Here I Am.

Happy Halloween!

My head is spinning a bit, between travel and Sandy (the Hurricane/Super Storm) our schedule has been all thrown off. This is my first day in the office this week, and I'm just not back on track yet. We are lucky, our house made it through unscathed. We have power, no water in the basement, and have had no problems. Many, many, many were not so lucky. Millions without power, dozens hurt or killed, houses destroyed.

We drove back from Pittsburgh Monday, arriving - after a long, tiring drive - before the winds picked up too much. It was raining and gusting, but the real winds came after we were safely tucked inside; bowls, buckets, and pitchers filled with water, camping lantern out of the basement with fresh batteries, dinner made. It was good to be home.

Trav headed in yesterday, but was home by noon since all phone/internet/systems were down. The boss told my office to work from home yesterday, but I was home anyway since daycare was closed. Gwen and I baked cookies for a neighbor that has helped us out a few times lately (drove me to the train station when I headed to Vegas, pulled the glass out of our back yard table when we realized we forgot it on the way home Monday, and without us asking, also moved our garbage can and Gwen's little car to the back yard vs the side of the house, where they were safe from the winds). Trav and Gwen carved the pumpkin. We're all back to our normal routine today.

Pittsburgh and Halloween pictures tomorrow.

Who else is on the East Coast? How did you fare? 


CM: a letter to my pregnant friends

This is my newest post from Connected Mom. Let me know what you think.


I have a few friends who are pregnant right now. Seeing them in their big bellied, glowing femininity, fills me with a bursting happiness. I wish I could tell them, could really explain, all that they have in store for them.

Pregnancy Paper Cutting – By Zhang Xiaohng
I would explain to them the distinct smell when you press your nose into your newborn's hair. Show them milk-drunk sleeping babies, and toddlers who snuggle into you in their sleep. I would tell them of the deep, deep glowing love that fills you when your baby stops crying simply because you hold them and talk to them.

I'd also show them exhausting late nights, hours walking in circles around a nursery or pacing a hallway to get your little one to settle. A baby who won't stop crying, or who only wants to be held. Constant nursing, difficult nursing.

Mama's to be: I tell you all this not to scare you, and not because anyone can in anyway prepare you, but because I want you to know a few things.

Most importantly, and above all else: you are enough, you will be enough, for you and your baby.

Though it may feel foreign to you at the beginning, and there may be challenges with things that you assume will come easy (natural doesn't always mean easy!), your body is strong and able.

You are not a perfect mom, but that is only because there is no such thing. Everyone is an "expert," but you, you are the one that knows your baby. There are times that you feel you don't know what you are doing, but the two of you will learn together. Accept advice, then dismiss what you know doesn't fit with your life, your baby. Listen to that fledgling Mama voice inside of you, it's there, and it gets stronger and more confident with every passing day.

It will be more frustrating, exhausting, and wonderful then you can ever imagine. The feeling the you get when you look at your baby is one that I wish I could bottle and give to everyone I love.

There will be bad days, but in the end Mama, in the end it is worth it a hundred times over. In the end you, the two of you, are enough.


Book Review: Bringing in Finn

I've been contacted a few times before about doing reviews or giveaways on the blog, but most of the time the product or service hasn't been something that fit with my life and therefore this blog. So I say no.

Recently though, I was contacted by a very nice publicist who told me about the book Bringing in Finn. Its a memoir that involves a mother's unusual journey to her son. It involves miscarriage, baby loss, and surrogacy. Not all fun topics, but ones that have in some way been a part of my life me. I was definitely interested!

In February 2011, 61-year-old Kristine Casey delivered the greatest gift of all to her daughter, Sara Connell: Sara’s son, Finnean. At that moment, Kristine—the gestational carrier of Sara and her husband Bill’s child—became the oldest woman ever to give birth in Chicago.

Bringing in Finn is the incredible story of one woman’s hard-fought and often painful journey to motherhood. In this achingly honest memoir, Connell recounts the tragedy and heartbreak of losing pregnancies; the process of opening her heart and mind to the idea of her 61-year-old mother carrying her child for her; and the profound bond that blossomed between mother and daughter as a result of their unique experience together.

