Thursday, December 31, 2009

x mas video

Mei Tai got here!!!

It got here!! Yay yay yay!! I feel like jumping up and down!! I love, love. LOVE it! We practiced with it a little (two long walks) and took some pictures. I haven't figured out the back carry yet, but we're trying. I am so excited. AND doesn't Elliot look pretty hot with it on?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My hopes for Zach

Zach's first christmas present. He liked the paper the most.

There are so many things that I want in life for Zach, but the number one thing that I want for him is happiness. I want him to think back about his childhood fondly like I do.

There are a number of things from my early childhood that have stuck in my memory- playing in the backyard at 299 beiger Ave. (it was a great backyard), tye dying parties, bubble parties, teepee parties, tea parties (my mother was great at parties), putting on endless "shows" with my brother and cousins, trips to San Francisco at Christmas, trips to the Zoos and museums and sea world and disney land and around the whole US. I remember countless hours in the garden with my father, making many crafts with my mother, playing bears with my grandfather, making tamales and sopapillas with my greatgrandmother. I remember the way I used to walk to my grandma's house after school everyday, ring the doorbell, then press my nose onto the glass of the window by the door. She would walk down the hall, tap my nose, then open the door. I remember summer camp, and horse riding lessons, piano, voice, dance lessons, 4-H, going to the fair, the clubhouse and zipline in our backyard, as well as orange, lemon, grapefruit, fig trees perfect for climbing. I remember the wonder of watching a lamb being born and I remember loving every single animal we had on the farm. I remember skiing, and kyaking, and rafting and swim team.

I LOVED my family and my life. I had as close to the perfect childhood as one can hope for. How did my parents pack so much in when the days fly by like they do? I hope I can give Zach a childhood to remember as fondly.

I want him to be strong enough to survive whatever life dishes out to him, but sensitive to others around him, as well as his own feelings.I want him to know that love is wonderful, but that it doesn't mean it will always be easy to love someone. I want him to know that relationships take sacrifice and effort, but that they are worth it many times over in the joy and companionship the right person will bring to your life. I hope he will know that whoever he turns out to be, he will be special and valued as long as he values himself. I hope he does something with his life that will make him feel fulfilled and satisfied with his choices, even if that is something I would not have chosen for him. I hope he realizes early in life that money is only a means to an end, and not the end itself. I hope he knows that the most important thing in life is family and the ties that draw us closer over distance, time and differences. Speaking of differences, I want him to realize that differences are not grounds for fighting, hatred or incompatiabilities- they merely offer room for compromises and personal growth, as well as a deeper understanding of others. I know Zach will be smart and kind, but I also want him to realize that he owes no obligation to anyone to enter a certain profession- I want him to follow his heart and his dreams and aim for the stars, and realize that the impossible is attainable with enough work and heart.

I'm not going to lie and say I don't want him to have a family someday, because I do. But if he decides that he is happier without a wife (or husband!) and children, then I will understand and secretly hope that he will change his mind. :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gardening itch

