Friday, January 30, 2009

A great quote

Check out Blactating's blog post on quote of the day. It falls nicely in line with night time parenting, co-sleeping and nursing beyond one...and two! :)

Co-Sleeping and Night Time Parenting: Some Myths Addressed

He'll stay in your bed forever.

I disagree and so does Dr. Sears. He and his wife (a registered nurse) disagreed enough that in the chapter on Sleep Discipline in The Discipline Book, they address this issue and state "Toddlers can sense when they are being hurried developmentally in any area, and the more pressure they feel, the more they will resist.  ... Just like healthy weaning from the breast, weaning from the parents' bed will happen gradually, perhaps two steps forward and one step back." (134-35) I agree and this is the attitude I have adopted. I am not worried about when he will want to sleep alone. He will do it when he is ready, and it took Kevin's return last summer for me to discover this!

You are ruining your marriage bed.

Really? Because co-sleeping and night time parenting creates some extra spark in my opinion. I will not divulge all of the details, but creativity is key. Sex happens if you want it to happen, because you will find a way to make it work. And who says sex has to happen in the family bed? Or at bed time?

Your child will (is) manipulating you to avoid sleep.

This statement is so ludicrous to me that I almost left it out, but I have actually had to defend myself against this statement in the past.

Because I give my son adequate attention during our daytime hours together and he knows I will come to him if he needs me in the night, he does not need to manipulate me to avoid bed time or come to him unnecessarily in the night. I watch for his sleep cues and initiate our bed time routine when he begins to show signs of sleepiness. Sometimes I fail, but that is my fault, not his.

Your son will never learn to go to sleep on his own.

Again, I disagree. He first must be ready to learn. I cannot force him to use the toilet, and I can not force him to sleep. I can, however, gently and lovingly teach him to fall asleep on his own-- when he is ready for that developmental milestone. Trust me, I do not hold him back from learning it. I would enjoy tucking him in, kissing him goodnight and turning off the light at some point. However, that time has not yet come, and I am fine with that. I know he will do it and I see him making progress towards that point in time.

You'll be going to bed at seven and stuck there all night.

As you may have noticed in yesterday's post, I do not stay in bed with The Boy all night. I parent him to sleep and get up to do what I want or need. Or if I fall asleep (hey, mama gets tired!), I get up early in the morning. Some parents start their child in a crib or their own bed, but welcome them to the family bed in the night at some point. We've done a variety of things through the two years of The Boy's life depending on his mobility.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Attachment Parenting Resources

If you are looking for more information than I can provide in a once daily posting, check out these resources! I'll keep editing this post with additional resources.

Attachment Parenting International (API)
API's blog
Ask Dr. Sears (Pediatrician and first to use attachment parenting as a way to describe AP)
PhD in Parenting
Elizabeth Pantley (author of the No-Cry Sleep Solution and additional no-cry books)

Night Time Parenting without Co-sleeping

It was not my intent when discussing night time parenting to exclude those who do not co-sleep. It is possible to be an attentive night time parent without co-sleeping. In many cases the baby (or child) sleeps in a separate bed in the parents room or in a separate room entirely. If that is your sleep arrangement, it does not mean that you are not or can not parent through the night. Each family has to figure out their own comfort level and adjust to their family's needs. Keep in mind, my opinion is that you should respond when you feel comfortable responding, not when a book tells you to. I also believe that mothering instinct does not allow a child to cry without reaction.
So-- how does one parent through the night without co-sleeping?
Let me start with how I parent in the night when I am out of the bed.
As you might have figured out on your own, I do not generally go to bed at seven (now eight) and stay in bed until seven in the morning with my son. On nights when I want to go to bed early, I do, but I also rise early to take care of the house, read, write, etc. On nights I go to bed late, we rise around the same time. This of course, leaves time when The Boy is in bed alone.
I react differently based on the situation, but when The Boy calls my name specifically, I go to him. I don't drop the dishes and race as fast as I can, but I show up within a minute (generally). If he fusses, I listen to see if he wakes or if he is just moving around/readjusting to get comfortable. Early on, I learned the difference between his fussing versus real cry. Generally now, he calls my name if he needs my attention, and yes, I consider emotional needs to be as important as physical. The best part for me, because we have been doing this for The Boy's entire life, he does not cry during the his alone time in bed unless he needs something. (In the rare cases I have to leave town on business, he does wake more often, but from what I can tell from my non-AP friends, this is normal in any case, and again a topic for another post.)
If you do not co-sleep, you can still night time parent by learning your child's sleep habits, patterns and needs. If your child fusses in their room, but settles down on his/her own, you are still parenting if you are monitoring the child's situation. If the child cries and you sooth the child by patting the child's back or rocking your infant, that is parenting in the night.
The hard part in night-time parenting for non-co-sleeping families, in my opinion, is the disruption to the parents sleep, but if your child wakes once in a while, there probably is not much disruption. Also, if the child is not used to your attention at night, there will be an adjustment period, because your child, even infant, might associate seeing you with morning play time rather than night-time-soothing. This is a challenge that would need to be overcome, if you were to decide to parent at night.
Night time parenting is not something I took lightly in deciding. There is literature available on both attachment parenting and sleeping. I'll post some resources separately.
Coming up-- debunking some myths and why I dismiss them. Go on and throw them out there. Also, a resource list for those looking for additional information.

