Penn & Teller on Circumcision

Everything you ever wanted to know (and then some) about circumcision:

From Penn & Teller’s Showtime Bullshit! series, here’s The Bullshit of Circumcision

I think this video speaks for itself. I will add that “brief nudity” is an understatement in this episode’s case, and (as this shows actual circumcisions being performed on babies) this is not for the faint of heart. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

BSM – 4/30/07

It’s time for another round of Best Shot Monday. I know it’s late in the day to be posting, but better late than never, right? And since I’m just now getting the opportunity to do this, I’m not sharing just one shot, but several from this weekend. I mean, might as well kill two birds with one stone and all that, and I usually have a hard time picking just one photo to share anyway.

We had gorgeous weather here this weekend – sunny and in the 80s – and we spent quite a bit of time outside enjoying it.

On Saturday, we had a picnic at one of our favorite parks. Here are a few of Ava from the day, and then a collage of Julian who enjoyed a nice nap in the great outdoors.

At the lake - 4/28/07Ava swinging 4/28/07Rock thrower - 4/28/07

Sleepy Julian - 4/28/07

And earlier in the day on Saturday, Ava had a blast helping me water some new grass seed and then watering herself. LOL

Ava helps water (herself) 4/28/07

Please visit Picture This to see everyone else’s best shots for the week.

thank you

“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.”
— Gloria Steinem

Thank you all so very much for your honesty, candor and support regarding my last post. I greatly admire each of you for sharing your own personal struggles with me, as well as the things you’ve found to help you cope.

On one hand, I’m glad to know I’m not alone. On the other hand, it saddens me that so many of us struggle with this and yet never talk about it.

I often find it hard to open up to other women, even those I consider friends. Blogging makes communication a bit easier, because of the anonymity involved. Perhaps blogging about it here is a start and, eventually I will be able to talk about it with others in person. I think it’s hard for us women (mothers specifically) to open ourselves up, admit we are human (like it or not, we are) and talk about something like this because we fear that others will think poorly of us or judge us. It was refreshing to see that no one passed judgment in their comments, on me or anyone else. Thank you.

And thank you to those of you who’ve taken me up on my challenge too. I have enjoyed learning more about each of you through your honest posts. I will put together a list of all participants (so you still have time to write something and let me know) in the next week.

the truth will set you free

In the spirit of putting more of myself “out there,” here it is, as promised – my completely honest post.

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It recently occurred to me that because I tend to focus on positive things on my blog, that I may give the impression that I have this parenting thing all figured out. And while I do feel like I excel at baby rearing, I find myself struggling with this toddler/preschooler rearing.

It all started when Ava decided to grow up, exert her independence and have a mind of her own/free will. How dare she, right? πŸ˜‰ Of course, a good deal of her gaining her independence seems to have coincided with me being pregnant with Julian and now, of course, being a mother of two. Just when I thought I had it all figured out and parenting was a piece of cake, I threw a pregnancy and new baby in to the mix. I always say I like a good challenge and boy oh boy, is that what I got.

Hmmm. I am just beating around the bush now. Gosh, delving into all of this honesty stuff is seriously harder than I thought. OK, here goes…

Over the past few months I have been losing my patience with Ava more and more. I have found myself doing things that I never wanted to do in my parenting journey – like yelling, talking down to her and (gulp. here goes the brutal honesty) physically wrapping both of my arms around her and squeezing her a little too tightly. The last time I squeezed her, she got scared, started crying and said, “Don’t do that, mommy.” And I about died with guilt and shame, sadness and remorse. πŸ™

What had I become? Who was this woman who has always had the patience of a saint when it came to her children suddenly causing one of them to be afraid of her?

I had a talk with Ava after that and told her that I was sorry and explained that I had been upset and frustrated and I shouldn’t have reacted that way.

Soon after that that I IM’d my husband Jody at work to tell him what happened and to tell him that I needed to do something to help myself and keep me from losing it like that again. I was scared of what I had done and knew that I needed to do something to prevent it from turning into a habit.

Thankfully, Jody was very supportive of me and never made me feel shameful for what I had done. Believe me, I felt bad enough all on my own. He was relieved that I told him what happened and said it was good that I could realize that I had a problem and want to do something about it.

Since I had had previous success with hypnosis (both Hypnobirthing and hypnotherapy while pregnant with Julian) in the past, I decided to email my friend and certified hypnotherapist to tell her what was going on with me and see if I could make an appointment. She responded and said that hypnosis could definitely help with my situation and we scheduled a time for me to meet with her.

