Friday, February 27, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Don't worry, I won't be posting any more entries from this journal any time soon. I don't think any of us could handle it.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
In honor of my 100th post I give you a (positively too long) list of 100 things about me. I actually compiled most of this list over a year ago and then that computer crashed and we only recently were able to get all of the files off of it. When I saw this I decided to finish it (I was at #92) and publish it on my hundredth post. The only numbers that don't totally still fly now that it is a year later are 22, 23, 66, and 85. They are still true, but the timing is off now. You get the point. Here you go:
1. Some of my best friends are twice my age.
2. I almost always get emotional when I see news stories of soldiers coming home to their families after being away at war.
3. That being said, I do not wear my emotions on my sleeve-- I am pretty good at putting on a happy face even when I don't feel like it (a quality that I don't really think is all that great).
4. One of my favorite feelings is coming home to a clean house.
5. My favorite house-cleaning chore is vacuuming-- lame because now that our house has all wood or tiled floors I only get to vacuum our area rugs and that makes me sad.
6. Whenever I see a person or situation that could be suspicious (define suspicious any way you like) I take detailed mental notes so that if something bad does go down I will be sure to be able to give accurate descriptions to the police.
7. I was never afraid of dying until I had my baby. Now I can't bear the thought of leaving him without a mama.
8. If you get into my car the first thing you will hear is sports radio blaring out of the speakers-- I may or may not even have been known to call in and offer my opinion on the current goings on in the sports world.
9. I pray for orphans individually and then collectively every night before I go to bed.
10. I am a sucker for the behind-the-scenes scoop into peoples' lives which results in me being a sucker for certain reality TV shows.
11. One of my worst qualities is not wanting people to see my weaknesses (aka pride).
12. One of my best qualities is compassion.
13. I could eat squash for every meal-- I love it so.
14. My favorite season is summer.
15. Some of my greatest memories are of being outside on warm summer nights and just feeling carefree and peaceful.
16. I sometimes feel cheated that I never got to meet my husband's father.
17. I naturally gravitate to things that are blue-- probably 70% of my shirts are some shade of blue.
16. Some of my favorite people in this world are named Rach(a)el. There are 4 of them, to be exact.
17. I love the number 27.
18. I also like other multiples of 9.
19. My favorite time of day is 10:27 (both AM and PM), and my favorite day of the year is 10/27. And there really is no logical reason for this (my husband insists that I surely must have had some romantic escapade on 10/27 at 10:27 to explain this, but really, I don't know why I like it).
20. I like speaking in public.
21. I hate spiders so much that I can't even kill one if I see it in my house. If no one is around to dispose of it for me then I will find a long object and trap the spider until it climbs onto said long object and then run to the nearest door and throw the long object as far away as possible. Sometimes I don't ever retrieve the long object.
22. I sewed and decorated our Christmas stockings this past year, but I'm really not that crafty and I wish I was.
23. My favorite sports commentator is definitely Charles Barkley-- seriously, if you don't watch TNTs coverage of the NBA you are missing out.
24. My least favorite sports commentators are Marv Albert (because he's a back biter) and Reggie Miller (because he's a Jazz hater).
25. I really loved high school but am so grateful that part of my life is over.
26. I never expected to like going to BYU (I didn't even really want to go there but I had a scholarship and it just felt like the right thing to do), but I absolutely ended up LOVING it there-- I thought it was so incredible to be able to intermingle my faith with my education.
27. I take great pride in finding items of clothing at rock bottom prices and I am kind of of the opinion that quantity is better than quality with most wardrobe items.
28. I miss playing the piano and I wish I was better at it.
29. I never thought I would worry as much about Baby G as I do.
30. I think pregnant bellies are beautiful.
31. I almost never enjoy eating chicken.
32. If I don't blow-dry my hair I can literally be ready to go out the door in less than 5 minutes (and even though that's nice in some ways, sometimes I wish I took a little more time to make myself presentable).
33. One of my favorite snacks is a bowl of cereal.
34. I once went on a date where the guy I was with went to the bathroom and never came out (well I guess eventually he came out, but I got a ride home after he had been in there for an hour).
35. I've always been fairly athletic and have been able to play most sports decently, but I'm not smokin' great at any of them.