At about this time of year, each year I begin to miss my garden. I have played around with the idea of coming up something that allows me to have a winter garden for a few years now, but it just doesn't make sense to do anything when we could be moving anytime now...What I would really love are a set of cold frames, a greenhouse and a storage cellar. I think part of the reason I begin dreaming of my garden at this time of year is that I miss it! Right now I only have swiss chard and an artichoke plant left. My broccoli has frozen. I still have a lot of carrot plants that I left in the ground as a means of storage. The problem is for the past few years my garden has not been going well. I think I am still adjusting and learning about what it really takes to garden where the summer temperatures reach 110+ regularly throughout the summer. The winters here are cold, but not THAT cold and it seems like I could actually have a nice winter garden if I knew how. I think the answer to my problem would really be joining the Oasis Garden club here in town.
I have also been looking recently into more natural soil enhancment. I think a lot of my problem the past two years has been poor soil. I added manure, but that's it as far as amendments go. I don't want to use a fertilizer that is going to have serious ecological implications. The way that a lot of fertilizers are produced, as well as the consequences of their use are just too great a price to pay. I have done some research recently about how to naturally enhance soil. I think crop rotation plays a big part in it, as well as companion planting.
Here is a great website I found It seems like the easiest option for me would be to take a trip to the beach and gather some seaweed, take it home and work it into the soil. If only I could convince Elliot to let my put bags of seaweed into his car for the three hour car ride home from the beach!
Another aspect of gardening that I am dying to try is natural pest control. I have been just letting nature take it's course as far as pests go, which resulted in %50 of my tomato plants being consumed by cutworms over the course of two days. While I think that healthier plants will decrease the number of pests, so the seaweed fertilizer should help some with it, I also think that an army of cutworms could take down even a very healthy garden. My solution- beneficial bugs!! This is the package I'm thinking of buying when I get a good garden up and running again:,default,pd.html?SC=XNET8419

It is $39 for all these bugs, but you can get cheaper, smaller packages too, which I may end up doing. I wish Z was old enough to help me in the garden, or at least hang out with me while I worked. Maybe I can keep him in the new Mei Tai when it gets here. :) Next year I want to try some heirloom veggies, as well as some heat resistant ones. I have always wanted to grow some berries, but I wonder how well they would do here. We'll see!! I am craving the taste of a huge ripe Zebra tomato fresh from the garden on a slice of sourdough bread with some fresh mozzarella on top. Mmmmm....
Tonight it's asparagus, chicken and quinoa.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

We're home from Abq!!

We just got home from Albuquerque for Christmas late last night. We had a wonderful time, despite some unexpected family drama that has since smoothed itself over, at least temporarily. We got to see the people we love, some of which we had not seen in a very long time. It was great to see my sibling-in-laws, especially my sister-in-laws, to whom I am particularly close, and having never had a sister growing up, it is great to feel like I do now! Zach met several of his Uncles, and Aunt and great grandparents for the very first time, and he seemed to love them all. I think this trip helped him to become a little more comfortable being held by someone other than me, since he was passed around a lot.
Elliot (Tosh) and I had a wonderful date and went to the Frontier restaurant for breakfast. I had a wonderful green chile breakfast burrito, and we had some great conversation, and I wasn't worried a bit about Zach! I thought I would be, but I was confident in the ability of Molly, Treva and Suki, who took care of him for an hour or two. When we returned, he was napping peacefully in the stroller! :)
We had some fun adventures while visiting, including a train ride up to Santa Fe in the snow with Suki and Leba, (my sister-in-law and step mother-in-law). It was fun, and cold, and snowy. The four of us (Suki, Leba, Zach and I) also went to the Explora! Museum. If you live near Albuquerque and have a child I would HIGHLY recommend this museum. It is amazing and is like one big giant interactive science fair. There were whole huge sections of activities about wind, water, gravity, electricity, shapes, building, light, sound, music, nature, everything!! And it wasn't like a typical museum where you look at something and turn a knob or two, you could sit down at a table and build something, or manipulate the whole experiment. Take it apart, put it together, see how it works! If Z had been a year or two older, we could have spent a WEEK there! As it was his favorites were the "jumping" fountain and the gravity exhibit that was like a never ending Rube Goldberg project.
Sadly, we did not get a chance to take Zach to see santa, but he probably would have cried anyway, so no biggie. We are thinking of getting or making a santa suit for Elliot for next year. We had family portraits done, but since it is illegal to scan them, we will not be posting them for everyone to see. I guess you all will just have to visit us in order to see them- we will be having a party sometime soon, so that's more incentive to get you all out to visit us! Zach cried for most of the pictures, but I think there were a few good ones, and I know for certain there was a great one of Zach, Elliot (Tosh) and Grandpa Elliot (Elliot's grandfather). Treva was our Christmas angel and bought a copy of it for us, despite the exorbitant price tag.
We enjoyed many great meals, and fun games, and overall had a wonderful time.
Now to the gifts!! Zachary made out like a bandit and was SHOWERED with gifts from everyone. My favorites of his gifts were an adorable little red wagon with a push bar so he can learn to walk, an anamatronic roxking horse and many wodden toys!! He got some very cute clothes, A LOT of books and toys. I got a lot of presents as well. Art supplies, yarn, books, and many, MANY other wonderful things. Everyone was so generous this year and our car was PACKED on the way home. I received several gifts that are helping me to discover and learn about my newly discovered Jewish Heritage. Zach received his first menorah as well. I think I need to do some research about just what it means to be Jewish so that I am better informed. Perhaps I can convince my Aunt Robin to help me practice the traditions? ;) I know the Kosher Turkey we had sure was tasty!!
One of my most favorite gifts was from my wonderful husband and my father in law. Since they know I have been looking into Mei Tai carriers and DROOLING over them, and turning slighlty green with envy whenever I see a mama and baby happily wearing one, they BOUGHT ME ONE!!! I can not wait for it to get here! It is beautiful, black and white, so daddy can wear it too, and a very highly recommended brand. I am so thankful to have a husband who pays attention to what I am into, and then spends a whole day secretly shopping with his father all over Albuquerque to try and find it! Even though they had to buy it online in the end, all their hard work was very appreciated and I was totally surprised (and I'm hard to surprise!). I have the most wonderful husband, and he is so kind and sweet. I could not ask for a more dedicated and sensitive man in my life!
Despite the wonderful time I had, I am very glad to be home, in my own bed, with my doggies again. Zach does not nap well on vacation and is STILL sleeping! We are all tired, but in the best possible way. Today is a day for recovery, rest and grocery shopping! I hope everyone else had a splendid, family-filled holiday, with memories that will last forever in your hearts!! Much Love to all!!

