Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Here's a couple shots from this evening.  Gracie thinks that trick or treating is the best invention ever.  I fully expect her to ask to go every night for the next few weeks!!  We went out early and no one was home so James took her back out in the dark which she also thought was very cool!  It's so fun to see her excitement at understanding things for the first time.  I think Halloween has made quite an impression.  I really can't wait for Christmas!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Boo at the Zoo

Saturday we went to Boo at the Zoo at the Denver Zoo.  Basically the kids all dress up, you go into the zoo and trick or treat and see the animals!  We went with my friend Iris and her kids, her husband had to work so he couldn't join us.  So we had 3 grown-ups, 4 kids, and we ended up having to park in City Park on the backside of the zoo, about a mile from the enterance!   We definiately got our exercise! It was a little cool when we got started, but it ended up being a beautiful warm and sunny day.  Gracie went as Cinderella and Ian as Eeyore, although he kept tearing the hat off so you don't really get the full effect of his cuteness in these pictures.  I am going to take more pictures tomorrow, because you just have to see the outfit with the hat. 

 

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Daylight Savings Time Sucks

I know I'm not the only one who hates daylight savings time.

but having a toddler, let me say, IT REALLY SUCKS.

We get the nice little fall back action. and instead of being like 90% of other people and getting to sleep an extra hour. What happens to people like us? We get to get up an hour early. And we get to keep doing it for like 2 weeks as you try to convince your kids to sleep later and later.

I got to get up at 6:15 today. Gracie has been averaging between 6:45 and 7:10 wake up for the last couple of weeks. but see, now that we get our little time change, well. I'll probably be getting up extra early for a couple of weeks. Seriously.

I don't get it. And I found out that next year they're moving the dates of the time change around. extending day light savings time a couple more weeks for "energy savings" . So seriously. If that's really the point, why not just add 2 hours and leave it that way for the whole year? I mean. I actually don't get the point. If we're not going to go with universal time, then why not just do whatever we want to?

Can different people have their own timezones? I've been accused of that in the past, and frankly, that'd be fine. We'll have James Standard Time.

Now, what do i do? must sleep.

Somebody owes me an hour!




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Friday, October 27, 2006

An afternoon with Ian

Today has been one of those days where the kids naps are perfectly choreographed so that someone is sleeping at almost every moment.  This means Ian was just waking from his morning nap when Gracie was ready for her nap.  So, we had two uninterrupted hours together where he was in a fine mood.  I figured we should do a photo shoot, and these are some of the best ones.  Enjoy!
This shot is the first time he has ever climbed a step.  Aren't you glad you are there with me to catch this on film?  He is obsessed with the vacuum, I guess that's what inspired him.
 
The rest of these were all taken up in my room.
 
And here's big sister up from her nap, in her jammies, with her purse, diaper bag, and baby, all of which were napping with her.
 
And here's Horace getting in on the fun.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Baby seasoning.

Last night at dinner Gracie was serving herself some pepper when she somehow managed to totally unscrew the pepper mill!!  Little peppercorns went bouncing everywhere in the kitchen.  We did our best to pick them up, but of course we didn't get them all.  Twice today Ian has started fussing with a pained look on his face and sure enough he has discovered and chewed a peppercorn and found it to be unpleasant.   I just lifted him up to hug him and sniffed his breath, (something I didn't realize I do automatically!) and his sweet little baby breath reeks of pepper.  I hope he gets to smelling like himself soon, I miss the warm pure baby breath!

Fall Snow Storm!

It was 70 degrees yesterday.
This morning we have a good 6 inches of snow and it's coming down hard.
Tomorrow it's suppose to be 50, and then low 60's for the weekend.
Gotta love Colorado weather!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"But I don't like him"

