17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Post-partum Depression?

The first week and a half of my daughter’s life I felt feelings I never anticipated would accompany the birth of a child: I felt loss. At first, I didn’t identify it as such. I was really weepy and emotional each night of those first few days. I figured it was fatigue or overwhelming joy at having her here. After a few nights, the feelings were markedly sad, accompanied by a subtle sense of loneliness, like someone was missing. It was so powerful one night that I had to get up from the dinner table with my parents and husband to check on her in her crib—just to make sure she was still there. I literally broke down in tears when I saw her, I was so relieved to discover she hadn’t left.

Over the next few nights, I realized that I was mourning something. I missed those early days of her life. I missed how she smelled in the hospital—a smell that matched the smell coming from my body every time I went to the bathroom--a smell of fresh, clean, life-giving body fluids. That smell was gone, replaced by her baby bath soap or lotion. When the time came to throw out the medicines I had been placing on the stitches holding my tear together, I didn’t want to. They were another sign of her birth, of her entrance into the world, of the fact that she used to be inside of me.

I realized that I was mourning the loss of my pregnancy. I had lost something. I had lost an incredible closeness with my child. I had lost a presence inside of me. Ironically, when I was pregnant, I rarely felt a sense that there was a personality inside of me. Of course, I felt her move all the time; I felt like I had someone with me all the time. But a lot of women describe feelings of connecting personally, emotionally, perhaps spiritually with their children while they’re in the womb. I never felt anything like that. I was so anxious for her to be born, because then she would be present. Now that she was present, I felt I had lost her—or if not her, something.

The feeling has largely passed. But sometimes I even miss feeling that sense of missing something. She’s almost a month old now and my days are full of trying to figure out how to get her to sleep, when I should feed her, how to get those tiny diapers to actually stay on her small hips. Those first few days of her life were so glorious—sublime in a way—a cocoon (to quote Michelle) of soft colors and quiet sounds inhabited only by us. And that sense of loss was part of that brief time. So I miss it.

Has anyone else felt this? Or heard of this? Is this, in any way, a typical part of the post-partum experience? Has anyone had other experiences with post-partum depression?
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Friday, April 28, 2006

My Poetic Tribute to NYC

The attraction to this place for so many?... not sure.
The reasons I'VE learned to appreciate New York are pure.

The smell at Herald Square subway station leaves it's mark...
But there is nothing quite like the beauty of Central Park.

Lugging a stroller up the subway stairs impossible nearly...
The unlikely stranger that swoops in to help, an angel clearly.

The bitter temperatures November to April, I could do without...
The first blanket of snow however is beautiful no doubt.

Too cold to actually go out and do holiday shopping...
But the department store windows are definately worth stopping.

The terror that fell on this city September 11th was tragic...
The way New Yorkers come together during moments like this is magic.

Grocery stores, if you want to call em that, where your stroller can't make the isle...
Are very convenient on every block and being open all hours is worth my while.

Out on the street you hear every language spoken, but your own...
The beauty of this diverse place is unlike any I have ever known.

Raising your babies here is a daunting, challenging and quite a task...
There are so many willing when you need help, all you have to do is ask.

The summers, sticky and gross, and hot as, well you know...
In the evening though, I do love the fireflies all a glow.

The amount of money spent on parking tickets is atrocious...
Having to drive here has made me more ferocious!!

I hate this place, I really do...
I think I love this place, so will you.
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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Angels Among Us

Oh where to begin this post...Well, let's begin at the beginning. About 3 years ago I had my baby in the bjorn and a "wise" stranger gave his two cents about bjorns being baby killers in the event the wearer were to bite the dust. Good point, but couldn't this happen if you were holding the baby as well? And doesn't EVERYBODY wear some sort of baby carrier?

I know...I know...I am seeing you read this and already bracing yourself...don't worry. Fast forward 3 years to today. It is "Bring your Daughter to Work Day" and I have this great idea to NOT bring my daughters to work, but to let them spend a few hours with Dad at HIS work. (Turns out they were the most stressful two hours he has EVER had at work..hee hee hee). I go to an audition, which seems fun and exciting because I haven't been on one in about 13 days. It is probably one of the most gorgeous NYC days EVER. It is about 70 degrees and clear skies. My AWESOME new white pants and white platform espadrilles from Old Navy are making their debut as well as my new peanut shell (thanks for all the good advice girls). The three of us (two kids and me) are attracting a lot of attention, because we look cute and everyone is in a good mood because of the weather.

So we take our sweet time getting home from the Daddy/Daughter Work Day...stop for a hot dog, walk 2 of the 4 blocks, and then hop on the bus. We arrive at our destination and I step off the step of the bus right into a gaping hole in the sidewalk, about 6 inches deep (if my kids were not tucked in bed, I might run out and go take a photo of it), but trust me it was deep. I have the baby in the carrier so I can't see my feet, just feeling for it. The fall happens so quickly, and yet so many things happen in between realizing I am falling and completing the fall. Let me just first say that I fall A LOT and I have really good luck. I am part feline, (which is ironic because I hate cats), and this helps me in my falling and mothering skills...I land on my feet (figuratively) and I can be a TIGER.

So the fall begins and my immediate instinct is to protect the baby (a quick second instinct was to protect my new white pants, but that sure as H-E-double hockeysticks wasn't going to happen), so somehow I am falling forward out of the bus and spin my right shoulder around so that I land flat on my back, only two hands were holding my head so that it didn't hit the sidewalk. And I am tearing up writing this right now because I don't remember seeing anyone behind me when I made it to my feet, but I could remember two hands like the most comfortable pillow, holding me. And I know it was an angel. I cannot stop my tears right now as I write this, because the feeling was so strong and so comforting. And the people who stopped and gathered around were just looking at me and I was able to say with complete confidence: "We're alright, nobody is hurt." And evern though the fall happened right in front of this restaurant with about 10 Middle-Eastern men in it, not even my pride was hurt because of the piercing of the hands running through my soul.

I got home and to my amazement my white pants had a teeny tiny brushing of dirt that my camera can't even pick up. But I did scrape the top of my left foot, and I think that was the pivot point for my fall. So I have learned a few lessons: The guy on the subway platform a few years back had a good point about the dangers of baby carriers, as another "wise" woman who witnessed the fall quickly told me right after it happened: "Last year I saw a guy fall and his babie's head hit the cement (internal dialogue in my head: cement is glue, you mean concrete), and his head cracked open and was bleeding (thanks lady, I think I am shaken up enough right now--goodbye)...". Secondly, when wearing the baby carrier, it's probably not the best idea to where platform shoes of any kind. Third, be sure you see the ground before placing your feet there. And finally, and I think most importantly...there are angels among us.
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I miss you mom...

