Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Anti breastfeeding bingo

This was really a great yet ugly one. I havnt heard many of these in a long time, but I have heard every one of them. sheesh. Cool blog anyhow, and good comments.

Lemme tell ya about our new house finally!

For those of you who were readers of Hearth and Home, you might remember me mentioning a very special house we found online a while back. If not, here is a little recap: We were having some small problems with our current landlord and current house that were beginning to add up to enough to get me looking about online ... just to peek. I found a very unique house that was directly next to one of our family's favorite parks and after some details working out marvelously and quite smoothly, it looks like our dream will be coming true this upcoming weekend!

I have been hesitant to write about it because of my insanely juvenile fear of jinxing it all, and because I have wanted to include pictures and yet have not gotten around to taking any yet!

I am hoping with all of my heart that this fresh start symbolizes the end of this incredibly, intensely upsetting 8 months and the beginning of our new life as a close knit homeschooling family who is committed to simplicity, love, and the outdoors. We get the keys tonight and hope to paint a little before we totally move in this weekend.

The boys are getting a 3 boy room again, with Casey and Mickey sharing a bunkbed and Charlie remaining in his crib. The color theme they picked was Orange and Lime green (Mickey), Yellow (Casey), and Red (Charlie). This might sound insane or hectic, but I think it will turn out nicely. I got Mickey orange sheets and a white and lime green bedding set. Charlie already had red sheets and a big red quilt, and Casey has a yellow blanket but we havent had much luck finding yellow sheets yet. I am hoping to paint the room a warm cream color. I got adorable fabric from IKEA to make them curtains with, lime green and white abstract animals. We are taking off all of the ugly dangerous folding wooden doors from all the closets and hanging fabric in front of them on sliding wires. The fabric I got for their closet is off white semi sheer, also from IKEA.
We are hoping that their room is used as a playspace. Not in a mean way like go to your room you are banished, but in a realistic way due to the fact that this is a very very little house. With a crawling baby who eats legos and dominos! So we are doing the bunk beds to save floor space and we are also trying something rather novel (for us): we are not using dressers. They take up too much space and the ones we have been schlepping around for all these years are so ugly and broken that we are just not bringing them. My idea is this: We are using a five shelf bookshelf, anchored to the wall for safety/climbing boys in the closet as a clothes holder. We have greatly pared down our possession over the past month which has been a wonderful family project--no body fussed about any of it and yet noone was left out so there could be no future accusations that we "threw out" any favorites. I think that five shelves is enough for 3 little boys' shirts pants and undies. Especially with Charlie and Casey sharing all clothes now (Charlie is a gigantic 3 year old and Casey is a very average sized 5 1/2 year old) It should be fine. With this plan in place, I would like to use the playtable in their room, but if they just play on the floor thats fine, too. We have a green and an orange hanging paper shade lights in our house currently that just so happen to match the color theme so they will go in there. I am also hoping to put our green recliner in there for cozy story times but I might be delusional about the space. We'll see!

Greta will be having her own room that will eventually be a 2-girls room. She wants Black, White and Red and so we got a few items to make that look come cheaply! The biggest one is that we are giving her our black bed. We got her a black+white quilt duvet thing and a few 3$ red throw pillows. We also are building her a red table/shelf out of 2 red shelves and black wall brackets, all from Ikea. (yes we had a little ikea shopping spree but we paid cash and we have never ever gotten new stuff so it was really thrilling and wonderful and needed. Theres thrify and theres this-bed-is-going-to-kill-someone....we were there.) she also got some black sheer fabric for her closet curtain and 2 little circle rugs that were supposedly bathroom rugs that she is going to have on the floor as accents. She is going to be using a 3 shelf bookcase in the closet for her clothes and also wants the fish tank in her room.

Steve and I will be using our regular old familiar hodge podge of blankets and have no idea what to paint our room if at all. We hope to have cozy lighting and a good chair and books in our room. No fabric on the closet yet and no idea if we could do the no dresser thing, but we want to.

