Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years Resolutions

So people who have known me for awhile have seen me go through quite a few transformations. One of the largest (no pun intended) is the changes in my weight/body... I went from heavy to thin to now (and I'm not sure what to call now).

Here are some pictures for comparison.

Me at my heaviest:

Me at my thinnest:

Pretty big difference, no?

And here's me now:

So, not as big as picture 1 and nowhere near as thin as picture 2.

Something must be done about this.

New Years is just around the corner, and usually this means resolutions I don't intend to keep. So this year I'm going to keep it simple.

1. Eat healthier. 1 Vegan meal a week. Red meat once or twice a month. No soda. Cut back on oils.
2. Be more active. Walk 3x a week with the kids. Take tap classes with mom.
3. Try not to worry so much about my weight. I have two beautiful children (who are the reason I gained so much weight in the first place). They don't care what size pants I wear. I have a wonderful husband who still thinks I'm beautiful. There are 1,000 things in this world that are more important than fitting into my size 6 pre-pregnancy jeans.

Post Glut

Things Penny says that we find hilarious.

"I tickle YOU!"

"Oh son!" (in reference to Griffin)

"Daddy Bryan and Mommy Jeh-kuh"

"Oh Daddy!"

"Cut hair, haircut" (when we comb her hair)

"Tickle me" (when she wants to be tickled)

"Pah-poo-pea has food baby" (after eating)

"I'm fancy!" When she's dressed up

There's more. Lots more, but those are the ones I can think of right now.

Holy Crap my kids are cute


Don't believe me? Here's proof:

Pen in her new hat, matching gloves, new jacket, and Hello Kitty backpack - ready to head to the park

Griffin after his first ride down the slide.

"Woah, that was cool"

The kids swinging

Penny loves to swing!

So does Griffin!

Playing in the leaves

G with his buddy Gus

Going Vegan

We're not actually going Vegan (although a part of me would like to) but one of my New Years Resolutions is to eat healthier and expose the kids (and Bryan) to a wider variety of foods.

So for the holidays I received Veganomicon a Vegan cookbook. Some of the recipes are a little odd (for me, a lifelong meat-eater) but many of them look absolutely delicious.

I'm planning on cooking at least one completely vegan meal a week and then having vegan side dishes to compliment some of our meaty meals.

I will, however, be cutting back on our meaty meals and for a variety of reasons. Meat is very delicious, but factory farming is not. I cannot, in good conscious, continue to purchase meats so unethically and unhealthily raised and slaughtered. And we can't afford to buy "range-free" "grass fed" meat for every meal. So we're cutting back on the meat while still keeping it in our diet. Besides, Penelope isn't much of a meat eater.

Tonight's Menu? Marinated portobello mushroom caps and broccoli polenta.

I may or may not take pictures. I have a friend with a recipe blog who posts amazing recipes and takes beautiful pictures - I would love to emulate her, but my kitchen is a mess, my camera is crappy, and I don't want to commit to pictures of every meal since I doubt I'll remember.

But I will post later about whether or not it was a hit. The mushroom caps are marinating right now and it smells DELICIOUS.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The boy

Griffin is a goof. A big, loveable, hilarious, wonderful goof. Here is the proof:

And his sister is pretty funny too:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lets see how much I can get down before one of the kids needs me for something

That title was excessively long.

Anyway, I've been meaning to sit and write down all of the cute/funny/sweet/exciting things the kids have been up to lately. I figured that being on break from school would naturally give me more free time. Ha. Hahahahaha. Haha.

So I'll try and remember what I can and see if I can squeeze some pictures in at the end.

1. Penelope and Griffin have become almost inseparable. When she wakes up from her nap she wants to "see Bubba" and if he's nowhere to be found (i.e. in the livingroom or with Bryan in the office) she starts to cry "Mama, see Bubba! Bubba are you??" (which is how she says 'where are you') until Bubba is produced. She will also whisper when he's sleeping so as not to wake him.

He returns the affection. He laughs at almost everything she does and wants to do whatever it is she is doing. He loves to give her kisses (which are wide, open mouth ones that look like he's trying to eat her face) and he also loves to pull her hair.

They do really well sharing with each other. Poe will often want what he's playing with, but she's good about giving him a new toy - so they'll switch toys and that way no one cries.