More breastfeeding questions

Do I have to wean to get pregnant?

Probably not, but you might have to night wean if you want to keep nursing during the day. Kellymom.com states,

Current research indicates that nursing frequency and total amount of time at the breast per 24 hours are the most important factors, rather than the time of day that the suckling occurs.

The site also points out that abrupt changes bring back fertility more quickly than gradual changes. I am not suggesting you cut off your child, but rather once your child sleeps through the night by their own choice or you stop pumping during the day, your likelihood of pregnancy would increase.

NursingTwo has more information, and there are numerous resources on the bottom of the KellyMom.com page I linked. However, it is hard to find information on irregular periods in the post-partum period. I have tried, and one thing that I am doing that might be helpful is charting my temperature. I am doing it to gain an understanding of my cycles and prevent pregnancy, but you can use it to see when you are fertile. I use Fertility Friend's free service.

I hope this helps!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Night time parenting

The security of knowing he can turn to me begins as an infant, develops through toddler-hood, and flourishes as he continues to grow. I do not give in to his every whim, but it is important to me that he develop a positive association with sleep and night time hours. This is just another way I enact the principles of Attachment Parenting.

There are a lot of reasons I chose to parent through the night (rather than cry-it-out or refusing to answer my son throughout the night). Certainly co-sleeping makes it easier, but that is just one part of the equation. I parent my child to sleep, at his request, so he learns that sleep is peaceful and pleasant. I co-sleep and respond to his cries so he learns that sleep is a relaxing secure state to remain in.

When I went back to work, night time parenting became even more important than it was prior to that time. The Boy needed to connect, reconnect, with me, and the time we had together was night time. He missed me during the day and needed me at night. I think this is normal.

Most times, in the night, all he wants is to know I am there. He reaches over and touches me, occasionally requesting my arm or to nurse. When he is going through major changes-- Kevin's return, switching day care rooms, learning a new skill-- night time parenting provides added stability to his developing mind and body.

Night time parenting, to me, sets the tone for a life-long relationship with my son. When he has a nightmare, I want him to know that he can come to me for comfort. When there is a problem at school, I do not want him to doubt that he can talk to me about it.  There is a long-term reason for night time parenting.

How many parents have you heard "wish" that his/her teenager would talk to them more? Or "wish" they knew how to help their son/daughter? Most children do not wake up one day and refuse to communicate with their parents. It takes years to develop a relationship, and years to create distance.

Night time parenting basically all boils down to this-- I respond to my son's cries during the day. Why would I ignore them at night? I would not leave my son alone all day. Why would I do it at night? I do not like going to bed stressed. Why would my son?

I hope to blog more about night time parenting and co-sleeping, because I have had quite a few questions on how it works for us. Maybe I can do a question-answer post or two too... if you all ask that is!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Friday Night Lights...

I would have said Friday Night Fun, but the light was shining Friday night. I arrived at the Blog Hoe-Down a bit late. I never get to south Tulsa, so when the opportunity presented itself, I ran a few errands down there. None the less, the event was nifty. The ladies were fun. I was definitely the crunchy hippy chick. Child-led mommy-ing is for me, and I stood alone. However, there were other common traits that had me laughing and enjoying myself. Plus good beer and food. :) Here's our picture... stolen from Dawn. Thanks ladies!
Now, why would I write about the lights? Well, it wasn't the room's lighting or the shinging faces. It was the personal revelation I had while out with these wonderful diverse ladies.
I have been thinking a lot about how I spend my free time, and what I would do if I had more time to myself in the form of a day or two away from The Boy. At the dinner Friday ight, I solidified in my mind, that I really do enjoy spending the time with The Boy, and I would rather not take a two day break from him. I would much rather bring him with me to experiece whatever it is that I am experiencing-- to grow as a family. I enjoy spending time with my son, and if whatever it is that I want to do does not work with his schedule, I probably do not really want to do it.
I'm not saying that I am going to NEVER go do anything without The Boy, but I certainly will be staying with him more than I ever thought I would get to. I used to relish in the precious hours I am away from him to run errands or have dinner. I wanted a break. Parenting and motherhood has definitely NOT come easily to me!
When I started with Attachment Parenting, I never thought I would be the one getting attached. I never thought I would chose to put my son to bed over going to a basketball game. I never thought I would value night time parenting. Yet that is where I am, and I LOVE IT! As much as I enjoy the solitude when I go alone or with company when I am enjoying friends, I really wish I could be chasing my son around... or more likely snuggling with him as he falls asleep.
The Boy is immensely stressful for me, but the reward is infinitely great.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Breastfeeding in public. There's no need to hide."



Thanks Andi from Mama Knows Breast for posting this to her site so I could share it too! :)



Thanks to PhD in Parenting for pointing this second one out. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Revisiting an old topic

I was looking back through the blog and found an interview with questions asked by my friend Jen from April 2007.  She asked and I replied:

You said you're going to start to get political on your new Maria-Only blog. If you could meet with one of the 2008 presidential candidates to find out who/what they're about, who would you choose? You can ask five questions which they have to answer completely and honestly (The fairies from above sprinkled a little truth dust!) What do you want to know?

