Friday, January 26, 2007

Getting to Know You: A Visitor to Your Hometown

Deb's Getting to Know You Wednesday:

Imagine you've made a connection with another blogger who lives in a completely different part of the world than you do. This blogger is about to take a trip and the connection you've made is so strong that she is going to make your house one stop on her trip. (Yay!) Unfortunately she can only stay at your place for 24 hours (boo!), but she'd like to see some nearby sights while visiting with you.

Keeping in mind that time is quite limited, so you have to stick pretty close to home (although not necessarily right IN your town - just anyplace you could go as a day trip), try looking around you with the eyes of someone who has never seen your area and tell us some things you'd share with...

A Visitor to Your Hometown

This isn't my hometown, but where I live now : )

1. Your visitor wants to see something historical. Where would you take her and why? Historic Bok Sanctuary Bok Sanctuary has a lovely garden, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed Central Park (a park in my real hometown :) ). Hopefully she will be visiting in early March, when the heat isn't too awful here, and the garden is in bloom. The gentleman, Derek Bok, who created and funded the park and the tower on the grounds, was an interesting character. He tried to create a peace prize, similar to the Nobel Peace Prize. The visitor's center has some interesting information on him.

2. She wants to see something hysterical...well, mildly amusing anyway. She'd even go for cute, quirky, odd, or unique. Where would you take her and why? I'd take her to Spook Hill. Definitely mildly amusing, quirky, odd, and unique! I'm not even sure I can explain it : )

3. She wants to take some beautiful and/or interesting photos to fill her albums when she gets home. Where would you take her? Lake Kissimmee State Park is a gorgeous state park. This is one of the diminishing examples of The Real Florida (which coincidently is the tag prase that the park service uses on promotional materials lol). In addition to the many trails and the beautiful view, the park boasts a living history cow camp. Oldtime Florida cowboys were called Crackers. Several rangers dress in character all weekend long, and respond to visitor questions at the Cow Camp. Loads of fun!

4. She'd like to buy a souvenir that will remind her of your area every time she sees it. What would you suggest and where would you go to get it? Florida's Natural orange juice is made here. We can visit the Florida's Natural Visitor's Center for a souvenir. Of course if you buy that brand of orange juice at home you will think of me every time you drink it :)

5. Wow, it's been a long day and you're both ready for a snack, or maybe even a meal. Where would you take her to really get the flavor of your area? One thing I really miss here are restaurants that are not part of a chain! I would be pleased to prepare a meal for my friend- cooking is definitely an area of creativity for me. I take joy from the creating, but also the sharing.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Finally- Photo Thursday: Weight

Krista's Photo Thursday prompt from last week was Weight

It was an amazing prompt, and I thought about it all week. I'm often drowning under the weight on my shoulders. It would be very easy to take a photo of some of what weighs so heavily on me- the clutter all around my home or the tax prep I took home from work to finish.

On Tuesday night, Maya and I have time alone, as Dad and Sam are at Cub Scouts. She was getting her daily snuggles, and asked me to blow a blackberry on her. She meant a raspberry. I felt my crankiness lift away as we laughed and laughed. I was just soaking in her beautiful face, and the beautiful moment we were sharing. I grabbed my camera.

Maya mosaic- lightness

Thursday, January 18, 2007

C is for Coveting

I'm trying to get my eating habits back under control. So far it is going well. I'm not exactly dieting, but I'm watching portions, not eating non-stop, and trying to figure out why I overeat. I eat when I am bored, upset, anxious, looking for excitement, angry. You name it, I've got plenty of bad reasons for stuffing my face.

I realized this afternoon that instead of finding things to eat, I'm finding things I want to buy. Not just, oh, look at that, how nice, but full-on coveting. Not necessarily stuff I need, no not at all. I hate the feeling that wanting something in that way brings, although I'll admit that I enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the actual purchase.

So far I've held off. Trying to remind myself that my birthday is coming, and that perhaps I can treat myself to something then.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Create a Connection Best and Worst

Best and Worst

1. What's the best place you ever lived? the worst? Best- I'd have to say my hometown, NYC. I'd never lived anywhere else till I moved to Florida when I was 22. Doesn't matter what borough (even Staten Island lol), I love NY. Worst- Altamonte Springs, Florida. This is a town right outside of Orlando. Oh the congestion! Oh the traffic! ick. I'm much happier now that we are in a small town.

