meals from scratch though I do use box mixes or prepared foods as well.

I’m happy to say that since an organic co-op market opened up in our neck of the woods, I’ve been buying more of our food there (at least what I can afford). And I’ve discovered the wonders of bulk items like brown rice, millet and quinoa. I feel like a kid in a candy store filling up my bags full of these things. Hee hee. I used to be all about buying boxed instant brown rice, but now that I’ve made slow-cooked brown rice I’m never going back to instant! There’s a huge difference in the taste and texture of it. Slow-cooked is so much tastier! :)

It’s thanks to some of my friends that I’ve added words like millet, which is a grain, and quinoa (pronounced keen-wah, who knew?!), which is like a grain, to my vocabulary, and now I even know how to prepare them. (Woohoo!) Both are very healthy and I didn’t even know they existed. I have a feeling there are a lot of healthy foods out there that I’ve been missing out on. ;)

So far I’ve made the millet in a stirfry, using it as a substitute for brown rice. It’s really tasty. The texture is kind of crunchy, and I guess it feels almost like a nut. I made the quinoa with black beans which we used as a filler for burritos. It was pretty good, but I think I prefer the millet over the quinoa.

Anyway, I’m excited to have come across this grain and pseudo-grain. Now I need to go scour the ‘net for some recipes to incorporate them into our diet in new ways. :)

 

Everyone likes to feel validated ;) February 26, 2005

Filed under: Activism,Attachment Parenting,Health,Kids,Mothering,Natural living — amygeekgrl @ 7:26 pm

Since Attachment/Gentle Parenting isn’t the philosophy that the majority of U.S. parents subscribe to, it’s always nice to see a study (by Harvard, no less) that validates what we as APers are doing.

I’m lucky to live in an area where I’ve met families who have similar parenting philosophies to my own. But I know many others – who I’ve met on the ‘net through message boards – who don’t have that same kind of support network. I imagine that articles like the ones below are even more valuable to them because without support, you’re more likely to doubt yourself (at least I think I would). So that’s my motivation for sharing it, to let those APers know that they aren’t alone. Even though the Dr. Phils of the world may not agree with co-sleeping and it seems like so many people advocate CIO, don’t fret, Harvard researchers say it’s OK (and even good) to let your baby sleep with you or comfort your crying little one.

(This article dates back to 1998, but it recently surfaced on a Yahoo Group I frequent. Being that it’s 7 years old, it makes me wonder why this kind of information hasn’t made it’s way into mainstream society yet.)

Children Need Touching and Attention, Harvard Researchers Say

By Alvin Powell
Contributing Writer

America’s “let them cry” attitude toward children may lead to more fears and tears among adults, according to two Harvard Medical School researchers.

Instead of letting infants cry, American parents should keep their babies close, console them when they cry, and bring them to bed with them, where they’ll feel safe, according to Michael L. Commons and Patrice M. Miller, researchers at the Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry.

To read the entire article, click here.

I also ran across the following article (from the United Kingdom) that says much of the same thing re: crying, though this one is more recent – from November 2004.

Science shows up Supernanny

A mental health expert warns that fashionable advice to ignore your child’s tears may cause lifelong harm

Amelia Hill, education correspondent
Sunday November 7, 2004
The Observer

Nanny no longer knows best, the Contented Little Baby Book could undermine a child’s development, and Dr Spock’s advice that a child should be left to cry could cause psychological damage.

When it comes to the crowded and hotly debated world of how best to bring up baby, there is a new theory that uses brain scans to argue that controlled crying not only damages babies’ brains but produces angry, anxious adults.

For the entire article, click here.

 

Just doing my part February 25, 2005

Filed under: Activism,Ava,Breastfeeding,Family and Friends,My life,Natural living — amygeekgrl @ 1:52 pm

I’ve always felt lucky, blessed really, that I’ve been able to provide milk for my baby without any troubles. Unfortunately I know that for some women, that’s not the case. I know at least three women who have had trouble either producing enough milk for their baby or not producing any at all.

I bought a breastpump when Ava was 6 months old so that I could express some milk to mix with her cereal. We didn’t end up feeding her cereal for very long because it constipated her. So then I was left with a pump that I didn’t figure I’d have a use for anymore.

During that time I learned about a woman in my area who was expecting baby #3 and, while she wanted him to have as much breastmilk as possible, she knew based on her experience with her other two children that she couldn’t produce enough for him. Traditional formula wasn’t an option either because her older son was allergic to it and there was a good chance this baby would be as well.

