i'm a-movin' on up!

My blog is moving.

If you’ve bookmarked katieallisongranju.blogspot.com, take out the blogspot in the URL. If you’ve bookmarked katieallisongranju.com, ignore me.

Either way, my feed has changed. At some point today, all of my old posts should be moved.

So change your bookmarks!


jane & buddy

Jane and her friend Natalie's pony:



midwife visit

Things I learned:

-My belly is measuring "large for dates" (my belly always measures "large for dates" and I always have small babies)

-I now weigh as much as I did when I gave birth to my other three children....and I have three months left to go. Ack.

poor wife

I am very pleased that this sportswriter finally feels okay about revealing that he's actually A WOMAN. She writes beautifully of the pain this gender confusion has caused her for her entire life. But I sure do feel sorry for the woman to whom this person is married.

a vol abroad

I love THIS BLOG. I wish I knew this blogger. I also wish I lived in London - as she does - which I did for a semester in college, while I interned with a Member of the British Parliament. I love London. I love the British. I even like lots of British food. I do not, however, love Monty Python.


Someone I loved very much has died. Karen was my next door neighbor for 7 years, and she died of complications from breast cancer. She leaves behind her 12 year old daughter and her husband of 25 years.

I remember the day six years ago when she told me she had found lump in her breast. She brushed a hard spot on her breast with her upper arms while vacuuming. She was tremendously frightened, and yet always funny and brave through all of it.

The first round of treatment wasn't so bad, and they thought she had gotten it. She was cancer free for two years, and then it came back. And then it came back again.

She died at home, with her husband and daughter holding her hands.

On the surface, Karen and I didn't appear likely to become good friends. She was eight years older than I am, and a conservative Baptist. Her life revolved around her home and her church. She didn't breastfeed her daughter and didn't get why I thought it was such a big deal ;-) She was very shy and reserved, while I am an extrovert. She took he time getting to know people, and could seem aloof. She was very tidy and organized, and I am messy. She never got an e-mail account! In fact, as far as I know, she never once got online!

But over the years, she became family to me. She cared for my children while I worked. Her daughter and mine became best of friends. We planned birthday parties together, and spent many nights sitting on her front lawn or mine watching our children play until the sun went down. She sewed Halloween costumes for my children and my sister's children, and she was the one I turned to when I needed J's hair "done up" for a fancy occasion. She was better at it than I was. When I couldn't get a feverish E. to take medicine, I would take him next door to Karen's and she would whisper something in his ear and smile at him and he would gulp it down. He loved "Miss Karen" like a second mama.

And now she's gone. I am heartbroken. It's so wrong for someone that good and honest and pure to be taken from all that mattered to her - her child and husband. She so wanted to see her child grow up.

Her husband told me how happy it made Karen to see that after I went thru my rough patch a few years back - with the divorce, and having to move away from the house next door - I had come thru on the other side happy and healthy and loved by a Good Man. She got to meet Jon several times and she gave him her stamp of approval.

Karen didn't have many close friends. She was picky. But my sister and I were privileged to know her and love her. Now I will make sure that for the rest of her life, Karen's daughter will have women in her life who DID know her mom - who can tell her of Karen's sly, wicked humor; her selfless love; her ability to make a house a home, and her incredible bravery when life handed her a cruel fate.

I knew she was going to die. But I thought she would be here for at least a while longer. Her sudden death was a hard surprise for me. I cannot believe she's gone. I wish I had told her more clearly how much she meant to me and our family before it was too late. I won't make that mistake again.


found a childbirth class

Well, I finally found a one-day, 8 hour childbirth class that's do-able for Jon and me. It's a BIRTHING FROM WITHIN class taught at the freestanding birth center in MADISONVILLE, TN.

I don't think I'm gonna be that into the belly-casting and "birth-art" element of this class, but I like the idea of learning how to face and get past my fears, rather than just learning coping techniques for dealing with the pain.

a new breastfeeding blog

Read it HERE

beautiful writing

Just discovered this blog. Her various POSTS ABOUT CHILDBIRTH are gorgeously written, and capture a lot of my fears and ambivalence.

too much praise?