It 15 years ago yesterday that I lost my mother to that dreadful thing called cancer. She was 42. I was 16. Not a day has gone by where I don't think of her and miss her terribly. All day yesterday I thought about things in a different way than I had before. Now that I have kids, I wonder about how It must have been for her knowing she was dying, and leaving me here virtually alone and at such a raw age. I do happen to know that one of her dying statements was how sad she was because she was not going to live to see me be Miss Universe. I didn't go on to acheive that, as much as I would have liked to, but I have acheived much and I have done most all of it for her. I promised her that I would do all that she wanted me to do as I lay curled up next to her holding her hand minutes after she had gone. When I met my DH I thought only about what would my mom think of him? I am confident she would have loved him. At my wedding I knew she was there in the temple. She helped me get ready. But I still selfishly wanted to see her in her dress she would have worn. When my babies were born, especially my DD, I cried and cried that first night not because I was a new mom and your hormones are out of whack, but I wanted her there, to hold her too. I thought about what my mom must have felt when she had me. And that first mothers day after DD was born was the hardest one to date. I knew finally what that day meant to mothers. I was haunted with the thoughts of had I done enough to make my mom feel special when she was here? Of course not. I was 16. I was just getting out of the "you are my enemy stage", I didn't get the chance to love her like I would if I had her here now. Now that I am a mother, I know what she must have felt as she was saying goodbye to me. She must have been terrified. Unsure that the guidance she had offered would see me through the toughest years of life ahead of me. She had to have wondered if I would remember her in all her glory. Sometimes it's hard to dig up those memories. She had been sick for so long. She surely sobbed when she thought about leaving me. I would! I would feel all those things if I knew I was leaving this earth tomorrow. I certainly would find it hard to have the presence of mind to remeber that it is all part of the plan. Babies shouldn't be without their mother. No one should. I pray that none of us will ever have to deal with this, but what can we do ladies to let our children know that they are loved. That if we were to leave that they would be okay? Just thinking about these things, has made me hold them tighter the last couple days. Don't live a single day where you would experience regret.

I really appreciate this forum and feeling comfortable enough to share these intimate thoughts. My journal is the only place where I have shared such feelings. I tend to not open up... thank you for listening. As we approach Mothers Day. Think of something special to do for your mothers. For me.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Is Anyone Else Going to Miss President Hinckley?

(Note: This is not as timely as I was hoping: I wrote it the night I went into the hospital (two days after General Conference) to give birth to my first child, Astoria. So I got a little side-tracked.)

I have to admit that I cried all through President Hinckley’s talk in the Sunday morning session of General Conference. I was really glad he said that it wasn’t his obituary, because I was thinking throughout the whole thing: oh! this is the last we will hear from him; this is his farewell to the church; an era in church history is over. Ok, yes, I am in my last two weeks of pregnancy and a little prone to being over emotional, but I really am going to miss his presence at the head of this church.

When the conference session was over, I felt the urge to dwell on him and his life in some way, and I realized that I sill haven’t read his biography, written by Sheri Dew. So I got on Amazon.com to look into ordering it and came across this interesting outsider’s review of the book:

Gordon B. Hinckley will not be remembered as someone who made contributions in Mormon doctrine. Sometimes, in the book, you almost sense a Gordon B. Hinckley who doesn't really believe in anything other than the organization. After reading the book, I feel I understand Gordon B. Hinckley as a capable administrator, a loyal member of the organization, but anything but a dynamic leader who actually stands for anything. I cannot think of a single revelation
that Gordon B. Hinckley has made (other than some silly stuff about piercings and tattoos—how’s that for earth-shattering). He has spent millions on temples, and has worked tirelessly on public relations pursuits for the church, but an inspired leader? Even with the author’s best spin, I don't think so.

I’d love to hear people’s reactions to this, because I think this reviewer picked out the very things that represent President Hinckley’s inspiration: making temple work accessible and available to so many more members throughout the world and working to make the church a serious player on our modern global stage—or at least, a presence that people recognize, acknowledge, and lend credibility to like they never have before. Any thoughts?

On a personal note, he’s actually had close contact over the years with my family: my father and grandfather were his home teachers in Salt Lake City when my father was a young man and President Hinckley was an apostle; he sealed my parents in the Salt Lake Temple (apparently he came to the sealing late but entered the room with a huge smile and, knowing that my father had served his mission in Japan, said, "Konichiwa gozaimasu!" (which means something like, "Hello very much!"); he and Sister Hinckley visited Japan several times while my family was living over there, and my mother remembers Sister Hinckley asking her, "When are you going to bring your kids home and teach them the Star Spangled Banner?"; and he set my father apart as a mission president back in 1999. I was there in the Church Office building for the blessing, and I remember President Hinckley coming in, circling the room to shake hands with everyone who had come, and stopping at my grandfather, when my dad said, "President, you probably don’t remember, but my father and I were your home teachers . . ."

"Yes. I do remember," President Hinckley responded. "In the East Millcreek Ward. 1962." (or some date.)

How incredible that he remembered. The man must meet and know so many people every day. I was so amazed at his ability to be personal and real.

I have no fears for the future of the church once he’s gone (succession in this church is like clockwork), but I am sad that my daughter will never know him.

So here’s what I’m going to miss about President Hinckley:

his sense of humor—a story: the one time I actually attended conference in person, back in the Tabernacle, I got in line at 4:00am, waited outside until the afternoon session, finally got a seat behind one of the cameras (which meant I couldn’t see anything), and then promptly fell asleep when the session began—it was so hot and stuffy inside. But I remember President Hinckley getting up between speakers and saying something to the effect of, "I know it’s hot in here, but it’s going to be even hotter if you don’t repent!" How random!

His humor always gives me a sense that although the church and the gospel are serious things, there is room in our association with them—and therefore with the Lord?—for humor and down-to-earth-ness.

his direct speech—he’s not prone to speaking entirely in the passive voice like so many other general authorities; and this directness comes through (more importantly, of course) in content as well as style

his modern-ness—to me, he really does seem to have a sense for what is going on in the world around him, despite the fact that he was born, in what, 1910! Think of the history he has lived through and yet he speaks to us about raves and the internet and body piercings.

his energy—even at his age, he always seems so alive

his gratitude—I’d love to know the number of times he has thanked us as members of the church for our faith, service, commitment; I remember this really mattering to me when I was a missionary

There are other things I could list, but I want to know what everyone else is thinking.
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Monday, April 24, 2006

My babies...are gone?

I think that my babies are gone. In the space of one month, my two little people have gone from a toddler and a baby to a kid and a toddler. My 3 year old has become master of the potty and trots around in his adorable underwear, so proud of himself. Today for the first time I let him walk around Target AND Home Depot to run errands instead of riding in the cart with his little sister. I could feel myself giving up the reins as I got him out of the car and announced "Well, you're a big boy now, so you can walk instead of sitting in the cart, OK?" You would have thought I had given him a 5 pound bag of chocolate he was so happy and proud of himself. And I was proud of myself for letting him go a little. And wouldn't you know it, he did great? Listened, helped, chatted with me. My big boy...

Tonight we moved our 19 month old daughter into a big girl bed. Instead of tears and worries, she strapped on her Mary Janes and jumped on that bed for 30 minutes, laughing and screeching with delight. And when it was bedtime she pulled up the blankets, said "Nigh-Nigh" and plugged in her thumb. As if she had been sleeping in a bed all her life.