No Republican has declared that I would consider voting for, so they are all immediately eliminated. Of the Democratic candidates, Edwards, Clinton and Obama are the "front runners" in my opinion, and I would want to meet with someone who has a chance, so I could really get a feel for them and their agenda. Therefore, I would pick one of those three.

I have read Senator Clinton's book, and feel that I know quite a bit about her, though I am a little disappointed in her campaign so far. I like detailed plans...and she is being far to PC/general for my tastes. Of course, a good candidate would be, because the President doesn't really get much done without Congress's support. I feel like I learned a lot about her though from her book, so I would pass on her for now, but if I could meet with her, I would pounce on the chance like a kitten on a mouse!

Mr. Edwards has gone beyond expressing ideas and developed some great plans-- assuming he has an agreeable congress, I would look forward to some of his policies becoming law. If he can keep himself together, I think he could be a fine president. I would pass this time on choosing him, because he has been expressing himself so well already.

I would pick Barack Obama. To me, he is the dark horse-- the one I know least about and would love to pick his brain. He seems like a really interesting person, and because I have my fairy dust, I know I could get honest answers to the tough questions. I would REALLY like to know what he thinks about some of the issues.

I want to know:

  • What specifically is your plan for fixing America's healthcare system?
  • How do you intend to clean up the mess that Bush created with Iraq? When and/or under what circumstances can we expect to welcome our soldiers home?
  • Describe the importance of world perception and acceptance of the U.S. and its policies, and what do you intend to do to repair the U.S.'s image abroad?
  • The Supreme Court recently upheld a law regarding a controversial form of abortion without a clause to save the life of the mother. How do you feel about this decision strictly from a policy perspective? Is the life of a woman less important than the life of a fetus? If you could rewrite/write the U.S. policy on abortion, what would it be?
  • How do you plan on working with Congress to accomplish your agenda? How willing are you to compromise your ideas for the betterment of the nation?
I know-- my questions are multi-part, but I preferred to bend the rules with the number of questions rather than write five very long run-on sentences. My sixth and seventh questions would cover tax, environment, energy, and immigration policy.
 
Wow. I guess we will have our chance to find out the answers to some of those questions after all. Too bad I don't have the magic fairy dust to force the truth though. Trust is such a challenging "thing."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Okie Blog Awards!













As I mentioned Tuesday, I was nominated and made the finals for the Okie Blog Awards in the category of Best Writing Blog!  I found out through a comment on this post and spent much of Tuesday shocked. I am incredibly honored to even be considered!

I spend most of my time oblivious to the fact that people actually read what I write. Sure, I know my friends and family visit from around the world, but until a few months ago, I never thought of my blog as anything but a mind dump-- a place for me to empty my brain of these thoughts, arguements, rants and raves. My very first post on this blog in April 2007 I stated the blogs purpose, "I need my own place to express my thoughts on whatever I want. A place to let it all hang out there (so to speak)." A Piece of My Mind is the place I write without holding back. I am sure I have alienated some readers at times, but that is OK. 
I have also been able to influence people in a positive way, which makes me smile. I have been answering more emails and questions lately, and I realizing that people do read what I write. In fact, they are interested in the topics I write about or they would not ask questions and return. 
I also found out that my mom reads this blog. .. and my grandma.  Fortunately, I am not intimidated by their presence. I have always been a little different, so their presence does not change my writing-- the topics or the content.
To be nominated for an award still astounds me. If you are an Okie and want to vote, the directions are available on the Okie Blog Awards website. You have until February 7, 2009.
A special thanks to Mike Hermes for running the show!

Is there room for dissent?

I have been thinking about this question a lot since the election, and I think the answer is yes.

Do we need to come to together as a nation in some respects?

Yes. Respecting one another, at home and abroad, is one area where I feel we have fallen woefully short. However, I do not believe coming together means we must agree on everything. As much as I have and will support many of President Obama's policies and positions, there are some that I simply can not or will not agree. Congress falls under the same scrutiny.

Call me crazy, but I think dissent is good. It forces people to think outside the box and completely understand their position, as well as the position of the dissenter. Dissent prevents absolute rule, unchecked power, and corruption.

So, if you think this blog is going to be all roses and sweet smelling love for the next four years, think again.

I will, however, swoon over the Obama family love. I enjoy seeing a President who is not afraid to touch his wife lovingly in public. I enjoy a wife so comfortable with her husband that she welcomes his hand and embrace. I enjoy their mutual respect displayed in how they intently listen to one another and engaged they are with each other in public. Sure, I have no clue what happens behind closed doors, but I am still going to enjoy them. :)




Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another Breastfeeding question and an award!

In the comments section of my last breastfeeding questions post, there was another question! Keep in mind that my answer is based on my experience and research. I am not a medical professional. :)

He wants to nurse every hour on the weekends. I assume it's because we don't see each other much during the week. He's 1 1/2. Did you find that you were breastfeeding this often when The Boy was 1 1/2?

