Saturday, April 24, 2010

Offbeat Mama Giveaway

After a fantastic nap, I was occupying time by alternating reading The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth and crocheting the awesome summer blanket that I'm making for my baby :-) until my cat decided that the blanket was his for snuggling with, and the blanket happened to be on top of the book >.<

So now I'm on here, giving a quick pimp to Offbeat Mama's newest giveaway: a mothers day necklace from Turtle Love Co. (which happens to be the website that J and I got our wedding rings from!). The company is awesome and probably will be one of my featured sellers at some point even though it's not on etsy.

Check out and enter the contest!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I hope my child will be like Will Phillips

First, some background: Will Phillips refused to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance in his class after examining the words of the pledge and realizing that not everyone has the same rights to liberty and justice. After four days of refusing to say the pledge, and being repeatedly harassed by his substitute teacher regarding his refusal, Will Phillips... broke. He told his substitute teacher that she could 'go jump off a bridge'. Probably not the best choice, but he continued to stand up for himself and his right to sit during the pledge.

Recently, Will Phillips was honored at the GLAAD media awards, here is his acceptance speech:

now, i don't necessarily want my child to be exactly like him, but that my child will be able to stand up for herself and others, even against authority figures. I also am amazed by the awesomeness that is his parents! They are incredibly supportive of his actions and are letting him have his own voice and opinions at such a young age. Not only did he formulate these opinions on his own, but he is incredibly bright and articulate when talking about them. He has a great mixture of intelectual speech and age-appropriate joking in his acceptance.

Before I get a little off topic, here is the original CNN story about Will Phillips:

I think it should be noted that this is a pretty big difference from my normal opinion about children in political situations. I find that children in political spotlights are often just parroting or mimicking the opinions of their parents. Even worse than that, some adults go so far as to speak for children, like in this video:

Yes, I'll admit that this child was probably heavily influenced by his parents' political opinions, but in no way are they directing him, and the father even admits to having been upset at his son's behavior in school before learning about the reasoning behind his actions.

I should stop here, I'm just glad to see that some children's voices are being heard and that there are still examples of good parenting out there.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My week thus far

I think that one of the biggest reasons that I don't post more often here, is that I just don't think that my life is worth reading about. And then I kick myself. Most of the blogs that I keep up on are other mommy-blogs where the writer posts about their daily lives. It might seem strange, but I'm pretty isolated, and these blogs help me know that I'm not alone. They help a lot. So... here's my life this week so far:

Monday was a fun day. J has off work on mondays, so any preggo-related appointments are usually scheduled for then. We had our biweekly midwife appointment in the morning, and met with a different midwife in the practice than we normally do. We intend to have our favorite midwife attend the birth, but there is a chance that she might be out of town or someone else might have to step in, so we need to start meeting the other midwives so there are no surprises. Although all the midwives in the practice are AWESOME (!!!), we really do have our hearts set on our favorite! Anyways, the visit went really well, weight gain, blood pressure, iron count, and measurements are spot on and the baby is SUPER active. Seemed like she was fighting back against the midwife!
      After the midwife visit, we went home and rested for a little bit, and then headed back out to the same area to go to a 7:00 PM hospital orientation class. Apparently it's required in order to use the Alternative Birthing Rooms. They were AWESOME! In Illinois, midwife attended home births are illegal, and there are no real birth centers, so midwife attended Alternative Birthing Centers inside of hospitals are the only alternative to a full O.B. attended hospital birth. The rooms are fantastic though, they have a queen size bed, a private bathroom and shower, a birth tub, birthing ball, birthing stool-thing, TV, fridge, microwave, etc... etc... I'd almost say that it'd better than birthing at home, with all the stuff that's there and the fact that you don't have to worry about any messes later on. Also, for my first preganancy and my blood pressure issues, there is some comfort in being in the hospital.
       The hospital visit ended with J locking the keys in the car and having to get a super-awesome security guard to help him break in. Luckily we don't care too much about his crappy old car. After that, we went out with some friends to a local Denny's and tried to pretend that we are still young and hip and can stay up late. I almost fell asleep in the booth. It was fun to see people, and these are some of our favorite people, but I've been so tired since becoming pregnant.

