2006 in review and goals for the future

As we approach New Year’s Eve and the start of 2007, I can’t help but reflect on the past year and the changes our family has seen and things we have done.

Of course, the biggest change in our lives occurred when I got pregnant back in February and then Julian joined our family in November. ๐Ÿ™‚

I did a lot of soul-searching and research before deciding mid-pregnancy to switch from a traditional OB-attended hospital birth to a midwife-attended home birth. It’s a decision that really changed my life in a lot of ways (those of you who read my birth story know why) and I’m so thankful that I made that choice. One of these days I hope to write more about home birth and why it was such an amazing experience for me.

We took three trips this past year – one to Oklahoma and Kansas to see my in-laws, one to California in May and the other to Michigan to see my family in August, and we had a visit from my parents in both June and December.

I made some good progress with my photography business, building up my portfolio and gaining experience.

The company Jody works for was acquired by Google, which was a positive move for the company and Jody personally.

And Ava celebrated her second birthday in June with a Sesame Street-themed party at a park.

At the end of 2005, I wrote a blog entry with my goals for 2006, which were:

* Become more aware about the food and drinks I ingest and feed to my family. – to include researching vegetarianism and veganism and learning about the impact of current farming and food production in this country on the animals and environment so that I can make informed dietary decisions
* Research voluntary simplicity
* Take a photography course and LEARN, LEARN, LEARN
* Continue portfolio building and practicing for my photography business
* Be mindful that all of my words and actions have consequences
* Focus on healing and acceptance (with regard to being an adult child of an alcoholic) – to include reading some of Claudia Black’s books on the subject

I feel like I’ve accomplished most of those or at least worked on them to some degree. The one I feel I didn’t do as much on as I would’ve liked is the first one. While we do try to eat organic whenever we can afford it, my choice to go vegetarian didn’t last long. I don’t know if complete vegetarianism will work best for our family, but I would like to see us decrease our meat consumption in the coming year.

So here are my new goals for 2007 (in no particular order):

* Continue to be aware of the foods we eat and decrease meat consumption
* Continue to declutter and organize our house a la FlyLady (working towards voluntary simplicity)
* Return to photography (semi-professionally) at some point – I’m currently taking a break since having Julian.
* Be mindful of my patience, as well as practicing gentle discipline and empathic parenting
* Continue to be mindful that all of my words and actions have consequences, especially with regard to my husband, Ava and my sister

I think that’s all for now. Of course, I also have goals for things that need to be fixed around the house with the ultimate goal of finding a new home to move to in the next year or two, but I’m not including those things in my list.

I would like to add that my Christmas cards finally arrived on the 28th and were mailed out the same day. (I sent Jody out to the post office in the snow. How horrible am I?) I wasn’t thrilled with how they turned out, but oh well! After all of that waiting, they were being sent no matter how they looked. :oP

Thankfully, we only got about 4 or 5 additional inches of snow on Thursday. The piles from the plowing (hooray, our street finally got plowed) are gigantic. Jody was able to work from home both Thursday and Friday, so that was nice. Ava and I did some crafts together on Friday. I’ll post pics another time.

No special New Year’s plans for us this year. We were invited to a party, but since Julian is still such a newbie and this is major flu and RSV season, have decided to stay at home. I’m still trying to come up with something fun we can do tomorrow night as a family. Any ideas?

Wishing everyone a safe and happy New Year! ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers!

Another winter storm headed our way

We may be getting another 5 to 8 inches (or more) of snow this week on top of what we already have from the last big storm. Eep! Our street still hasn’t been plowed and, because of the storm causing delays, our trash hasn’t been picked up in two weeks now. I just hope this next storm isn’t as big as they think and we can escape with only a couple inches of the white stuff.

And as for the whereabouts of the Christmas cards I ordered back on 12/18 that were supposed to be delivered on 12/21 but weren’t because of the blizzard…well, according to UPS.com, they were out on a truck scheduled for delivery today but I haven’t seen them yet. (insert whine here) I just want to get the darn things in the mail before New Year’s!