36. When I was in 9 or 10 I would take children's clothing magazines and find the cutest kids in them, give them names and identities and then pretend I was their mother.
37. In school I was the queen of procrastination.
38. I am so grateful to have married one of my friends from high school because it has enabled me to stay in touch with a lot of our friends (the boys) that I'm sure I wouldn't have otherwise.
39. I don't wear jewelry very often because I really am not stylish enough to pull it off-- I feel like I'm trying too hard when I wear lots of accessories, and yet, I love all the bling on other people.
40. Even though I've probably never been the prettiest or skinniest in my social circles I haven't ever really struggled with my self-image-- I credit my amazing mother with helping me learn early on that beauty was defined in many other more important ways.
41. That's not to say that I don't ever wish certain areas of my body could be tighter, smaller, stronger, etc.
42. My favorite animal is a dolphin because I read in a book once (when I was like 7) that they are the only creatures other than humans that spend their lives in the pursuit of happiness.
43. I really don't like wearing socks and shoes and would be very happy to live in a climate that allowed for flip flips and Chacos year round.
44. My favorite meal to eat out is breakfast (but I'll take eating out at any meal, really).
45. I think the NBA playoff seeding system (that awful teams can make the playoffs in the east while good teams will be left out in the west) and the college football BCS systems are ridiculous.
46. If I didn't follow the Word of Wisdom my first item of business would be to head to Starbuck's and order a frozen coffee blender drink.
47. My house burned down the day before I was born.
48. I never knew I could love a piece of jewelry as much as I love my wedding ring.
49. Even though I probably never would have gotten into fly-fishing without the influence of my husband, I genuinely really enjoy it and have even gone on my own a couple of times.
50. I think my dad and I would be the dream team on the Amazing Race-- we'd win for sure.
51. I think a large part of the reason that I love sports so much is that when I was a little girl that was how I was able to spend time with my dad-- he was in medical school and gone a lot and so when he was home and watching sports I would sit down next to him and watch just so I could be by him. To this day we still love watching and attending sporting events together.
52. As a little girl I was given the nickname "Elizapest" by my grandpa because I was always going around talking to everyone, poking and pinching people, and just generally causing annoyance (no comment on whether or not I still do those things and still get called Elizapest from time to time).
53. I love being a mother. I can honestly say there is nothing in this world I would rather be doing right now.
54. Trying to understand how things like the internet or telephones work makes my brain hurt and I really have no desire to really know why they work-- I'm just glad they do.
55. I like to watch the news.
56. The thought that my marriage would ever end in divorce has NEVER crossed my mind and I have 100% confidence that I will be married to my husband forever.
57. I can tell I am getting older because I sometimes enjoy watching golf on TV now. I used to think it was really boring.
58. Even though I am optimistic by nature I sometimes feel an overwhelming sense of heaviness about all of the heartache and injustice around the world and I get weighed down to the point of tears.
59. I am a big dreamer and I really believe that I can make a difference in this world, however small it may be. Taking some action on that is what makes me feel better when I am sad (#58).
60. Volunteering throughout my life has changed me and I plan to be involved in some sort of volunteer service until the day I die. It is so important to me that my children learn what it feels like to reach out to others.
61. I have always been modest by nature-- wearing skimpy clothes and bathing suits has never appealed to me.
62. I wish I had my own darkroom and could print my own pictures.
63. Even though nothing beats the convenience of taking pictures with a digital camera, I don't think digital prints turn out as vivid and beautiful as film prints. For that reason I will never get rid of my film SLR.
64. I love going to my little sisters' soccer games to cheer them on. I make a concentrated effort to get to them even when they are away games.
65. Having been a kindergarten teacher I am now very scared to send my kids off to school. I know the amazing amount of trust you have to place in their teachers and I know how easy it would be for a teacher to take advantage of that trust. I don't know how I'll do it.
66. I wish I had the guts to cut my hair shorter and have bangs.
67. I have three favorite times of day (apart from 10:27): 1) when Baby G first wakes up in the morning and is SO happy and fun, 2) when J gets home from work at night and just gets to hang out with the baby and me, and 3) after we put Baby to bed and J and I just get to relax together-- sometimes we read together, but usually he does homework and I watch a show on TV. The best nights are when there is a good basketball game on to watch. I just love being home together and knowing that I can decompress for the night.
