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.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Freebies from the Crib: Another Rowdy Diaper Bag Winner

The Random Integer Generator has spoken and the winner of the super stylish and perfectly practical Rowdy diaper Bag is ...

gurrbanzo who said "PICK ME! PICK ME! I'm having a kid in 5-6 short weeks and a hip diaper bag will light up my life."

Please e-mail us your shipping information as well as your color choice of the Sophisticate Bowler diaper bag to talesfromthecrib (at) gmail (dot) com.

If you didn't luck out this time, remember that Rowdy is offering a 15% discount to all Tales readers. Just enter the code: TALES at checkout.
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Thursday, February 28, 2008

From the Tales Inbox: Natural Birth Questions

Deep in the comments of Kage's recent pregnancy Q & A post were a couple of good questions regarding natural birth that we thought deserved a post of their own. All you experienced natural-birthers out there it's time to share your knowledge.

Kristine N would like to know:

One thing I've been curious about is alternate positions for giving birth. Everyone I know gave birth supine, and most with an epidural. I'd much rather squat and go natural (my mom reacted badly to an epidural and so far I react exactly like she does to medications) and I've heard it's easier that way, but also difficult to convince a doctor to let you. Any thoughts on whether squatting/other non-laying down positions are (relatively) more comfortable and effective, and how have doctors reacted to the alternative positions? If you want to try something like that is it advantageous to have a doula?

And a semi-related question from Katrina

What I'd like to know is what techniques any natural birthers used during labor? I'm exploring the options and would really love to hear some specifics of how women got through natural labor.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

If You Care About Your Child's Education, Don't Send Them to Public School part II

You may remember part I of this series in which I was trying to decide where to send Princess to school. The loudest buzz in my town was saying "don't even think about sending her to public school". But with some persistence, I found a group of amazing parents who were working hard to rebuild the public school system's bad reputation and replace it with hope. They strongly advocated parent and community involvement in the schools. They also encouraged parents who were deciding where to send their kids to school not to base their decision solely on the "talk" regarding public schools or the greatschools.com rating or test scores, but invited them to actually step inside the public schools (including their neighborhood school) before making the final decision.

When I followed that advice and began touring various schools, I had the opportunity to talk to teachers, principals other parents with children attending public school, and I decided public school was the only way for us. I mentioned it briefly before, but Princess now attends our local public elementary school--a school that from the outside, does not have a good reputation or test scores. In fact, when people find out where she goes to school, I get one of two responses – either "so sorry you didn't find out how bad that school is before you enrolled" or just a stare of complete shock. No one actually believes we made an informed choice to send her there. While it’s true that her school is struggling in some ways, we have found a whole community of parents who truly care about their children and have only been impressed with the teachers, principal and the education Princess has received so far.

So, I have become a huge proponent of public schools -- even the struggling ones with poor test scores. I do not believe that we have made any extraordinary sacrifice in the quality of our daughter’s education. And I truly believe that making an investment in the local school is an important investment in our community's future. I often hear people lament the current state of our communities (I hear the world is going to hell in a hand basket, you know). But it seems to me that sending our children to public school and then getting involved in their education is an easy way to contribute not only to your own child’s education, but also to help other children who may not have the same opportunities in their home that our children do.

I don't mean this post to pressure or guilt anyone into making the same choice we did (okay, maybe a little pressure wouldn’t be bad). I realize that each family and child has different circumstances to deal with when making education choices for their children. But, with Kindergarten registration going on all over the country, I want to challenge other parents out there to actually step into your local public school. Sit through a class, talk with the teachers, speak to the principal about your honest concerns. I think you’ll be surprised. At the very least, I think this kind of dialogue will help bring hope to the public schools, instead of simply smearing them with a "lost cause" mentality. I also think these discussions can help you sort through your ideas of what a "good education" means to you and your family.