She tried contacting the Mothers’ Milk Bank, and while her son qualified for milk with a doctor’s prescription, the milk was just too expensive for her family to purchase.

When I heard that she needed breastmilk for her newborn I e-mailed her to offer up mine. Since I’ve been so fortunate to feed Ava, I wanted to extend the offer to help out her baby. I thought she might be leery, as I would be, since she only knew me from a message board, so I provided her with my medical history, blood work results, and other information that I figured I’d want to know if I were in her shoes. She happily accepted and I’ve been pumping for the lil guy daily ever since (with the exception of when I had vertigo for a week).

I am so happy that I’m able to help her and her baby out in some small way. Now that I have a breastpump, I plan to donate my milk to the Milk Bank if/when I have baby #2. God’s blessed me with such a plentiful supply that I can’t imagine not helping out someone else if I’m able.

I’ve since met the woman and her sweet baby boy in person. And she’s since qualified for financial assistance through the Milk Bank so that she’s able to get some milk for free there as well. :) I plan to continue to pump for them for a while, at least another month or two.

If you are interested in donating breastmilk or learning more about Mothers’ Milk Banks in your area, please visit this web site.

 

An apology (re: epidural post) February 23, 2005

Filed under: Activism,Crunchiness,Health,My life,Natural childbirth — amygeekgrl @ 10:35 am

I’ve been thinking long and hard about my post re: the epidural shirts Target was selling and I want to make an apology. I also have other information I’d like to share and follow up on regarding epidurals and my original post, but I will do that at another time, in another post.

First of all, oy! What was I thinking making a post about epidurals (specifically sharing my excitement that a letter I wrote to Target made a difference) the very first post on my blog?! Could I have chosen a more heated topic??! I have to admit at the time I was just so elated that a bunch of women writing letters could bring about a positive change that I didn’t even consider that some people might read what I had to say and take offense at it. (Again, for the record, my issue was with Target for selling a shirt that advertised drug use, not with women who get epidurals.) I wish I would’ve posted something more tame – like an introduction telling about me and my reasons for starting this blog – before I delved into such controversy, but I can’t go back and change that now. Live and learn.

Back to my reason for this post. I realize that I made a generalization about women who receive epidurals and I don’t believe that was fair of me at all. I can’t speak for the reasons why women get epidurals. I should have made some clarifier, like “based on the people I’ve spoken with through my job and on various message boards, etc., I’m lead to believe that the majority of women don’t think twice about having an epidural.” But do I honestly know how thoroughly they’ve researched their options or taken into consideration the risks involved in receiving an epidural? No. (However, now I’m thinking about doing some polls to get a feel for their motivations, etc.) Anyway, my point is that it’s unfair for me to speak for anyone other than myself, so I apologize for making generalizations and I apologize to anyone who I offended by making those generalizations. I’m truly sorry.

Thanks for reading.

 

Happy (sort of) anniversary to us February 21, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — amygeekgrl @ 5:38 pm

Yesterday was the 7 year anniversary of the day Jody and I met in person. It’s amazing to think that it’s been so long since I got on a plane in MI and flew to OK to meet a guy I’d only known virtually for a year and a half.

The whole trip nearly was canceled about a week beforehand, but I decided (thanks largely to some prodding by my sister Carrie) that if I didn’t go for it and do it then, there was a very good chance that I never would. And then I’d be left forever wondering what might have been.

Am I glad I did it? Yes.

Has the journey to get to where we are today been an easy one? No.

Was it worth it? Yes.

Would I do it again? Definitely.

I could search the earth and never find another Jody. I love him for his wonderful – often wacky – sense of humor, his quick wit (which I’ve grown to match), his idealism, his convictions (and by that, I don’t mean crimes), his capacity to love, and for the amazing father he is.

I’m so happy that our paths crossed on the Internet so many years ago. I can’t imagine living my life with anyone else.

 

Toes to the Nose! February 19, 2005

Filed under: Ava,Breastfeeding,Health,Jody,Parenting — amygeekgrl @ 3:45 pm

I have to admit that I’m quite preoccupied with baby poop lately. I assure you it’s not some weird new fetish of mine, but is it too much to ask to want to see a diaper full of it at least every other day?

Since Ava is no longer breastfeeding exclusively, gone are the days of regularly occurring, non-offensive, runny, mustard poops. Even though that meant changing 3 to 4 poopy diapers a day, I have to say oh, how I miss it!

Now I hastily check each diaper hoping to get a smelly surprise. Who knew that becoming a member of the “mommy club” meant so closely monitoring the contents of your baby’s diapers?!

