29 August 2008


The blogosphere is abuzz about Planned Parenthood's new John McCain condoms. Planned Parenthood is giving out 700 POUNDS of these condoms at the Democratic National Convention. I think this is awesome. McCain is scarily out of touch when it comes to reproductive health and reproductive rights. More people need to know this. And what better way to get the word out than on the bright pink package of a condom? It's brilliant.

If you're wondering what all "10 things everyone should know about John McCain" are, go here. She has them all listed. Scary stuff. We do not need reproductive health policies like McCain's. We need change.

28 August 2008

Trapped. Or, why colds suck.

I am currently being held prisoner. A certain 20 month old has decided that she must nurse the *entire* time she naps, or the nap will cease. So I'm stuck on the couch, grateful for my laptop and wondering if I should take the chance of waking her to get some food.

At least she's sleeping. Last night a thoroughly congested Doodle woke up at 2:15 AM and started requesting "book. Book. BOOK!" until she and I retreated to the living room to read. Three hours later she was finally fading so we went back to bed for a couple of hours. I know she's not feeling well. She nursed ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Well, except for that marathon reading session.

I will be so glad when Doodle is feeling better and our sleep schedules can return to normal. Then I'll be able to pig out, errr, I mean clean, to my heart's content while she naps. Hopefully soon.

Meanwhile I'll use this time wisely - to catch up on my blog reading. :-)

27 August 2008

Shape of a Mother

As a follow up to my body image post, I wanted to share an awesome website: The Shape of a Mother (note: the first page is work safe, but if you click to enter the site there are pictures of varying degrees of nudity. Nothing risqué, just naked ladies. Just so you know.) When I was postpartum, seeing other womens' bodies and reading their stories really helped me to feel normal, and to realize that my body was amazing.

25 August 2008

Body image

I love my body.

I know, it's a weird thing to just proclaim. It feels weird. But really, people don't say it nearly enough. In a society where hating our body is the norm, people with average, non-supermodel-y bodies aren't really supposed to like their bodies. There's supposed to be something we don't like about ourselves. Something that could be better, bigger, smaller, more toned. At least that's the message we get from the media, from our peers... from everyone.

Y'know what? I think that's bullshit. We put entirely too much energy into what we don't like about ourselves. Just think how much better it would be if we actually liked ourselves; if we used that energy to do good things for ourselves, our friends, our communities.

Most of my 26 years I have disliked something about my body. From my "poop brown" hair when I was little (my new baby sister had blond curls) to my big butt, small boobs, pimply face... even freckles weren't spared my wrath. I hated it all. A few things have changed my perspective.

First, it was meeting J. He loves women's bodies. He loves bodies. He helped me to see that my little bit of belly pudge that wouldn't go away with situps was really quite little. That being a member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee was a good thing in some peoples' eyes. That I have a perky butt, beautiful eyes, and that my "tiger spots" are unique and darn cool. J did wonders for my self image.

Then I started bellydancing. I realized that the women who wowed me with their performances were not necessarily the tall, skinny, toned ones. I actually wanted to have a little more to jiggle to enhance my shimmies. I envied women with curves. I realized that it was about technique and using what you've got, rather than aspiring to be the super-toned workout goddess I would never be.

Then I got pregnant. Pregnancy really works your body over. I got bigger in the strangest of places. My thighs looked smaller as my belly got bigger. My ribcage spread. And J adored all of me. I realized that I couldn't anticipate how my body would change or what it would look like afterwards. I would just have to embrace it, or be miserable. I embraced it. Once Doodle was born, I quickly lost the pregnancy weight. My boobs got huge. My butt shrank to half its former size (I like to say it fed Doodle). My belly was a little more jiggly than before and a little different shape. And I loved it all. My body grew and nourished a human being for over a year between pregnancy and nursing exclusively. It still makes milk for Doodle as she approaches her second birthday. My body is amazing.

Thinking about Miss Doodle, wondering what she will be like as she grows up, got me thinking about body image issues. I can hope all I want that she won't hate her body like I hated mine. That she won't consider starving herself or doing extra sets of situps because someone jokes about her butt or tummy. That she won't want to hide her developing body in big baggy clothes because of comments that her peers may make. But I can't control that. The best I can do for her is to be a good role model. To show her that it's okay to love your body, to feel proud of the things you can do and the way that you look. That everyone's body is different, and everyone's body is beautiful. I hope I can help her to be a confident, self-assured young woman. I will try.

19 August 2008

Teton recap, part 3

Obligatory megafauna picture, taken near our first campground. Man are those animals big!

We spent J's birthday playing in the park. We found some boulders near Jenny Lake where J could work on some climbing problems (as routes are called in bouldering). Doodle and I found bugs and played in the dirt, occasionally cheering "Yay!" when Papa was doing well. This was, of course, preferable to when he was struggling to hold on and Doodle said "Uh Oh! Uh Oh!" repeatedly. I told her "honey, that doesn't help Papa," which made him laugh.

