Knowledge Is Always A Good Thing……

Here’s what I have so far learned during my abrupt relocation to a new city.

  1. It’s hot here in the summer.  No, seriously.  It’s like the belly of Hell here.  I left a takeout cup on my back deck while putting away a few boxes and it melted on the bottom.
  2. A long empty home is full of lots and lots of loverly surprises, just waiting for you to find them.  Most of them aren’t very nice.  If you don’t believe me, I can refer you to the long dead, dessicated, and mummified mouse (with trap still attached) which I found under my new sink.  Eeewww.
  3. As stated in number 1, I have discovered that the specific definition of Hell is a home in late summer with no air conditioning and 2 small children who have completely lost their sense of humor about the situation.  Thankfully, we do have some window units up and going.  It was a hairy couple of days before that, though.  Mom and 2 kiddos, all trying to get the spot directly in front of the one piddly oscillating fan.  Still looking forward with glee to actually getting the outside unit going again.
  4. A week without television or internet access sucks the big one.  I was reduced to playing freaking Freecell.
  5. No water is not a thing to be desired at any time of the year.  In August it really, really stinks.  I was so thankful to have any water at all that the all-cold that I have now is manna from Heaven.  Who needs hot?  I just want wet.
  6. No matter how many trips you make, or how many boxes you pack and move, when you get back to continue packing there is just as much stuff as before you started.  I am almost certain it is breeding, because I have unpacked things I not only do not remember packing but have actually never seen before.
  7. I am pretty sure the war on drugs is fighting against the wrong substances.  I had to unstopper some contact cement to re-affix the formica edging on my Master Bath sink and garden tub surround, and I was high for at least a day and a half.  That seems to me to be a better bang for your buck than anything you buy off the street.  Perhaps they should wage a war on home improvement supplies instead.
  8. If you ever start to feel that your life is sinking into a rut, or begin to yearn for adventure, pack up your family and move somewhere you have never lived and know nothing about.  Just trying to find the damn grocery store suddenly becomes an odyssey worthy of Ulysses (who still made it home faster than I did last time I had to find something around here).


Makes You Wonder What Our Hangup Is, Really……..

No big message here, except that I found these images powerful, beautiful, and interesting.  I do not understand our cultural horror and disdain for something so natural.  I am a proud breastfeeding mama.  I certainly do not go out of my way to make a show of it, and indeed in 10 months have nursed outside my home less than 25% of the time.  I have, however, nursed in parked vehicles, restaurants, shopping centers, friend’s/family’s homes, waiting rooms, and wherever else he was hungry.  I do not cover up.  I do not need to.  He doesn’t like it, and if you don’t understand that, try eating your dinner with a blanket over your head and face.  He has not been forced to eat in a nasty stinky bathroom either.  EEEWWW.  I am not making him eat anywhere I wouldn’t.  I guarantee that when I feed him you see far less of me than you do on any random girl or woman in most adverts or, indeed, walking around on the streets any given day.  SO, once again, no big message here, except that I found these images to be beautiful, natural, and empowering for those of us struggling to use what nature gave us in the face of a society who has forgotten their purpose due to cultural conditioning and sexualization of our bodies.

breastfeeding in favela do marium brazil

A woman breastfeeding in the Favela do Maruim, Natal/RN, Brazil

The above picture was found here on Wikipedia and was listed under creative commons.

himba woman christopher rimmer

Breastfeeding Himba woman and child (Africa) taken by Christopher Rimmer. This was one of a series taken down from Facebook due to their ‘unsuitability’ for children.

The above picture was one of a series taken in Africa by Christopher Rimmer.  Original article here.

togo mother breastfeeding

Togo mother breastfeeding. Taken by Luca Gorgano. This one I particularly loved, because of the megawatt smile on mommy’s face. You see lots of nursing photos that seem peaceful, but not that many where it is so obvious that mom is happy and enjoying herself.

This pic I found here.  Worth reading, and has several very nice pics from around the world.

There is nothing quite like looking into those wide innocent eyes, peering up at you during a feeding.

public breastfeeding 619

Oh, I’ve been there. I particularly like informal shots like these. When you’re in the middle of something, you just gotta grow that extra arm and do what ya’ gotta do. Photos like this remind us that this is a natural process, and part of a busy day that doesn’t come screeching to a halt just because it’s nummy time.

public breastfeeding 613

Feeding in a parked vehicle is not super comfortable, even without the addition of the invariable looky-loo coming by to check it out.