You may even realize you have the time, energy, resources and desire to invest in a not-so-perfect school, recognizing that even the modest efforts of individual parents will go much further toward fixing our public schools than waiting for the government to get the schools back on track.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Freebies form the Crib: Another Rowdy Diaper Bag

So we have made it through a year+ of having at least one "freebie" every month. In 2008, we'll have a freebie whenever one lends itself (don't worry, we still got a few up our sleeve). It's been so fun to give away some fun, free stuff and more importantly, I have loved "meeting" some amazing and inspiring momtrepreneurs (and dadtrepreneurs) along the way.

This freebie might look a little familiar because we highlighted
Rowdy back in December. It was a super-cool product and a generous giveaway back then so how could we pass up an opportunity to do another! To refresh your memory, Rowdy was started by two husband and wife teams (Sara & Mike and Kat & Justin) who set out to design, produce and sell the "perfect diaper bag".

The Rocker Convertible in green - is currently sitting in my closet just waiting for it's multitude of pockets to be filled with tiny newborn diapers, a change of clothing and all that other stuff newborns need (i'm struggling right now to remember what those things are--guess I still have a few more weeks to remember again).

Rowdy diaper bags real selling points are all the perfectly practical details: the many inner pockets, the changing pad and insulated bottle holder. And, all of their bags are designed with a detachable purse. It's a great place to keep your wallet and other personal items so when you can ditch the diapers, you can detach the purse and go with out having to constantly "change bags".

But don't forget the best part of every Rowdy bag--the removable, washable lining. All moms who have ever had a bottle leak or a sippy cup spill in your diaper bag please raise your hand. You know it is next to impossible to get it cleaned out. Then the milk residue hiding in all the cracks starts smelling bad. Ugh, it's disgusting. Not with a Rowdy bag. After a spill, just pull out the waterproof lining and throw it in the washing machine and your bag is as good as new. Love that!

Now for the freebie, the winner will will receive the Sophisticate Bowler in the color of their choice (a retail value of $120)! Will you choose the sleek white just in time for spring, or the sophisticated tan? Just enter a comment below! If you don't happen to need a new diaper bag in your life right now please tell someone who does. These bags promise to make any new mom (or returning mom like me) giddy with delight.

And if you don't happen to win the freebie, all the parents at Rowdy are once again offering a 15% discount to all Tales readers. Just enter the code: TALES at checkout.

How to win this Freebie:

-You have until Thursday(2/28), midnight EST to enter.
-Make a comment (any comment) on the post
-Please don't post under Anonymous - use a Blogger login or the "nickname" category.
-Winner will be randomly picked and announced Friday(2/29) morning.
-Please only enter (comment) once.
-Tales contributors are excluded from winning the freebies--sorry :(
-Freebies can only be shipped to US addresses.

What's with the Freebie?
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Monday, February 25, 2008

Pregnancy Q and A

There are 3 girls in our ward expecting their first babies, and so I am hosting a Pregnancy & Baby Q and A at my home for them in a week.

Even though it's only been 3 years since I birthed, I had almost forgotten about mucus plugs, so I am sure there is a whole list of things that are not on my brain.

Any newly pregnant girls out there reading, what questions would you want answered at a night like this?

Everyone else, if you could cover any one subject/thought/idea....what would it be?

I want to make sure they leave with a lot of information and a variety of ideas.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

When people in the ward drive you mad...

how do you react?

A recent Sunday I had three separate interactions with people in my ward that challenged my patience. The first was with a "mommy friend" (aka: we probably wouldn't be friends except that our kids are the same age and like to play together) in the foyer before Sunday school. I had politely asked her about a car insurance snafu she had been working to resolve. She made an offhand remark that at least insurance rates were cheaper in our area than in the Arizona town she and her husband had recently moved from as "all the Mexican who stole cars and drove uninsured really drove up the cost of insurance for all of us good people." Yes, that was her direct quote. I looked at her kind of stunned (had she failed to notice my MEXICAN AMERICAN husband or my BROWN-SKINNED children or my Hispanic MARRIED NAME?) and muttered an excuse about getting to class and tried to take a lot of deep breaths.

