i must look pregnant

Today was the tipping point.

I've had at least ten people say to me, "Are you pregnant?!"

So I must finally look like it.

angelina jolie and (not) breastfeeding

Any time someone speaks out publicly and often on a particular problem or issue, it’s fair to then ask of that person what she herself is doing to address the issue in question.

Angelina Jolie is a UN GOODWILL AMBASSADOR. She travels the world, speaking out on the plight of THIRD WORLD CHILDREN and the lack of EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES and health care for the world’s women and girls. She clearly does great, important work, and seems comfortable as the most visible spokesperson on the entire planet for these critical issues.

That’s why I am really disappointed to realize that Jolie’s own infant daughter likely isn’t breastfed. I know I heard Jolie briefly mention breastfeeding the baby in the first month or two after she was born, but since then, I’ve heard her mention in interviews that Brad Pitt gives the baby bottles. And this week, Jolie is traveling in Darfur, while the baby is being BOTTLE-FED back in New Orleans by grandmother and Dad.

Maybe it’s pumped breastmilk in that bottle, but I sort of doubt it, and in any event, by having the baby take a bottle in public, instead of feeding her at the breast, Jolie is missing an opportunity to educate millions of women all over the world about the reasons why breastfeeding saves lives, and how bottle-feeding – particularly in developing countries – puts babies at risk.

The United Nations estimates that more than one million children die every year BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT BREASTFED. Imagine the boost in breastfeeding rates if Angelina Jolie spoke out publicly here and abroad about the WAYS THAT FORMULA FEEDING MAKES BABIES SICK and how infant formula companies ABUSE WOMEN AND CHILDREN in the developing world.

It’s a missed opportunity, but not too late for her to speak out. I would really like to see Angelina Jolie become as passionate about this CRITICAL INFANT-MATERNAL HEALTH ISSUE as she is about other important matters affecting the world’s children.

baby names via freakonomics

Here is an article in which the author of Freakonomics looks at BABY NAMING TRENDS. It's interesting, particularly his predictions for THE MOST POPULAR BABY NAMES OF 2015.

ban the bags!!!

An article in the WSJ TODAY reports that slowly, bute surely, hospitals across the country are beginning to BAN THE "GIFT BAGS" routinely given out to new moms by infant formula companies (pharmaceutical companies).

This is excellent news and testament to the quiet activism of many dedicated public health advocates in the past decade. Not so long ago, this sort of ban was considered impossible to pull off in the formula-loving U.S. hospital system.

Kudos to all involved!!

arson in bell buckle


Sadly, a couple of volunteer firefighters were the ones setting all the fires that have been plaguing my hometown of Bell Buckle.


britney's baby blues?

Her doctors in rehab SUSPECT PPD as the cause of her recent, unusual behavior.

What do those of you with experience with postpartum depression think?

and we wonder why folks make jokes about tennessee...

An anti-evolution state legislator is demanding that the state Department of Education cough up some answers on THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE.

my current fave baby names - the list

Jon doesn't dig all of these, but they are my favorites:

Theodore (Call him Theo)
Jonathan (call him Jack)
Charles (Charlie)


united nations blasts deceptive ads for infant formula

Read it HERE.

al gore uses hella lots of energy

Al and Tipper - just the two of them - apparently live in a 10,000 square foot Nashville mansion that sucks up about $1,200 EACH MONTH in energy. Yowza.

They need to read some SARAH SUSANKA.

(Although now that I think about it, a 10,000 square foot house that only has a $1200 a month energy bill is probably pretty energy efficient overall. But it's still awfully ginormous for only two people.)

Our house seems enormous to me, having moved to it from a house under 1500 square feet. It's about 3500 square feet. Although I love our house, I do often miss the coziness of my smaller house. And I look forward to making our current house more and more energy efficient as we are able. We are starting with small things, like switching all our bulbs to compact flourescent.

when shoes attack

Don't you hate it when you buy cute, new shoes, and the day you wear them for the first time, you realize within the first hour that they are so wildly uncomfortable that the odds are you will never, ever wear them again?

I hate that.

And they are so cute.

At least they weren't expensive.


kirsten dunst's dress

I know, I know...I am the only person in America who feels this way, but I loved KD's Oscars dress. I go in for that faded flapper thing, and she's working it well here. I especially like the neckline.


feelin' the baby move?

With Baby#1, I felt it at about 18 weeks and he was a VERY active baby. Baby#2, I started feeling at around 16 weeks and she was middling-active. Baby #3 I really didn't feel 'til around 20 weeks and he wqas a very sluggish baby, which worried me a lot. He moved around far less than his brother and sister had, which is odd, because he's a very active person in general.