Moving, inspiring, and ultimately triumphant, Bringing in Finn is an extraordinary tale of despair, hope, forgiveness, and redemption—and the discovery that when it comes to unconditional love, there are no limits to what can be achieved.

I'm so glad I said yes to this book review. Bringing in Finn is such a moving story; Sara does such an amazing job of getting her emotions onto the page that you are immediately pulled onto her roller-coaster. Despite knowing that it was coming, I couldn't help but cry when she lost her twin boys. It isn't all heartache though, as you also get to experience the amazing highs of finding out they are pregnant and ultimately the birth of their son, Finn.

From the moment I started reading, until I turned the last page, I couldn't put this book down. Sara is a wonderful writer, making it a fast, easy read; and you want to know what happens. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those who have dealt with pregnancy loss, or are considering surrogacy.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to ask Sara a few questions too.

Meegs: What made you want to share your story?
Sara: Part of the reason I wanted to write this book was to break the taboo about fertility and pregnancy losses. When I’d hear there was such a taboo, I didn’t believe it and yet, I found myself - as I was going through fertility treatments and especially miscarriages and the death of our twins - that I didn’t want to talk about my experience. I didn’t even want to talk to the very close loving friends I have. I felt ashamed and dysfunctional and in reaction, I isolated myself. I’ve heard from many women in my private practice and since writing the book who felt the same. I hoped that in writing this book, I would do for someone else what so many of my beloved memoir writer’s have done for me - to share honestly, to be candid and raw, to not hold back and in doing so, share healing and transformation.

I also found that while my journey to having a child did not look the way I imagined, it also opened me to the miraculous in life - the miraculousness of the female reproductive system, the miracle of infinite possibilities - the way solutions and ideas can come that are beyond what we could have conceived on our own. I wanted to write about that.

M: Was it hard, healing, or something else entirely to open up so much and write it all out?
S: The hardest part for me was writing about my family (what would they think? Would they be upset at my mention or interpretation of certain events?) and about the loss of our twins (writing the first draft of chapter 6 required me to viscerally revisit, felt like relive, certain excruciating moments). With each draft, I had more objectivity and while I didn’t write the book for a cathartic purpose (I turn to journaling for that), those same sections and the process of writing was unburdening and freeing.

M: Your previous traumas obviously played a large role in your story - both because of questions about whether those traumas played a part in your troubles getting pregnant, and because of the additional stresses they created when you were in the hospital. Was it hard to share those traumas?
S: Similar to the answer above, writing about these experiences were both healing and difficult. I am also a life coach/therapist and in my training I learned over and again that speaking/naming and sharing a trauma out loud frees us from it. I wasn’t sure how strongly I believed in the phenomenon but I can say I feel more transcendence each time I write. 

M: I believe you have one frozen embryo left, would you consider using another surrogate to try to have another child?
S: Bill and I have always envisioned and felt we would both love to have more children AND feel so incredibly blessed with Finn that in this moment we are standing in a place of openness - the most honest answer I can share is that I/we don’t know.  
I don’t think we would do another surrogacy pregnancy - not because our experience wasn’t wonderful, it was and beyond - but I think what we feel most called to if we do try for another pregnancy would be for either me to carry the baby (there is a new procedure we learned about since the twins pregnancy called a trans abdominal circlage for women who’ve had a cervix issues like I did that has almost 100% success rate) or adopt a baby/child.

M: Can you give us an update on your family? What's life been like since Finn arrived? What's motherhood like compared to your expectations?
S: Motherhood has exceeded my expectations and imaginings in so many ways. I think I spent the first nine months in a kind of euphoria and glee - the lack of sleep, exhaustion, radical upheaval of life - logistically as we know it - felt like intense bliss. I still feel a lot of that, and I now experience some other feelings too - shock (at how so much has changed), fatigue, pressure (in response to the perpetual and universal questions of how to find balance, “get everything/things done” be an write/wife/mother/friend/daughter/sister/coach +++”). Being with Finn and together as a family is the antidote. I have the gift of being self-employed so I work part of the day and spend large amounts of the day with Finn. He is 20 months now and we are into all the parent-baby classes: Gymboree, music, swimming, baby soccer, museums - Chicago is amazing for kids.  Mother is #1 on the list and happily, the underlying and consistent emotions are wild gratitude and joy. 