The first part of my session was just like any therapy appointment. We talked a lot about what was going on in my life, how things are going with two kids, and more specifically about what was going on with me and my reactions to Ava. It was hard to admit that I’d scared her like I did, but it also felt somewhat freeing to get it off my chest. Of course I started crying when I told her about how Ava reacted and she could sense my guilt and sorrow at what I’d done. She immediately reassured me that while a lot of parents don’t talk about it, what I was going through was very normal. She spoke from personal experience about how hard it is to raise two young children and told me of her past struggles as well. I told her that while I figured it was normal, it was not a path I wanted to continue down. I told her I feel that I’ve inherited some bad traits – like feeling like I have to be in control and having a short fuse – and I want to do whatever I can to break the cycle. She agreed that wanting to change is good and said that there are things I can do to help me with my temper and keep me from losing my cool.

So we talked about some practical things I could put into effect to help myself.
1) Using Rescue Remedy – I used it a lot while I was pregnant but had forgotten about it since then.
2) If I feel like I’m getting close to the breaking point, put myself in “time out” for a minute or two, long enough so that I can calm down and act rationally. It’s something that Ava will understand and it will give me a break to regroup.
3) Implement a quiet time for 20-30 minutes each day with Ava and buy her a special timer. She gave up her naps before Julian was born, but I feel still needs some down time each day which she currently isn’t getting.
4) If everyone (me and the kids) seems to be having a bad day, change up the scenery. Take the kids for a walk, or go to the park or for a drive or something.
5) Call someone if I’m having a bad day.

The rest of the session was spent with the actual hypnosis, which lead to my identifying a “warning sign,” if you will, that I’m about to lose my cool, and coming up with a way to calm myself and act calmly. It was a long session, though it didn’t feel long at all to me while I was in hypnosis (funny how that works), and I came out of it feeling refreshed and thankful that I decided to give hypnosis a try.

So now I’m in the process of putting all of these things into action. I’ve already done a few of the practical things and they are helping me a lot. I also realized today that we (me and the kids) really do need to get out more during the week. We spend way too much time cooped up in our house. Now that the weather is being nicer and Julian isn’t a newborn, I feel more comfortable going out and doing more.

And the hypnosis seems to be working too. I feel much more empowered than I did before. I know this is something that I can control and fix if I continue to work on it and that is my plan. πŸ™‚

So, there ya have it – my brutally honest post. There will likely be more in the future of the crunchy domestic goddess.

And are you up to the challenge of writing a raw, honest post too? Let me know if you do and I will link them all in a future post. Then we can all marvel at our honesty (something we need more of in this world) together. πŸ™‚

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On a related topic, I recently learned about this great website called Enjoy Parenting. Scott Noelle, a parenting coach for Attachment Parenting-minded parents, sends a free (short) daily inspirational e-mail, called the Daily Groove, out to subscribers. I signed up for it and have been enjoying Scott’s emails and finding that I can apply so much of what he writes about to my parenting journey.

Here are a few Daily Grooves from the archive that I thought were particularly noteworthy and applicable to what I’ve been struggling with lately:

Transforming Anger, Part 1
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2006-07-27
Amongst peace-loving folks, anger gets a bad rap. This is because anger is usually present when violence is committed.

But anger is a form of energy that can be applied constructively, too. That was Nature’s intent.

Anger arises naturally whenever you perceive a loss of personal freedom or power. It’s there to energize you on your way back to your natural state of empowerment.

If you get angry about some behavior of your child, and then you scold, punish, or yell at him or her, you’re simply misdirecting the anger energy.

Just remember: the anger is there to uplift you, not to put down your child (or yourself). It’s there to help you break free from disempowering thoughts and reconnect with your Authentic Power.

Transforming Anger, Part 2
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2006-07-28
(Continued from Part 1)

The transformation of anger begins with acceptance. When you resist anger, it persists, escalates into rage, or descends into depression.

Accepting anger doesn’t mean tolerating violence. The compulsion to express anger violently is a byproduct of our “dominator” culture in which force is confused with Authentic Power.

That compulsion can be greatly reduced if you dis-identify with your anger, which you can do by observing or “witnessing” it.

Take a deep breath and locate the sensation of anger in your body. Use your intuition to sense its subtle qualities. Can you feel its “edges”? What is its “shape,” “color,” “temperature,” “weight,” etc.?

Put aside all thoughts of right and wrong for now. Just observe the physical sensation and be present with it.

You are not the anger. You are the Witness, observing the anger. Let yourself be curious and eager to discover what anger can reveal. It wants you to remember Who You Really Are.