I should be feeling NewBaby wiggling around within the next one to four weeks, so I am psyched. That always makes being pregnant seem more real. This morning when they tried to get NewBaby's heartbeat with the doppler thingy at my doctor's office, he/she was moving around so much, they had a bit of trouble. Finally got it, though, and all is well.

When did you first feel your baby move?

monday morning listening


bloggin' the oscars

So I'm settled in, watching the red carpet arrivals while Jon prepares hot wings and fries for us to eat once the show starts.

I love the Oscars. I usually throw an Oscar-watchin partay, but didn't get it together this year. I also usually have Jane and her impeccable fashion sense to help me critique the dresses and speeches, but she's at her father's tonight, so I'll have to go it alone.

Favorite Oscar moment so far:

Ryan Seacrest asks Al Gore which actor should play him (Al) in "The Al Gore Story." Gore answers "William Hung."

warm weather

It's 65 degrees outside and it isn't even noon yet. The birds are chirping. The sun is shining. The daffodils in my yard are starting to bloom.

There is no way for me to express what a difference sunshine and warmer weather make in my mood. The past 6-7 weeks were VERY cold and gray here. Plus, I felt mildly nauseated and exhausted much of that time. I was bit blue, although I was very aware that it came almost entirely from the weather and I just wasn't feeling good physically.

Now, almost as if by divine orchestration, my nausea is gone, my energy has returned, the sun has come out, flowers are starting to bloom and my belly has popped out. I suddenly look pregnant.

This is the fun part.

Plus, we got excellent news from our FIRST TRIMESTER SCREEN TESTING (which I decided to do instead of the more invasive genetic tests involving needles) last week. BabyX appears to be healthy and well. SO I feel much more relaxed and "really pregnant" now.

I am ready to start my gardening at this new house. This year, I am just going to start with three smallish flower beds in the front yard. Then, each year I will do a little more until I have the whole property landscaped the way I want. But for now, just getting some cutting gardens going will make me very happy.

Ah! Spring...

weird guy

The other day, this guy Jon knows through work - only very slightly - congratulated Jon on the fact that we are expecting a baby. Jon thanked him and made some joke about "the little squid" (baby). At this point, the guy got all riled up and very forcefully said, "BUT IT'S A REAL PERSON ALREADY!!!!"


Then, without skipping a beat, the guy says, "Did you know that when black babies are born, they are actually white, and they don't turn black for at least a week?"



Okay, so I have this compound MTHFR gene mutation, discovered via genetic testing at the beginning of this pregnancy. I am seeing a perinatologist (high risk OB), whom I like a great deal.

It's pretty clear from the research I have done, and the discussion I have had with my doctor, that this mutation raises my risk for certain thrombophilia-related complications during pregnancy (miscarriagem stillbirth, eclampsia, etc), although these risks apparently cannot be quantified.

What no one seems to be able to tell me is what my risks are for specific complications related to the mutation during labor and delivery. I simply cannot get any good answers on this anywhere. My doctor says he just wants to "watch me more carefully" during labor and delivery.

But really, I need clearer answers because this will play a big role in how and where I decide to give birth. I need to know whether I really need to stay with the perinatologists. If I do, I would have to give birth at a local hospital I do not favor, where I certainly will not get the kind of birth I want.

My first choice would still be to do it at the birth center - a waterbirth with midwives. But I do not feel confident making that decision unless and until I get some better info about what specific risks, if any, my defective genes pose to me/baby during labor and delivery.

I have searched the interwebs in vain for the info I need. And this is where YOU come in, dear blog reader.

If you know someone who has had this MTHFR issue, or if you know any geneticists or perinatologists who could anser these questions for me, please ask them about it and post your comments below. Feel free to copy and post this request for info from me on your own blog.



gen X parenting

THIS ARTICLE in TIME Magazine on the self-absorbed "whininess" of my generation of parents - GenX parents - is getting a lot of attention around THE PARENTING BLOGOSPHERE at the moment.

I guess my article for on THE EXACT SAME TOPIC was just a little ahead of this discussion curve...


Last night I got to visit with my best friend since 7th grade, Betsy (yes, that is also my sister's name.) She was in town to speak at a conference. She has a very cool job. She's an MSN nurse at Vanderbilt, specializing in high risk obstetrics. She lectures and teaches all over the country on the topic, and also works as an expert witness for lawyers who are defending/prosecuting doctors in malpractice suits.

So anyway, she was intown and spent the night at our house and it was so much fun to hang out with her. I wish we lived in the same town. I also wish Jane had cleaned her room. That's where betsy slept last night and it was FILTHY, despite me having instructed to Jane to clean it very well before leaving for the weekend to her father's.