My mother is doing awesomely well. She is back at the gym and on her bike working out. She and my father just booked a trip to France. She visits (or we do) every month or two (my sister also lives in Chicago and also had a baby (another boy) last year - so it’s a double thrill for her to come. And she just led a retreat at her church on visioning - the technique we did so much together leading up to and during the surrogacy.

M: One last question, did you and your husband ever name your twins? If so, would you be willing to share their names? They play a very large part in your story, it made me wonder if I could call them by name.
S: Thank you for asking - it’s a lovely question. We had not decided on names for the twins. We’d begun looking at names and had pretty well chosen one. When we think of or mention them now, we most often call them “the twins”. 

M: Thank you again for sharing your story. 

Let me know if you get a chance to read this wonderful book, and what you think of it. 


vegas recap (updated)

So the cold I came home with isn't so fun (damn planes), but otherwise it was an amazing weekend.

Highlights: Awesome company. Played $10 and cashed out at $23! Came home with money! Dancing with my girlfriends. Amazing food.

Friday night Ro's sister Rach used a connection to get us into Pure, a nightclub at Caesars, ahead of the line and right into the table service section. We also got free drinks.

View from the roof at Pure.

In the club.

The ladies.

I was completely done by 2 (aka 5am on the east coast!) and headed back with Ro to get some sleep.

Saturday we hit up the pool for most of morning, then Ro and I got some lunch at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant.

Fuji apple and fennel salad with cheese and candied nuts. Amazing!

After a quick round on the slots, and a 20 minute lay down, I was ready for Saturday night.
First we watched the sirens show outside of Treasure Island, then we headed to Lavo (at the Palazzo) for an amazing dinner...

A quick stop to watch the fountain show outside of the Bellagio...

Then it was on to our big night at Haze (at the Aria)... complete with table service, bouncer escorts to the bathroom, and some choice seating placement, next to rapper J.Cole! 

It was a night to remember.

Sunday Ro and I got up, got ready, and were out the door by 9. Her sister was sweet enough to give us a ride to the airport. A brief snooze on the plane help the ride home go a lot quicker then the ride there.

It was such a fun weekend, and a much needed break. But it was so good to get home and see my baby and my boy again. Gwen held my hand all the way home, occasionally putting it to her face, which just melted my heart.

I was definitely a little hard to get up for work today. I can't decide if this should count as a longer week or a shorter one... this weekend is when Trav, Gwen, and I head to Pittsburgh for my work event. We leave Friday, so I'm not working Friday, but then I have to work Saturday and part of Sunday... but then I have Monday off to drive home. Its going to be another fun, but tiring weekend.

For now, back to work.

Updated to Add: I can't believe I forgot to mention how Trav and Gwen did on their own...  As luck would have it, my MIL was in town (staying at Willy's) for unrelated reasons, so they headed over there both days. A nice distraction. But they did great, and I think they would have done great anyway.  Yay!


Oddly Normal: a Big Breastfeeding Update

As I wake up in Vegas this morning, on a weekend away with my girlfriends... my first time being away from Gwen for multiple nights, Trav's first time doing nights by himself... I wanted to share a post that I wrote for another blog, Child of the Nature Isle, back in May (called Oddly Normal: Breastfeeding my Toddler), and at the end, some updates about where Gwen and I are with nursing now.


Right now there is a children's book on weaning sitting on my coffee table. If you had told me, 2 years ago, that this is where we would be today, I'd have called you crazy!

At the beginning, breastfeeding was lovely and exhausting. It was an amazing thing to be able to feed my daughter from my own body, as women have been doing for thousands of years. I loved the closeness, but for something so natural, damn, could it be difficult! At first she only wanted one boob, once we got that sorted out, she still had problems with latching onto the other breast when she was tired or overly hungry, which led to engorgement, which really hurt. Then there was being the sole source of food and the most desired form of comfort. At that point my goal was 6 months.

I was back to work at 12 weeks, jumping into the world of pumping. A world I wouldn't be done with until just under 2 years later! (I pumped until a week before Gwen's 2nd birthday, when we dropped her last daytime sippy of milk.) Pumping was a pain, but it got us to my goal of breastmilk only to drink for 6-months, breastmilk and occasionally sippies of water through a year.