As for my thoughts regarding all of this snow –
We had our white Christmas, now I’m ready for it all to melt so I can take the kids out for walks to the park and stuff. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I guess I’ve been spoiled by our mild, relatively snow-free winters in the past. Call me jaded, but I’m having a bit of cabin-fever here. :oP

Dear Mr./Ms. Toy Manufacturerโ€ฆ

Dear Mr./Ms. Toy Manufacturer:

As new toys (specifically those of the battery-operated nature) enter our home this holiday season, I can’t help but wonder a simple little question. Why is it, dear toy manufacturer, that the default volume on said toys must be at decibels significantly louder than any reasonably sane parent would allow in their home? Kids don’t know that after they press the on button, they must immediately turn the volume down. They don’t care about the volume being too high or even notice. It’s the parents – especially those who have younger children that are trying to nap – that must drop everything, frantically run over to the toy and press that little down arrow button repeatedly, trying to get the volume to a level that doesn’t promote hearing loss. It can get rather exhausting.

Please consider redesigning your toys so that when they are turned on, they are at a reasonable volume that one may turn up if one so chooses – not at a volume that makes a parent want to throw the toy out the window. (Did I say that??)

Happy Holidays.

A mom experiencing hearing loss in her right ear


Yes, I may be exaggerating a bit, but c’mon – am I the only one who feels this way? Why are toys designed this way? Why can’t they start out at a low volume? Seriously, it makes so much more sense. The manufacturer should want the parent to like the toy, not want to throw it into the trash compactor. ๐Ÿ˜‰

All right. I’m spent. :oP

Hope your Christmases were merry and no one suffered undue hearing loss. Cheers!

Pictures of the season

Just wanted to share a few pictures of the family (mostly Ava this time) taken over the past week or so. Click to enlarge.
If you are a family member or close friend and would like to see more pics of our family, please email me – amygeekgrl@gmail.com – and I will send you links to our Snapfish albums.

Ava dressed up for our early Christmas celebration with my parents – 12/17/06:

Ava and Julian with Grandma and Grandpa S. – 12/17/06:

Our family – 12/17/06:

Ava and the gingerbread house she decorated with Grandma – 12/20/06:

Ava in a big snow pile – 12/21/06:

Riding in the sled with mommy, while daddy pulled us:

Riding in the sled down our snowy street:

Happy Holidays to all!! ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. The Christmas cards I ordered a few days ago (using one of the family pictures the photographer took) are currently stranded in Iowa. According to the tracking info I have, it seems the flight they were supposed to be on to Denver was canceled due to the blizzard. Bummer! I hope they make it on another flight soon so I can get them in the mail. Better late than never, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice today!

Winter Solstice also known as Yule, Christmas, and Saturnalia, occurs in mid December. It celebrates the birth of the new Solar year and the beginning of Winter.
The Winter Solstice is unique among days of the year รขโ‚ฌโ€ the time of the longest night and the shortest day.

More on celebrating winter solstice here.

By the way, we ended up with just about 2 feet of snow after the great blizzard of ’06. Jody and I took Ava out to play in it for a bit today. Ava enjoyed throwing herself into snow piles, but wasn’t too keen on riding on the sled except when Jody pulled both Ava and me together on it. It was a workout for daddy but fun for us. ๐Ÿ™‚

Good news and a white Christmas? (pics)

The good news is that my breast is doing much better today. I’m still treating it until it’s completely healed, but it is feeling so much better already. I remembered last night that I have a rice heating pad, so I had Jody warm it up in the microwave for me and I used it a few times throughout the night. That helped a lot.