When she goes through a whole day or two (or going on three today!) without any grunts and nary a bowel movement save the ocassional toots, I start to get concerned.

When my husband goes upstairs to change her diaper, I yell up, “Any poop yet?” To which he usually replies, “No poop,” secretly relieved to have dodged that bullet. (It’s both amusing and disturbing how often and in what detail we can talk about baby poop around here.)

In the meantime, I prepare to perform my pooping exercises on her that go something like this. I lay her flat on the floor and pump her legs from a straight out position to putting her “toes to the nose!” as I like to exclaim, making the exercise into a game. I also massage her lower abdomen in a circular motion with my thumbs, thinking that maybe it will get her intestines moving.

Actually I can’t take credit for the logistics of the “toes to the nose” exercise. After Ava was born and had gone several days in the hospital without pooping, a nurse who prided herself on her ability to get any baby to poop (all the other nurses raved about her) came in and performed the ritual, while using a rectal thermometer to stimulate her uh, rectally. She was successful (Ava pooped a lot!) and was able to maintain her flawless pooping record.

I can’t say I’m ready to inflict the probe upon her yet. I just wish she would poop already so I could get out my Sharpie and mark a big “P” on the calendar and start counting the hours until her next big movement.

 

World On Fire

Filed under: Activism,Miscellaneous — amygeekgrl @ 1:17 pm

I’ve been a fan of Sarah McLachlan for a long time, at least since “Fumbling Towards Ecstacy” came out in 1993. I saw her in concert three times, twice at Lilith Fair. Her music has always seemed so powerful to me, so full of passion. She really seems to sing from the heart.

After recently discovering what she did with her “World On Fire” video, I have even more respect and admiration for her.

View the video here

Even if you aren’t a Sarah fan, this video deserves a look just for the message that it has.

I admire her for doing something different and donating nearly $150,000 (the typical cost of making a video) to charities around the world. Imagine if every artist did that with just one video, what a difference it could make.

Anyway, Sarah is an inspiration to me. She seems like such a grounded person who isn’t wrapped up in all the money and fame that can accompany stardom. She uses her status to help bring about change and make the world a better place and I think that’s awesome.

 

It’s about time (for an intro) February 16, 2005

I’ve been posting for a few days now and I realize that I should probably take a few moments to post an intro of sorts. I think my profile tells quite a bit about the kind of person I am, but for those who are interested, here’s some more background info on me.

I was born in May 1975 (yes, that makes me a bull-headed Taurus. bet ya’d never guess that about me, hehe) in Michigan. I grew up in a (white bread) suburb of Detroit with my mom, dad and younger brother and sister. Like most families, we were a bit dysfunctional, yet I never doubted that I was loved.

I attended Catholic elementary schools during the week and my family went to Mass on the weekends. When I switched to public schools in sixth grade, I continued to go to catechism classes and was confirmed in eighth grade.

My dad was a teacher (now retired) and coach (and often did other odd jobs) and worked long hours to provide for our family. My mom stayed at home with us kids until I was about 12, at which time she returned to the workforce as a teacher as well.

I excelled in most subjects in school and was a member of the Honor Society in high school. I also participated in flag corps, drill team, Girl Scouts (through my senior year in high school!) and a few Catholic youth groups. I had a close-knit circle of friends, but I was pretty much a nerd.

After my high school graduation, I went away to college for the first two years. I had a really rough time being away from home (more importantly, away from my boyfriend at the time), and eventually moved back in with my parents and attended a local university. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in English in 1998.

In the meantime, I was introduced to the Internet where I met my husband (and soulmate) Jody in 1996. He lived in Oklahoma at the time, so our relationship was initially a friendship for the first year and a half. We decided to meet in person in February 1998 when we were both single, so I flew to Oklahoma to spend a few days with him. I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but it honestly wasn’t for either of us. However, over the next few days we really did fall in love and my stay was extended for a few more days since neither of us felt ready to say good-bye just yet.

A couple months later, Jody came to Michigan to visit me and we decided that after my college graduation in June, I would move to Oklahoma with him.

Moving 1,000 miles away from home was certainly the craziest thing I’d ever done. We had some ups and downs, but our relationship continued to grow and we got engaged in May 2000.

We moved to Colorado (where we currently reside) in October 2000, and were married in April 2001.

I worked for the local paper as the newsroom office manager for about 3 1/2 years, up until the birth of our daughter. I’m now a stay-at-home mom.