The bathroom is a normal boring lame bathroom so i thought id do it up super cool with like a deeeeeep purple-y blue paintjob and a homemade shower curtain with some gorgeous Ikea fabric that was not cheap. But its so coooooool, I whined! It is black with these weird amazing birds on it...you'll see, i promise to do lots of pictures, very before and after style. (I just couldnt do it when we moved here, i was so depressed and pregnant and it just wasnt what was going on) But I am hoping this bathroom re-do will be quite dramatic and under 50 bucks (and thats with 20 dollars for the fabric!) We wanted black rugs but settled on white. We looked for toothbrush holders but none were cool so we are using tin polka dot canisters and velvet bags as stuff holders. You'll see!

the kitchen is VERY nice. It is an eat-in kitchen which is long and rectangular and is begging and beseeching me for a crazy paintjob like raspberry hot pink gloss or something....There is one of those fancy glass top stoves (!) and a built in dishwasher and a whatever fridge (no fun ice maker or water thingy but that gets bad with kids anyways) and a bar stlye area that looks into the living room where i hope to do computing on my darling little computer (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and cut veggies and write lists and all that kind of nice stuff. there is a double sink with a window in front of it and even a little skylight! The back of the kitchen has a pretty glass door that goes to the backyard and we are going to definitely turn into one of those families that uses the backdoor when we come and go. for mud, etc.

The front room is pretty open, with a big window facing THE PARK and we are not quite sure whats going to go in there yet. I also want to paint but dont know what to do yet. It is carpeted (ARGGGG) so we will be back to those worries, no food, no shoes...but it is cozy for the baby and it is a very clean and nice looking carpet, so, oh well. (We've had wood floors for a few years now and with 5 kids, ummm have you ever vacuumed cottage cheese, pasta, poster paint or poo? Yes. Wood is better. thankfully our kitchen is hardfloored-whatever kitcheny tile of some sort) and thats the whole house! I told you it was little!

The back yard is large and there is a garage with an attached sunroom that seems really cute. I picture sitting in there nursing the baby in some wicker rocking chair sipping on Limeade...or maybe putting up little curtains and changing in there for our pool we plan to set up....there is also a wooden playscape with alot of hooks for our swings we already own, and a little fire-pit behind the garage. Seems like we dont even need a yardwith that park in our face but it will still be nice to have!

There is a huge tree out front that I am pretty sure is a beloved Oak but we'll see. Its trunk is irregular and I couldnt identify it which is odd since I am tree-Girl. Speaking of oaks, the park is almost all oaks and that is my fave of all time and i cannot WAIT to show you all pictures and videos of this whole scene! even though we will have this woodsy view, we will be exactly one mile from the hottest metropolitan downtown around, with every cool store and tiny shop and ethnic restaurant you could imagine, and lots more kid friendly stuff lately too like a arts studio a popcorn "restaurant", the farmers market that we already go to,a noodles only restaurant (Mickey! Only eats pasta it seems!) and stuff like ice cream and oh yes how could I forget--the library is a GREATone! We checked it out (har har) last week and liked it so much we went back 2 more times in 5 days. everything is parking meters which we ar not that used to, so we will have to start keeping change in the car.

All of this is only 4 miles from where we currently reside so we dont have to learn new stores or leave our friends or family or anything. It is also closer to Steves work so he can ride his bike again even though he wont have to due to us having 2 vehicles YAY he still loved it and obviously it is good for him and the Earth to bike.

Well, thats the story of our new house! Sorry I took so long to tell it! Pictures ASAP....
love ya

Super husband/new ways

A few wonderful changes have brought really really great results to our family; A couple of weeks ago, I had had *enough*. We had our big main TV set with the Wii, the DVD player, the VCR, the whole shebang in our smallish living room. All blocked off "for the baby". So there were all these kids playing Guitar Hero and watching Little Einsteins and Eska crawling and laundry folded everywhere getting tipped over, and the computer right there,too....it was CRAZY! I was so stressed all day....I finally cracked and wrote an impassioned email to my husband telling him "my ultimate dream". Well with this kind of an angel husband, I guess I had better watch what I say....

I wrote to him that my wish was a sunshiney simple and tidy front room with just music. No tv whatsoever. No crowded smashed Eska-Rug full of laundry. And someday, my dream of a "laptop". The idea that I am computing in the wooden kitchen chair when and if the kids ever ever got off the internet, right next to the TV, with the baby scratching and beating my leg, well it kind of sucks.