I will be posting the pictures/videos I have as soon as I unpack my camera from the car and get them on my computer!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Attachment parening

So I often feel like I have to justify my decision to use attachment parenting(AP) to those around me. In that light I have decided to explain a little bit about it so that people can at least understand (if not accept) my decision.
There are eight basic principles in AP. They are
  1. Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
  2. Feed with Love and Respect
  3. Respond with Sensitivity
  4. Use Nurturing Touch
  5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
  6. Provide Consistent Loving Care
  7. Practice Positive Discipline
  8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
This seems like a rather broad description. Most people interpret it in their own way, but a lot (read me) take it to mean :

1. Don't drink, smoke, eat unhealthfully while pregnant. Take childbirth/parenting classes.
2.Breastfeed if possible, on demand preferably.
3. If your baby needs something, figure it out. DO NOT let them cry it out. Be sensitive to the fact that you are your baby's sole source for everything. Learn your baby's different cries and respond in a way that is natural and instinctual.
4. Ensure adequate skin to skin time, adding in plenty of hug and cuddle time. This can be accomplished with breastfeeding, baby massage and baby wearing.
5. Many, MANY people who practice AP cosleep, or at least sleep in the same room as their baby. It is important to respond to what works best for your baby. If that is sleeping in a crib, then fine. If that is sleeping snuggled with mommy, that's fine too.
6. Number 6 is pretty self explanatory, emphasis on the consistent part. Baby's like ritual.
7. No spanking, yelling, ect. Discipline should be a natural and logical consequence of the behavior, not controlling and illogical.
8. Number 8 can have a lot of meanings, and is actually the one I struggle with the most.

