thoughts on Blogher and being proud

I’m sitting here at the computer with a sleeping Julian on my chest, while two men from South Africa clean out the air ducts in my house. Ava and Grandma left for a few hours to go to the library and buy material to make clothes for her baby “Trajan” and to get away from all of the noise. I figured I’d use this time to catch up on some Group Talks on Maya’s Mom and I came across some posts about Blogher, specifically the upcoming annual Blogher conference which is in July this year in Chicago.

I never gave any thought to attending the conference before, even though I’ve been blogging for over 2 years now, but after reading many women say what a great time they had in the past and how they are planning to return this year, I started wondering if it might be something I’d like to do someday.

My reading on Maya’s Mom lead me to Elizabeth’s blog Table for Five, specifically this post about her experience at Blogher ’06 and some things she took away from the closing session.
She wrote:
“1. Find your voice.
2. Stop apologizing. Be proud of who you are and what you do.
3.Stop hesitating. Move yourself forward.
4. You ARE worthy.”

Those things really hit home for me, especially the part about “Stop apologizing. Be proud of who you are and what you do.” and “Stop hesitating. Move yourself forward.”

There are sometimes things I want to write about, but don’t for fear of offending someone, somewhere. Or if I do write about something controversial, like circumcision, I’m so careful to be as politically-correct as possible, that I feel like I’m walking on eggshells. But then I wonder, why is it my responsibility to protect people? It’s my blog and I should be able to write or not write about whatever I want. If people chose to read it, that is their prerogative, and if it bothers or offends them, they have the option to stop reading it.

I admire the bloggers (and several come to mind) who lay it all out there and say whatever the hell is on their mind, without regard for who it might upset. They are proud of who they are what they do. They don’t apologize for sharing THEIR thoughts on THEIR blog. I respect them for being true to themselves.

While I don’t imagine I will make it to Blogher this year, maybe I will make it a goal to go next year. It sounds like a very empowering and fun conference to attend. Maybe I can talk a few of my friends turned bloggers to go with me. (Hint, hint – you know who you are – Nicole, Heather, Julie, Sonja…) And in the meantime, I’m going to try to be more true to myself in my blogging and speak my mind. I am proud of who I am, so why should I be so afraid to put myself “out there”?

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And now for a “shout out.” Thank you Caroline, for including my blog among the five blogs you recommend. I think it’s awesome that you choose to read my blog even though it’s far removed from the world you are familiar with. 🙂 Thanks for your open mindedness.

Best Shot Monday – 4/16/07

I actually didn’t pick up my SLR at all this past week. *gasp* I know, I know. I need to crack the old girl out again. I did, however, take a few snapshots with my beat-up, old P&S (point & shoot, or as I really like to call it, piece of sh*t). Using that thing sure does make a girl appreciate her SLR, that’s for sure!

Anyway, this week’s shots are just for fun – nothing “technically” great about them. 😉

Look, mom! I found the headbands!
One for me and…

Ava headband - 4/2/07

One for Julian! Doesn’t he look pretty? LOL
Julian headband - 4/2/07

What’s for lunch, Julian? Daddy’s nose! *suck, suck, suck*
Julian snacks on daddy’s nose - 4/15/07
(I used a retro action on this one.)

Now go take a moment to visit Picture This to see everyone else’s best shots for the week. 🙂

Memories

Jody managed to get a LOT done in cleaning out our garage this weekend. I wish I would’ve taken a “before” pic so you could see the difference with the “after” pic (which I haven’t taken either), but c’est la vie. Believe me, it looks 100x better than it did.

I helped a bit too, but spent a lot of time rifling through a box I discovered labeled “Amy’s crap.” It was a box of stuff from my youth – we’re talking toddler years through high school and beyond. Oh my! What a trip down memory lane that was.