Tuesday I managed to not leave the house AT ALL. J was at work for most of the afternoon/evening, and I managed to finish crocheting the baby cocoon that I was working on and start on a baby blanket :-) unfortunately I think I still need 3 - 4 more skeins of the yarn I'm using to finish the blanket (I had intended to make something small and simple out of it, and changed my mind at the last minute). I'll have to take pictures of the cocoon to post here, but I'm not sure it'll register so well without a baby in it. It's basically a safer blanket, it's made like a hat, but you slide the baby in feet first. It is used to swaddle the baby comfortably and keep her from hitting herself in the face.

Yesterday J worked again, but this time had a morning shift. I worked on the blanket some more, and watched Precious for the first time. I  had read the book Push, by Sapphire, in college and was amazed at the honesty and courage in the book. I have to say, I was not let down by the movie! Plus, in the special features, they went through and explained why they changed some of the things that they did (most of the reasoning was just so that it would make it into theaters, if they had all the horrific scenes straight from the book, it would NEVER have been seen by so many people). It was also great to see the author talking about her work.
      After J got home from work, we went out to dinner with some friends. Treated them to some delicious Chinese food and LOTS of tea ^.^ I'm a tea freak, but that's a topic for another post. It was fantastic and really refreshing. I've been feeling super-isolated with the pregnancy, and even though none of my friends are also pregnant and all my parent friends live too far away for random visits, visiting with this group is fun and refreshing. Oh, and did i mention Chinese food, cause that's important! It was delicious.

Today is aiming to be a pretty full day. We have some errands to run, including the trip to JoAnns to get more of that awesome yarn for the blanket and dropping off a check for our health insurance. Then we have to stop at my MIL's (Mother In-Law's) house to drop something off and to help my BIL (Brother In-Law, you get the idea) make a blog of his own. After that it's onward to my first birthing class! I'm super excited to be learning from an awesome doula who's totally connected online. We've chatted a couple times via facebook, and I always love reading the links she posts to current birth and pregnancy-related articles. I'm really excited for the class and can't wait to meet some other preggo women and discuss some very important and controversial topics.

WooHoo! Wasn't that a FUN look into my life!

Promises, promises

I know I've said this before, and I'll probably say  it a hundred more times, but I really need to be better about updating. My intention was, and still is, to post something almost every day (maybe 5-6 days out of 7), but I can't seem to keep up with it. Maybe because I just don't feel like the mundane happenings in my life are worth reading about.. Maybe because I'm just lazy.

Anyways, for lack of a seller to feature, and lack of a how-to to post, this week will have neither. Honestly, I meant to post how-to's to keep me learning new things to craft and cook, but instead I've just been posting things that I've known how to make for a long time. And unfortunately, I only really feel comfortable featuring sellers that I know or have bought something from personally, and I'm running out of past purchases faster than I expected.

I still intend to blog about those more meaningful topics that I posted here, but with the baby getting bigger, some weird recurrance of morning sickness, and all the exhaustion that comes with it, I've been slacking. No worries though, posts are coming.

(speaking of, I think i'm going to end this one here, and start a new one about some of the stuff that's happened this week)


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Need to Post!

I have a lot of intentions for this blog. It's almost unfortunate. There's a list sitting next to the keyboard where I routinely write down whatever comes to mind for entry topics, but I don't seem to be getting anywhere with actually writing them! I'd really like to get most of this down by the time the baby is here, partially as a way to remember for later, and partially as a way to remind myself that I'm not alone in this. I don't have any friends that I see on a regular basis who are pregnant or have  young children, I feel pretty isolated in all this. It really doesn't help that J and I share a car, so I have to drive him to work and use extra gas if I want to get out of the house at all.