Of course, they don't always get along, but they honestly get along 95% of the time. I'm a little amazed at how well they interact since all you hear when you're pregnant with #2 is the horrors of sibling rivalry. I'm sure they'll fight and yell at each other at some point, but I do think that they'll continue to get along rather well. Only time will tell.

It has made me think a lot about my relationship with my brother growing up. Of course, he and I have completely different personalities than Poe and Griffin - plus we were 5 years apart. We get along rather well now and I think we generally got along as kids, but we had some epic arguments. I moved out his freshman year in high school so we didn't really see each other a lot when he was in his obnoxious teen years (not that he's no longer obnoxious - he is).

2. Penelope has finally started referring to herself as "I". No more third person.

3. Griffin still isn't crawling. Maybe by New Years. I hope by then!

4. The other day Penelope had some friends over for t-shirt painting. She made a shirt for herself, one for Griffin, and one for each of my parents. Here's some pictures of her making the shirts and then a group shot of everyone in their shirts:

5. Christmas! The kids made out like bandits this year, our house is not big enough for all of their stuff. This has given me an excuse to go through toys and donate gently used items - I was planning on doing it anyway, but finding a place for new toys has made donation a necessity. We're very lucky to have so many generous people in our lives, but I have to admit the sheer volume was very overwhelming! Two kids can't possibly need all these toys, but we're still very thankful for all we received. Our kids are certainly loved by both sides of the family!

Here's some Christmas photos - I didn't get a chance to take any while we were in Reno :( and I should probably devote a whole post to our Reno trip, but I don't think I'll get to it. It was a great trip with the exception of one night in the hotel when Penelope was awake from 1:30-5am.

Griffin in his 2nd favorite position

My cousin Macy and I

Riley and Penelope during present opening

A sleeping Grandpa Larry

Cousin Jodee (8 weeks pregnant with her first!) and G-man

And I shall leave you with more upsidedown baby

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This is what happens when she dresses herself

It's been a busy break so far. We're only on Tuesday and we've already had three play groups, a dozen art projects, and almost no TV (yea!).

I missed the stay-at-home-mom thing. But I know when week 2 rolls around I'll miss teaching. I'm really looking forward to having my credential, for a lot of reasons, one major reason is that hopefully I'll find a job where I'll have my own classroom. This traveling from class to class makes things a little more difficult than I anticipated - keeping track of student work, grading, communicating with students and parents... all much more difficult when you work out of a rolling bin.

Anyway. The kids.

Here are some pictures... hopefully tomorrow they'll nap as wonderfully as today and I'll get a chance to write a longer blog post.

So here's some of Penny's handpicked outfits:

(I think this one looks like Cindy-Lou Who on after a Caribbean vacation)

The other day Poe climbed into G's jumper. I have no idea how she did this.

Poe playing the drums, her Uncle Nic would be so proud

She would actually bow to the audience after each song. Freaking hilarious.

"Helping" me feed Griffin - she actually wasn't half bad :)

That's what I have for now :) If I don't post until after x-mas then I hope everyone has a very happy holiday!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm coming out

About a controversial topic... so only read on if you'd like to hear what I have to say about circumcision.

Before I begin, I want to discuss WHY I'm writing this blog. It's not intended to make anyone who made a different choice feel bad about their decision. Parents who chose differently are not bad parents or bad people. I don't wish to judge those who chose the other option, but I do feel very strongly about the topic. So strongly that I feel the need to stand up and say "I am against routine infant circumcision". I also felt the need to chronicle this in my blog so that Griffin (and Penelope) understand why and how Bryan and I made this decision because this has as much to do with our philosophy on parenting as it does with circumcision itself.

So consider yourself warned. I will not mince my words.

I wasn't always an "intactivist". When we were pregnant with Penelope our OBGYN asked whether or not we would choose circumcision (this was before we found out Poe's sex). Both Bryan and I answered in the affirmative; yes, we would have circumcised at that point.

It's possible my answer would have changed. After all, I was originally going to deliver in a hospital.

Once we found out Poe was a girl I didn't give the subject another thought. Why would I? It didn't matter at that point.

When we got pregnant with Griffin I was convinced he was a girl... but I still did a lot of reading about the subject and participated in a LOT of debates. They changed my mind.

Circumcision is a cosmetic surgical procedure. Meaning that it is, in the vast majority of cases, medically unnecessary. It is done for a variety of cultural and/or religious reasons; since Bryan and I are neither Jewish nor Muslim then we can eliminate religious reasons. That just leaves cultural.