68. I HATE fist fights. There is nothing more immature and stupid to me than two macho high schoolers thinking they need to recklessly take swings at each others' faces. Every time a fight breaks out and I'm around my heart starts racing and I run the other way. They scare me. Except for sometimes during professional sports when things get heated-- then I don't mind so much because I can understand the competition and frustration a little more and there are officials to step in before anything gets too crazy.
69. Fountain drink dispensers with the "good" ice make me unreasonably happy.
70. Even though my house was built in 1958 and needed a lot of work before we moved in, I genuinely love it now. I didn't think that I ever would, but it is so cozy and quaint. For the first time since I moved out of my parents house after graduating high school I feel like I have a "home" and I love it here.
71. Now that I have a baby I don't ever take naps. I sometimes try to when he is napping but I can't ever fully relax enough to fall asleep because in the back of my mind I know that he is just going to wake up at any minute and I'll have to get up anyway. It's things like that that make being a mom a full-time job.
72. My mom and I play a lot-- we go shopping, go to movies, go to lunch, and get frozen yogurt weekly. I am not joking. It's being able to do things like that that makes being a stay-at-home mom the best full-time job in the world
73. I don't really worry that my husband will die you because I don't think he will, but I sometimes wonder about it because of his dad's early death. And I don't know how I would go on if I lost him like that.
74. I take back # 71. I just woke up from a 45-minute nap and I feel so refreshed! Hooray for days when your baby takes 3 hour naps!
75. I research international adoption (from various countries) on a regular basis.
76. I occasionally have feminist tendencies that I have to push away.
77. I love the color of my eyes.
78. I don't love the color of my hair (as it is naturally, that is).
79. I almost always get Ginger Ale to drink when I'm on an airplane. If I don't get that then I get tomato juice. I almost never drink either unless I'm on a plane.
80. I can't stand ripe bananas. They are perfect when they are still a little green at the top.
81. My favorite song is "Only One" by James Taylor. It's not the most amazing of his songs musically, but I have an emotional attachment to it because I used to listen to it with my favorite aunt and uncle when I was a little girl. They lived far away and when I missed them I would always listen to it on a tape they gave me. And I love the lyrics.
82. I have only (really) kissed 3 people in my life and I can honestly say that I loved all of them. Kisses were a big deal to me.
83. I love second-hand clothing stores for myself (as in, I rarely shop elsewhere), but I have a slight aversion to them for my baby. I think it is because babies are so hard on clothes and I don't like putting my little boy in something that another baby has probably spit-up or pooped on.
84. I am a sucker for really cute baby socks.
85. One of the things I look forward to most right now is going to all of the Real Salt Lake soccer games with my family. My dad is kind enough to buy season tickets for our entire family (J, G, and me included) to go and it is one of our most favorite things to do.
86. Advertising works on me-- if I see a billboard of something really delicious I get very tempted to stop right then and find one of whatever it was.
87. I always drive with my left leg bent, knee up by my face, and foot on the seat. It's a good thing I don't drive a stick shift any more.
88. I have been to 4 continents and the only one I really want to go to that I haven't is Asia. Antarctica and Australia aren't super appealing to me (don't get me wrong though-- if given the opportunity to go I definitely would).
89. Going to Africa when I was 17 changed the course of my life-- that trip is the reason I went to Romania and the reason that I ultimately ended up studying special education.
90. I have to put lotion on my whole body after I get out of the shower or my skin feels dry and drives me crazy. But it has to be good quality, unscented lotion. I hate all those smelly, flowery, greasy lotions.
91. I studied French for 4 1/2 years in school, am nowhere near fluent, but am sometimes surprised with the random words and phrases that pop into my head in French. I mix bits of Romanian and French up in sentences all the time.
92. I have had to work on becoming comfortable with my post-baby body—the weight came off just fine, and fully clothed I feel plenty of necessary confidence. But the stretch marks on my lower stomach have made me self-conscious even though no one ever sees them except my husband. I am learning to appreciate them for what they are: visible evidence that I was part of a miracle, that I was able to create and carry my son inside my body. I am trying to wear them like the badge of honor that they are.
