Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer and reading

This post is mainly to write down some updates so that I don't forget these things later. No pics this time around, just an informational post.

This summer we enrolled both kids in a summer reading course. Griffin is in the 4-5 year old pre-K class and Penelope is in the pre-2nd grade class. For the last few months she's been reading independently and her reading level quickly progressed - the child always has a book in her hand (or a marker, she's also slightly obsessed with drawing).

It reminds me a lot of me and I've had to tell her the same things my parents used to say to me.

"Please put down the book and eat."
"Please put on your seatbelt before you start reading."
"Please close the book while you walk across the street/parking lot."
"Please close the book and go to bed."

I love that she's a bookworm, but it can be a little exasperating as a parent. She's reading everything - the baby books, the level 1, 2, & 3 books, chapter books (like this series of Nancy Clancy books), and together we've read Charlotte's Web, started the Harry Potter series, and are going to read Island of the Blue Dolphins.


She also started piano lessons today with a hilariously crazy and wonderful Russian pianist. It's going to be a great fit.

Griffin will wait another year for piano - he wants to play the drums, but we're going to have him learn piano and how to read music before we get him drum lessons.

Other than that and the disastrous swimming lessons (which we quit midway through, FTR), we've been hanging out a home. Between the trampoline and everyday errands, we keep pretty busy.

Bubby's new 2 wheel bike came in the mail the other day and we're just waiting on Sissy's. Then we'll add bike riding lessons into our daily routine. Ideally they'll be able to ride to school once the school year begins (with my Dad, of course).

We went to Wyoming again this year for B's grandma's 80th birthday and that was a mostly good trip. I have some pictures I'll try and post later in a longer post. The kids had a blast and it was nice to see some of his family that we rarely see, even when we're in WY.

That's all I can remember for now. Goodnight!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


This whole Hobby Lobby decision makes my head and my heart ache. Especially combined with all the recent restrictions on Planned Parenthood clinics; this past year has been a bad one for women's health.

So I feel the need to tell #mybirthcontrolstory so that maybe people who don't understand why these issues are so important will start to see what the fuss is about. It's about people, it's about health, it's about an individual's rights.

And this one is about me:

I had been on various forms of hormonal birth control (think "the pill") since high school. The pill, for me, was much more about regulating my period and getting rid of my awful cramps than actual pregnancy prevention, but as I continued into my 20s pregnancy prevention became much more important (although I still used the pill as medicine because horrible periods don't just go away once you turn 20).

When I had health insurance, I would get my medication from my doctor. When I didn't have health insurance I would visit Planned Parenthood. They were a godsend, I could get an exam (which screens for cancer & STDs) and get the medication I needed at a price I could afford. I don't know what I would have done without them, because birth control isn't exactly cheap. I tried a variety of methods then - the pill, the ring, the patch - trying to find the medication that worked best for me.

Shortly before Bryan and I got married, I started having these dizzy spells and weird "floaters" in my vision. I went to see an opthamologist and after the exam he said (with grave concern in his voice):

"Are you on birth control?"

My answer was yes... there was a pause, and then this "You need to see your doctor. Today."

So I called. I couldn't get an appointment (this was campus health insurance, I was a student at CSU Sacramento and didn't have employer health insurance). The nurse who took my call told me, without mincing words "Stop taking your birth control until you see the doctor. It could kill you."

So I stopped.

During my appointment, my doctor informed me that my symptoms - which were more numerous than the dizziness & vision problems - meant that I could never take synthetic hormones again without putting myself at risk for stroke. My birth control options shrunk considerably.

So my doctor and I decided on a diaphragm. I was getting married and we wanted kids at some point, so the IUD was out.

B and I married 2 months later. Penelope was conceived 3 months after that. So much for effective birth control.

After Penny, our insurance situation didn't improve. I had graduated, I was working as a nanny (no insurance), and the insurance Bryan got through work was terrible and limited. The diaphragm was out, we couldn't afford an IUD, and I couldn't take hormonal birth control.

Hence, 7 months after Penelope's birth, we got pregnant with Griffin.

I know at this point, some people would say things like "well, that's what happens when you have sex" or "if you didn't want a baby you shouldn't have had sex." I don't understand these perspectives. A part of a healthy marriage (and a healthy relationship) is sex. It is normal. It is natural. Yes, sometimes pregnancy is a result, but as it's my body and my marriage, I should be able to make decisions about when I want to get pregnant. Birth control allows me to do this.

Griffin was born 9 months later.

I do not regret having my son (or daughter) even though both were unplanned. But having 2 babies so close together was difficult. I suffered from PPD, I lost my job because of my pregnancy... I was lucky to qualify for WIC (which was both helpful and a sometimes humiliating experience) and the kids were able to qualify for MediCal (neither B nor I could).

Again, Planned Parenthood came to my rescue. I was finally able to get an IUD at a price I could afford (free).

When I finished my Masters program and got a job in Salinas, we all breathed a huge sigh of relief. We were all covered. My insurance covers any form on birth control I need. We are lucky.

But so many women, who are just like me, are not so lucky. They don't have the family support in place to be able to handle unplanned pregnancies, their state may have enacted legislature that forced the closing of Planned Parenthood clinics and thus they cannot access the birth control and annual exams they need, they make work for a company like Hobby Lobby who uses belief instead of science to make decisions about what is, and is not, appropriate medical coverage.

These women deserve better. They deserve a government who doesn't infantalize them, but rather allows them to make informed decisions for themselves. They deserve an employer who keeps their noses out of their employee's health care decisions.

They deserve better.

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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