2. What's the best place you ever visited on holiday/vacation? the worst? Best- the three times I've visited Italy. I've been to other places that were loads of fun, but Italy is my dream place to live. Worst- probably the time that my husband insisted we go camping in the middle of the summer in Florida. In a tent. I made him drive us home at about midnight because I just could not fall asleep in that heat!

3. What's the best job you ever had? the worst? Gah. I can name worst jobs easily. Probably anything in retail. Yes, there were some rewarding moments but for the most part, just ick.

Best- sigh. I feel compelled to say that my current job is best. It does give me a lot of flexiblity as far as time off, or bringing my kids. I work for my dad, who is a freelance nature photographer. However, I'm helping him live his dream, and I'm not living my own.

The one I loved the best was working on an island researching Common Terns (see question 5 for more details)

4. What's your best talent or ability? your worst? Talent, hmm. I guess a willingness to try new things (usually involving craft or cooking!). I'm determined. Not sure these are talents, but...

worst: being stubborn, moody.

5. What's the best decision you ever made? the worst? Best- although I was terrified, I decided to work as an intern on an island off of Long Island collecting data about nesting birds. Three summers later I met my husband. This experience taught me to take risks. Worst- I really can't think of one. How 'bout a regret instead? I regret being so afraid that my mom would say no that I didn't ask her for $3 to buy a second-hand Barbie town-house at our class fundraiser/garage sale for Unicef in 3rd grade. This memory makes me cry to this day, for many reasons :(

Bonus (so we can end on a positive note!): What's one good thing about you that isn't covered in the questions above, but that you'd like to share with the world? I love to read, I'm very sensitive and empathetic, and have two amazing kids.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Getting started

Last week I commented about difficulty in getting over reasons to stall on Create a Connection. I'm happy to say that I managed to get started this weekend. On Saturday I worked quite a bit, but felt like I'd gotten nowhere. It was so disheartening to look at the house before I went to bed and see basically the same disorder I'd seen in the morning.

Sunday was full of errands and other things, so I didn't even attempt to continue. I was feeling pretty poorly about my ability to get organized and run a better household.

Monday morning was another day off. I slept in, and my husband brought me breakfast in bed. I got up, energized and feeling optimistic. We all worked together in the family room and made a huge difference. We sorted and organized art supplies, chose some toys to donate, and even cleaned the refrigerator.

We still have a long way to go, but I'm in a better frame of mind to see that it can't all be done on one day, and that it does pay to do what you can, when you can.

Losing my Green/Natural/Organic cred

We were at Lowe's this weekend. We had a few things on our list, and gift cards in hand.

As my husband took the kids to check out the ride-on lawn mowers I browsed the cleaning aisle. I have the worst time keeping our showers clean. I try to blame it on the humidity in Florida but it probably has more to do with my less than stellar cleaning skills.

This caught my eye. $19.95, and a $10 rebate. And those gift cards! So I bought it. It is either this, or a really dirty, icky shower. I know my shower won't look like the showers in the ads, but I'm not looking for that. I'm looking for a basic level of cleanliness, and best of all it should only require me to push a button.

We use natural/green products for most of our cleaning. Short of a cleaning lady, I'm hoping this is a solution that will work for us, because I just can't get it together enough to keep a spotless bathroom.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Photography Thursday: Find

Create a Connection: Photography Thursday

Last night I found the time to do something I've wanted to do since I saw the recipe; I took the time to bake a loaf of the No-Knead Bread published in the NY Times a few months ago. Yes, I know, the beauty of the no-knead bread is that you don't need a lot of time! However, as other mothers can attest, sometimes the things that should be the easiest to accomplish are the most difficult. Least of all actually finding the time to do something for themselves.

Oh, and the bread is delicious!

Create a Connection Dream Dinner Party

Dream Dinner Party
1. Guest one must be someone who is/was creative with words - a novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, journalist, etc. Who would you invite? This is a toughie! Now that my son is reading chapter books, I am thinking about some of the children's authors who meant a lot to me as a kid. From Louise Fitzhugh, Madeleine L'Engle, and E.L. Konigsburg, I would have to choose Madeleine L'Engle.

2. Guest two must be someone who is/was creative with images - a painter, photographer, sculptor, fabric artist, collage artist, etc. Who would you invite?
Michelangelo- ever since I read the Agony and the Ecstasy in high school I've wished to meet him.

3. Guest three must be someone who is/was a performer - an actor, singer, musician, comedian, acrobat, etc. Who would you invite? Bono- It is hard for me to put into words how much this man's music, words, and actions have meant to me since I was a teen.

