Sunday, December 20, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
E basically slept all day, took his plain Tylenol and antibiotics, and cried when I fed him. But he is a good sport and has improved every day since. With a lot of insistence from me has has managed to eat normally. And without any insistence needed, he has sleep normally, and then some.
Now I am just trying to keep probiotics in his system while he finishes those irritating antibiotics. He will be done with those Monday night, so I am looking forward to that. Then next week we go in to see Dr. Joganic on Thursday for a follow up. I am hoping for no pulled stitches and a perfectly healing mouth. That would be the best Christmas gift ever. E has already been making new sounds while babbling, and even occasionally making suction on his sippy cup. *sniff*
The next surgery will not be until his nose reconstruction when he is approximately 18 months old next July. That one will be a doozy, but at least it is not for a few months.
E's first year has quite a tally going: three surgeries, 8+ months physical therapy, 7+ months of chiropractics, and an orthotic helmet. After he turns one (in a month!!!) I am hoping for a nice boring year with just one surgery and that is all.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
E is not the best pooper in the world. It has stressed me out lately. Everyone should go at least once a day. After all, it is toxic stuff and needs to get out of your body. I have tried giving E more liquids, prune juice, fibrous foods. I have tried taking grains out of his diet, and yolks, and chicken. Basically E was, and still is, just having fruits and veggies, breast milk, and water. He would still only go once every other day at best, but it was little and dry-looking.
So we started E on 1/16 teaspoon of magnesium, daily. We have had to gradually increase up to 1/4 teaspoon per day, since E seems to be a little magnesium magnet. In fact, that is how E's chiropractor (Dr. Ross, who is simply wonderful) described people like E: they are magnesium magnets. There is a theory that because soil is less mineral-rich in general, that certain bodies need supplementation to function. I am hoping 1/4 tsp. is the magic number for little E. So far so good.
If anyone out there has a similar problem with their kids (or themselves!), before you turn to Miralax or some other laxative or fiber supplement, give magnesium a try. Specifically, try the brand E is using which is very easily absorbed after being fizzed in hot water, yummy tasting (flavored with stevia and citrus), is also a calcium supplement, and is about $20 for a big tub which will last at least a year: Peter Gillham's Natural Vitality Natural Calm.
(I am going to start taking it as well, since I have high stress levels, and I do not drink milk anymore. I will be buying a tub from the chiropractor soon, so if anyone in AZ wants a tub just let me know and I will be there in a week or so purchasing. Anyone else, just go to the website above and find a vendor in your area.)
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Things I Am Thinking About Lately:
- BYU is shutting down the Women's Research Institute. I originally heard about it from a grrrr-ing friend M on my Facebook page who linked to this. Now fMh is covering it here. And the Salt Lake Trib here.
- At the urging of my lovely friend mraynes over at The Exponent I wrote messages to President Samuelson and John Tanner regarding the above closing of the WRI.
- I get to go to California and chill with my peeps in less than 17 days. Good times, noodle salad.
- Halloween is really fun with a 4-year-old.
- E is getting so old: helmet off, first haircut, scooting around, drinking from sippy cups, having an opinion.
- M is getting taken out of preschool: it isn't a good fit for him this year. Field trips have no transportation, he does not seem to be learning much, the campus is farther away, he seems ambivalent about whether or not he likes his teacher, and I keep thinking about how nice it would be to just have preschool at home.
- Preschool at home: reading stories, learning states from our large map, learning songs from Laurie Berkner and others, doing construction paper crafts, learning the calendar, practicing writing letters and names, learning to read, and of course visiting three places on a regular basis: The Phoenix Children's Museum, The Arizona Science Center, and the Phoenix Zoo. Add some parks and some library visits and I think we will be good to go until Kindergarten officially starts next fall. Plus I can supplement materials from the Lakeshore store down the street, and for a lot less than what we were paying for preschool, methinks.
- I got a new tiny computer that I love. Especially in conjunction with the snazzy new wireless DSL setup we got.
Monday, October 26, 2009
I am trying to modify this sippy lid to see if he will take it. Since he still cannot make suction with his mouth, he needs a very fast flow sippy such as one without a valve, or one that has huge holes in the spout, or both. Wish us luck!
Friday, October 09, 2009
(I poke a hole in the gelcap and squeeze out some powder onto E's morning cereal and into M's morning juice. There is a little over half the powder left in the capsule that I then take. No word on whether R will ever agree to take these, party-pooper :)).
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
I have also read how CNN covered the story and referred to his abuse at the hands of a female neighbor "seduction". A 10-year-old cannot be "seduced". And for that matter a 10-year-old cannot "have sex". They can be forced. They can be raped. Period. Downplaying rape and abuse is wrong. Call it what it is. In fact, if you are so inclined, call or email CNN and tell them you are disappointed in their coverage.
I was sexually abused. I wasn't seduced. I was a victim. I wasn't asking for it in some way.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
In fact, some damning information about the EPA can be found here, where they knew the effects of many chemicals found in "fragrance" in 1991. Start to pay attention to how many items in your house have the word "fragrance" on them. Shaking. my. head.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Children's Creative Dance at the Mesa Arts Center starts October 27 and goes through December 8. Tuesdays from 4-4:50, for 4-6-year-olds, $32. My fabulous friend is teaching and it will be a wonderful creative experience for any child. To register call 480.644.6520. Do it!!!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Max (M's teacher): Go over there, M. Go over to the really big bars.
M: (wandering around)
Max: No, over there to that big mamma jamma.
M (totally serious and inquisitive): THIS mamma jamma right here?