Just before Relief Society, I struck up a conversation with another woman in our ward. I admire this woman a lot. Her kids are extremely articulate and friendly and their teenage son is our favorite babysitter. This son is a senior in high school, extremely bright and getting offers from many colleges. I asked this woman how the college search was going and she commented how she was pushing him away from Ivy League schools. Her reason? She was afraid he would marry a woman with career ambitions and who carried a lot of debt from her education into the marriage. More deep breathes. This time I smiled and tried to respond in a polite manner, "Well, I guess it just depends on what type of woman [her son] wanted..." She agreed. New topic.

After church the ward financial clerk handed me an envelope and said, "Please give this to your husband right away." Ok, no problem. I looked into the envelope and found the printout of our annual church contributions that everyone gets at the beginning of the year for tax purposes. More deep breaths. Trying to be rational, I looked at the printout to see if it had DH's name. Nope, both of our names were listed. I tried to find any rational reason why he would think that I would not be involved in our family's financial dealings. None. Last straw for the day. I made some snarky comment about how I handled our family's finances so in the future he could come to me with his little printouts.

I don't like the snark and I don't like the silence. I do believe a ward family should be treated with respect and love. But what do you do when people in your ward share attitudes and values that go completely against your own? I don't want to be labeled as a troublemaker or malcontent, but remaining too quiet will inevitably make me resentful. And as my children grow up, I especially want them to know that even at church, they can raise up their voice and respectfully disagree.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

From the Tales Inbox: Ideas for Teaching

When I first was called to teach the oldest girls in primary, I thought, this will be a breeze. The girls are so well behaved and smart, it should be easy, right? I started out teaching like I'd done previously when substituting in primary---have the kids take turns reading the lesson from the scriptures, ask the questions the manual provides, fill up extra time with Hangman.

What a disaster. They weren't interested in reading out loud, instead they just wanted to jabber about school. It was impossible to get them to focus on the lesson. Finally, someone would answer a question I'd pose, and they'd rattle off the entire lesson in a few sentences. Most of the attention activities in the manual are *way* below these kids. And half the class knows everything already!

I clearly had to get creative. I started looking in the manual for ways to present the scripture stories besides just having them read it. I have my five staples which I will list below, but

the problem is, I feel like if we do the same things every Sunday, they'll get bored of it. I need more ideas. I'm sure there's lots of great teachers out there---what have you done to make it interesting?