To me the most important thing about AP is that you do what feels right. If letting your child scream at the top of his lungs in a crib in another room away from you feels right, be my guest. But no matter how much you tell me my life will be better if I also let him "cry it out", it doesn't feel right to me. I shouldn't be made to feel guilty for doing what feels natural and good. When we have a bad night and Z doesn't sleep well, and I complain, this is not an invitation to say "I told you so". Not only is this not constructive, it doesn't serve any purpose. Even babies who sleep in a crib have bad nights.
Babywearing is one of the best choices I have ever made with Z. He cries less, learns more, and my back is much less sore. Someone told me "You'll spoil him if you put him in that too much." I disagree. He is happy, I'm happy so where is the spoiling? When he is older he'll be off running around and won't want me to hold him, and I don't want to regret missing out on time when we both would have been happier with him in my arms (or sling!)

Like I have said before the thing I struggle most with is balance in my life. I do think that I need more time to myself, but our lives are a work in progress, an unfinished mosaic of happy times, sad times and I cherish every moment because it is with the two loves of my life.
I am starting to let Z and Elliot find their own way together, their own dynamic. It is important for them to have a relationship that doesn't include me for many reasons, not the least of which is their future interactions should I die. I want them to find a relationship with one another that works for both of them, and to do that I have to remove myself from the picture from time to time.

Even though we are a work in progress, I am very tired of people judging the way I raise my son and live my life, and it's only been 6 months! I have made a pact to stop judging others in the hopes that they will do the same. Because no one knows what it is like to be me- to live in my shoes and with my family.
Whew! That was a bit of a rant and probably not intended for the people who are reading this blog. Anyhow, back to AP.
That is a link to a list of benefits of AP.

  • is more trusting
  • feels more competent
  • grows better
  • feels right, acts right
  • is better organized
  • learns language more easily
  • establishes healthy independence
  • learns intimacy
  • learns to give and receive love
  • become more confident
  • are more sensitive
  • can read baby's cues
  • respond intuitively
  • flow with baby's temperament
  • find discipline easier
  • become keen observers
  • know baby's competencies and preferences
  • know which advice to take and which to disregard
Parents and baby experience:
  • mutual sensitivity
  • mutual giving
  • mutual shaping of behavior
  • mutual trust
  • feelings of connectedness
  • more flexibility
  • more lively interactions
  • brings out the best in each other
The opponents of AP cite the amount of work and energy this type of parenting takes as one of it's biggest flaws. To be honest, if I wasn't prepared to give all of myself 100% to someone else, I wouldn't have had a baby. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I welcome it and I would give everything I had if I thought it would make Z's life even a little better. To me there is nothing more rewarding than being tired at the end of the day because I have done my best, given it my all and played with and held Z as much as he needed.
Another thing many people ask is "How do the kids turn out?" Here is a site that gives some info
Granted this is just observational evidence, and not empirical data based on a double blind study, but it makes sense since kids mirror and mimic what adults around them do. The kids who are raise with AP tend to be more caring, sensitive, connected, confident, intelligent children. I am happy with my choice and the way my life is. I just wanted everyone to understand why I made the choice to parent Z the way I do and let them know that it is well thought out and researched. I have not meant this post to be offensive to anyone, and truly feel that each parent has to do what feels right for them, so if you raise(d) your kids differently and it works for you, great job! This is what works for us and we love it! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A great day!