Monday, September 14, 2009
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
On the way home from preschool, combining "Holy Cow" with "Oh my goodness": "Oh, my cow!"
Just now while watching Wall-e: "Mom, I wanna go to ouder space. I wanna go to ouder space and float around."
Friday, September 04, 2009
Once we got to his new classroom, we met his new teacher and he filed on in with the other backpacked kids. It was obviously a sunny morning.
We also have started M in gymnastics, mostly because he was so bored in the summer and they were the cheapest class around. Alright, it is also because M is particularly kinesthetic and lives his life in a virtual gymnastics-class-type fashion. Why not put him in the real thing, get him some mentoring and instruction, have him play with other kids, nurture his budding talent, and have him sleep well twice a week guaranteed? It is really a treat to see how well he takes to it. It warms my little personally kinesthetic self. Here is the smiling child hanging from one of the bars.
Here's another list you can print:
Plastics to avoid:
- Stay away from toys marked with a "3" or "PVC" (PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, commonly called vinyl). PVC is often mixed with phthalates, a toxic additive that makes plastic more flexible. While phthalates were recently banned in new children's toys, they may be in toys made before February 2009 when the ban went into effect, as well as in shower curtains, inflatable beach toys, raincoats and toys for children older than 12.
Avoid polycarbonate containers (sometimes marked with a #7 or "PC"), especially for children's food and drinks. These plastics are rigid and transparent, like plastic food storage containers and water bottles, among other things. Trace amounts of BPA can migrate from these containers, particularly if used for hot food or liquids. Soft or cloudy-colored plastic does not contain BPA.
A recent study from Harvard University found that college students drinking their cold drinks from polycarbonate bottles had 93% more BPA in their bodies than during the weeks that they drank liquids from other containers.
We recommend the use of glass over plastics. When you have no choice, plastics marked with a #1, 2, 4, or 5 don’t contain BPA and may be better choices.
How to handle plastics:
When you do use plastics, handle them safely. We suggest that you:
- Don't microwave food or drinks in plastic containers -- even if they claim to be "microwave safe." Heat can break down plastics and release chemical additives into your food and drink. Microwaves heat unevenly, creating hot spots where the plastic is more likely to break down.
- Use plastic containers for cool liquids -- not hot.
- Don't reuse single-use plastics. They can break down and release plastics chemicals when used repeatedly.
- Avoid old, scratched plastic water bottles. Exposures to plastics chemicals may be greater when the surface is worn down.
- Wash plastics on the top rack of the dishwasher, farther from the heating element, or by hand. This will reduce wear and tear.
- Don't allow your baby or young child to handle or chew on plastic electronics (the remote, your cell phone) because they may be treated with fire retardants (learn more about fire retardants and how to reduce your family's exposure in a previous Healthy Home Tip).
- Wash children's hands before they eat.
Where mouth contact is likely, stay away from plastics. There are a wide variety of safer alternatives available to meet your family's needs. Some ideas are:
For the kids
- When bottle feeding infants, choose glass or BPA-free baby bottles with a clear silicone nipple. See our 1-page Guide to Baby-Safe Bottles and Formula for more on safe bottle feeding.
- Give your baby natural teethers like frozen washcloths or natural, uncoated wood. Plastic teethers could have harmful additives that leach when chewed.
- Look for toys made of natural materials, like wool, cotton, and uncoated wood.
In the kitchen
- Ceramic or glass food containers (like Pyrex) are better to store and heat your food and drink.
- When using an electric mixer, choose glass or Pyrex instead of plastic to avoid chipping bits of plastic into your food.
- Carry a glass or stainless steel water bottle without a plastic or "epoxy" lining.
- Lay natural flooring instead of vinyl.
- Use wooden cutting boards -- but care for them properly to minimize bacteria.
- Cover food in the microwave with a paper towel instead of plastic wrap.
In the bathroom
- Pick a cotton shower curtain instead of vinyl.
- In the tub, play with cotton washcloths, finger puppets, wooden toy boats and lightweight aluminum cups instead of soft plastic bath toys and books.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
me: "Wow, that's so cool that you and Cucumber are the same age. Do you go to preschool together?"
M: "Yeah. Hey, mom?"
M (while eating a REAL plum): "This pear," (the fake one) "doesn't know this plum." (the real one)
me: "Well, maybe you could introduce them, tell Mr. Pear that 'This is Plum, he's nice'."
M (looking at me like I am insane): "Mom, this plum doesn't have a face."
Oh, well, of course. Duh. Don't I know the Food Pretending Rules?
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
me: okay we're going in 2 minutes.
M (in a baby bird voice): peep peep, no ONE minute!
me: okay, we'll go in one minute.
M (in a louder baby bird voice): PEEP! No wait, what you said. Peep, peep!!
While M was telling me about how he is super good at gymnastics:
M: And I am really good on the balance bean.
Friday, August 21, 2009
(He means that he is the sick mouse Timmy from The Secret of Nimh, and he has scarlet fever. Lol!)
Friday, August 14, 2009
- False: Government Will Decide What Care I Get (a.k.a. they won’t give grandma a hip replacement)
False: The Bill Is Paid For
- False: Private Insurance Will Be Illegal
- False: The House Bill Requires Suicide Counseling
- False: Families Will Save $2,500
- False: Medicare Benefits Will Be Slashed
- False: Illegal Immigrants Will Be Covered
2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.
Learn more and get details:
1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.go
2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.go
3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.go
4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.go
5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.go
6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.go
7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.go
8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I finally got around to painting E's helmet. We have been to three adjustments and it finally fits his poor little head. He is so much happier today than last week.
