Archive for the 'photos' Category

Big family, small house Part I

How we moved from here:

to here:

And how we not only cut our living space in half, but our housing expenses as well.

Our old living room:

Our new living room:


Notice that we are now missing a nice big television (sold!) We owned three televisions and decided that one was enough. And size doesn’t really matter. We also got rid of most of our DVD collection. Since we don’t have cable, we kept some appropriate/favorite chidlren’s movies, and we held on to our very, very favorites. You know, the classics. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. American History X. Fight Club.

We’re also missing a couch. That one wasn’t by choice. It wouldn’t fit through the front door. It was hell on earth just to get the loveseat through. But we’ve found we don’t need it. And yes, that’s my dog lying on the loveseat. Am I sick or what?


One thing I really love about my new living room is the huge front window. I keep the blinds open all day long so I can look at the trees and the occasional sunshine.

Our old dining room:

Our new one:

On to my kitchen..

Yes kids, I have a washer and a dryer in my kitchen. And if anyone has any great ideas of what should be placed in that huge gaping hole where my DISHWASHER SHOULD BE, please let it be known. Honestly, the kitchen needs some work. I’d like to cut the “stuff” in here by 50% again. All the crap that has now been shoved to the tops of the cabinets…it’s gotta find a home.

Here are Rylan’s toys. Now, the child has more toys than shown here. Probably about 3x the amount here. But the remainder of the toys are stashed in a closet somewhere. Invisible clutter. Every month or so, I rotate the toys. This helps to keep him interested in his playthings. I also try to keep only one battery operated toy out at a time. And the blocks and legos…always a staple.

One of the biggest decluttering challenges of all, the bookcase.:

When we moved here, the entire bookshelf was crammed full of books. On top of that, we had at least a dozen boxes full of MORE books. We had books coming out our ears. Decisions had to made. Many of them very hard decisions. But in the end, it went like this: Keep the instruction and reference books that are used often. (Cookbooks, “how to manuals”, etc.) And then, keep a handful of favorites. Anything else can be checked out at the library. The next step in this corner of the room is to eliminate that giant leaning Tower of CD’s. All of the cases will go. The actual CD’s will be placed in a book. Maybe someday we can even get rid of that dinosaur of a boombox we have. How long have we had that thing? 95? God we’re old.

Animal News

Last night, Animal said “hot.” We consider this a huge accomplishment, considering that, at nearly 15 months old, the only words he says consistently are:

“Mama” (This is used not just in reference to me, but in regards to anything he desperately wants. If he wants to be held, if he wants something out of reach, if he wants to nurse, or if he wants to be fed, it’s “MAMA! MAMA! MAMA!”)

“That” (This is also a completely generalized term and is used frequently when he is curious about something or is asking a question. I forgot how observant toddlers are. They notice the tiniest details. Today, as I was lifting Animal out of his carseat, he pointed at the sky and said “that?” I looked up, and in a hugely tall tree was a teeny tiny bird quietly flapping its wings.

“No” (This is pretty common for a toddler, but in Animal language, it comes out of his mouth as “nyo”. It’s a very snobby sounding word. “Nyo! Nyo! Nyo!”

“Daddy” (Again, common you say. Except that the pronunciation used is “Die”. Hmmm. That’s my boy.)

Here is Animal eating his very first Oreo cookie. A momentous occasion, I’d say.

And here is something Animal often does in his free time:

Also, I have a climber. You know those babies. They’re on top of everything. It’s amazing. The dining room chairs must always be pushed in, or he will be standing in the middle of the table shouting his victory hoorah at the top of his lungs. Every piece of furniture is Animal’s Mt.Everest. No matter how I arrange the furniture, he always finds a way. He will push things, pull them, drag them, and stack them until he finds a way to climb as high as he possibly can. Here are several shots demonstrating his favorite climbing activity:

1. Sit cutely at your table and look innocent.

2. When no one’s looking, quickly get on top of the table

3. Pull yourself up on the back of the couch

4. Fling yourself over the side

5. Plop onto the cushions

6. Repeat

Christmas #1

This morning at 7AM, we had our first Christmas with one half of the fam. Here are my fave gifts:

Piece by a local artist that I have been lusting after for months:

Coffee cup from the local espresso stand. (I am TOTALLY a genuine islander now.)