This question really had me thinking back, so I went to review some old posts. When The Boy was 18 months old, we were undergoing a lot of changes in our house. Most significantly, Kevin was coming home from six months abroad. The Boy's reaction was stunning to me. He went back to nursing like a newborn (non-stop!)! Looking at other posts, I think he did nurse a lot more on the weekends (maybe not every hour though?), and even now that is the case. The more we are together, the more he wants to nurse. Or rather, the more we are apart, the more he wants to nurse when we are together. If he goes to a friend's house after daycare, the first thing he wants when I pick him up is to nurse. If I pick him up from daycare, this is not the case, which to me means that the additional separation leads him to want an additional reconnection.

On a completely unrelated note, thanks to a comment on another post, I found out that I am nominated for an Okie Blog Award! I am shocked, honored, and excited! If you are an Okie and inclined to vote for me, I thank you. :)



A Call to Action

In November I asked, "Now what are we going to do about it? How are we going to continue to engage the masses of new voters that were compelled enough to show up at the polls? How are we going to unite a deeply divided and wounded populous?"
Well, today is the first day of what are we going to do about it. People were on the Mall before sunrise. The populous is obviously moved. Will they heed the call to action?  
I found his speech to be to the point, and it is increasingly obvious to me that he is a strategic thinker. His 100 day honeymoon to get things done will probably be anything but smooth sailing, as there are many people who will have to change their way of thinking-- not their values, but how they get things done-- in order for this vision to take shape. 
There will be people who disagree. 
There will be people who get their toes stepped on. 
But there is also immense hope. 
Hope in and of a population that has been disengaged in politics. I
believe the engagement of the people is good for democracy. Social learning and an open government, while infinitely more challenging, leads to a better result.
The answers are still to come, but for  now I will drift off to sleep with the picture of a couple in love on my mind.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Women-- Value Yourselves!

This has been on my mind for a while. I have noticed myself doing it too. 
Women undermine their value by using "just" when talking about themselves. Think about it.

"I am JUST a mom."

"I am JUST a housewife."

"I am JUST a student."

"I am JUST checking in on you." 
"I am JUST an economist."

It is time we all wake up.

We are not JUST anything.

I am a mother.

I am a wife.

I am a student.

I am checking on you because I care.

We must value ourselves if we want society to value the work we do-- paid or unpaid! Our own language is undermining our value to our families and society!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Breastfeeding Questions

I've been answering a lot of questions lately about breastfeeding and co-sleeping, supply issues and more, so I am going to go back to writing about these things. Really, the emails and messages reminded me that there is NOT a great support system out there for women on many of these issues, and it really is too bad. 
Here are some the questions answered for everyone who might be asking themselves wishing they had someone to ask. Keep in mind that this is based on my experiences-- personal and through research/reading. I am not a medical professional and I am not you. :)
Nursing a toddler... how often?

At two, we nurse before bed, once around 2-5 am, and once as he is waking up in the morning. On weekends, when I'm not working, we also nurse before nap time. Around one, I nursed on demand, which was when I picked him up from daycare, between dinner/bath, bedtime, once or twice at night (I forget, because we co-sleep and I don't really wake up), and when he woke up in the morning.  
We co-sleep, so the one night nursing these days doesn't bother me at all. I've also been noticing that my son talks in his sleep, so this past week when he asks to nurse more often (menstruation causes a dip in my supply, btw), I first make sure that he is really asking and not dream-asking. If I can snuggle him and he doesn't ask again, we drift back to sleep like that. If he asks repeatedly, he nurses.
 I'm pregnant. Do I have to stop nursing?

Some women don't have to stop nursing to get pregnant, nor do you have to stop nursing while pregnant. Many women become fertile again once the child night weans, and many women ovulate prior to menstruation returning! Also, some women nurse through their entire pregnancy and then tandem nurse once the second baby arrives.  You need to do what works for you and your nursling, and if you want to nurse through pregnancy and your child wants to continue to nurse, enjoy the time together! You might find that you need to alter your nursing patterns. My friend, Kyle, is pregnant and nursing, so if you are or are considering it, check out her blog!

Do you have any tips on how to continue past the standard 12mos?

The best tips to get through nursing to and beyond one is to find support-- online, friends, wherever-- become immune to criticism, and find what works for you and your family. Also, for me, it helped knowing that international health organizations, such as WHO and UNICEF, recommend nursing until at least two years of age, and the American Academy of Family Physicans said that children weaned before age two are at risk for increased illnesses. 
Do you have questions you want answered? Is there something on your mind?  You don't have to ask publicly. My email is available through my profile. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Seat versus lap baby

Yesterday's US Airways crash-landing in to the Hudson River really got me thinking about what I would or should do with The Boy in the event we are flying and something happens, so I asked a former flight attendant who happens to be a friend of mind. Her response:
Safest place is car seat. You wouldn't be strong enough to hold him on impact. Biggest fights I had when kids were little was making sure they had their own seats, not lap children.
Consider it a PSA. The probability of crashing is tiny, but I am unwilling to risk my child's life and live with the guilt if something happens when I could not hold on to the child's body. Around 15 months I decided I would NEVER fly with The Boy as a lap child again. It was hard and stressful. Every flight since then, he has had his own seat, and I am glad for that. Kevin too since he is the one who flew with him to/from DC last summer.