As I walked out of her room, I began to reflect on the changes in our children in the last 30 days. No more diapers for one, no more highchair, no more crib, no more double stroller. Personalities developing and solidifying right before my eyes. And I realized I'm just a guide on this road. As type A as I am, I'm not in charge of these people - they are in charge of themselves. And they don't need me for certain things anymore. They are fine with change and in fact welcome it.

I wanted a break from baby "stuff" before preparing to have a 3rd which was why I moved my ltitle girl to a bed when I did. And yet...I miss that crib now. I miss the highchair. I even miss the stupid diapers for my son. Because it signals the end of an era for them, my babies. And my heart hurts a little for it.

I think I'm going to go into my daughters room now and watch her sleep...in her big girl bed. Nigh-nigh, little one.
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Do your eyes light up?

I remember a moment when I was sitting on the stand in our Chapel waiting to conduct the music. For some reason many of the little people of the ward were detained with their Dads and their moms were already seated on the pews waiting for them. One by one in came these little toddlers to sit by their moms. And one by one, as the toddlers turned the corner into the pew, the moms reacted as if it had been weeks, months, years since they had seen their child. Their faces completely transformed as their eyes met their child’s eyes. In truth, it was Katie, Carrie and Marian. I was so impressed by the love in their eyes and the obvious strong bond between mother and child.

I was reminded of this moment when I watched a snippet of Oprah the other day. There was a story about a “biker guy” who had watched Toni Morrison on Oprah. She said that our children see their esteem through our eyes and our emotions. She posed the question: Do your eyes light up when you see your child? This inspired “biker guy” to make every moment (all 15 minutes a day that he got with his kids) count. He changed his behaviors so that instead of seeing his kids and scolding right away about not cleaning their room etc., he greeted them with his eyes lit up.

It made me question myself: Do my eyes light up? I think most of the time they do. And I also had a moment of clarity about a mother that I see every week at my daughter’s ballet class. She always seems very, to put it generically, down, about her kids or being pregnant. I can relate to not feeling well while pregnant, but even after their birth, she was still down. I thought maybe this was just her personality until I started talking to her about her work: Her eyes lit up. Her daughter is pretty anti-social and “down.” I can’t help but think there is a connection there. She sees a woman who only looks down on her, so how is she to feel good about her little 4-year-old self?

I am intrigued by Dove’s new Campaign for Real Beauty that was kicked off in a Superbowl commercial featuring beautiful little girls. As someone who has had high self esteem most of my life (thank you Mom for lighting up when you see me), I didn’t realize how prevalent this problem is and how if women had more self esteem, we would conquer so many demons. This is (to quote Oprah) an AHA! Moment for me. I want to cure breast cancer and now self esteem too. I will start with my two girls. Ready eyes….Let’s LIGHT!
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Friday, April 21, 2006

Speaking Girl to Girl: Mormon Honeymoon Advice

I know I posted recently and there are a couple contributors who have some excellent posts ready to go, but I had to jump in because you all did such a good job helping Kage's sister and more importantly, time is running out for discussion on this topic. At least for my niece. She gets married on Monday.

I was with her today finishing up some last minute wedding dress preparations and as we discussed some of the post-temple details of being married, she turned to me a said "Why don't people tell you these things?"

It got me thinking about the last few days before I got married (ten years ago this summer). The only prep I got was from my mother and it came in the form of this short and pretty unhelpful statement:

"Sometimes sex can be spiritual, but most of the time it's just fun."

Thanks mom. TMI. At least from you. I wish I had girlfriends back then who had experience being a mormon virgin who just recently started wearing crazy underwear who wants to somehow have a great sexual exeperience on her honeymoon or at least not an uncomfortable or embarrassing one. Not that mine was uncomfortable or embarassing (You were great honey! Unforgettable! Really! ;) ), but a little more sage advice could have helped enter into the situation with a little more confidence. And that would have been really nice. So, I am calling on all my Tales girls and our fabulous readers to pull out their best, most frank honeymoon advice. Girl to Girl, Sister to Sister.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces of advice:

1. Ditch the garments during a majority of the honeymoon. I mean, you need to do what feels right for you, but I, for one, did not feel the least bit sexy in my garments and cloistering myself in the bathroom to change into lingerie seemed to kill the passion of the moment(s). You can just look at it as 24hr foreplay.

2. You don't have to attend church during your honeymoon. Believe me you have more important Sacraments to partake in at your hotel room. And besides, people will make fun of you if you show up at church the day after your wedding. Or at least I will.

3. To try to avoid any lightning bolts that might come from my first two pieces of advice, my #3 has nothing to with covenants. Many girls get UTI's on their honeymoons. To try to avoid that problem, try to pee before and after sex. No doubt, this can be a passionate moment killer. Who wants to hear "hold on, I need to go pee-pee in the potty". Not the pillowtalk he was hoping for. So, pack a small bottle of cranberry capsules to nip the problem in the bud.

Now take it away girls, there is just too much for one person to cover.
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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Lil Sis Needs Help

Ok. Midwives, giving birth, breastfeeding I can talk about ad nauseam...but when it comes to most first-time mother baby stuff...I am bored. Baby carriers, cool. But even high chairs, strollers and carseats I am just O-V-E-R. So when my lil sis emailed me to ask what she should register for, I was at a loss. I am actually going to a Babies R Us store today with my first-time mom friend to help her register. That will be fun b/c it is real shopping and it's my friend. I told lil sis to just check out her registry once we are done to get ideas...but I thought she could use some extra special help from ya'lls.

So, if you had to recommend 1 (or a few) can't-live-without baby items for that newborn, what would it be?

PS Try to make a suggestion that hasn't been covered yet. I don't want someone to recommend the Bopppy Breastfeeding pillow, then someone else disagree and state reasons why the Viva Breastfeeding Pillow is better, and then someone else brag about how they didn't even need a breastfeeding pillow. Just take a second to recommend an item that you personally couldn't live without. Make sense?
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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Herbal Remedies for the Everyday Mom

I do not claim to be an earth mother. But, I did marry into a family of Chiropractors. So I admit to dabbling in the world of holistic medicine. I still think much of that world is filled with empty promises and quackery, but I have found a few things that seem to work like "magic" and are worth sharing. Here are my herbal remedies for the everyday mom:

-Arnica: for bruises and swelling. Fellow contributor, Shaleen, gave me my first jar of this amazing stuff. It significantly reduces bruising and swelling when applied right after an injury happens. I have used it on myself and on my children with great results. I think Shaleen credits Arnica balm for not being turned into Child Protective Services -- Hey, her kids are REALLY active. There are a lot of arnica products out there at all price ranges. I linked to the one Shaleen gave me - it has a Spanish label and is super cheap.

-L Methionine: wart removal. I am not afraid to say that I have had warts. I have tried soaking them off, burning them off, cutting them off. I tried everything. Then I heard (from who I can't remember) about L Methionine. I took the horse pills for a few weeks and poof! I think that is the medical term) No more warts. No kidding. My body just absorbed them right up. And, I know it wasn't just a coincedence. In the years since, I have suggested the remedy to many others and they have all had the same result. It's magic I tell you!