Bath & Body Works warm vanilla sugar body wash. *Orgasm*

PURPLE monogrammed stationary. (The “R” doesn’t give away my true identity, does it?)

Oh yeah, and here’s a cool picture of my brother:

I’ll be gone for Christmas #2, so I’ll see ya’ll back here on the 26th!!! Happy Holidays!

Breaking the mold

Here is what you will see if you are following behind my green crapovan:

It took me a long time to decide on a bumper sticker. I knew that I only wanted ONE, and I wanted it to be GOOD. So many things I believe in, so many stances to take, so many witty little thoughts to convey. For a long while, I debated this one, but was afraid that I might get gunned down or something by a bitter and hostile mama.

To be fair, I would rather the sticker said “homebirthing'” instead of “babywearing'” since I now only wear Animal when the terrain is too rough for stroller pushing. It also could say “non vaccinating”, but then people would probably avoid my van like it was the plague or something. Actually, that might be a great anti-theft device.

Last week I took Animal to a pediatrician. He had his last checkup when he was 6 months old. Because we’re not vaccinating, I wasn’t seeing much of a reason for his checkups. He’s always been the picture of health. However, since we’ve relocated, I thought that it was best to get him hooked up with a doctor here. I found out the hard way that when you actually NEED to see a doctor, it’s damn near impossible unless you’re already an established patient. I checked around with some of the La Leche league moms to get a recommendation for a doctor who wouldn’t harass me about my decision to refuse vaccinations. I had several mamas refer me to the same pediatrician. I figured that was a pretty good sign. However, when we went to see him, he asked me why I had chosen not to vaccinate. He said that since it was our first visit, he wanted to know my reasons so that he could make sure I was making an informed decision, and then he wouldn’t bring it up again. He went on to ask me about 15 questions. Things like, “Do you know how many children experiece a side effect from the DtaP vaccine?” Now, not only am I a non-confrontational sort, I don’t retain information well and I certainly don’t memorize statistics to use in debates with my doctor. Perhaps I should. I had no clue what any of the answers were, and still am really suspicious about the accuracy of his responses. He went on to tell me that I can’t listen to anecdotes, stories from parents whose children have died from vaccines. He talked about how the media blows up ONE bad case to instill fear and paranoia. He told me that I couldn’t trust anything that I read on the internet, and that if I wanted “to go looking for info against vaccines, I’d find it.” (Insinuating that I was only looking at one sided sources.) He filled up the entire tissue paper used to cover the exam table with graphs and statistics. He told me that the chance of death from a pertussis vaccine was 1 in 1 trillion, but that he had personally treated a 7 year old boy for whooping cough and the child had ended up mentally retarded. He said that for the money that had been spent to treat this one child, they could have paid to vaccinate every child in the state of California. It just went on and on and on. It was terrible. Truly terrible. I knew that arguing or even asking questions would make the visit even longer, and the last thing I wanted to do was continue to trap myself in this stuffy exam room with Dr. Save The Country From My Unvaccinated Child.

I’ve been replaying the entire situation in my mind for days. I spent close to a year researching this issue. I pored over some of the most mind numbing medical literature out there. It was nothing but sheer torture. There was a time when I was confident. But now, I’m just tired of fighting. I know that rationally, I cannot dwell on the horror stories. And yet I cannot stop thinking about the healthy 7 year old whose life was completely ruined by a disease that could have possibly been prevented by a vaccine. I’ve talked with B about it. He’s never been very supportive of my choice, but has been draggged along with it. We’re considering shelling out the money to see the naturopath, and possibly creating a delayed vaccination schedule.