What does the FAA say?
Did you know the safest place for your little one during turbulence or an emergency is an approved child restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap? ... FAA strongly urges parents and guardians to secure children in an appropriate restraint based on weight and size. Keeping a child in a CRS or device during the flight is the smart and right thing to do.
The FAA stopped short of requiring a CRS for children due to the cost. They felt that requiring its use would cause people to drive, which has a higher risk for accident. However, they never proved or showed any evidence that people would alter their travel by driving or not traveling at all (from the article below).

This column in the USA Today (July 29, 2008) gathered some interesting stances on the use of CRS in aircraft, including:
The Association of Flight Attendants noted in 2004: "AFA does not believe that allowing a child under two to be held on the lap affords the child the same protections as the other passengers. For that reason AFA has advocated for the use of child restraints during takeoff, landing, and turbulence for 15 years. After all, per the Federal Aviation Regulations, everything onboard an airplane must be secured or properly stowed for takeoff, landing, and often during flight, except children under two years old.

...

The NTSB stated as much in its 2004 analysis: "Both laboratory testing and real-world accidents have proven that under high load force events when restraint is most important, arm strength is not sufficient to protect even a small child." That's because commercial aircraft are designed to withstand tremendous g-forces, but humans are not. And therefore a 25-pound baby could easily weigh three or four times that amount when you're struggling to hold onto it during an emergency, let alone dealing with impact, smoke or fire. You wouldn't climb the side of a sheer mountain with your baby in one arm and a pick ax in the other, yet the G-forces in that situation are many times less than in a pressurized airplane moving at .82 mach, or four-fifths the speed of sound. In addition, a baby strapped inside your own seat belt can easily be crushed by your weight during an emergency.
Holy crap, eh!??!! Honestly, had I read that article prior to birthing my son, he would have NEVER flown in my lap. EVER.

I agree with Mr. McGee (author of the above USA Today article) when he writes,

"But if the FAA or the airlines won't say it, you need to say it yourself: If a trip is too expensive for a child's seat, then that's a trip that shouldn't be taken."
I realize my position is harsh, but walking around a crash site looking for a child... that's a risk I'm unwilling to take.

It does NOT get better at your destination if you have a lap child.

Think about what your luggage looks like on "the other side." Now think about the fact that your car seat is NOT designed to take that type of beating. Not only that, but keep in mind that once your car seat has been in an accident, you are supposed to replace it. You have no idea how rough (or not rough) the baggage handlers were with your car seat, and there is no guarantee that it will arrive in functioning order at your destination.

So you'll leave it at home and rent one, right?

Um, my advice. Please don't. Delicious Baby documented extensively in December 2007 significant problems when trying to rent a car seat.  The company said they fixed the problem, but seven months later, it was just as bad!   Chanel 10 news in San Diego picked up the story early, and their story points out that their sister station in Seattle found the same results there, which leads me to believe the situation is not isolate and is dangerous throughout the country and throughout multiple car rental agencies!

Bottom line-- take your car seat with you, and use it on the airplane. 

If you are thinking, "How will I carry a car seat, carry on luggage, a screaming toddler and a stroller through the airport?" I have an answer. A "must have" in my travel gear-- Go Go Kidz. I wrote about it here.

You're child is worth it. EVERY child is worth it!

I'd say I'm sorry for the lecture, but I'm not. Sometimes we need to hear what we don't want to hear. This is one of those times!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Skipping a month

Way back in December, around when I was expecting my period, I lost my Diva Cup and was unhappy about it.  I found it a few days later, but I had already ordered another one. Lucky me, I now own two. I wonder if I could gift one? Hmm... Kidding.  The new one arrived before my period did. A lot before my period did. A month later, and it finally showed up. 

See mom. I told you I wasn't pregnant. ;)

Consider it a lesson learned.

Post-partum (even two years!) + nursing = irregular periods for me

Gotta Get Goals Take III

While the past two sets of goals have kept the same categories, this time I am shaking it up a bit. My life has changed and different things are important to me now. New areas of needed improvement have been shown to me, so I want to address them too. Some of the list might read more like a to do list than a goals list, but my to do is a goal!

Accepting help. I am keeping this one, because I want to keep it in the front of my mind that help is ok!

Financial. We will stick to our budget, rid ourselves of any and all high interest debt, and made defined progress towards financial freedom. I have really been doing a lot of reading, thinking and praying, and I have come to the conclusion that we cannot fully enjoy life while incurring debt at the rate of other's in similar situations and age groups, so I want us to pay down our debt as quickly as possible, and yes, that includes our mortgage. The Jones's can keep buying too much, but we will live within our means and be good stewards of our finances.

Personal Fitness. My new fitness goal is to return to working out (cardio and abs as a minimum workout) at least three times per week. I failed at this, so it stays. I will work out! I will become toned!

Family. I will focus on keeping my family centered-- focused on our needs and happiness irregardless of societal and extended family pressures. I will insure that my family is more important than other menial tasks and my job, and I will spend time with them having fun even if chores need to be done!
Education. I will graduate!