4. Guest four must be someone who is charting/charted new territory - either in the physical sense, like an explorer, adventurer, or astronaut, or someone like a groundbreaking scientist or inventor. Who would you invite? Anna Coutsoudis- a professor of pediatrics and child health, who researches breastfeeding and HIV transmission.

5. Guest five must be someone who is/was a leader of other people - perhaps in the area of politics, like the literal leader of a country, or perhaps a leader in the area of religion, military, business, or even a great philosopher or teacher, or an inspiring athlete. Who would you invite? Aung San Suu Kyi

6. Guest six must be someone from any field who you believe is/was underrated and under-appreciated by most people, but whom you admire. Who would you invite? I would invite my husband, because he is most underappreciated by me; this is something I'm working on- he's a great dad and husband!

7. Guest seven is a wild card - your choice! Is there someone you'd like to invite who didn't seem to quite fit into any category, or was there a category where you'd have really liked to invite two different people? Then this is your chance to add the person you missed to the table. Who would you invite?
Martin Luther King Jr.

Bonus: Uh Oh! The dinner party is just about to end, and all your guests are about to disappear, and you realize that you've forgotten to ask one important question of one of your guests. You just barely have time to squeeze in that last question, so quick! - what was the question and who did you ask? I would ask Aung San Suu Kyi how she has coped with missing out on her children's lives, and with her husband's death while being under house arrest in Burma.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Sorry for the hard to read nature of the scans. I posted these late last night. I know I could make the scans more clear but for some reason really wanted to get these online.

What color is Anxiety?

Is it Brown for feeling stuck in the mud, being unable to take action?

Is it Blue for the depression that accompanies it? For the feeling of failure that comes from inaction?

Is it red for the anger that comes from things staying the same?

I think it is the putrid color that comes when all colors are mixed together.

Anxiety can be a dull ache. Sometimes I don't even know why it is there.
That's different than the sharp anxiety that comes from new situations.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Another Space Boy, and Yoda too

Here's one I made for my aunt's grandson. I love how he came out.

From December 2006

My son has been itching to learn to sew. Here's his first project. I'm going to start him practicing on the machine as well. One Hour Craft has a great tutorial on teaching a child to sew.

From December 2006

A very U2 holiday

I should probably say "another very U2 holiday" :) as there have been quite a few over 20+ years of fandom.

For Chanukah I got the ZooTv DVD, U218 Singles (with the DVD of the Milan concert), Rattle and Hum DVD (I can replace my tape!), and of course, U2 by U2. My mom's husband bought the last two items for me. I was so tickled- I'd been hounding Erik to make sure he bought the book for me, but apprently Kenny picked it up in September when it came out. I'm truly touched that he got it for me. He's a very thoughtful gift giver. My mom told him that I already owned R & H but I told them I was glad to replace my tape which wasn't looking so great the last time I'd watched it.

Anyway, I'm just enjoying the book so much. I hear each of their voices in my head as I read it. I so envy their friendship- their gang of 4 mentality. I've never had that.
I did something huge yesterday. I bought a piece of furniture for our house without consulting my husband. You see, I'm a reasonable person. I like to confer with him, my partner, my co-homeowner on decisions like this. Sadly my ideas are usually turned down, and the end result is that I feel that I have no control over certain decisions regarding my own home.

I think it is going to be a great addition, and will help manage some everyday clutter- backpacks, dance bag, etc.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Birth Stories

Samuel's Birth Story
Erik and I were really committed to a drug free childbirth. We both felt
that one way to help us with this was by hiring a doula. Even though they
are known for 'mothering the mother' we felt she'd be a great support to
both of us, especially if things got tense. We also took the childbirth
preparation class through my ob's office. The leader taught us some Lamaze
breathing techniques but in my opinion the best information we got from the
class was on basic relaxation techniques- noticing all the tense parts of
your body and learning to relax them as well as visualization of a special
place or person.

As we got closer (and then past) my due date I did get a little nervous from
time to time. What is labor really like, how will it feel? How will I even
know! Because I was a week past my due date, my ob wanted to schedule me for
induction. I really wanted to avoid that, but I was sort of stunned at that
appointment so I went ahead and let them schedule it. Had I made it to June
8th I do believe I would have tried to cancel it and see if anything
happened by 42 weeks. I will stop here and say that my ob and I do have some
basic philosophical differences as far as childbirth goes. However, I really
do trust him and we agree to disagree.