We had a blip at 4 months in when Gwen's weight started following her own curve... which at the time seemed like a dip, but really was just my skinny minny gaining the way she was going to gain for the next two years. It was a bit of a blow though. It got easier for a while, then right before 6 months, it got harder again, I was worried about my supply. But we made it. New goal, a year.

Well, one milk blister, 2 bouts of mastitis, a handful of clogged ducts, hundreds of night wakings, hundreds of hours attached to a pump, and thousands of hours with at least one of my boobs hanging out... and a year was done! I had no more goals, but that didn't mean I wanted to stop either. As long as it was a mutually beneficial thing, I planned to keep nursing.

After a year, I thought about night weaning a lot, but it was just never the right time. I didn't want to force Gwen, and I tried once, only to back off when she clearly wasn't ready. Then, around a year and a half, she night weaned, practically on her own! She naturally outgrew the night time feedings, and slept longer and longer between wakes. Once we were down to just the occasional night nursing, it was easy enough to talk to her about the fact that milkie was tired, that we would say night-night to milkie at bedtime, and that she could have more milkie in the morning. One night of tears, two or three more nights of asking about it but no crying, and we were done.

That experience, along with others involving her "learning to sleep" or with eating led me to figure out what seems pretty obvious now... if I note Gwen's cues, if I let her take the lead a bit, then making these changes are easy. I thought at that point that I would do completely child-led weaning.

Now here we are, at 27 months and still chugging along with our two sessions a day. We nurse in the morning, and we nurse before bed (plus before nap on the weekends). At 2 years I thought I was ready to start working towards a VERY gentle encouragement of complete weaning. I'm going away in October with some of my girlfriends to celebrate one of their 30th birthdays, and I though that it would be a little bit easier with just daddy for two nights if she wasn't wanting that nursing. Plus, I really don't want to pack a pump! I realize though what I really want is to just be able to get rid of that morning session (hence the weaning book, now sitting on my coffee table). It leaves me feeling cranky and touched out, and that is the only session that could pose a problem for daddy. But I don't want to stop nursing completely! I don't.

Others might not understand it, but with all the times that I feel like yelling, "Stop! Slow down! Its all going too fast!" ... breastfeeding gives us our quiet moments together. Moments when we do both stop, slow down, and just enjoy being together in the moment. Gwen comforted, calmed by my closeness, and nourished. Me calmed by the rhythm of her breathing. Breastfeeding is something only I can give Gwen, and that only we share. We'll have other mama/daughter things as she gets older, but for now, this is only ours. That doesn't change because she's 2 now.

I've been blessed, since the very beginning, to be around people who support me. They might not "get it," but they still believe in my right to do it! And do it, we did. At home, in the car, at friends', in Star.bucks, at my grandfather's memorial, at the doctor's, at the park, etc! And the naysayers... well, I just keep a few handy facts about breastfeeding in the back of my mind (we're lowering both our risks of cancers! she is still getting great nutrients from it!), remind them that this is only considered "extended" breastfeeding in the US, and ask them how many college students they've actually met who still nurse (or for that matter, how many teenage boys they've met who want to acknowledge that their mom even has breasts!). The first two quiet most people, but the last one definitely stops the extra pushy ones! LOL.

Looking back at the times that it was so hard (HERE, HERE, and HERE), I never would have pictured us where we are now. Over two years in, and so easy. We'll see what ends up happening, because I really do want this to be a joint decision and not something that I take away from her. No matter what though, I'm going to relish every last second of this wonderful bond. She still loves it so so much! And so do I.


That was my May post, and here's my October update...

At 32 months we are still nursing 2x a day! Naps are basically no more on the weekends (except in the car), so that session fell away naturally, but the others, while shorter, are still there. The thing is, I'm more okay with that now, then I was back in May!

Here's what has changed:
Gwen is in such a daddy phase right now, I'm relishing every single second that she chooses to lay sweetly next to me, the times when she actually needs and wants ME.

She started sleeping in a bit later, so I'm not losing as much sleep for that morning session! Plus, she now periodically sleeps in after I get up to get showered for work... and she's okay without the milk those mornings. This wasn't happening back in May, so this is a great development.