Personal Growth. I will continue to challenge my mind through continued learning. I will read intellectual/academic articles and other challenging literature rather than all "fluff." I will author (and co-author) articles and submit them for professional considerations via presentations at conferences and publications. I will continue to be actively involved in issues that interest me, and use my skills to benefit organizations that I support.

Spiritual Growth. I think this is the first time I've ever considered goals in my spiritual life. It's a long story as to why, but I have really felt inspired by my friend Erin lately. My spiritual goal is simple-- to learn more about the Disciples, since I call that my church home and to do a daily devotional.

Personal Time. I will take time for myself at least one night a week, and I will read for pleasure!

Books. I own a lot of them. I will inventory my books, create a record of each book I own, and donate the books I no longer want or need.

The House. I will paint the ceilings, trim and our bedroom!

The Environment. I will continue to stay abreast of environmental developments, work on my compost and start a garden in pots. I will finish our landscaping project and purchase an outdoor drying line!

Review of Goals. I will periodically review, update and revise these goals quarterly!

Gotta Get Goals (April 2007)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gotta Get Goals Take II check-in

Honestly, 2008 stunk. Badly. And I just realized, I didn't do my mid-year check in from my 2008 goals. Sad, but true. So, 2008 stunk. Kevin was unemployed most of the year, so that took a toll on where I was going. In the interest of being held accountable, here is the review.

Delegation
. I will improve my delegation skills. There is no reason for me to do everything and/or to be everything to everyone. Housework, financial records, work in general is meant to be shared.

Honestly, I am better than I used to be, but my expectations get in the way. Kevin did have the wonderful honor of helping stain the deck, preparing meals, etc while he was home, but for the most part, I am still a do it myself person. I really need to get over that. At work though, I'm doing very well at delegating, because I finally have help!

Accepting help. When Kevin or someone else offers to help, I will take them up on their offer. I will no longer just say that I would love for someone to take The Boy for a few hours. I will "phone-a-friend" more often!

While it is hard for me to say yes, I have been doing it a lot more, and I am grateful for those who are so generous as to help me, but most of the time, I think I should spend more time with The Boy, so generally, I try not to leave him with other people outside of work...too often anyway.

Financial. I will make a financial plan for our family and enforce it. The plan will result in a reduction of our debts without sacrificing all of the fun in our lives. I will more clearly define our "needs" versus "wants."

Our family has much improved on our budgeting skills and sticking to that budget, but when Kevin didn't go back to work in the fall when he usually does, we were unable to reduce debt at the rate we wanted and we did sacrifice fun to pay the bills. I do think we are living more frugally overall, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Personal Fitness. My new fitness goal is to return to working out (cardio and abs as a minimum workout) at least three times per week.

I started out doing so well... only to fail miserably. I'm still skinny fat and must change that!

Family. I will work to keep my family's needs met without sacrificing my personal happiness.

I give myself a 50% completion rating. I think that I sacrifice my personal wants quite a bit, but that is what happens when you are raising a child essentially on your own and have responsibilities that need to be taken care of on a daily basis. Overall, I think I have just become happier with where I am and more willing to change the things I dread. Some of that is new and the result of a book I'm reading.

Personal Growth. I will continue to challenge my mind through continued learning. I will read intellectual/academic articles and other challenging literature rather than all "fluff." I will author (and co-author) articles and submit them for professional considerations via presentations at conferences and publications. I will continue to be actively involved in issues that interest me, and use my skills to benefit organizations that I support. I will not be afraid to express my thoughts and opinions on controversial topics simply to appease others. I will work to complete my thesis!

I pass, but I see this as a life long issue. Well, except for the thesis, but I'm doing a project this semester instead so I can GRADUATE!!! Woo hoo!!! I presented a paper at the Corps Planning Conference, and I continue to seek out opportunities to advance my intellect through work and recreation.

Personal Time. I will take time for myself at least one night a week.

For the most part, I have been successful in this endeavor. Some of that comes from accepting the help of others and others willingness to take my child for a few hours. Sometimes I say I am lazy, but that laziness is just this after I put The Boy to bed and really the result of me taking time to rejuvenate myself!

Review of Goals. I will periodically review, update and revise these goals. Life causes perspective to change, which causes goals to change. I was once on a fast-track to a high position in a great company. My goals then were a lot different than what they are now.

It's been too long. I need to set a goal to do this quarterly!

Gotta Get Goals (April 2007)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Addressing CA's Prop 8... Part V

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

This will be the end of the Prop 8 series... for now anyway. There is a lot I didn't say and haven't covered, but I've decided that I need even more time to meditate on the topic and to empty my brain of all this other "stuff" I have been wanting to post while trying to stay loyal to this topic. I already have several saved and more started. It's a sign.

I have a lot of questions in my own head remaining. If God made us all perfect and a biological difference exists between homo- and hetero-sexual people, I struggle to rectify that homosexual people are sinners. And even IF they were, which is a big IF, I do not find it to be my job or the job of the Government to condemn or treat them differently. So, if we're all made perfect in God's eyes, why wouldn't the homosexual be perfect too? Evolution? I don't know the answer, and I doubt that anyone can convince me one way or the other right now.

