You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2010.
Here is one from Letcher County native – Lee Sexton. This is a clip from the documentary Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus.
Motivated by Hip Mountain Mama, I have been participating in her urging of families to make small changes that will accumulate to make huge changes in our impact on the earth and her/our environment. This event is called One Small Change. There are prizes involved for those who want to participate in that way, but the rewards of participating go far beyond a physical prize. I encourage everyone to visit and think about the changes they can make.
Earlier this month, I made two goals for the month. The first goal was to reduce our waste by using less throw away napkins and paper towels. I’m happy to say that this has went really well, and wasn’t as hard to keep up with as I was expecting. I had some cloth diapers that I no longer use that are very absorbent. We have started using them as napkins and for cleaning up spills. Unless there is something major to be cleaned, we can get several uses out of one diaper/towel before it is dirty enough to wash. I then just throw it in with the weekly washing of bath towels and washcloths. This is going to save us quite a bit of money too.
The second goal I had was to stop buying bottled water while out and about. Our well water has too much iron/sulfur in it to be drinkable, so we take jugs to the watering hole to fill them for drinking and cooking. When we are out of the house, it has been the easy thing to buy bottled water for drinking. I had hoped to get a stainless steel container and stop purchasing the bottles. I found a container I like, but I haven’t bought it. This winter has been hard for us, and for several weeks the icy weather kept us from being able to leave the holler and go up the hill to fill the jugs. Convenience won out in this one, and we ended up buying bottled water for home too. 😦 I’m hoping winter will allow us a little more leeway in the rest of the season.
Instead of continuing with this unattainable goal, I decided to get rid of a lot of our kitchen plastics and replace them with glassware. There are many dangers to using plastics in the kitchen to our health, not to mention that most plastics don’t break down well or at all. Storing food in plastic or using plastic in the dishwasher or microwave is the worst. I started by replacing our eating utensils with glass, specifically our bowls. I am hoping to find more ways to not buy plastic in the first place through store packaging. Over time, I hope to replace our food storage containers with more glass. I have been working on that for awhile, and have some mason jars and large lidded glass jars that I use for food storage. Reader’s Digest has a good article this month on kitchen plastics and which ones are the most dangerous. Check it out if you’d like more information.
For February, my goals are to change the bottled water situation, and looking into light bulbs. We haven’t switched to the energy efficient fluorescent bulbs yet because the disposal of them and the mercury they contain concerns me. I need to do some more reading on this topic and see what other alternatives there are.
It’s good to love our Mother. 🙂
I think I’m going to start posting some YouTubes of my most liked music on the weekends. Here is my first.
I am broken-hearted about the situation in Haiti. I am concerned for all the people there, especially the children and elderly. It has been on my mind quite a bit from wondering how someone like Pat Robertson could feel justified in making the embarrassing comments he has made, to hoping for peace for them, to wondering how a mother like myself could help. Today, I saw one mother’s solution to that wondering and wanted to share it with you. Shivaya Naturals has reopened her Etsy store with 100% of the proceeds going to Haiti relief. Please visit there today if you are able and contribute. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitians and those around the globe helping to meet their needs.
I have had Deladis on my mind quite a bit lately. Her reactions to it being a “school” day, her temper with me and hitting, and whether or not she should be watching television and how much. I think about when she was a baby and the two of us would traipse all over Louisville (well, the familiar parts ;)) going to parks, play dates, Gymboree Play and Music, and Waldorf Parent/Child. Her favorite place to eat was Whole Foods and she would clean her plate. We would laugh and play games. I didn’t raise my voice at her. We had a wonderful time. Motherhood was still new and I was consumed enough to be meticulous about so many things.
Recently, I posted to a Waldorf Homeschool Support Group about Deladis losing heart with our schooling. As Ivy grows more able to participate in our Circle Time and enjoys the activity, Deladis seems to be losing interest. In the past, I have tried to eliminate television completely from her world until she is older, but since moving home, that is a lot harder to do. Our family enjoys TV, and so do John and I. We don’t have cable here at the cabin. In fact, John and I have only had cable 6 months in ten years of marriage, but we do enjoy movies, documentaries, PBS, and certain TV shows, and we subscribe to Netflix.
In the last months, I have limited television viewing to weekends. A few weeks ago, Deladis started asking me if it was a school day or a watching day. When I would tell her it was a school day, she would become disappointed and not participate well in our activities. I, then, decided that there should be no difference in school days and weekends, and since our TV would remain in the home, she could have one program a day during the time in the evening when I cook supper (when the girls are not at their best).