-Cranberry Capsules: bladder Infections. These pills work wonders! When compared to cranberry juice, they don't have the added sugar, you can always have them on hand, and they are far more potent. I take the 500mg capsules, but I believe they even come in 1000mg. I also think you can take them everyday for overall urinary tract health. But, I just like to use them to chase away the sting when I feel it coming on. If I catch it early enough, it never turns into a full blown infection.

Along the same lines, The Wiz over at Mormon Mommy Wars did a post a while back on some of her favorite household cures. They are not necessarily herbal, but her post (as well as the comments) are worth a look see.

I would love to hear if anyone else out there has had personal success with any herbal remedies.
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I L.U.V. my I.U.D.

Anyone looking for a great non-hormonal birth control option?

I am in love with my IUD. Like my DH, I never imagined that we would be a good match when we first met, but what a great addition you have been to my life!

Reasons Why I Love You So...IUD:

1. No more crazy hormone issues. A thousand different birth control pills, the patch, the ring....I must have tried every brand on the market. Most all gave me migraines and bipolar disorder (at least that is how my dh diagnosed my wild mood swings). Apparently, threatening divorce for leaving his newspapers out or for eating the last piece of chocolate cake on the kitchen counter is considered by him to be "irrational moody behavior."

2. No pills to swallow, no patches to apply. Who needs one more thing to remember to do each day? My IUD is really low maintenance. I get it checked by my ob/gyn once a year during my annual exam and I check to ensure the string is properly in place after my monthly period. EAZZZY!

3. The procedure was virtually painless. I was a little nervous about getting something semi-permanently inserted in my cervix. I had read that it can be a little painful. I felt a quick pinch...and it was over.

My younger sister, who is a labor and delivery nurse, said that many doctors will do the procedure right after a woman gives birth. I had mine done at my 6-week appointment after the birth of my second child.

4. Virtually no worries about getting pregnant for the next 10 years!!! That's right, ladies, the IUD is effective for ten years and can easily be taken out if you decide you want to get pregnant.

With other non-hormonal birth control methods such as condoms and the diaphram having gaps in effectiveness (DH and I experienced two "gaps in effectiveness" now commonly referred to as Noe and Asher), I feel a lot more control in my life and confident that we can plan the timing and size of our family as we feel so inspired.

5. Less cramping during my period. Some women experience more cramping and bleeding from their IUD. I have had a little more bleeding and much less cramping than pre-IUD. However, there could be other factors involved, especially since I got it right after my second pregnancy.

6. A better, more spontaneous sex life. When Dr. Cho (my awesome ob/gyn who ran 8 NYC blocks...in heels...to deliver Asher) first tried to sell me on the IUD, this was part of her sales pitch. I wanted to tell her I wasn't that kind of girl....but after two kids....I guess the jig is up. Like most married women, I have sex. She was right, though. It is nice to lose the step in the lovemaking process that involves trying to remember where we last left the condoms. And for me, the security of knowing that one fun night isn't going to result in nine months of throwing up and continual weight gain is a big turn-on.

When I casually told my mother about my IUD, I got a long and unexpected you-are-going-to-hell-oh-daughter-of-mine silence. I later learned that many of the older generation believe that the IUD acts as an abortion device, interrupting implantation. That is just not true, at least of the newer models, which act more like a spermacide. Here is a good website that explains exactly how the IUD works, and answers many common questions about this particular birth control.

Last fall, a new friend from our Astoria ward and I got on the subject of birth control. She had similar reactions to hormones as I do, and was eager to find a reliable birth control method. I did my best missionary impression to spread the gospel of the IUD. She brought up the abortion controversy. We worked through this issue and I thought I had convinced her to get it. In the next couple of months she separated from her husband and took her two young kids back home to live with her parents. She also found out she was pregnant. I am sure that this child will be a blessing in her life, but the timing must be extremely stressful for her. I don't know what exactly stopped her from getting the procedure done...fear, lack of time, or if she still had remaining doubts on the abortion issue. I hope it wasn't the last one.....and I hope that this abortion myth isn't preventing other women from seeking this birth control option.
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Sunday, April 16, 2006

A lesson in sugar...

This past Easter weekend, I learned a valuable lesson. No, it was not about the resurrection, teaching my children reverence in sacrament, nothing related to the Easter holiday at all. Here is the lesson I learned:


We celebrated the commercial Easter on Saturday with Easter baskets and an egg hunt around 11:00 AM. The kids apparently ate more chocolate than we realized between their baskets and the hunt (we were distracted by the friends we had over) and were overloaded. Especially DD (she is 18 months old). Around 12:00, both kids melted down which was fine because it was naptime. It took 2 1/2 hours for DS (3 years old) to calm down sufficiently to take a nap. He was totally wired from the sugar. It took DD nearly 4 HOURS to relax enough to sleep. She would scream, yell, cry, sing, cackle...and repeat...for 4 hours. I went in there about 10 times and one time I swear she was possessed and speaking in tongues - it was totally weird. It sounded like Polish... Then she would lay on her back and kick the crib wall AS HARD AS SHE COULD. I seriously thought the crib was going to break. DH and I rolled our eyes at each other and threw up our hands. Good grief, will it ever end?

When the kids awoke from their naps they BOTH begged for candy, chocolate, anything sugary. To which I responded with a big fat "NO". There were a lot of tears (just from DD) and tantrums. My head was ready to explode. I ate their chocolate to make up for the pain.

Then I called a babysitter and we left at 7 PM until 11 PM. It was fabulous.Lesson learned: Do NOT give these people candy or chocolate...especially if you ever want them to sleep again. Learn from me...please...save yourselves...
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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Don't Tell Dad

Words I never dreamed would be uttered by my four-year-old. It is just past her bedtime and we are waiting up for Dad since he rarely makes it home before the newly established 7 PM bedtime (thank you Poopy for waking up the entire house, including big sis at 5:45 sharp each morning). We are singing the Articles of Faith Songs 1-5, except 3 because I can't remember the words or the tune (and they call me the primary chorister...). The following conversation then ensues:

Pukey: (looking at my diamond ring) Mom, I want Dad to give me a ring like this.
Me: How about a nice boy that you really like gives you a diamond ring someday?
Pukey: When I grow up I am going to have a boyfriend, and kiss him on the lips and then marry him.
Me: Where did you learn about boyfriends and kissing on the lips?
Then Pukey gets a wide giddy smile.
Pukey: I have a boyfriend and he kissed me
Me: Where?
The giddiness is contagious. Even though I am quite concerned about this, it is the first "girl talk" I am experiencing with Pukey, and I am giddy now too.
Pukey: On the lips
Me: Where?
Pukey: In the playroom at school.
Me: What's his name?
Pukey: Joelle
Me: Tell me more
Pukey: Don't tell the teachers
Me: Did he just say, Pukey come over here I want to kiss you on the lips?
Pukey: Yeah, he said come here I want to kiss you and then he kissed me. Don't tell Dad.
Me: Pukey! (At this point I am near tears with giddiness and laughter because she is confessing and telling me not to tell her father. Where did she learn this?)