This is a photo of me with Betsy, and another one of my best friends from high school. Stephanie is on the left, I am in the middle and Bets is on the right:

katies wedding 066

This is Jane with Betsy's daughter Clare Frances at the Brownlands Horse Show in '05:

Jane with Betsy Babb Kennedy's daughter, Clare Frances

dealing with difficult people

I have decided to work harder at making the act of dealing with the difficult people I must deal with into a spiritual exercise.

It's good for me. It stretches me out in a good way.

e. and j.

Last night E. told Jon and me he wanted to show me something he'd written in the little support group for kids with divorced parents that he attends at his school. It was a tightly folded piece of paper with red ink all over it, and I managed to get it all smoothed out so I could read it.

It was a little questionnaire asking the kids various things about what it's like to live in a family with a step parent. The first question was, "What's the best thing about living with a step parent?" and E. had written as his answer: "My step dad is AWESOME!!!"

Needless to say, both Jon and I thought this was exceptionally sweet, and of course J. told E. that his step son is awesome, as well. They are really, really cute together.


bill gates & me

Bill Gates apparently only lets his 10 year old daughter use the computer FOR 45 MINUTES EACH DAY.

I allow my 11 year old daughter one hour per day on weekdays and two hours each weekend day.

My 9 year old hasn't gotten that interested yet, so it hasn't been a big deal. Sometimes he will play a game on my laptop for a little while.

My 15 year old is currently on total computer restriction 'til we see some academic improvement.

None of my kids have ever been huge video game buffs, so I have never really had to limit that too much. Occasionally the boys will go through periods where they play X-Box or whatever it is they have for a few hours each week, or Elliot will play a new game for his Gameboy an hour here or there, but it's never been too big an issue.

How much time do you allow your children online?

bilingual bambinos

I am hearing very good things about THIS PROGRAM for introducing Spanish to young children.

pain in childbirth

This woman argues that we should be talking about ELIMINATING PAIN IN CHILDBIRTH ALTOGETHER, not of "managing it."


live blogging a birth

Yeah, Jon has a A BLOG, but I will seriously throttle him if he DOES THIS while I am actually giving birth...


Apparently this single, well-known Bollywood actor WANTS TO ADOPT A BABY GIRL. He says of his plans:

"I would love to have a sweet daughter. I will be taking her for rides on my bike by placing her in a baby carrier. It will be so wonderful to have her kissing my cheek while I will be zooming on."

This just....creeps me out. Anyone else?

i agree with david geffen

...who says of Hillary Clinton:

"Not since the Vietnam War has there been this level of disappointment in the behavior of America throughout the world, and I don't think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is -- and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton? -- can bring the country together."


sign me up for that c-section!

Being a rather speedy reader, last night I read about half of this book I just bought: DELIVER THIS: MAKE THE CHILDBIRTH CHOICE THAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU by Marisa Cohen.

It's a very friendly book, a la the Girlfriend's Guide series, and it attempts to avoid judgment of various childbirth choices at all costs. This is a laudable goal in many ways, but the problem is that she's talking about serious medical issues, like elective c-sections. The "judgment" is in the research, which is pretty voluminous on a lot of the topics she covers in the book, but instead of analyzing all this research and giving readers the facts (or her informed opinion based on the facts), she just throws a study in here and there at random and draws no conclusions. Without good, solid info about this stuff, women aren't actually making "choices" at all, but are instead just gettin' along and going along.

If I knew nothing about childbirth, and this were the first book I read, I would definitely conclude that any woman who does not sign up for an epidural -- or perhaps even an elective c-section - before she even hits the last trimester is slightly, well, nutty. Actually, even though I do know a lot about childbirth, the book still left me wondering why I am even considering anything other than a standard hospital birth.

See, I had an epidural with all 3 of my previous births. Two went very well, with no problems. But number three went horribly awry, and left me with back pain and a lump on my spine for two years (of course my doctor refused to believe it was the epidural that caused the lump or the back pain). So this time I am thinking I would like a waterbirth, preferably NOT in a hospital, but after reading most of this book last night, I am feeling slightly insane for even considering such a thing. In the book, women who have a home birth, or even an unmedicated birth of any type, are portrayed as being slightly and unhealthily paranoid (about doctors and hospitals) and just plain different from "normal" women. The book makes it sound like only a wildly eccentric woman with a chip on her shoulder and the endurance of a marathon runner would even consider an unmedicated birth.

As for c-sections, she makes them sound pretty damn appealing. Recovery sounds like no big deal, compared to the horror of the pain of a vaginal birth, and the risk of complications are minimized.