Jon wonders if we are giving kids TOO MUCH PRAISE these days.

alec baldwin

Have you ACTUALLY LISTENED TO the nasty voicemail message Alec Baldwin left for his 11 year old daughter? The one in which he insults her mother, refers to her as a "pig," and threatens her?

If you have, you likely share my disgust that he now publicly blames his raging tirade on his daughter's mother. Baldwin says that if his ex-wife weren't so difficult to deal with, he wouldn't be under the "stress" that led him to go off like this. He claims Kim Basinger has "alienated" him from his child.

This is a classic blame-the-victim strategy employed by rageful, abusive people - often men - toward their victims - often women and children. If you listen to the voicemail message, it's pretty clear that Baldwin doesn't need much help in "alienating" himself from his child. He's doing an excellent job of that himself.

And if all it takes to whip him into this type of frenzy is one careless, or even thoughtless failure to answer the phone by an 11 year old child, I cannot imagine what state he gets himself into when someone really pisses him off.

I have no idea who leaked this tape to the media, but that's a separate issue. Baldwin's rage and abuse speak for themselves, however they became public.

I feel really sorry for Kim Basinger. She's been living with this behavior as a wife, a mother and an ex-wife for 15 years now, and it must be incredibly painful and difficult.


After 6-8 weeks of feeling rather calm and happy (after feeling tired, slightly ill and nauseated during the first trimester), I am finding myself a bit moodier and short-tempered in the past few days.

I feel like our house is a wreck and my children are going to go deaf from their iPods and I am just not usre I have it in me to argue with E. one more time about how slackerly he's being on his math homework.

Really, nothing has changed since last week, when I felt quite content, but suddenly I feel a bit anxious and stressed and irritable. I need to shake it off. It helps no one, most of all me.

I am definitely getting a bit "nesty" and feeling like I have to get better organized and ready for the baby. Finding a childbirth class we can squeeze into our schedule is turning out to be a bit of a hassle. I think we need to take one together, but we really need to find one that is an intensive day-long or weekend-long one focused on achieving unmedicated birth. Even though we are willing to do it here or in Chattanooga or even in Nashville, I can't seem to find one that fits our schedule and inclinations.

I keep thinking about how unprepared I was when E. was born three full weeks before his due date. It took me pretty much completely by surprise.


which childbirth prep class did you take?

Which childbirth prep class did you take (Bradley, Lamaze, the standard class offered by hospital, HypnoBirthing, Birthing from Within, etc) and why? What did you think of it? How well did it serve you during childbirth? What did your husband/partner think or get out of it? What kind of birth did you want? What kind of birth did you end up with?

Comments below, please :-)

feeling the baby move

Jon got to feel the baby move FOR THE FIRST TIME a few days ago.

glass half-full kid

J. is my glass half-full kid. No matter what life hands her, she manages to find the best in it, shake off what's bothering her, and move on. She doesn't cling to the negative, or let things get her down when there isn't anything she can do about the situation. I frequently point out to her that this practical optimism is a wonderful quality that she has, and that she should continue to cultivate it.

This week she is on a 3 day class field trip in another state. Her older brother went on the same trip several years ago, and he told Jon and me that she probably wouldn't like it because it was really dull.

"Oh well, " Jon said. "Knowing J., she'll make the best of it."

So the first night of the trip, she called home to check in, and I asked her how the trip was going.

"Well, it's actually really lame, but I'm trying to make the best of it," she answered.


The Farm at 36

Hard to believe it, but The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee is NEARLY 40 YEARS OLD this year.

Given my parents' inclinations, and the fact that we moved to (very) rural Tennessee from the west coast in 1977 in order to have a more natural, wholesome family lifestyle, it's actually somewhat surprising we didn't end up living on The Farm. I'll bet my parents at least considered it. I'll have to ask them.

(My parents, along with my Uncle John and AUnts Delphia and Louise at Thanksgiving, 1974 - you get the picture)

thanksgiving 1974

I know that I grew up eating a lot of food prepared out of the two Farm-published cookbooks my mother kept out on the kitchen counter at all times.


Ina May Gaskin is one of my feminist heroes.


new car

After going 'round and 'round about our car situation, we finally decided to bite the bullet and buy a new car. Last night we brought home a 2007 HONDA ODYSSEY.