In walks Dad. And we spill it all. DH is smiling too. It is joyous because our daughter is confiding in us and experiencing something new. It is terrifying because she already knows about boyfriends and kissing on the lips and she is 4.

My fave part of the Dad and Pukey conversation:
DH:What's his name?
Pukey: Joelle
DH: What's his last name?
Pukey: I don't know
DH: How old is he?
Pukey: 6
DH: What's his Dad do?
Pukey: Don't tell the teachers.
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Makeup Part 2: Drugstore Finds

So I took a few minutes today and perused the makeup aisle of my local drugstore. I found a few items that looked intriguing, especially pertaining to our makeup thread last week. Disclaimer: I have no personal experience with these items, they just caught my eye as a consumer.

Physician's Formula Concealer Palette
There were only a few left at the store, which could indicate that it is popular. This looked like a great tool if you really struggle with blemishes and wildly colored skin, or if you want to be really precise when it comes to concealing. Also if you are struggling to find one concealer that is right for you, this allows you to blend colors to make your own perfect match.

Prestige is a cosmetics brand that I had not previously heard of. I find their website to be a little too much, but I was able to find the products that caught my eye on a different website.

First the iQuad. Face it, it's just cute. Who knows if the shadow is any good? But it does allow you to play with color b/c there are both highlights and shadows in this quad. The shade REWIND caught my eye as a nice neutral set.

Revlon Illuminance caught my eye on the web. These palettes have 4 shadows that range from barely there to pop, so with one purchase you can have a lot of fun experimenting. I also like that these are cream shadows. You can use your fingers to get the perfect blend and then brush a light shadow over them if you want to really blend it into your eye.

I have been reading a lot about minerals in makeup lately. I am not sure exactly what this means, but something made me red-flag it in my brain for when/if I have skin problems again. I think these are supposed to be good for troubled skin. Anyone have experience with them? Anyway, Neutrogena's mineral sheers caught my eye, but I found it to be a little pricey just for an experiment. On this website it was 3 dollars cheaper than at my local drugstore.

Cover Girl's Outlast Foundation looked intriguing, especially when the base had an SPF of 14 in it. Check it out.

Maybelline Expert Wear in Indian Summer looked like an ice shadow duo for one starting out with 2 eye shadow colors.

And finally, I think I actually might go back and buy this. Revlon Brow Fantasty. Come on, who doesn't fantasize about the perfect brow? It has a pencil and a gel to not only color, but sculpt as well. I am definitely going to try this.

Let me know if you try it too.
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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Breastfeeding Issues

Two questions for any of you who have breastfed or are currently doing so:

  1. What is the oldest you've nursed your baby and what is the age at which it is just plain wrong to keep doing it? I'm still nursing my 14-month old son and he loves it. The problem right now is that I have a hard time getting liquid into him other ways. He plays with sippy cups and ends up getting more on his front than down his throat. He nurses to get comfort and go to sleep. And he's just kind of a boob man like his dad. I think he needs to be better with sippy cups before I can wean him off breast milk. Is there anything wrong with nursing a toddler?
  2. Do you think men should be able to have the nursing experience too? Some people claim that a man can produce milk, too -- or they can just use a Daddy Nurser.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Stroller

When my son was born, I had a fancy stroller waiting for him for our big outings in the city. It was reasonably sized, not a behemoth, but not one of those dainty little umbrella strollers either. It had a nice padded seat, full recline, a generous sunshade, even shocks. And it carried him well for many months.

But as he grew older and heavier, it grew a little much for me to be lugging up subway stairs. And it was a little tough to maneuver through those tiny NYC stores. So Chloe, our resident stroller expert, found me a great deal on a beautiful stroller on ebay. And when Max was about 10 months old, I folded up that first stroller for the last time.

It sat in the foyer of our apartment forever, collecting dust. I would pass it each time I entered or left the apartment, and knew that logically, it was time for me to sell it or give it away. But I just couldn’t. Not for sentimental reasons, though. I wish it was only that. It was fear that made me hold on to that stroller, a fear that is a part of my life and a part of who I am as a mom, and that doesn’t seem to be going away.

On September 11, 2001, I was on the subway on my way to work when the planes hit the towers. I saw the smoke from the elevated track in Queens before we went underground into Manhattan. I figure we were probably one of the last subways in, because a lot of announcements and confusion was happening on my ride. I just figured it was the regular subway delay problems, because you can never understand those announcements anyway! But when I came above ground in SoHo (NYC neighborhood about 20 blocks up from the towers) there were people walking north up the streets, away from the area. And when I got into my office, I could see from my desk through the huge floor-to-ceiling windows the towers on fire. I watched them collapse from my office and waited there for many hours, wondering if I should try to get home or not. When I finally left, I walked and managed to get a subway and bus home, and then spent the next two days on my couch, crying and imagining how I would get out of the city if I needed to – what I would take, where I would walk to. I’m talking about imagining myself alone, hiking for hundreds of miles, sleeping in the bushes on the side of the road at night. I was imagining that anarchy was imminent, and I needed to know that I had a plan to save myself. For months afterward, I’d find myself in random places – a theatre during a play, at the grocery store, in church – wondering how someone would let us know it had happened in this situation. Would someone come onstage and say something? Would they come over the loudspeaker in the grocery store? Broadcast CNN on the closed-circuit security TVs?

I didn’t talk with many people about my fears, because I knew they’d think I was nuts. I couldn’t really talk to my husband about them, he hadn’t been in NYC and didn’t really understand what I had gone through. And I even belittled my own experience – sure, I had watched it all through my office window, but I hadn’t actually been in the buildings, etc. - other people had been through worse. As time passed and life continued, I managed to release some of these daily thoughts and return myself to “normal”.

In August of 2003, I went in to show off my 6-week-old son at my office in SoHo. My husband had decided to come in with me, so we didn’t take the stroller, just the Bjorn that DH would carry Max in on the subway. DH went to do some shopping while I went to show off my new little man. And as we were finishing up our visit, the power went out. Yep, it was the big east-coast blackout of 2003. Now one of the many blessings that occurred during this experience is that I was able to get a call through to my parents very early on (a lot of phone systems were out because of the power) and they reassured me that it wasn’t terrorism, so at least I wasn’t worried about that. But I did have to find my husband and walk the many miles home in the August heat and humidity with a 6-week old. One of the memories I will never forget is sitting in the middle of the sidewalk on the Queens side of the 59th St. Bridge, breastfeeding Max while the sunset disappeared and people swarmed by us.

So back to that stroller. Yes, as time had passed I had gotten over many of my daily obsessions and fears, but they weren’t gone for good. I still had those visions of me, alone, hiking out of NYC to escape whatever evil was on its way, and suddenly I had a small helpless infant that I had to take care of. That stroller, though too bulky and heavy for the subways, was for me a life support system for my little man. He could ride in it, sleep in it. I could carry a much heavier load in it. The wheels were larger and more rugged, ready to take on the task of the grand hike. And so even though the stroller was never used, it was my escape plan, my safety net.

