Wise beyond her years

Several weeks ago, I was looking through a copy of The Compleat Mother. (I’d surprisingly never read the magazine before, but a childbirth educator friend of mine shared a copy with me because she’d had an article printed in it. Great magazine!) Anyway, Ava started looking at it with me and we came upon a cartoon of sorts – see below – with the message “JUST SAY NO.”

Just say no

Ava: “What is that?”
Me: “A woman having her baby in a hospital ‘bed.'”
Ava: “Why?”
Me: (thinking to myself – Good question!) “Because some doctors want women to be in that position to have their babies.”
Ava: “She should be squatting down.”
Me: “Yes, she should be.”
Ava: “But, sorry, she has a seatbelt on.”

Yes, it is sorry indeed. Sorry that this woman has to be lying on her back, with an IV in and a fetal monitor strapped on, and with her legs/feet up in the air in the most unnatural birthing position possible (except for maybe standing on one’s head) for the convenience of the medical profession to have a baby.

Ava is a smart cookie, and makes her crunchy mama proud.

Insurance crap stinks

I’m feeling rather disgusted with our insurance company (CIGNA) lately.

First of all, I’ve been trying to get them to acknowledge a claim (just acknowledge it, not even pay it) for Julian’s home birth since, hmmm, let’s see, probably January 2007. So, what’s that, like 8 months now? Every time I call they say it’s in “pending status” and they need something else – one more code, one more form, one more dotted i. I’ve mailed or faxed them everything they’ve requested and when I called today for my monthly status check, I was told it was still not in the system.

The good news is that the woman (Jennifer) I talked to today seemed honestly interested in helping me get this resolved. Perhaps she was just placating me or perhaps she sensed the utter frustration in my voice and genuinely wanted to help. I guess time will tell.

Sadly, with all of this exposure to insurance crap I’ve been getting over the past several month, I’ve found I’m getting more savvy with their jargon. So today I was able to tell the rep what information has been requested, what I’ve sent in, and where to look on documents for the information she should need, etc. She seemed to think they should have everything they need now and said she would forward it back to the insurance adjuster.

Jennifer is the first person I’ve spoken with there who actually asked for my phone number and said she would call me to let me know how this is resolved (which should take up to 15 business days). I was shocked! I was actually just starting to ask her when I should call back again to get another status report and she said that she would take my number and call me. I’m not going to hold my breath, but I did think that was very nice of her.

I’m still holding out some hope that somehow this claim will be acknowledged and then (*gasp*) approved and they will cut me a check for at least part of the $2200 I paid for my home birth. It’s not that the money wasn’t well-spent (my home birth was worth every penny and then some) or that I would hesitate to do it again, but, plain and simple, we could really use the money. Really.

Since I had this live insurance rep on the phone, after we finished talking about my home birth claim I had another question (one I’ve been trying to get answered for two weeks) about coverage for Ava. I have called the insurance company at least five times over the past two weeks and tried various selections on their phone menu system to try to find out if a speech evaluation would be covered. Unfortunately using the phone system to check eligibility never got me to a live person, no matter how hard I tried. I tried pressing zero, I tried saying “speak to a person” and was met with, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your request. Did you mean… (insert everything under the sun except speak with a live human being).” I even tried a few choice swear words which got me nowhere as well (but it helped me feel a little better).

Anyway, I’d been in the process of setting up this speech evaluation for Ava for the past month or so. I had to fill out several forms, fax information in and talk to a “case worker” at the rehab center to get this all arranged. I found out today from Jennifer at CIGNA that speech evaluations for developmental issues are NOT COVERED. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you child has a lisp or can’t say sounds that she should be able to at her age, they won’t cover it. If, however, she has a medical diagnosis, like autism or had been in a car accident and lost her ability to speak, then they would cover it. Is that F’d up or what?!

I got back in touch with the case worker at the rehab center and found out the speech evaluation would cost $441(!) if not picked up by the insurance company, so I canceled it. We will have to go another route. The case worker gave me the number for “Childfind” and said I could schedule a screening with them. I guess that’s our next step. Yay for wasted time! :oP

Maybe tomorrow I will call up CIGNA again and cuss out their automated system, just to help me feel better. ๐Ÿ™‚

The face behind the blog – a meme

The Face Behind the Blog and Throwback Thursday all in one!