I would be interested to hear from anyone else who has read this new book and hear your thoughts. Comment below.

current reading


I am now past the nausea and into the hunger. I can't seem to get enough to eat. I just ate three pieces of pizza and now I'm really craving crepes...or strawberry rhubarb pie a la mode.

Considering how much a fetus grows in the second trimester (going from barely there at the beginning to actual, real baby by the end), it's not surprising I am hungry. Or maybe it's simply not surprising that I amn rationalizing how much I am eating ;-)


wow! that's quite a social program!

An actual lead to an actual news story in my HOMETOWN NEWSPAPER:

Program helps pregnant Hispanic women

Saturday, February 17, 2007
By Brian Mosely

Help is on the way for Hispanic women who are expecting a child through a new program to be offered by The Center for Family Development.

why get married?

More and more people are LIVING TOGETHER BEFORE MARRIAGE, which I think is a very, very wise idea. I certainly would have done it if I hadn't had children. I wasn't going to bring a man into our household without showing them through some serious symbolism - a wedding with everyone we loved in attendance - that this was important and permanent. But if I were single, without children, I'd definitely want to live together for at least a year or two before considering marriage.

And in this same vein, may I just say how annoying I find it when people say that it should be harder to get married, and how it's "way too easy to get divorced these days"

Listen up: having been through a divorce, I can assure you that it is costly, painful, takes forever (mine took almost two years), and not "easy" in any sense of the word.

advice for a father-to-be

People seem compelled to give Jon LOTS of advice about what he should expect after our baby is born. Needless to say, they don't really give me much unsolicited advice, since I've already done this before...a few times ;-)

I have to really watch myself not to do the same thing - not to give him lots of advice and tell him he has no idea what he's in for. That would be a really annoying thing for him - to live with someone who has already been thru something big and exciting and constantly rains advice and words of "been there done that" wisdom down on him.

On the other hand, I do find myself occasionally saying things like, "get your sleep now because you cannot IMAGINE how little sleep you will get after the baby is born!" I mean well when I say these things, but I would imagine it's rather irritating for him to hear.


My sister is about a week less pregnant than I am, but I swear, her tummy - just her tummy - is more than twice as big as mine. I would swear she were having twins if we didn't know that she isn't. She also has had much more extreme pregnancy symptoms than I have. Again, that's a sign of twins.

I'd love it if someone in our family would have twins. As long as it isn't me. In the meantime, I am fascinated by how different pregnancies progress totally differently, all pretty much ending the same way.

I've also been interested to note that this time, with baby #4, I go long periods of the day forgetting that I am pregnant at all. With baby #1, it was always on my mind. Always. It was really all I could think about. Same with baby #2, but I had some serious complications with that one that kept me anxious. WIth baby #3, I had REALLY bad morning sickness until about the 5th month, so that made me painfully aware that I was pregnant, 24/7.

This time, I've had some mild nausea, which seems to mostly have passed. I'm not sleepy all the time like I was for the first 8 weeks or so (though still a bit more tired than normal). And I am always busy, with my job, with the other children, with the house... I am often just too busy to remember that I am pregnant. I remember, though, when I turn over in bed. That's when the little belly I have makes itself known, as the ligaments stretch and ache. Then I remember, "Oh yeah! I'm pregnant," and then go back to sleep.


Until we moved into this huge house in August, my family has always lived in rather small houses. Most of my kids' lives, they had to share a bathroom with parents and siblings. They never had a bath of their own.

Now we have a huge upstairs that's just for the kids. And it has a bathroom, just for the kids. It's nothing to write home about; it's a very small, pink bathroom from the 60s, with a bizarre, square, little bathtub. No stand up shower. If you want to shower rather than bathe, you have to use the hand shower. But it's all perfectly serviceable and the kids should be really glad they have their own bathroom.

But no. After the initial excitement of not having to share a bathroom with me (and Jon) wore off, they started complaining. The bathroom was too small. The tub was a weird shape. SiblingX spends too much time in the bathroom. Blah, blah, blah. Whine, whine, whine. Now they all beg to use MY bathroom.

And don't even get me started on the level of filth in this bathroom of theirs. I have been trying to crack the whip and get them to do a better job with their own laundry and bathroom cleaning, but I think I need to crack the whip harder, because tonight, I went up to give the bath a good grown up cleaning and.....EEEWWWWW!!! I am not even sure HOW they get a bathroom that nasty. Truly disgusting. And honestly, while people complain about boys leaving a nastier bathroom, I don't really think this is the case here.