Anyways, here's my list of entry topic ideas. Please PLEASE PLEASE comment on which you'd most like to see written about! It can be something you're interested in learning more about, or something that you have strong opinions on that you'd like to share.. or you could just be curious about my parenting intentions... whatever reason it is, let me know so that I have some reason or motivation to post!!!

  • Cloth Vs. Disposable Diapers: research and my intentions
  • Breast Feeding: research and my intentions
  • Baby Wearing: research and my intentions, with extra attention paid to sling recall
  • State of Midwifery in Illinois: research
  • Sentimental Fetus Post: basically a post about how i'm trying to love something that gives me heartburn and how it's hard for me
  • Gender Neutral Parenting: my parenting intentions
  • Baby-Led Weaning: research and my intentions
  • The Awesomeness that is My Hubby! because he rocks
  • Baby Shower: family issues and the difficulty of wanting a gender neutral shower
Anyways, PLEASE comment!! even if you never read this, even if you just glance at it, COMMENT! 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sign Language

When I was younger, my aunt taught middle school special education at a school that put their deaf children in special ed. She was angry, furious actually. She ended up developing a separate curriculum for those students, making sure that they were treated just like any other student in the school would have been, and started teaching me sign language. I would visit her classes as a 4-year-old and sign with the deaf children, and according to my aunt, they looooved me :-)

Anyways, years later my aunt was dying of cancer and in the hospital more often than not. She would often have feeding tubes or other implimements that made talking impossible or just too painful. I would sit in her room with her, and she would sign with me, telling me what she needed and relaying messages through me to her doctors and nurses. It was incredibly painful to watch this strong woman who had taught special ed and advocated for HIV patients' rights go through so much hardship, but I was always glad to be helpful.

My aunt's hebrew name was Alitza. My daughter's middle name will be Alitza.

Since Laura's passing I haven't had anyone to speak with in sign, so lately I've started teaching my husband sign language. He already knew a couple signs, like hungry, so that I didn't have to interrupt his conversations. Now we're working on the alphabet and key terms. 

From the day our baby is born, we plan on speaking to her in sign language as well as in spoken language.

Yes, I've heard of the baby sign fad that's going around right now, and as much as I'm all for it, I find that most parents stop signing as soon as the baby can speak, and the skills are quickly lost. Continuing to sign is not only great for hearing children (it functions like a second language and it increases spelling ability by including a movement with letters) but it is great for the deaf community.

Also, if we decide to have more chldren, J and I are planning on adopting deaf children. Deaf children are more likely to be put up for adoption, languish in the foster system, or be abused by hearing parents, relatives, and strangers. Deaf children also typically suffer because of the common misconception that they have learning disabilities or just can't learn as well. I hope to help change this, at least for one child.

There is a pilot for a new show that was recently posted on youtube. The show would focus on families where the parents are disabled in some way. Their intention is to show that people with disabilities can be great parents and that the common misconceptions are completely false. The pilot features a deaf family of 6, where the parents and two of the children are deaf, and two of the children can hear. Here's the video. It made me cry a little.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How-To Thursday: Cornbread!

Whenever I'm invited to a family event or another event, I tend to offer to bring two things: my Angel's Rice and Cornbread. I like bringing these things because they're easy vegetarian dishes where no one misses the meat! Keep in mind, while reading this, that I tend to be a pretty inaccurate cook.. I don't own any real measuring spoons (though I intend to rectify that later today) and I tend to cook with whatever ingredients are around. This recipe has turned out fantastic multiple times, sometimes with a little extra creamed corn, or with normal canned corn replacing some of the creamed corn, or with a little less sour cream than indicated.

  • 1 cup self-rising corn meal
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs or egg replacer equivalent
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup creamed corn
 Preheat oven to 400F. Mix all ingredients together, pour into greased pan, and bake for 30 minutes, or until browned.

It's super easy to make, and is a great side to accompany any meal!