On Sunday June 6th, I woke up at about 3 am. At first I wasn't really sure
why I woke up. Then I realized I was having ??cramps?? contractions?? gas??
I didn't know so I just fell back asleep. I think I kept waking up about
every 10 minutes. After a while of this I decided that they were
contractions. I woke Erik up to let him know. Because we live over an hour
away from the hospital we decided to call the doula and tell her what I was
feeling. Although they were coming steadily at 10 minutes apart, in
retrospect they didn't last that long and I probably should have gone back
to bed. Ginny (our doula) felt that they did sound like ctx, and advised us
to wait around at home for a while and see what happened.

They did seem to be getting closer together, about every five minutes. We
decided to shower and make our way to Orlando. We left the house at 7 am,
and took one last picture of my pregnant belly. When we got to L&D the nurse
told us I was at 2 cm and that it was too soon to be admitted. Her advice
was not to come back until I couldn't smile anymore. Little did she know I
was able to smile nearly all the way through labor! We probably would have
hung around Orlando for a while to walk but we found out my inlaws had
already left their home in Sanibel, and we needed to stop them before they
got to the hospital. Unfortunately we left their cell phone number in our
house, so back home we went. Luckily we got to them just as they were west
of our home!

We all hung around our house that day. I sat on the birth ball quite a bit.
I watched Andre Agassi win the French Open and Tiger Woods win a tournament
as well. I tried to eat lightly, stay relaxed and I rested when I could.
Contractions did get more intense throughout the day, but they were nothing
I couldn't handle. At around 10:30 we decided to make our way back to
Orlando. We felt that we should at least stay overnight at a hotel near the
hospital, in case I woke up really in the thick of things.

We went to the hospital when we got to Orlando. This time I was nearly 4 cm.
Because we live so far away and because the nurse felt my blood pressure was
a little high, the ob from my practice allowed me to be admitted. They had
me get into bed, although there was no way I was going to get any sleep at
this point. Although I had done so much reading, nothing can really prepare
you for entering the hospital- I was a little 'freaked out' by the
environment, and took the nurse's advice to stay in bed. Finally another,
more proactive nurse, suggested I get on the birth ball. At around 4 am (Mon
June 7), we called Ginny and she arrived in about a half hour.

I also have to mention that it took three nurses four tries to put in my
hep-lock- or so they thought. We'd later learn even that fourth try was
unsucessful. The black-and-blue marks these nurses gave me lasted for weeks
and were the worst part of labor for me.

I spent most of my labor on the birth ball. During contractions I would lean
over one of those adjustable hospital tables. Erik and Ginny would talk with
me in between, and I was in good spirits. As the ctx got worse I
concentrated on relaxing my stomach, neck and facial muscles. At one point I
got into bed to try to rest, but the ctx were so much stronger there so I
went back on the birth ball. We had brought a portable cd player and we
listened to Natalie Merchant, Enya, and Tony Bennett too.

The doctor (my ob actually was the doc on call from my practice, he came on
Mon am) felt I still hadn't progressed enough and was going to 'give me an
hour' before giving Pitocin. I really didn't want that and Erik and I asked
Ginny what my options would be if the pain became worse once they gave the
pitocin to me. We briefly discussed walking epidurals and other options and
then Ginny suggested I sit in the shower on the birth ball. Erik sprayed the
shower nozzle on my lower back. When Dr. Lazar came back I was at 8 cm. No
pit! yeah! They also decided that my water had broken- although I never felt
it. I know that when we arrived at the hospital Sunday evening it was not
broken as the admitting nurse noted it. However the doc insisted I get some
antibiotics and it was then that they realized the hep lock didn't work. I
told Betty (our labor nurse) that she had one try to get it in, otherwise I
could care less about the antibiotics! Luckily she got it in.

At one point, after I was out of the shower, the baby's heartrate went
really low. It was a surreal moment- they got me onto the bed so I could lie
on my left side, and people and the doctor came running in and someone put
the oxygen mask on me. I thought "they're going to take my baby", but in
reality the heartrate went right back up to normal in just a moment.

Transition was tough, I really wanted to push. Ginny, Erik and Betty worked
hard talking and breathing through the ctx with me. Ginny applied counter
pressure on my lower back; this really helped relieve the urge to push.
Finally I was at 10 cm.

I was extremely tired- I hadn't really slept since I woke up on Sunday
morning. It was now Monday afternoon. I pushed for a total of 2.5 hrs. In
between ctx I was cat napping- it was probably only minutes at time, but it
seemed longer to me. Both of my parents called during this time to see what
was going on- of course I couldn't talk to them but I did have the energy to
shout "shut up! get off the phone, hang up". I just couldn't stand anyone
taking their attention away from me. Despite lots of perineal massage by
Betty and Dr. Lazar, I ended up having an episiotomy. That was not in 'the
plan', but after so long, I really just wanted to meet the baby! I recall
saying "if you're gonna cut me go ahead and do it already" but Erik doesn't
think I did.