First of all, I used to be a HUGE pack rat. I still am to some degree, but not nearly as bad as I was. I saved letters from friends from over 20 years ago! It was fun to read through hard copies of letters since nearly everything is done virtually now. There was no way I could’ve sat down and read through them all, though it would’ve been fun. I would probably still be sitting in the driveway if that was the case. I did read a few though, before tossing the whole lot of them into the recycling bin. (Eep!) One was from my childhood friend Melanie Langridge and was dated April 12, 1987. Yes, a 20-year-old letter! A few others I read were from an old guy friend (who was never a boyfriend, though I wished at the time that he was) named Steve Goodman and dated back to 1992. He was trying to give me advice (which I asked for) regarding my boyfriend at the time and whether or not I should go away to college or stay closer to home. It’s funny because I pretty much followed his advice and went away to school, but then was so miserable missing my boyfriend for two years, I moved closer to home to finish school, and, wouldn’t you know it, broke up with the guy. It’s funny how things all work out.

It was fun to see all of those old letters which didn’t even include the large bag of “notes” I have stashed in the basement from friends in middle school and high school. Oy. I save so much.

But anyway, after I dumped them all into the recycle bin yesterday, I laid awake in bed last night having serious remorse at my decision to go cold turkey. I reassured myself that the recyclables won’t be picked up for another week and a half and I can always go retrieve them if I change my mind. Call me crazy, but I’m actually considering it. When you think about it, how cool is it to have letters from old childhood friends from sooooo many years ago? But then again, what do I really need them for? I haven’t looked at them in God knows how many years, so why hold onto them?

I still hold onto cards and letters that Jody and I exchanged and plan to keep those. But do I need letters from people I am no longer in contact with? Where should I draw the line? How much is too much?

In that box of “Amy’s crap” I also discovered some old toys, stickers and sticker albums which I held onto (some I will give to Ava) and some of those little picture things from amusement parks like Cedar Point and Kings Island. I don’t know if they still do this, but do you remember when you’d go to an amusement park and they’d take your picture with your friends as you came in, then later in the day you could go buy an overpriced little key chain picture viewer thing with your photo in it? Anyway, I came across five or so of those and kept them. They were fun to look at. 🙂

So yeah, basically Jody cleaned out the garage, while I took a stroll down memory lane. 😉

We nearly filled up the dumpster, plus filled up our paper recycling bin, and took a bunch of cardboard to the recycling center. And I really did do some work. I “Freecycled” a few bags of stuff yesterday and today and have more items to list and get rid of this week. Plus we got a new Shopvac-type vacuum and Jody vacuumed up all of the mouse crap and there was no sign of any more live mice. After months and months of battling those little breeders, I have to say hooray!

In addition to the garage cleaning, we had a couple of people come to give us estimates on redoing our bathroom. And Grandma spent a lot of time watching the kids, as well as cleaning up other things around the house and yard. Thank God for grandmas to help out!

All in all, it was a VERY productive weekend. 🙂

Oh, and we never did get that snow that was predicted. We had two gorgeous weekend days – in the 60s on Saturday and in the 70s on Sunday. Sunny and beautiful!

busy week ahead

My mom arrived in town tonight to spend the next week plus with us. She hasn’t seen the kiddos since Christmas and, boy, has Julian changed a lot in 3 1/2 months. He can hold his head up, roll over, play in the exersaucer, and eat his toes!

Ava and I had been counting down the days until her arrival for just over a week now. I would tell her “Grandma will be here on Thursday.” And she’d reply, “This Thursday?” Then as the day of her arrival grew closer I’d say, “Grandma will be here in three more days” or “two more days” or “tomorrow,” etc. And she’d say, “this three more days?” or “this two more days?” or “this tomorrow?” hee, hee. I’m not sure she grasps the concept of time just yet. 😉 At any rate, they were both happy to see each other again.

Since my mom will be here to help out with the kids, I have a lot planned for this next week. Now we just need to cross our fingers that Julian warms up to Grandma quickly. 🙂