Some of the ideas I've used that have been successful:
  • Have the kids act out the lesson. It works best if you make up a script beforehand with copies for everyone. If it's mostly narration and not actual speaking parts, I'll mark the lines as "Narrator" and have the girls take turns being Narrator. They LOVE it. I take the scripts entirely from the scriptures, often with no editing at all. Occasionally I'll have to make up lines, like if the scriptures say Laman and Lemuel "murmured against their brother," I'll fill in a few lines of what they might have complained about. The girls love to adlib as well.
  • Have the girls be news reporters doing interviews. First time I tried this, I wrote up some questions, and they took turns interviewing me. What an easy way to tell them the entire lesson! They loved it. Second time, I wrote up questions and answers for the girls, and they interviewed each other. I have a couple girls who don't like reading out loud or acting things out, so they took turns operating the "camera," which was an antique film camera on a mini tripod with a large viewfinder.
  • Invite other adults into the class to read a quote or lead the kids in singing a hymn. It helps to have some variety like this, and if the adult is one of the kids' parents, that's fun for them, too.
  • Play a matching game. I've done this with scriptures directly from the lesson, but instead of having the two cards match each other, I have the matching cards be the first and second half of a scripture. Makes it trickier. Last time I did this I had a ton of cards, so we laid them out in separate areas---one area was the beginning of the line and the second was the last part of the line. They all really wanted to know what the first half of "as a drunken man" was. ("The earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man.")
  • Play a game asking questions. This Sunday I have a bunch of questions on index cards with multiple choice answers listed. I've made enough that we're covering the entire lesson this way. A couple of the cards, instead of having questions, have scenes for the girls to act out
Here are some more ideas I've tried that aren't in the manual:
  • A sort-of treasure hunt. For the lesson on Paul's missionary travels, I printed out the scripture accounts of what he did in different places, and left them all over the building. Each one would end with a clue to where the next would be found. I'm not sure I'll dothis again any time soon, although the girls loved it---I now sometimes have an autistic girl in my class who likes to wander off, and I'd be nervous about it.
  • Write an important scripture from the lesson on the board, but scramble the letters. Works for a good attention activity. Got this from a blog post I read somewhere awhile ago, sorry can't remember where.
  • Play a board game. I printed out a generic board game I found online and we just use colored paper clips for their pieces (they like to mangle them into different shapes). Then I print out questions on cards that detail the lesson. Some of the questions will have extrathings like "read the quote in envelope #1 and tell us what you would do..." etc.
  • I like to immerse the girls in the lesson story. For Lehi's dream, I made up different things for the different symbols, and had the girls read the dream, and as we read, they took turns building the dream symbols around us. A poster board of the great and spacious building, some blue paper cut in curves for the river, a tree on poster board (I let them draw the fruit), etc. Then I passed out cards with the meanings of the different symbols and had them each place the cards with the symbol they thought it represented. (This might sound impressive but if you actually saw my artwork, it wasn't so much.) Then we talked about the symbols.
  • Also, every Sunday have a "teacher's helper." The girls take turns each Sunday being the helper. The helper says opening prayer, passes out anything that needs to be passed out, does any writing on the chalkboard, etc. The girls love it and it's been influential in getting one girl whose parents are inactive to actually say the prayer---she never would before. We go in order of age to make it easy to remember who's next.
I want to start having a wrap up at the end of the class where I can reiterate to the girls the main point of the lesson. This is something I've never managed to do, simple as it sounds! I'd like to have it be something somewhat formal we do---with a name for it. I keep thinking of calling it "Final Thoughts" but that's what Jerry Springer uses! Any ideas? I'd love to be able to have the girls do it, too, not just me. If I make it sound important they'll want to do it, for sure. Maybe assign it to the teacher's helper. Or maybe assign it to someone else so two people get special jobs, I don't know.

I've never taught or attending a teenage Sunday School class, but feel free to offer suggestions for that too. I know my kids, who are teenagers, always complain about the other kids in the class not paying attention and just chatting the whole time. Teenagers seem like a unique challenge! I don't envy those teachers.

You can read more from Susan M at Nine Moons or Strange Pulse
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Will our Vote be Recorded in Heaven?

I recently posted what I considered to be a fairly benign political post on my personal blog. I got a lot of heated discussion back and forth as a result. It was not my intent at all, I was just sharing what had moved me on that particular day.

Just when I thought the comments had died down, up popped another one just a few days ago:

"Obama is pro-abortion. If you are pro-abortion you are not Christian! "Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you." Jeremiah 1:5. I believe that everyone who supports a candidate who supports abortion rights will one day stand in front of God and give an account for his actions here on earth. Obama further supports gay rights. "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination." Leviticus 20:13. Dr. James Dobson, the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family is endorsing Mike Huckabee not Obama! Obama might make excellent speeches but would Jesus endorse him?"

Since I don't want to encourage political bashing on my blog, I did not reply. I did not reply to any of the basher comments on there. I don't even want to reply here for the amount of controversy it could potentially stir up. But I will say that I don't believe any candidate to be "pro-abortion". Certainly everyone realizes there are far too many abortions being performed in the US, which I think is another reason why many candidates want to teach health that covers more topics than abstinence....but I digress.

In this election choice vs. life is not an issue I am voting on. I think there are other issues that are far more important right now, especially since overturning roe vs. wade is highly unlikely.

What I really want to know is if you agree with this commenter "that everyone who supports a candidate who supports abortion rights will one day stand in front of God and give an account for his actions here on earth" ???? And if so, does this affect how you look at a candidate and how you vote?

Or, to take the abortion issue completely out of it, will we one day be judged for how we voted in every election we ever voted in, and does that affect how you vote?

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

From the Tales Inbox: Does it Ever Get Easier?

So, I'm a brand new mom to a 2 1/2 month old baby girl, and I need some advice.