Featured Seller Tuesday! (Late Edition)

I tend to wear many hats (haha, punny!). Aside from being a hippy-feminist-mother, i'm also a rennie, a costume designer, a makeup artist, a dancer, etc... etc... Today's featured seller is a fellow rennie who is also a wearer (and maker!) of many many hats! Seamstress of Avalon is an Etsy seller whose shop features her amazing, might I say fantastikal, hat creations. I have never had the occassion (or spare funds) to purchase one of her products, but I would strongly encourage anyone with a special event coming up, or just a desire to get an awesome hair clip or  hat, to check out her products. Here are a few of my favorites:

This is her Clarisse hair fastener which includes peacock and ostrich feathers.

This is her Veronica Flirty Peacock Feather 40's Fastener

This is her Shelby - Velvet Gardenia Bridal Fascinator

  And last but not least, this is her Elizabeta - Vintage-Inspired Ostrich and Velvet Headband Fascinator 

She's a local Chicago seamstress who is FANTASTIC and super talented. And, as you can probably tell from This wedding picture:
I have a certain love for oversized-flower hair clips instead of traditional veils for weddings :-D

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


For some reason I seem to have some extreme morning-sickness like nausea today (it's had me on my knees in the bathroom a couple times, but no puke yet) even though I'm in my third trimester. So Featured Seller Tuesday is being postponed.. Sorry! and sorry that I haven't been better about updating regularly. It's been hard to pull myself away from him on the days that I have have my hubby home.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Glimpse Into My Life

Today, like most days, was incredibly boring. J went to work for 7+ hours today (much better than the 13+ yesterday), which meant that I was stuck at home without a car. I spent most of the day reading blogs written by other parents and being enraged by the C Section rate, the inability for women to access VBAC's, and the lack of support for breast feeding. Otherwise, I made myself a great lunch; Alfredo pasta with sauteed carrots and spinach. The food was glorious and left me with a fantastic food baby sitting on top of my real baby :-)

Anyways, other than that I took some time to finish a nursing pillow cover that I had started yesterday:
One side is awesome soft green fuzzy fabric
And the second is a soft flannel print
Here's a closeup of the awesome gender-neutral print! I think it's adorable. I have a soft spot for awkward animals.

I should have taken a picture of my delicious and awesome lunch, but I was too busy EATING IT! :-9

How-To Thursday: Veggie-Hummus Pita

This is an awesome pita sandwich that I've been making for my hubby to take to work. It's super easy, and just takes about 15 minutes of prep time with all the chopping and stirring. When I make it, I pretty much guestimate the amounts of veggies and hummus depending on what he likes, so the amounts here are open to interpretation. It would also be great with some bell pepper or other fresh veggies depending on what is in season. J even likes a little bit of Italian dressing on his sandwiches depending on his mood.

3.5 oz hummus (I usually combine about half garlic and half plain hummus)
1/3 of a tomato
1/4 of a cucumber
1 carrot
Spinach or other green leafy veggie
2 pocket pitas

Chop tomato and cucumber into small pieces (about 1cm cubes). Use peeler or grater to shred carrot, cut smaller if using a peeler. Combine cut veggies with hummus in a bowl or container, stirring until well blended. Scoop into pita pockets, amount will vary depending on size of pita. Add spinach to the inside of the pita. Wrap with wax paper, foil, or plastic wrap until ready to eat.

This is a variation of a recipe that I found in The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, by Cathe Olson

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


I really need to get better about updating the blog regularly, and with pertinent stuff instead of just features.. but alas...

Anyways, here are a few random updates about me and my life:

- I had a midwife appointment yesterday, and I LOVE my midwife! I'm specifically seeing Cynthia Mason, CNM, at West Suburban Midwife Associates, and I think she's about as big of a dork as I am! I love it! It's great to walk in to an appointment and feel like we're hanging out, I can't wait for her to help me get this baby out!! Anyways, at this appointment we found out that the baby had flipped from being in breech position to being in the normal, head-down position, which is AMAZING NEWS! On the other hand, we also found out that Cynthia is going to be in Washington, DC from June 12-14, meaning that if my later due date is right (the one from the ultrasound, not the date of conception) there's a good chance I'll be going into labor when she's gone. The rest of the staff at WSMA is fantastic, but no one measures up to her (it's a personality thing)! You had better bet I'll be doing everything I can to start contractions before she leaves.