— We rented a dumpster from the city so Jody and I can properly clean out our garage. Of course we will recycle and freecycle what we can, but some stuff (like stuff that’s been ruined because of the freakin’ mice we had) just needs to go to the dump.
— We’re getting our air ducts cleaned out (finally!). This is only about 6 years overdue. They recommended we do it when we bought our house. Oops!
— I’m hoping to do some painting in the house.
— I have an eye appointment scheduled for myself. I haven’t had my eyes examined since I was pregnant with Ava, so I’m definitely overdue. I am really looking forward to getting some new specs.
— I have a hypnotherapy appointment for myself as well. I’ll likely write more another time about why I’m going, but there’s some thing(s) I feel I need to work on and I’m hoping this will help me. The woman I’m going to see is the same one who taught my Hypnobirthing classes when I was pregnant with Ava. I also saw her during my pregnancy with Julian to do some fear release work (to get rid of some fears I had been carrying around from Ava’s pregnancy and birth).
— I might try to sneak out for a haircut too. I could use a change or a trim at the very least.
— Jody and I celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary on the 20th, and we’re hoping to have a dinner out alone.

And I’ve got some fun stuff for Ava and Julian planned too.
— We’re hoping to go back to visit the goat dairy next week if the weather cooperates.
— And go to the museum for arts and crafts.
— And maybe go to the farm too, again, it will depend on the weather.

I mention the weather because we’re expecting to get several inches of snow (that’s right, SNOW) tonight and tomorrow. Ahh, gotta love it. It’s actually supposed to be back into the 50s and 60s for the weekend though, but then rain is in the forecast for next week, so we’ll see what happens. 🙂

He loves me, he really loves me

Just another reason why I love my husband, Jody. He nominated me for two “blogger’s choice awards” – Best Parenting Blog and Hottest Mommy Blogger. <blush> Isn’t he a sweetie? It’s either that or he’s buttering me up for something. 😉

If you’d like to vote for me, please click the buttons below. Thanks! 🙂

Oh, and just for the record, you can vote for numerous blogs in each category, so just because you already vote for one blog for “best parenting blog” (or whatever) doesn’t mean you can’t vote for another.

donating breast milk

Julian’s first nursing

I wrote a few weeks ago that after learning that the freezers at the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Denver were very low, I had been considering donating my breast milk. I decided to go ahead with the screening process (which is quite thorough, let me tell you) and finally got my paperwork completed and mailed off yesterday. Now I wait for them to review it and, if I qualify, call me to come in for a blood test and to pick up my loaner breast pump from them.

I feel very fortunate and blessed to have had an ample supply of breast milk over the past nearly three years and to have grown one child on it as well as my 4 1/2-month-old who is, of course, still thriving on it alone. I am happy to now have the opportunity to share my milk with other babies in need.

If you are wondering in this day and age, with formula readily available, why milk banks are so important, take a look at this article. The majority of milk from the milk banks goes to babies who are sick or need milk because of medical conditions such as formula intolerance or feeding issues related to prematurity.

Milk banks exist because many babies will not thrive without human milk. Infants with failure to thrive (FTT), formula intolerance, allergies and certain other medical conditions may require real human milk for health and even for survival.

There’s also some very interesting information here about the history of milk banking, including information about the history of wet nursing and artificial feeding (i.e. formulas).

If you are interested in donating* your milk, please visit Human Milk Banking Association of North America to learn more and find a milk bank in your area. Or if you are looking for a worthy place for your tax-deductible donation, please consider making a donation to a milk bank. Milk banks are non-profit organizations and depend on community and private donations to keep the doors open.

Thank you!

*Please note that they require your baby be no older than 6 months when you start donating, so if you are interested, please don’t delay in starting the screening process.

Grosser than gross

Remember those old jokes – What’s grosser than gross?

I’ve got a new one.

What’s grosser than gross?
When your baby spits up down your v-neck shirt leaving a literal puddle of spit-up in your bra.
Say it with me – Ewwww! Yep, glad I didn’t bother showering today!

What’s grosser than that?
When you know you probably won’t get a chance to shower until later tonight at the earliest.

And on the topic of liquids coming out of babies’ mouths, I was holding Julian up on the couch with me while Ava played with him as she sat on the floor. All of a sudden she gets up to go get a burp cloth and says, “Julian drooled in my eye.”
Be thankful it was only drool, honey.