Transforming Anger, Part 3
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2006-07-31

(Continued from Part 2)

Once you make peace with your anger, you can harness it’s energy and use it creatively.

Remember, anger always arises from a perception of disempowerment. This must be a misperception because Who You Really Are is truly powerful!

So, to reconnect with your Authentic Power, the trick is to direct the anger at the misperception. Let yourself get really pissed off that this LIE has found its way into your mind! It’s a rude, obnoxious, uninvited guest!

Most important: Shift your thoughts as quickly as you can from being angry at the misperception to being determined to perceive the higher Truth. For example:

“Dammit! I’m sick and tired of believing that a child’s behavior can shut down my heart! My heart and the Infinite Love that fills it are so HUGE than nothing can stop them! Nothing but my belief, that is, but I’m NOT BUYING IT anymore! I AM powerful!! I CAN choose what I focus on!! And I AM DETERMINED to choose thoughts that open my heart!!!”

At this point in your thought process, you can really have some FUN with your aligned anger energy! For example:

“This is all bullsh*t anyway, because I know deep down that my kid is doing the best s/he can with what s/he’s got, and the real reason I’m mad is ‘cuz I’m imagining how my parents would react to that behavior… Like it’s any of their freakin’ business!! I don’t give a RIP what my parents, or the neighbors, or ‘society’ thinks about my choices! I AM FREE TO BE THE KIND OF PARENT I WANT TO BE!!!

Of course your thought process will vary depending on the situation. The overall strategy is to transform your anger into a passionate determination to connect with your Inner Power and Freedom.

Authentic empowerment feels WAY better than the shallow satisfaction of forced compliance. And once your heart is open again, all sorts of creative solutions will come flooding in!

Detoxifying Parental Guilt
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2007-03-16

Are you plagued by guilt whenever you fall short of your parenting ideals? Such guilt may seem a natural response, but it’s not… It’s cultural.

Our culture conditions people to believe that their worth depends on their behavior, so that when your behavior is “wrong” you doubt your self-worth, i.e., you feel guilty.

But if you knew absolutely that you are worthy of love and respect Ò€” unconditionally Ò€” you’d never feel guilty. You’d simply feel “off” whenever your behavior was out of alignment with your values.

That “off” feeling would be a welcome sign that you need to adjust your course. And with your self-worth beyond dispute, you’d be confident in your ability to get back on track.

So next time you feel parental guilt, say to yourself, “This has nothing to do with my inherent worth Ò€” that’s a given. I made a mistake, but I can learn from it. I got a little lost, but I’m finding my way.”

Radical Honesty
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2007-04-25

Hiding the truth (from yourself and/or others) is a constant energy drain. To free yourself from the burden of secrets and lies, you must cultivate the skill of radical honesty: willingness to reveal any truth, no matter how “unacceptable” it is. (See recommended book and website, below.)

Withholding truth is such an integral part of our culture that you probably don’t notice when you’re doing it. So, for today, pay close attention to your thoughts and expressions, and continually ask yourself, “Am I being as honest as I could be about that? Is there a deeper truth?”

Examples of “acceptable” dishonesty include saying you’re “fine” when you’re not, and not saying how you feel about the way your friend treats her child.

When you spot a white lie or withheld truth, notice how it feels in your body Ò€” the energy and effort required to distort or ignore your true feelings.

Then imagine being radically honest Ò€” telling it exactly like it is. If you could be that honest and keep your heart open, would you?

Ò€’ Recommended book: Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton

Time is running out

Sorry for not writing any thought-provoking posts yet, but those kind of posts take time and brain power – neither of which I feel I have a lot of at the moment – and I had to get this in ASAP. πŸ˜‰ If you haven’t yet cast your vote for Julian in the Shutterfly “Cutest Kid Contest” and would still like to, you have only a few more days before the contest ends. Click on his pic below to place your vote. Thanks!

The contest is up to nearly 5,000 entries now (holy smokes!), and my goal is to make it into the top 100, so please vote if you haven’t yet. I need all the help I can get to help me reach my goal. One vote per browser (so if you have IE and Firefox, you could potentially vote twice if you so desired).

Julian says, “thank you!” πŸ™‚

P.S. If you have trouble with it accepting your spam verification code, please try refreshing the page with his photo on it and try voting again. That usually fixes it. Thanks!

P.P.S. After tons of rain yesterday, we had some nicer weather today. I had a dentist appointment this morning, then me and the kids hung out with some friends at a park. It was so nice to be outside and get out of the house for a while. πŸ™‚ Tomorrow is “Take Your Son/Daughter to Work Day,” so Ava is riding with daddy on the bus and hanging out with him at work for half the day. She is really looking forward to it!