After some bouldering we played down in the lake for a little bit. Doodle loved wading in the water. We had a great time, and J got another camping birthday. (Happy 29th, my love!)

Any suggestions for next year's destination?

Teton recap, part 2

That first recap was pretty lengthy. I'll try to be more concise this time. Here goes...

We met J and FunEllen in Jackson after their climbing class. We went to the Snake River Brewery, where we had pizzas and beer. Mmmm. Below you will see one of the sacrifices I make as a Mom.

That's right. It was a tomato and basil pizza. Doodle ate ALL of my tomatoes. See the circular indents in the cheese? That's where my tomatoes were. I survived. I think it helped to have dinner with such cute people. J makes quite the brew wench...sorry, brew fraü.

We spent another night at Gros Ventre campground (the one with the nearby bison) in GTNP. The next day we staked out a campsite at Signal Mountain (on Jackson Lake), then went for a hike from the Lupine Meadows trailhead. We set out toward Garnet Canyon, but didn't make it there. Between a fussy Doodle and a late start, we decided not to push ourselves. So we hung out and had an easy hike.

At one point we were hanging out while J was bouldering right near the trail. I heard rustling in the bushes down trail from us, and froze while I waited to see what it was. I couldn't really tell until the animal lifted its head enough for me to see the ears...it was a bear!

Fortunately there were plenty of huckleberries around to occupy this young bear. I don't think it even saw us. Doodle was mesmerized watching it until it crossed the trail and passed out of view.

This is Doodle signing "more" because she wants more bear. Obviously Mama is not so keen on the idea of more bears.

After the bear sighting we left the bouldering spot and headed back to the car. We had a pretty uneventful evening, though our campground neighbors again were close and loud. *sigh* Guess I'm not big on packed, established campgrounds.

Tetons recap, part 1

Our trip to Grand Teton National Park was great. The past three years we have taken a trip to some high-elevation lake for J's birthday. This year we decided to incorporate a visit to a National Park we hadn't yet seen.

We knew we were off to a good start when 1) Doodle napped pretty much the whole way from Logan to Jackson, and 2) we saw a herd of bison as we neared our campground. This herd would stay near the road to our campsite for the duration of our visit, making for a happy Doodle whenever we drove that road.

The first night our friend FunEllen joined us, as she and J signed up for a rock climbing class the following morning. Doodle had fun trying to figure FunEllen out, and enjoyed being in the company of someone who makes up songs about nearly anything. The one not-so-wonderful moment of the day came at bedtime, when the campers across the road had lanterns a-blazin' and Doodle decided that no way, no how could she sleep out under the stars with lights like that around. J set the tent up in record speed while I tried to comfort Doodle (and tried to quietly reassure myself that not everyone in the campground hated us...yet).

The next morning there were moose in our campground. A pair of youngsters, the moose just meandered around and ate foliage. Doodle thought they were the greatest thing ever, and continued to talk about the "moo" for the rest of the trip. We were amused when one moose actually sniffed its reflection on the car across the road - the car that belonged to the late lantern people. When they woke up later we approached them, and asked if they had heard the moose by their tent. We then showed them pictures of the moose right next to their car. They were shocked, and had no idea that the moose were so close. That's what they get for staying up late with bright lanterns that disturb my baby! :-P

J and FunEllen left early that morning to meet their guide for a fun-filled day of climbing tutorial stuff. Doodle and I packed things up, then headed up to Jenny Lake for some exploring. One of the most popular hikes in the park is on the far side of Jenny Lake; the first half mile takes you to Hidden Falls, and the following half mile gets you up to Inspiration Point. There are destinations beyond that, but most people call it good once they get inspired. Anyhow. There are trails around the lake, but there's also a shuttle boat service across the lake. With Doodle's interest in boats, coupled with my desire to get to Inspiration Point before the hordes and to get back around the lake before J's climbing session ended, I decided to buy a one-way ticket across the lake. That meant boating over, hiking up, hiking down then hiking the 2.2 miles back around the lake, hopefully while Doodle napped. We embarked.

The boatride was easy and uneventful. Doodle was in the hiking pack on my back, so I really don't know what her facial expressions were while riding the boat. Once back on land, we trekked up to Hidden Falls. Some nice people offered to take our picture with the falls:

Then we continued on to Inspiration Point. The hike itself was great. The people though...ugh. Nearly every other person who passed us commented on either A) what a "trooper" I was for carrying Doodle up there, B) how she must be pretty heavy, or C) asked when their turn was to be carried like that. Wha?! I mostly just shrugged/smiled/looked at them like they had two heads, and continued on my way. I mean, really. Does it help someone who is carrying a heavy load to say "My, that looks heavy!" Nope. It does not. And really, I know she's over 20 lbs. I knew that before we started hiking, and took it into consideration. I'm really nowhere near SuperMom for carrying my daughter less than a mile up hill to see a pretty overlook. REALLY.