(FYI - there are multiple Christian denominations that do not circumcise. In fact, 1 Corinthians makes a pretty good case that God did not wish for circumcision to continue after the death of Jesus. Here's a link to a blog that discusses the Christian aspect of circumcision for those of faith who wish to read it. There are also groups like Catholics Against Circumcision who are pretty dedicated to lowering circumcision rates among the faithful.)

Regardless, all the arguments left for circumcision were cultural. So let's examine those.

1. So baby looks like Daddy. Griffin will not have the same color eyes, hair, same size feet, or the same sized penis. They're different human beings and there's no need for them to look the same. I wouldn't get cosmetic surgery done so their noses match, why for their penises?

2. So he doesn't get teased in the locker room. I'm sure Griffin, at some point in his life, will get teased. For acne, clumsiness, the gap between his teeth, when his voice changes, etc. It's inevitable. Besides, the circumcision rate is as low as 33% in some areas. So odds are he'll be in the majority as a teenager.

3. Girls think uncircumcised penises are ugly. Um, ALL penises are ugly. And erect, the circumcised and intact penises look the same. Besides, if a girl refuses to date G just because he's intact then she's not exactly the kind of woman I want my son to date.

4. Intact penises are harder to clean. Actually, they're really easy to take care of. As a baby you just wash it like a finger. No pulling back, no scrubbing. Pulling back (retraction) is actually dangerous - the foreskin is fused onto the head of the penis like a nail is to your finger (this is for infants and young boys). When they get older it will retract on its own - then boys will have to pull back the skin and rinse. That's it. And for those out there who think boys won't do this easy cleaning think on this: have you EVER met a teenage boy who had to be convinced to touch his penis? Really? It's harder to get them to STOP touching their penises. Boys take half hour long showers for a reason: hint, it's not to wash their hair.

Then there are the "medical" reasons...

1. Circumcision prevents infection. Nope, nope, and nope. Prematurely retracting the foreskin can cause infection - but an intact penis that is properly cared for will likely never cause problems. Most problems are due to lack of basic proper care. The horror stories you hear of old men in nursing homes? Likely due to the fact that a lot of workers are not properly trained on proper penile care. Old people in Europe do not suffer from high rates of medical circumcision - so either American penises are somehow faulty or we're just not doing something right.

2. Circumcision prevents AIDS/STDs. Come on. That's just silly. Studies that have shown slightly lower transmission rates have yet to be repeated and have serious flaws in data collection. Many men in the US are circumcised and yet we have very high rates of STDs, so obviously circumcision is not the answer. Condom use is. I would rather my son learn proper safe sex procedures than trust circumcision will magically stop AIDS.

There are probably others, but these are the big ones I hear in these debates.

Finally, and arguably most importantly, the reason we have decided not to circumcise Griffin is because it's not our penis, it's his. He should be the one to make the decision. Unlike actual medical decisions (vaccinations, medically indicated surgery or procedures) there are NO HEALTH BENEFITS. It's like tattooing - it's a permanent, cosmetic procedure. It's his body and it's his choice.

It's really as simple as that. There are more arguments against circumcision - some more emotional and inflammatory than others - but what it boils down to is that his body belongs to him. Not to me.

If you'd like to learn more, please visit Intact America.

So Griffin, now you know why. And you should know that if when you're older you decide to get circumcised your father and I will support you.

So how does this demonstrate our parenting philosophy? Bryan and I believe that our children are individuals that are capable of appropriate levels of autonomy. We allow our children to make decisions for themselves whenever possible. At this point Griffin doesn't make a ton of decisions, but Penelope does. She can pick out her pajamas, clothes, what she wants to eat, what activities she wants to do for the day, etc. There are limits of course, she is only 2 and is not capable of complete autonomy, but she is capable of making some decisions for herself.

Some of their decisions will be cosmetic, but many will not be. Our children will be encouraged to explore a variety of different things - religion, politics, philosophies, etc. And like any parent I hope that they will agree with my stance on many of these issues, but even if they decide differently I will still love them and I will do my best to respect and support their decisions. Because the point of it all is that it's their choice. Their lives. Their bodies. I will do what I can to keep them healthy and happy so that they can grow up and follow their bliss.