Part of the problem is that we finally started E on solid foods, so he was/is having a growth spurt and his head is growing like crazy. He got the helmet Wednesday of last week, and by Friday when we went back in, it already needed a growth adjustment.
The other part of the problem was that they did not notice a protuberance over his left ear at first. So last Friday he woke up with a huge, bright red welt that is still healing today, 6 days later. He still cannot sleep in it while his welt heals. But with all the adjusting, adding pressure divots inside the helmet, applying healing cream, and taking it off for skins checks and toweling his head dry, he is finally happy in the helmet. As you can see :)
Monday, August 10, 2009
Saturday, August 08, 2009
- The sun wakes me up around 6. 6!
- I get all the baby stuff going: pumping, bottle warming, cereal
- M comes out bleary-eyed and asks "Can I watch a Wipeout? Do we have a Wipeout!?" and then when I get it ready on the DVR and fast forward to the beginning he always yells as I am pressing play "yeah yeah yeah, that's it, stooooopp!!"
- M wants to know if I am hungry, brings me a tangerine and attempts to force it into my mouth while I am pumping. It is not peeled.
- M and I talk about personal space.
- M doesn't want to wear anything but underwear today.
- As soon as I open E's door, E tries to get out of the swaddle blanket by frantically thrashing around until I unwrap him. Then he looks at me and whimpers like "Mom, the bottle's not in my mouth RIGHT NOW. I'm gonna freak out!"
- E does in fact freak out when he finds out that we are doing neck stretches before we get the bottle from the kitchen.
- E does a full body contraction that Martha Graham would be proud of as I bring the bottle towards his mouth. Then he relaxes into a little snuggly ball and latches onto my body like a baby monkey. Or a frog with suction-cup feet.
- M asks me if he can have gum for breakfast. Um, yeah, maybe my answer will be different this morning after the last 3 weeks of asking.
- E eats his cereal without spitting it out, but then R wakes up and E twists so far around that the cereal falls out.
- E smiles so big at R that I get a chance to shove the rest of the cereal in.
- M tells R that they are going to work together and M will be "super quiet". "But first", M says, "we are going to Safeway so we can buy bubble gum so I can show Mom how I can blow a bubble."
- M freaks out that R is not on board with this plan.
- R goes to work = Lame. At least it's just for a few hours.
- E does tummy time, back time, sitting time oh-wait-no-we-face-planted-twice-we're-all-done-with-sitting-time, and Exersaucer time.
- M plays with the marble run. The marbles talk to each other. "Shut up!" "Don't say shut up or you will go to time out!" "Ow! Don't hit or you will go to time out" Bam! Bam! Then they all go back in the top again.
- I sneak up on E, start stretching his neck and make a bunch of funny faces before he can remember to cry. I remember that this does not always work.
- E goes down for the morning nap, rubbing his little eyes all the way there.
- M waters the garden wearing just underwear and Crocs.
- M comes in and announces that he's Harry now and needs his wand. Said wand is found and M goes back out.
- Using a wand and a hose he "magically" waters all the plants.
- I decide to blog. I write "A Typical Saturday Morning" in the title box....
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
I have been pondering rape fear lately. I have pondered the way rape victims seem to be blamed for being promiscuous, in the wrong place, asking for it, or downright stupid. Shouldn't the blame, again, be squarely on the shoulders of...oh I don't know, the perpetrators? I have realized that my beef with victim-blaming in sexual abuse situations like my own, very closely coincides with how many rape victims feel and are treated. I want to speak out against victim-blaming. Victims: it is NOT your fault. Predators: it IS your fault. I do not care how many people have told you that it is understandable that you would be tempted to rape someone. You are to blame, solely.
I love reading Shakesville. It is my favorite feminist/equal rights/progressive blog to read. Melissa McEwan wrote today about rape and it resonated with me so strongly that I had to link to it from here. Enjoy.
Friday, July 31, 2009
1. Avoid pesticides and how
2. Avoid BPA and PFC's
3. Avoid growth hormones and antibiotics.
(continued in full below, or click on the yellow link)
Years of research have shown different pesticides to be associated with a variety of health problems, including:
- Hormone disruption
- Abnormal brain and nervous system development
Young children and pregnant women are especially at risk. Pesticides are unique among chemicals released into the environment because they are toxic by design. Their sole purpose is to kill living or“pests” - insects, plants and fungi.
How to avoid pesticides on your food
- Buy organic when you can. Organic produce is grown without pesticides, so when you eat it you’re not also eating toxic chemicals. As it should be.
- Don’t use pesticides to grow your own food. More and more Americans have backyard and community gardens. Use natural techniques – not pesticides - to manage pests.
- When you can’t buy organic, buy less-contaminated conventional produce. Every year EWG ranks popular fruits and vegetables based on the amount of pesticide residues found on them. For example, apples and peaches top our “Dirty Dozen” list, so buy those organic, but sweet corn, peas and watermelon are all in the “Clean 15,” so you can feel better about buying those raised conventionally.
- Download the guide and the handy iPhone app at FoodNews.org. Donate and we'll send you a fridge magnet, too.
Buy fresh to minimize packaging
EWG recommends eating foods that have been processed as little as possible. Processing techniques detract from nutritional value, and chemicals from food packaging can leach into what you’re eating. For food packaging we recommend avoiding bisphenol A (BPA) and the Teflon and Scotchgard family of perfluorochemicals (PFCs).
