Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Plans for Fat Tuesday, 2/24/2009

What are YOU doing on February 24, 2009? If I am not in labor, I may be going to IHOP for FREE PANCAKE DAY!!

Okay, so it is actually called "National Pancake Day" and here is the info from IHOP's site:

"Known also as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, National Pancake Day dates back several centuries to when the English prepped for fasting during Lent. Strict rules prohibited the eating of all dairy products during Lent, so pancakes were made to use up the supply of eggs, milk, butter and other dairy products…hence the name Pancake Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday.

Since beginning its National Pancake Day celebration in 2006, IHOP has raised nearly two million dollars to support charities in the communities in which it operates. With your help, we hope to raise $1,000,000 for Children’s Miracle Network in 2009!"

But what's the catch?

"IHOP is offering free pancakes on Feb. 24 in celebration of National Pancake Day.

This will be the fourth year that IHOP has celebrated the national event, with nearly 1,400 IHOP restaurants throughout the United States giving guests a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Diners will be asked to donate what they would have paid for the free pancakes, or more, to their local children's hospital or another charity. IHOP is hoping to raise $1 million for Children's Miracle network, a nonprofit helping children's hospitals and other causes."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Word of the Day...

Mark Twain is known to have said, "I have never let schooling interfere with my education."

And the word of the day is:


It means self-education or self-directed learning. An autodidact is a mostly self-taught person, as opposed to learning in a school setting or from a tutor.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

And now...your 2nd moment of Zen:

This is also very cool to do at the computer. At the LUNA Bar site, you can create a 'life-ism' or a collage of inspiring words and pictures and then you can print it out or send it to someone... very neat!

And now...your moment of Zen:

Visit this site and click away! or better yet click and hold then run the mouse around the screen! Great for the kids if you let them on the computer ;o)

For those of you who may find yourself in Hong Kong...

So I was searching for info on linea negra the other day, when I came across this site for pregnancy and nursing clothes, cleverly named 'Linea Negra,' "where the stylish bellies shop."

[From their site:] 'The genesis of Linea Negra Maternity came out of our own experiences while being pregnant in Hong Kong. We all shared the same feelings of shock, frustration and unhappiness with the selection of clothing that was then available to us. The good news is that now, things are different.'

The bad news is, THEY ARE ONLY IN HONG KONG!!!

Such great styles, colors and patterns yet not available to anyone outside HK...

But if you do find yourself in Hong Kong ;o) please pick me up one of these (size large):

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blessingway, Mother Blessings, and Alternatives to Baby Showers

In our culture there are so few ways to honor the mother to be. We make an attempt during baby showers, but for the most part this turns into a simple showering of gifts for the baby and does nothing for the mother in terms of the rite of passage she is about to go through. This sacred time in the mother's life deserves more than gifts of car seats and baby wipes.

While baby showers can be more commercial in focus, the Blessingway serves up a refreshingly sharp contrast. There's no booty of pink and blue gifts. The Blessingway is about the woman we know best - our friend and sister, the mother-to-be.

And while society seems eager to chuck aside the mother in favor of holding a cherubic gurgling baby, a Blessingway provides the mother with memories of a true show of support from her Loved ones.

~ The Basics of a Blessingway ~

Take into account that this is to be an extra meaningful celebration honoring the woman entering into motherhood and/or welcoming a new life, not necessarily a party for the baby.

~ Attendees: preferably keep it small 6-15 guests. Don't invite anyone out of mere courtesy, but make sure the guests are people who really mean something to you and contribute positively to either your birthing, life, or parenting experiences and is supportive of your philosophies. These people often include your mother, sisters, or other close female relatives, best friends, midwife and/or doula, people you would feel free to share your deepest thoughts and cry with. This isn't the time to invite Aunt Edna who you only see at funerals, weddings, and the like.

~ Location: Preferably at one of the guest's home, or your own, that has a calm, peaceful, and relaxed feel about it. If this is not an option, a park or some other serene setting can work.

~ Atmosphere: The atmosphere should be something akin to a candlelight dinner. Consider playing relaxing music, like a massage CD, or the honoree's favorite album. Also burning scented candles, incense or essential oils can immediately trigger a wonderful response by the guests and leave them with a sensory memory of the occasion . Turn off all the phones and pagers.

