Sunday, August 29, 2010

Knowing is half the battle.

This is incredible to me.  This is a sign from the Aspen Women's Center in Utah.  Apologies for the large graphic, but I wanted to be sure the text was readable.

This sign is just incredible to me.  Don't bring a birth plan?  Don't hire a doula?  Don't use the Bradley Method?  Clearly their concerns don't lie with the "quality of their patient's deliveries" nor the "welfare and health of [the] unborn child."  Obviously there's something else at play here.  Is it the fear of a woman who wants to make her own choices in childbirth?  A desire to short-circuit any attempts to enlist the assistance of someone who could advocate for the birthing mother, and perhaps clash with doctors and hospital staff?  Are women who would use a birth plan or employ the Bradley Method more likely to reflect on their birth experience, and therefore more likely to examine any deficiencies in their treatment and complain, or even sue? 

I'd gladly leave a hospital that would call this their policy.

While the sign is a sad statement, how many hospitals have an unwritten, unspoken version of this same sign that dictates how women experience birth behind their doors?  When this policy came to light on parenting and childbirth message boards and blogs in the fall of 2009, there was a lot of outrage at Aspen Women's Center over this policy.  While the policy seems extremely short-sighted, I see the sign as a breath of fresh air:  Aspen Women's Center puts its bias out there for their patients to see so that they can make an informed transfer to a facility more willing to accomodate their very reasonable request to be an active decision-maker in their own birth experiences.  Not all hospitals are that up front, and the time to find out about policies like this are the day you walk into the facility's door for your first appointment and not the day you are there to give birth.


Friday, August 27, 2010

How to know that you married the right person

I think we all have those moments, that little pause of clarity when you look at your spouse and think "how on earth did I end up with this dude?"

My husband doesn't like cookies. For reals. Who doesn't like cookies? That guy. My husband. Seriously. What a freak. How on earth did I end up with this dude?

But for the most part we are totally peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly, champagne and orange juice, which is good because God knows neither of us have any desire to go find new spouses.

So it is all that more wonderful when you get to have that moment when your spouse says something or does something that makes you realize beyond the shadow of any cookie-hating doubt that you are with the right person.

I had that moment today.  It wasn't the first time, it won't be the last time.  But I love that moment so much.

My husband and I were chatting on IM, and I mentioned that had Jack sneezed on me this morning, like ON me, wet and icky gotta go wash my face kind of sneeze.

His response?

I find that very arm bone.

Did you get it?  Or did you just cock your head to the side, stare at the monitor and think, WTH is Jenn talking about?

Arm bone = humerus = humorous.*

I find that very humorous.

And there I sat in my office, tears running down my face as I try to stifle my laughter. If anyone had walked into my office at that moment, they would have thought I was having some sort of fit.  Even typing this out just now, I'm still laughing.

Clearly, we are both total dorks (he'll deny that, by the way) and we are made for each other.

And, in sum,

That's what passes for side-splitting hilarity around these parts.

*In an effort to keep my blog honest, I'll tell you we both originally laughed at "leg bone," not arm bone.  Because apparently we both failed high school physiology class.  Thank God for Google.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

I am unhip. GAP Fail.

Apparently I'm a sucker for a sale. Last week when the website announced a $50.00 gift card for The Gap for just $25.00, I fell all over myself to take advantage of it, even though it took for-ev-er because apparently half of the population of this great nation wanted in on the Gap deal.  Everyone loves The Gap, right?

So today, $50.00 coupon in hand, I went to The Gap, planning on coming out with at least a nice pair of pants for work, or a cute sweater,

Also apparently, I've never been to The Gap before. Yes, I am American. I live in a major metropolitan area. I am female. I've even been to college. But I've never, ever set foot in The Gap until today. I realize this now because when I got there I realized that there was nothing in that store I'd wear. I'm not a jeans girl. I'm not a t-shirt girl. I don't buy $90.00 sweaters, nor do I wear sweatshirts. And as those items cover exactly 100% of the inventory at The Gap, there's just nothing there I could use.