Elizabeth at The Whole Family tagged me last week for The Face Behind the Blog, so here’s a look at me over the years – AKA more pictures of Amy than you could ever possibly care to see. ๐Ÿ˜‰ In other words, I don’t think anyone is required to post this many pics, I just got a little pic-postin’ happy.

Scroll to the end to see if I tagged YOU!

10 months old and ready to go (1976):
Baby Amy 10 mos. old
Exhibiting early dorky tendencies at age 8 (1983):
Dorky Amy 8 yrs old
Nine years old and all dressed up with my younger sister and brother for my uncle’s wedding (1984):
Amy (9), Paul (7) and Carrie (5) - 1984
Dressed up as a hippie for Halloween at age 16 (1991). See, I already knew what I wanted to be when I grew up! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Amy the hippie wannabe at age 16
Jody and I at a wedding a few months after we met in person for the first time (1998):
Amy and Jody at a wedding 1998
At our own wedding on April 20, 2001:
Amy and Jody get married 4/20/01
Ready for some snorkeling in the Florida Keys (2003):
Getting ready for some snorkeling in the Florida Keys 2003
Hiking in front of the Flatirons with Jody and Ava (2005):
Hiking the Flatirons with Jody and Ava - Feb. 2005
My 30th birthday with Ava (May 7, 2005):
My 30th birthday 5/7/05
36 weeks pregnant with Julian (Oct. 2006):
36 weeks pregnant with Julian - Oct. 2006
My family (June 23, 2007)
My family (6/23/07)
Me and my friends at a going away party for my good friend B (July 2007):
Me and the girls July 2007
Nursing Julian (Aug. 8, 2007):
Nursing Julian (Aug. 2007)

OK, I’m tagging:
MB at Misplaced Mama because I don’t recall seeing very many pictures of her on her blog;
Christina at Momology because she’s always behind the camera;
and Jenny at Mommin’ it Up because I don’t know if I’ve EVER seen a picture of her.
Thanks in advance for playing along, ladies. ๐Ÿ™‚

More Throwback Thursday sponsored by the girls over at Pinks and Blues

Help me write my blog slogan

My blog will soon be getting a makeover! I’m having my blog custom designed by Heather of Girly Blog Designz (woot! I’m so excited!). However, I need help coming up with a catchy slogan for it. I’m shortening my title to just “Crunchy Domestic Goddess” (losing the “Musings of a” part), and want something catchy to follow that. The two things I’ve thought of so far are:

– Passionately parenting and photographing since 2004

– mother. photographer. activist.

What do you think? Do you like either of those? Do you have any ideas for me? What words come to mind when you think of my blog? I want something about parenting or motherhood and activism and/or changing the world. Including something about photography would be cool too. The sooner I can figure this out, the sooner I can have a newly designed blog!

Thanks for your help! ๐Ÿ™‚

Music Together

Ava - Music Together class - 11 mos. old

When Ava was around 10 months old, we enrolled in Music Together classes. It was a nice early introduction to various songs, chants, instruments, movements and play in a fun, relaxed setting with other babies, kids and parents.

Ava enjoyed the classes (she was 11 months old in that pic) and it would’ve been nice to continue with them through the years, but our finances wouldn’t allow it.

Now that Julian is around that age (well, he’s 9 months), I thought it would be cool for him to have that same experience and for Ava to have a bit of a refresher. She still loves music and being around others, so I figured she would enjoy it as well. Our finances aren’t any better at this point (especially since we have the preschool tuition cost now *gulp* – more about that later), but I figure sometimes you just have to splurge (i.e. take it out of savings).

We signed up for a 10-week session and had our first class today. The place we are going is less than five minutes from our house (nice) and the teacher allows younger siblings to attend free of charge until they hit their first birthday, so I only had to pay for Ava (very nice!). The class is a bit on the small side with about 7 kids, but that feels just right to me – more room for us to move around and play.

Ava started off the class today quite shy and reserved, but by the end of it she was clapping along, playing with the instruments, talking to the other kids, etc. It was great. I wore Julian in the Ergo for the beginning, but once the instruments started coming out he seemed eager to get down. He crawled all over, and happily explored the new terrain (and mouthed all the instruments – of course).