It's very scary signing off on such a big purchase, but the plan is to try to pay it off as quickly as possible. We decided that while we could have gotten a cheaper minivan of a different type, the Hondas hold their value so well that it makes the whole idea of buying a new car less intimidating; in the event we ever need to scale way back financially, we could easily sell the Honda without taking a huge bath on it. The hope is, however, that we will take excellent care of the Honda and drive it for the next 10 years.

I did consider a station wagon with the third seat, but those seats looked really uncomfortable to me for anyone over 3 feet tall. And whatever the experts say, the idea of a kid riding facing backwards sounds scary to me in the event of a rear end collision. And the only big-enough station wagon that holds its value at all is the Volvo. I do like those boxy old Volvo wagons, but we decided we wanted the reliability (and warranty) of a new car if we would be making a car payment anyway. And we couldn't afford a new Volvo.

We bought the cheapest new Honda Odyssey on the market, both because we wanted to spend less and because neither of us wanted all the fancy electronica that comes with the higher end models. I know that if I had electronic sliding doors, I'd be squashing children via remote -- before the doors stopped working altogether. Nope, give me regular old doors anytime. We also didn't want DVD players or navigation systems or any of that stuff. I'd rather the kids listen to music, look out the windows, read, or even (gasp!) talk to each other while in the car.

But even this cheapest of all Odyssey models is much nicer than any car I've ever owned. It's incredibly comfortable and well designed in inside. It has an unbelievable amount of available and concealed storage (E. loves the under floor "boot" for storing stuff), and every seat is really comfy and nice. Plenty of room for all 5 of us to ride together, and still plenty of room when NewBaby comes at the end of the summer.As an added bonus, it has tons of safety features. I know I will feel safer driving everyone around in it, as opposed to my VW (which we traded in).

I do feel guilty about getting a bigger car with worse gas mileage though. And that seems to be the biggest consumer complaint I've read: that the Odyssey doesn't get the mileage it's advertised to get, which isn't that spectacular anyway.

Time to buy some carbon offsets and go vegetarian to make up for it...

Having a new car is shallow fun, I must admit. I can't wait to take our first family roadtrip in it. It will also be great for camping at Bonnaroo in June.

By the way, be sure to tease Jon about having a minvan now ;-) He's definitely got that family man vibe happening these days.



are you an east tennessee blogger?

Do you blog at least part of the time about your life as a parent?

If so, I want to know of your existence. Let me know about your blog by commenting below.



anti-obesity infant formula?

This sounds creepy to me.

It's actually just the latest attempt to manufacture the living properties of human bresatmilk (available free to the vast majority of human infants, straight from their mothers) and MAKE WOMEN PAY MONEY FOR IT.

(Hat tip to M.B.)

start your week off right....

...with Big Star playing SEPTEMBER GURLS, live.

Pure pop perfection.

Which reminds me, I have been discussing with some friends what the best pop song ever recorded is. My vote is for "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys.

(Please play this at my funeral)

Enter your vote below, but remember, you only get to pick ONE song, and it has to be a pop song.


So Jon and I haven't been quite sure how childcare for the baby would work out once my 8 weeks of maternity leave are up. We figured his mom might help some (she's a teacher, retiring at the end of this year), and we thought maybe Jon could take her with him to work some, but we really weren't sure about any of this without talking to his mother and father (who is Jon's boss).

Tonight we talked to them, and Jon's mother is going to care for the baby 2 days each week at their house, and Jon can bring the baby to work with him the other three days, as well as work from home some. Short of me being able to quit my job, or cut back to part time, which is simply not a possibility, this is really the second best arrangement.

Jon's parents' house is only 2 miles from my office, so I can nurse the baby at lunch time on the days she is with Janice. The rest of the time, she will have to learn to take a bottle of pumped breastmilk from Jon.

We will set up a cradle and a rocking chair, etc at Jon's office.

He's really excited about getting to be the main baby care person three days a week. He'll actually get way more time with her each week than I will. I already feel a little jealous, and I am dreading all that pumping, but still, this is a great relief to be able to do it this way.