I bought The Gap Groupon deal because I couldn't resist a bargain.

Fortunately, next to The Gap I found Baby Gap.  And, as he always does, Jack scored big time.  After applying my gift card, $7.90 bought Jack:

Plus little black boots.  Plus a little Halloween shirt with a long-sleeved onesie that goes underneath it.  Plus a leather belt.

Little man will be well dressed.  I hope he's not too embarrassed to be seen with his totally unhip mom.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 8 months ago

Eight months ago...

We met.

We bonded.

We snoozed.

We let it all hang out.

We chillaxed.

We fussed.  Only a little.

And we dreamed.

It has been the most amazing eight months of my life.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strange days have found us.

Two weeks ago my mom told me that my dad was going to be in town and wanted to have breakfast with us, and meet Dan and Jack. I haven't seen my dad in the better part of ten years, and the last time I saw him it was over a really uncomfortable dinner at Charcoal Grill.  Prior to that, I hadn't seen him in years.  We never had a real relationship other than a few weekends with him as I was growing up.  When I was in third grade, he bought me a Transformer for Christmas.  Megatron.  That may be my most significant memory of him.  I don't dislike him, but he's a stranger.  I don't know him. 

To get ready for the occasion, we dressed Jack in a little cowboy outfit, complete with denim dungarees and little black cowboy boots, but the boots only stayed on as far as the kitchen.  He's still anti-shoe, even when the shoe in question is an adorable pair of boots.  When we pulled up to Cracker Barrel this morning and my dad and my mom were already there waiting.  I was genuinely surprised. He looked like an older, thinner version of what I remembered.  I introduced him to my husband and my son, and he gave me an awkward hug.  Our breakfast was brief.  We talked about Jack, and he told me about my half-brother and half-sister and their respective children.  He said a few things that made me give him the side-eye, but for the most part it wasn't unpleasant.  I was glad to be in the car heading back home afterwards.  I was also very, very tired when it was all done.

Interestingly, after a little initial shyness, Jack really took to my dad.  He wanted to look at him and touch his face.  Jack is generally a friendly baby, but this was a little different.  This guy was a stranger to Jack, but it was like he knew something, like he sensed a familiarity.  Jack never ceases to amaze me. What did you know, little man?

In all, I don't know how to feel about today.  I don't really feel anything in particular, one way or another.  I guess it was nice to see my dad, but I don't really have much of an opinion in it.  It just was.

But I did get something nice out of it - a family picture that I never thought I'd see happen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Awesome Toy Alert! The Alphabet Apple

Believe it or not, I'm not a giant fan of electronic kids toys. That is hugely hypocritical of me, as I was raised on the Atari 2600, Coleco's handheld electronic football game, and Simon. But I love the simple old toys: blocks, Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, so when we buy toys for Jack we usually lean towards the basic and the classic.

Except when something awesome catches our attention.

We decided to buy Jack a little prize since he had a really rough week last week with his high fever and then a bump on the noggin (rolling baby = faceplant), so we checked the toy aisle at Wal Mart and came across the VTech Alphabet Apple.

The Apple immediately got Jack's attention, so we investigated it a little more and liked what we saw.  The Alphabet Apple has 26 light-up buttons - one for each letter of the alphabet - and each corresponds to an animal.  The Apple has eight different play modes, including lessons on time telling, spelling, animal sounds and music.  The Apple quizzes children on spelling (and gives hints by lighting up the appropriate letters, when needed) and rewards correct answers with applause.  It teaches time with an analog clock (love!  I can't believe that so many kids don't know how to read anything but a digital) and the animal sound matching game is both fun and educational.  The music mode plays different songs accompanied by elaborate light patterns.