I also struggle greatly with why homosexual persons are not afforded the same protections under the law and US Constitution as heterosexual couples. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), there are 1,138 legal provisions that use marriage in determining eligibility for benefits, rights or privileges.

So-- here we are at the end of the series. I don't pretend to know it all, but this is where I am coming from when I oppose Prop 8.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Addressing CA's Prop 8...Part IV

Part I

Part II

Part III

In Part II, I stated that I think "God does not want his "rules" legislated." I know many people will take me to task for this, but I am ok with that.

There are three paths before the people of the world-- Go alone (follow yourself), Go the world's way, or Go with God. (I actually had that written a different way, but Pastor Mike was talking about it in those terms today and they make more sense than what I wrote!) God wants us to come freely... willingly... not force what we believe to be his will on others. If He wanted to force people to follow him, he would do it, and we are not following Him when we try to force others to believe. In my opinion, that means not depending on legislation or constitutions to treat people well or force them in to Christianity. In attempting to do so, we are not following God-- we are putting ourselves in the center rather than Him.

How? Why? What? Am I insane? I know it is slipping through some readers' heads right now! But think about it...

God wants to have a relationship with us, and relationships are a two way street. He asks us to come freely. He does not force us to be His friend. He need not use rules, laws, and constitutional amendments to force himself on us. We become "right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ--and not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law" (Galatians 2:16).

Furthermore, followers of Christ get it wrong all of the time. Some of the most notable had it wrong in the beginning. We have to look no further than the Bible for an example. Saul thought he was doing God's work-- protecting the Jewish faith by persecuting Christians, but God revealed to him on the Road to Damascus that he was not doing His work at all. Saul's conversion to Paul is a mighty one, but evidences that humans on Earth do not always get it right. Our "enemy" today might be our best ally tomorrow.

My question is-- are you SURE you're following God?

Bringing this back to Prop 8-- Using what I know now, legislating Christianity is not the work of God. He needs no law or constitutional amendment to do His work, and neither of those things will save anyone.


Part V will be the last part... summary and all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Comment Policy

Just making it a little more concrete, because ... well, I wanna!

When you go to comment, it says:

I reserve the right to delete any comment I deem inappropriate, so say what you think, but keep it under control. Anonymous comments currently are not allowed.
This does not mean that I will not print comments that are controversial or in opposition to my own opinion, but rather comments that are hurtful with no purpose, name-call, rude, spam or otherwise in bad taste will not be published. I encourage people who disagree to comment. I think it only furthers ones position and mind to know the opposition, and in some cases you might discover parts of yourself (or myself) that influence your own positions. Or not. But I do believe it is key to learning and learning is key!

To summarize, so long as the comment is civil and not spam, it is welcome. Yes, I am the judge of that, but I think I'm pretty dang fair.

Calling me a freak for nursing my two year old is NEVER welcomed, by the way. ;-)

So is that clear as mud? Feel free to ask questions so I can clarify by editing this post if it is not.

**Update 6/17/2009-- Changes are indicated by bold type.

Bad mommy morning and facebook needs to wake up

This morning I did something I swore I would never do. I told my crying son to "just stop crying." Seriously, I hated when my own parents said that to me... as if it were just that easy. The worst part, as I reflect back, is that I totally caused the meltdown. He asked me to hold him repeatedly, but I was rushing around getting stuff ready for work, him for school, and our sleepover tonight at a friends house. He repeatedly asked me in an acceptable manner, and I repeatedly put off his request. Some might say, "so what?" Well, to me it is a big deal. I believe firmly in attachment parenting, and by continually putting him off, I was being disrespectful of his needs and did not respond with sensitivity. Sitting with him for five minutes would have prevented the ten minutes of crying and abundance of hurt feelings-- for both of us. Sometimes I really stink at this mommy-business.
Edited to add: Each time he asked and I asked him to wait a minute, he went and sat down and waited for me. I never came. :(
*****
I participated in the protest on Facebook regarding the removal of breastfeeding pictures for various reasons, mostly because I am a lactivist and I've seen hairy bare asses and scantily clad advertisements showing more breast than most breastfeeding pictures. There is a site available with some of the removed photos (linked below)-- many of which show less breast than my own pictures!

As you may have noted after reading my last post, I am playing catch up from our illness weekend, and tomorrow I have to run to Dallas for the day, so it will be a bit before I can resume my CA Prop 8 Series. In the mean time, consider reading these posts written by others. They are well thought out, articulate, and say all the things I want to and would have said...I'll try to keep adding more as I find ones I agree with.

Okaasan mommy and more Chilling Effect on Breastfeeding
Examples of removed pictures (not suitable for work viewing...some are more forward than others)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Better childbirth? Lower costs?