But now it's clean. And it's staying that way, dammit.



a family in need of a hug

Yeah, it sounds trite, wanting to give these nice people a hug, but that's exactly what I was left with after reading THIS ESSAY about one family's adjustment to the birth of their third baby.

The mother is dealing with PPD. The two older daughters, ages 4 and 7, are angry and ascting out, and the father who obviously loves all of them desperately can't seem to figure out how to hold the center.

I read the essay and thought, this is a family where the mama's PPD is making everyone hurt. The little girls are scared and hurting. Which doesn't necessarily make it easier to be their father at the moment. But scared and hurting isn't gonna respond too well to taking away all of life's little pleasures, like cake.

My 2 cents.

today's house cleaning music

sleepy head

Tonight we had spaghetti and garlic bread for supper. Elliot only likes the soft, buttery inside part of the garlic bread. After he had dug this part out of several pieces and left the rest, I told him he couldn't have another piece until he ate all the bread he had.

He sat for a minute and then quietly said he wasn't going to leave the table until he could have more pieces of bread. Then he put his head down on his folded arms on the table and closed his eyes. He was sound asleep within 30-60 seconds.

A few minutes later he mumbled that he wished I would carry him to his bed, which I did. He never really woke up.

Sleepy boy ;-)


helen hill

I've been following the story of the murder of HELEN HILL in New Orleans last month. It's such a terrifying and tragic STORY.

I always hate ot when I learn of someone I would have loved to meet in real life only when something terrible happens to them.

totally addictive site



Check out this COOL BLOG that keeps track of good travel-related contests you can enter.

the cure

I have discovered that if I keep a tall glass of ice water with straw in front of me at all times -- all the time, including while driving -- the mild/moderate nausea I've had goes pretty much completely away (some of that may just be finishing up the first trimester).

Even better, however, the supercold water seems to do a number on my salivary glands so the, ahem, DROOLING PROBLEM is mostly solved. It helps so much that I now feel a bit desperate if I am away from my ice water for more than a few minutes.


do not order from FTD

The saga of the roses continues...

The Valentine's Day roses finally arrived at my mom's office...on February 15th.

And THIS is what they look like!!!


Note the dry, brown, curling leaves, the sparse number of roses, and the ugly blooms. Remember, this was a $70 flower order!

So now I have been trying to get someone on the phone at FTD customer service all day. I have either been left on hold for up to 30 minutes or given a recorded message sayng that due to the "large number of holiday calls," FTD recommends that I "call back another time." Then the line goes dead.

I am seriously irritated.

women who breastfeed have lower risk for heart attack

See the article RIGHT HERE


My siblings and I ordered rather expensive roses to be delivered to our mother at her office yesterday. They weren't delivered.

I have never, ever had that happen before.

Usually I order in Nashville from a local florist near Downtown, but this time I ordered online from the FTD website. Big mistake. I am now on perpetual hold with an automated phone system waiting to get a real person on the line so I can complain.

Sorry, Mama. We love you. Happy Valentine's Day anyway!


bonnaroo, 2007!

Yes, I will be hugely pregnant, and yes, I still plan to go to BONNAROO @))&. I've covered it the last two years and don't plan to quit just because I'll be moving a little more slowly.

This year, my son Henry hopes to go as well. As the kids all get older, I can see making this an annual family event.

vasectomy = certain type of dementia?


"The earliest symptoms of FTD are personality changes, lack of judgment and bizarre behavior. As in PPA, FTD usually starts at an earlier age, in the 40s and 50s.

One of Weintraub's patients with FTD was eating lunch in a restaurant with his family and excused himself to go to the bathroom. When he hadn't returned after 10 minutes, his sons went to investigate. They found him doing pushups on the bathroom floor. Other FTD patients begin shoplifting, compulsively gambling, misspending large amounts of money or become sexually demanding.

Sounds to me like vasectomies may explain a lot of so-called, male mid-life crises....



This has been the best Valentine's Day evah...and it isn't over yet.


I am finally, FINALLY in the last week of my first trimester.


It's more of a milestone when you've had a miscarriage.

small and delightful

Last night Elliot and I were shopping for the right candy to use in his "Valentine delivery system" machine that he and his father built for school. When he finally found the candy he wanted, he said, "This will be perfect, it's small and delightful!"

I told him I think he's small and delightful.


angelina jolie was right



sayonara eddie's auto

Eddie's Auto is finally CLOSING HIS DOORS. You may never have bought an alternator or tire rim from Mr. Harvey, but I'll betcha you've listened to him opine that it's nuthin' for him "TO WHUP A MAN'S ASS" on the infamous "Redneck Tapes."

nick "zoolander" allison does "le tigre"






a few name ideas

For a boy-

Samuel (Sam)
Asa (a Jon favorite I just can't get behind)

For a girl -


a new photo

....of bambino from TODAY'S ULTRASOUND.