~ Food: Typically a Blessingway consists of food with some meaning behind it. For instance you can request that each guest brings a dish that reminds them of their mother or comfort food. Or you can have everyone bring a dish that represents the mother's favorite food groups.

~ Blessingway 'Rituals' ~

You want to make sure that whatever you do at a Blessingway, it serves to strengthen and uplift the mother-to-be. Some women are very open to the suggestions below, others like to do something a little more mainstream, such as a day at the spa or going to a 'paint-your-own-pottery' place. Be open to customizing activities to suit the mother's definition of being uplifted.

~ Request that each guest bring a special bead to string on a necklace or bracelet for the mother to wear until and through labor. A nice way to approach this ritual is by sitting in a circle and passing the cord, each guest adding a bead, or beads for each number of children they have, then the mother can add a final bead after the birth to represent her own child. The necklace or bracelet symbolizes the strength of our shared experiences as mothers and women.

~ Similarly a ball of beautiful string (hemp is durable and works well) is used to connect each woman's wrist to one another's in the circle - a web of womanhood. When the cord connects all of you, explains that this unites you all as sisters and represents the circle of sisters and the circle of life. Then you cut the cord, leaving enough length to tie the ends into a bracelet. Explain that though it appears we were then separate, the bracelet reminded us as women, we were all cut from the same ball of yarn. You may suggest that the women wear the bracelet until the birth as a reminder of the strength a group of women can hold for a birthing mother.

~ Candles. Either making them as a group or giving them as a 'party favor'. The reason being is that all the guests will be asked to light the candle when they are notified that the mother is in labor and will leave it lit until the baby arrives.

~ Smudging. Taken from the Navajo origins of the Blessingway, if the Blessingway is taking place in the Honoree's home a bundle of dried sage is often lit, then the flame burned out and the sage is allowed to slowly burn down. This is to symbolize a cleansing of the woman's home, either for a homebirth or for the arrival home from the birthplace, purifying of her soul and blessing for the birth and baby.

~ Belly Casting is another ritual that can be very fun. Either to have the guests cast the mothers belly and chest, or to have the cast already done and ready for the guests to paint or decorate.

~ Painting the mother's belly with henna. Themes to consider for henna painting and cast decorating: Personal heritage, the Mother’s religion or faith, celestial, nature; trees, leaves, vines, flowers, seasons, water, animals, fairies, abstract art

~ Foot washing symbolize readiness for a journey or new beginning, and hand washing will clean away fears. The feet or hands should be dried and can be smoothed and massaged with cornmeal, or anointed with oils. The midwife or mother is usually the one to honor the mother with these aspects, but it can provide a wonderful time for guests to bestow quite words of love and encouragement.

~ Hair brushing and braiding is another way to nurture and pamper the mother. If there is a brush that is, for example, an heirloom this can act as a way to connect the mother to her female ancestors. Adorning her hair with flowers can also help connect her to Mother Earth.

~ Song. Such a wonderful way to invite a loving spirit. Many women like to have each guest sing a lullaby their mother used to sing or one they have used with their own children. If all the guests are familiar with one particular song, say a lullaby, spiritual or hymn, this can also be sung together as a group.

~ Sending away your troubles and fears by having guests voice them, write them on paper, and then burn them from a bowl and sending them away.

~ Storytelling. Either of each woman's personal birth stories (but beware if you think horror stories will be passed around. Remember you are strengthening and uplifting the mother!), or stories of how each guest knows the mother or inspirational stories of each guests relationship to the mother - how they met her, what drew them to her, why she was important to them. This can be done during the hair brushing or foot washing or during candle lighting. This can also take the form of poetry reading or reciting an inspiration story or fable, and either have just one read or invite the guests to bring a poem or story of their own to read.

~ Quilting. Probably one of the oldest form of female rituals. It's very meaningful to ask in the invitation for each guest to bring a customized quilt square that tells of a certain quality the mother possesses. Either assemble the quilt at the Blessingway, or assign a friend to complete the quilt and present it to the mother and baby after the birth. This will become an heirloom that tells a story about the mother.

