Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 12/30/04

No sooner had we got home with this lovely selection of videos, than our VCR at a tape and died. The replacement VCRs we purchased have died as well. What's the deal?

This is our last Thursday library trip then back to our normal schedule.
  • Book: Edward's Exploit and Other Thomas the Tank Engine Stories
  • Book: Trouble for Thomas and Other Stories
  • Book: Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?, Eric Carle
  • Book: Let's Find Colors [Bob the Builder]
  • Video: Bob's White Christmas [Bob the Builder]
  • Video: Blue's Birthday
  • Video: The Toy That Saved Christmas [VeggieTales]
  • Video: Mighty Machines

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 12/23/04

Library's closed on Saturday, so this week's library tip happend on a Thusday. Here is the mommy's-got-a-lot-of-cleaning-baking-and-wraping-yet-to-do selection:
  • Video: Honey, I Blew Up The Kid
  • Video: The Star of Christmas [VeggieTales]
  • Video: Toy Story 2

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 12/18/04

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas:
  • Book: How Many Miles to Bethlehem, Kevin Crossley-Holland
  • Video: Jonah Sing-Along [VeggieTales]
  • Video: Thomas' Christmas Party [Thomas the Tank Engine]

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Happy Hanukkah

Happy 4th night of Hanukkah! Yes, we are Christians and not a bit Jewish, but we celebrate Hanukkah. Jesus observed Hanukkah. What? You say you didn't know that? You must have missed that day in Sunday School. Well, here it is again for those who were asleep: John 10:22-23: "At that time the Feast of the Dedication [in Hebrew, Hanukkah] took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon." So Jesus, who didn't live in Jerusalem and pretty much only went there for fasts and feasts, went there for Hanukkah and hung out at the temple, the dedication of which is the thing being celebrated.

Ironic, isn't it, that the quintessential Jewish holiday is mentioned in the New Testament but not in the Old Testament/Tenach?

A related link: It's Chrismukkah. I'm not sure whether it's cute or appalling.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 12/11/04

Once again, only videos:
  • Video: Shalom Sesame, Show 6: Chanukah
  • Video: Honey, I shrunk the kids
  • Video: Blue's Big Treasure Hunt [Blue's Clues]
  • Video: James in a Mess [Thomas the Tank Engine]

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Men's Room

My husband had the night off work, so I left the boys with him and went to a party (an Arbonne home party, if you must know). He had to run some errands. Little Champion had a poopy diaper in the car, so when they got where they were going it became necessary to change it. You guessed it, no changing table in the men's room. He ended up changing him standing up on the bathroom counter. Quite a feat; I don't think I could do that even with a merely wet diaper.

Anyway, the incident reminded me of something I planned to blog. Daddy Types has a list of New York City Men's Room Changing Tables. Plus some comments on where the little ones ended up getting changed when there was no changing table in the men's room.

So I'm naturally picturing all these men running around NYC with babies and no mommies, desperately looking for a place to change a diaper. But of course, when we had our first baby, my husband informed me, "you're in charge of input; I'm in charge of output." So while I do more than my share of diaper changing while at home, when we're out in public, he's the man. So to speak.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Blog Stuff

Merriam-Webster's says "blog" is the number one word of 2004.

Babies and Celebrities. What could be better. It's the Celebrity Baby Blog. Now, are they going to tell us the things that those of us in the Natural Childbirth/Natural Parenting community really want to know? Who went natural? Who's too posh to push? Who had a homebirth? Who's breastfeeding? Who's going to go on some talk show wearing the baby in a sling? The stuff of much speculation.

I enjoying reading One Sixteenth. Other than the fact that the author is Pagan and I am Christian (o.k., not a small difference, I realize) we are very much alike. She even lives in Texas. The title of "One Sixteenth" is explained by her tag line, "each pregnancy robs you of half your mental capacity". Ha! She recently wrote a nice piece about Classical Education. And she seems to be navigating the decisions, as are we, of just how to celebrate the holidays, which holidays to celebrate, how to infuse them with meaning, and so forth.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 12/04/04

This week's selection:
  • Book: Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs, and Other Parent Substitues, Mary Eberstadt
  • Book: Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos, Dore Gold
  • Book: Iowa, Reshma Sapre
  • Book: Light the Lights: As Story about Celebrating Hanukkah & Christmas, Margaret Moorman
  • Video: Smile for Auntie and Other Stories [including The Snowy Day and Make Way for Ducklings]
  • Video: Mighty Machines at the Construction Site
  • Video: Toy Story

Monday, November 29, 2004

You've got to be kidding

Reuters is reporting that a California teacher was directed by his principal not to give students documents from American history which refer to God -- including the Declaration of Independence.

California Yankee lists the blogosphere's reaction to this event (and the enevibable ensuing litigation), and includes a link to the Alliance Defense Fund's pleadings (PDF file).