No, that's not a humongous nose; he/she has a little hand up near his/her mouth.

way to go new york!

Mayor Bloomberg is starting a well-funded, city-wide campaign to INCREASE BREASTFEEDING RATES AMONG NYC MOMS. Unbelievably, his administration is actually going to kick the infant formula companies out of public hospitals, where they have had a free reign and a totally captive audience of hospitalized new mothers for decades.


do i know you?

It's get to know each other time again at Casa Kate!

Comment below, if you feel so inclined, and tell me who you are and what brought you to my blog. Do I know you? Are you an old friend I haven't seen in a while? Did you just stumble on the blog for the first time today?



I like clothes. I like wearing good clothes. I like new clothes and shoes, and over the years, I have discovered that a regular investment in new clothes and shoes makes me a happier girl. Money well spent.

But right now, I am wearing the same five things over and over and it's really starting to get to me.

You see, none of my skirts that button or zip fit any longer. That leaves me with the three or four elastic-y waist skirts I own, three of which happen to be black peasant skirts that look pretty much alike.

And I have completely outgrown my regular jeans. I bought a pair of maternity jeans and they are, as it turns out, poorly designed (damn you Old Navy!!!) and will not stay up very well, plus I am getting sick of them. I am pretty sure they make me look like a fat, middle aged loser who has given up on herself.

None of my shirts that button fit any more. This leaves me with t-shirts or turtlenecks and pullover sweaters.

I do have some cute dresses I like that fit now and will probably still fit as I get bigger, but here's the catch: it's 25 degrees outside and has been for weeks. The dresses cannot be worn unless I am willing to shiver. They do not keep me warm.

And it will remain quite cold here for at least 6 more weeks. So while it's tempting to go buy some new clothes that will fit, I don't want to buy more winter clothes, because winter is almost over. And I don't want to take the plunge and buy cute spring/summer clothes that will fit my burgeoning belly and other parts because it's still waaaay too cold to wear them, and they would just hang in my closet, taunting me.

I did break down today and buy another pair of maternity jeans that I hope will be more comfortable and look less icky, but I'll probably be sick of them in a week, too.

At least I am easy to recognize these days. I am the pudgy, short person who looks a little pregnant, but mostly just fat. You know, the one in that same black turtleneck and stretchy skirt you saw her in day before yesterday?

I think I'll go dye my hair bright red. At least I can still do that...


new book blog

My brother in law has A NEW BLOG


the best advice you ever got?

What was it?

gotta love the french

There's nothing like some delicious "choco-crack" breakfast cereal to get your kids off to a great start each morning!!!

(This is AN ACTUAL BOX OF CEREAL in a French grocery store)


I'll bet they make a delicious "malto-meth" flavor as well!


It's so wonderful to hear from all the people who find the messages attached to the balloons released in memory of my LITTLE COUSIN WARD. Just today, someone posted a message about finding one of the balloons near a creek in Georgia.


sick parenting

It has come to my attention that a popular form of child discipline among a number of different fundamentalist Christian groups is spanking children with "glue sticks," which are apparently rubber rods found inside craft glue guns.

I was doing some research about this sick practice and stumbled on this scary CHILD GUIDANCE ADVICE offered by some preacher who appears to be located in my area, and affiliated with at least one local Presbyterian church.

Reading his views on how he disciplines his poor children made me feel sick.


Today I went to work with my skirt on inside out.

Tres embarrassing.

how DOES she do it?

I've been working a lot of hours at my job lately. There has been a lot of news in the news, so I've been putting in extra work hours at home and on weekends, etc.

And today we started some extra afternoon driving to get Jane to another day of riding per week to get her very green pony ready for his show ring debut coming up in only 6 weeks.

Plus, this freezing weather is my nemesis. I think I have the merest hint of seasonal affective disorder (translation: I hate winter and cannot wait for spring).

Last, I am nearing the end of my first trimester of pregnancy, but factoring in the miscarriage I had, I have now pretty much been in the first trimester of pregnancy non-stop for the past 5 months or so.

Whine, whine, whine.

Did I mention I woke up with a headcahe and still haven't kicked it today?

Anyway, tonight I told Jon that after I got home from work and kid-related travel (at about 6pm), I was climbing in bed and not getting out. He, being the supremely wonderful person he is, told me that was a fine idea and immediately took over making supper, helping with homework, etc.