Gracie has said this phrase numerous times the last couple of days.  She tells me she doesn't like Ian anymore and that she wants a baby sister instead.  I don't know why she thinks gender would make a difference, a crawling grabbing baby is a crawling grabbing baby, but she won't accept that explanation.  She's been quite mean to him the last few days, she won't let him come in her room and she pushes him away every time he comes near her.  I don't know what other angle to take with things, usually I just remove him from the situation and give him another toy to play with or whatever, but it's not getting any better.  I feel really bad for him, he is just so happy to come near her, and then she shoves him away.  I hope this passes quickly.  I don't want to tell her she's wrong, I mean feelings are feelings.  I know she is really threatened by him "invading" her stuff and her toys, and of course until this point she has pretty much had run of the house in that department.  Now that he is moving though, and he is so interested in everything she is doing, she can't hardly get away from him sometimes.  I am hoping she comes to realize he could be a good friend.  And I am trying to teach her how to get away, like put toys up where he can't reach them, or just go to another room, but he's really quick and he always follows her.  She gets so so frustrated.  It's affecting him too, he is getting pretty aggressive.  He smacks and grabs at things he wants (just as he has done to him about 100 times a day) and he is starting to scream his head off when someone removes something from him.  And then of course this sibling issue is also affecting the way Gracie behaves when Dominik is at our house.  I have to give them separate piles of everything, Gracie is just about totally incapable of playing with him right now.  Every toy becomes a yelling crying game of tug-of-war.  Every thing is "mine", or "I want it".   
Good times.  I'm thinking of taking up martini drinking.  As a profession.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pumpkins!

On Saturday we went to pick out our pumpkins at the local nursery.  We were a little late for the pumpkin festival they had, but we were still able to pick out nice pumpkins to take home and carve.  We gutted and carved them yesterday.  I roasted the seeds (yummy!) and we finished 3 of the 4 pumpkins we bought.  I still need to do mine, I did Gracie's for her and that was enough for me!
So, here are some pictures of what we did:
Gracie's Pumpkin!
Gracie and Horace with Mr. Pumpkin.
Daddy carving Ian's pumpkin.
Gracie feeding her desperate little brother.  He has decided he loves food of all sorts.  And being he has 8 teeth it works out well.  He begs for food like a puppy, he will stand at your knee and scream for food if you don't have him in his highchair and keep shoveling the food in as fast as he can swallow.  It's really funny.  Here she is feeding him peas, sweet potato, and ginger pork chop.  It was really cute, she's not always into sharing with him!
What a killer smile!  Such a cute boy!
The pumpkins from left to right, Gracie, Daddy, and Ian.
Our front porch all decorated for Halloween.   Gonna stop by for a treat??
Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

What do you *really* know......

about RIC (Routine Infant Circumcision)?

****Before this goes any further it has come to my attention that people are attacking a commenter via private e-mail due to this post.  That is not the point or my intention at all.  Attacking someone for something that occurred years ago isn't going to help anyone.   My point is education, plain and simple.  If you want to copy this information to other people that is fine.  But do not attack.  That is not the way to convince anyone of anything.  Many of the people that read my blog are my friends in real life.  Please do not contribute to intentionally hurting them.

I am very sorry for what has happened.  If it continues I will be pulling this post.****

Ok, ok, I know!  This is a very sensitive subject, and you are becoming more surprised by the day at how much of a crunchy hippie person I have become every time you read my posts where I mention breastfeeding and using cloth diapers.  Now this?   Well, I feel this is a very important subject.  The facts are very rarely presented and quite often the truth is hidden by old-wives tales and misinformation.  Please keep reading, even if you are convinced I am nuts and this is a waste of your time.  I guarantee you will learn something.
I learned about RIC when I was studying midwifery, before I was married and obviously before I had kids.   I decided there was no way I could allow such a procedure on my boys, should I have any.  Since then I have gotten involved with groups that are actively working to end RIC.  I have come to two conclusions on the subject.  First I firmly believe, his body, his decision.  Period.  Second I have discovered that the more you learn about this practice, it's history and the way it is carried out, the worse it gets. 
So, I have compiled this post in the hopes of education.  When you know better you do better, right?  Hopefully the information I can present will help someone preserve the human rights of a boy in their life.
The following information is from a board I post on actively and is reprinted with permission.

What is male circumcision?  Male circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin. In the United States today, all forms of child female circumcision are prohibited under Title 18 of the U.S. Code. Males are not included in that legislation, however, and as a result some 60% of American boys are still circumcised.