So he comes home with an "anniversary/valentines day" present for me, and tells me to take the baby to starbucks or wherever and stay gone for 2 hours. the present was this amazing and adorable "netbook". A small computer, notebook style. I was so mortified and immediately said we cant afford it. Then he told me it was 289 bucks. I thought it wouldnt work but it does!!!!!! We do NOT give each other big gifts, nor do we celebrate little holidays. Then he proceeds to tell all the jumping and squealing LEMME TRY IT!!!!! children that
THIS IS MAMA'S COMPUTER. THIS IS HERS. I realized by their completely blank stares that I hardly have anything that is MINE and how uncool and not right that is. We try to set alot of boundaries with the kids and this is one that has come to the forefront. Way cool. I took the baby to starbucks as prescribed but the wi-fi wasnt free and she was kind of freaking out anyways so we just sat and people watched. I love being out with just one kid and imagining that being my only child and how funny that feels. People are WAY more into your adorable baby when you dont have 4 siblings also gathered 'round. I think thats crappy, but it is how it is. Im gonna make sure I dont do that to anyone. So we came home after 2 hours and my house was completely transformed. Couch turned towards the front window. The symbolism of looking at the tress and birds and not the TV was not lost on me. Stereo system that was rather neglected in the basement prominently displayed behind the couch on a stand that I fought over and over to not get thrown out. Entire basement redone with tv video games and fun rearrangement of the couches down there, kids jammin out nice and loud and boisterous while the upstairs was safe peaceful and serene. I cuddled into the couch with my little computer and could not believe any of it.

Now the kids, who still want to be with me alot, are playing and playing and playing with TOYS up in the front room or at the dining room table. Their creativity has gone off the charts, with making movies to put on YouTube consuming much of their days, as well as building and drawing and enjoying our considerable music collection, discussing, dancing, daydreaming. They go down and play games, and watch animal Planet and Food Network and HGTV, too, but it isnt in my face, or Eska's. She loves playing with her toys in the sunshine and looking out the window and so do I. Steve also left a large area behind the couch for the omnipresent domino buildings. I am so happy with out set up right now, it is kind of ironic that we are moving. but the lessons, not the building, are whats important, and I am feeling really optimistic about the good close vibe we have now going into this move. not knowing how "committed" Steve was to all of this, I broached the idea of something similar to this in the new house, and he actually said, of his own free will, that he would like to not get cable in the new house. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This NO
MORE CABLE is something I have been lobbying for for over ten years. Now he is gonna give it a try. With SO many of our favorite shows available online, if we have to watch something we can. Greta is the only kid we told about this and at first she was going to cry at the thought of "no animal planet" but we told her lets just see if its true, about the episodes being online and there are TONS. We watched Dogs 101 and Jeff Corwin right then and there and she was slightly less worried. Maybe it will open the doors to a life without insidious advertising or maybe it will just be for the summer. But I am so blown away at how much the kids are engaged in VERY happy play and how getting the TV out of the living room and getting the new big van that we all can happily fit in has brought us back together as a close knit crew. We have felt disjointed and broken since Eska was born last June, and it got way way worse when we sent them to school before it started getting better. this feels like the old days-- the old old days, and I just walk around with this goofy grin on my face.

Money doesnt buy happiness, but a clever combination of great bargains (1500 dollar van and 289 dollar laptop) and some well thought out re-designing of living space can definitely, definitely unlock the loving potential that we all had somewhere under all that noise and furniture.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

and yes, more on the breasts...

Please go read this awesome-ly put post shared by Radical Midwife about breastfeeding being seen as "indecent" in public while we are simultaneously exposed to more and more sexualized nudity and near nudity in the form of magazine covers, etc that noone would DARE "ban" or protest because hey its a free country, right? Free to ogle, objectify and display ornamental breasts, as long as they are for titillation, decoration, thrills and selling product. But N-O-T for public eating--oh the horror! How offensive! (Nevermind my objections to watching people snorff down cheeseburgers, tacos, boogers and more in their cars, at the malls, in the park. 'Least its not a lady and a baby! Sick!)


Monday, February 16, 2009

The Coolest Van EVER!!!!!

Today, after over two years of sharing one cramped one-sliding-door old minivan, we bought a huge, wonderful, awesome, dream-come-true SUPERVAN! Its like a bus! Its a huge 15 passenger church bus with FOUR back rows. Four! Here are the pictures of my beautiful beast. Life is completely different now that we can go do stuff. Hoo-Rah-Ray!!!!!!

U know what else is quite precious? After all being so smashed for so long, the 3 kids wanted to sit together. I carried on and on about how each person could have their own row and now I feel like a creep for even saying it. They loved the third row back. the fourth row back had a big spare tire under the feet part, Eska was in the 2nd row and they "wanted to look at her"...and mister Charlie sat in the first row so I could reach him for all of his various freak-outs. I DROPPED MY WATER!! I NEED CHAPSTICK!! MY SHOE IS WEIRD!!! Now he is just behind me.

Tomorrow we are going to go on more adventures...seems decent on gas so far. I LOVE CRAIGSLIST AND THAT IS WHERE WE GOT IT FROM.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Mama's comin' back.