I love my daughter so much, but feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water most days! I feel like I should have it so much more "together" considering she is almost 11 weeks old. One minute I think I've gotten the hang of being a mother, and the next minute she won't take a nap and starts crying and I think I'm failing miserably.

When does it get "easier"? Is there a magical age when my fussy newborn will blossom into a happy baby like they always show on tv? Any words of wisdom to a newbie mom like me?

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Make Stuff: Goods 4 Girls

You may have seen the new commercials sponsored by Tampax and Always about girls in Africa that have to miss school because they aren't able to manage their menstrual flow because of a lack of women's sanitary supplies. At first glance, the commercial tugs at you heart and the company's commitment to providing supplies seems like a reasonable solution to the problem at hand. Who doesn't want to keep girls in school? The cynical side of me kicked in quick as I wondered if it really could be that simple. Turns out, it's not.

There have been a few articles that have discussed the problems with such a plan. This caused one mother to start working on a plan of her own to make a distribute reusable menstrual pads in areas of Africa where water is readily available to clean the pads. For these areas, this is obviously a more sustainable answer to a real big problem. For these girls, it means trading in rags, banana leaves and newspaper for something they can actually rely on. Check out the Goods 4 Girls website for more information on how to get involved.

UPDATE: More details on the aid organizations Goods 4 Girls will be working with can be found here.

Goods for Girls

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Sunday, February 17, 2008


I have been sick since Thursday. I have had a fever since Thursday.

I went to the doctor on Friday and was told I have a virus and to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Well, there was no resting for me on Friday because I had three auditions and kids to take and pick up from school....but even as I struggled through the day on tylenol and albuterol, I vowed to rest all day Sat and Sun.

I let my DH sleep in on Saturday morning since I had gone to bed extra early. I made breakfast for the kids and then fell asleep on the couch for several hours. By the time I woke up the house had been cleaned, laundry done and kids fed. It was a mom-sick-day miracle. When I was finally up and about and trying to contibute a bit my DH was on the computer. I kept asking him a question here and there about groceries and kids and stuff. He was giving me very short answers and not making eye contact and I wasn't feeling the love. I was trying to figure out what I had done wrong to be treated in that way. Finally with his angry voice and fists clenched tightly to the heavens he exclaimed: "I have been cleaning the house and doing the laundry and feeding kids all day and I haven't even showered and I just want 10 minutes to myself!"

If I hadn't been sick I might have collapsed in mad laughter right there. But I was ill and my feelings were a bit hurt so instead I just said: "I understand honey."

As much as I truly hate being sick, I think it's nice to let the spouse experience a day-in-the-life every once in a while. Little did he realize that the day before I had to get both kids to school without a car (subwaying it in the winter and sick with a virus is not good times), had to bust my butt to get in to see the doctor (remember, it was a no car day), then had to put my makeup on while riding the subway in order to make it in time for my first audition. All three auditions I attended without showering and with some oil in my hair from a blessing I had been given in the middle of the night the night before that. I was trying to make the oil look like some sort of new hair product situation....and I did not get my shower in until about 5:30 that night.

So, truly I do understand!

And thanks honey for all that you did to help me get rest and healing this weekend. I look forward to returning the favor when you come down with it in a few days.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

From the Tales Inbox: On Being Fed at Church

Here is my issue:

I don't understand why church meetings and activities have to mix with so much junk food. Specifically, I have a major problem with teachers and leaders in Primary feeding my kids candy and treats.

I am actually a counselor in the Primary Presidency and have brought this issue up several times pointing out the very specific guidelines in the church handbook. Our Primary President agrees but is not one to enforce. The secretary agrees but says we should just be happy to have teachers who are willing to serve and they should do whatever they can to keep the kids quiet. The other counselor flat out disagrees with me and says the "handbook- who reads it? It is for people in other countries". She says feeding someone is a way of showing love and making church fun.... So the next Sunday is fast Sunday and I'm in the hall with my baby and I observe a handful of kids run to the bishop's office begging for candy. He says "Well its fast Sunday so just don't tell your parents" as they run off stuffing their faces with candy. I don't think the bishop will hear or understand my case either.