What is the function of the male foreskin?  The male foreskin performs a number of functions. First, it directly enhances sexual pleasure via specialized erogenous nerve endings such as the frenulum, the ridged band, and stretch receptors called Meissner's corpuscles. The foreskin also serves to protect the moist, mucous membrane of the glans (the "head" of the penis) and the inner foreskin from outside elements, similar to the way the female foreskin protects the clitoris. When the foreskin is removed, the penis is transformed from an internal organ into an external one, initiating a desensitizing process known as keratinization. Keratin is a tough, skin-like substance similar to a callus that forms on top of the nerve endings of the glans, resulting in significant loss of sexual sensitivity. The foreskin also provides a gliding mechanism during sexual intercourse that reduces friction and locks in moisture, acting as a natural lubricant. The foreskin provides a number of other important functions as well.

Why would anyone cut off such a valuable body part?  The world origins of circumcision are unknown. However, circumcision began in the United States in the late 1800's largely because some doctors thought that it prevented masturbation, which at the time was thought to be harmful. But once that and other myths were proven wrong, new reasons were created to perpetuate circumcision, most notably that a circumcised penis is more "hygienic" than an intact penis. Other reasons that are used to justify circumcision include flawed studies suggesting that it protects against disease, that it makes boys look the same as their fathers or others in their community, and for religious reasons. Medicaid reimbursement for circumcision in thirty-four states also provides financial incentives for circumcision.

Haven’t some newer studies shown that circumcised men are less likely to contract HIV and penile cancer?  Although some new studies suggest that circumcision may reduce susceptibility to HIV and penile cancer later in life, those findings are not a valid reason to amputate a healthy, functioning body part of a child. Similar studies show that female circumcision may reduce HIV transmission, but nearly all physicians agree that any type of forced female genital cutting is unethical. Doctors don't cut off the breasts of baby girls to help prevent breast cancer, either, and medical ethicists believe that the male foreskin should be treated no differently. It is also important to note that proponents of female circumcision often use medical reasons to justify cutting off parts of girls' genitals, but those arguments are rightly condemned in most countries.

Does circumcision cause psychological harm?  Many men who are circumcised suffer the same psychological effects found in rape victims. A sense of great loss and feelings of anger, distrust, and grief are common among circumcised men who are aware of the functions that the foreskin performs. Problems with intimacy in adult life, long term post-traumatic stress disorder, and feelings of personal powerlessness are also reported by men when discussing their circumcisions.  (I would like to add to this answer that in my experience the recognition and acknowledgement of these feelings is fairly uncommon when talking to men in real life.  However, on the internet, when you can be faceless, nameless, and honest, it's amazing and saddening what you will hear men say about their feelings on this subject.  ~Alice)

Can circumcision be reversed?  The unique nerve endings that are cut off during circumcision cannot be restored. However, other significant damage from circumcision can be reversed through a method called non-surgical foreskin restoration, which involves stretching the remaining shaft skin over the glans to grow new skin. By keeping the glans and remaining inner foreskin area covered and protected, the keratin that built up over the lifetime of the victim slowly peels away, resulting in a significant improvement to sexual sensitivity. The natural gliding mechanism can also be restored to some extent, provided that enough new skin can be regrown.

Isn't it up to parents to decide what is right for their own child?  Unless there is a compelling medical reason to do so, no one has the right to cut off the working body part of a child. Genital mutilation is done for social, "hygienic", or religious reasons, and no national medical organization in the world supports routine circumcision as a beneficial health measure. We don't allow girls to be circumcised because we know that it is harmful to their physical and mental well being, and boys should be afforded equal protection of the law.

What about misinformed parents who have already had their son(s) circumcised?   Many doctors continue to misinform parents by telling them that circumcision is harmless or even beneficial, so oftentimes parents are not to blame. We suggest that parents take the time to sit down with their son and explain that they never would have agreed to the circumcision procedure had they known it was going to hurt him. Explaining that some damage from circumcision can be reversed through non-surgical foreskin restoration is also good advice.