The Apple is definitely meant for pre-school aged kids, but Jack loves the sounds and lights.  I see this as being a toy that he will learn from as he grows and enjoy for years to come.  We paid $21.97 at Wal Mart, and I think it is worth every penny.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jack's "No-Sleep Cry Solution"

Jack is a born leader, if I do say so myself. He's a pioneer in the field of gross noises, and mastering the renowned "diaper removal and pee" method cherished by expert babies and toddlers everywhere. Just this week he began his trial run of the "No-Sleep Cry Solution."

Parents have probably heard about Elizabeth Pantley's famous book, the "No-Cry Sleep Solution."  Having a baby sleep through the night is such a revered goal - perhaps the holy grail of newborn babyhood - that there is a whole market out there for products, books, seminars, music and DVDs aimed at teaching babies how to sleep through the night.  While some parents believe in some variation of the "cry it out" method of sleep training, others advocate that parents should just deal with a baby who wakes every forty-five minutes until that baby is good and ready to sleep longer.  Pantley's method is a far more gentle alternative for coaxing young babies to sleep through the night, and one which has saved the sanity of many a sleep deprived parent.

Well, Jack's having none of that.  Apparently he just learned that most babies don't start sleeping through the night at three weeks as he did, and he wants to make up for lost time.  To that end, he began working on some research for his alternative to Ms. Pantley's book, which he is going to call the "No-Sleep Cry Solution."

His goal?  No sleep.  Cry.

Last night, for example, Jack napped soundly in the car on the way home from Gander Mountain.  We unlatched Mr. Sleeping Precious from his carseat, got him ready for bed, and put him down for the night.  He slept for a blissful, beautiful hour until we were ready for bed.  That's when his bat-sense tingled:  mom and dad are going to sleep?  Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

I tried my usual methods of comforting him: tucked the blanket around his legs, squeezed the musical lullaby Seahorse, gave him his pacifier, but he wasn't having any of it.  

Dan advised me that it was a "hungry cry."  Hungry cry cannot be fixed by song, Seahorse, or cuddles.  It requires a full bottle, even if it is the middle of the night.  Even if I'm damn tired.  So Hungry Jack had his bottle, and I didn't sleep.  I put him back to bed, wide awake but at least content enough to play quietly instead of wail.  I slept the half-sleep of a mom with one ear in her son's crib.

For about an hour.  Like a perverse alarm clock, he wound up again at two, and then three, and then five.  By five he couldn't be calmed by any conventional means of soothing except being held.  Which required me to be awake.  That is, after all, the ultimate goal of the No-Sleep Cry Solution:  baby gets plenty of sleep but Mom?  Mom gets to hold baby, wide awake and bleary eyed, while baby sleeps.

Ahh, ultimate goal achieved: I sleep while Mom toils.
Thanks, Jack.  Let's take a break from your research tonight so you can go back to being that sweet, sleeping baby you used to be.  Mom's not a fan of these dark circles under her eyes.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday with the wee lad.

(Apologies to those of you who have seen these photos already, but there's no way I could withhold them from this week's WW post).

The Brand New Kilt (as told by Jack)

Momma and Daddy bought me my very first kilt. At first I wasn't too sure about it, so I tried it on and asked Daddy: "Daddy, what do you think?"

Daddy said I looked great, so I asked Momma:  "Momma, what do you think?"  And mean Momma said I looked like I was wearing a skirt!  So then I was all, like, "waaaahhh!"

But then Momma said she was just kidding, and she held me for a bit and we were all better.  So then I asked her again: "Momma, how do I look?"
And Momma said "Jack, you look great!  And don't you know, the ladies LOVE a man in a kilt!"  So then I was all like "Helloooooooo ladiessssss!"
So, guys:  what do you think about my new kilt?  I think I like it.

mbj (and Jack!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Attack of the forty foot cucumbers.