The three preceding pics were taken from here.  Word of warning though, this gallery has some wonderful candid nursing shots but if you are offended easily you should probably skip it.  Then again, if you are offended easily, you probably stopped reading before you got this far.

twins nursing

You go, mom! One can be hard enough….

This pic was taken from an absolutely wonderful blog about these twins.  I had a great deal of difficulty with my first two children’s attempts at nursing.  My third has been a heavenly experience, so I have seen both sides of the fence.  Moms of multiples who successfully nurse impress the heck out of me.  Props to all of them.

I could have spent a lot more time sharing the pics I scanned through this morning………but I hear a little boy singing in the next room, which means that it’s nummy time here now. So here’s one last pic before I wrap up :

ton-ton march 22 2012

My Connor-boo back in March when he was 5 months old. This one is one of my favorites. He is still nummin’ right along at 10 months, too.

Nursing was a lot different at 5 months.  Less of a gymnastic effort, definitely.  Once he realized he could eat but still interact with his surroundings it became something of a challenge to keep him interested long enough for a feeding before he takes off to explore again.  It’s never dull, but always rewarding.  My 3 year old has certainly gotten into the act.  If Connor cries, Gracen comes and tugs at me saying “Brother cry.  Him hungry.  You feed him boo-bies?”  Yeah, I know, it probably loses a little of the cuteness factor when you don’t hear it.  What I love is that he takes the situation at face value.  Baby is hungry, baby needs to eat, feed him boo-bies mom.  So tell me why a 3 year old can relate and accept the situation but an adult cannot? I have been saying that folks with hangups about nursing should grow up, but maybe that isn’t right.  Maybe what they should do is forget some of  the misperceptions they learned growing up.

It’s Not An Insult, It’s A Vocation……….

After weeks of no rain, and watching everything in my yard curl up, get crunchy, & die, we are now on day 2 of rain.  It is 0430 and still over 90 degrees, but at least we have a little moisture now.  In honor of the rain and all the happy vibes it gives me, no ranting this morning.  Instead, I dug around my favorite humor sites & pages and offer this:

at the dung beetle bar

From the Facebook page of My Prozac Moment

thanks to My Prozac Moment

Meat-ing Up For Dinner…….

I was just sitting here, at my desk, thinking about meat.  Not something I do often.  We are having dinner with my parents and during discussion of what to serve, my mother asked me how I felt about meatloaf.  I am not a big meatloaf fan personally, because I do not care for the texture of ground beef.  My husband loves it, and so does our oldest son.  My 10 month old, however, has never had ground beef.  When I told her that it would be his first exposure to ground beef, and she asked me why I had not previously given him any, I began to explain all the reasons I have been uncomfortable letting him try it.  Turns out, there are even more reasons than I realized.

First, there are what I would consider run-of-the-mill, regular “mommy/daddy” concerns………..

  • Being of a larger crumblier texture, I wanted to see some progress in the ‘toofie’ department before I introduced it, to be sure he would not choke.  No problems there, he has 4 now and bites through everything he is given like a piranha.
  • Whether we realize it or not, I believe we have a tendency to introduce the foods that we, ourselves, like to our children.  It’s probably fair to say most folks don’t like beets and don’t make it an early food, whereas bananas are fairly universally liked and often given quite early on.
  • Because of the dangers of Escherichia Coli with undercooked red meat, I have hesitated to give very much of it, other than the small amount I have thoroughly steamed and finely ground or pureed.  Subsequently, he tends to prefer chicken, fish, or turkey, since those are most familiar to him.
  • I have made almost all of the solid foods he has eaten, by the combined use of a high-grade steamer and the baby bullet system.  As a result, I have been able to offer him food without preservatives, additives, unknown chemicals, and with no added salt or sugar.

That leads into the slightly scarier worries I have about ground beef nowadays………….