So why am I writing this now? Well, first of all, the stroller is still sitting in my new garage here in Vermont. I still can’t get rid of it. Secondly, I was reminded of my fears when I got Max’s enrollment packet for preschool last week. It included all kinds of forms and information, but the one that drew my attention was the emergency plan. Here was a 4 level plan that included multiple evacuation scenarios (if they had to leave the building, the immediate area, the town, the region, etc.) and contact information for a whole host of people. And I got that same sick feeling in my gut and found myself crying in my kitchen reading it. I started wondering if they had enough food and water stored at the school, if they really understood that THIS COULD HAPPEN. I could hear a little hysterical voice in my head talking the crazy talk at the next parent board meeting, knowing that no one there would understand why I was such a loon when it came to this.

My hope is that I can use this experience for good. That I can take the fear that I have and ignore the parts that bring on the crazy talk, and focus on the parts that make me plan. That I can have my food storage, my evacuation plan, a family contact plan, etc. That I can do that without instilling a fear in my children. I think I can do it. I hope I can do it.
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Monday, April 10, 2006

The Girlfriend's Guide To Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month. At first glance, I thought the ribbon was designed with puzzle pieces because some autistic kids, like my 3-year-old son Noe, are really into puzzles. Actually, the ribbon "reflects the mystery and complexity as well as the diversity of people and families living with this disorder."

In all likelihood, you know....or will know....a mother with an autistic child. The number of kids diagnosed with autism has reached epidemic proportions: 1 in 166 kids are somewhere on the autism spectrum.

If you know a mom whose child has just received the diagnosis, here is some advice from another mom who's recently been through the autism ringer:

1. Acknowledge Her Loss. Having your child diagnosed with a life-long disability is a terrible loss. When Noe was diagnosed, I felt as though his future had been robbed from him, and from us. I also felt tremendous guilt about these feelings...after all, he wasn't dead or dying. How could I feel such grief? I remember talking to Kage in the mother's room of our Astoria chapel during a Sacrament Meeting soon after Noe's diagnosis. She said exactly what I was feeling...that I had experienced a great loss. That validation allowed me to start grieving...and healing.

Don't worry about saying the wrong thing, worry about saying nothing. I received a wide range of responses, and honestly, I appreciated almost all of them. Some were very somber, "I'm so sorry." Others were more positive..."I've got a nephew with autism and he is the greatest kid...Noe is going to be great!" I didn't want to be alone during that time and I appreciated the support.

2. Build Her Confidence. The only responses that I DID NOT appreciate were in the form of, "Oh...I knew there was something wrong with him." Luckily I didn't hear them very often, but they helped validate my fear that I WAS INDEED the WORST mother in the ENTIRE history of motherhood! How could I have missed the signs? I knew that Noe was a little different from his peers, but I thought he was a "walking-to-his-own-drumbeat" different, rather than "your-son-has-a-debilitating-neurological-disorder" different.

Mothers tend to blame themselves for everything that goes wrong with their children. My self-blame ran the gamut of the possible, "I shouldn't have immunized him," to the improbable, "I should have breastfed him longer," to the absurd, "It's my fault because he fell off the bed once."

Your friend may also be questioning her abilities as a mother. Reassure your friend that she is an amazing mom with great faith and untold strength that will enable her child rise above autism to reach his/her full potential.

3. Listen to Her. Your friend will be facing a myriad of new stresses in the coming months. Potential challenges may include: Finding qualified therapists to work with her child and the financial resources to pay for these expensive therapies; Exhaustion from dealing with her child's autistic behaviors; Anxiety about her child's future; Marital stress (the divorce rate for parents of an autistic child is 80%). Be positive and encouraging, but mostly stay silent and let her complain away....

I certainly never expected any of my friends to solve any of these problems, but I appreciated their willingness to listen.

4. Love Her Child. I was pleased that all of my friends treated Noe the same after his diagnosis and many even asked how they could be involved in his therapy. Possible ways to involve yourself in her child's life include: Learning how to communicate with her child (i.e. using sign language or PECs that the child understands); Engaging her child in meaningful play (autistic kids need constant attention in order to keep them from reverting back to their own world); Learning how to help your friend manage her child's negative behaviors.

5. Educate Her. There is a litany of information and resources available on autism. Your friend will soon begin the oft-overwhelming process of sifting through causation theories and deciding between many different treatment options. Almost one year later, I am still learning new things about autism and its hold on my son, and I am still questioning the appropriateness of the therapies we chose for Noe. Here are some of my favorite resources from my ever-expanding autism library: Overcoming Autism, The Autism Sourcebook, The Out of Sync Child and Thinking In Pictures.

I don't know exactly what Noe's future holds, but I DO know that I would have never survived the past year without my DH, my mom and my Tales girlfriends.

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So it has been about 6 weeks since I last saw Carrie. The last time I didn't see her for this long was when her DH had a motorcycle accident in UT and was laid up for a while out there. Then I could at least go check on her apartment, say hi to her pets...and know she was coming home...but it's hitting me now that she isn't coming back.

The apartment below that she used to occupy has been painted white, and is still vacant two months later. Sometimes the door is left wide open by the super...I think he is taunting me, because I walk by and it is just this empty, echoey white hole. No dog trying to escape, no smell of dinner that I am OBVIOUSLY not cooking upstairs, no little running princess feet, no opera-screaming pumpkin, no Carrie yelling (in a nice way) at her "work people" on her cell phone, no door slams to indicate their comings and goings.

Lately I have felt some pent up anger and frustration, sadness and loneliness. It has really been bothering me because I am definitely not sad and lonely very much. (I'll leave the anger and frustration for another post). I asked myself: WHY? Why am I feeling all of this... and then it hit me. I miss Carrie. Not only was she a great friend, but she was this reflection of almost exactly what I was going through...and if she was ok at the end of the day, then I was too. We both had two girls that were virtually the same age going through very similar things. We lived in the same city and were working/sahm moms. She could totally relate to everything that happened, and I could spit it right out and she would smile and nod and then everything would be ok. So, I miss that being right there at any moment.

I miss the Tales girls too. Whenever I visit tales I picture a church gym filled with all the women on the list on the right. There were moments when almost all of us were gathered in that gym with little ones wreaking havoc (don't tell the FM group). I asked myself why we got to have that and then why we lost it? It occurred to me that God had a plan for us. We were like cells that needed to divide so that we could grow. I figured out that we had something so unique and so special, and we learned so much from each other, but we could only have that for a short amount of time. It was like a training session. Then we had to be split apart so that we could go gather others and "train" them. Train them to come out of their homes and be with other women. To pull down their social masks and talk candidly about the struggles and triumphs of motherhood. To be there for each other when we found out we had bedbugs, were pregnant with twins, were betrayed by a family member, couldn't orgasm (ok nobody would touch that one-go over to FMH for that discussion), had a crazy neighbor who was going to kill them (that happened to two of us), couldn't get pregnant, could get pregnant, got deathly ill (temporarily), had a husband traveling all the time, needed a girls night out, needed to buy a pair of jeans without holes in them, found out we were unexpectedly pregnant (won't tell how many THAT happened to), or finally potty-trained our kid.