Today was wonderful! Elliot finally got his rating for this year and he got a raise that amounts to about $130 extra per month! I am so proud of him! He has been working very hard, not only to do a good job, but also to maintain a positive attitude about work. I know he would love to be home with Zach and I more often (he has said so often) and it is hard for him to be gone from sun up to sundown weekdays, but he has still worked hard enough that they recognize it! :)
Tomorrow is the open house at E's job, so Z and I are going to see him. We had to get special security clearance badge things in order to get on base. It should be fun- they have a little potluck, make snow for the kids in the temperature testing chamber (he works in the environmental testing department) and play Christmas music on the vibration tester. This also means I have to make a double batch of cookies to take tonight, as well as wrap the presents for the needy family they adopted.
In other news, we have decided to try teaching Z baby sign language. He is the perfect age, and the benefits are numerous. For example, babies who learn to sign can communicate their needs and wants sooner than their peers, avoiding frustration that stems from an innabilty to communicate effectively. Accordinjg to Scientific America, they also learn to read more easily, have greater vocabularies and pick up new languages more easily when they are older. It also helps with the development of motor skills. We have decided to go with ASL (american sign language) as we feel it will be more beneficial to know later in life than some made up baby sign language. Yes, we know we risk being made fun of (remember Meet The Fockers?) but we think it will be fun, and a great way to bond. We are going to start with the words milk, more and up (as in pick me up).
Here is a great video of a baby signing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here is a fun video of Zach after a bath playing around on his favorite cloth diaper and the hat I crocheted for him yesterday. I have now crocheted about 7 hats for him, and I have "invented" 4 or 5 different patterns. I'm thinking I need some new models for my hats though, as well as some more natural fiber yarn. I have some wool yarn in purple, but the majority of my current stash is mostly synthetic. If you or someone you know would like a personally handcrafted hat for free let me know and we can talk about size, color, style, ect. I just love making them and coming up with patterns. I think my next project will ba a "slouchy hat" Here is a picture of what a slouchy hat is.

We took Z to get his second H1N1 shot today. It was relatively painless and in a few days he will be completely immune to the flu!! Yay! I had to have Elliot (Tosh for those of you who call him that) drive me since my car is still out of commission due to battery/alternator issues. I have been walking everywhere, but the 35 miles to Johannasberg (where the clinic was)
was a little ouy of my capability at this point. Anyhow, he took it like a champ and only cried for a few seconds when they gave it to him. I made sure to get him the preservative free one as usual. No mercury for us, thank you very much anyhow.
I am an advocate of delayed solids (waiting till 6 months) because as a biologist I know that the cells in the gut take time to develop and close properly before they are ready to protect the body from possible pathogens and absorb food properly, which has been shown to occur at 6 months, BUT I'm also a proponent of following your instincts as a parent (and in most situations in life). This is why I had such a struggle deciding when to start Z on solid foods. He was gaining PLENTY on breastmilk alone, so it really seemed best to wait. It was heartbreaking to watch him repeatedly lunge for our food and drool oh-so-subtly as we all cheerily ate dinner while he sat on my lap, but I was sticking to my guns! I would wait. But the straw that broke the camel's back came when one morning as I was eating my daily banana and Z did a faceplant INTO it in a desperate attempt to get a taste. As I wiped the banana and smugly satisfied look off of his face, I realized my instincts and my baby were waving a huge flag telling me "Hey! Time for some solids!" However, being that I am different, I decided to ignore the advice of most pediatricians to start with all the cereals and then go to the veggies and finally fruits, followed by meats and dairy. Being that rice cereal is easy to digest, I did give him some, but I also quickly added other yummy things like avocado and banana. Now he eats a whole range of foods including peas, green beans, carrots, oat cereal, unsalted crackers to teethe on, broccoli, sweet potatoes, apple, spinach, ect. Much to my dismay, he seemed to not like anything nearly as much as that first banana, except perhaps avocado. I would buy fresh organic produce, lovingly steam it, and then put it through the baby food mill I got a long time ago. THEN I would playfully "airplane" it into his mouth including sound effects and all. Within seconds it would be spit back out at me, and Z's mouth would be clamped shut, or he would be making horrible gagging sounds (not choking) as if it tasted like poison. And so now at 6.5 months he eats very little actual food, mostly breastmilk. He will eat a little bit, but then stops after 3 small bites. I just assumed he wasn't that into food and so I haven't been pushing the issue. Sometimes he'll eat the veggies we're having for dinner and sometimes he won't. BUT last night I saw organic babyfood on sale for 2 for $1, so I bought some since we will be hitting the road to go to New Mexico soon, and it might be difficult to make on the road. Anyway, I gave him some last night and HE LOVED IT!! It was nothing special, just peas and water on the ingredient list, but he liked it so much more than when I make him peas. The only difference is it was very smooth, and the purees I make tend to be quite chunky. So I think I need to start making his food thinner and more liquidy. I guess I'll start putting them in the magic bullet for a few seconds before I give them to him. Who would have guessed he's as picky as his Mama, who can't eat mushy foods?
Other highlights of the day include cleaning up dog poo from the yard, starting to fix the back gate (again), chasing a stray pitbull out of our yard after he growled at Elloit when he got home for lunch, and finishing packing all of Z's clothes for the Abq trip!! I can't believe it's only 2.5 days till we leave!! Yikes!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Welcome to my blog!!