5 months! (and a little update on life)

Julian 5 months old 4/23/07Ava 4/23/07


My boy is 5 months old today. Can you believe it? Time sure flies when you’re running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Sorry for that visual. Ugh. (I had to share a pic of the girl along with the boy. I took both of those today. If you know anything about almost 3-year-olds, you would marvel right along with me that the girl had a quiet, somber moment today. It was fleeting, but I captured it.)

Seriously though, we’ve been PLENTY busy around here lately. As you may have previously read, my mom was in town and staying with us for the past 10 days. It was wonderful to have her visit and offer her assistance with miscellaneous household tasks as well as watch the kids. We got so much accomplished!

Ava thoroughly enjoyed all of the undivided attention she got and I think she’s going through Grandma withdrawal now. And Julian warmed up to Grandma in no time flat, which sure made it easier for me to run out to appointments and errands.

Jody and I got the garage cleaned out, I got started on some painting in the house, we had some contractors come by for estimates on redoing our bathroom shower, I went to the eye doctor and ordered new glasses (can’t wait to get them!), I got a haircut, I had a hypnotherapy appointment, Jody and I went out ALONE for pizza and beer to celebrate our anniversary (boy, was that nice!), I washed some walls in the house, I bought the kids some spring/summer clothes, we had the air ducts cleaned out, we went to the museum for arts and crafts, we went to the farm for “farm fest,” and I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting. Not to mention all of the things my mom helped out with while here.

Today she flew home to MI and it was back to reality around here. I didn’t have a very good night last night (my back is giving me grief) and today was exhausting, so I’m hitting the hay early.

I have a lot to write about in the days/weeks ahead, so stay tuned. It will take time to sort it all out and get it typed though. With my mom here, I think I temporarily forgot how time-consuming having 2 kids under 3 years old really is. I could seriously get used to having someone stay here to help out with the kids full-time and I totally understand why some families employ nannies. πŸ˜‰

BSM – 4/23/07

This week’s Best Shot Monday (BSM) comes from the farm we visited (along with Grandma, Aunt Carrie & Jason) over the weekend.

Ava had a great time seeing all of the animals and she took her very first pony ride. Ya think she enjoyed it? πŸ™‚

Ava riding a pony, with daddy 4/21/07 Ava on the pony, and daddy 4/21/07

Spring is in the air and I couldn’t help taking several pictures of flowers this weekend. I love to see all of the colors reemerging after an unusually snowy winter here.

New blooms


Take a moment to visit Picture This to see everyone else’s best shots for the week. πŸ™‚

And if you haven’t yet read my Earth Day post on things you can do to help save the Earth, please check it out now. Mother Earth and I thank you. πŸ™‚

Go Green! – Earth Day 2007

Because living green is important to me and my family, I turned on Oprah’s Going Green 101: What Your Family Can Do Today! show on Friday to see if I could pick up some more tips. While we’re already doing several of the things they discussed on the show, I learned quite a bit more that we can start doing to help save our planet Earth.

I decided to make a list (in no particular order) of things YOU can do RIGHT NOW to help save the world. Many of the things are from Oprah’s show, while some are things I came up with myself or got elsewhere.

Choose one or two to get started, or do them all! Every little bit helps. πŸ™‚

Help save the world by…

— Change the light bulbs in your house to energy-efficient Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) – CFL’s are four times more efficient and last up to 10 times longer than incandescents. They cost more upfront, but will save you money on your electricity bill almost immediately and they last from 8 to 10 years!

— Buy natural cleaning products like Shaklee, Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyer’s. Or, make your own cleaning products – Homemade Cleaners!

— Buy organic foods whenever possible.

— Unplug your appliances when you aren’t using them. Even if items are in the off position, they are still using energy. Or buy Smart Power Strips to conserve energy and cash.

— Use cloth napkins.

— Use cloth diapers or if you must use disposables, consider buying gDiapers (which are flushable!) or Seventh Generation diapers.

— Use a reusable menstruation product like The Diva Cup or The Moon Cup or use cloth pads like Glad Rags.

— Take public transportation, carpool, bike or walk.

— Reuse one bottle for your water instead of buying bottled water.

— Bring your own coffee cup/mug/thermos when you go to Starbucks, etc. for your coffee. Starbucks even offers a discount when you bring in your own cup.

— Use cloth grocery bags.

— Breastfeed.