I did my hair blue again! I was gonna wait, really I was, for alot of things...but I did not. Its been a safe n lovely brown for almost six months, a serious record for me.

It is getting longer and thats what counts. I had a little bit of the old blue from 2 years ago and I put in some blond chunks and then laid on the Manic Panic Midnight Blue. Rinse. Enjoy. My husband sure is! Even Eska gave me a funny coy smile.

Let's talk about...Gen X

I want to discuss being a Generation X person and mother. So before I sat down to write this, I poked around on Wikipedia to get their definition of Generation X. It was pretty much what I thought, although it turns out that the term originally was used to define a group of folks quite a bit older than myself, the general understanding of the moniker puts me right in it, for sure. First, a bit of background about me:

I was born in 1975. My parents were true baby boomers, born in the immediate post-war years of 1945 and 1949. My parents were young adults at an incredible time to be young adults, the hippie years. Although by the time I came along, neither one of my parents could be really described at hippies, (well, Mom, anyhow!) my parents certainly had that rare experience of being able to not only tell about the actual olden days (1950's) in great detail, they could also tell me where they were when JFK, RFK, and MLK were shot, and when it was absolutely crucial to do so, they had long hair and progressive politics and musical tastes, and Mom had her baby (me) at the very average age of 25, making me precisely one generation after Baby Boom.
I grew up with a few memories of "President Carter", but as a Regan/Bush child of the 80's, all the way. The years 1980 to 1990 encompassed my life from age 5 to 15, so if that doesn't perfectly fit the bill for a 1980's childhood, I don't know what would!
I remember so many 80's things, the first neighborhood friend to have Cable TV, Atari, a Cabbage Patch Kid, Divorced Parents. Feathered hair eluding me and looking like a wet schnauzer in every school picture from age 6 to 13. Thanks, BoRics. (I know I went in there begging for feathers, but couldn't one of you have maybe broken it to me or at least Mom that bone straight children's hair does not feather...and don't get me started on the perms or -gasp- the homeperms!)

But the real important Gen X stuff, in my estimation anyhow, had to do not with funny little cliched memories of early or middle childhood (although a good whiff of grape (Aussie Sprunch) hairspray can send me back to spin the bottle days in about 2 seconds flat)....but with the heavier, defining stuff. I was 16 years old The Year Punk Broke. I was a senior in high school when Nevermind bumped Michael off the Billboard charts...I was a few months too young to vote for Bill Clinton, but was extremely amazed watching the votes come in,some cheerful young saxophone playing guy who went on MTV-- a Democrat-- in office, after 12 long years? Wow, my life is really turning awesome! I was 16 years old the summer our metropolitan area got our first (and still only) alternative radio station, and I had just turned 19 when a serious piece of my heart froze and disintegrated and died way too young alongside my Kurt Cobain...and an unexpected and very unwanted connection to all those before me who lost Janis or Jimmy or Lennon was forged, sick angry sobs and a well-founded fear for the future of music....ow, ow, ow, what an extremely painful time for so many of us. If the media was calling us "disillusioned" before this happened, (We Weren't! We weren't! We were cautiosly optimistic! I swear to God!) they were sure right now. Yes, we are definitely, definitely, disillusioned once Kurt died. An maybe he wasn't a president or a scholar, but this was our guy who died that we heard about on the radio and stopped dead in our tracks...this was our guy whose untimely and unsolved death and for whom the nature of the whole thing left us an angry and hopeless and bitter, bitter taste in the mouth nearly 15 years later. (and ps I cannot believe I just typed that-fifteen years--whoa.)