It sounded like such a great idea: I'll plant cucumbers in the garden this year. That way I'll be able to can my fabulous dill pickles without having to lug a bushel of them home from the farmer's market. I picked up a packet of cucumber seeds, planted them with great care, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then one day, I blinked. And when I opened my eyes again, there were cucumbers everywhere. Their greedy green tendrils had taken over the garden, snarling themselves in my carrots, wrapping themselves around my eggplants, choking out my raspberry bush and all but burying my lonely watermelon vine. And the garden takeover wasn't enough for them, oh no. They soon clawed their way out of the confines of the garden and onto the lawn. Before long they were working their way up the fence, and soon began plotting their takeover of the neighbor's yard. (Fair enough...they send us their ant problem, I'll be glad to let them incur the wrath of our cucumber army).  In my nightmares, I tear open the shower curtain to find the bathtub filled with cucumbers.

Seriously. I harvested a nice pile of cukes a few days ago, made cucumber sandwiches and cucumber lemonade until I turned green and when I went to check the garden last night I found these:

What. The. Heck.  Where were these hiding?  And then, tonight, after picking all of those last night I found a giant beluga whale of a cucumber sneaking out the side of the garden.  The thing was the size of my arm - how did I miss that last night?

Where is the "off" button on the cucumber patch?

Also, anyone need any cucumbers? 


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pioneer Woman I am not.

Ah, Saturday, blissful Saturday. My husband went to go see some ridiculous dude movie with the guys, and little Jack and I had the house to ourselves for the afternoon.

Of course I decided to spend the afternoon relaxing, watching the House marathon on USA Network, and sipping wine. Wait, no I didn't. I decided to clean and bake while Jack napped. Cleaning was fine, but baking? Not so much.

I thought I would try this fabulous recipe for something called Zand Gebak that I saw earlier this week on The Pioneer Woman's website. I've been dreaming of lovely shortbread cookies topped with rich mocha all week, and today was my day to make my own.

No, it wasn't.

The recipe started out fine. Well, I didn't have quite enough butter but that's okay - I was close. I brewed some strong coffee, per the recipe. I creamed the butter and sugar together, added the vanilla, salt and baking powder, and reached for the flour.

Except that it wasn't flour. It was sugar. The Target brand flour and sugar foiled me again. The packaging for their flour and their sugar look EXACTLY alike to me (except for the fact that one says "sugar" and one says "flour," but who looks at those little details?). I had two bags of sugar and zero bags of flour. And with a sleeping baby, there was no way I could make a quick trip to the store. But not to worry, I have other flour. Wheat flour. That will work, won't it?

Here's an important lesson:


Nevertheless, I sallied forth. I kneaded the dough with the wheat flour, trying not to get too skeeved out by the texture (have I mentioned that I hate wheat flour? I hate wheat flour.  It feels like sand) and I rolled it flat so I could grab my trust roundy cookie cutter and cut some circular cookies.

Except that I don't have a round cookie cutter. I have about sixty gajillion Christmas cookie cutters, and a turkey. I settled for a Christmas star since it was far less Christmasy than, say, Santa.  I could at least pretend that I meant to make star-shaped cookies.  I cut out two dozen stars and put them on the cookie sheet and let them bake for ten minutes while I worked on the mocha butter. Which I didn't have enough butter for, but at this point, we were sallying forth, right? No looking back even if my kitchen catches fire. The mocha butter looked mostly like the photo, so I was pleased, and turned my attention back to the star-shaped cookies in the oven.

And...they had baked into one giant cookie. Helldamnfart.

But I was undaunted. I washed up the cookie cutter and cut the warm-but-not-crisp mass of cookie into star shapes. Crumbly, crappy-looking, broken up star shapes. Well, the look isn't as important as the taste, right?  And with the mocha butter on top, surely they will taste fabulous. 

I spooned just the right amount of mocha butter onto each cookie and watched it run off the sides of the cookie and then immediately soak into the cookie, thereby further rendering the cookie into a mushy pile with both the look and texture of sand.  I could have built a damn castle with it.

Next, I did what any sane person would do (finally). I tossed it all in the trash, poured the remaining coffee into a mug, added a dash of Southern Comfort, and got right to that House marathon on USA Network, and devoured half of the bag of chocolate chips that should have gone into the cookies.