Best Shot Monday – 4/9/07

I didn’t take many pictures this week until Saturday when we dyed eggs and Sunday, which, of course was Easter. However I still came up with a few that I’d like to share. 🙂

Here are a few of my favorites from Easter day:

We did our Easter egg hunt quickly outside in the snow (yes, snow!) this year.
Here’s a storyboard of Ava searching for eggs:
Ava’s egg hunt 2007

My beautiful girl:
Ava

Sweet, tired boy:
Julian

Flying high and loving it:
Julian flying
(Unfortunately, there are a ton of technical things wrong with this last photo, but I still love it because Julian was having such a blast as daddy tossed him in the air.)

Now go take a moment to visit Picture This to see everyone else’s best shots for the week. 🙂

signed, sealed, delivered

We finally filed our taxes tonight. Woohoo!

We are getting back a decent federal refund but have to pay state a little bit. I’ve had our taxes nearly ready to file for about the past 2 months or so, but I put off sending them because I’d been trying to figure out what to do with this IRA form that I had (from when I had my 401K converted into an IRA). I couldn’t find a place on TurboTax to include the info.

So Jody and I sat down tonight to figure it out once and for all. We were actually able to do a search for the form on TurboTax and it said that we don’t have to report it, and that was that! It took all of 2 minutes, I swear. I assume it’s one of those things that you report once you take the money out of it, but while it’s just sitting there, nothing is happening with it.

Anyway, we’re glad to have that done. I was hoping I’d be able to apply some (or all) of the return towards the purchase of a new camera, but until we know how much it is going to cost to repair our water-damaged bathroom, I’ll be holding off on that. We’re having someone come out next weekend to assess the mold (I don’t think it’s black mold, but we need to know for sure) and someone else to give us an estimate on the remodeling. *gulp*

Since we’ve been talking about moving lately, I spent a little time this past week browsing houses for sale online. We even went to look at one of them today just for kicks. It had some things we’d really like in our next home, like hardwood floors, a nice-sized backyard, and a bigger kitchen, but it wasn’t the house for us. I think we’ll try to look at a few houses every few weeks just to help us get a better idea of what we definitely want in our next house and what we don’t.

When we bought the house that we are currently in (7 1/2 years ago), we were under a HUGE time crunch because we were moving from Oklahoma to Colorado and only had about two days to look at houses in person and make up our mind on which one we wanted. As a result, we felt a lot of pressure to decide quickly. The first house we made a bid on was rejected, and this house was our second (though probably not the smartest) choice. If we were able to do it over again, we would have done things differently. So this time around, I’d like to really take our time and find a house that we LOVE before we take the plunge.

Our next step will probably be to meet with a Realtor to discuss what we really need to do with our house before putting it on the market and to let them know what we are looking for as well.

Our weather has been really cold and crummy (think freezing rain and a bit of snow) the past few days. Tomorrow’s high is only in the 40s. Last Easter was in the 70s or 80s if I remember correctly.

We dyed eggs for the first time with Ava today. She enjoyed it a lot. Tomorrow we will hide them (probably in the house since it’s going to be chilly out) and let Ava have an egg hunt. We did it last year with plastic eggs, but decided to do the real deal this year. And, just for nostalgia sake, here’s Ava enjoying some painted eggs on her first Easter. Gosh, those chubby cheeks look familiar. 😉

Happy Easter and Happy Spring! 🙂

My honor student was breast-fed, etc.

I don’t talk about my Cafe Press store – Attached At The Hip – here very often, but I did want to share a few new things that I have going on there these days.

I am now offering a new bumper sticker – “My honor student was breast-fed.” There was a recent discussion on “The Lactivist” about a Dr. Phil episode where wet nursing and breast-feeding were discussed (negatively unfortunately) and a commenter came up with the saying and said someone should put it on a bumper sticker. So I took that liberty and hope others will as well. It’s a great, fun saying!

My honor student was breast-fed

In other news, many of my designs are now available in women’s plus sizes (16/18-32/34) – like the ever-popular “I make milk. What’s your superpower?”. If you see a design in the store that’s not in plus sizes yet, shoot me an email and I will take care of it.

If you haven’t been by the store lately, please check it out. There are a variety of shirts offered now (both short and long sleeve and in different colors). And always, if you have an idea for something attachment parenting/natural family living-related you’d like to see on a shirt, send me an email. Thanks! 🙂