I posted to the support group wondering what to do about Deladis’ seeming non-interest in singing, or reciting verse or fingerplays with me and I called her downhearted. The truth is I was projecting my feelings onto her. I have been disheartened that my attempts at a Waldorf home for my family has not worked out as I had envisioned. My home is not TV free. It is not simple and tidy. Deladis’ favorite toys of late is Littlest Petshop and she spends hours in imaginative play with those, so I have allowed them to be bought for her this Christmas. The truth is, I don’t know where we fit in the big picture of the world of Waldorf.
I know Waldorf education works. I will never forget when we toured the Waldorf School of Louisville and I found myself teary eyed passing through each classroom and seeing all the beautiful, safe, and pure learning going on in each of them. The clincher was walking into the fourth grade classroom seeing a room of engaged students reading from a chalkboard the most beautiful cursive handwriting without missing a beat. They were learning the fundamentals that so many students coming through our public schools today miss, as they vie for teacher’s attention and fumble their way through computer games and busywork. (Please don’t take this the wrong way. I was a public school teacher, my great grandmother was a public school teacher, my grandmother worked for the Board of Education and was a substitute teacher at times, and I have many friends in the world of public education. I believe it is the environment that government run schools have created for students that are the disservice.)
I was reminded of the stories of my great grandmother and grandfather (Golda and Luther Johnson) and their school days – plain, simple, and fun. I compared it to my daily experience in the public school system as both a student and a teacher, and knew I had to bring the Waldorf educational environment to my children. If I could not send them to a Waldorf School, I had to bring it to them.
At this point, I am unsure of what is next for our little home “school”. I am dedicated to Waldorf philosophy and I am going to be diligent about coming to a better understanding of it. But more, I want to find how it will fit into our family. Each family is unique and has its own special culture. We are individual and I believe that is what is wonderful about homeschool. The educational experience can be just as unique as we are. I can still be within Waldorf educational philosophy and not look like the Waldorf of other families. This blog has given me hope of that.
The great thing is, I have two more years before I need to start academics with Deladis. So, technically, I’m not schooling yet. In the meantime, I’m going to explore this further. I’m going to read some Rudolph Steiner, take some free online workshops, and keep reading the many great Waldorf inspired blogs out there. I’ll get it figured out. But, most importantly I need to reconnect with Deladis. I need to make some time for just me and her. I need to observe her, meditate on her, and meet her needs.
Some of my favorite Waldorf inspired blogs:
The break in the weather today was nice. Really nice. The truck is stuck in the creek because of all the ice and us trying to get it out before John took another short trip. Today, it almost reached fifty degrees and I got to come home from my mother’s, where I’ve been staying for lack of ability to leave the holler in an emergency.
I like being cold much more than being hot, and I wonder sometimes if it is part in partial to my being a bit of an introvert. Winter makes us go inward. The bustle is not so much and it forces us to spend more time with ourselves. We renew and we make big plans. We resolve to do and be things. We get really excited and then frustrated because we suddenly have lots of things we want to be doing and the weather doesn’t allow for us to do them. We grow tired of inner conversation. Then, we get stir crazy. Then, it is Spring.
I enjoy the little breaks in the weather of Winter that gives you a moment to exhale, to take a fresher deep breath and begin again. I am enjoying my time this Winter, and I hope the feelings I have gained are ones that I will never lose. I hope to only grow in them and to go forward with the change they bring.
I have some simple things I will be focusing on this year. Things that will change my life, my being, my heart, my work, and my basic approach to life. Hey, it’s about time. 🙂
- I’m going to complete my childbirth educator training and classes with Lamaze International beginning in February. I will become a certified childbirth educator and begin helping the women of my region take a look at all the possibilities and miracles of birth. I will also become trained to teach prenatal yoga in April and tie that into my work as a childbirth educator.
- I will be reading the writing of Rudolph Steiner. I want to learn about the Waldorf philosophy of education directly from the source and take what I learn to create the experience of education for our girls. Lately, I’m too caught up in “being” Waldorf as in the examples from the many blogs, books, classes, and things that are Waldorf inspired. The real “Waldorf” education will be the experience that works and fits with our own family culture. It won’t look the same as what works for others.
- I am learning more about Spirituality. I am exploring my beliefs and trying to learn all I can about living a life that is tuned in, out, and grounded. 😉
- Continue to practice Kundalini Yoga and to learn all I can about it. This will also help me with number three.
- Finish my novel and continue to look for publication for my stories.
It feels good because it is nothing unrealistic like keeping the house in perfect order, or making sure the girls never get their feelings hurt. 😉 It is life in simple. I’m so excited, I’m smiling as I type.