I was feeling a bit like a layabout, kicking back here in my comfy bed (with an adorable sleeping Elliot crashed beside me), surfing the Web, when I ran across THIS BIT OF BREAKING NEWS: Michelle Duggar is pregnant....with her 17th child!

That's right, this woman has been pregnant for 12 or 13 years of her life. And I'm feeling tired and whiny with only ONE job, THREE children and a few months of pregnancy under my belt? What in the hell is wrong with me? I am such a slacker.

From now on, when faced with exhaustion, cranky children or my everpresent mountain of unfolded laundry, I am going to ask myself this simple, yet profound question: WHAT WOULD MICHELLE DUGGAR DO?


not fun

It is no fun to watch as your very brave 11 year old silently weeps as the dentist gives her shot after shot of numbing medicine so she can then dig and yank three baby teeth out...

Jane has a very high pain tolerance, so when she started telling me on Friday night that she had a really bad toothache, I knew she meant it. She suffered all weekend, unable to sleep well or eat very much. The soonest I could get her into the dentist was this afternoon.

She had a broken baby tooth on top and the two baby teeth next to it were loose and had permanent teeth pressing on them, so they all needed to just come on out (although our dentist did let Jane decide if she wanted to do it or wait for them to just fall out on their own).

For some reason, the numbing shot didn't work and she ended up getting at least eight more shots in her gum before they could pull the teeth. And then these "very loose" baby teeth DID NOT want to come out. The dentist had to dig and tug and twist. It was awful.

Jane just laid on the table with tears running out the sides of her eyes and into her her ears. She never complained or flinched. She's a tough cookie. I felt so bad for her. I sure hope this makes her feel better. She's had a rough couple of days.

I suspect the Tooth Fairy may do her right on this one...

first baby-related purchase

As I've said before, I'm not planning on buying a lot of stuff for NewBaby. I am hoping we'll luck into some good hand-me-downs(and in fact, got a nice offer from friends of some great stuff last week that we need to go pick up).

But as a dedicated cloth diaperer, that's one thing (cloth diapers)I know we won't get as gifts or hand-me-downs, so I am starting to stock up. Cloth diapers - at least the good ones that I like -- represent a bit of an investment on the front end, although you still end up spending a lot less than you would on throwaway diapers. Given the cost, I'm going to start ordering what we will need so I don't have to pay out a huge sum right around the time NewBaby arrives.

So today I ordered 24 of THESE IN THE NEWBORN SIZE, plus covers (I like the good old fashioned nylon pull on pants more than the expensive diaper covers). So now we are all set for diapers for the first 6-8 weeks ...unless the baby is born at a really huge weight, which is pretty unlikely given that my previous three children were pretty teensy. I should ask Jon's mother how much he weighed when he was born. I was also a teensy newborn...

good news, bad news

The good news: one half of the lowest dose of dramamine settles my stomach and seems to really cut down on my ptyalism problem (I can hardly bring myself to write "drooling problem.")

The bad news: it makes me sleeeepy.


I will have one of my essays (about being faced with a serious illness during my second pregnancy, and how I had to make the decision whether or not to have an abortion) included in this anthology:

KAREN BENDER (AUTHOR OF "LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE") and NINA dE GRAMONT (AUTHOR OF "OF CATS AND MEN") are the editors of CHOICE, an anthology of personal essays forthcoming from MACADAM/CAGE this fall.

CHOICE will tell the original stories behind different women’s choices regarding pregnancy, motherhood, and children in an effort to humanize the current debate about reproductive rights. With this unique collection, the editors’ foremost intention is to reflect the broad range of experiences surrounding motherhood and to show the world how important it is to preserve Roe v. Wade and the right to privacy –the right to live the very stories that CHOICE will tell. Contributors include include Francine Prose, Paula Fox, Ann Hood, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and Pam Houston.


pork producers vs. "the other white milk"! CHECK OUT this bizarre and hilarious real situation.

The national pork producing lobby group is threatening to sue a woman who raises money for breastfeeding causes by producing t-shirts. One of the t-shirts reads, "The Other White Milk," referring to mother's milk.

Well, the corporate porkers say she's infringing on their trademark and encouraging breastfeeding for "non-infant consumption," or some such nonsense. It's truly weird. Go read their letter to her. And buy one of her t-shirts.



infant formula companies teach breastfeeding

Now that I am pregnant, I am getting all the junk advertorial magazines sent out by the infant formula companies. Just this week, I got a glossy magazine from Enfamil (Mead Johnson). In it are articles on pregnancy and what to expect from childbirth and of course, one on breastfeeding.

Here are some of the statements within this article in which Enfamil purports to both encourage and "teach" breastfeeding to pregnant women:

*"The pain of nursing is something every new mother must overcome."