Part III of the CA Prop 8 Series is coming, but we have a horrible virus in our house this past weekend~ The Boy first and then me. It was miserable, and I was not able to finish the posts. I promise to resume later this week, but I have to get caught up around the house...and fix our broken dryer? Or pay someone to do it. grr... In the mean time, I had prepared this to post after the series, so enjoy. :)

Rebecca pointed this article out on New Year's Day, and I can't help but agree. Better health in this nation should begin from the very beginning. The article states (in case you didn't click the link):
The nation’s maternity bill totaled $86 billion in 2006, nearly half of which was picked up by taxpayers.
But cost hasn’t translated into quality. We spend more than double per capita on childbirth than other industrialized countries, yet our rates of preterm birth, newborn death and maternal death rank us dismally in comparison. ...
Hospitals charge from $7,000 to $16,000, depending on the type and complexity of the birth. The average birth-center fee is only $1,600 because high-tech medical intervention is rarely applied and stays are shorter. This model of care is not just cheaper; decades of medical research show that it’s better. Mother and baby are more likely to have a normal, vaginal birth; less likely to experience trauma, such as a bad vaginal tear or a surgical delivery; and more likely to breast-feed. In other words, less is actually more.
$86 Billion spent on maternity care with poorer outcomes than other industrialized nations. We're not doing well in this arena of health care.
The Cochrane Collaboration Review of birthing concluded:
Midwife-led care was associated with several benefits for mothers and babies, and had no identified adverse effects. The main benefits were a reduced risk of losing a baby before 24 weeks. Also during labour, there was a reduced use of regional analgesia, with fewer episiotomies or instrumental births. Midwife-led care also increased the woman's chance of being cared for in labour by a midwife she had got to know. It also increased the chance of a spontaneous vaginal birth and initiation of breastfeeding. In addition, midwife-led care led to more women feeling they were in control during labour. There was no difference in risk of a mother losing her baby after 24 weeks. The review concluded that all women should be offered midwife-led models of care.
Honestly, too many women are brainwashed from an early age to believe we NEED these medical interventions-- often times to the point where women are so afraid of birthing that they do need these things. I try not to judge or intercept to the point of offending when debunking the myths that many of my own friends perpetuate, but it is becoming harder and harder. It is possible to have a safe, healthy child without pitocin, an epidural, or a c-section. Yes, childbirth hurts, but guess what? Knowing that it will hurt and managing that fear with a doula and midwife will generally yield better results for momma and baby than the model that has become standard.

Anyway... think about it. Cheaper with a better outcome, yet less than 1% of births are attended by a midwife in this country.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Addressing CA's Prop 8... Part III

Part I

Part II

Before I get rolling on Part III, let me make it clear that I am not an attorney, and there is legal discussion to follow. This is my argument based on what I have read and how I apply it to this situation, and why I think it supports my argument. I know at least two attorneys read this blog, and I'm sure they'll correct me if I am way off base. :)

Because, IMO, no attorney would argue this as a First Amendment case (on either side, in my opinion), like the Loving case, the legal challenge would probably come from the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. (Federal applicability and challenges would be Fifth Amendment cases, IIRC).

In the Loving decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote,

"[t]he freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men."

At this point, numerous lower courts have held that the Loving precedent does not apply to same sex marriages, due to the historic context of the Loving case; however, with the passing of the Defense of Marriage Act (1996), I think the door is open for a Constitutional challenge of the legality of that act (via the Fifth Amendment) and its definition of marriage as well as CA's Prop 8 (via Fourteenth Amendment). As others have pointed out in comments, the historic context is beginning to mirror that of segregation and the Civil Rights movement.

If marriage truly is a "vital personal right" as Justice Warren wrote, then civil marriage should apply to all persons-- black, white, hetero- or homo-sexual. The Declaration of Independence stated that "all men are created equal," but Prop 8 (and Defense of Marriage Act) limits equality to those persons who are heterosexual.

(more to come...the more I write, the more I find to say)

Addressing CA's Prop 8... Part II

I posted Part I of this series hoping many would draw the same parallels that Melissa did-- "gay is the new black." Only I would not have used those exact words, but the premise is the same.

Really, I have two arguments against the proposition, but they are so intertwined and impossible to separate that I will have to address them together to some extent but will also try to keep them relatively separate. The two arguments surround religion and law together in ways that I find impossible to separate, yet unwilling to combine.

BLUF (bottom line up front)-- The Government has no role in religious marriage. Their role is in civil marriage, which is really civil union, and the proper role of government would be from the public health and safety perspective; and I argue that God does not want his "rules" legislated, so legislating religious marriage is in opposition to true Christian life. So-- here we go.

Marriage.

Assuming those reading believe that the Bible lays out marriage as being a commitment [before God] between a man and a woman (I am not saying it does or doesn't, but rather that is the argument many make), no license is required for said commitment. Government interference brings the requirement the permit/license for marriage.

In the Loving's case, "Judge Leon Bazile said that God never intended for the races to mix, so their marriage was an abomination."

This is also the case that many make in opposition to two persons of the same sex marrying. It's not as God intended. Well, enter the First Amendment of the Constitution.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

Or as Thomas Paine so eloquently said it in his pamphlet, Common Sense (1776):

"As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of all government, to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith…

Both texts make it clear [to me] that the Federal Government need not restrict religion or the lack of religion in our lives, so whether or not God intended for same sex couples to be together is inconsequential to the government's role in civil marriages.

 

[My son is crying. I have more, but that means a part III!]

Keep thinking!

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