  • Pink slime.  Slaughterhouse scraps that have been mechanically separated, then treated with ammonia, used as filler in ground beef.  Eeewww.  That doesn’t sound the least bit appetizing to me, why would I want to feed it to my son?  The kicker to this is that there do not seem to be any sort of restrictions on the selling of meat with this filler added in.   It can be sold unlabeled, and is currently being pushed into our schools for our children to eat.  So the USDA declares it safe, right?  I do not personally care to gamble my health on the assurances of faceless officials from the government, or indeed any agency.  Numbers always seem to take precedence over individuals, and I have no desire to become an unfortunate statistic.  The best I have been able to determine, the only way to be sure this filler is NOT present in your beef is to purchase meat labeled USDA Organic.
  • Antibiotics & hormones administered to the animals prior to slaughter.  If it’s in the animal, it’s going to be in the meat, to some extent.
  • The use of Bacteriophages on processed meat  ‘products’ has become common.  As with the many other things we, as consumers, are often uninformed about, if and when it becomes the standard to treat beef products…..will we know?  There can be no 100% assurances that the viruses in use to curb Listeria will not mutate into something harmful to us.  If this happens, will we be informed?  How quickly?  It may just be me, but folks…..if someone set a beautiful burger or good cut of steak in front of me and said “Hang on while I spray a virus on this.  It’s for your safety.”  I would probably not want it afterwards, regardless of their assurances.

Let’s be honest.  Like a lot of concerned people out there, I don’t have any good suggestions for the USDA.  I am sure they do the best they can, within their means.  I will not stop eating meat, or even processed meat products.  I will try, however, as much as I can, to protect my sons from exposure to things that creep me out, the way that ground beef does now.  They will eventually have plenty of it, if they want.  Maybe tonight, though, we’ll skip it and my Connor-boo can have some veggies from our garden.  We know where they have been, how they were grown, what they have been exposed to, and how they were prepared.

Agency Approves First Use Of Viruses As A Food Additive

Who Sells Meat With ‘Pink Slime’?

Ground Beef Recalled Due To E. Coli Risk

Is It Safe To Eat ‘Pink Slime’?

Are Hormones In Meat Affecting Humans?

American Beef : Why Is It Banned In Europe?

US Children’s Daily Intake Of Steroids, Growth Hormones, & Antibiotics

Safer Food For A Healthier You

Viral Meat Spray : Advancing Food Safety?

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Taking a break from serious stuff again today to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, in this case, ice cream with my son.

Ice Cream So Good It Causes Jazz Hands

You have now been strafed by a proud momma.  On a lighter note, now you all know what my southern laden drawl sounds like.  You’re welcome.

Spring Fever Hit Us!

It’s pretty outside.  Too pretty.  We have been cooped up in the house in each others laps for too long.  If we were hamsters, we probably would have eaten each other by now.  Naturally the first few pretty days that happen, out we go.  I can’t get my hands into the dirt fast enough, and Gracen is straight into the water.  His big job in the yard is to water the plants, so as soon as I had a few bedded in, he was after them with his watering can.

Gracen watering English Daisies

Now that that is out of our system, time to help out the poor beleaguered gnomes on the patio.  They have been complaining for weeks about the leaves littering their property.  We helped them get their place spiffed up and set out some new plants for them.

Boris taking a break in the shade

Boris taking a break in the shade

Then we watered everything and Gracen donated some of his ‘pretty rocks’ for their garden.

Hemmingsworth ponders where to put Gracen's rocks

Hemmingsworth ponders where to put Gracen's rocks

The biggest complainers about the mess have been Nietzsche and Izidore.  Where were they while we worked?  Playing canasta.  Go figure.

Nietzsche & Izidore kicking back and relaxing

Nietzsche & Izidore kicking back and relaxing

Last thing was to fix the fence.  All last spring the guys fussed about the caterpillers getting loose.  I would like to be able to enjoy some butterflies this summer, so gotta get that taken care of early this year.

Hooray!  The fence is fixed.

Hooray! The fence is fixed.

Gotta admit, the place looks much better now.  Now it’s up to them to keep it up through the summer.

Wish my own yard looked as nice as theirs

Wish my own yard looked as nice as theirs

Gracen and I really had a blast fixing up the Gnome home.  Can’t wait for the weather to be consistenly beautiful so that we can be filthy and wet every day!  He loves working the flower beds almost as much as I do, and that’s saying quite a bit.

Hope everyone is loving their pretty days (assuming they have had some).  This is my favorite time of year!

the best part of building…….

gracen and i have been building with his blocks this morning. his box of building stuff is a mishmash of assorted tinker toys, legos, alphabet and wooden blocks, and just a little of whatever found its way in there. he always starts out saying he wants a firehouse, but we usually end up with whatever happens as things get stuck together. today, it was a structure that defies gravity and would give tim burton a migraine. his favorite part, after taking pictures to show daddy later, is the knock down. after i put up the camera, he turned and looked at me with those big brown eyes and asked “dock-down?” it took him about 10 minutes to find the pieces afterwards. dynamite would have been less destructive, but where’s the fun in that?Image