What is BPA and why should you avoid it?
Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, is a synthetic estrogen used to harden polycarbonate plastics (like some baby and water bottles) and in the epoxy resin used can linings. It was found in the bodies of 93 percent of the Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control. In laboratory tests trace BPA exposure been shown to disrupt the endocrine system and trigger a wide variety of disorders, including chromosomal and reproductive system abnormalities, cancer, cardiovascular system damage, adult-onset diabetes, obesity and resistance to chemotherapy.
As with many toxic chemicals, infants and young children are at the greatest risk of harm because their bodies are still developing. The National Toxicology Program has expressed concern that children’s exposure to BPA may lead to problems with brain and reproductive system development and behavior.
Limit your exposure to BPA from canned foods and plastic containers
- Canned foods. Almost all canned foods (including canning jars) sold in the U.S. have a BPA-based epoxy liner that can leach BPA into the food inside. Pregnant women and young children, especially, should limit their consumption of canned foods to avoid BPA. Here’s how:
- If you’re feeding your baby infant formula, use powdered formula because it has the least BPA. If you’re set on liquid formula, choose a brand sold in plastic and avoid ready-to-eat formula, which has the highest levels. Read more from EWG on safely feeding your baby.
- Buy fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned.
- For canned veggies and fruits, choose glass bottles where available; the lids may contain BPA but less than cans.
- For canned beans, consider choosing Eden Foods brand because the cans are BPA-free. Or soak and cook dried beans – it’s a little more work but also less expensive.
- In a pinch, rinsing canned fruit or vegetables may reduce the amount of BPA you ingest.
- Make a special effort to avoid canned prepared foods like pastas and soups. We have found that they tend to have higher levels of BPA.
- Simple precautions can minimize exposure to BPA and other chemicals that leach from plastic containers and water bottles:
- Use glass or a BPA-free plastic baby bottles.
- Avoid polycarbonate containers (marked with a #7 or ‘PC’), especially for children’s food and drinks.
- We recommend the use of glass over plastics, but when you have no choice, plastics marked with a #1, 2, 4, and 5 don’t contain BPA and are generally safer for food.
- Don’t microwave plastics or fill them with hot liquids.
- Wash plastics on the top shelf of the dishwasher, where the water is cooler, or by hand.
- Avoid old, scratched water bottles.
- Use stainless water bottles without plastic linings.
What are PFCs and why should you avoid them?
PFCs, short for perfluorochemicals, belong to the family of chemicals that includes Teflon and Scotchgard. They are used to coat carpets, clothes, furniture, and food packaging, among other things. They persist in the environment and the human body and have been associated with lower birth weight for babies, cancer, infertility, elevated cholesterol and liver problems.
How do PFCs get into your food?
PFCs are used to coat food packaging, particularly those made for greasy foods. Research has shown that the chemicals can leach into what’s inside – your food.
Limit your exposure
- Avoid non-stick pans and kitchen utensils. When overheated, they can release toxic particles and chemicals in gas form. Opt for stainless steel or cast iron instead.
- Cut back on greasy packaged and fast foods. You might find PFC’s in pizza boxes, fast foods wrappings, microwave popcorn bags, muffin and pastry bags, butter boxes, and hash brown and French fry bags.
- Pop popcorn the old-fashioned way - on the stovetop or with an air popper. You can also microwave popcorn in a brown paper lunch bag.
Under federal law, antibiotics and growth hormones are prohibited in organic meat and dairy products. We recommend organic dairy, meat and other products from Organic Valley Family of Farms, a cooperative of more than 1,300 certified organic farmers in more than 30 states. We're also fans of Stoneyfield Farm organic yogurt.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The Environmental Working Group tested produce for pesticide residues and put out these two lists: The Clean 15 and The Dirty Dozen.
The Clean 15 (or: Lowest in pesticides or: What you can buy conventionally/non-organically grown)
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potato
- Bell Pepper
- Grapes (imported)
Monday, July 20, 2009
M was a little miffed that he did not get to see the scary monsters in the water trying to pull Harry Potter down. Brave child. I was still happy to go before ending though. M was ready to get the wiggles out anyway. When we got home E was pretty proud of himself to resist a bottle from dad. He was getting played with and was giggling to his little heart's content. Stinker! But he knew when he saw mom that I meant business. He drank that sucker in 4 minutes flat. Sheesh.
In other news, M has finally managed to split his chin open in just the right spot to require stitches. He was looking at his fish, Annie. Annie is an ornery little malawi fish (I think) so we had to separate her from the others she was pecking to death. As M watched her in the bowl he knocked her onto the floor and then fell himself, hitting his chin on the counter on the way down. R and I saw the whole thing, grabbing the fish and filling the bowl back up with water and then checking M's chin and seeing the split. The cut is not that big, but it definitely needed stitches from the look of it. Fortunately, M thinks bandaids are magical, so he stopped crying when we got one onto his chin.
At Urgent Care they put numbing lotion on it for 5 minutes first, complete with a big stack of gauze and a long piece of tape. We joked about M's beard and that got him nice and distracted enough to enjoy the entire visit. When he heard that he was going to get glued, there was this little twinkle in his eye. M clearly thought that was pretty awesome. So once it was numb they glued it shut, put a sticky tape-X over it, and then a big ol' bandage over that. My little daredevil.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
And you know, I don't even remember what he said next. "Dis"!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Standing up in his baby hospital gown that says "tiny tired tiger" all over it.
In recovery right after coming out of anesthesia. It was not nearly as shocking as how he looked last time. All the stitches are inside, he is not as swollen, and he does not sound as different.
