Thursday, December 15, 2011

"And our daughters' daughters will adore us..."

..and will sing in grateful chorus, well done, Sister Suffragette!"

I can't explain why my brain connected this email to Mary Poppins. Or how it narrowed it to Mrs.Banks' song. But they mesh in my mind.

Forgive me for getting it trapped in your head.

Dear Friend:

Fired for breastfeeding?! That’s what happened to Heather Burgbacher, a technology teacher and coordinator in Evergreen, Colorado.

Heather had recently come back to work after maternity leave and was using every spare minute to pump breast milk for her baby. She just needed a little support from her employer: adequate break time and a private place to pump. But the Rocky Mountain Academy refused to help, and told her to consider switching her baby to formula. Worse yet—after she complained, Heather was fired.

So how can we ensure that ALL moms, including teachers like Heather, get the support they need and deserve from their employers?

Tell your Representative and Senators to co-sponsor the Breastfeeding Promotion Act:

WE know that all major medical authorities recommend that mothers breastfeed exclusively for six months and continue breastfeeding for at least the first year of a child's life. WE know that breastfeeding saves lives and dollars. WE know that moms need and deserve to be supported to reach their personal breastfeeding goals. And WE know that workplace lactation support is actually simple and cost-effective...but do your Senators or Representative?

All mothers should have the opportunity to breastfeed their infants, but policy and environmental constraints make this inaccessible for many families. The Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011 tackles one of the most challenging barriers faced by moms today: returning to work. More than half of women with children under one year old are in the labor force, but without adequate support in the workplace, these mothers are more likely to stop breastfeeding early.

The bill aims to protect and expand the rights of working moms by 1) ensuring that breastfeeding mothers cannot be fired or discriminated against in the workplace, and 2) extending the existing federal provision to ensure that an additional 13.5 million executive, administrative, and professional employees, including elementary and secondary school teachers, have break time and a private place to pump in the workplace.

Write to Congress today!

Let's make our voices heard! With a few clicks of the mouse today, you can help to build critical support for this bill and to ensure that all moms are supported to reach their personal breastfeeding goals. Thank you for your support!

*copied from an email sent to me by USBreastfeeding in response to my emails to Congress!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


My back hurts.


A 16+lb Smushy is teething. And wants to be attached. ALL DAY AND NIGHT.

He nurses 23.5 hours of the day. Okay, maybe not that much. But it feels like that. He is either chomping on his fingers or on me. And I'm ready to pass him off. Anyone want to borrow a baby until the teeth break through?

I love my Smushy. Really, I do. But between the constant newborn-esque nursing, trying to wrap Christmas presents, trying to keep Diva out of said presents, cleaning, cooking, laundry....

There is a blog floating around in my head. It was sparked into life through aggravation. And, damnit, I will write about it.

Smushy is whining. The whines are getting louder and at a higher pitch.

I tried.

Honest. I did.

I'll be back...

Thursday, December 01, 2011


disclaimer: this is by no means an attack on any one who formula feeds. these are my thoughts and my opinions and are not directed at anyone in particular.

There are things that I am passionate about. There are things that I have to bite my tongue to heed myself from offering unsolicited advice, information, and opinions. Breastfeeding is one of them.

I nursed Diva until she was 16 months. Then, she was over it. She had better things to do. At that point, she was only nursing once a day, in the morning. And by nurse I mean 30 seconds tops before she had to go explore her world and all that was in it. However, I am the first to admit, it was not easy in the beginning. Until giving birth to Smushy, it was the hardest thing I had ever done.

Diva was induced when she was 10 days late and showed no signs of EVER coming. After 23 hours and 30 minutes, she came into the world. Her birth was exhausting. Thinking of it makes me want to cry still. It was not what I had pictured or wanted. For the vast majority of the time, I had zero support. I felt like I failed when I accepted the epidural after 12 hours of pitocin. I felt like it was my fault when her heart-rate started to go erratic and she needed an internal monitor. After 4 pushes, she was out. And she was blue. Her lips were blue, she was pale, and she wouldn't breathe. She wouldn't breathe.