I got married "young", but due to my unique life story, it felt anything but. I had been with my highschool sweetheart Steve for almost 4 years when he proposed to me, Christmas Day, 1995, and our wedding plans started immediately and we were married August 23rd, 1996. I was 21. Crazy, right? But I had lived so much in those 21 years, and I don't mean to elude to any kind of Drew Barrymore rehab or anything, there is no such story, only to an emotional/spiritual thing. I was a ten year old when I was 3, I was a 16 year old when I was 10, and even though I skipped a grade and was actually a year younger than everyone in my class, I really always felt like a peer or higher than most of my teachers and supervisors growing up. There were many adults who took advantage of me in this regard. I looked 18, I acted 28, I was 12. Catch my drift? Super tall, super smart, super developed, having read ever morsel of popular and "adult" literature of the 20th century before age 13, if I wasn't experienced, I certainly was well-read.
ALOT of this old-soul stuff did not go over well, to put it mildly. I know that my precociousness was obnoxious, often wildly disrespectful, and came across as a disdain for authority--which albeit very understandable---was not the case. What I did have was a vast disappointment in the heroes and grown ups, and a resentment for the social etiquette that required me to pretend to "respect" those whose faults and imperfections were so clear and obvious to me. I never wanted to go to the psychologist, but not as some thought, out of a fear of being discovered, but, out of a fear of what I presumed would be the doctor himself turning out to be just another transparent phony ignoramus whom I was supposed to role play with.This could be a very universal experience of disillusionment, with Presidents and parents and the world not being what they used to be, all experienced by one girl born with a scary IQ as a headstrong extroverted Aries firstborn who skipped a grade, and all of the other things that make up a person, well that was me and that is one little snippet why being married at age 21 was not young at all, but rather, high time to start living life as I wanted to: Alongside the very very rare person whom I actually respected and who had and has almost no ability to be fake, who has immediate access to his real heart and whom I adored and was attracted to in all ways. We should all be so lucky!
I literally *saw* my Steve across the flickering moldy cavernous dank high school hallway and my eyes zoomed in like a high powered lens and seriously, I knew something extremely interesting was going on there with this boy and I sought him out, 1-2-3. Despite teenaged complications in the form of a sick and depraved obsessive possessive demented current boyfriend who was ridiculously hard to dump, Steve and I were together within weeks, ever since '92. Yay!

I am wandering, huh? But this is the picture of me, as it pertains to my experience of being a Gen X-er. Out of my group of peers, I was the first married and the first to have a baby, and so, in a turn of events that I have found quite interesting to say the least, I have had a an eye opening experience of Motherhood and Marketing and Media change for my generation of Mamas. Things both superficial and intellectual, have changed a LOT since baby Greta was born in June of '97. Things that are mostly shallow accoutrement and banal materialism, but nevertheless real. Things that I was not too sure until recently were actual changes in society and media or if they were just a part of my experience of the changes in life that accompany the ages 22 to 33. Let me describe:

Aesthetically, we Gen Xers are clearly the ones running ad campaigns nowadays. Remembering not so long ago when an actual current song of a cutting edge band came on accompanying some spot for Toyota and how disturbed and freaked out we used to be by that (So and so SOLD OUT???? NO WAY?!?!) Now, almost all commercials have "cool" music in them, especially those products that are supposedly for us, like small electronics, green vehicles, and now, baby gear. Which leads to my next observations...When I had my first baby, it felt very very isolating and almost shameful to "have a kid". No celebrities had babies and it was still considered a career killer to "ruin your body" and get pregnant. Courtney and Kurt had Frances, but their story wasn't one you really wanted to align with, so to speak, and by '97, Kurt was dead, Courtney was an anorexic coiffed alien-villain in Prada, and nobody knew where Frances Bean was. Now the celebs cant pop them out fast enough. And so, the days of me feeling alone and freaky wandering the aisles of Babies R Us and feeling nothing but revulsion at the Navy Blue diaper bags with ugly bears on them, are happily gone. Gen X mamas want hip gorgeous stuff and now it is easy to get. (One might argue if these items are truly hip at all if they are available at Target or the mall, but I say who cares? Gimme lime green retro prints and don't make me order it online for 90 bucks from Europe, thankyouverymuch!)

So, one real change is that baby gear is now stylish and no longer frumpy. Whatever those words mean, my brain has been accustomed to a certain look being outdated and a certain other look being attractive. As it is now cool to be a Mom, it is cool to have a stroller, bag, sling, and baby itself who look a certain way. Interesting! (Are any of you sensing my guilt and shame at this shallow stuff being so important to me? Its hard to be an artsy type while maintaining a perspective of the actual suffering in the world....thus the conundrum of Gen X to pretend everything we buy is going to help some charity! Ack!)

I also struggled, and I mean, STRUGGLED with the idea of being both a mother and ____ what inadequate adjective will suit here....youthful/punk/hip/rock and roll/not a pantyhose lady? Now try that and try to still get some respect from the doctor/dentist/school folks. Try to look young and heaven forbid, be young and still not get treated like teenage scum. I happened to be happily married at the time of conception, but there is a great movement headed by girl-mom.com as well as hipmama.com to end the hateful treatment of actual teen moms...but i digress. I was not a teen mom but looked like one and was treated quite woefully in hospital when i had Greta. I don't think Hello Kitty barrettes warranted me being ONLY called "hun" or my husband being referred to as my "boyfriend"....but I chose to look a certain way that made me feel attractive and true to self, and that was not in line with how the majority of birthing women looked there and I guess tats how it goes.
This, too, is changing and just this month there was a (mediocre) little article in Mothering about a mom who wears chucks and a superman watch and rock band tshirts and how she felt like a freak on a school field trip with her child because all the other moms were dressed in conservative lady garb...it wasn't the best written thing I ever read, but it made me smile, and Greta liked it, too, and yes, its coming fast, the ever youthful Gen X females are in their 20s and 30s now and of course we are reproducing and many of us are not turning in our blue streaks or our Doc Martens at the maternity room doors.

