my photography blog

Because I didn’t feel like I had enough going on, I started a photography blog. OK, so I’m just kidding about the not having enough going on part, but I did want to start a blog where I can post *just* photos – nothing else – so I’m not crowding this blog with my day-to-day pics. I only have a couple on there from yesterday and plan to update it as I take more pictures, but I hope to add some of my old favorites as well.

Don’t worry, I’ll still post pics here now and then too. 🙂

Nine years ago…

Feb. 20 marks the ninth anniversary of me and Jody’s first meeting in person. Of course we knew each other via the Internet for about 1 1/2 years beforehand, but it wasn’t until Feb. 20, 1998, that we met face-to-face.

I lived in MI. He lived in OK. So, while we wanted to get together, we couldn’t just meet up at the local Starbucks for a cup of coffee. (Wait, did Starbucks even exist back then?)

A lot has happened in those nine years. First I moved to OK and we later got engaged. In 2000 we moved to CO and bought our first home. We got married in 2001 and we’ve since had two amazing children.

It hasn’t all been roses though. We’ve made our fair share of mistakes along the way (the most costly being the purchase of a timeshare which we’ve since sold, taking a huge loss), but we’ve learned a LOT. I think we’ve grown up a lot over the years and really settled into who we are both as parents and people.

I’m thankful for Jody for a number of reasons, but one thing that really stands out to me is what a wonderful father he is. He has nearly endless patience, is able to play just like a child, and has a huge heart.

Dish Duty Father and Son

Pictures taken yesterday – 2/19/07.

I also love (and feel very fortunate) that he and I are on the same page for pretty much everything to do with parenting – from breastfeeding to cloth diapering to delayed/selectively vaxing to discipline. When I first started thinking about having a homebirth for our second child, he was supportive. Of course he first wanted to know that it was safe both for me and the baby, but after we talked to our midwife and both felt very comfortable with her abilities and with just how safe a homebirth really is, he was on board 100%.

I’m thankful that he loves me for me and supports me in following my dreams and pursuing my passions.

Happy 9 years, Jody. I love you.

My best shot Monday 2/19/07

In an effort to keep learning and bettering myself (photographically-speaking), I started reading the Picture This blog (of Tracey – another Maya’s Mom connection), and am going to try to participate in her “My Best Shot Monday” post each week.

The jist of it is you post your best shot or shots (on your blog or wherever) from the previous week, then let her know about it by leaving a comment on her blog. I’m hoping that by forcing myself to put some of my pictures “out there,” it will challenge me and help me grow as a photographer.

Without further ado, here’s my best shot from this past week:

Julian at nearly 3 months old

Julian - 2/18/07

ISO 400, f2.5, 1/125

Constructive criticism always welcome. 🙂

Pregnant in America

Have you heard about this new movie – Pregnant in America?

Pregnant in America examines the betrayal of humanity’s greatest gift–birth–by the greed of U.S. corporations. Hospitals, insurance companies and other members of the healthcare industry have all pushed aside the best care of our infants and mothers to play the power game of raking in huge profits.

His wife pregnant, first-time filmmaker Steve Buonaugurio sets out to create a film that will expose the underside of the U.S. childbirth industry and help end its neglectful exploitation of pregnancy and birth.

Pregnant in America is the controversial story of life’s greatest miracle in the hands of a nation’s most powerful interests.

You can view the trailer at the link above.

All I have to say is Wow – it’s about damn time someone made a movie about this. It definitely has the potential to be a real eye-opener in this country.

Mothering multiple choice

It’s 2:30 in the morning, your 2-year-old daughter just woke up and only mommy can comfort her, your 13-week-old son just did a doozy in his diaper and wants to nurse, the wind is howling outside and the dogs are barking downstairs because of the wind.

What do you do? Do you…

A) Wait for your husband to change your son, then nurse him while trying to cuddle your daughter at the same time;

B) Lie in bed thinking about how you *really* wish you were in the bathroom right about now because of (TMI) the intestinal flu you’ve had the past two days;

C) Brainstorm ideas for a new CafePress store;

D) Think, “I wonder how I can blog about this?”;

E) All of the above.

If you guessed “E) All of the above,” you are right! Your prize is … hmmm, well, there is no prize, other than getting to chuckle to yourself thinking about me in that situation last night.

Around 3:15 a.m., after both kids had fallen back to sleep, I finally got up to go to the bathroom, then snuck downstairs and let the dogs out, drank some Recharge, came back upstairs and checked out Kellymom to look up diarrhea meds that are safe to take while breastfeeding, and jotted down the store/t-shirt ideas I came up with.