Photos by Brett Marshall
Yes, it’s been four days since we have left the cabin other than two treks to the barn to refresh the chickens. We have about 5 inches of snow and the temperatures have not been above the mid-20s, but have spent most of the time in the teens and single digits. Ice covers the confluence so thick that we don’t dare to try to drive the truck through it. I have waterproof insulated boots now, so it’s all good.
Really, it is starting to eat away at us. The girls need room to play, and I have found I need activity. I thought about drinking coffee today just for some excitement. I can’t motivate myself to clean, but I have finished a short story that I am pleased with, and read some good ones.
There are good things about being stuck.
- More time together with Daddy.
- The girls have learned to love grapefruit.
- Snow angels
- Hot chocolate
- Blueberry muffins
- Coloring on black paper with metallic crayons
- Watching movies and reading books
- Dance parties in the kitchen
- Registering for my childbirth educator workshop/course. I start in February.
- Getting some writing done
There are not so good things about being stuck.
- Overhearing Deladis tell John she likes him best. (A fear I have had since becoming the mother of girls. I know she is just four, but I can kind of feel where she is coming from. I want her to like me too.)
- Something about our “doing school” isn’t quite exciting enough for Deladis, but Ivy is now growing into participating and it is just right for her. So begins the perplexity of homeschooling two at different levels.
- Aching bones. That little headache that develops from looking at the same four walls.
- The girls having penned up energy. Deladis gets too rowdy and has tantrums where she hits me, and Ivy just throws fits trying to bite herself and pulling her sister’s hair.
And so it goes. At least the good list is longer than the bad one. 🙂 I hope the bitter cold is over soon, and we can have more time outside. I’m doing some revamping of our schooling too, so I’ll post about that soon. I don’t know what will work, but I’m already getting…
“Is it a school day?”
“Awww…” to the tone of someone who has just been told they are having iceberg lettuce and escargot for breakfast.
I fell in love with childbirth the first time I witnessed it with my own eyes. I had seen kittens and puppies be born before and thought it a glorious thing, but when I helped my sister bring my nephew into the world on that warm summer day in 2000, I knew I had witnessed a miracle. I knew I had watched a rite of passage like none other possible in life, and while I didn’t think at that time I would be a mother, I was glad to be a woman.
When I prepared for my own daughter’s birth I did everything I thought I should do. I did prenatal yoga and walked. I ate a healthful diet and kept my weight gain to a minimum. I took my vitamins. I chose a practice with all women (7 of them) obstetricians and never missed an appointment. I attended every session of the childbirth classes held at the hospital. I wrote a birth plan that outlined the process that I hoped would be my natural vaginal birth and gave it to the doctors. I did everything I knew to do to insure that I would experience birth in the most natural form. The way I felt nature/God intended in most cases.
Then, on the day I turned 38 weeks I was given my 7th ultrasound in my pregnancy to check on the size of my baby. They estimated her to be upwards of ten pounds. The doctor I saw that day said that if I had any hope of giving birth vaginally I would need to go in that night to be induced. I agreed because I wanted a vaginal birth. I called my family and packed my bags. We got to the hospital and as soon as the doctor on call (different from the doctor who recommended the induction) read my chart she ordered another ultrasound. She then explained to us that she believed that my baby being upwards of ten pounds was too large to risk a vaginal birth. She gave us a list of possible complications if we did indeed choose to attempt a vaginal birth – shoulder dystocia, cerebral palsy, brain damage, death. The doctor left the room for us to make our decision. I looked at my husband and sister in uncontrollable tears. We all thought that there was only one thing to do. I consented to have a surgical birth.
My daughter was born 8 pounds and 13 ounces 20.5 inches long. I immediately felt like I had been played. Then, as complications arose for the both of us from the surgery, including a five night hospital stay, I knew in my heart that I had made the wrong choice. I now know that surgery was unnecessary and have had it most likely confirmed so by another obstetrician. At this point, I became passionate about childbirth, and have since set out to educate myself and anyone that was looking for answers on the topic.
While cesarean section is a blessing for many mothers and babies, as it was in the case of my second birth, when it is necessary because of a medical complication, the practice in this country is obviously being abused putting in danger mothers and their babies.
In the United States the cesarean rate is 31.8%. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that to remain within a healthy range no country should exceed 10-15%. That means that the US has doubled that recommendation. It has increased 48% since 1996. Why?