But not without one parting thought to this recipe:

Ahh.  I feel better.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

But my day can only get better, right?

Yesterday's blog was awfully sentimental and sweet. Though every word of it was true and from the heart, lest you think that it is nothing but puppies and rainbows, unicorns and hugs down at the Monkey Butt Ranch, let me tell you about my morning.

My morning started, as they all do, with Jack stirring early. I dragged myself out of bed, changed his diaper, and because this weather is still so stinking hot I thought it would be smart to let him skip the clothes for now.

We went downstairs, he in his cowprint diaper and me in my pajamas, and I made a pot of coffee. I fired up my laptop so I could read the morning news while feeding Jack, as I always do, and I set Jack on my lap.  He ate happily for a few minutes and then...then I felt it. A very wet, hot spot, spreading onto my lap.  It actually took my brain a few moments to process what was happening.

While I was engrossed in the news, Jack had been busy opening up the velcro on his diaper, exposing his little boy bits to the world. Hilarious, Jack. Until he had to pee.  ON MY LAP. Gah.

I refastened his diaper, set him on the floor and ran to the bathroom like I was on fire, listening to Jack wail as I washed up. He quickly discovered his toys and was totally unconcerned about his interrupted breakfast, so I took the opportunity to dress for work before returning to finish Jack's breakfast.

And then he barfed on me. On my work clothes, my shirt and pants. I was covered.  Jack, on the other hand, seemed rather pleased.  He actually laughed.

Jack, I've said it before and I'll say it again: it is a good thing you are cute.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


As a working mom, I miss out on a lot of the "moments." I have resigned myself to the fact that I probably won't be the one to see Jack's first "official" crawl or his first real steps. I probably won't be around for his first word unless that blessed event takes place after 7p.m. on a weekday or over the weekend. I have accepted that my husband is far better at understanding Jack than I am, that the difference between a hungry cry, a tired cry, and an oh-my-God-someone-put-poo-in-my-diaper cry are totally obvious to him and totally obscure to me. I'm okay with the fact that he knows exactly which way Jack likes his bottle to be held or which way he songs are his new favorites, and which stuffed animal is his cuddle-buddy of the day while I'm totally in the dark on those things. And my husband, God bless him, does his very best to make me feel like I'm the center of Jack's universe even though I know Jack's world totally revolves around Daddy.

But sometimes Jack really just needs mom. And it feels really good to just be mom. Not working mom. Not lawyer mom. Not feeding Jack with one hand and typing out an email with the other hand mom. Just mom, giving her 110% mom best.

When I came home from work yesterday, Jack just wasn't himself. He was fussy - angry even, and wouldn't be consoled. I picked him up to hold him and his skin was so hot. He was so feverish, so sick. I held him, consoled him, gave him medicine, held cool cloths on him, and stayed up with him.

He needed mom. For as horrible as I felt for him - he was clearly so miserable - I felt so good just being mom. Even if it meant that I went to work on about three hours of sleep. I'll trade sleep for those moments of being needed, those true mom moments, any day.

Thank you, Jack, for letting me be mom. I hope I'm doing a good job.

And, as a little P.S. for Jack's fans: he did go to the hospital tonight when his fever spiked. He's home with us now, resting quietly, and feeling much better. He's such a trooper.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day Two, Week One: The belly of the beast.

I'm on Day Two, Week One of the Couch to 5K, and hot is an understatement. Also?  We don't have air conditioning, so I present to you, Exhibit A: our indoor/outdoor temperature thermostat:

That's 85.8 inside the house, 82 outside.  While that's not really that high of a number, do recall that unlike places like Arizona or New Mexico, we don't have any of that fabled "dry heat" here in Wisconsin.  We have wet heat.  Wet.  Hot.  Humid.  And it was after dark when I went for my run tonight - those are our nighttime temperatures.  Daytime would have been absolutely horrid.