I got to touch my baby for roughly 30 seconds before she was whisked away. I didn't get to see her again for six hours. Those six hours were horrible. No one came to let us know how she was doing. No one gave a damn about us. When the doctor strolled in around 11:30pm, she was rude and brief. They didn't know what was wrong. She was in the nursery. She had to stay in the nursery. She had tubes in her nose. Her temperature "wasn't stable." She had damn IVs. They gave her binkies, formula, and sugar water WITHOUT EVER ASKING ME. They gave her chest x-rays WITHOUT ASKING ME. They kept her away from me for SIX hours. It was the worst experience of my life.

I didn't realize how upset I was about it until I was at my first Doula workshop, which was led by Nichole. Nicole rocks. She said a lot over the weekend, but several things stuck with me. She talked about how she used to be the good girl who listened to everything the doctors said. She didn't want to raise a fuss. She didn't want to offend. She wanted to be a well-behaved woman.

We know my philosophy on that, right?

Stepping off the soap box...but, those words struck a chord within myself. I had been that woman. Instead of demanding updates, demanding to see my baby and suggesting the nurses shove their "advice" somewhere the sun don't shine....I was well-behaved. I thanked them. I was polite. I apologized for calling the nursery. I apologized for crying. For making a mess.

I never realized how much the entire experience hurt me until Nichole stood in front of me and gave me permission to no longer behave. I had tears in my eyes and slipping down my cheeks as I acknowledged how much anger, pain, shame, and hurt I had held onto since April 2008. Standing there, surrounded by women who had shared the same ideals as I do, was a defining moment for me.

This started out as a blog about some fantastic articles I had read on The Leaky Boob. It started as a rant towards people un-supportive towards breastfeeding. It started out as something very different from where it has ended up so far. I wrote the first part and then had to step away to get my emotions in check. I remembered this blog after someone I know posted a blog about how proud she is to be a formula feeding mom. I read her angry words and was upset. Upset for her and upset by her. I was upset that people tried to push their beliefs on her and told her how she was going to provide nutrition for her child. I was upset that at a difficult moment, people were un-supportive of her.

After that, I was upset by her. I was upset by her attitude. I want to demand that she look to why she thinks breastfeeding is gross. But, by demanding, I am no better than those who told her she had to breastfeed. Is it what is best for babies beyond a shadow of a doubt? Yes. Is it the perfect food for our children? Yes. Is it my responsibility to provide encouragement, support, and any manner of "evidence" for someone who requests it? Yes. But, is it someone else's right to try to shame a breastfeeding mom because of their own comfort level? No. No, no, no, no, no!

If you don't want to look at my boobs, don't. It's that freakin' simple. Amazing, right? Don't ask me to cover up because it is gross. Advert your eyes. Put a blanket over your head. When Smushy is nursing, he looks into my eyes and just stares. It is one of the best blessings any mother can ever hope for. It is a look of complete love, complete trust, and complete peace.

I feel the doctors and nurses were right to suggest pumping to her. Her child was a preemie. She's right; that is all she could do for him. Did she try? Yes. I'm proud of her for that. I never told her I was and that is my fault. I should have. But I know the reason I didn't is because of her feelings towards breastfeeding. And that is sad. I can only try to not make the same mistake again.

When I was "well-behaved," I missed many chances to stick up for myself and for others. Once, at a bridal shower, my best friend and I were told how gross we were to be breastfeeding 4 month old Diva and her 2 week old bff/partner-in-crime, Ollie. I wish I could go back in time and be very rude and get up and leave. I wish I could be very rude and make a snarky, witty come-back as I stood up for myself and E. But I can't. Now, I'd like to see anyone tell me that. I have enough nerve to fire back, "No, what is gross is how uninformed you are. I'm sorry your issues make you feel that the natural and best way to feed an infant is with a man-made powder. If you do not like it, put the blanket over your head."