And that's how I see it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

One about the kids

First off, I wanted to thank everyone who commented or sent me messages/e-mails after my last post. It really does help to know that there are a people out there that have been in my shoes (or at least similar shoes) and that there are people who I can call if I need to talk or need a break. I feel better - getting it out there and publicly acknowledging the magnitude of my anxiety has helped tremendously. So thank you.

Now, about the kids :)

Griffin crawled yesterday! Well, it was a crawl. Singular. But hey, it's forward progress (haha, I'm so punny). I'm still hoping he'll be mobile by Christmas. For the last two nights he's also been sleeping better. Two nights ago he slept from 11-3:30 (in bed with us) and last night he didn't need an extra bottle. Bryan got up with him at 7:10 and I got to sleep in until almost 8:30. It was excellent.

Poe is stringing 5-6 words together and repeats EVERYTHING. I love her talking, especially the way she says her name "Pah-pooh-pea". She used to call herself "Penny" but now she just calls herself Penelope. I will endeavor to get it on video.

She has also now peed on the potty twice! And she loves watching her "Elmo's Potty Time" video so here's hoping "peer pressure" (from Elmo & crew) will help get her day-time trained by X-mas. We'll see.

She can also read. Well, sort of. When she sees "Penny" written she points to it and says "Pah-pooh-pea"! I'm counting it :)

I have more, but I also have pictures. So here they are... hopefully I'll find more time this weekend to blog.

Penny got this horse at a white elephant gift exchange with the mommy group... Jessica W made it and Poe LOVES it. So cute!

Poe & Jackson

Thursday, December 9, 2010


So one of the symptoms of PPD is anxiety. For me, it was the most significant and debilitating symptom and the one that prompted me to seek help. At times these periods of anxiety would develop into panic attacks and, on rare occasions, would be debilitating.

Things got better. Griffin was sleeping a bit better, I had a bit less stress, and my anxiety was manageable.

But recent events have brought me to what seems like square 1.

Maybe I should start at the beginning... hopefully that will help this all make sense. And hopefully it will mean that someone will have some suggestions, because I NEED YOUR HELP.

This pregnancy began on an anxious note. I lost my job when I was 5 months pregnant, Bryan's hours were cut, we didn't have healthcare. We were concerned with Penelope's motor skill development (which, thankfully, resolved itself). G was breech for awhile and we were concerned with delivery. I had TPA's and school work that ran up to his due date. Bryan started school. I was worrying about placement for student teaching.

And the ENTIRE pregnancy I felt as if the other shoe was about to drop. As if I was waiting for something to go wrong. I was convinced something was terribly wrong - because nothing was going right (or at least it felt that way).

When Griffin was born I half expected something to be wrong. The first words I said to him were "I love you so much" - in part because I NEEDED to say that in case something happened to him. I needed him to know how much I loved him in case he died. Or I died.

Sounds silly, right? But I was convinced that something was going to happen.

That fear has persisted. I am terrified that I'm going to lose the kids. That something will happen to one, or both. My overwhelming fear is usually focused on Griffin. But lately it's seeped to Penelope. Sometimes I find myself paralyzed with fear. Literally. I tell them endlessly how much I love them. And I do love them... but my mantra is recited not just because I love them, but because I'm afraid that something will happen and I won't get to say it anymore. I need them to know how much I love them. It's a physical need - I don't know how else to explain it...

And, of course, as I type this I'm crying. I can't help it. It's overwhelming and frightening how absolutely terrified I am that I won't see my kids grow up.

Part of it is that I "know" three people who have lost children since I got G's BFP (big fat positive, the pregnancy test). One who delivered a stillborn baby, one whose baby died of SIDS at 4 months, and one whose baby died after only 45 minutes on this earth. "Know" is in quotations because these people are friends/relatives of my friends/relatives. I've only met one of the families, although I did meet the 4 month old baby just weeks before his death.

Add to this, Griffin's sleep is HORRID. We're up 5-6 times a night. And we're back to co-sleeping. I get more sleep co-sleeping than if he's in his crib, but sleep-nursing is not great sleep. Bryan is there to help, but Griffin wants Mommy. And B just doesn't have the right faculties (i.e. breasts) so there's really not much more B can do to help out. We just have to get through this stage and hope it's not a long one.

Anxiety pre pregnancy + stress + continued anxiety postpartum + more stress = me.

I am a mess.