What about expecting parents who have already circumcised their first son(s)?  Some parents, even those who have newfound doubts about the ethics of circumcision, are tempted to circumcise their new baby boy if their other sons are already circumcised. They may worry that the older boys will resent them for allowing their penises to be cut while leaving their younger brother's penis intact. But continuing the cycle of genital mutilation will not make things better. The best thing for these parents to do is to leave their new son intact and explain to the older sons that when they were born, many people believed that circumcision was a harmless or even beneficial procedure. Now that more is known about circumcision, however, it is no longer routinely done and that is why their younger brother is intact.

What should Jewish parents do if they have a boy?  Some of the most vocal criticism of circumcision comes from within the Jewish community itself. This is because many Jews have actually witnessed the painful cries of baby boys as parts of their penises are cut off in the name of religion. As a peaceful alternative, more and more Jewish parents are calling for a Brit Shalom to replace the Brit Milah. A Brit Shalom is a non-cutting naming ceremony that welcomes baby boys into the world with love, not mutilation. Many celebrants now specialize in performing this non-violent ritual.

What can I do?  Circumcision is perpetuated by silence. When the topic is brought up in conversation, many people react by changing the subject or by making jokes. When you hear circumcision being discussed, don't be afraid to tell others about the negative consequences that it has on each of its victims. In addition, take action by writing your congressional and state officials to voice your support for the bill proposals on this website. Lastly, if your son was circumcised and you feel that you were misled by your doctor, hospital, or religious advisor, you may want to file a lawsuit against them seeking damages. If you yourself are a victim of circumcision, you may want to consider suing the person or organization that circumcised you.

Where can I find more information on circumcision?

www.nocirc.org ... http://mgmbill.org/ ... www.mothering.com

 

If you're interested in observing a circumcision, here is a video.  It is completely unedited and you can also hear the doctor explaining things to the father who is present in the room.  I highly suggest that someone who is in favor of circumcision watch this video because if you are going to consent to this surgery you should really know exactly what occurs. 

http://tinyurl.com/qjdun

 

This is copied from the Canadian Paediatric Society page on infant circumcision:

Risks and benefits of circumcision

Problems from the surgery are usually minor. Although serious complications are rare, they do occur. Newborn circumcision has been associated with surgical mistakes, such as having too much skin removed.

Of every 1,000 boys who are circumcised:

  • 20 to 30 will have a surgical complication, such as too much bleeding or infection in the area.

  • 2 to 3 will have a more serious complication that needs more treatment. Examples include having too much skin removed or more serious bleeding.

  • 2 will be admitted to hospital for a urinary tract infection (UTI) before they are one year old.

  • About 10 babies may need to have the circumcision done again because of a poor result.

In rare cases, pain relief methods and medicines can cause side effects and complications. You should talk to your baby’s doctor about the possible risks.

Of every 1,000 boys who are not circumcised:

  • 7 will be admitted to hospital for a UTI before they are one year old.

  • 10 will have a circumcision later in life for medical reasons, such as a condition called phimosis. Phimosis is when the opening of the foreskin is scarred and narrow because of infections in the area that keep coming back. Older children who are circumcised may need a general anesthetic, and may have more complications than newborns.

Circumcision slightly lowers the risk of developing cancer of the penis in later life. However, this form of cancer is very rare. One of every one million men who are circumcised will develop cancer of the penis each year. By comparison, 3 of every one million men who are not circumcised will develop penile cancer each year.

 

Photos of the various complications due to circumcision.  This link contains links to pictures of male genitalia, some of young babies, some of grown men, all which show what can go wrong with a circumcision. 

http://www.circumcisionquotes.com/complications.html

 
I was going to post a link about caring for an intact penis, but I decided against it because it is so simple and I have personal experience.  The AAP guideline for parents today is to simply leave it alone.  Wipe it like you would a finger and leave it be.  This is one area that people are the most misinformed about.  Our parents were told caring for an intact penis was hard work.  They were instructed to pull back the foreskin at each diaper change and scrub out whatever you found inside.  That information was completely wrong!!  The male penis is adhered to the foreskin in a baby and retracting it for cleaning or anything else is the equivalent of tearing a nail off your finger!  Today this misinformation is perpetuated by doctors that don't keep up on or refuse to acknowledge AAP guidelines and who sometimes even attempt to retract boys while doing check-ups.  The foreskin will retract sometime between birth and adulthood of it's own accord.  Most of the time this occurs when a boy is young, but it can take as long as late puberty and that is perfectly normal.  At the point a boy is retractable he may retract and rinse while he showers, truly no more work than that.  I'm serious.  Premature retraction can damage the penis and create an environment for infection since there is a wound that is healing. So, please, trust me...... just wipe it off and leave it alone!!!