Speaking of Maternity Room, alternatives in fashion are also much more importantly being accompanied by alternatives in birth choices. We have a long way to go, but most people have at least heard of some model or actress choosing homebirth, waterbirth, natural birth. This really does help the cause in this media and celeb obsessed society, so I am glad for any and all exposure.

Breastfeeding: negative or positive, it is in the media. There is a subject abuzz, and most everyone at least knows that Breast Is Best, even if the numbers still unfortunately show us mothers not sticking with it for very long, newborn breastfeeding initiation rates are on the rise, and that's wonderful. I remember "back when" the ONLY supportive thing there was on the planet was my tattered Motherwear catalog that came randomly in the mail when baby Greta was a few weeks old! I couldn't afford the ill fitting (maybe just for tall moms but i hated their stuff, sorry to say) clothes but the blurbs on the side margins of that magazine were as sacred and important to me as any long lost pamphlet from the lactation folks at the hospital. I didn't know about Mothering magazine until I had 2 kids and was a veteran nurser, and we didn't really have the high speed internet like we know it now until about 1999, but those little catalogs with the breastfeeding mamas and the encouraging words in them ultimately changed my life! Crazy.

Staying home. Raising our own children. even though 2 income families have been made to seem as the only way, there definitely is a movement for women and/or men to not send the children to daycares, but rather, to scale back until one salary can work, and to raise your own. What might fly in the face of what our mothers and formothers fought so hard for,to "get out of the kitchen", has become more nuanced and less black and white. Although our appreciation for the choice being there itself we can never adequately express, we arent necessarily as enraged at the prospect of the cooking, cleaning, child rearing and general homemaking. The privilege of choice itself makes this option an option, and along with trying to make it a go on $30,000 instead of 60 comes another spin-off: Its Cool To Be Crafty and Kitschy and Simple. Which again, I think might make some 1980's glitzy types revolted, but for me, Im lovin' it! Websites like Etsy.com and magazines such as ReadyMade have us sewing and gluing and gardening and duct-taping our ways to our own cheap and darling alternatives that have much more meaning and oomph than any McMansion mortgage or 2nd car payment dependency ever could. Being unique is no longer taboo, its almost essential to our generation, even if that "uniqueness" is found in the pages of colorful magazines or from television homemakeover shows, hey, not all of us have intact families or Grandpas to show us how to do this stuff anymore. So its ok to have quirky stuff and to make stuff and thats awesome to me, because I always did and now maybe thats all gonna be more acceptable. By age 33, I care much more about friendships and community than I do about being staunchly original---that can get really lonely! If I saw a bunch of other Mamas with blue hair and postcards glued to their light fixtures carrying babies in retro fabric slings, I would think I had died and gone to heaven, not "aw man I'm not original"---life and loneliness have taught me better than that, trust me! Its never gonna happen, and so I happily have a very eclectic group of friends, but that whole quest to be the one and only hasn't haunted me in a long long time. Too lonely!

So, being a Gen X adult now certainly has changed things. My age peers are running the world, or starting to, and from an aesthetic viewpoint, I am likin' what I see and hear. We have a glorious new president who has given me a ray of hope where there hasnt been one since I was a 17 year old who couldn't vote for Clinton (who was no Obama, BTW but at least seemed cool and not some old freak) and i definitely don't feel like I am the only cool kid who has a baby anymore : )
There are tons of important things that my generation has and is going to do on a global political scale, and there are tons of problems that plague us as well. But I can say that I do feel now that we have arrived, and it feels pretty good. I'm off to go raise Generatiion Z, what a job that is!

Whats in a name?

I made up the name Housefairy in about 2002. I was trying to capture the essence of being a Homemaker, Stay-at -Home Mother, and as all of my generation seems to be struggling with, that stigma of Housewife, and how we were taught in the 70's that Carol Channing hates housework and we should, too....I don't know. I wanted to say that I was an important and special spirit who happened to do her work in a house. Housefairy!

Well, since then, there has been invented some kind of service called Housefairy, it writes secret letters to your child or cleans your place or something. There are also a few realtors that have used similar verbage. I would like to point out that I am deeply enamored with Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies, but not so much the Fairies that seem to come up in conjunction with tattoos and Cos-play folks.