The face he has been making the most since surgery. A cross between "I am in pain", "I am kinda bored" and "Are you seriously still making me do tummy time?!"
Um, I want that camera. Seriously, give it to me.
Hands down the favorite toy: Marbulous. He has played with that plastic marble run for at least 2-3 hours per day since his birthday. Oh, how I love that toy! I love that little man, getting so big and tall. For the record he is very into Wall-e, Harry Potter, Wipeout, Trouble, puzzles, butterflies, "swimming" with his stuffed water animals, playing his piano and dancing, and generally running around like a hyper little boy. We always joke that he's our little raccoon. Only it's kind of not a joke. :)
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
How Well Does the Church Handle Abuse?
It took me until I was 18 and had moved out of my house to finally wander my way into the Counseling Center at BYU. I was having trouble in school, trouble sleeping, general anxiety. There began my awakening to what I was. I was abused as a child. I finally spoke the words aloud. I was broken. I was a victim.
The first time I told someone about my sexual abuse it was to my therapist at BYU. I was 19 by then. Through therapy I gradually put names on the abuse: physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual. The sexual abuse took the forefront. I look back now and am shocked that my therapist did not insist on calling the police or a social worker when I told her. I was convinced that I was the only victim. But she knew that I had younger siblings still living at home. She knew that my father was the perpetrator. She knew that statistically it had probably happened to more of my siblings. I wish she had done something. Admitting that I came from an abusive family was so new to me at the time. I did not feel comfortable navigating those waters. I definitely did not have the guts to blow the whistle on my father. I did not even know that I should have blown the whistle on my father, that my siblings were in probable danger. A social worker or police officer should have been notified. My father should have been stopped.
That same year I told my bishop. His response was "How old were you when it happened?" I told him I was 8 years old. "Wasn't that a long time ago? I don't think you need to break up your family over this when you can deal with it through therapy." Then he asked "How old are your other siblings?" I told him I was the oldest of five and four of us were female. He asked whether I thought anyone else in the family had been abused. At that time, I honestly thought I was the only one, so I told him that. He restated that I did not need to tell anyone except my therapist. My younger sister was eleven at the time. At that point she had been abused for about three years.
I was sexually abused for about one year when I was in second grade and then it stopped. That was plenty. Once is enough to do all kinds of damage. In contrast, my younger sister endured 9 years of sexual abuse by the time my father was arrested. 9 YEARS. This kills me. It kills me not only because of the quantitative amount, but because it could have been stopped. I found out during the ninth year.
Once I learned of my sister's abuse I went to my bishop at the time, in Michigan. I was 25 by then, pregnant with my first child, and had several years of therapy under my belt. My bishop's response was so different. He told me he was bound by not only by Michigan law to call the police and report it, but also needed to call the Church hotline for legal advice on how to proceed. He advised that we call my parent's bishop and tell him what was going on. Surprisingly, that bishop was also very supportive of calling the police. Both bishops explained very gently that I was encouraged to be the one to call the local police in California and give a statement to an officer. They said that if I did not feel able, that they could give the statement for me, but it would be harder to prosecute my father and get my younger siblings into a safe environment.
I suspect that in the six intermediate years between talking to my BYU bishop and my Michigan bishop there was a change (shift?) in Church policy. I think they probably give bishops better instruction on what to do with abusers and victims. It sounds like bishops have Church leaders to call for advice. These are good steps, but I must be honest: it is not nearly enough. What about a hotline for the victims? What about bishops automatically providing therapy, instead of waiting for victims to ask? What about having stricter whistle-blowing policies, to protect further victims?
I cannot help but be cynical when the only time the Church seems to actively support calling the police is when children are still living at home and/or the abuser is still abusing. Abusers need to face the law and Church discipline, no matter if their victims live at home or not and no matter if they have "stopped". It sends a message to victims that they are inherently less important and undervalued when abusers do not have to pay for their crime. Victims have no choice but to pay for what happened to them.
I am an abuse survivor. Over the last four years since I learned of my sister I have been increasingly more open about it. So I find myself here at The Exponent reaching out to other women and men to tell a part of my story. For a more in personal account of my experiences, you can read my personal blog: kmillecam.blogspot.com. It is my priority there and in my life to openly discuss the effects of abuse. The truth will set us all free.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Sunday, July 05, 2009
In the meantime, you should check out The Exponent. I know a few of the bloggers there and they are wonderful and have such interesting and pertinent things to say in the realm of feminism and Mormonism. Let me know what you think!
Friday, July 03, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
In a spiritually abusive system, "the most important thing is how things look" (Johnson and VanVonderen 31). Johnson and VanVonderen tell of a pastoral ministries course offered at a Bible college where a young pastor-to-be was taught that his wife and children should address him in public as "Pastor." To maintain "pastoral dignity," he should always appear in his suit in public, even if it meant changing out of work clothes to run to the auto parts store. He should route the church telephone to his home and answer it "First Christian Church" to create the impression that he was constantly at church. When sitting on the platform at church, he must always wear proper socks and never cross his legs in a way that revealed the soles of his shoes. "Reveal your soul," he was told, "never your soles." Another instruction was about his voice: "When you ascend the platform, remember—you are the voice of God. Sound like it" (131).
Another characteristic of a spiritually abusive system is that its leaders require the place of honor. "Unhealthy, authoritarian leadership encourages people to place their pastors on pedestals" (Enroth 81). "It is our belief," write Johnson and VanVonderen, "that the less secure a leader is, the more important titles will be to him or her." Such leaders project the image of spirituality, require the recognition of people, and "point to themselves as the primary source of knowledge, direction, authority, and life" (134, 136).