Similarly, she has since done a few bedtimes with Daddy (and one with my mom) where she didn't need or request milkie to be able to fall asleep. Yay!

Overall, I'm really happy with where we are. I don't know what the future holds for our breastfeeding relationship, but I'm more content then ever with the idea of just "seeing where it goes." 

For those of you looking for more information on weaning, kellymom is always a great resource!


leaving, on a jet plane

Tomorrow I hop on a plane in the afternoon and wing my way across the country. It will be the farthest and the longest I've ever been away from Gwen. I'm nervous, and I'm so so damn excited. I can't wait for a weekend of just me and my girlfriends. Eating out, sleeping in, and dancing to too loud music while drinking a little too much alcohol. I'm going to miss the crap out of my girl, but this me time is going to be so worth it.

Tonight I'll hold her longer and closer while I put her to bed. Tomorrow morning I'll wake up and hold off on getting ready so that I can eat breakfast with Gwen and Trav, I'll give her extra hugs and kisses. And 2.5 days after I head out, I'll eagerly scoop her back up to tell her how much I missed her.

In between, I'll relish my time away. Wish me luck.


love and zombies

Saturday was our anniversary. Trav let me sleep in, then we headed out to breakfast in our PJs.

I thought Gwen looked pretty cute rocking out her new boots from Auntie Ro.

My mom came down that afternoon and we got to hang out together for a few hours before Trav and I headed out for our evening activities. I snapped a picture with my phone so I wouldn't forget what we were doing!! Ha.

Dinner at Jack's Firehouse, part of the Fright & Bite package for Terror Behind the Walls. There was so much food. An app for each of us, that could have been a meal in and of itself, large main dishes, and yummy deserts. Then it was off to get scared!

It was a lot of fun.

Sunday we all got up to hang out a little before my mom headed out. Then it was time for me to get ready to head to my friend Tally's baby shower.

Tally's mom and MIL did a great time with the decorations, and the food was awesome.

Best of all, was how happy Tally was!

I headed home after that, just in time to enjoy this view:

Pretty spectacular! And now its on to another week.



"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."

-Louis de Bernières

Travis: After 12 years together and 6 years of marriage, it may not always be beautiful, it may not always be easy, but I'm glad that together we have strong roots, and have become one tree. 

Photo Credit.


CM repost: pain and comfort

A re-post of my Connected Mom post from Monday

Little hand, big hand
Recently we had our second experience with the dreaded Nursemaid's Elbow, our third trip to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, my first time taking her by myself. We are so lucky to live by such an amazing Hospital. While obviously I'd rather never need it, if the situation arises, I'm so glad we have CHOP. Its wonderful to feel you are in loving, capable hands, since otherwise, situations like this can leave you feeling so helpless. I'm not a panicky person in general, and when push comes to shove I can always get done what needs to get done for my family... but boy does my mama heart break when my girl is in pain and I can't fix it.

This recent experience took me back, first to January and a dark, late night trip to the ER for her weird symptoms and pain (turned out to be a new presentation of Hand Foot and Mouth); then to this time last year, her first experience with Nursemaid's Elbow, my girl holding her arm, whimpering. She's forward facing now, and I was driving, so a different feel, but those times she was rearfacing and I sat in the back with her as she fell asleep in her seat on the way home. She reached out with her little hand and grasped mine, soothed by my physical presence.

Oh did she seem so small to me then, and that fact, well that took me all the way back, to that very first ride home. My brand new baby, the weighty new responsibility. I sat in the back with her that first time, just staring, and her little hand, it found mine then too.

So much changes with Gwen every single day. She's bigger, doing more and saying more, always learning. One hurt elbow though, and we're right back to day one. As parent's we aren't charged with making sure that our children never experience pain, but we are burdened with the wish that we could! Life, really living life, entails that at some point there will be physical and emotional pain. That doesn't make watching it any easier. So I hold out my hand and sooth her as I can.


Why I Walk Around Naked

Welcome to the October 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Instilling a Healthy Self-Image

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared confessions, wisdom, and goals for helping children love who they are. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Photo credit

Travis and I walk around naked a lot. Well, not "a lot," but we sleep naked, and walk between the shower and our room to get dress naked, and if something gets dirty downstairs we'll shed it there to throw in the wash before walking upstairs to get new clothes. We also frequently don't close doors. We sleep with our door open and Gwen's door is cracked unless its the hot summer and our window A/Cs are running. We don't close the door when running into the bathroom to pee either.