Booby-traps come in all forms. It can be from a stranger, a doctor, your best friend, or simply an idiot who decides they can't handle the idea of breastfeeding. Next week, I'm going to dive head first into more. Right now I have to go right my friend and email and apologize for not standing up for ourselves so many years ago.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I don't remember Diva teething this early. Then I went and found pictures. Miss April had her canines coming in around July. Smushy, Mr. August, has his canines coming November. Gee, kids, thanks.

Not, of course, that the teeth actually break through. They are visible through the gums. They're hanging out riiiiight below the top of the gum line. Ya know, where they could burst into freedom and save my sanity?

Happy baby has turned into don't-you-dare-put-me-down-woman-who-do-you-think-you-are?!?! Tipping the scales at 16 gets tiring to lug him around all day! We've been getting a lot of wear out of our Moby Wrap.

This is not us. I, for one, can never get my wrap to look this perfect. And I mean never. And my wrap, this celery color, is much much prettier in person. I'm just happy if my back doesn't hurt and the kid doesn't fall out. That means it's working...right?

Moby has a fantastic instructions page. I visit it often. This is us:

Smushy is currently being worn as I type. But...I'm not sitting. I'm standing. Apparently, if I sit, the world shifts and his happiness slides towards the "MAD BABY" side of the meter. Standing it is, sir. Standing it is.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I'm biased. I can't help it. The Smushy boy just does it to me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pumpkin cheesecake & muffins

For Thanksgiving, I  made pumpkin cheesecake and vegan pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. We are trying to slowly move into the vegan lifestyle. That and I couldn't find fake cream cheese.

But, here are the recipes. They are so yummy. They disappeared rather quickly, so I know I'm not the only one who enjoyed them.

Hubby's favorite:

Pumpkin Cheesecake
(I got the recipe from here, but modified it slightly)


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time.
  3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. 
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
(Again, snagged the recipe from here but modified. I like more spice!!) 


* this recipe makes 24 cupcakes, for 12, cut it in half 
seriously. this will make a bunch of small/normal size muffins and several huge ones!
2 cups canned pumpkin
2.5 cups flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy milk
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 pinch of cloves
1/2 tsp salt
2 cup of chocolate chips


  • Line a muffin tin with eco-friendly (unbleached) cupcake liners. 
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the canned pumpkin, oil, soy milk, sugar and vanilla.
  • When this is thoroughly mixed, sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Use a fork or whisk – not an electric mixer.
  • When batter is thoroughly mixed, pour in the chocolate chips and mix them in
  • Pour batter into the muffin tin – filling each space about 2/3 full. The cakes will rise a lot, so don’t overdo it unless you want gigantic cupcakes.
  • Bake at 350°F for 22 minutes. Let cool before you eat them!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why Women Need Prenatal Education - Fit Pregnancy

Why Women Need Prenatal Education - Fit Pregnancy

"Does this doctor/patient dynamic sound like a healthy adult relationship or something akin to an adult-child relationship (the pregnant women plays the “child” here)? Is it a little weird that many women’s first experiences as mothers place them in a submissive, obedient role where they give away their power? Heck yeah, it’s weird and this is a “new generation” thing. Even as recently as a decade ago women came to childbirth knowing what to expect and how they wanted things to go down. They were well enough informed to voice their opinions about what happened to their bodies. Not so much these days. Too many women have become complacent, obedient and kind of gullible. "


I'm grateful this baby has grown into Miss Diva.

I'm grateful for the chance to love on this Smushy every day.

I'm grateful for the fabulous people in my life.

I'm grateful for two beautiful, healthy, happy children who fill my world with snuggles, hugs, kisses, and joy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Enjoying the Small Things"

I had a whiny, self centered post written. Then, I stumbled across this blog. More specifically, this entry.

As I read this story that was poured from a new mother's heart, my gripes suddenly seemed terribly insignificant. I held my little baby boy close and tried to keep the tears from cascading down as I lay in bed unable to navigate away from this story. The photos that accompany Nella's birth story are amazing. Even if you do not want to read, look at the photos. They are enough. Just simply enough.