Is it just Utah or is it all Mormons? Why are we a bunch of sugar addicts? Last fall we gathered as a Stake for the Relief Society General Broadcast and after there was a chocolate buffet. I think that is the last thing we needed after being spiritually filled. Maybe I was the only one who returned home with a stomach ache.

I'm okay with a treat once in awhile but I believe when the intention of a meeting is to be spiritually feed--let's keep it at that. The greatest experience I had was teaching early morning seminary in a ghetto branch of South Philadelphia. We were trained by CES leaders and specifically told not to bring food into our lessons. We were allowed one party with a budget of 50$ per year. This bothered me because I knew most of the kids were coming from homes with empty cupboards and would go to school hungry. I asked for special permission to feed the kids. The CES leader told me "no" and that what the kids needed more than food was spiritual nourishment.

Am I too idealistist wanting the same thing for my kids? I don't take them to church for a birthday party atmosphere...I want them to be spiritually feed. For that specific reason we have eliminated all treats and feeding (except for a baby who needs to be nursed) during sacarment meeting. I feed the kids a good breakfast and then promise them a "reverence treat" when we return home. Besides that, I am also very cautious about what my kids can and cannot eat. They are very sensitive to dyes, sugar, and other processed garbage. The nursery leaders already think I'm strange for saying no "gummies" or sugary snacks...instead I brought in some fresh fruit and organic crackers.

I just don't think the kids and youth at church should be feed like little piggies and puppies to keep them happy. They are a generation who need more than entertainment and socializing at church. They need to be sensitive to and fed and nourished by the Spirit. I heard a great quote from a BYU professor (can't remember her name) "How do we expect our youth to control their sexual desires when they cannot hold back on one chocolate chip cookie?"

I feel somewhat alone in my opinion on this and sorry it is so lengthy. I'm just curious if there is anyone else out there who shares the same strong feelings.

A Tales Reader
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Make Stuff: Last Minute Valentine's Treats

"Crafting" takes a lot less energy for me than cleaning (and it's way more fun), so while I have been in recovery mode this past week, Princess and I have put together a few fun Valentine's treats for her teachers and friends.

1. Felt Teddy Bear: Kage's daughter made Princess a hand sewn teddy bear a while back and it is a much treasured item in our house. So, we decided to make a similar Valentine's bear for Princess' best friend next door. It was a fun and inexpensive project (felt .20 a color, embroidery floss .25, we already had the beads and stuffing but you could sacrifice an old stuffed animal and get some for free). You can click here for the pattern.

2. Flower Pot Valentines: I found these tiny flower pots prepackaged with pink and purple flowers at JoAnn's a while back and thought they would make perfect "non-candy" valentines for Lucy's school teacher and primary teacher. All the spring seeds are out now, so you could also make a cute valentines card out of a packet of seeds too.

3. Homemade Marshmallows: You can't keep sweets completely out of Valentines Day, so for the neighbor kids, we made strawberry flavored, pink marshmallows. I have been a fan of homemade marshmallows since my days in NYC working across the street from The City Bakery which makes and sells their own marshmallows every winter. Delicious. I use Martha Stewart's recipe and add the coloring and flavor at the very end. It's gooey and messy, which is exactly why the kids love to help.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hello out there....

Is anyone still reading? I know we have been quiet for a while. I guess sometimes real life trumps blogging (which is probably how it should be for the majority of us in the blogging world) so I don't stress about a quiet week here and there. I just hope everyone else was having a better week than me.

Tachycardia, dehydration, pleurisy and pneumonia sent me to the ER twice in one weekend, but thanks to some awesome neighbors who took the kids at a moment's notice (once at one in the morning), the morphine I got in the ER, an amazing mom who was able to come stay for a week, a loving husband who brought me Pinkberry every night and thoughtful friends who sent me good thoughts and prayers (and the most beautiful bouquet of tulips I have EVER seen), I have made it to the other side of my sickness. While I am not too happy to hear that pneumonia can take months to fully recover from, I am extremely thankful that I can actually breathe without pain and get out of bed to feed and dress my kids at this point. I am also very thankful that through it all, the baby was completely fine. Leave it to the little guy to suck all the good stuff out of me while I struggle to survive on the leftovers.