Not only will spiritually abusive leaders demand honor, claim Johnson and VanVonderen, they may actually insist that others deny reality to maintain their authority: "Members have to deny any thought, opinion or feeling that is different than those of people in authority. Anything that has the potential to shame those in authority is ignored or denied"; in other words, "The system defines reality" (58).
Spiritually abusive leaders invoke their position to enforce their decisions. "Because I’m the pastor, that’s why!" "Are you questioning my authority?" "Don’t be a troublemaker." "Submit to your elder." Such phrases are symptomatic of "false authority" (112). Johnson and VanVonderen identify two characteristics of false authority: first, the leaders take authority rather than receiving it from God. And second, their authority rests not upon wisdom, discernment, or truth, but solely upon their position or rank—they are to be obeyed because they are in charge.
Spiritually abusive systems encourage "misplaced loyalty": loyalty to Christ is transformed into loyalty to a leader or a church. Conversely, "disloyalty to or disagreement with the leadership is equated with disobeying God. Questioning leaders is equal to questioning God. After all, the leader is the authority, and authority is always right" (76). Enroth asserts that abusive leaders "consciously foster an unhealthy form of dependency, spiritually and interpersonally, by focusing on themes of submission, loyalty, and obedience to those in authority" (103).
This misplaced loyalty is cultivated by three methods. First, "leadership projects a ‘we alone are right’ mentality, which permeates the system." Second, leaders use "scare tactics" to bolster misplaced loyalty, perhaps telling departing members that "God is going to withdraw His Spirit from you and your family" or "God will destroy your business." And third, "you can be ‘exposed’ for asking too many questions, for disobeying unspoken rules, or for disagreeing with authority. People are made public examples to send a message to those who remain" (Johnson and VanVonderen 76-78).
An extremely important characteristic of spiritually abusive systems is legalism. Legalism focuses on achieving righteousness through the performance of required behaviors and the avoidance of proscribed ones. People earn salvation through their human works. Johnson and VanVonderen warn against any spiritual system "in which the leaders or teachers add the performance of religious behaviors to the performance of Jesus on the cross as the means to find God’s approval" (36). In such a system, members must earn love and acceptance by obeying rules.
Johnson and VanVonderen tell of a Christian conference in which the attenders were given formulas for achieving "a nice, packaged, orderly Christian life." Those who successfully completed the course—mostly the naturally disciplined, strong-willed people—were permitted to attend an "advanced seminar." And the others? The speaker told the audience, "If you follow these principles and they don’t work, call me and tell me about it. You need to know, though, that you’ll be the first one for whom they didn’t" (44). Thus, anyone who questions the system runs an enormous risk of being labeled "unrighteous."
Legalism spawns a preoccupation with fault and blame. In the New Testament the purpose of confession is to receive forgiveness and cleansing; the spiritually abusive system demands confession "to know whom to shame—that is, whom to make feel so defective and humiliated that they won’t act that way anymore" (Johnson and VanVonderen 58).
Christians who trust the grace of Christ for salvation threaten a legalistic structure, since "living with Jesus as your only source of life and acceptance is a confrontation to those who seek God’s approval on the basis of their own religious behavior" (Johnson and VanVonderen 37).
Abusive leaders favor legalism for a number of reasons: busy and apparently righteous adherents make them look good; a legalistic system allows them to examine others instead of themselves; and they gain a sense of validation from the good works of their followers (Johnson and VanVonderen 37). Of course, despite such self-interested motives, these leaders’ demands are "cloaked in the language of being holy and helping others to live holy lives" (ibid).
Spiritually abusive systems are characterized by deception, or what Johnson and VanVonderen call "double-talk." People are told "they are not spiritual enough to understand teachings or decisions of the leaders. The leaders sound pious enough, even spiritual. But we are left with the vague sense that something is missing. They will give you the ‘right’ answer, but rarely will you get the ‘real’ answer. Everything has a double meaning" (126). In conversation, receiving a straight answer requires a precisely phrased question.
Manipulation is the life-blood of abusive systems. The most powerful of the manipulative techniques is enforced silence, or what Johnson and VanVonderen call the "can’t-talk" rule: "If you speak about the problem out loud, you are the problem" (68). Those who speak out may be accused of being unloving, unspiritual, or un-Christian (ibid.). Enroth described one sect that, when confronted with its own wrong teachings, will "attack the character and life of the questioner by claiming that he has ‘sin in his life.’ Such terms as ‘prideful,’ ‘independent spirit,’ and ‘rebellious’ are used in answer to the inquirer" (117).
Scripture may even be invoked in the service of such abusive tactics. Thus, Hebrews 13:17, which counsels to "obey your leaders, and submit to them," is "stripped of its spirit and translated legalistically to mean, ‘Don’t think, don’t discern, don’t question, and don’t notice problems.’ If you do, you will be labeled as unsubmissive, unspiritual, and divisive" (Johnson and VanVonderen 171). Another frequently used scripture is Matthew 18:21-22, where the Lord tells Peter he must forgive "up to seventy times seven." This verse may be turned against an abuse victim with the courage to speak up. Instead of addressing the problem, the leader makes the member the problem: "What’s wrong with you that you can’t forgive?" (Johnson and VanVonderen 100). Thus, "truth is suppressed in the name of spirituality" and "the code of silence is enforced with God’s own Word" (Johnson and VanVonderen 94).