Pretty productive for being half asleep, no? Maybe my kids should wake me up in the middle of the night more often. 😉

The Law of Attraction

Don’t you love it when you put something out there in the universe and then get what you asked for? Ah, the “law of attraction” in action. 🙂

A week ago, I posted about some new blogs I’d come across and invited you, my readers, to share with me any blogs that you thought I might be interested in, hoping to find some more like-minded mamas out there in the blogosphere.

Fast forward to Feb. 13, when I received an emailed invitation to join a site called Maya’s Mom. The invite stated “…you can easily and seamlessly expose your blog to new readers by importing a feed into your Maya’s Mom journal. All entries will appear as new and link back to your personal blog!” I’m always interested in expanding my blog readership so I checked it out and signed up. I didn’t plan on getting too involved there, because I don’t have the time to commit to something else. However, as I perused the site, I decided to do a quick search for other members who had the word “homebirth” in their tags. I came across three women fitting that description and sent them an invitation to be my “friend” (similar to “friends” on MySpace, etc.).

One of them, named Christina (om mamma on Maya’s Mom) – a mother, author (of “The Dharma of Motherhood”) and speaker – responded to me after checking out my profile, invited me to her website and encouraged me to sign up for her monthly newsletter, saying she thought it was something I would enjoy.

With Jody home from work and able to watch the kids today, I emailed back and forth with Christina a bit, then spent a good chunk of the morning browsing her site and reading her columns. It only me a quick glance around her site to realize she is exactly the kind of wise and inspirational mama I’ve been looking for and I immediately added her blog – Dharma Mum – to my blogroll.

I’ve been touched by many of the things Christina writes about like discovering your potential, the power of words with regard to your children, bringing spirituality back into our lives, the potential of “mommy brain”, and more. I feel like I struck a gold mine and I want to share it with everybody. 🙂

From Christina’s about page:

I believe that every mother can choose to become a Peaceful Spiritual Warrior:
become the change you wish to see in the world
spend time in sacred silence
bring Spirit into your children’s lives
lead by example and a willingness to learn new things
honour the Goddess perfection within each of us
honour the God and Goddess Selves within each of our children
believe in a better way
work to make the world a better place
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE…
I believe mothering does not have to be as difficult as we are led to believe. I invite every mom to consider the benefits of bringing meditation and gratitude (amongst other things) back into your lives – to ground and centre the experience in deep meaning and with honour.

I’m sure I’ll be blogging about some of her writings/philosophies in the days/weeks ahead, as I think I can learn a lot from her, but in the meantime please feel free to check her out on your own.

Isn’t it cool the way things work out if you open yourself up to the possibilities? 🙂

Oh, and if you happen to join Maya’s Mom, look me up. My username there is amygeekgrl – what else? 😉

Reflecting on Valentine’s day

valentine.jpg

My husband Jody has never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. He sees it for what it is – a commercial holiday second only to Christmas – and I have to agree. Even though I know that it’s all about consumerism – something I try my best not to get caught up in – I have to admit that this girl still likes to be pampered.

I think it was two years ago Valentine’s Day when we said we weren’t going to spend any money on each other. Yeah sure, I agreed to it, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t buy anything for him, but I secretly hoped he’d buy something for me. (Wouldn’t you?) He didn’t. I got upset and I’m pretty sure an argument ensued.

Of course I knew that he loved me and I shouldn’t need a silly holiday for him to prove it (it’s the unexpected little gestures throughout the year that really count), but because our society has built up Valentine’s day to be this special you’d-better-spend-some-good-money-on-me-and-act-all-romantic-or-else kinda day for lovers, not receiving anything other than a verbal “Happy Valentine’s Day” made me feel a little sorry for myself.

When last Valentine’s Day rolled around I knew better and didn’t get my hopes up that I would receive anything. So when he brought home some chocolates, I was pleasantly surprised. (Guess he knew better too. 😉 )

This year, however, I decided if I wanted something special, I’d better do it for myself. And so, I treated myself to a shower this morning, didn’t do any laundry ALL DAY *gasp*, and pulled a casserole out of the freezer for dinner so I didn’t have to cook! If you combine that with the slobbery “kisses” I got from Julian and the unsolicited hugs and “I love you, Mommy”s from Ava, my day turned out to be sweeter than any box of chocolates could ever be. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
— Morrie Schwartz

I hope to write more later tonight, but for now I just wanted to wish you all Happy Valentine’s Day from the two kiddos who stole my heart.