But the bottom line is this:  I did it.  It wasn't much easier, but I did it.  I kept with it, even though the weather was against me.

Ahh.  Victory.  Now to repeat this pattern for the next nine weeks and beyond.

Wordless Wednesday: Gone Fishin'

Try as we all did, the only fish caught that day was caught purely by accident, and so tiny he was initially mistaken for part of a clump of weeds.

But as they say, a bad day fishing is better than a good day working.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day One, Week One: Stupid things to do on a hot day.

Only a complete and total fool would spend a sweltering summer day canning. And it would take a real jabbering moron to leave the kitchen and then go out for a long run. Only an utter buffoon would do such a ridiculously dumb thing.

So, today I decided it would be a great idea to can green beans with the new pressure canner and then start my Couch to 5K program. The pressure canner was easy to use, and the green beans look great. is a fantastic resource for all things canning, and it walked me through the green beans (and my first run with the pressure canner) quite handily.

As for the Couch to 5K, I did it: day one of week one is in the bag! In the big scheme of things, the first day is easy - lots of walking and not a lot of running. But every great journey begins with that first step. And to be honest, it wasn't easy for me. It was tough. For one, do I look like a woman who owns tennis shoes? The closest thing I had could best be described as skateboard shoes (they were cute, what can I say?) and while they weren't ideal, they were better than my next-best option: sandals.

But even beyond the inadequacies of my wardrobe, the actual program was brutally tough. By the end of my block I was already wondering why I promised myself I'd do this. I was warm, achy, and my skin was itchy from the heat. By seven minutes in I was sweating and my knees were shaking. But I pressed on, and I made it through the whole 31 minute program. Then I came in the house, sucked every drop of water out of the Brita pitcher, and took the coldest shower I have ever taken in my entire life. And it. felt. great.

My plan is to keep up the Couch to 5K program by running on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, RAIN OR SHINE, for the full nine weeks. I will keep tabs on myself by updating my blog (the Couch to 5K will get its own shiny new tab!) and by putting updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Look for another update on Tuesday. I am going to do this.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Run, Jenny! Run!

I consider myself to be moderately fit. I'm not a couch potato: I try to stay as active as someone with a ten hour a day desk job reasonably can. Thanks to the 30-Day Shred I can do a mean girl-pushup. But even at my fittest, I could never run.

As evidence, let me tell you about running the mile.  Do they still do the Presidential Fitness Test in high school? Well, way back in my day we did.  You know, after our class on fire-making and cave wall drawing, we'd walk out past the dinosaurs to the field where we'd engage in a series of about ten different physical activities where we'd be timed and ranked against our classmates.  I mastered most of them: pushups, situps, the wall-sit.  I ruled those. And then there was the mile run. The standard for the run was fourteen minutes. For me, there was just no way.

In my case, it was the mile walk. Every year it started out with a run, or at least a half-hearted jog, but it quickly devolved into an angry, breathless, twenty-eight minute walk. And that was at my best.  Things haven't improved since then. I still can't run. Like, if I ran to the end of the block, that would be pretty incredible. I'd probably have to be on fire to make that happen.  This needs to change, and it is changing this week.

I am starting the Couch to 5K program. The program is designed to help non-runners build up the stamina to run by alternating walking and running under a regimented, thrice-weekly program.  I need to do it this way because I've never been able to build up stamina on my own.

To help me out, I've downloaded a neat app for my iPhone.  I can't fail if I have enough gadgets, right? 

So now that I've announced my intentions here, I'll be too embarrassed to admit defeat or slack or let the program fade away after a week. I''m making myself as accountable as I possibly can on this so that I'll have no choice but to keep up with it. So, blog readers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends and my friends and family: any time over the next nine weeks, please ask me how the Couch to 5K is going. I had better have an answer, and if I don't, feel free to rip the donut out of my sticky hands and shame me within an inch of my life.  I mean that.  I really want to do this.

My plan is to run Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights.  