So, I dont know if I should stand my ground and keep my lovelyname, or if I would prefer to distance myself from this title now. I wonder how many google searches for a commercial service are peeking at my blog and if that is ccool or uncool!? My initial gut reaction was "Yuck. I gotta make a new name."

I was going to retitle this new blog Mama Wears Army Boots, ya know, that old playground insult, turned on its' head, but using both "Army" and "Combat" boots got me a bunch of hits and one is the title of a new book and I dont want to rip that off. Perhaps I am too attached to Originality?


Green Bags, 5 stars

I got convinced enough by the commercials to try those green bags that are purported to extend the life of produce, and am happy to report that they work, very well! I wouldn't say 27 days or anything, but we don't keep stuff that long anyhow.

I was most impressed with how they saved my blueberries. I poured them right into the bag loose and they did last for 5 days...might have longer but I ate them. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries I just don't bother to buy, they seem to have mold by suppertime, its stupid! But now I will.

So, my consumer review of Green Bags is 5 stars *****

Anyone else try these, and what were your results?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday eve

Well, winter is long and we have been in a weird limbo. But today was warm, we knew it was coming, watched it move across the country and finally, yes, it was SIXTY degrees here today and we made the most of it. Of course it was muddy as heck, and the rushing water sound was everywhere from the foot of snow that has permanently blanketed our area since xmas time melting melting...we had to take Greta to the dentist but afterwards we met our good friends at a park that we hoped would be vaguely not too wet. It was wet, but its ok we had so much fun, just running and climbing and shouting and the kids fell right into their own immediate and familiar roles of tumbling out of the car and starting up a big game with each other.."Come on!" shouts ringleader Greta and they all just ran away. I gave grand speeches about not stepping directly into mud or lakes of water but Casey and Charlie did on purpose and Greta and Mickey did by accident and oh well. We know it isnt spring yet, not by 2 or 3 months, so we treated it as such, a Christmas in July kind of a freaky treat and we just went with the whole fun of this special rare random warm day. Eska was gasping from the windyness of it but she was very amused by all of the shouting and running and commotion and it was really nice.

We tried something different this year with the fiasco that GirlScoutCookieTime can become...this year we ordered $280 worth of cookies. For us. To have and THEN (hopefully!) sell as we can. If you dont have a girl scout, or any little person in your life who "sells" various popcorn/pizaa kits, etc, it can become a total pain, chasing down people for their 9 dollars, having labeled product take over your living room, carting it and toting it in your car that is already too full of muddy children and strollers....coming up short, feeling horrible if you eat any of the cookies.....forgetaboutit. So tonight I went and picked up all the cases of cookies which like I said, hopefully Steve can just have at his parts counter at work and sell lots of for cash to the hungry guys, and then we can put out a mass email to friends and family that hey, we have these, would you like any, here is what we have left. No scrawly order forms filled out halfway in pale pencil by "Dave" , just one big order by us. Greta will also be expected to work at one of those booths outside of a local store in the upcoming weeks.

We had a HORRID stomach "flu" that took its sweet time moving through 5 out of the 7 of us the past week or two. It is finally gone but it decimated the home life as we knew it and if we ever get caught back up on laundry it will be a miracle. Shudder. It was really bad.

What was cute in retrospect was that once I was done barfing, I started slowly and gently back on things like rice. One Apple. Broth. and I felt all holy and clean and I was totally going to eschew "exciting" foods. I was going to take this as a fresh start, all cleaned out so to speak (sorry to be so gross) and ready to eat and live this simple plain life. NO more coffee, beer, fried food, pop, wild juice blends, zesty deli sandwiches, and especially no more pharmaceuticals--motrin, sudafed, robitussin, tylenol, excedrin, vitamins, I was going to be all green tea girl now. My stomach flu was gonna be this big wake up call......but it didnt last! I am okay with that. It felt really "right" to be all simple and gentle and sparse recovering from a virus and then it felt stupid, inconvenient, and like some poorly timed diet that I was not ready for at all, another undertaking to "fail" at and hate myself at a time when I have ALOT going on and deciding that Mama doesnt get to have meals now would have just been really really bad for all of us and it took Steve's very insightful email yesterday to get me off that kick for a good while.

Today I did have coffee, and a glorious omelette with spinach, red pepper, turkey and black beans in it. I also had real lemonade and a fine italian dinner and tonight I am going to try a couple of girl scout cookies and watch American Idol and enjoy myself quite heartily, thank you very much. Might even have a dark beer with that, too. But no more pills all the time. I am not congested, my headaches seems temporarily gone, too, and we havnt bought any pop in 2 weeks, so lots more water and iced tea and thats a good thing.