— RECYCLE your plastic, glass, aluminum and paper! Go to Earth911 and enter your zip code to find out what is recyclable in your area.

— Shop at second hand stores for clothing, etc., and donate, give or sell your old clothes, shoes, etc. to others.

— Keep stuff out of the landfills by Freecycling items you no longer need. One person’s trash is another’s treasure!

— Take shorter showers.

— Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving.

— Reduce your meat consumption, better yet – eat vegetarian, or even better still – go vegan. “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” – Albert Einstein

More Earth-friendly tips, contributed by Leigh:

— Purchase wooden toys, or at least used toys.

— Practice sustainable, green building practices for new homes or remodels (low VOC paint, renewable floors like bamboo, solar/passive solar, native planting, sustainable materials, low-water usage appliances, and so much more).

— If you can, convert your car to a bio-diesel or SVO powered vehicle.

— Compost and use in your garden

— Support businesses who invest in sustainable, earth-friendly practices

— Buy fair-trade (while it’s not directly linked to the earth per se, I believe that peace and fair living practices = respect for the Earth).

— Thank the earth daily.

Some more tips, contributed by Bazu:

— Use cold water when doing laundry. I was a little hesitant at first, but I haven’t noticed any difference in the level of cleanliness in the clothes, and it saves a good amount of energy.

— Keep your freezer full, it cools more efficiently. If you don’t have a lot of food, even ice packs or bags of ice will do.

— Convert your yard/lawn to natural native plants instead of non-local plants or grass. Lawn maintenance is a huge energy sucker.

Caroline suggests:
— Use biodegradable dog poop bags

And Erica recommends:
— Even better than vegan – eat RAW! No energy used to cook the food, and your body will thank you.

Check out these related links:

GreenDimes – Reduce your junk mail by 75-90% and have a tree planted for you each month – all for a dime/day

The Green Book – Full of hundreds of simple environmental solutions that can make a big difference in the world

Breastfeeding and the Environment – Breastmilk is a valuable renewable natural resource that is the most ecologically sound food source available. It is produced and delivered to the consumer without using other resources, and it creates no pollution. In contrast, artificial baby milk production pollutes our land, air, and water and uses up natural resources.

An Inconvenient Truth – Al Gore’s movie about global warming

Ten Tips for Earth Day: Preserving Biodiversity

The History of Earth Day

Top 10 Earth Day Tips from National Geographic’s The Green Guide

Logical Environmental Reasoning for a Vegetarian Lifestyle

Climate Teacher – Focused on helping people understand, communicate, and take action on climate change.

Do you have more tips or sites to share about going green or Earth Day? Please share them with me and I’ll add them to the list.

Mother Earth thanks you.
Happy Earth Day! πŸ™‚

β€œI do”

Six years ago today, Jody and I spoke those two little words and began our married life together. (I posted some pics from our wedding day last year on my blog if you are interested.)

Since my mom is staying with us until Monday, we are planning a dinner out alone together tomorrow night while she watches the kids. I’m looking forward to a little couple’s time alone.

Happy anniversary, Jody. πŸ™‚

more on putting myself β€œout there”

Thanks to all of you for your comments and support regarding my last post. Lots of good food for thought there.

I’ve been thinking more about this topic and wanted to clarify some things for myself (and anyone else who wants to read it). I said in my comments that part of my issue with putting myself out there is that family reads my blog, so that makes me tentative to post about certain things. However I want to clarify that that doesn’t mean I’m stewing, wanting to talk/write smack about my family or anything. I feel that some things that are a part of my life/family’s life seem a little too personal for me to blog about, even though there are times I’d like to get them off my chest.

My bigger issue really is that, like it or not, I’m a people pleaser. You might think it’s odd that I like to avoid confrontation, while in the same breath I admit I like to blog about controversial things from time to time. I like to share my opinions, however I’m not good about letting the negative responses I receive slide off my back. I tend to carry that negativity around with me for a while and I know that’s not healthy. That may be why I’ve avoided writing about controversial topics lately. I don’t want the negativity that they seem to bring.

I want to be liked and respected for my thoughts and opinions. I try hard not to trash other people for their opinions, while still reserving my right to disagree.

Perhaps in the next week or so, I will post a challenge to myself and those of you who are interested (MB – thanks for suggesting this in your comments), to post about a topic of your choosing on your blog with complete honesty. (Maybe it could be a topic that you’ve avoided writing about in the past, but really want to put out there.) Then you can respond to let me know that you posted and I’ll link to everybody’s raw, honest posts. Anyone up for the challenge?