And somewhere in the midst of all this, I cleverly decided that it was time to start potty-training Pumpkin. Recovering from pneumonia, 32 weeks pregnant with #3--sounds like perfect timing don't you think? I think there should have been another warning on the cough syrup with codeine the Dr gave me.
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Earbuditis: definition - sore ears from extended and obsessive ipod use.

That is the ailment I am currently suffering from as a result of my new podcast addiction. Previous to the past month, I would use my ipod to listen to music while I was on my bike or running. Occasionally, I would download a podcast from NPR. Half the time I wanted to use my ipod, I wouldn't be able to immediately remember where I last had it....damn those things are tiny...and I would decide it wasn't worth the trouble to find it at that particular moment. Now, my ipod MUST BE WITH ME AT ALL TIMES!

The moment of no return occurred when I happened to look over DH's shoulder when he was downloading his own favorite podcasts for his commute and I saw the huge plate of offerings on iTunes. Like a trip to the candy store, or to H&M, I wanted to try one of everything.

I know we have discussed the greatness of podcasts before on Tales...somewhere buried deep in Tales archives...but I am pretty sure it was off-topic comments from another post. Podcasts deserve their own post. They are the quintessential entertainment/news/educational medium for busy moms. You can listen to a podcasts in the car transporting kids, cooking dinner or cleaning the house, exercising, or catching up on email. And most are free to download.

Here are a few of my current favs:

This American Life - Stories of ordinary Americans. Each week has a specific theme, ranging from summer camp experiences to the Iraq War. The stories are brilliantly done and I have such a crush on Ira Glass, the narrator. Ok, I just saw his picture on the website and I HAD a crush on him....why did I have to look and ruin it? Of course he was going to be a nerdy middle-aged guy with really thick glasses....he's on radio for goodness sake!

BBC: The World - great world news broadcast, cool British accents.

Car Talk - I actually started listening to this show on Saturday mornings in college...and have had a nostalgic reunion with it lately. The premise of the show is that callers phone in with their car-related questions to Tom and Ray, two mechanics with thick, rough Boston accents. Tom and Ray are hilarious....and I was pleased to discover that at least one of them really does have a car garage business. I've also learned a lot about cars, although nothing terribly practical such as changing the oil in my car.

Mommycast - "Holding the world together, one child at a time" is the mantra of this show. Broadcasted by two LDS moms (one happens to be in my NoVa ward), the shows feature a variety of parenting topics. Often there are interviews with parenting experts and authors. A lot of time on the show is devoted to using technology to save time and manage your family more efficiently. I think this is best part of the show, these women really know their technology! Mommycast is the first independent podcast to gain corporate sponsorship (from Dixie)....which is very cool as well!

Spanishpod - this is for you, Carrie! Really fun, entertaining way to learn Spanish. Unlike your average high school or college Spanish class, where you conjugate verbs until you see them in your sleep and memorize long lists of vocabulary words, the focus of the podcast is on learning phrases and dialogue, which is infinitely more important to fluency. The dialogues are so fun and entertaining, you forget you are studying Spanish. The podcast is divided by levels...from Newbie to Advanced....so there is something for everyone.

Feed my addiction people....do you listen to podcasts and, if so, which ones?

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With our fearless leader under the weather and her BFF getting ready for an unexpected Western Trek, our posting has been a bit slow, so I decided to just write a little post to get some ideas moving again.

In this rainy month of February, my thoughts are dominated by only a few things.

1. Chloe and Tftcarrie and I walked in the Revlon Run/Walk for women's cancers back in 2003. We raised money and walked with a TON of peops from Times Square to somewhere in Central Park. It was such a great experience to raise the money and involve our children. We dressed them in pink (not the lone boy baby), for breast cancer awareness and we packed them in their strollers and walked for a good cause.