 

Now, finally, this is a post written by a guy on a board I frequent.  He was circumcised as an infant.  His words are brutal and honest.  They are the words of a victim.  I want to honor his pain by sharing his feelings.  This is copied here with his permission.

Someone please tell me that I'm not being stupid.

Someone please tell other people to stop blowing me off.

Someone please tell me that I had a right to my foreskin, and that what was done to me was wrong.

Someone please do more than just coldly and intellectually agree that circumcision is wrong. Stop just nodding your head.

Someone please tell me that my anger is justified. Stop reiterating that my parents meant well. I already know that, okay?! Stop it!

Someone please tell me that despite my parent's lack of malice, my anger still makes sense. That it's still justified.

Someone please realize that it's hard to start forgiving someone when no one thinks your anger is justified in the first place.

Someone please *sympathize* with me.

Someone please *hug* me.

Someone please *hold* me.

Someone please tell me that it should have been *my* choice. That it was *my* body, and not my parent's.

Someone please tell me that if you had been there you would have protected me.

Someone please tell me that I'm supposed to have a foreskin.

Someone please tell me that my anger, sadness, and sense of violation is normal. That it's the other guys' *lack* of reaction that's weird.

Someone please tell me that my reaction doesn't need explanation. That it just makes sense.

Someone please make everyone else stop asking me "Why?". For fritz's sake, why doesn't it just *make sense* that I'm angry at having part of my genitals cut off without me having any say in it whatsoever? Why doesn't that just make sense?! Why do I have to explain? How *can* I explain any further than that?

I hate this so much. I want support. I want someone to for once actually sympathize with me. To do more than just agree with me on an intellectual level. For once I want the first thing out of someone else's mouth to *not* be, "But your parent's meant well...". I am so sick of hearing that. I don't want other people to defend my parents. I do that already to myself; I definitely don't want to hear it from anyone else. That's not what I need.

I need sympathy. I need validation. I need to hear someone tell me in emotional earnestness that I was wronged and robbed. I need hugs given in comfort of this. I need someone to listen to me rant without trying to contradict me for once.

I want a complete penis. I want my foreskin back. I want that scar on my penis to vanish. Why on earth is that weird? If I were robbed of a finger or an ear or a nipple, would it be "weird" for me to want that back? No? Then why this?

I love my parents. And there's a part of me that really wants to forgive them. But it's really difficult to do that when I'm floating in this void without support.

I also want to confront my parents about it. But I'm so afraid. What if they can't acknowledge that what they did was wrong? How am I supposed to deal with that and still have any sort of healthy relationship with them?

Arg. I so desperately need support. Someone *please* give it to me.

Please.

 

Thank you so much for deciding to read this far.  I put a lot of time and thought into this post and I have tried to make it as informative as possible without becoming too long-winded.  If you have any questions about anything here or would like more information I have it.  This is a very abbreviated version of the stuff I have available, believe it or not!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Jack-O-Launch

We went to the Jack-O-Launch festival last Saturday.  The main event was a pumpkin launch where people used various devices they invented at home to see who could shoot a pumpkin the farthest.  We actually didn't see very many pumpkins fired off because they were taking forever to set up and then shoot.  But the couple we did see, well, it was amazing!!  These things flew very far!  It was like medieval warfare with pumpkins.  If one of those devices got into the wrong hands it could do quite a lot of damage!!
Anyway, we mostly hung out among the kiddie activities, they had lots of free things for the kiddos to climb on, over and through.  It was a beautiful day and we really had a good time.  Here are some shots:

 

And, a few more shots from around the house:
I love this picture, let it be known that this kid loves broccoli! She ate another bunch the same size before she started on this one!!
He's walking around the house now with his little push toy!  I can't believe how big he's getting!
Snow bunny!  Boy was she excited to get out and tromp around in the snow!