This blog will be a place for me to talk about things I'm interested in, as well as to stay connected to fammily and friends. I can't make any promises as to how often I will update it, but since I am online when I feed the Zach Man that will probably be when I do.
Today I have been obsessing over the fact that when my favorite cloth diapers are dirty or being washed, the cloth diapering tends to fall by the wayside, resulting in money being wasted on disposables that are *supposed* to be for night time only (Not to mention additional landfil chemical implications of using 'sposies as they're often called). Sooooo, I have decided the answer is that I am in desperate need of more than 8 cloth diapers that I actually can use. One of te main problems I'm having now with the prefolds (flat diapers) and covers is that Zach has decided he hates diaper changes and therefore screams and squirms the whole time. This has started what Elliot and I refer to as "Olympic speed diapering" wherein Elliot or I try to find the quickest and least messy way to change a flailing screaming 6.5 month old. Smeared poo and diaper leakage is a penalty.
In all seriousness, I am in desperate need of more all in one diapers. The real problem comes from the fact that we have one seriously chunky monkey with odd proportions on our hands. Z's waist is semi-normal sized, but he has thighs that would put an elephant to shame. The "one size" diapers that supposedly adjust from 8-35 lb babies are tight around his thighs on the loosest setting with plenty of room in the waist on the med. setting. After some research I discovered that the bumgenius brand has this problem a lot. The diapers that are recommended for big thighed babies are happy heiny, smartipants, and thirsties.
The best part is they are super cute with all kinds of neat prints, they don't require a cover, AND they have snaps instead of velcro so they won't get tangled up in the washer/dryer. The downside is they are about $18 each. I have been keeping an eye out for some used on craigslist and a wonderful site called
My next obsession of the day is called a Mei Tai (pronounced May Tie). It is a type of asian inspired fabric baby carrier. Because Zach is getting so heavy (22.5 lbs!) going a long time wearing him in the sling is beginning to put a strain on the shoulder I always carry him on, and my lower back from the uneven distribution of weight. So, I have decided to get a Mei Tai as soon as our budget permits, because babywearing has saved my life (okay, actually my sanity). If I had to stop wearing Zach in the sling today I would probably cry. It is how I get anything done, and he is in a state of "Quiet alertness" according to the advocates or babywearing, that is the most conducive to learning about the world around him. As soon as I can figure out how to upload pictures, I'll post one of a Mei Tai, but for now, here is a link to a super cute one for sale on Etsy.[]=tags&includes[]=title
I think I'll have to custom order one so that I can get longer straps for my roman godess-like proportions.
Other highlights of the day include finishing yet another baby hat, gathering donatable itemsfrom our garage for a needy family that Elliot's department at work has "adopted" for the holidays, calling the fire department to report firecrackers being set off in the alley behind our house which scared the begeezes out of our dog, and forgetting to eat anything so far today. I also gave the baby a bath with his new locally made, organic goatsmilk soap for the first time today. He tried to eat it. As I lay here on the bed next to a napping baby and a napping Evie (dog) all I can think about is how I forgot to eat and the kitchen is so far away....*sigh*. I will update as more rambling thoughts occur!

Mei Tai

Here is the mei tai It can also be worn on the back!!:)
This is the website where you can have them custom made :