93. My husband constantly tells me that he loves my tummy. And I believe him.
94. I love having a warm dinner ready for my husband when he gets home. Before I was married I think I would have shunned many of the daily chores of housewifery because I would have seen them as demeaning (even though the house I grew up in should have taught me otherwise). Now I know how happy it makes me to make my man happy—and I feel the opposite of demeaned when I do it.
95. I have always been a very social creature and have preferred to be around lots of people rather than be alone. But I am getting to be more and more of a homebody in my old age. Sometimes there is nothing better than just staying home all day and having quiet (well, as much quiet as an 18 month old boy will allow).
96. I want to go back to school and get my master's degree one day.
97. I make really, really good chocolate chip cookies.
98. Sometimes I wish I had really bad style so that someone would nominate me for one of those really great makeover shows where you get a whole new wardrobe.
99. I am in love with the bedroom that my husband built me. I hang out in there all the time just because I love the way the room feels.
100. I used to say I wanted 7 kids. Now I think 4 or 5 is more my number.
Do we have things in common? What about really big differences?
Monday, February 09, 2009
Blessings in Disguise, written by Dr. Laura Schlessinger on December 18, 2008
"I have always been impressed with the mentality of the Mormons with respect
to the issue of charity. I had a tour of their main charity facilities,
and was amazed at what I saw and learned. There are absolutely no handouts
– they barter!
Here’s how it works: if you could lose your home, or if you need food, clothing, medicine or toys for your children, the Church takes financial care of your needs. In exchange, you provide services to the very mechanism that rescued you. This means that folks in the bakeries are people who have benefited from the charitable services; those helping in the stores that sell thrift clothing, housewares and food are those who have benefited from the charitable services, and so on.
The basic concept is to preserve a sense of dignity and pride in those who have temporary need by giving them an opportunity to use their skills in the service of others. Walking around the premises, I felt the uplifted attitude of all who were there: smiles, waves, and straight backs.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints provides for people all over the world – not only with goods and goodwill, but with the opportunity to not lose a sense of self when “things” are lost.
I probably sound like an advertisement for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am not a member of their religion, but I am impressed with their charitable philosophy, because I believe it teaches our children their real value, while motivating and uplifting them at the same time.
Their young people who graduate high school are expected to go on two-year “missions,” reminiscent of the Peace Corps. These young people come back much more mature, as they’ve experienced the pain and need of others, and have sacrificed two years of their own comfort to be of service to others. Other youngsters just don’t want to skip a beat in their acquisition of iPods, cell phones, and other “Internet in your hand” gadgets.
I believe that the economic disaster our country is in right now is a kind of blessing in disguise with respect to values. Without values, life just provides us with “things,” but not necessarily with any profound meaning."
Thursday, February 05, 2009
So this post has been brewing in my head for weeks now. I haven't been sure how to approach this topic because I know that there are many people (probably most) who won't share my opinions on the matter. For that reason I want to make this disclaimer: please don't be offended by what you read. My thoughts are in no way a judgment about anybody's choices that may be different than mine. I am merely trying to explain why I do what I do, but it is so okay with me that you might do it differently. This is what has worked for us, but this is such a personal matter and I would be completely out of line to think for one second that the same thing should work for you, too. I won't judge you if you won't judge me. Fair? :)
Okay, so here is the deal: Baby G is 17 months old and I am still breastfeeding him. He nurses in the morning when he wakes up, in the afternoon before his nap, and at bedtime.
I think I might be in love with nursing. I am positive that Baby G is in love with it.
That's not to say it has always been that way. My first weeks of nursing Baby G were at least 100 times harder and more painful than his actual delivery. Some of those days are kind of a blur now, but I can tell you that they involved many tubes of Lanolin, a prescription of Newman's Cream, at least two heads of cold cabbage (to keep from getting too dry and cracked between feedings), pumping to try to get my milk to let down for literally hours (my milk had come in, but the colostrum was preventing it from coming out), plenty of tears in the bathtub, a blessing from my husband, and definitely some thoughts of giving in to the formula. I knew I wanted to nurse my baby in theory, but in reality it was so hard at first that a bottle became an attractive option. I tried not to get too overwhelmed by the struggles because I knew that if we could just get through them I would be so, soo grateful.