Another manipulative technique is the existence of unspoken rules. Johnson and VanVonderen observe that no one would ever say out loud, "You know we must never disagree with the pastor on his sermons—and if you do you will never be trusted and never be allowed to minister in any capacity in this church" (67). This is because "examining [the statement] in the light of mature dialogue would instantly reveal how illogical, unhealthy and anti-Christian [it is]" (ibid.). Yet the rule is subtly enforced.
Another manipulative technique is coding, the use of circuitous or euphemistic verbal formulations to avoid uncomfortable realities. Another is triangulation (they call it "triangling"), the use of intermediaries to deliver messages or directives to insulate the leader from the member’s response (Johnson and VanVonderen 57).
Finally, spiritually abusive systems are secretive. "When you see people in a religious system being secretive—watch out. People don’t hide what is appropriate; they hide what is inappropriate" (Johnson and VanVonderen 78). Johnson and VanVonderen report the following comment from a "wounded" Christian: "Quite a number of us wanted more information about how church finances were being spent. We wanted to know if more money could go into direct ministries, benevolences, things like that. When I asked some questions at an elders’ meeting—boy did the room get icy. Later I was told to stop trying to create a faction in the church" (21). There are two reasons for the secrecy: Leaders feel that they must protect the image of the organization so outsiders will think well of it, thus making themselves "God’s ‘public relations’ agents"; and leaders condescend to members: They tell themselves, "People are not mature enough to handle truth" (78).
As a result, abusive systems abhor outside news media. According to Enroth, "Criticism, whether its source is Christian or secular, sincere or superficial, is always viewed by fringe churches as an ‘attack’" (164).
Friday, June 26, 2009
As well as this one with a dancing robot.
Monday, June 22, 2009
While playing with a ladybug, "lay, lay, lay!"
While playing with a caterpillar, "cater, cater!"
Also, while playing with a pile of river rocks we bought at the craft store, he says "ahhh!" for each one jumping off a ledge. They are rocks playing Wipeout. I am pretty sure that in M's mind they are smacking into the big balls and then splashing down into the water. He also sometimes does the announcing, utilizing such phrases as "oh, that's gotta hurt!" and "oh man!"
Sunday, June 07, 2009
And how did I handle it? I said something to the effect of "that's gross/disgusting". I immediately saw how guilty he looked and how genuinely sorry he was. The most unnerving part was that he looked embarrassed. As I realized that he was trying solve a problem in an emergency and got yelled at anyway, I was yanked back to my childhood. I automatically worried that he was feeling like he was dirty or gross because of what I said. I was seized with fear thinking that I was putting my same issues that I dealt with right onto his shoulders to be repeated.
When I flashed back I remembered being shamed about my body growing up. There were times when I was shamed for eating because I was a chubby kid. There were times when I was shamed for not being clean and/or ladylike. This was usually a vicious cycle: I would forget to shower/brush teeth because I did not feel worthy of taking care of my body (probably from the sexual abuse), and then I would receive more shaming from my parents to be clean. I think it was for my mother's need to fit in as a perfect mother, so I did not stand out to other people as having problems. There were many times when I was very aware of how embarrassed my parents were to have such an awkward, overly sensitive, emotional child.
There was spiritual abuse from my mother: never have any desire to sin or you are "bad". And there was the emotional abuse from my mother: why are you kids acting like "A" when you know it makes me sad and depressed? The physical abuse from my father and mother: really angry spanking, throwing, yelling, sometimes slapping. And finally the sexual abuse at the hands of my father. I talk of all these abuses intertwining because that is the messy reality. I had a therapist say once that sexual abuse is symptom of many other problems. Clearly, this was the case in my family. The bottom line: I was ashamed of my body, among other things.
So after this M-and-sink incident, I sort of emotionally froze for the next day. It was a funny story, and I joked about it with people. I could even laugh about it. But in the back of my mind I kept regretting the way I handled it. I should have calmly explained instead of shaming M about his body. You see, M is very similar to me in many ways. I was a very sensitive child (as was R, so M never had a chance!), and would internalize many things. When I see M get embarrassed in his life, my knee jerk reaction is to address it and try to help him understand. I do not want him to carry unhealthy feelings about his body. He should have healthy understanding of how bodies work. All joking aside, peeing in the sink is not really that big of a deal. A simple explanation of how pee has germs and needs to go in the potty would have solved future incidents.
As I worked through my feelings that day I realized several things: I realized that regular childhood embarrassments are not the end of the world. M is experiencing the ups and downs of growing up, not abuse on all sides like I did. M just needs to know that I love him, and that I will try my best to help him. He will get embarrassed sometimes, and that is normal. Also, I was reminded that it is pointless to try and avoid embarrassment in life. It WILL happen. The best anyone can do is to work it out when it does happen. Finally, I realized that I should think and talk these things through. It is the only way to free yourself from them. It is painful, but necessary (for me.) So I eventually talked to R and admitted all the horrible scenes I was reliving. He reassured me that I am not my parents, and that M is not doomed to repeat my fate.