The other news is that we are in the middle of a huge blizzard expected to dump up to 2 feet of snow (or more) by tomorrow evening. We already have at least 6 inches I would say and it’s only supposed to continue throughout the day today, tonight and into tomorrow. Jody’s company let them leave early and he’s on a bus headed for home as I type. My parents, who were planning on driving home to MI tomorrow, are likely staying at least an extra day. And my sister, who’s last exam of the semester was scheduled for tomorrow, will probably have that postponed, as the majority of schools in the area are closed due to the weather.

Ava and my mom are decorating a gingerbread house right now, while Julian is sleeping on my dad’s chest. I’m going to jump in the shower while I have the chance. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope everyone stays warm, and those affected by this blizzard stay safe.

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…”

Update: At 6 p.m. we have at least a foot of snow and it’s still coming down.
Another update: At nearly 9 p.m., we have about 2 feet of snow and it’s still snowing! This is the most we’ve ever seen while living here (the past 6 years).

Pics (which don’t really do it justice) – taken at 9:10 p.m. – click to enlarge

Our car (a Forester) tonight (after it had been completely cleared off at 2:30 p.m.):

View of the front door:

The aspen trees in the front yard:

The most dramatic pic – The table and chairs on our patio – You can really see how much we’ve gotten so far:

Plugged duct/mastitis :(

It seems I have either a plugged duct (or ducts) and/or mastitis. ๐Ÿ™ My left breast started hurting last night, and, despite having both Ava and Julian nurse on that side, it wasn’t any better this morning. I talked to my midwife today and she gave me a list of things to do to treat it – including WishGarden Mastitis Remedy – 4 droppersful every 2 hours, drinking Emer-gen-C – 3 times a day, and Echinacea tea (to boost my immune system) – 2 times per day, hot compress (with WishGarden Mastitis Poultice – optional) 4 times a day, as well as lots of rest. I took a nap this afternoon, but am still feeling crappy. (Thankfully, my parents are still in town to help out or I can’t imagine I’d get any rest at all!) She said if it’s not better by the morning, to call her. I’m hoping that since I caught it very early that I can nip it in the bud and not have to go to the doctor for antibiotics and have to deal with the risk of Julian or myself developing thrush after that. So we’ll see what the morning brings. I’m trying to think positively.

I’ve heard that it’s more common to develop these issues with second babies than it is with the first, because you get more lax about positioning and latch, etc. I feel very fortunate that I never had any issues in the 2 1/2 years of nursing Ava (pre-Julian), because, quite frankly – this sucks.

Anyway, I wanted to post about it and the treatment options in case it might help anyone else out there dealing with this. There’s also lots of good info re: plugged ducts and mastitis on kellymom.com.


These days I’m wishing I could clone myself – especially in the middle of the night when Ava wakes up upset and wants only mommy. It’s happened a few times in the last few nights and, thankfully, I’ve been able to lie in bed with her while she falls back asleep, without Julian needing me (i.e. my boobs). However, I’m sure a time will come when I need to be in two places (i.e. with her AND with Julian) at the same time.

I’m sure having a clone would come in handy during the day too. The real me could spend time with the kids, while my clone tends to housework, making dinner, etc. In my spare time (ha!), I’ll need to figure out how to swing that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

20 days old pics and miscellaneous ramblings

Three new pics of the boy at 20 days old – taken 12/13/06.

We get our family pics on DVD back from the photographer on Sunday. She said she’s very pleased with how they turned out. I can’t wait to see them!

I decided to mail Julian’s birth announcements out with our Christmas cards this year (saves stamps!). I finished designing the announcement last night and am quite happy with it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll probably share it here once I get them mailed out. I think I already mentioned this, but I’m waiting on our family pics before I design our Christmas cards, so they will be getting mailed out late this year. C’est la vie.

I can’t believe Christmas is in 10 days. I managed to do a little Christmas shopping this week with Ava in tow. I was even able to sneak a few presents for her into the cart without her seeing. When I asked the checkout woman to please put them in a bag quickly so my daughter didn’t see them, she acted all put out. Sheesh. I didn’t think it was that unusual of a request and where’s her Christmas spirit anyway? :oP