2-14-07 Valentine Kids

Now Ava and I are going to do some stamping with the potato stamps I crafted this morning. I made a couple of hearts, a circle and a star out of some old potatoes (they were growing eyes that were over a foot long – eep!) we had sitting in the basement. The idea came to me while I was lying awake in bed last night. I think it will be a fun, albeit messy, project.

A message for parents of young children

If you haven’t yet heard of Kyle Miller’s story, I urge you to take a few minutes and watch the video. It’s heartbreaking, but contains such valuable information about the importance of using a 5-point harness carseat up to 80 lbs. Please also read the information to the right of the video and pass this along to anyone you know with young children.

Also, a few days ago, I read some tragic news on a message board I’ve been a part of for the past five years. A mama lost her 18-month-old baby girl after she drowned in the bathtub. Her husband walked out of the bathroom, she passed him in the hallway as she was going in, and those few seconds was all it took. I can’t stop thinking about what this poor family must be going through. Unfortunately, this is the second small child bathtub drowning I’ve read of on message boards in the past 2 1/2 years.

I know that we are all tempted to leave our children alone in the bathtub while we quickly grab something or run to answer the phone, etc. (I’m totally guilty of it myself), but PLEASE don’t leave them unattended. The person calling on the phone can wait, the dogs don’t need to be let out that minute, etc. Let this be a wake-up call for all of us. It only takes a second. 🙁

Blog-iversary – 2 years!

Feb. 11 is my 2-year blogging anniversary. Wow! Time flies when you are having fun, huh?

One of my goals when I started my blog is mentioned on my “About” page:

“Since Ava’s birth, I’ve felt a need to raise awareness on various issues relating to women’s health and children, something I try to do via my blog. I truly do want to make the world a better place for her and Julian and I hope that I can do that even if it’s in a very small way. As Gandhi said, ‘We must be the change we wish to see in the world.’”

I think I’ve managed to raise awareness over the past two years. I write about the issues that are important in my and my children’s lives, which most recently have been pregnancy, natural childbirth, home birth and the ever-relevant topic of breastfeeding.

In viewing my stats, I’ve noticed that numerous people come to my blog after doing a search for topics such as “nursing toddler,” “extended nursing,” or “nursing while pregnant.” There have also been frequent searches for “plugged duct” or “mastitis,” or things related to “pregnancy,” “hypnobirthing,” “home birth,” “circumcision, “vaccinations” or “Attachment Parenting.” I hope that something I’ve written in the past two years has helped or touched someone in their parenting journey.

I also get many visitors to my blog in search of recipes, which delights me as well. I enjoy sharing the tasty meals I come across.

Also along the lines of raising awareness, in 2005 I started the Attached At The Hip online store, featuring advocacy wear that supports Attachment Parenting ideals. From August 2005 to today, I’ve sold over 1,100 items, including shirts, bibs, bumper stickers, etc. My biggest seller (which I happen to be quite fond of – see below 😉 ) is the “I make milk. What’s your superpower?” design with over 130 shirts, stickers and tote bags sold to date. My profit from the store sales is only a couple dollars per item, so I’m not in it for some quick money, but it makes me happy to know that so many people around the world (I’ve sold to people in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, as well as 47 of the 50 U.S. states) are interested in spreading the word about breastfeeding and other AP ideals.

superpower

With regard to my blogging, someone once told me “…you aren’t going to change the world.” I disagreed at the time and I disagree today. I may be only one person, but I know I can make small changes for the better here and there, and that’s really the only way the world is going to change – a little bit at a time.

A recent example of one person making a difference in the world is Jennifer from “The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog“. You may or may not have heard about her fund-raising efforts for the Mother’s Milk Bank of Ohio or her run-in with the National Pork Board, but it resulted in the Pork Board organizing it’s own fund-raising campaign among it’s employees, which will likely result in a generous donation to the milk bank. (And that’s in addition to the $1000 Jennifer raised via her blog and CafePress store.) All of this positive change happening because of one woman. Jennifer, you rock! In fact, I was so inspired by Jennifer’s fund-raising efforts on her site, that I’m planning on conducting one myself using Attached at the Hip in the near future. I’m still brainstorming worthy causes to donate the proceeds to. (Please let me know if you have any suggestions. I’d prefer it be a charity that benefits babies and/or children.)

Thank you to those of you who’ve been with me and supporting me for the whole two years and to those of you whom I’ve met along the way. I’m happy to be on this blogging journey with you.

I mentioned Gandhi’s quote above, but it is a fitting ending for this post and is worth repeating (and repeating, and repeating): “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Namaste.