Here's the thing. As far as I'm concerned, these silly things are all playing a role in one of the most important things I get to teach my daughter... that God made her body beautiful, her soul radiant, and she should always be comfortable in both. This is not an easy lesson, and its not one that can be "taught" just once. Self image and self esteem is something we all struggle with at some point. For every day that I am comfortable with my body, there is a day that I struggle. But I've learned that even though my skin bothers me, and I don't love my thighs, my body is strong and I'm proud of what its done.

By having confidence in my body, and the person it houses, I hope to show Gwen that bodies are beautiful, and flaws are what make them uniquely ours. My skin might not be perfect, but I don't bother with hiding it under makeup, because it is what it is. Flaws and all, it is mine. Additionally, we don't talk about others looks disparagingly, and we love the book *We're Different, We're the Same* for opening discussions on all things relating to looks. As she grows, these talks will get more specific, but we are setting the foundation now.

My daughter is a gorgeous girl. Not just for her looks, but for her laugh, her smile, her joy, her caring. The way she hugs me and tells me that she loves me so much, and "mommy, i like you too"! I want her to know that she is valued and loved for all of who she is, and that looks are certainly not the most important part of that. But I want her to always feel comfortable in her own skin too.

So, I'm being comfortable in only mine.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon October 9 with all the carnival links.)
  • Why I Walk Around Naked — Meegs at A New Day talks about how she embraces her own body so that her daughter might embrace hers.
  • What I Am Is Not Who I Am — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses her views on the importance of modeling WHO she is for her daughter and not WHAT she sees in the mirror.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Verbs vs. Adjectives — Alisha at Cinnamon & Sassafras tries hard to compliment what her son does, not who he is.
  • The Naked Family — Sam at Love Parenting talks about how nudity and bodily functions are approached in her home.
  • How She'll See Herself — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis discusses some of the challenges of raising a daughter in our culture and how she's hoping to overcome them.
  • Self Esteem and all it's pretty analogies — Musings from Laura at Pug in the Kitchen on what she learned about self-esteem in her own life and how it applies to her parenting.
  • Beautiful — Tree at Mom Grooves writes about giving her daughter the wisdom to appreciate her body and how trying to be a role model taught Tree how to appreciate her own.
  • Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Nurturing A Healthy Body Image — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs is changing perceptions about her body so that she may model living life with a positive, healthy body image for her three young daughters.
  • Some{BODY} to LoveKate Wicker has faced her own inner demons when it comes to a poor body image and even a clinical eating disorder, and now she wants to help her daughters to be strong in a world that constantly puts girls at risk for losing their true selves. This is Kate's love letter to her daughters reminding them to not only accept their bodies but to accept themselves as well in every changing season of life.
  • They Make Creams For That, You Know — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about celebrating her natural beauty traits, especially the ones she passed onto her children.
  • New Shoes for Mama — Kellie of Our Mindful Life, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, is getting some new shoes, even though she is all grown up…
  • Raising boys with bodily integrity — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants her boys to understand their own bodily autonomy — so they'll respect their own and others'.
  • Sowing seeds of self-love in our children — After struggling to love herself despite growing up in a loving family, Shonnie at Heart-Led Parenting has suggestions for parents who truly want to nurture their children's self-esteem.
  • Subtle Ways to Build a Healthy Self-Image — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM discusses the little things she and her husband do every day to help their daughter cultivate a healthy self-image.
  • On Barbie and Baby Bikinis: The Sexualization of Young Girls — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger finds it difficult to keep out the influx of messages aimed at her young daughters that being sexy is important.
  • Undistorted — Focusing on the beauty and goodness that her children hold, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children watches them grow, loved and undistorted.
  • Off The Hook — Arpita at Up, Down and Natural sheds light on the journey of infertility, and how the inability to get pregnant and stay pregnant takes a toll on self image…only if you let it. And that sometimes, it feels fantastic to just let yourself off the hook.