~ Keepsake Journal. This can be passed around during the foot washing or hair brushing for the guests to write down inspiration thoughts or poems. After the birth the mother can write of the baby's birth story.

~ Compile a 'nurture basket'. In the invitation, instead of baby gifts, instruct the guests to bring a gift that would uplift, inspire, or nurture the mother. This can be gift certificate for a massage or restaurant, bath goodies, books or journals, framed quotes, drawings or photos, luxurious robes or pajamas, teas or chocolates, etc.

~ Be respectful of the mother's religious preference, if any. If all the guests are of the same religious background, these aspects should be incorporated into the Blessingway.

Make sure to take pictures of the event!

Resource Guide:

1) Blessingways: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers--Celebrating Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood by Shari Maser

2) Mother Rising: The Blessingway Journey into Motherhood by Yana Cortlund, Barb Lucke, Donna Miller Watelet, and Pam England

3) Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin

4) “Mothering Magazine – Natural Family Living.” In print and online, visit for more info

Additional Reading:

1) Mother Blessings: Honoring Women Becoming Mothers by Anna Stewart

2) Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation

by Pam England, Rob Horowitz


Provided by Brevard BirthNetwork at the meeting on October 18, 2008 in Port St John, FL.

For more information on Brevard BirthNetwork, visit:

Also, if you have given birth in the last three years, please visit to share your pregnancy care experience – give feedback now.

Obama look-alike...

This is freaky! Check it out!

And now...your moment of Zen:

"Do not force nature, do not insult it, for it is as if you were to open the ears of corn to make the stalks grow."

–Chinese Medical Review (1852)

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Crazy Mom...

Insanity runs in my family. Not the kind to have you committed and loaded with all the drugs known to modern science, thankfully. But the kind of craziness that people tell stories about later. You know, like Weird Al or Albert Einstein.

Together with two of her sisters and two nieces, they drove up to Virginia early Sunday morning to stay with 'Aunt' Mary (a great friend to the family, no actually relation, but she loves to hang out with us and fits right in!) and then to proceed - somehow - to the inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington, DC on Tuesday. No, they do not have tickets - no one can get tickets unless they are high ranked government personnel or won a contest or something. They do have commemorative metro passes already. They are hopefully going to dress warm enough - they are planning on wearing three pairs of pants, several shirts or sweaters, heavy jackets, knee high socks, ski gloves and stocking caps. It is supposed to be 31 degrees F with a wind chill of 15 (!) and possible snow flurries... Now my Mom and her sisters grew up on New Jersey for a while and they have experienced snow, but that was many, MANY moons ago and they are pretty much Florida girls now.

Anyway, I think it is kinda neat, kinda scary, kinda crazy... BUT she will take lots of pictures and be super excited. Crazy part is, I would probably have gone with her if I wasn't pregnant ;o)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Those are cool shoes!"

These are the best shoes - EVER! They are called Vibram Fivefingers and they are like going barefoot. They are not fancy but do come in a variety of colors. They are adjustable, versatile, washable, super comfortable, and I have been wearing mine for a year now and the only thing bad is they smell like feet :) I only have one pair - because they are a pricey investment - and they don't get washed as often as they should because I am wearing them all the time!
[Those are the ones I have - pictured right]

They are the perfect mom shoe. They do not show any major wear spots, I can slip them on and go out the door. I am always getting complimented on them by people in the world. They say things like, "Those are awesome shoes!" or "Where did you find them?" In my area of the world, I got them here:

Nearly Barefoot Sandals
350 N. Atlantic Ave.
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

The other question I get is, "What are they for/What can you use them for?" I tell them that you can use them in water sports, rock climbing, weight training, walking, running, Yoga, stuff like that. I use them for chasing around after a three year old :) which is much like these sports sometimes!

They also make different styles, the Sprint with straps and the Flow that covers more of the foot. And how do my feet feel? Great! Absolutly wonderful! I do have trouble walking around Disney parks all day, but most everyone does no matter what they are wearing. Here are some health benefits that come from wearing Vibram Fivefingers. And no, sadly I am not getting anything from this company to say these things. It is just a great product I feel more of the world needs to know about!