- J, the hubby, is working tons. He just got a new job at a place in a shopping center near here. It's hard to describe, but THIS is what he gets to wear to work every day:
I made the doublet and the pants, and really need to get a new picture since we added a ribbon sleeve and more accents to the entire costume. He basically spends his days helping kids fight dragons, save a princess, and fight a goblin king! He looooves it, and I love having a happy hubby. Unfortunately though, he tends to pull some VERY LONG work days, like the 13+ hour day that he's scheduled for tomorrow. Luckily I found an awesome hummus wrap recipe that I make for him to take for lunch ^.^ I'll have to use it for this week's How-To-Thursday.

- I swear, this baby is an acrobat.. or she already likes to abuse me. So much for having to wait till she's a teenager! During my midwife appointment, while Cynthia was trying to feel where the baby was, the baby apparently decided to fight back and kicked out as hard as she could! My belly turned such a strange shape! Anyways, I don't know much about the baby, but I can already see us running around with her, she's going to be so active!

- I hate being pregnant. Seriously. I hate the looks that I get. I hate the backaches. I hate the heartburn. I hate my lack of sex drive. I hate the random inexplicable physical issues I have. I hate the fact that people seem to think that they can make assumptions about me and ask me stupid questions even though I've never met them in my life. Going off of birth control was a concious choice that J and I talked over thoroughly, but I thought about having a child, not about being pregnant. I can't wait to be done and have my baby in my arms and finally see that all of this was worth it!

Featured Seller Tuesday!

I promised in my last post to put up some pictures of the new pants that I got from Etsy seller  The Seventh Rabbit, so why not do a whole featured seller post?!?

Seeing as I dislike buying clothes (nothing usually fits, and it just doesn't seem like the best use of money), especially now that whatever I buy will only be wearable for a couple months, I've been on the lookout for clothing that is highly adjustable or is draped well enough that it can be worn outside of pregnancy. This includes drawstring pants, awesome cotton dresses, and open front sweaters. My newest find: Thai Fisherman Pants!

The pants that I ordered are super easy to wear and have an amazing print! PLUS the seller even included a free bracelet with the purchase (I love little add-ons that really make me feel like the person appreciated the sale)
They're actually even better looking in person, not that the pictures I took really do them justice (WOW my belly is HUGE!)

The waist is huge, and then folds in the front and ties. They're all one-size, but my husband ordered a pair for himself from a different Etsy seller, Adisorn. I think he loves his even more than I love mine!
And, just to show you how easy they are to put on, here's a video from youtube!

It's a little tougher on a preggo belly, I just have to remember to tie it below the buldge, and then pull the back up over my bum.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Pregnancy Update, Quiz Style

How far along?: 30 or 31 weeks depending on how you're measuring.

Total weight gain: 38 pounds!! i couldn't be happier!

Maternity clothes: kind of.. I'm usually wearing mostly maternity clothes with a couple things that aren't and just happen to fit. Right now, the non-maternity item would be an awesome pair of Thai Fisherman Pants that I bought on Etsy and got in the mail today ^.^ I'll post pictures when I have a working camera again.

Sleep: not much. Acid Reflux, achiness, and the inability to roll over make a full night of sleep near impossible.

Best moment of the week: Earlier today I found out that the baby flipped! She's not breech any more!!