I tell this story to illustrate two things: (1) That the ripples of abuse can be very far-reaching, both into the future and deep into a survivor's psyche. Let this make abusers aware of the irreversible consequences of their actions. (2) Let this also make survivors aware of how important it is to be armed with tools from therapy. When I flashed back I knew to calmly face my demons until they had no power left. It took me a good full day, but I worked it out. I also talked to R and felt much better. You could also revisit a therapist if needed. I may make an appointment if I have any more flashbacks in the next few days.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
RANT (just barely devoid of colorful expletives): Did you see on the Enviroblog link that Del Monte is up in arms about BPA legislation because the inside of virtually every can of canned food is lined with a "BPA-rich epoxy coating"? I think I am going to be sick. Now I will have to start canning all my own food. Crap. Fortunately I have already tried to choose glass jars when I can while buying food at the grocery store.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Perhaps it is because I just gave birth to E and am intimately involved in feeding his belly, M's belly, and R's belly (sometimes, when I actually make dinner). Perhaps it is because I am currently mothering. Perhaps it is just one of those organic phases of life.
- Like Dr. George Tiller's murder a few days ago. I like this article in the NYTimes about it, specifically that they refer to him as "Dr." instead of "abortionist" (he was an Ob/gyn for heaven's sake) and the use of the word "terrorism". 'Nuff said.
- I also am enjoying this blog called The Belly Project. It is fascinating as a study and as a working piece of art. I love seeing the new pictures added of different bellies. I also agree with the author in that, "Women (and sometimes men…you know who you are…) can be obsessed with their bodies. Hair, nails, toes, skin, breasts, hips, eyes, they all get fixated on. But perhaps nothing is as preoccupying to us as our bellies. Our bellies are intimately related our sexuality and to our reproductive lives. It’s a complicated interaction, that confluence of sex and babies....So, with that in mind, this blog is a place to come and put our bellies in perspective..." Good stuff.
- I am also in agreement with another post on the Green and Natural Parenting blog: BPA is most certainly a bad thing, so don't get fooled by the almost certain propaganda that will be coming your way soon about how "it isn't so bad, trust us". I'm calling them big fat liars in advance. You heard it here!
- It kind of reminds me of how angry I get when I see those commercials for high fructose corn syrup. I also call them big fat liars. Please avoid HFCS no matter what they say.
- And partially- or fully-hydrogenated oils (shortening) for that matter.
- And MSG--monosodium glutamate.
- And sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (Nutrasweet/Equal),
- And farm-raised fish. Buy wild caught. Check fish lists online to know what is healthy for the time of year.
Check out this comprehensive list, it is a nice overview in one spot. And I have spiraled into yet another food quality rant. (End of food rant.)
p.s. Can you leave me a comment telling me if this is of some meaning to you, dear reader? I get discouraged sometimes when I think of all the dishonesty these food companies engage in. The lack respect for the human body makes me so (to borrow a phrase from M:) mad and sad! Let us become aware together and change the way we honor these vessels of life we live in.
Monday, June 01, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
This is the haps over at The Exponent. Plus lots of good comments and fun arguing if you click on the link here:
"A Progressive Mormon Response to the Prop 8 Decision
This letter was composed by a group of progressive Mormons. I like the fact that the authors chose to base their support for the gay community in religious and ethical values, and I also like the fact that the letter does not attack Church leaders. It’s a positive statement of belief that resonates with me. What do you think of it?
As a Mormon I am disappointed by the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Prop 8, which denies same sex couples the right to marry. Nonetheless, the court’s decision provides an opportunity to restate some of my essential religious and democratic values.
1) As a Mormon I believe the emotional and spiritual growth, the life experience, the nurturing and acceptance we experience as members of strong, loving families is joyous, necessary and an expression of God’s hope for all of us. Yet we live in a society that values some families more than others. I reject the idea that families with same-sex partners are any less vital, any less loving, any less able to nurture their members, any less deserving of recognition or protection than heterosexual families.
2) As a Mormon I am moved by the recognition that both the Mormon and gay communities have experienced the agony of misunderstanding, marginalization, violence, and persecution. Communities that share the pain of common histories and status as “outsiders” have a unique opportunity to come together; to empathize with each other, and to heal one another; to work together for the advancement of inclusive communities, and for the defeat of prejudice for the benefit of us all.
3) As a Mormon, I am lead by the essential Christian idea that the great commandment consists of a full commitment to God and to loving my neighbor as myself. This is not merely a feel-good truism; it establishes the very foundation of Christian ethics that call us into relationship with God and those who are different from ourselves. The way we listen to, engage with, and treat those who are radically different from us is a true test of our commitment to Christ. It’s not enough that we be “tolerant” while living in judgment of and isolation from one another. Christian ethics insists that we allow our lives to be intertwined with the lives of those around us, even those who are radically different.
4) As a Mormon I see ethical dialogue as a way forward in difficult times. This is dialogue that originates from our commitment to community ethics and from a desire for mutual understanding. This is dialogue that seeks to include, to listen, and to guide us in doing our best for those around us. The Mormon community does not benefit when people respond to us based on stereotypes and fear. Nor does it benefit us to respond to other communities in such a way. Fear is never a legitimate basis of action. Dialogue is a tool for putting aside fear and building ethical and democratic communities.
In the short term I know there is a great deal of work to do. As one person I commit myself to dialogue, to community building and to resisting those voices that encourage us to fear one another. The lives and relationships of gay people embody the same dignity, love, respect, understanding, nurturing, and spiritual potential as those of straight people. I acknowledge this and hope that others will too."
K here again. I enjoy reading all these differing opinions on the issue of not just Prop 8, but homosexuality, same sex marriage, same sex adoption, homosexuality in the Church, and many other issues as well. This will be a debate for many years to come.
As far as Prop 8 goes, I am glad that the state respected the wishes of the voters and kept the outcome more or less the same as what CA's majority decided. It would be a dangerous precedent to overrule the will of the people. However, I think it is only a matter of time before the next proposition comes along in CA and grants marriage rights to all.