Friday, January 9, 2009


The Butterfly Project

In an effort to remember them, Holocaust

Museum Houston is collecting

1.5 million handmade butterflies.

The butterflies will eventually comprise a

breath-taking exhibition, currently scheduled

for Spring 2012, for all to remember.

As of Summer 2008, we have already collected

an estimated 400,000 butterflies.

How may butterflies can you make?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Support you local BirthNetwork!

Top 10 Reasons to Join a Birth Network

10. Education is essential! Many Birth Networks offer continuing education and training opportunities, often at a discount for members.

9. It’s all about networking… a Birth Network, that is. Discover how to promote your business through this new outlet.

8. Help expecting moms in your area find doulas, childbirth classes and fitness programs by sending them to your Birth Network’s referral list.

7. Do you or one of your clients feel disheartened by a recent birthing experience? Learn how to effect change in maternity care by becoming active within your Birth Network.

6. Has your two-year-old worn out his welcome in your current play group? Find out what your Birth Network has to offer.

5. Learn more about the hottest new book on birth or breastfeeding through your Birth Network’s resource list.

4. Earn brownie points and be “in the know” by referring new parents to your Birth Network for a list of local lactation consultants, parenting classes and pediatricians.

3. Everyone needs a night out—make it educational by attending a speaker’s event, movie screening or fundraiser at your local Birth Network.

2. Who isn’t looking to save a buck in this economy? Many Birth Networks offer discounts and perks at local shops or online partners.

1. Finally, a place to meet other people who are crazy about birth!

If you can’t find a Birth Network in your area, consider starting one of your own. Visit the Lamaze Web site to find tools, tips and resources, including information on how to apply for a mini-grant to support your Birth Network.

And now...your moment of Zen:

"The 'normal' way that women in the United States give birth -- laying prone in a room full of strangers -- is not the natural way."

[Read a good article on the Orgasmic Birth movie here.]

Monday, January 5, 2009

I know it's silly but...

I am really the only one in my family to enjoy beer (except my Husband just finished his first beer last night! He usually grimaces - doesn't like the stuff), not that I drink to excess (well, only once ;o) and I am definitely NOT drinking right now being pregnant (though there are some days I do crave it...). But I was looking forward to free beer at Sea World when we took our girls in 2-3 years and I was not breastfeeding as much...oh well......

Of all the things to take away!

Of course on the other side of things, I really do hate to see this privilege abused - like when those idiot drunks are trying to make their way thru the theme parks and have not drank enough water or eaten enough to offset the alcohol...OR when they offer beer at events like Halloween Horror Nights and is something perhaps they could do without...

No More Free Beer At Sea World, Busch Gardens

Hospitality Centers To Close Within Month

The owner of SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens in Tampa has decided to stop offering free beer samples at the parks. Busch Entertainment Corp. said it will stop offering free samples of beer at hospitality centers at the parks. Beer will continue to be available for purchase. The company said it will retain the employees who worked at the centers.

The hospitality center at SeaWorld Orlando will close on Feb 1 and be turned into a restaurant. The one at Busch Gardens in Tampa also will become a place to eat after it closes at the end of January.
Well, I hope the restaurants are good!

National Delurking Week!

"Let it be known, it is officially... NATIONAL DELURKING WEEK... What is delurking week you say? Good question... It is the week all the lurkers out there finally own up to the fact that they visit blogs. If you read a blog and have never commented, you leave a comment and let the blogger know that you are a reader of their thoughts. Not too tough, eh?"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Homebirth! This comic from 'Mama Is' says it all! We are also planning a homebirth for our second daughter in Feb 2009. It will be a different experience than last time, but we are going for a more positive birth this one around.

Somethings I did differently this pregnancy:
  • Took Prenatal Yoga
  • Chiropractor visits at least once a week
  • Midwife (not an OB)
  • Much healthier diet (Brewer Diet)
  • Am not mowing the lawn
  • TRYING to take it easier....(with a 3 year old, makes things more challenging...)