Some of you who have seen me lately may not see it. Heck, I'd bet this is news to a lot of people who see me regularly. I've been doing everything I can to keep it together; because that rational part of me KNOWS that I'm overreacting. KNOWS that it's hormonal. KNOWS that it's stress. This part of me knows that things will get better. Griffin will sleep better. The kids will be ok. I will be ok.

This part of me is starting to lose its energy.

I am currently sitting in a dark classroom crying.

I haven't gotten anything done this afternoon. And I have SO MUCH TO DO.

I'm also starting to feel a little nauseous. I hope it's just stress and not an actual illness.

And so, my friends, there you have it. We have discovered exactly how much I can take. This is it. I'm tapped out.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Penelopotamous

Two years ago, at this very moment, I was in labor.

In a few short hours, Penelope will be two! So, to make myself even more weepy than normal, I decided to revisit her birth story and slideshow. Only watch the slideshow if you want to see actual pictures of a birth and breastfeeding photos.

Anyway, I read/watched and cried. Of course.

My baby is 2. TWO. Two YEARS OLD.

I love her more each day (which is technically impossible since I have loved her infinitely since the moment I saw her).

So Happy Birthday baby. Mama and Daddy love you SO MUCH that there are not enough words in the English language to adequately express how much we love you. And Bubba loves you too. LOTS. So does Harley. And Granny and Papa... and OiNic. And Nana, Rick, Grandpa Dave, Grandma Debb, Uncle Steve, Aunt Tree, Gadge, Ari, JJ... whew! Too many to list!

We all love you bunches.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Peepee on the potty!

Tuesday Penelope peed on the potty for the first time. Hooray!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I have 1,001 things to do and 1,001 things I want to blog about.

Blogging wins for now.

This weekend is Poe's birthday weekend, I can't believe she's going to be two already! We have the location, invites out, and drinks and crayons purchased. We still need butcher paper, plates, random decorations, and a party dress for Pen. "What?" you say, "a party dress? What is this, 1940?" Well to you I say :P

The theme is crayons since she loves to color, and so the kids will be able to doodle to their hearts content. I should probably bring some other toys or games as well since not all of the kids will be as excited to color.

If I get my act together, I will be making her a gluten and dairy free cake in the shape of a crayon. If I don't get my act together she'll get a gluten and dairy free cake shaped like a rectangle.

I promise to take pictures.

On the G front, the poor bubs is sick. He has it coming out of both ends and it is.not.pretty. We think it might be a formula issue, it seemed to start with the opening of this latest can of formula - but that could be purely coincidental.

The advise nurse wants us to call in the morning and get him an appointment, she and I were both concerned about dehydration. So it looks like we'll be seeing the doctor in the morning. Hopefully I can arrange the appointment for after school, it's a short day anyway.

Ok, I really should do something more productive. I have SO MUCH TO DO.

Popular Posts

Penelope's Growth

6 years: 50 inches, 47 lbs
5 years: 48 inches, 42 lbs
4 years: 43.5 inches, 41.0 lbs
28 months: 39 inches, 33.1 lbs
26 months: 38.5 inches, 32.1 lbs
21 months: 37 inches, 31.8 lbs
18 months: 35 inches, 30 lbs
15 months: 34.25 inches, 28.8 lbs
12 months: 32 inches, 27.1 lbs
9 months: 30.5 inches, 25.1 lbs
6 months: 29 inches, 21.2 lbs
4 months: 28.5 inches, 17.13 lbs
2 months: 24.75 inches, 12.12 lbs
At birth: 20.75 inches, 7.15 lbs

Griffin's Growth

5 years - 3 feet 11.25 inches (47.25 inches), 51 lbs
3 years - 3 feet 5.25 inches, 40lbs
18 months - 34.5 inches, 27.13lbs
12 months - 32 inches, 26.5lbs*
10 months - 31.75 inches, 23.4 lbs
7 months - 29.25 inches, 21.4 lbs
5 months - 28.5 inches, 17.9 lbs*
4 months - 28 inches, 15.5 lbs
3 months - 27 inches, 13.10 lbs
2 months - 25.125 inches, ?? lbs
1 month - 24 inches, 10.13 lbs
At birth - 22.5 inches, 9.1 lbs
*with diaper

Izzy's Growth

2 months: 23.25 inches, 10.8 lbs
At Birth: 22 inches, 8.11 lbs

Blog Archive