17 months later and I can say that my choice to stick with breastfeeding has been one of the best decisions I have made for me and my baby. For us it has provided some blessings that I know we would not have had otherwise. Let me share a few.
Baby G adores going to bed. When he is tired he will go get his blankie and then come grab my hand to drag me to the rocking chair in his room. Nursing is so clearly something that makes him want to go to bed. He knows that for 20 minutes or so I will sit with him and sing him songs and tell him stories while he nurses. And breastfeeding makes him so delirious that putting him to bed is a breeze.
The money we have saved because we have never had to buy formula and bottle paraphernalia is at least in the high hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. When it was Baby G's sole source of nourishment, breastfeeding was a way that I felt like I was contributing to our meager budget and I would walk down the baby aisle in stores and breathe a sigh of relief that diapers were the only things I would be picking up on that expensive little shelf.
Baby G is a lover. Of course some of his cuddliness is just part of his nature, but I really do believe that being cuddled in my arms for at least an hour a day, even as he got older and much more wiggly, contributed to his propensity to just lay down and give squeezes to whoever is holding him. He is constantly hugging his daddy and me, and I am so glad that he got used to being held and loved while I nursed him, and that we've been able to continue it for so long.
Aside from the time the doctors thought he had leukemia (note the sarcasm), Baby G has never been really sick. He has had a few colds, and been feverish a couple of times, but his short 17 months have been completely free of any major illness. Again, we could just be getting lucky, but I believe breastfeeding has something to do with it. This quote from the FDAs website sums it up nicely:
"Breast-fed babies have fewer illnesses because human milk transfers to the infant a mother's antibodies to disease. About 80 percent of the cells in breast milk are macrophages, cells that kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. Breast-fed babies are protected, in varying degrees, from a number of illnesses… Furthermore, mothers produce antibodies to whatever disease is present in their environment, making their milk custom-designed to fight the diseases their babies are exposed to as well."
I am positive I would have loved Baby G just as much as I do had I not nursed him, but I do believe there is a special bond that comes with your child when you share something as intimate as breastfeeding. There is a sweet connection that comes with knowing that I am the only person in this whole world who can provide that perfect nourishment for him.
Occasionally I struggle to get the exact amount of necessary fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc. in Baby G every day. I really try hard to provide balanced nutrition at all his meals, but some days he just doesn't want to eat his peas. On days like that I feel grateful that I am still giving him those added vitamins and nutrients when he breastfeeds. I want him to be healthy so much and continuing to breastfeed is one way that I try to accomplish that.
Let's be honest, when he was younger breastfeeding was also a really great excuse to take some time to sit down and relax or politely excuse myself from situations that I didn't want to be in. It was time to do the dishes? "Oh, look at the time! Baby G needs to nurse! I'll be upstairs."
Of course there are times that it isn't convenient to nurse (though I think the convenience of those middle-of-the-night nursing feedings vs. the hassle of having to make and warm bottles totally makes up for it). Of course there have been things that I have missed because I couldn't leave my baby behind. Of course it is a time commitment. I still have not left Baby G overnight because I need to be there when he wakes up. (But so you don't think I am completely crazy you should know that I can—and do—let my husband put Baby G to sleep when I can't be there, and my mom can put the baby down for a nap if she needs to, but those are pretty rare occasions.) For the most part, the choice I have made to nurse—and continue to nurse—my baby has also been a choice to not leave him often. They are kind of a package deal. And while there are times that it is a hassle to not just be able to leave whenever I want, I believe there will be plenty of time to leave him when he is older. These months I have with him while he is still little enough to nurse are so fleeting. I can't believe how quickly his little 17 months of life have passed by, and before I know it he will be having slumber parties at his grandma's house and will have no need for me to be there when he goes to bed. So I am going to continue to pass up nights away from him for the time being and continue to marvel that my body had the ability to not only provide my baby with life, but also to sustain him for so long. I only have a few months left.
But tell me about you now. Did/do/will you breastfeed? For how long?
Do you think I am completely crazy for nursing my baby for this long?
Do you think I am completely crazy for wanting to nurse my baby until he is (gasp) 24 months old? Because my brothers totally do. If they read this post they will be highly embarrassed and ashamed :).