As has been pointed out many times before, the phrase "separation of church and state" is not found in the Constitution. And anyway, it's the separation of church and state, not the separation of God and state. I don't belive that a mere belief in "God" is the same as adhering to a particular organized religion. Nevermind that the founders were trying to protect the church from the state, not the other way around.

News Link: Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 11/27/04

Nothing for me this week, just the kids:
  • Book: Thomas's ABC Book
  • Book: James in a Mess and other Thomas Stories
  • Book: Rooster's Off To See the World, Eric Carle
  • Video: Building Skyscapers
  • Video: Bob the Builder: Building Friendships
  • Video: Alef Bet Blast Off: A Chanukah Mitzvah
  • Video: Snoopy Double Feature: Charlie Brown's All Stars/It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown
  • Video: Big Machines: Road Construction

Sunday, November 21, 2004

"Family Friendly Firms"

My Shingle's Carolyn Elefant has written an interesting piece called "Bloggers vs. the Bar: The Real Story About Family Friendly Firms". Although many firms are offering lawyers "part-time" and "80 percent" schedules, the reality (according to the bloggers) is that many lawyers are working the same number of hours but receiving part-time pay, with no hope of making partner. Only in the legal profession is working 40 hours a week considered "part time". Why do we put up with this?

Ms. Elefant writes: "More generally, most attorneys need to realize that law will come and go, but they'll only have one chance to develop and nurture a relationship with their children. Missing that opportunity, as the standard for TRO's goes, is irreparable." How true.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 11/20/04 - Thanksgiving Edition

This week's selection:
  • Book: Thanksgiving Day by Dianne M. MacMillan
  • Book: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Elaine Raphael and Don Bolognese
  • Video: Meet Diego! (Dora the Explorer)
  • Video: Blue's Big News (Blue's Clues)

Things I didn't know that I learned from the children's Thanksgiving books:

Nearly half of the settlers died that first year, and only 4 women were left. And on the first Thanksgiving, those 4 women did all the cooking.

In the 1800's, Godey's Lady's Book was the most widely read publication in the country for twenty years. It's editor, Sarah Josepha Hales, was responsible for getting Thanksgiving recognized first as state holidays, then as a Federal holiday.

In 1939, FDR moved Thanksgiving from the 4th Thursday in November to the 3rd Thursday, for the sole purpose of giving retailers and extra week in the holiday shopping season. As a result, half the states celebrated the 3rd week, half the states celebrated the 4th week, with Texas and Colorado celebrating both days. Two years later, the date was firmly affixed as the 4th Thursday.

Firefox

Well, I jumped on the bandwagon and downloaded Mozilla's Firefox 1.0 browser. It's working pretty well, although my computer is crashing more often. A lot of that stopped when I got the flash/shockwave plugins downloaded properly. Still some bugs. I wholeheartedly agree with Dennis Kennedy of The Blawg Channel who writes, "Firefox has tons of potential, but it's clearly a version 1.0 product, not a version 2.0, 3.0 or even a 6.0 product."

What I like best about Firefox is the tab feature - the abillity to open up multiple web pages in the same window. Tabs are the main reason I was hanging on to Earthlink 5.0 - unfortunately no longer supported by the good folks at Earthlink. I have also just discovered Blog This! How did I ever blog without it?

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 11/13/04

Re memes: it's only a meme if other people do it too.

This week's selection:
  • Book: The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
  • Book: Sweet Expectations: Michele Hoskins' Recipe for Success by Michele Hoskins
  • Book: My Visit With Periwinkle by Alison Inches (Blue's Clues)
  • Video: Wiggly Play Time (The Wiggles)
  • Video: Trust Thomas & Other Thomas Stories (Thomas the Tank Engine)
  • Video: Stop, Look and Listen! (Blue's Clues)

Monday, November 08, 2004

Pregnancy & Childbirth News Briefs

A couple of items of interest in the news lately:

Pre-Pregnancy Multivitamins Prevent Prematurity - A new study shows that women who are taking a multivitamin before they conceive are less likely to have premature babies. Women who took vitamins starting in early pregnancy did not have the same lowered risk of prematurity. (Though of course, getting sufficient nutrients has other important benefits.)

Women's reproductive factors and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis: Study suggests prolonged preventive effect of breastfeeding and links irregular menstrual cycles to increased risk of disease - Women who breastfed babies - regardless of how many children they had - for 13-23 months reduced their risk of rheumatoid arthritis by 20% compared to those who didn't. And women who had breastfed for at least 24 months increased their risk reduction to 50%. "Our data suggest breast-feeding confers long lasting protection against developing RA," Dr. Karlson states, "because the mean time since the last pregnancy among women with RA was 25 years."

Older brother learns truth about storks: "Dr. Devon," 5, as his mom calls him, helps her give birth at home while waiting for the paramedics. - O.k., this one is cute, and needs no further explanation. But a little rant from the Mommy Blawger: last I checked, doctors in California weren't doing homebirths. So perhaps the article should have said that little Devon received "unexpected training" as a midwife, not an obstetrician.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 11/06/04

Today I'm starting a new weekly feature. Perhaps it's a meme [what's a meme? note to self - research memes]. Anyhow, every Saturday I take the boys to the library. Each week I will blog what we checked out. It's kind of like bloggers who tell you what they are reading, except mine will also include what my husband is reading, what videos my kids are watching, and the books I thought looked interesting and later decided weren't, or didn't have time to read.

This week's selection:
  • Book: Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons by Siegfried Engelmann
  • Book: Dora's Backpack by Sarah Willson
  • Video: Pets in a Pickle, Bob the Builder
  • Video: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
  • Video: Building Skyscrapers, David Alpert Associates
So what did you check out this week?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Travelogue: Branson, Missouri

Greetings from lovely Branson, Missouri. We are here for 5 days, 4 nights with both sets of the boy's grandparents. My in-laws booked a time-share at Fairfield Resorts at Mountain Vista which is new and very nice. It has been cloudy, cold, and rainy which is fine since the resort has an indoor pool, although the boys seemed perfectly satisfied with the whirlpool bath tub in the room.

On the way here, we stoped at Shady Beach Family Campground and canoe rental in Noel, Missouri, which is owned and operated by my step-sister's family.

Some Branson attractions of note:

The Chateau on the Lake overlooks Table Rock lake. The hotel has a castle-like appearance, and the main meeting room (huge!) has murals of European castles painted on the walls. The lobby features a 2-story waterfall and river surounded by a variety of real (caged birds, fish) and fake (vines, beaver) plants and animals, including what has got to be the largest artificial tree in existance. I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw the stuffed squirel.

Shoji Tabuchi is a Japanese violinist who plays country music. Really. His theater, where he performs twice-daily, has restrooms that can truly be called amazing, are described on the website as follows:

"The ladies' powder room is complete with wainscoting and ceiling reproduced from the 1890's Empire Period. To the ladies amazement, there are live cut orchids at every granite and onyx pedestal sink. Add to all that stained and jeweled glass and magnificient chandeliers! The gentlemen's lounge is no less imposing, with black lion head sinks imported from Italy, black leather chairs and a marble fireplace. The billiard room [in the men's restroom] contains a hand carved mahogany billiard table, a viewing gallery, and a burled walnut mirror that was built in 1868."

Both restrooms also feature changing stations stocked with several sizes of diapers. However, the show itself rated only a 4 out of 10, according to my parents who attended.

Grand Country Inn is an all-in-one entertainment complex, with a hotel, show theater, video arcade, shopping, country-style buffet, Branson's only indoor miniature golf complex, and an indoor/outdoor water park. The buffet is only so-so, but the whole complex is worth a look-see, and great if you have older kids or a range of age groups and interests that all want to do different things.

The Stone Hill Winery is the oldest (150 years) winery in Missouri. Prior to Prohibition, the winery produced over a million gallons of wine every year. Stone Hill makes about 18 different varieties of wine. The actual vineyard and the majority of the wine production takes place in Hermann, Missouri, but two varieties are aged and bottled in Branson. Tours and wine tasting are free.

Broadway it's not, and Orlando it ain't either, but all in all, our time in Branson was a great trip and we survived our first major (8 hrs. each way) road trip with 2 kids under the age of four. Can't wait to go home so we can get some rest...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Birth Story

Eva Lorine Lund was born October 10, 2004, at home in the water; and her family has put together a lovely slide show. Takes a while to load - and be sure you have your sound on.

Link: http://www.lund-fam.org/Slideshow/

And if you liked that, you'll love the birth slide show of Jude Roman Fairbanks.

Misleading Antioxidants

A new study published in The Archives of Disease in Childhood reports that breastmilk that has been refrigerated or frozen has lower levels of antioxidants than fresh milk. However, it is important to note, even breastmilk that has been frozen has higher levels of antioxidants than artificial baby milk (formula).

Well, duh. Prety much every fresh fruit or vegetable looses nutrients when frozen, canned, cooked, or processed. And since infant formula contains synthetic vitamins, stands to reason they would not break down as easily. Either in the freezer or in your baby's digestive system or bloodstream. :)

However, I became absolutely livid after reading this headline from The Scotsman:

"Freezing breast milk could harm babies, says new study". Oh, but we don't want to "make women feel guilty" for using formula, which can harm babies even more than freezing milk.

The Wall Street Journal article - which I haven't read (don't have a subscription, and don't want to take the time to fill out a 4+ page questionaire to get a 2-week trial) - reportedly does not mention the low levels of antioxidants in formula, either.

Kudos to The Times (UK) - "Milk of Human Coldness" - whose story included a graphic comparing the fresh, refrigerated, and frozen varieties of both formula and breastmilk. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Here's a sample of how other news sources handled the same information:

Canada.com - "Freezing, refrigerating breast milk lowers its antioxidant content: study"

New York Times/Int'l Herald Tribune - "For a healthier baby, fresh breast milk may be better"

Indy Star - "Breast milk is best if fresh, research finds"

Atlanta Journal-Constitution - "Study: Breast Milk Is Best When Fresh"

Post-Gazette [Pittsburgh] - "Storage depletes breast milk"

Blogging Baby [hey! GoogleNews considers this blog a news source!] - "Breast milk loses antioxidants when stored"

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Flu Shots Revisited

Hey this is nice:

The San Francisco Chronicle writes: "6 million doses of suspect vaccine in U.S. warehouses Quarantined since August pending tests".

"Chiron Corp. shipped 6 million doses of its now-suspect flu vaccine from its British plant to the United States before the company's own tests uncovered evidence of bacterial contamination....The Chronicle has learned that vaccine shipped across the Atlantic has been sitting since August in the warehouses of American drug distributors, under a Chiron-imposed 'quarantine' but outside the direct control of the company or U.S. regulators."

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Flu Shots

Ok, imagine that shipments of, say, strawberries from, say, Mexico were stopped at the border because they were contaminated with a bacteria - say, listeria. As a result, all strawberry shipments coming from Mexico were halted until it could be determined how the contamination happened. However, since approximately half of the strawberries sold in the US come from Mexico (say), this means that there will be half as many cartons of strawberries available in the stores this week. What is your first inclination? Will you:

A. Run out and buy up all the strawberries you can, because there's going to be a shortage;
B. Avoid buying strawberries this week, until you know that none of the strawberries already in the stores are contaminated either; or
C. Avoid buying strawberries for a while, because the thought of bacteria-laden strawberries is somewhat unapetizing.

Am I missing something here? On Wednesday, a 79-year old woman died while waiting in line with hundreds of others for a flu shot. Nevermind that it's not even flu season yet. But for every one article I read assuring the public that the FDA would have caught the contamination had the British regulators not, there are 50-100 headlines about long lines at doctor's offices and county health departments. Even fines or jail time for health care workers who do not comply with rationing laws. But no one is asking the question about the flu shots that thousands of are most vulnerable are rushing out to get: are they safe?

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Blogging Blogs

I don't usually spend much time reading other people's blogs. But this evening I decided to check in with Mommies At Law since it had been a while. I clicked on a link from their blog, then I clicked on a link from that blog... and before you know it, its an hour later and my boys are on their third Blue's Clues video.

Anyway...I found the NursingMom.com Web Log/Blog, which "features news stories from other sites concerning Nursing and Breast Milk Pumping." And
Dot Moms has a whole link list of "Moms who Blog". Where I learned that there are blogs entitled "The Mommy Blog" and "The Baby Blog" (I've already set up "The Baby Blawg" in anticipation of my next pregnancy. I plan to blog while in labor).

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Don't Let the Sun Set on Texas Midwives

Periodically, each administrative/regulatory agency in Texas undergoes what is known as "Sunset Review". During this process, the Sunset Commission decides if the agency undergoing review should continue in its current form, be changed, or discontinued. (The Texas Bar, for example, underwent Sunset Review last year, and emerged unscathed. But I'll let you draw your own conclusions.) This year, the Midwifery Board is up for Sunset Review.

Should the Midwifery Board be abolished, it would effectively mean the end of direct-entry midwifery care in Texas, and the ability of families to choose homebirths would be severerly curtailed or eliminated. Other bad things could happen, such as the MB being placed under the auspices of the Board of Nursing Examiners (BNE), which would give the Texas Medical Association (TMA) the power to review and rewrite the Midwifery Rules. It would also allow the TMA to require that Texas midwives have Physician back-up in order to practice. This plan worked great in California, where none of the 130 or so lisensed midwives were able to find a doctor who would supervise them. [sarcasm mode=off]

Note: this Sunset Review does not affect Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) who are regulated by the BNE and primarily attend hospital births. It DOES affect all direct-entry Midwives (CPMs/DMs) who primarily attend homebirths and births at freestanding birth centers.

If you want to help ensure the future of Midwifery care in Texas, and the ability of
families to choose how and with whom to have their babies, I urge you to do the following:
  • Visit the Texans for Midwifery Sunset Review website at
    www.tfmidwifery.org/Sunset.htm

  • Write a letter and send it to every member of the Sunset Commission as well as your local representatives.

  • Visit any members of the Commission who have offices in your area. Go in small groups. Call ahead and make an appointment, or just drop by. Take the letters you have written.

  • Join Texans for Midwifery - it's only $15, and every Texas Midwifery Consumer needs to be represented.

  • If you are from out-of-state (or out of the country), you can still help. Information for Out of State support is here. You can also make a donation to Texans for Midwifery.

The deadline for Consumer input is October 12, so there is no time to loose. Please make your voice heard!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Infant Mortality

Occasionally, I hear someone state that the U.S. has the best health care system in the world. This is a common misconception, especially during campaign season. True, we've got excellent trauma and critical care. And we spend more per capita than any other nation. But the U.S. ranks 41st in the world in terms of its infant mortality rate. Get these and other fascinating statistics from NationMaster.com.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Children at Birth

Now, from time to time we hear of babies being born in the backs of taxi cabs, in hospital or gas station parking lots; or, in the case of home births, into Dad's hands before the midwife arrives. But this article, As dad sped home, children helped mother give birth from the Detroit Free Press caught my eye.

Baby Isabella of Waterford, Michigan, was born while mom was home alone with the three older siblings, ages 3, 6, and 9. What struck me about the article was how calm everyone seemed, both during and after the birth. You see, the Spry family had planned a home birth, and had prepared their three older children to witness the birth if they wished.

My oldest son (2 at the time) was present at the birth of my younger son, and I have never regretted that decision. Children do great at birth if they are properly prepared. Here are two books I especially recommend:

Welcome With Love by Jenni Overend from Amazon or UBB's Natural Family Boutique.

Baby on the Way by Dr. William and Martha Sears from Amazon or UBB's Natural Family Boutique.

The Alia Blawg

Today I was sitting down at the computer, about to blog something, when my dear husband asked me to blog something in particular.

Me: "Write it on your own blog."
DH: "I don't have a blog."
Me: "Well, get one."
DH: "Make one for me."

So, I did. Took all of about 15 minutes (thank you, Blogger). Here it is: aliablawg.blogspot.com. Enjoy!

Hurricane Ivan

You can get a neat map of the latest hurricane track from the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center. Just scroll down to the storm of your choice and click on "Maps and Charts".

3-Day Ivan forecast graphic

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Unassisted Births

The Pensylvanian Times Leader has published a story, Charged midwife's clients making other plans for home births about the options left for clients of Judy Wilson, the midwife arrested in April (see my April 29,2004 post).

One caveat: Vicki Pasterik, the client quoted in the article, has since claimed the reporter distorted what she said, saying: "The fact is, the first quote and the last attributed to me in the article are accurate. The rest are not." She does not promote unassisted birth, and has not yet contacted any other midwives, as the article states.

Nevertheless, the article brings up a good point, one that I have observed myself from women across the country who do not have access to homebirth midwives: many will "go it alone" at home rather than opt for a hospital birth.

Those who believe that homebirth is unsafe do women and babies no service by legislating or prosecuting out of existence those who attend homebirths. A better course of action would be to make homebirth safer (it is already safe, but that is another post) by ensuring that attendants such as midwives have access to quality training, are authorized to carry life-saving drugs such as pitocin and oxygen, and do not fear criminal charges or social disapprobation when properly transfering a patient into the care of doctor or hospital when compilcations arise.

Links:
Times Leader article.
Same article from PennLive.com.
Ebay auction for Judy's Legal defense.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

FENCING GOLD!

Congratulations to Mariel Zagunis and Sada Jacobson who won Gold and Bronze medals, respectively, in the Women's Sabre event. "Tonight is the greatest night in the history of American fencing" said coach Arkady Burdan.

This story has not been getting nearly enough press as it should. Zagunis' win represents the first US gold medal in any fencing event in the last 100 years. Olympic medals of any color are rare. In 1984, Peter Westbrook won the bronze for men's sabre at the boycotted Los Angeles Games.

Although women have been fencing in the Olympics since 1924, this is the first year for the Women's Sabre event. In fact, there was not even a world championship in women’s saber until 1999.

Articles:
Zagunis ends 100-year U.S. famine, CNN.com
Zagunis wins 1st-ever U.S. women's fencing gold, MSNBC
Behind the Gold Medalist's Mask, an American, New York Times (great photos, too)

Links:
Fencing Blog
USFA's Fencing Media Resource
Fencing Headlines from the United States Fencing Association.
NBC Olympics Fencing Page

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

PUBLIC BREASTFEEDING

In a previous blog entry, MILK, HOLD THE PICKLES, I wrote about "nurse-ins" as a form of public protest against businesses and others that harass breastfeeding mothers. On findlaw.com, Sherry F. Colb writes about the discrepancy between the law and public opinion.
Link: Public Breastfeeding: When Legal Protection Isn't Enough

Thursday, July 01, 2004

TRAVELOGUE: Iowa Day 2

Today we took the kids to the Monticello Public Library (see previous post on Sept. 9, 2003).  I showed my 3-year old the card catalogue and tried to explain what it was.  Little Champ enjoyed going up and down the stairs, and Big Champ used the public restroom in the library all by himself.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

TRAVELOGUE: Florida Day 4

In the morning, we head down for a swim, where we discover that all the families with children hit the attractions first thing in the morning, and we have the pool pretty much to ourselves. Around noon, we bid farewell to Kelly and she leaves to catch her plane.

In the evening, we head to Downtown Disney, yet another shopping-restaurant-entertainment area with a theme-parkish feel. Despite our better judgment, we wait nearly an hour (at 9:45 pm on a Thursday) for a table at the Rainforest Cafe. We ask ourselves, it is worth it to pay $10 for a hamburger to eat in a fake rainforest, as elaborate as it may be? Big Champ is terrified of the animatronic gorillas, which our host leads us directly past on the way to our table. The heard of elephants we dine with are o.k. The huge tropical fish tanks are a big hit. And every 20 minutes or so, you get a thunder and lightning storm, complete with rain. Little Champ wants to go up and down the stairs near our table, which is not such a good idea considering the place is crowded.

The zoo it ain't.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

TRAVELOGUE: Florida Day 3

Today we head to Old Town, a fun shopping area with rides.  It is technically in Kissimmee, but is closer to Disney, and quite a drive from our hotel.  After some shopping, the Big Champ rides the merry-go-round with Kelley and the Tea Cups with me, and surprises me by not being frightened by the cups going up and down and spinning around.  By the end of the ride, we are both ready for it to be over.  LC enjoys hanging out in his new stroller.   Afterwards, we have some lunch and are ready to call it a day.  We drive through Kissimmee but are not impressed, so don't stop.

We finally make it to the pool in the afternoon.  For dinner we head to Pointe Orlando which is an outdoor mall on International Drive.  International Drive is surreal and has an amusement-park feel to it.  We park near WonderWorks  the facade of which is an upside-down building.  They have speakers with a recording of creaking noises as you walk by.  At Pointe Orlando, we stop by a stand where you can have your picture taken with a parrot, and the lady puts the parrot on BC's arm which delights him.  We don't pay for a photo, though.  We pick the cafe at XS Orlando which has decent food but not so great service.  For the most part, the service at just about every restaurant we visit in Orlando is slow, slow, slow.  Even in the middle of the week.

Monday, June 21, 2004

TRAVELOGUE: Florida Day 2

Start out the day by heading to Walmart to stock up on supplies, where I make the best purchase of the trip - a Cosco umbrella stroller with a canopy, about $13. Unlike our Graco travel system stroller, which I love, an umbrella stroller can be gate checked on an airplane.

From there we drive to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins college, which boasts Florida's oldest art collection, and had the added attraction of being free. But it was under renovation and closed. We head instead to the Orlando Museum of Art. I initially balk at the idea of taking two children under the age of 3 to an art museum, but we are surprised and delighted to find From Goodnight Moon to Art Dog: The World of Clement, Edith and Thacher Hurd. And although the Chihuly exhibit had closed in May, we were able to view one piece which had been purchased and loaned to the museum.

Then on to the Peabody Hotel, where we caught the daily march of the ducks from the lobby fountain down a red carpet, up the elevator, where they return to their penthouse. The Duck Master caries a walking stick, which does double duty keeping his ducks in a row and keeping small children off the red carpet.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

TRAVELOGUE: Florida Day 1

My husband says: "Orlando is like going to Las Vegas but without any chance of winning any money, only loosing."

We arrive in Orlando and head to the car rental. We have reserved a full size sedan for $119/wk. The service agent offers us a Dodge Durango for $139/wk. They have 50 sitting in the lot and are pushing them. What a deal. When we get the bill, we realize that the $139 was for an upgrade, in addition to the $119. Nevermind. We end up with a Buick LeSabre, more than adequate, lots of trunk space.

We check into the Hawthorn Suites Orlando Airport. My friend Kelley is already waiting for us. She will spend the next 3 days with us, exploring Orlando with me and the kids while my husband is in class. We immediately head down to happy hour. Hawthorn Suites offers complimentary drinks and snacks for two hours every evening. They also have free american (hot) breakfast every morning, and free dinner on Wednesday nights - though in this case, you get what you pay for.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

TRAVELOGUE - Introduction

Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. The next several entries will be a travelogue. My husband goes for training in Orlando, so since the company will be springing for part of the trip, and we have adequate frequent flier miles for me and the boys, we are all going with. First to Florida, then to Iowa for a week to visit Grammie and Grampy.

The theme for this first part of the trip is: how little money can we spend in a week in Florida. Can a family of 4 eat well on a $45/day per diem? How many fun things can we find to do in Orlando without shelling out the big bucks for Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, or one of the countless other major attractions in the city?

My guide for Orlando: Top 10 Travel Guides: Orlando (DK Publishing, 2002).

Note to the blog purists out there: these blogs were written out by hand and post-dated when published.

Friday, June 18, 2004

MIDWIVES AND THE LAW

An announcement from Valerie Runes, Acting Editor, From Calling to Courtroom:

"It is with delight, pride, and more than a little relief that we announce to you the final release of the book From Calling to Courtroom: A Survival Guide for Midwives. We began work on the book early last fall, and have put a tremendous amount of time and effort into it...at times we have struggled, but we believed that the final product would be a gift to U.S. Midwives. I hope you agree that we have succeeded.

The book is a result of the experience and talent of many people -- midwives, attorneys, and midwifery advocates--all of whom volunteered their time and energies. From the beginning, our plan was that all those who worked on the book would do so without cost, and the book would be available without cost. You may find it at:

www.fromcallingtocourtroom.net

You can read it online, or you can download the entire book as a .pdf file. You may also order a hardcopy at cost.

Pay us a visit...sign our guestbook. Let us know what you think!"

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

SITE UPDATE

On May 9, Blogger relaunched and added some nifty new features, including comments and something called "post pages" (permalinking), both of which I have activated. You will also notice that a short while ago I added an Atom syndication feed. Don't ask me how it works as I don't use it myself, but I hear it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, so enjoy in good health.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

MIDWIFERY

Today, May 5, is International Midwives' Day! Please call, write, or email your midwife and tell her "Thank You".

Ideas for celebrating from MANA

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

HEALTH NEWS

Breast-fed babies are 20% less likely to die in the first year of life than those who are not, according to a new study reported in the May 2004 edition of Pediatrics. And, the longer the babies were breast-fed, the lower the risk of early death. Interestingly, the reduction in the mortality rate came not only from deaths due to illness and SIDS, but also decreased by 31% deaths due to injury.

Links:
Breastfed Babies Less Likely to Die, Study Finds, The Washington Post.
Breastfeeding and Saving Lives, Dr. Greene’s Daily Dose (May 3, 2004).
Breastfed Infants Less Likely to Die, WebMD Health.


And another study just released suggests that women who have dental x-rays while pregnant have a higher risk of having low-birth-weight babies. Dr. Michael Fleming, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, is quoted as saying that the study "really changes the information that we’ve believed all these years."

At the Dentist's: Risk of X-Rays and Pregnancy, The New York Times.
Dental X-rays may lead to smaller babies, MSNBC.com

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Midwifery Legal Update - Pennsylvania

Judith Wilson was arrested last Friday in Pittsburgh, PA on charges of involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child, and practicing midwifery without a license. Judy, a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), had been under investigation since the November 2002 death of a footling breach baby who required resuscitation after delivery and died two days later in the hospital.

The baby's parents, Jonathan and Heather Daley, do not blame Ms. Wilson for the death and do not support the prosecution.

And the news goes from bad to worse. Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr. said Tuesday that he may empanel a grand jury to investigate unlicensed midwives and whether they should be charged. Previous to the current investigation, direct-entry midwifery in Pennsylvania has been considered "legal by judicial interpretation or statutory inference," according to the Midwives Alliance of North America. Pennsylvania regulates nurse-midwives, but makes no provision for non-nurse midwifery, though it is not specifically outlawed by statute.

As an aside, it would be completely legal for a midwife with identical training, experience, and certification as Judith Wilson to practice in Texas and at least fourteen other states. Ms. Wilson is credentialed by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).

Links:
Butler County midwife charged in newborn's death, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Midwife charged in baby's death, Pittsburgh Live.com.
Grand jury investigation of midwives eyed, Pittsburgh Live.com.
Friends of Judy provides updates on the case and is organizing an auction to raise money for Judy's legal fund.
Jon & Heather Daley's website with an account of baby Isaac's birth and death.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

FORMULA DEATHS

Fifty or Sixty babies have died in the last year, and hundreds have become malnourished, after drinking fake infant formula sold in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui.

Links:
China Blames Fake Milk in Infant Deaths from Yahoo!/AP.
Chinese baby milk blamed for 50 deaths from The Guardian (UK).
Tough action to wipe out 'killer' milk powder from People's Daily.
Fake milk formula kills dozens of babies from The Herald (UK).
Fake milk powder kills babies from The Age (AU).

Monday, April 19, 2004

Monday, April 12, 2004

BIRTH STORY

The birth story of Jude Roman Fairbanks is the most beautiful birth story I have ever seen - told in pictures, not words. It takes some time to load, but is well worth it. Make sure you have your sound turned on.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

BIRTH BATTLE

Don't miss The Birth Battle: Doctors, Midwives and the Politics of Pregnancy, April's cover story from Parent:Wise Austin. Although midwifery (direct-entry as well as the nurse-midwifery variety) is fully legal in Texas, the political climate is growing worse, which means fewer birth options for families.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

GOT (REAL) MILK?

Yahoo/AP writes about the debate over unpasturized milk - Unpasteurized Milk Has Fans Despite Risk.

And here is Don't Drink Your Milk from Dr. Mercola.
BIRTH STORY

The Blomme Family has posted an amazing birth story. Twin girls were born in an unplanned, semi-unattended homebirth, the second a breach baby. While I certainly wouldn't recommend doing it this way given the choice, it is a wonderful testament to the ability of our bodies to birth naturally.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

WARNING

Everyone, but especially mothers, should be aware of the potential dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide. This substance in sufficient quantities can cause illness, coma, even death, and it is extremely prevalent in the environment, including the atmosphere and the food supply. High levels of Dihydrogen Monoxide have been found to be present in breastmilk, as well as baby formula and most baby foods.