  • Going Beyond Being An Example — Becky at Old New Legacy discusses three suggestions on instilling healthy body image: positivity, family dinners, and productivity.
  • Raising a Confident Kid — aNonymous at Radical Ramblings describes the ways she's trying to raise a confident daughter and to instil a healthy attitude to appearance and self-image.
  • Instilling a Healthy Self Image — Laura at This Mama's Madness hopes to promote a healthy self-image in her kids by treating herself and others with respect, honesty, and grace.
  • Stories of our Uniqueness — Casey at Sesame Seed Designs looks for a connection to the past and celebrates the stories our bodies can tell about the present.
  • Helping My Boy Build a Healthy Body Image — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers readers a collection of tips and activities that she uses in her journey to helping her 3-year-old son shape a healthy body image.
  • Eat with Joy and Thankfulness: A Letter to my Daughters about Food — Megan at The Boho Mama writes a letter to her daughters about body image and healthy attitudes towards food.
  • Helping Our Children Have Healthy Body Images — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares information about body image, and her now-adult daughter tells how she kept a healthy body image through years of ballet and competitive figure skating.
  • Namaste — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares how at barely 6 years old, her daughter has begun to say, "I'm not beautiful." And while it's hard to listen to, she also sees it as a sign her daughter is building her self-image in a grassroots kind of way.
  • 3 Activities to Help Instill a Healthy Self-Image in Your Child — Explore the changing ideals of beauty, create positive affirmations, and design a self-image awareness collage. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares these 3 ideas + a pretty affirmation graphic you can print and slip in your child's lunchbox.
  • Beautiful, Inside and Out — It took a case of adult-onset acne for Kat of MomeeeZen to find out her parenting efforts have resulted in a daughter that is truly beautiful, inside and out.
  • Mirroring Positive Self Image for Toddlers — Shannon at GrowingSlower reflects on encouraging positive self image in even the youngest members of the family.
  • How I hope to instill a healthy body image in my two girls — Raising daughters with healthy body image in today's society is no small task, but Xela at The Happy Hippie Homemaker shares how choosing our words carefully and being an example can help our children learn to love their bodies.
  • Self Image has to Come from WithinMomma Jorje shares all of the little things she does to encourage healthy attitudes in her children, but realizes she can't give them their self images.
  • Protecting the Gift — JW from True Confessions of a Real Mommy wants you to stop thinking you need to boost your child up: they think they are wonderful all on their own.
  • Learning to Love Myself, for my Daughter — Michelle at Ramblings of Mitzy addresses her own poor self-image.
  • Nurturing An Innate Sense of Self — Marisa at Deliberate Parenting shares her efforts to preserve the confidence and healthy sense of self they were born with.
  • Don't You Love Me, Mommy?: Instilling Self-Esteem in Young Children After New Siblings Arrive — Jade at Seeing Through Jade Glass But Dimly hopes that her daughter will learn to value herself as an individual rather than just Momma's baby
  • Exercising is FUN — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work talks about modeling for her children that exercising is FUN and good for body and soul.
  • Poor Little Chicken — Kenna at A Million Tiny Things gets her feathers ruffled over her daughter's clothing anxiety.
  • Loving the skin she's in — Mama Pie at Downside Up and Outside In struggles with her little berry's choice not to celebrate herself and her heritage.


fall filled weekend.

This was quite the weekend as far as fall activities go.

Saturday was another Lehigh game. No Nonnie and Papa this time, but it was still a blast. It was chilly, but nice.

I can't wait to see that hill in full fall color at our next game.

Sunday dawned even cooler, and rain felt eminent from the moment we woke up. But we headed out to Linvilla orchards to meet Ro, Pat, and the girls anyway.

I'm so glad we did. The rain held out long enough for us to get some cute pictures.

Even when it did start to rain, we found a dry spot and enjoyed some apple cider donuts, chicken nuggets, and hot apple cider.

We both went home with a pie and some fruit butter (apple butter for me, pumpkin butter for Pat); so a successful trip.

The rest of the day was low-key... watched the Eagles v. Steelers game and then headed over to visit Willy. Definitely a good weekend.

Now we're onto another busy week. Trav is working late tonight, so Gwen and I are on our own. Thursday I'm in DC, so they'll have their own night together.