Movement: Lots. Before yesterday she had actually managed to bruise some organs, but now that she's flipped she has a whole new set of squishies to kick >.<

Gender Sex: Female

Food cravings:  Fruit (seems to be a different fruit every day)

Labor signs: Nothing real yet, but I've had a few Braxton Hicks that were especially bad, one of which was because I almost got in a car accident (there was a drunk driver going diagonally through a crowded parking lot, screeching breaks on my part were the only thing that saved the cars)

Bell button in or out: It's pretty far out! not as far as it could go yet though.

What I miss most: Sleep. No question. I used to be a 10+ hours a night type of person, sleep was my favorite thing to do, and now I'm lucky if I can manage 6.

What I'm looking forward to: Feeling like a normal person again. I'm tired of being treated and having to treat myself like I'm disabled. Between back aches, sore hips, aching joints, i've never felt so old!

Quiz stolen from Brit and Her Crew 

Sunday, April 04, 2010

On Birth Plans

     I've seen a lot of women and birthing professionals (whether doulas or midwives) posting about birth plans in blogs. Some say that having a well drawn-out birth plan is absolutely necessary, others say that the mother needs to be flexible depending on what situations arise, and still others argue that if someone wants a home birth-like experience, then they should birth at home (which can't legally be done in Illinois with a midwife present - article here).

     The most recent post on personal birth plans on a blog that I read was by Ashley on How To Hide a Tank in This post. Ashley is very lucky to be able to have a home birth attended by a midwife, so she feels that only a verbal birth plan is necessary should something go wrong that requires intervention.

     Amy Wynn wrote a post for Offbeat Mama that can be found Here where she talks about throwing out her birth plan in order to stop herself from being control obsessed and to increase her chances of being happy with the birth no matter how it turned out. That said, she also made sure that her doctor was aware of her wishes.

     Unfortunately, living in Illinois and in a rented town house, I can not have expectations of such a comfortable and care-free birth. There are no independent birth centers either. Turns out that the headquarters of the American Medical Association are housed in Illinois, which means that they have a ton of legal sway and the desires of patients are largely ignored. Midwifery itself seems to be only borderline legal in this state, with the midwife group that I see needing to associate themselves with a doctor in order to practice. (see Illinois Families for Midwifery or the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery if you're interested in helping fight for midwives in Illinois)

     Because of this, I'll be giving birth in an alternative birthing room inside of a hospital. Even though my birth will be attended by an AWESOME midwife, we'll be at the whims of the hospital policies. So.. I've made a birth plan.. kind of. It's actually in bullet points right now, which seems to work better because it makes information easier to find. It also follows the policies that my midwife holds to, so it's really more for the other hospital staff than for her.

     Yes, I understand that the hospital staff is trained in child birth. I understand that they should be expected to do whatever is best for me. I also understand that liability insurance is an expensive thing and that doctors can be quick to jump to unnecessary procedures in order to cover their own asses. I hold strongly to the idea that childbirth is a natural process that does not necessitate medical intervention in most cases. I believe that the high rate of C-Sections in the U.S. is HORRIBLE. I also believe that some people hold certain opinions about young mothers that might make them choose to save my baby over me. Sorry.. no. I would much rather live to see another day and be able to adopt a child. I know it's selfish, but right now this baby is really just a severe case of indigestion and a little alien that likes to kick me in the bladder.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

How-To Thursday: Angel's Rice

For my first Hot-To-Thursday, here's a recipe for one of the recipes I've been making the longest. It's established itself as a favorite and is easily adaptable. Adding veggies (especially broccoli and carrots) or meat if you're into that sort of thing (chicken is best) is absurdly easy. So... here's the recipe:

1/4 cup butter
1 cup angel hair pasta, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 cups instant rice (cooks in about 15 minutes)
3 3/4 cups prepared vegetarian vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • melt butter in large skillet over medium heat
  • add pasta and cook, stirring constantly, until pasta is light brown and mixture sizzles
  • add rice, broth, and salt
  • bring to boil over medium-high heat
  • cover, reduce heat to medium-low
  • simmer 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender.
 Variations: add veggies during simmer time or cook chicken separately and add later.