So, now that I've said that, anyone else want to join my virtual running team?  I've had a few takers on Twitter so far, but the more the merrier (or is it, misery loves company?)  Come run with me!


Friday, August 6, 2010

Water safety and sinking like a stone.

Even though today is Friday, this is a serious post.  I'll make up for it later with cute baby photos or something equally saccharin.  I promise.

Early last week the news carried a story about a man who drowned while saving his three year old nephew from a pond where they were swimming.  I immediately wondered why someone who wasn't a swimmer would try saving someone else from the water.

How naive I was.

Jack and I have been taking a baby swim class at the YMCA. I thought it would be a fun thing to do, and I hoped that he'd enjoy the water (as opposed to screaming in terror and being angry at me for a full day, as he did the first time I put his little feet in his kiddie pool).  He has really been a trooper through the whole class so far - he kicks and paddles like a champ, and he has even gone underwater without a single, solitary waaah.

Dan calls him our little Navy Seal.
Jack with some broad who has no business being in a swimsuit.

As for me, I'll be honest: I'm not doing so great.  I was fine for all of the fun and games part - I can do the pool version of "The Wheels on the Bus" like I'm auditioning for Idol, but last Saturday we had a lesson on safely towing a baby out of deep water.

I couldn't do it. I sank like a damn stone.

The first lesson was a sort of backfloat, with baby in our arms, over our chest.  The idea is, obviously, to keep baby's head above water at all times, and ideally, to keep your own head above water most of the time.  I couldn't do it.  I kicked a few times and down I went, stopping just short of Jack going under with me.  As you may imagine, he was not a fan of that experiment.

The next lesson involved a scissor kick while having the baby straddle your hip.  Again, I was underwater in a matter of seconds.  By now Jack was sensing my frustration and getting himself worked up too.  He wasn't crying, but he was very squirmy which did not help matters at all.

The third alternative was to place baby on your back, holding one of his arms over your shoulder, leaving both legs and one arm to swim.  I couldn't even safely put Jack on my back.  It just wasn't happening.  And by this time, he was mad.  I was frustrated.  We were done.

The only thing I could do was tread water for a short period.  But that's only going to help in a rescue situation if there's something there to rescue me and Jack in a matter of moments.

You'd think it wouldn't be so hard to swim with a baby, but I found it impossible. And that worries me.  All I can do at this point is keep trying, keep practicing and of course practice water safety above all else.  Here's a great resource for child and infant water safety.  I still need to learn infant CPR - I have no excuse for not knowing that.  Moms and dads - all caregivers and potential caregivers - pledge to yourselves to take a class.  We'll all be better people for having done so.

One thing I will never take for granted is the difficulty involved in a rescue situation.  I hope I'll never need to experience that firsthand.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

When life gives you cucumbers...

I have gone from having a few cucumbers in the garden to having a hostile cucumber takeover in my yard, all in the matter of a week. I was thrilled to find one, then two, then five and six cucumbers, especially when I thought my cuke crop was a bust. But now the cucumbers are just everywhere, outnumbering even the tomatoes. Something had to be done.  They were taking over.  If they became sentient...well, let's not go there.  Back to the lemonade.

I Googled "cucumber recipes" and learned two words that I found strangely compelling: cucumber lemonade. I was simultaneously repulsed and intrigued, and after asking a few of my southern friends about the concoction I realized that I had to try making it. had a plethora of recipes for cucumber lemonade, so I went with the one that took the least amount of effort but still yielded a 4.5 star rating. And my life was forever changed.

Cucumber Lemonade

You will need:
One cucumber
One 2-liter bottle of 7UP or other lemon-lime soda
One can of frozen lemonade concentrate
One very cute, large pitcher.

Take a good-sized cucumber, peel it and slice it thinly.

Is that not the perfect pitcher?
Place the cucumber slices in the bottom of a large pitcher and empty a can of frozen lemonade concentrate on top of it. Let it sit for twenty minutes so the frozen concentrate begins to liquify.

Add a 2-liter bottle of 7UP or any other lemon-lime soda.