Jody’s been working in the computer industry for most of his life. His most recent position is doing technical support for a 3-D design software company.

Jody and I decided that we would start trying to conceive in September 2002. Due to some fertility issues, it took us until Sept. 2003 to actually conceive. We were both elated when it finally happened for us. We had a scare at 11 weeks and thought that we might lose the baby, but she was a fighter and held on.

Ava was born on June 22, 2004, at 38 weeks after I developed HELLP Syndrome and had to be induced. Due to my life threatening complications, her birth didn’t go at all as I had thought/hoped it would, but she was born in perfect health and that was truly the most important part.

She’s now nearly 8 months old, growing like a weed (and is a big girl at about 25 lbs.) and continues to amaze me and Jody with each passing day. She’s got such a great disposition and so much personality. Not a day goes by in our house that we aren’t all sitting around in fits of laughter. Ava brings so much joy to our lives.

The parenting style we subscribe to is Attachment (or Gentle) Parenting. It’s not that we looked it up in a book and said “this is what we’ll do.” It’s just that the things that AP espouses have come naturally. My basic philosophy is if it feels right, then it must be.

Various other things about me:
- I no longer practice Catholicism (and haven’t really since high school). I believe in God, but the rest is sketchy for me. I’m still trying to find a religion that rings true with me.
- As far as my political stance, I’m a right-leaning liberal.
- I’m left-handed.
- I have two dogs (my first babies), Ellie and Maggie.
- I call myself “crunchy” in my Blog title and, while that adjective is widely-known where I live, I realize that it necessarily isn’t elsewhere. Being crunchy is like being a neo-hippie (but without all the dreadlocks and smoking pot crap). It’s someone with a non-conformist state of mind who cares about the world. Being crunchy refers to granola, i.e. being earthy, etc. So yeah, I think of myself as crunchy. And the domestic goddess is just a fun way to say “I’m a stay-at-home mom.”
- I love to read, but don’t often have time for it. The last book I read was “Our Babies, Ourselves” by Meredith Small. It was an excellent book and I highly recommend it. I’ll probably write more about it at another time.
- The last good movie I saw (on DVD of course because we just don’t get out to the movies anymore) was “Napoleon Dynamite.” I thought the preview looked ridiculously stupid, yet I found the movie very amusing (even if it was plotless) and highly quotable.
- Some other things I enjoy are cooking, photography (namely taking pictures of Ava or scenic pictures), and hiking in the mountains.
- I also enjoy writing although I haven’t been doing much of it lately. I feel like this blog will inspire me to continue to write on a regular basis and prevent my brain from going to mush. I realize that I have some strong opinions on certain subjects and while I want to feel free to express them, I hope that nobody will get the impression that I think I am better than them because of my opinions and/or choices in life. That is not my intention. I share my opinions in the hopes of giving people something to think about. One of my mottos lately has been “Question Authority.” Not because I think I’m a badass and I don’t agree with rules, but because I think it’s healthy to think about why things are the way they are or why we are being told to do things a certain way. IMO, complacency is a dangerous thing.

Anyway, that’s my life and a bit about what makes me tick (probably more than you ever cared to know), in a (large) nutshell.
Thanks for reading. :)

 

Breastfeeding in front of the president

Filed under: Activism,Breastfeeding — amygeekgrl @ 2:56 pm

I came across this photo on Yahoo News yesterday.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez talks with people who were affected by flooding…

Wow! :) How refreshing it is to see a woman able to openly feed her baby in public – while speaking to the president of her country no less! And nobody seems to be offended by it in the least (although that one guy might be checking out her boob, hehe). But the president seems absolutely at ease with it, even touching her on the arm and *gasp* making eye contact with her.

I’d love to see the United States embrace breastfeeding as such a natural part of life instead of limiting places women can nurse and having people take offense at a mom simply trying to feed her baby. It seems like here in the U.S. we are so quick to sexualize breasts, rather than view them as a source of food for babies (which is really their only practical purpose).

I feel fortunate to live in an area that’s more accepting of public bfing than other places in this country, but we still have a loooooooooooong way to go before you’d see something happen like in the picture.

 

A small request (to anonymous posters)

Filed under: Uncategorized — amygeekgrl @ 10:49 am

To all of the anonymous posters out there,
Would you please sign your posts with a name (I don’t care if it’s your actual name or a made up one) so that if I or someone else wants to respond to you, we can address you by name rather than “to the person who said that they don’t like to eat peanut butter on toast” or whatever. ;)
Thank you. :)
–amygeekgrl

 

 
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