What did your weekend look like?


bits and bobs

Random bits and bobs and updates... none big enough for their own post:

C25K: Done, completed, aced (a few weeks ago now). Running, well, that's a different story. I've determined that maybe I'm just not a runner. The post-run high is nice, the feeling of accomplishment is great, the actual running, not so much. I don't love it, much of the time I don't even like it, and therefore I find myself having a harder and harder time convincing myself to even get out and do it. I ran Tuesday this week, and uh, that's it. I'm going to try to get myself out tonight, but we'll see what happens. I really need to find something I enjoy, because I want to exercise, I need to exercise, but I also want to like what I'm doing.

Gwen: Just bought the girl a new pair of shoes as her toes were getting smooshed in the old ones. The new ones... a size 7. When the hell did my baby get so big?!

Thing I found while looking around (to copy dooce): A few articles I've read recently about The F-Word. No, not that one. FAT.

And one more on what being AP really means

Website stuff: Where my internet savvy people at?  I am considering buying my own domain name. It would be nice to have instead of the blogspot address, plus its good prep in anticipation of one day moving to something self-hosted. But the whole thing scares me frankly, and I'd rather just have someone else do the whole thing for me (coupled with a nice design redo maybe)!! Ha. In lieu of that, I'd love to pick someone's brain about the best way of going about it all.

October: Oh how I love this month! Fall abounds. And this month, travel abounds too. I'll be in Bethlehem, DC, Princeton, Vegas, and Pittsburgh. Busy busy. But I'm also going to try to enjoy the crud out of all that autumn has to offer. Trips to football games, Linvilla for pumpkins, and some anniversary fun. I'm going to make beef stew, and sausages, and acorn squash. What's your favorite fall recipe? I'd love to try it!



The weather this week has been hot then cold, rainy then sunny, muggy and foggy... its apparently feeling as conflicted as I am. Every time I think I know what I want to happen with the "big thing" in our life right now, every time I feel settled on one outcome as the better one, I think of something else that makes me change my mind. I'm so glad this decision isn't up to me in the long run, because I honestly don't know what I want to happen at this point.

What I do know is that it will probably be a month or two until it is figured out, and that might just drive me crazy. I find myself laying in bed for longer before I'm able to fall asleep, just playing out the different outcomes.

How annoying this must be, for me to lay this out for you with no details, the epitome of vague; but honestly, I just need to get it out somewhere. I made a deal with myself though, to just let it go for now, that there will be plenty of time for detail hashing later. That means not harping on it here either, for which I'm sure you're grateful!

So... publish and release...


decisions, decisions

I can't believe its October already. Time is flying by at an alarming rate. This month will be no slower, since it is busy as heck... something every single Saturday and Sunday, plus 6 different work events. This month alone I'll be in DC, Princeton, Vegas, and Pittsburgh. If I'm quieter then normal, that might be why!

That, and the huge decision that is on our plate right now. We're not in a place to talk about it yet, because its really only 50/50 that it will happen (if that), but it would be a game changer for sure. Sorry to be so cagey, but I don't want to put it out there until a decision is made, so lets just say that it is a interesting situation, since neither outcome is good or bad, they are just different. With one outcome, not much would change for us, but it would mean huge changes for someone close to us; if the other outcome, very big changes for us and changes for the other person, though smaller hopefully easier ones. We'll see. In the meantime please send prayers, vibes, ju-ju that the best choice for all becomes very apparent to all, and that it can be made relatively quickly (in the next month or two), so that we can adjust to the decision and move our lives forward.

Okay, lighter... Celtic Classic this past weekend, and it was wonderful! We met my parents there and ran into a ton of friends. I got my favorite Welsh cookies and we all rocked out our kilts. I didn't get really any pictures, and my parents only got a few, but at least we have two of Gwen looking cute.

Police motorcycle.

We stopped by the rehabilitation center on our way home to see Willy. He loved our kilts.

You can barely see it, but Trav and I are rocking our sporran, too.

Sunday was pretty low-key, though we were still out and about. We went to see Willy again, then took Trav's mom to the airport. After that we ate some lunch, got some chores done at home, then ran to the playground and the grocery store. After that it was already time for dinner, and we had just enough time for a short walk before putting Gwen to bed. Another weekend in the books.

Now, lets get this October going!