The list goes on and on. We are so lucky as sisters in this gospel to have enough in common to share. To give and to receive. I feel there are women in other towns and cities who do not have that support group. We not only had it, but we were a beautiful example of openness, acceptance, giving and receiving. Everyone was invited to everything. Everyone had gifts to share. So, I will miss that, but I plan on rebuilding here, and I know that every woman who has gone elsewhere is doing the same thing.

PS Cytokinesis: the process where one cell splits off from its sister cell
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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Improving Your Family Photo Skills

So you want to photograph for posterity?

So I am going to be making a few posts every once and a while with tips or bits of information about photography and how to photograph your family.


A really easy way to improve your photographic skills is to look at other people's photos (be it your neighbor or a professional).

The internet is a fantastic source for endless images. Or take some time to go to your local book store. Look at magazines or photo books.

You can look for ideas in the composition (how the objects are arranged ie, centered, to the side, asymetrical, etc) or color (all bright colors, all pale colors, complimentary colors, analagus colors (ie. all warm colors)). Also the angle at which the photo was taken can add interest to the subject.

extra FYI:
Why do people get red eye in photos?
In the back of our eyes there are loads of blood vessels which keep our eyes working. Most of the time we can't see them because light is not usually shining directly at them. When a flash photo is taken at a direct angle, the flash is right in line to reveal all those vessels.
Some cameras have "red eye reducers"- they have a small flash before the real flash - this encourages our puples to get smaller and thus let less light into the back of our eye.
How to avoid red eye altogether?
When possible don't use the flash.
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Pink Shoes for Boys?

As I was cleaning out my files before the big cross-country move, I came across an article from Parents Mag (May 1999) that my SIL sent me a long time ago. It’s called “Pink Shoes For Boys?”. I looked to see if maybe I could find it somewhere on the web for your perusal, but alas, I could not. So, here are the basics: Dad takes his 4 year old son to the shoe store to buy new shoes. Little boy wants hot-pink jellies. Dad tries to convince boy that he actually wants dark-blue canvas shoes. Little boy still wants hot-pink jellies. Dad wants to say, “No, Those are for girls” but instead has in internal dialogue about gender stereotyping.

Here is one quote from the article:
“We as parents of boys should also acknowledge the fact that no matter how liberated we may consider ourselves, most of us perpetuate the old gender roles in our own homes. We modern parents may praise our sons for playing house or stitching nearly on those little preschool sewing thingamajigs. But let’s face it: Most of us praise our sons a lot more if they bang away with a toy hammer, or slam a baseball out of the infield, or score on a slam dunk.”

I don’t have any sons…yet. But like the author (who bought his son a doll and a kitchen and was considering enrolling him ballet because of his dancing talent), I feel like I would be open to my sons exploring things that might in some small way combat sex stereotyping. But, just like the author, I realize there is a breaking point. Pink shirt. No prob. Pink shoes? I think I would have to say no.

So here is the question that reveals to what extent are we comfortable perpetuating “traditional” gender roles in our homes: What do you do when your son begs you for sparkly pink shoes?

Sidenote: My SIL originally sent the article to me because a few years previously (1996) I had worn pink sparkly jelly shoes to my wedding. I was completely obsessed with them and she wanted to know if I would ever be able to deny them to my future sons.
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Babies, Babies, Babies!

It's true. We have had yet another birth here at The Crib. She got pregnant in Bosnia and now our contributor, Sunny, has given birth to a beautiful baby girl who will fill the nest she has made here in the US. Next stop for their family--Tokyo!. Congratulations to Sunny and her international baby! Hope to "see" you around the crib soon. We all think it would be fitting for you to write the NYC tribute for April ;)

P.S. I was thinking...maybe we should add Tracy M to our contibutor list. It might just be the thing to push her into labor!
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Favorite Digital Photo Websites

In an effort not to threadjack happy nanny's awesome photo post, I thought we could comment about our fave digital photo sharing sites here. I prefer snapfish. I have used it for years. As for smugmug, after googling me, my husband found images of me on smug mug that were open to the public that I did not necessarily WANT open to the public. I am not sure how that works, but I had to email abby and my friends and tell them to delete those photos.

I have tried ofoto and it is similar to snapfish.

My fave thing about snapfish:
1. I can buy 1000 prints for 100 dollars and just fill up my cart whenever I want some photos printed (I take a lot of photos)
2. I like the effects (b and w, borders etc)
3. I like the website design. It is user friendly (super fast uploading), and great for organizing and sharing.
4. Photo gifts. I print albums for the grandparents every year. I love the quality and the ease to design. They also give you 25% off duplicates, which is great when you are ordering at least 4.
5. Photo cards. They are inexpensive and great quality.
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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Calling all Minnesotans...

Or anyone with connections to the Twin Cities area! DH has accepted a job in the Minneapolis area--Bloomington to be precise. We are in the process of gathering information about the area and trying to narrow down potential places to live. Does anyone have any contacts who live in the southern suburbs of the city? Apple Valley, Eden Prairie, Lake Prior, Burnsville? Or additionally, in the southern neighborhoods of Minneapolis? (That's a post for another day--trying to decide between the suburbs and city.) Anyway, we'd love to get some insider information. Thanks!
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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Split Identity

It's been three weeks since my dissertation defense, the culmination of 7 1/2 years of a PhD program. I've been turning over a post in my mind for a while now, and while we've been busy with all sorts of things, the honest truth is that I haven't been able to push through a post. I tried to start writing something several times, and words just haven't flowed.

My feelings about the entire experience are all jumbled. I have my share of bitterness about the process, pure relief that it's all over, of course, and anxiety about the future and what I will do. I can't succintly put into words how grad school has influenced me. Really, it's incalculable, but I am (of course!) a different person that the day I stepped into Canon Hall for the first time. All that I've learned, the accomplishments making it through grad school have required of me, friendships, sharpened opinions about a range of topics, and disillusionment with the establishment of academia.

But the influence that I've been thinking most about is how my identity has become tied up in the work I have been doing for so long. Before I was married, before I had children, I was in graduate school. Being a graduate student has been a core piece of my identity. As part and parcel of that, I stepped on a career path of sorts and have been treading on it each additional month it's taken me to finish. My advisor, other students, and most everyone in my office assumes that I will follow in the footsteps of the other students that have passed through the program and take some kind of full time job.

At the opposite end of my identity spectrum is the life represented by my mother and MIL. Both chose early on to not work in favor of mothering and a domestic life. I have often felt that they (and others in the church) expect that I will not work, and that graduate school is something I just needed to finish, education for the pure sake of learning.

How can I explain to either camp the profound ambivalence I feel? That I want to ensure that my chidren are growing emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and physically, that they are well cared for and happy, and that our relationships as members of a family are growing? But at the same time, how I want to continue--if even slowly--to grow and develop this very different and separate portion of my life. These are both important parts of who I am. I feel so divided and unsure how I want to and how I should reconcile these two pieces into one cohesive identity now that grad school is over.