*"When you are nursing, it's hard to know exactly how much your baby is taking in- after all, unlike formula, breastmilk isn't easily measured in ounces."

There are quotes from nursing mothers scattered throughout the article, too. Each of the quotes starts with a diatribe about how horrible nursing was, but ends with her saying that despite the horror, she went on to nurse for a few months because she knew it was best. Breastfeeding by matyrdom.


*"THose first days were really hairy; I couldn't get comfortable, I felt really anxious and the pain was unbearable."

*"For those first few weeks, I thought I'd be chained to the sofa breastfeeding for the rest of my life."

The magazine also contains a short article on how important it is to have father give bottles to babies - even breastfed babies. A quote:

"Even if you breastfeed, it's fine to let Dad give the baby a bottle of expressed breastmilk. That way, your child won't be thrown off if you eventually switch to full time bottlefeeding, and Dad won't be deprived of the benefits of this special bonding experience."

They are really slick.


requiring hpv vaccine for young girls?

This is just SO WRONG.

HPV is undoubtedly a serious health risk. But it isn't the same kind of mass infectious disease risk as, say, measles, so the government requiring ALL young girls to have the vaccine is excessive and oppressive.

The science behind the vaccine is probably good (although I would like to give it a few more years before injecting my child), so my issue is with REQUIRING it. I am happy the vaccine exists for those girls and women who choose it. I'm all for making it widely available and widely publicized.

But I think the government needs to make a very, very exceptional case for public health and safety before requiring citizens to undergo injections of any substance in order to get public services. In this case, I do not believe the government meets that standard.


THIS PHOTO is enough to make me want to give birth to twins.

infant formula companies in the phillipines

This is a VERY DISTURBING NEW ARTICLE about the behavior of infant formula companies' corporate behavior in the Philipines. Be sure to read the whole thing.


john mellencamp's kid's taste in music

As the mother of a teenage guitar god myself, I found this QUITE AMUSING

(But how can John Cougar, er, I mean Mellencamp explain his taste in baby names? I mean, who names their poor kid "Speck?" Ick.)

stepfather of the year

Let me just brag on Jon for a moment.

Imagine you are an adult guy who happens to be the youngest child in your family. You have never babysat. You have no cousins younger than you are. You are a childless bachelor, living in a cool, artsy apartment Downtown. You enjoy rather quiet pursuits, and are pretty organized in the way you like to live. You have a cat, but this is the first animal you have ever lived with. You like kids, but you really don't know much about them. You do not know how to cook anything beyond chicken wings, ramen and pizza.

Now imagine you are suddenly thrust into a situation where you are living in a big, old house with a 3rd grader, a 6th grader and a 9th grader. Their mother is your new wife. The children are loud. They are messy. They have wildly busy schedules, and many young friends tramping in and out of the house. They have pets. Many pets. They need help with homework and school projects. The 3rd grader decides you are his favorite person and spends much of his time following you around the house and yard, asking you more questions than you imagined existed. The 9th grader plays loud electric guitar. Your wife has a very demanding full time job and she's pregnant, so she works a lot and sleeps more than you get to when she isn't working, leaving you to often fix meals, find broken toys, mediate disagreements, and generally run the household when she is not available.

Would you adjust and rise to the occasion? Or would you have a nervous breakdown and run screaming from the house?

Jon has done the former. I cannot even IMAGINE all that he's had to adjust to since we all moved in together. Yet, he is always patient, always kind, always an excellent role model to the children. He inspires me to be a better mother. He parents in the fullest sense of the world, but always with the utmost respect for the fact that he is not their father. He has - without any direction - figured out that coming into a 15 year old boy's life is quite different than coming into an 8 year old boy's life, and he interacts each of the children very sensitively.

Plus, because I am pregnant and not feeling my best lately, he takes really good care of me. He encourages me to sleep more and take warm baths. he rubs my feet. He goes to the store to buy me the Taco Bell burritos, out of season watermelon, and Perrier water I crave.

He's just....amazing. I pinch myself every day. I cannot believe my good luck. Not only did I manage to have this amazing man fall in love with ME, my children now have this amazing man in their lives...forever.


molly ivins

My hero, Molly Ivins HAS DIED. She was much too young - only 62 - and taken by that nasty disease, breast cancer.

I will write more about her tomorrow (I have to be at work at 4am in the morning, so need to go to bed), but tonight I just want to say that Molly Ivins made me want to write better. She made me laugh my ass off many times. And unlike most of the rest of the American press circa 2007, she never, ever, ever stopped asking the hard questions, or digging deeper.