We made it up to Inspiration Point, which is quite pretty (see above). Then we hiked back down, encountering waaaaaay more people than one would typically like to encounter while hiking in the great outdoors. Especially when they're all full of helpful comments like those above. *sigh* Fortunately the trail back around Jenny Lake was more isolated, and Doodle and I got some peace and quiet. We saw a deer bedded down by the trail, which she thought was pretty awesome. However, no napping occurred. She was just dozing when a loud guy approaching from the opposite direction hollered "hey, your driver's asleep at the wheel!" to me. He even had kids with him, who I had assumed were his own. Perhaps not, if he's idiot/jerk enough to bellow that the kid is sleeping while standing right next to said sleeping kid. Grrrrrrr! Doodle woke up, and proceeded to fuss, whine or insist on walking herself for the last mile or so back around the lake. Gee, thanks loud guy!

The hike around the lake was really pretty, and I'm glad we took that route. We made it back to the car fine. Doodle finally passed out for a few minutes in my arms in the middle of the gift shop, where I proceeded to purchase things quietly without dropping her while reaching for my wallet in my back pocket. Mom skillz, yo. We then drove to Jackson to (in theory) hit some thrift stores, then meet J and FunEllen. Thankfully Doodle fell asleep on the drive there, as she really needed it. But that meant staying in the warm car for the duration of her nap. Ugh. So I sat for two hours in the car in Jackson. At least I had a book to read.

Total Mom post

Warning: this post is 100% Mom material, and talks about poop. If you're not in the mood, feel free to skip it. :-)

I've mentioned previously how we dabble in Elimination Communication (EC) with Doodle. And we're really pretty lazy, which means she only uses the toilet ~5% of the time. But hey, it's something. Right?

After reading the book "Once Upon A Potty" a whole bunch of times, Doodle has started to talk with us about her diaper contents. More often than not she'll insist that she's poopy, when really she just has a wet diaper. But sometimes she is correct.

The latest breakthrough came while my dad was visiting. We were eating dinner, and Doodle looked at me and said "Poo". I asked her if she needed to poop, and she nodded yes. J whisked her off to the potty where they read her potty book for a while. Then came the joyous proclamation from the bathroom: "She pooped!"

Miss Doodle successfully let us know that she needed to poop, then proceeded to do so on the toilet. This is monumental, folks! We're very excited.

[/Momish gushing about potty experiences]

16 August 2008

Improv cane!

Okay, so I still haven't given the full rundown of our Tetons trip. My dad was in town, and we've been busy. I will get to it. I promise.

In the meantime, there's a bellydance social tonight that I'm preparing for. It's just a little get-together, with the opportunity for us students to dance. I'm performing the duet with Amira again (the one we performed at Club Cairo). Tonight will be good practice for us, as we perform the duet again next Saturday.

Tonight I'm also doing a solo. Improv. With a cane.

I haven't danced with a cane in over two years (last time was when I was pregnant with Doodle). I have never performed to this song. I don't know what I'm thinking, but at the same time I'm excited. Hopefully it goes well.

Edited: It went well. Not spectacular, but not abysmal. I think I'll keep playing with the cane, and maybe try choreographing a dance for next time.

07 August 2008

Return from Grand Teton

We're back. The trip was a success. Now there is laundry to be done, pictures to upload and blog entries to compose.

To keep you waiting for the details, here's a list of things we saw:
  • Bison near our campsite
  • Moose in our campsite
  • Golden-mantled ground squirrels everywhere
  • Black bear on the trail
  • Bumblebees galore
  • Megachile melanophaea - leafcutter bee
  • Comandra umbellata - bastard toadflax (one of J's study organisms for his Masters)
  • Pterospora - pine drop (a parasitic plant)
  • Corallorhiza mertensiana - coral root orchid (yep, another parasite)
We had a great time. More to come soon.

01 August 2008

School's out for summer!

It's true - I'm done with teaching for the summer. No more pencils, no more books, no more students' dirty looks... Okay, I'm done singing. I taught my four lab sections of human reproduction and contraceptives this week - to a receptive audience of a whopping 16 total students. Woohoo! Hey, every bit counts, right? At least I got a lot of practice saying "vaginal" and "cervical" and "intercourse" over and over and over. Good times.

I also had the privilege of proctoring the Human Anatomy final at 7:30 this morning. Ugh. Fortunately I was able to work on grading with the instructor and another TA, and we finished grading all of the exams by noon! Hooray! I really am done...until Aug. 25th when fall semester starts.

Wait. Where did my summer go?!

Yep, it's flying. Such is life.

Tomorrow we're planning on hitting the gardener's market, hoping to score a bigger bed at a friend's yard sale (!!!), and packing up for our trip to the Tetons. Sunday we depart on our trip. Monday J & FunEllen take a climbing class while Doodle and I explore the park (plus a possible trip into Jackson with hopes of some sweet thrift store finds). Tuesday we play. Wednesday more Teton playing, plus probably heading back to Logan. Thursday it's back to the grind, with some political action to boot. It's looking to be a busy week, but a good one. Have a great weekend!