I’m glad that we’re doing it. I think it will be a good experience for both of the kids, and anything that gets us out of the house (even though it’s crazy getting ready in the morning) is a good thing too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Best Shots Monday – 8/27/07

I started off this impromptu photoshoot with Ava trying to get some good pictures of her new Livie & Luca shoes which she won through a contest Katja from Skimbaco was sponsoring. I’m happy to say not only did I get a few good pictures of the shoes, I also captured some beautiful pictures of Ava that I intend to use for her 3-year-pics since I hadn’t had a chance to take any yet. (She’s 3 yrs, 2 months now.)

Here’s my choice for my “Best Shot Monday” and then a few others from the session that I liked below:

Ava - 3 yrs, 2 months old - Aug. 23, 2007

Ava - 3 yrs old - 8/23/07 Ava - 3 yrs old - 8/23/07

Ava - 3 yrs, 2 months old - Aug. 23, 2007 Ava - 3 yrs old - 8/23/07 Ava - 3 yrs old - 8/23/07
And now for the shoes…
Ava showing off her Livie & Luca shoes from Skimbaco Livie & Luca shoes from Skimbaco Ava showing off her Livie & Luca shoes from Skimbaco

Ava’s shoes are called Livie’s Red Wings and are available at Skimbaco – a family-owned and operated business in Durango, CO. “Skimbacoรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs mission is to promote the ecological and philanthropic ideology by helping people to find exceptional products that are not only fun and functional but also environmentally conscious. Our mission is to spread the sunshine – make people happy.” They succeeded in spreading the sunshine here. Ava and I both love her new shoes! They are easy for Ava to put on and off. The leather is super soft which makes them great for with socks/tights or without. The soles are flexible. And they are just plain cute! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks again, Katja.

More from Best Shot Monday at Picture This.

If you haven’t yet seen it, please take a minute to check out my latest giveaway.

Doll pouch/sling giveaway

It’s time for another giveaway!

Want to win this cute doll sling for your child? My mom made it for Ava, but it’s a little too snug (and she’s making her a new one), so I’d like to give this one away to another future attachment parenting (AP) daddy or mommy. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s reversible – pink on one side, blue on the other (see below). I think it would fit most 2 and 3 year olds, but Ava is a pretty big girl (38 inches tall, 36 lbs.), so that’s why it’s snug on her. Ava loves the pouch and was so delighted to do some baby wearing of her own with a sling that’s her size! Thanks, mom!

Ava doll pouch Aug. 2007 Ava doll pouch 2 blue side of the pouch

If you’d like to win it, (1) sign Mr. Linky, (2) leave me a comment telling me why you’d like to win, and (3) link back to this post on your blog – you can use the button from my sidebar if you’d like, but it’s not required. (If you don’t have a blog, you can still enter, just be sure and tell a friend about the giveaway.) You must do all three steps to be eligible. The deadline to enter is 10 p.m. Mountain Time Friday, Aug. 31. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Sept. 1. Thanks!

The two-hour preschool interview

Apparently you gotta interview to get into preschool these days. When I say you, I don’t mean the preschooler, I mean you – the parents. Yes, tomorrow afternoon Jody and I are scheduled for a two-hour interview with Ava’s preschool teacher – without Ava. Two hours! That’s longer than any job interview I’ve ever had.

We decided to enroll Ava in a two morning/week Waldorf-inspired in-home preschool for the fall. She craves the socialization and I think she is more than ready for it. We have a few friends who have children in this program and they just love it. We’ve visited with the teacher twice now and went to see a class in session and feel it’s a good match for us and Ava. It’s a mix of ages (2-5) and there are a maximum of six children in the “class.” I love the Waldorf emphasis on natural toys and imaginative play. I also like that it’s spiritual, but not based on any particular religion. Another plus is that it’s literally about 4 blocks from our house so easily within walking distance. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m not exactly sure what is in store for us with during the two hours tomorrow, but I do know it’s a chance for the teacher to learn more about Ava. I’m sure it will be a good thing, it just seems awfully long.

I must admit I’m a little nervous about the Waldorf stance on TV watching (Waldorf kindergartens and lower grades discourage exposure to media influences such as television, computers and recorded music, as they believe these to be harmful to cognitive development) since Ava does watch TV (PBS shows) pretty much every weekday. It’s the only way I’ve figured out to make sure she stays occupied while I put Julian down for his naps. I understand why they discourage it and, in a perfect world, I would too, but I think the phrase “everything in moderation” could apply here too. (shrug)

I guess we’ll see if mommy gets into trouble before Ava even has her first day. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Wish me luck.