Today, I went on my favorite discussion boards to get some support and encouragement from the natural moms. I explained the above situation, the pediatrician, my fears, etc. The replies came pouring in, and every single one felt judgmental. “I can’t believe you would give in to vaccination just to get a pediatrician off your back. What are you AFRAID of?”

I also posted another topic about leaving Animal for a week while I go to Florida. I wanted to see if anyone had any experience with leaving a nursing toddler for an extended period of time. Again, the responses were negative. “I would never leave my nursing child–our breastfeeding relationship means more to me than that.”

The comments just made me so flippin’ angry. I feel that I am labeled no matter what. I had a homebirth. I breastfeed. I am breastfeeding a toddler. I cloth diaper. I wear my baby. I practice gentle discipline and attachment parenting. At times, I co-sleep. I am training to become a doula. I don’t vaccinate. I strive to eat organic. It feels like I’m being pushed into a mold, and if I decide against something that doesn’t perfectly fit the mold, I get cast out from the group and discarded. I no longer fit into the elitist, yuppie, neo-hippie revolution. It makes me want to go all teenage-rebellious, rip that sticker off my car, buy a pack of Huggies and enjoy a little Walmart spending spree.

The Bolo Tie

Oh yeah, one more thing. I forgot to tell you about how one day last week, Pigpen decided to wear a bolo to school. It was one of the more embarassing moments of my motherhood.

The Haircut

When Animal was born, he had a full head of hair. Since he was a week early, his entire body was completely covered in vernix, including his head. My midwife didn’t want me to bathe him for at least a week, because of the chill. I tried, I really did. I kept his little newborn cap on him, but kept sneaking peeks at his hair, which dried and hardened and looked like a clumpy mass of grossness. I think it was less than 24 hours before he got his first shampoo. When his hair dried, it was an afro puff of fuzzy blondeness. He looked like a mad professor. I couldn’t get over how much hair he had. And by the way, I didn’t have an episode of heartburn to speak of (which I fully attribute to my excellent prenatals and papaya enzymes) so the heartburn=lots of hair wive’s tale has been thrown out the window.

Anyway, since Animal has always been…well, an ANIMAL, he almost immediately started in with this strange habit of rubbing his head furiously from side to side when he was lying on his back. After a few months, he had rubbed all of the hair around his head. All that remained was a long tuft on top, much like a thick mohawk, but resembling more of a combover. Poor Animal, everyone made fun of his hair. It just kept growing longer and longer on top, and bald everywhere else. Something had to be done. It took me awhile, but I talked B into shaving his entire head. That way, he’d have a fresh start. All of the hair on his noggin’ would be the same length. If you’ve been a regular follower of my blog, you’ll have already seen the pictures, but I shall post them again for the newcomers.

Before:

After:

It was an odd looking haircut for an infant, but it worked. His hair grew out nicely and was straight and white blonde and lovely. Now B’s family has a tradition in which the male offspring are not to have their first haircut until they reach the age of 2. For this reason, B had sweet little blonde curls to match his long, girly eyelashes until he was a toddler. I had planned to do the same with Rylan. However, as time went by, he started looking more and more, shall we say…white trash. Once again, I had to talk B into the cutting of the bebe’s hair. It took B forever to decide, and even as we drove to the salon, B was saying “Oh my God, I think I’m having second thoughts. I’m getting cold feet. God! This is worse than getting MARRIED!

Still, we made it there and everything went wonderfully. Animal sat still in the chair, looking like a tiny pinhead with a huge cape while he waited patiently for his mini-makeover.

Here’s the before:

And the after:

It’s taken awhile to get used to the new ‘do. I think he looks older and fatter. I’m not quite sure I like it. But I feel some relief in knowing that it won’t be long before his hair is back at it’s original white trashy length.

A boy and his puppy book

This is how I found Animal at naptime today: