Monday, January 31, 2011


Urban Outfitter T-Strap

Urban Outfitter Zip Oxford

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Princess Problems

New York Times article "What's Wrong With Cinderella?" by Peggy Ornstein has piqued my interest in her book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture.

Ornstein says in the article...

"I’ve spent much of my career writing about experiences that undermine girls’ well-being, warning parents that a preoccupation with body and beauty (encouraged by films, TV, magazines and, yes, toys) is perilous to their daughters’ mental and physical health. Am I now supposed to shrug and forget all that? If trafficking in stereotypes doesn’t matter at 3, when does it matter? At 6? Eight? Thirteen?... Or maybe it is even less complex than that: to mangle Freud, maybe a princess is sometimes just a princess. And, as my daughter wants to know, what’s wrong with that?"

"What’s more, just because they wear the tulle doesn’t mean they’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. Plenty of girls stray from the script, say, by playing basketball in their finery, or casting themselves as the powerful evil stepsister bossing around the sniveling Cinderella. I recall a headline-grabbing 2005 British study that revealed that girls enjoy torturing, decapitating and microwaving their Barbies nearly as much as they like to dress them up for dates. There is spice along with that sugar after all, though why this was news is beyond me: anyone who ever played with the doll knows there’s nothing more satisfying than hacking off all her hair and holding her underwater in the bathtub. Princesses can even be a boon to exasperated parents: in our house, for instance, royalty never whines and uses the potty every single time."

"There had to be a middle ground between compliant and defiant, between petticoats and paper bags. I remembered a video on YouTube, an ad for a Nintendo game called Super Princess Peach. It showed a pack of girls in tiaras, gowns and elbow-length white gloves sliding down a zip line on parasols, navigating an obstacle course of tires in their stilettos, slithering on their bellies under barbed wire, then using their telekinetic powers to make a climbing wall burst into flames. 'If you can stand up to really mean people,” an announcer intoned, “maybe you have what it takes to be a princess.'"

"In the end, it’s not the Princesses that really bother me anyway. They’re just a trigger for the bigger question of how, over the years, I can help my daughter with the contradictions she will inevitably face as a girl, the dissonance that is as endemic as ever to growing up female. Maybe the best I can hope for is that her generation will get a little further with the solutions than we did."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Difference of a Year

Almost a year ago to the day, I posted about our house guest, my nephew. I remember thinking that keeping W that weekend wasn't that bad or intimidating or overwhelming and that maybe someday we could do parenthood... in like five years or so. It is totally blowing my mind that C and I had many plans in the works during that time but none of them included Bradly Baby... not even a gleam in anyone's eye.

And now we have about a three week countdown until her due date.

Spring 2010 came along and a few new ideas took root, so to speak, and obviously plans changed. Quite providentially. And planting and growth and waiting for buds took on a whole new significance.

That seems to be how C and I make major decisions: passionately thinking we've got the course charted, confronting new ideas, and very quickly hitching our wagon to a totally different star for a whole other course. It's exciting. Like going from our first date to our honeymoon in less than eight months exciting.

So here we are. Waiting. Some days patiently and some impatiently, for Bradly, for a whole new adventure.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Alternate Perspective

Hannah Rosin's take in the Wall Street Journal on Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

(On a totally anal retentive note, I noticed in her article that Rosin put quotation marks around Chua's title, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, instead of underlining or italicizing it, as one would normally do with a book title. Is this a journalistic quirk, or am I missing something? Anyone?)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Birthing Mix Master

Carter is making me two mixes for Bradly's labor and delivery. I like to have options.

The first will be ambient music of his choosing in case words and too much noise are annoying me. For the second I've requested the following: Interpol, Radiohead, Ben Folds, Patty Griffin, Indigo Girls, and Vampire Weekend... I feel like I should have more suggestions, but I'm sure he'll fill in the blanks.

It's so pretty!

from Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles via Griege

Golden Globe Home Runs

Lea Michele

Kelly Osbourne

Julie Bowen

Eva Longoria

Claire Danes

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hazel Kathleen

Bradly's cousin is here, and it is too wonderful.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
Luke 1: 41-42

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Girl Crush

Move over, Padma.

I think I officially have a new girl crush. How cute is Emerson? I know she's been around for awhile, but I just can't get over her website. Can I please have that life: designing awesome flower pins and now clothes and living with chickens and wearing ties and just being cute?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I've baked Irish Soda Bread before from a recipe from Bon Appetit, and it was really easy and quick for a bread. I saw this Oat Soda Bread today from 101 Cookbooks, and it sounded even better and easier. It's hard to beat seven ingredients and one hour for a hot, crusty loaf out of your own oven... It sounds especially good when it's so cold outside.


Diane Rehm is interviewing Amy Chua this morning over her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Amazon included this review excerpt from Publishers Weekly:

Chua (Day of Empire) imparts the secret behind the stereotypical Asian child's phenomenal success: the Chinese mother. Chua promotes what has traditionally worked very well in raising children: strict, Old World, uncompromising values--and the parents don't have to be Chinese. What they are, however, are different from what she sees as indulgent and permissive Western parents: stressing academic performance above all, never accepting a mediocre grade, insisting on drilling and practice, and instilling respect for authority. Chua and her Jewish husband (both are professors at Yale Law) raised two girls, and her account of their formative years achieving amazing success in school and music performance proves both a model and a cautionary tale... (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Her book sounds pretty shocking and hard-edged, but she's has an interesting take on parenting. She believes that self-esteem comes more from actual achievement and not a parent's puffed-up praise during the child's youth, so she feels like her discipline and pushing benefited her daughters more than coddling and allowing play time would have. She also emphasized in her interview that there's an arc to the book and that later she questions and pulls back on some of her methods, particularly acknowledging the individuality of her second daughter and adjusting to a (somewhat) gentler, more lenient parenting style.

I absolutely believe in positive reinforcement, but I'm also suspicious of this everybody-gets-a trophy child rearing culture... because eventually everybody does have to enter the real world where they really do just care about what you can do and they aren't going to give you the benefit of the doubt and you have to work really hard and them's the facts. And how loving am I really being if I repeat over and over that she is the best basketball player ever... and she's not? I mean, children figure this stuff out pretty quickly, right? Will hyper-praise make my words meaningless to her? How do you navigate that?

I'm really curious how Christianity plays into and directs parenting style. I've been thinking about how grace and an unconditionally loving Father God dictates how one disciplines and motivates. I'm wondering about self-esteem and security and how to establish those in Bradly in a practical way by making them about her identity and not her behavior and achievements and trophies... but at the same time, to encourage her to fully use her gifts and work hard and stretch and invest her talents. Oh me. Are we ready for all this?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Browsing Birth Plans

Let me insert a disclaimer here: I know that a birth plan is just a plan, is just a wish list, is the ideal and not a guarantee, but it's really helpful for one who is sorta grossed out and intimidated by hospitals and who is also a list maker to methodically go through some of these issues. It's also interesting that I didn't even know many of these choices existed, say, even six months ago.

Another disclaimer: I have heard this strange and really surprising rumor that labor and delivery hurt. I also know that literally billions of women have given birth without medicine, even women today who have some really great options in pain relief. I'm not a paranoid, conspiracy-theory, New Age mom who thinks drugs and male doctors are the devil and that my baby would be permanently damaged from an epidural. I don't see any convincing evidence of that. I'm just hoping for a different experience. That's all.

Last disclaimer: this list includes the words "vaginal" and "nipple" which do not make me uncomfortable but might make you. It's also a very long list... so you may want to skim... or not read at all. Honestly, I can't imagine why anyone would be interested in my birth plan in the first place, but oh well, here it is anyway.

  • I would like to be free to walk around during labor.
  • I wish to be able to move around and change position at will throughout labor.
  • I would like to be able to have fluids by mouth throughout the first stage of labor.
  • I will be bringing my own music to play during labor.
  • I would like the environment to be kept as quiet as possible.
  • I would prefer to keep the number of vaginal exams to a minimum.
  • I do not want an IV unless I become dehydrated.
  • I would like to wear contact lenses or glasses at all times when conscious.
  • I do not wish to have continuous fetal monitoring unless it is required by the condition of Bradly.
  • I do not want an internal monitor unless Bradly has shown some sign of distress.
Labor Augmentation/Induction
  • I do not wish to have the amniotic membrane ruptured artificially unless signs of fetal distress require internal monitoring.
  • I would prefer to be allowed to try changing position and other natural methods (walking, nipple stimulation) before Pitocin is administered.
Anesthesia/Pain Medication
  • I realize that many pain medications exist. I'll ask for them if I need them.
  • I'd like to be able to use the shower if necessary.
  • Unless absolutely necessary, I would like to avoid a Cesarean.
  • If my primary care provider determines that a Cesarean delivery is indicated, I would like to obtain a second opinion from another physician if time allows.
  • If a Cesarean delivery is indicated, I would like to be fully informed and to participate in the decision-making process.
  • I would like Carter Wooten present at all times if Bradly requires a Cesarean delivery.
  • If Bradly is not in distress, Bradly should be given to Carter Wooten immediately after birth.
  • I would prefer not to have an episiotomy unless absolutely required for Bradly's safety.
  • I am hoping to protect the perineum. I am practicing ahead of time by squatting, doing Kegel exercises and perineal massage.
  • I would appreciate guidance in when to push and when to stop pushing so the perineum can stretch.
  • If possible, I would like to use perineal massage to help avoid the need for an episiotomy.
  • I would like a local anesthetic to repair a tear or an episiotomy.
  • I would like to be allowed to choose the position in which I give birth, including squatting.
  • I would like Carter Wooten and/or nurses to support me and my legs as necessary during the pushing stage.
  • I would like to try to deliver in a squatting position, using Carter Wooten or a squatting bar for support.
  • Even if I am fully dilated, and assuming Bradly is not in distress, I would like to try to wait until I feel the urge to push before beginning the pushing phase.
  • I do not want any assisted delivery methods such as forceps or vacuum extraction used.
  • I would appreciate having the room lights turned low for the actual delivery.
  • I would appreciate having the room as quiet as possible when Bradly is born.
  • I would like to have Bradly placed on my stomach/chest immediately after delivery.
Immediately After Delivery
  • I would like to have Carter Wooten cut the cord.
  • I would prefer that the umbilical cord stop pulsating before it is cut.
  • I would like to hold Bradly while I deliver the placenta and any tissue repairs are made.
  • I would like to hold Bradly for at least 1 hour before (he/she) is photographed, examined, etc.
  • I would like to have Bradly evaluated and bathed in my presence.
  • I plan to keep Bradly near me following birth and would appreciate if the evaluation of Bradly can be done with Bradly on my abdomen, with both of us covered by a warm blanket, unless there is an unusual situation.
  • If Bradly must be taken from me to receive medical treatment, Carter Wooten or some other person I designate will accompany Bradly at all times.
  • I would prefer to hold Bradly rather than have (him/her) placed under heat lamps.
  • I do not want a routine injection of Pitocin after the delivery to aid in expelling the placenta.
  • I would like to delay the eye medication for Bradly until a couple hours after birth.
  • After the birth, I would prefer to be given a few moments of privacy to urinate on my own before being catheterized.
  • I would like a private room, if available.
  • Unless required for health reasons, I do not wish to be separated from my baby.
  • I would like to have Bradly "room in" and be with me at all times.
  • I plan to breastfeed Bradly and would like to begin nursing very shortly after birth.
  • Unless medically necessary, I do not wish to have any bottles given to Bradly (including glucose water or plain water).
  • I do not want Bradly to be given a pacifier.
  • I would like to meet with a lactation consultant.
  • I would like to take still photographs during labor and the birth.