I was also really irritated by any chit-chat they were having. At one point
Dr.Lazar said "did anyone see the alien baby on Third Rock From the Sun?" I
about hit the roof!

Finally I pushed the head out, and then the body. The doctor shouted "it's
definitely a boy" and I couldn't believe I'd done it. It was wonderful to
finally meet the baby, and to find out 'who' was inside all that time.
Samuel Henry it was! He pooped on the doctor first thing.

I did not get to nurse Sam right in the delivery room. They were concerned
that his respiratory rate was so high. I think I probably could have
insisted that I at least try to latch him on, but I was so happy to have
finally given birth, as well as soooo exhausted, that I don't even know if
the thought crossed my mind.

I delivered the placenta and I was stitched up. My inlaws came in to meet
Sam and congratulate us. Betty helped me to the toilet, and on our way back
to my bed I told her I felt funny. She said "honey, you're fatigued".
Ohhhhh, ok, I thought.

When my in-law's came in to see Sam and congratulate us, I remember saying
"a boy, I don't know anything about boys!". I was numb in my fingers from
holding my legs for so long, and my knees felt funny to finally be straight.
I asked Ginny the doula to rub them for me. Both she and my mother-in-law
(also named Ginny) laughed that I had been through this long childbirth and
the only thing I was complaining about was tired legs.

They brought me a snack which I wolfed down. Erik went with Sam to the
nursery to be observed. They brought me to my room upstairs and I tried to
rest. Mostly I made phone calls.

Erik finally came up and a while later they brought us Sam. I think I may
have tried to latch him on once myself. I realized all that reading and the
class don't compare to having a live baby in your arms. The nurse came and
helped us out. I think she helped me more than Sam! He latched on really
well once I knew what to do with him. Nursing in the hospital was fine, my
main concern or question was how often to put him to the breast. It was
confusing that they said every 2-3 hours as a guideline. Sam seemed to work
his lips or move his hand to his mouth much more often than that, starting
on his second day. One nurse finally recommended putting him to the breast
whenever he did that, even if it was 15 minutes after putting him down. I
really attribute following this advice for having a smooth beginning- I had
no engorgement and my milk came in on Thursday night.

Maya's Birth

tues night (jan 1) I was feeling ctx that were stronger and more were not just in the front. I was excited but tried not to be too optimistic (I was 42w 2d pregnant!). Sam ended up waking often that night due to a belly ache. I finally let Erik know I thought I was in labor at 3.30 am. We left the house at 5.20, and were in triage about 1.5 hrs later w/our doula. I was already 5cm.

At 10.30 I let the dr break my water even tho I was nervous it would bring the ctx on too intensely. They did get stronger and I pretty much stayed on the birth ball, w/the doula applying counter pressure on my back and Erik supporting me in the front (i was leaning forward). I moaned a lot and that was great. At one point btwn ctx I leaned back on the ball against Ginnie (doula) and nearly fell asleep. then another ctx hit, oh well, lol.

My practice had 2 docs on at the hospital that day, they told me they were going to a c/sec but that I was 7-8 and would be ok till they were done. No one told Maya that! I was having lots of pressure and said the nurse better check me. I was 10 w/slight anterior lip. She told me to hang on a few more minutes and they should be out of surgery. A few minutes later I said she'd better check again. I was complete and she had me do a practice push or two- apparently I shot her hand out of my vagina w/the practice pushes and she told them to get one doc out of the surgery! He got there pretty quickly and they were set up.While waiting for him I did some gentle pushing when I felt like it. I was so glad to see the doc, lol! I could not wait to really push. I was nervous tho, Sam took 2.5 hrs pushing. Well, I must have learned something last time as it only took 3 pushes for her head and 2 for her body! It was amazing! the doc had numbed me and I only tore a little (5 stitches) let me tell you I'd prefer a tear anyday over an episiotomy! I feel so much better there this time, and she was 2lbs bigger than Sam. We could see how chunky she was and when they finally weighed her I almost fell off the bed.

Despite her huge size, she's got a tiny mouth and seems to be sucking her tongue,so we are really working at bf right now. But my milk is already coming in so I think we'll work thru the soreness and be ok (although I was panicked last night and probably will be tonight also.)

well I'm off to get some lunch! Sam just loves her so far and is too cute around her. we're just thrilled and can't believe she's really here finally!