I have a complicated history of eating issues (what American doesnt?) and I need to be delicate with these things. There is anorexia in the family and there is a constant battle between media imagery, feminism and self acceptance and realistic health facts that have caught me in a strange web. Since I have been pregnant and nursing my entire adult life, since age 21, there has been that too to blend in. But on the subject of dieting, etc for now all I know is that I cant do it this soon postpartum. Every time I have tried anything before the baby was at LEAST one year old has flopped and my mental health has suffered, something none of us can afford is for mommy to topple again....

Ok enough ramblings! Off to go enjoy the evening. Hope warmish weather heads to all of you this fine February, it is such a lovely sneak peak.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

smell the sabotage

Rixa has a new post, *(please go read it first!)which brings into light a really messed up thing...very sneaky and insidious and I cant help but wonder what kind of fake public service this is supposed to perform or more upsettingly, how many mothers and their babies it will dupe and possibly end a beautiful and vital human relationship for...seems that Enfamil is providing a "breastfeeding support kit" which is cleverly designed to destroy your breastfeeding forays by, oh, about day 5. Maybe a teensy bit later. I know if I were alone and struggling with nursing a newborn, be it my first or my tenth baby, and this "helpful kit" were next to my bedside table, believe me, my chances of reaching for it would be exponentially higher than actually sending hubby out to the store to buy this crap. AND THEY KNOW IT.

Here is the deal. In reference to a mother and newborn who would like very much to breastfeed, here is the deal:
A newborn is born wanting to suckle. To hold this baby and keep him or her at your breast for most of the day and night, this is the intended set up. First the baby gets colostrum and this brings in the milk. It is alot, even after five babies, even after nursing non stop for 11 years, it is alot. Your nipples get sore. Your arms ache. Your body aches. The milk coming in aches. Your head aches. You ache for sleep. and all of this is without any complications. You really really want sleep. you have been through 9 months of pregnancy, climaxed it with a birth, and now BOOM time to...start a huge endeavor. The only thing keeping you from sleep is the boobs/baby situation. If you give a baby a rubber nipple and that formula just glugs down their throats and instantly fills their little bellies with no more suction that you need to do to a straw on a McDonalds' Coke, then this is what the newborn can learn. they can get lazy, they can try to nurse on you like that and then the colostrum doesnt come out and they cry and BAM you have an instant set up for the all too common as of the last 50 years "I just didnt have enough milk!" Mm-hmm. Like the Failure to Progress and all of that jazz, it is a very rare condition given proper circumstances, and there Is a great monetary profit in not only selling these mama-babies the latest in Savior-Kits a la cesareans and powdered milks, but in keeping them feeling GRATEFUL AND BROKEN. When women are kept feeling grateful and broken, the monetary profit potential is infinite.

In the absence of these insidious little kits, Mama aches and the baby works that little tongue and the Mama is exhausted but the baby is hungry and they stay up all day all night for many many days and many many nights and soon they get it and they doze in and out and the milk comes in and the nipples heal up and its Good good good. Hard and exhausting, but good. Like the pregnancy, like the labor, like it all, hard and exhausting, good good good. Worth It. Etc. Youll be soooooo glad later kind of a good.
like a nurse asking you hourly if you want a little something for the pain,
like an epidural on the nightstand at your homebirth,
or a make-it-stop-just-for-one-goddamned-night packet of formula at the foot of your bed,

The human temptation is too great. I think it is a sabotage and I will tell you why. NOT because I think one bottle of cow-powder will ruin anything. Not because I think it is poison or child abuse or bad or any of that doctrine/Mama bashing bullshit, no. Because the very nature of it, IT, just being given to you by the authorities, being called Breastfeeding Support, is just more confusion and marketing and of no help whatsoever.

Please leave Rixa some cool ideas and comments, she has proposed an alternative breastfeeding support basket/kit and she deserves the comments on this one, it is a wonderful idea. I did something like this for most of my friends who have had baby showers, including "fun" things like magazines and Red Bull or vitamin energy drinks and goodness yes the Lansinoh...

****One more time, this is NOT about me ripping on anyone for using formula. If you needed to. If you wanted to. Whatever. This is about setting women up in a sideways and very uncool way at an extremely vulnerable time and potentially ruining something for her and her baby and maybe even her future babies, in a disguise, under a ruse, through the backdoor, completely univited.****