Many people do not know that I have an uncle with Down's Syndrome. He is my mother's older brother and his name is Rick. I always think of him as "Uncle Rick". (case in point: I had a hard time typing Rick without "uncle" in front of it!)

He was always around when I was growing up; he lived with my Grandma and "Puppy" until she died from cancer when I was ten. He then moved up north to live with various members of my mom's family. He eventually came to live with us. Us being my mom, dad, three brothers, paternal grandmother with Alzheimer's, three cats, nine dogs, cockatiel, and chickens. Thankfully, we lived on a farm. In the middle of no-where. In a speck on the map in Alabama.

When I was younger, I knew that Uncle Rick wasn't like other people. He lives for the Dallas Cowboys, one dollar bills, Cheerios, and Days of Our Lives. He thrived on routine, phone calls, cards, and milk shakes. He rarely got frustrated with my brother and I. He was always interested in "doing homework" and would gladly pay us a dollar to write a sentence repeatedly on a piece of paper.

Growing up, I heard my mother talk about how it was to live with a brother who had DS. Her stories ranged from heart-warming to gut-clenching. The way people treated him was terrible. The way people still treat people with mental problems is disgusting, but I digress.

During my pregnancies, before any tests ruled out genetic abnormalities, I worried about DS. It consumed my thoughts and fears. It took a lot of soul searching and shame for me to finally admit I do not believe I could raise a child with DS. It is so hard to think that though, much less voice it or type it. I believe that the people who do raise children with disabilities are freakin' amazing. Their patience, love, and joy consistently humble me and make me feel ashamed of my weaknesses.

Kelle Hampton's blog, for the first time in my life, made me think that maybe, just maybe, I could also raise a child with DS. Would I feel all the roller-coaster emotions she did? Without a doubt. Would I weep and rage silently? Probably not so silently, honestly. But...she made me think I could do it. And for that, thank you Kelle. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Planning on making history

I first heard the quote "Well-behaved women rarely make history." when I attended an all-women's college in Virginia. The quote has followed me throughout the years with its meaning evolving as I do. At first, I took it at its face value. It's true--you never hear about docile housewives during history. History is fleshed out with Marie Antoinette, Pocahontas, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart. Women who didn't listen to society's rules. Women who scoffed when told "only men can". Women who pushed the envelope and burst through the glass ceiling with grace, style, and determination.

Now, it is more of a motto, a mantra, a goal. I don't want to be well-behaved. Actually, it's more the fact that I'm not well-behaved, but I used to be the docile, rule-abiding, do-as-your-told woman. Then I had my daughter. That rule-abiding person was gone. I didn't want to blindly accept what was shoved at me; I wanted, and needed, to do what I felt was best for myself and Miss Diva. It will be four years in April for this new-and-improved me. I'm still figuring out who I am. After two decades and some odd years of being here, I'm still becoming comfortable in my own skin. I'm still deciding who and what I want to be when I grow up. I'm trying new things and keeping what works for me and discarding what doesn't. It's refreshing. It's liberating. It's terrifying.

I came across a quote that is credited to Betty Bender. I don't know if Betty really said this or if credit belongs to someone else. I do know that it struck me. I've thought about it for days.

"Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile…initially scared me to death."

Driving? Scary. Going out of state to college? Scarier. Falling in love? Frightening. Signing up for doula classes? Shaking in my boots. Becoming a mother? The. Most. Terrifying. Thing. Ever. But, without a doubt, it has also been the most worthwhile thing I have ever done. And I've done it twice now. Miss Diva now has a brother, Smushy Face. They are my world. Every decision I make will affect them for the rest of their lives. Who I am will affect them. What I do will affect them. What I say, think, eat, breathe...yep, you guessed it--it will affect them.

It is humbling and overwhelming. But, those smiles, giggles, hugs and "I love you the mostest." make it worth every tear, every sleepless night, and all those stretch marks.