Every year since then I have gotten an invitation to participate again, and every year I feel too overwhelmed to take it on. This year was different though. When I saw it in my inbox, I couldn't help but think of all my friends and family affected by cancer, and in particular, women's cancers, and so I signed up.

As I was sending out emails and putting up blog posts about donating, I thought I would try to formally organize a team to walk and raise money with me, and in just a week I have my mandatory 15 team mates Fired up and Ready to go. I can't stop thinking about spreading the word and raising the money and walking on May 3rd.

2. The Primaries. My state was one of the many that voted in the primaries yesterday. I am completely obsessed about this race. Pukey is at an age where she is quite aware of it too. She is asking questions and asking me to plese pause CNN (we have tivo), so that she doesn't miss anything while she goes to the bathroom. Poopy will be coloring and then look up and see Barack Obama and shout: OBAMA 08!

My husband and the girls woke up at 6:30 yesterday morning and he took them to vote with him. I said: "Are you sure you want to take them?" And he replied: "They are so excited for Obama 08, I have to take them." So he and his Obama girls marched all the way to cast his vote for, as Pukey says it: "Rom-uh-nee".

3. The Funeral. Amidst the excitement and passion I am feeling for the above 2, I am pulled back to the reality of this upcoming weekend. On Saturday we will be celebrating my Grandpa's long life and also my husband's 35th birthday. I am already trying to brace myself for the draining days ahead. I had a difficult January...the blues, the cold weather, the cold in my nose, recovering from Christmas plans and travel, and now after this weekend, I will be in recovery mode once more. I am so looking forward to reuniting with family and so not looking forward to the emotions that will follow. I am not fired up and ready to go for this, but maybe once I am on the plane I will feel differently.

Cheryl, just to be clear, you may or may not comment on any of the above 3! That written with a wink and a smile.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

On Growing Grey

This was originally posted in August, but I have moved it up the Queue to now, because the man who inspired this post passed away yesterday, and I have nothing more to say besides this post, except. I will miss you Grandpa.

When I am wrinkled with grey hair and beautiful and wise

I hope that I am not only alive but living.

I am sitting here listening to my Grandpa sing "Froggy Went a Courtin'" while playing the guitar. It is on my SUNDAY MUSIC playlist on my ipod. I have never met a man quite like him. He is in his 80's and he is full steam ahead, living his life. He is still learning, still teaching, still serving, still involved in his community, still playing gigs, still breathing.

I don't see him very often, but I know that he intends to live until the day he dies. He has survived heart attacks, open heart surgey and a mini stroke. He cares deeply about his deceased wife and his family. When we are with him, our hope is buoyed, our commitment to each other and to our family is renewed, and we leave better people than when we came. Our family reunion was last summer, but my daughter and I were just talking about it the other day, and last night a friend brought up a farm where we had part of our reunion, and he has been on my mind ever since.

When I am getting on in years and filled with energy and vigor, and my children are raised, and I am a rocking hot grandma, I hope for a few things.

First, I hope not to forget that I wrote this. I am thinking if I store it in my important documents folder, that it will abide.

Second, I hope that I am not a burden to my family, but I also don't want to feel abandoned. I hope that if my husband passes before me, that I will be able to grow old with friends or my sisters. There is a reason why I loved the Golden Girls so very much....that would just be so fun.

Third, knowing what it is like to be living my life, and how far I am extended, I know that when I am old, my posterity will not be focused on me. Despite that, I hope to be technology-saavy enough to be able to write to my children and grandchildren individually. I am pretty sure I will have time for this. Even if they don't have time to read my emails or write me back, they will know that I am there, that I care, and someday when they are 28, they will understand what an important example that was to them.

Fourth, in order to write to my posterity, I will need to stay up on my current events, so I hope that I can stay well educated about the present, and follow India Arie's advice: "And if Old People would talk to
Young People, it would make us
Better People, all around....
(Yes it would)"

I hope that I will be not only alive, but LIVING until I continue living without my rockin hot grandma body. And I have that hope because of my Rockin Hot Grandpa's Example. Thanks BJ.
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