I'm not necessarily asking for advice--I know we'll come to a solution. But for me, the definition of my identity remains somewhat illusive. Do any of you feel identity conflicts? Do you feel you've lost a portion of yourself since becoming a mother? Do you rejoice in that or mourn it? Or both, depending on the day?!? Have you found a way to expand your identity to include all that you want? Or are you setting a portion of it aside for the time being?
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Monday, April 03, 2006

Mom Makeup

I know that it is probably weird to take makeup tips from someone that you have never seen before, but I know my stuff! Feel free to post any questions you have, I would love to answer them...on with the post:

If you only have 5 minutes to do your makeup:

~After your shower (if you are priveleged enough to get one), moisturize your face (spf 15 will protect you from the sun)
~Quickly conceal blemishes or uneven skin with concealer that is NOT lighter than your skin tone, powder everywhere and add a dab of blush or bronzer on the apples of your cheeks.
~Use a neutral eyeshadow for your lid and crease
~light coating of mascara on your lashes
~light coating of gloss on your lips

If you have a few more minutes:

~add a shadow to your crease and curl your lashes before applying mascara

Even more time:

~Use foundation or tinted moisturizer before powdering and blushing
~Line your lips and then apply gloss

Maximum amounts of time:

~fill in your brows with a good color match-either with shadow or feather on with a pencil (a friend used a good analogy...you wouldn't put a photo on the wall without a frame...filled-in brows frame your beautiful eyes and believe it or not, bring the EYES out...not the brows)
~line your eyes as close to your lash line as possible-don't think of eye liner as a visible line on your eye, but a partner with mascara to bring out your lashes. One of my favorite "bring out your lashes" tricks is to put the thinnest line of liquid black liner practically on the roots of my lashes, it really thickens the look of your lashes.
~dot a second color lip gloss for a highlight or contrast in the center of your lip and smash your lips together/blot


~Keep in mind that with practice you could probably get away with the MAXIMUM -amounts-of-time look, in 5 or maybe 7 minutes, but you have to get really good...
~Practice makes perfect. You will have to practice this routine, and eventually it will be in your body enough that you can do it on the subway without a mirror...would not recommend trying it while driving though
~Be open to a new look. Many of us have been doing the same makeup routine since high school...and guess what? It's not working! So...do what I say, practice it a few times and just look at it every few hours...or just do one half of your face and look at the difference. Especially with the eyebrows-look and the laying-off-the- eyeliner look. You might feel naked toning it down, but it will look beautiful
~Less is more. Unless you have a specific occasion (karaoke night, going out to a hot night club to hook up with some guy), be less. Save the dramatics for another time.

NEXT TIME: Some products that I JUST LOVE
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Need a New Baby Carrier

I need suggestions on baby carriers. Please help.

I am still using the bjorn sometimes, and that is just silly with my 20 pound bundle of backache. I have seen ads for the hip hammock and wondering if anyone has experience with this, or has a better suggestion. Anybody?
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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Is Melissa still "Scared $#&*less" ?

It must be spring because babies are being born left and right here at Tales. Melissa delivered a beautiful baby boy at the end of last week. She is no longer a "Mom 2 Be" but the question remains, "Is she still scared $#&*less"? We can't wait to hear from her once she settles into her new life in a new home with her new little guy. Congratulations Melissa, we know you are going to make a great mother!
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Saturday, April 01, 2006

"Your eggs are bad!" - A brief journey through infertility

It took 3 years for DH and me to have our son. I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 14 so we knew it was going to be a battle and it was. After a year of trying on our own, we called in the "experts". I was in pain, extremely vulnerable and desperate to have a baby - the ideal infertility candidate. After many drugs, painful tests, IUI cycles, one IVF cycle and follow up laparoscopy we gave up and threw in the towel for a little while. I interviewed two adoption agencies and decided we would go find our child in Russia.

Then I got pregnant. For real.

And 9 months later we had DS. With no intervention, nothing. I was 4 1/2 months pregnant when I FINALLY accepted that I was actually going to have a baby. I was so used to nothing but negative tests and sad looks on doctors faces that I couldn't fathom I was one of the lucky ones who got to have a baby. I felt like I'd won a huge contest - really, the joy is unexplainable.

But I digress. When I was "in pain, extremely vulnerable and desperate to have a baby" I could have used some good advice. I didn't know anyone my age in NYC who was going through IVF or any significant infertility issues so I had no one to talk to. I once made the mistake of visiting a "coping with infertility" blog and it just filled me with despair. Books were pretty worthless - every single one I read (and I read ALOT) seemed outdated or missed the mark with ME. Most of my family and friends treaded gingerly around the issue. It's like when someone dies and you don't really know what to say? That's how most people are with infertility. There were countless baby showers I couldn't attend because I knew I would start sobbing, women I just couldn't be around because they had babies and I didn't, the list goes on and on. I really could have used some advice.

So here are a few things I learned during my 3 year journey through infertility. If you've been through it, please feel free to add - the more information the better.

1) Get 2nd and 3rd opininons. Maybe even 4th. Interview clinics! Infertility clinics/practices are a BUSINESS. Got it? A BUSINESS. Yes, they want to help you get pregnant, but they are still a BUSINESS. The biggest mistake I made was signing on with the first infertility clinic I visited. Again, I was vulnerable and all I wanted was to have a baby so I didn't do my homework and interview several clinics. I should have; it would have saved me all the second guessing. Halfway through my IVF cycle my doctor told me that my eggs were bad and I would need donor eggs. I cried and never questioned - I should have. Interview and get multiple opinons.

2) Treatments are typically based on your monthly cycle, so its usually a full 30 days before everyone realizes something didn't work. You're going to be spending ALOT of time at an infertility clinic especially if you dive into IVF - make sure that you LIKE your doctor. Mine had a horrible bedside manner (another post altogether and one I don't feel like writing), and when you're getting an internal ultrasound on your ovaries every day for 2 weeks, ya want someone ya kinda like, know what I mean? Find a doctor/practice that you like.

3) Make sure that you and your insurance company know EXACTLY what is going on before you start any procedures. This takes time and patience but will save you headaches and heartache in the end. Infertility is extremely expensive and you want to make sure your insurance is paying every penny they are supposed to - be on top of this.

4) Tell a couple of close friends what is going on. For awhile, I kept it all a big secret. Finally I caved and told Marian and a few others what was going on and that really saved my sanity. You need your friends and your DH needs you to have an outlet other than him. Allow a few people to help you.

5) Try to stay away from those "coping with infertility" blogs - they'll bring you down. You need positive energy to go through this stuff and staying up late at night commiserating online with other women who are going through it, lost pregnancies, are depressed, etc. isn't going to elevate your soul.

6) Try to take care of yourself spiritually. Visit the temple if and when you are able. Ask for a blessing. Read your patriarchal blessing. These may sound like standard mormon answers but when you are battling infertility you'll probably forget about this stuff. You need to keep yourself in tune spiritually, so do what is necessary to get in tune.

And finally, do not attempt infertility treatment AND adoption at the same time. I know, people do it but it is SO emotionally and financially draining that I can't recommend it. Decide where your energy and time is best spent and then dedicate yourself to that cause 100%. Stop and reevaluate when you need to but don't try both of these processes at the same time.
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