If desired, strain the cucumbers out of the mixture (bonus: now they have a little lemon-lime kick from the soda. Great little snack for a hot day).

Serve the drink over ice.

So how does it taste? Imagine lemonade, but with a clean finish: not sticky or tart. I served it to my husband and a guest without telling them how it differed from regular lemonade. I asked them to guess. Our guest thought that it tasted like watermelon, and my husband couldn't place the flavor, but he loved it. They were both surprised when I told them it was cucumber. Clearly, the cucumber flavor wasn't very perceptible, but it was enough to make an already refreshing drink that much more crisp.  We easily polished off the pitcher.


Add a splash of grenadine to the bottom of the glass, and layer the cucumber lemonade on top.  Very pretty.
Of course, alcohol is always an option, too.  Be brave - experiment, and most of all, enjoy!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Twitter and the wrath of the lactivists

Something very interesting happened yesterday in the Twitterverse when an unwary coffee shop owner tweeted his sentiments on breastfeeding in his shop.  I'm sure he felt like it was an innocent tweet (which was since deleted) when he typed it:

Notice: No breastfeeding at the DoubleShot. Thank you.

The DoubleShot logo.
It didn't take long for the lactivist community to take noticeAfter all, it takes some guts (or, more likely, ignorance) to come up with a tweet like that during world breastfeeding week.  Soon, the pro-breastfeeding community was tweeting up a storm, vowing to never enjoy another latte at the DoubleShot and promising to support other Tulsa coffee shops.

After feeling some of the heat, Brian Franklin of the DoubleShot somehow thought that a new tweet would help smooth over the public relations debacle he was creating.

Settle down, folks. We just don't like walking across the room and seeing your breast. Maybe you could do it in private.

For the uninformed, telling a breastfeeding activist to feed her baby in private is like advising someone who is battling infertility to "just relax and it will happen."  It never, ever goes well, and it makes the person who said it look like an ignorant douchebag.

The Twitter discussion among lactivists continued to heat up, and before long some pointed out that Oklahoma law protects a mother's right to breastfeed anywhere she otherwise has the legal right to be.  
When a small business is faced with an unintended public relations debacle like this, most do the reasonable thing: they backpedal like they were biking in a reverse marathon with their crotch on fire.  Apparently the DoubleShot isn't the type of place to follow that traditional PR wisdom.  After another hour of virtual pummeling, the following tweet was offered to make everything better:

Ok ok, breastfeeding allowed again at the DoubleShot. Hey! Breastfeeding all around. :)

Followed shortly by:

I was just kidding anyway. Didn't expect that blow up. Sorry to get you guys riled up. 

Not exactly an apology.  Probably not even true.  But at least he regretted typing that original tweet, and ultimately learned his lesson, right?  

Not really.  Brian Franklin then went on to release a statement to the local news station wherein he complained about the infringement of his rights.

I don't mind if people breastfeed in the DoubleShot, but it's funny to me that people don't consider the rights of others; only their own.  If one really believes in the American dream of individual rights, they must believe in the rights of others to do or think or say things they don't agree with.   

The lactivists just wanted an apology, or maybe at least some acknowledgment that the original tweet was pretty ignorant.  Apparently DoubleShot didn't feel that was necessary.

There's a pretty important social media lesson to be learned here.  What once would have been an offhand statement heard only by a handful of people turned into a national discussion among a very vocal group of media-savvy women.  Businesses small and large need to wake up to the fact that they are what they tweet.  Public perception is everything.

And, Twitter lactivists?  I'm proud of you.  I feel like I witnessed a tiny piece of a big and beautiful revolution yesterday as this unfolded.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Stuff Daddy does to baby when I'm not watching

Stages a battle of army men on Jack Hill.
Makes kneecap faces.

Takes photos of him chillin' au naturale.

Builds him cool hats.
Diapers his sweet lil' head.

Helps him rock a fingerstache.

Gives him monkeygoggles.