Link: Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division

Thursday, March 11, 2004

DIAPER DEFENSE

According to World Net Daily, "an Indiana man whose baby daughter was found to have $140,000 worth of crack cocaine loaded in her diaper has been found guilty, despite his claim the search of the girl's pants was unconstitutional." Actually, the drugs were discovered not pursuant to a search for such, but when a trooper awaiting the arrival of a social worker noticed "a large load" in the infant's diaper and went to change it.

The jury returned a guilty verdict in just 18 minutes.

Read full story from WND or the Evansville Courier Press.

Monday, March 01, 2004

BIRTH CONTROL

The California Supreme Court has ruled that a Catholic charity must provide insurance coverage for prescription contraceptives for its employees. The court noted that the charity, while affiliated with the Catholic Church, was a separate entity and therefore was not a "religious employer", which would have exempted it from state legislation mandating such coverage. Read the full article from Yahoo!/Reuters.
YET ANOTHER REASON

Breastfeeding may lower blood pressure according to a new study, reports WebMD. Furthermore, "the blood pressure-lowering effects of breastfeeding increased with the duration that the infant was breastfed. On average, every three months of breastfeeding was associated with a 0.2 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure."

Thursday, February 26, 2004

THE LAST FIVE MOVIES I HAVE SEEN
(first-run movies in a theater, not video or DVD)

1. The Passion of the Christ
2. Lost in Translation
3. Jonah (Veggietales)
4. Megiddo
5. Pearl Harbor

This is what happens when you have children.

Monday, February 23, 2004

BREASTFEEDING AND SIDS

Dr. Greene's daily dose for Feb. 20, 2004 reads:

"Baby Waking at Night? A SIDS Silver Lining. Breastfed babies have longer sleep cycles than formula-fed babies, according to a study in the January 2004 Archives of Diseases in Childhood, but the breastfed babies are also more easily awaken. This might help to prevent SIDS."

Thursday, February 05, 2004

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Two recent updates in the effort to legalize Direct-entry Midwifery:

In Utah, House Bill 227 passed out of committe by a nine-to-one vote, reports KSL-TV (AP). The bill will require licensing, but will allow non-nurse midwives to administer certain medications.

In South Dakota, however, SB176 was killed in the Senate Health Committee. The Aberdeen News reports that the bill would have regulated home-birth attendants under the state Board of Nursing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

MIDWIFERY

A bill introduced into the Utah House would regulate and certify direct-entry midwifery in that state, reports the Deseret News in a January 24, 2004 article. House Bill 227, the Midwife Certification Act, would add direct-entry midwives to the list of medical professions monitored by the state Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

According to the article, DEM's are "in a professional no-man's land, fearful of being able to provide the right kind of care to mothers who want to birth at home. [The bill] would allow the administration of some techniques and drugs common in delivery, such as IV fluids and local anesthetics for suturing lacerations."

The text of the bill from the Utah legislature web site.

More information is available from the Utah Friends of Midwives website.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

NOT JUST FOR SELLING BEER

Mothering Magazine's latest issue, which featured a nursing mother and baby on the cover, caused a bit of a stir in New Mexico. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that complaints prompted employees of Vitamin Cottage, a local retail establishment, to cover the offending breast with paper. And, the paper reports, Hastings stores requested that the distributor of the magazine use plastic wrapping, as is sometimes used on magazines with "adult" content.

The article goes on to state:

"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources in its Healthy People 2010 initiative is trying to increase the number of women who breast-feed. Its goal is 75 percent of new mothers, 50 percent of mothers of 6-month-olds and 25 percent of mothers of 1-year-olds."

"Currently, fewer than half of mothers of newborns exclusively breast-feed their babies, and fewer than 12 percent are still at it six months later. In Norway, Australia, Iceland, Sweden and Kenya, "initiation" rates are greater than 90 percent."

"Breast-fed babies have fewer allergies, respiratory illnesses and cases of diarrhea and are less likely to be obese in adolescence. And, some studies show, they even have higher IQs."

The New Homemaker blog (Jan. 16, 2004) reprinted the comments of a Vitamin Cottage spokesperson, who said ,"We are 100% behind breast feeding and the rights of breast feeding mothers. I myself breast fed my children while working and in public."

Monday, January 19, 2004

HALF-DOZEN

The last five of the Van Houten sextuplets were born this week. Check out their nice website with photos and blog at www.vanhoutensix.org.
NURSE-MIDWIFERY

National Public Radio's Weekend Edition aired the following story on January 17, 2004, which can be accessed here:

"A number of hospitals have ended their programs in which nurse-midwives work with doctors to deliver babies. The midwives feel they are being shut out. The doctors say it's a health and liability issue. Janet Heimlich reports."