There are many speculations as to why, however there are some things we can be sure of, the first being elective cesarean surgery. With rumors of celebrities scheduling their surgical births, women wanting to plan ahead to avoid certain days and times to give birth, and others misinformed and afraid of a vaginal delivery, it has become possible for many women to just choose surgery. I believe convenience for the obstetrician plays into this as well. They don’t have to be on call or wait on a long labor. Not only does this seem more convenient for some, but it is also more money in the pockets of the doctors and hospitals.
The other large reason is malpractice lawsuits and insurance companies. Doctors fear being sued, which I think might play a part in many of the cases of recommended c-sections for a large baby.
Then, there is the cascade of medical interventions most often starting with an induction and leading to a c-section. A labor brought on by chemical induction is much more intense than regular labor brought on by natural hormones released from both the mother and baby. This often leads to an epidural and the mother growing tired sooner. It is also more likely to cause a baby to go into distress. A natural labor for a first time mother can easily last twelve hours or longer and be completely safe. Induction brings on hard contractions much sooner. It is not as gradual a process as natural labor.
Why do we consent to these things? Some of you may even be wondering why I’m concerned at all with any of this. It is because we are misinformed and left in the dark by the health care practitioners we are trusting to deliver us safely through our pregnancies and birthing experiences. It is because for me ignorance was not bliss and has had lasting health complications for both myself and Deladis. I wish I had known to know better. I wish what I know now was common information and not something you have to search for. I wish all women had the means to inform themselves and were respected by their practitioners.
So, you have the right to know this (whatever your choice is)…
1. A c-section is a major abdominal surgery.
2. C-section surgery poses risks to the mother including infection and hemorrhage among others that are 2 to 4 times more than a vaginal birth.
3. C-section surgery can delay mother and infant bonding due to post-op regulations in the hospital and the delay of natural bonding hormones.
4. Babies born via c-section are more likely to have allergies and have issues breathing at birth. A c-section also runs the risk of babies being cut by a scalpel during surgery.
5. The “big baby” reason is a myth. Ultrasounds are notoriously wrong the later you are in your pregnancy at determining the size of your baby. Unless you have had the rickets or your pelvis is knowingly deformed in some way, there is no reason to think that your pelvis would not accommodate the size of your baby.
6. You have the right to refuse cesarean surgery or any other medical intervention you feel is unnecessary. (Barring any medical emergency, this is your safest option).
7. You have the right to be fully informed of all the pros and cons of any medical intervention before making your decision.
8. You are more likely to experience a c-section if you have private insurance and private doctor.
9. If you become uncomfortable with you health care provider, you have the right to change. (Check with your private insurance companies as to their date requirements, but in most cases arrangements can be made.) You also have the right to a second opinion.
10. Homebirth with a midwife is available in most states and is the safest option of vaginal birth. Midwives generally have better birth outcomes than obstetricians who are trained to look for an emergency not normal vaginal birth.
Please take the time to inform yourself. Start by visiting some of the links provided in this article and watching this short film. Then, I recommend you watch Ricki Lake’s, The Business of Being Born. If you are then inspired to learn more, please feel free to email me and I can recommend more websites and books to help you avoid or prepare for your necessary c-section. You have been given a glorious gift of pregnancy and the opportunity to give birth. Take it into your hands. Make it a peaceful place for you no matter than manner of delivery.
I want to begin by apologizing for not quite keeping up here with the comments and posting these last few months. I want everyone to know I read every comment and respond in my mind (Hopefully, I will be able to do better about posting those thoughts as we get back into a healthy post holiday rhythm). I very much value the interaction on this blog and the others I read. It’s nice to have online community.
So, we just got back from Cincinnati visiting some family there. We went to the zoo’s Festival of Lights and saw an amazing light display, some neat animals (an eastern screech owl up close and personal, shown by a delightful caregiver, and some spectacular insects), and an outdoor show by the Madcap Puppet Theater in about 10 degree weather. 🙂 It was their Christmas present for the girls, and I am so grateful for it. Both Deladis and Ivy were in high hog heaven. 🙂
But… the highlight of the trip for my personal self was a trip to Trader Joe’s to stock up on some hard to find grocery items. I had read various women sing the praises of Trader Joe’s on internet forums, and I had never experienced for myself. I have fallen in love, and I want to know how you can get a store like that to come to a rural place like this. The first surprise was the size. It was a tiny, quaint store. I didn’t know what to expect, and while I didn’t see shelves and coolers filled with a crazy variety of food like you would at a Whole Foods store, I saw just enough. It was almost perfect – almost. The prices were the kicker for me. I found Trader Joe’s bacon that was nitrate/nitrite/MSG free for $3.99. I bought 4 packs. Here you pay $4.99. Frozen blueberries for $2.99 (12 oz.). Gluten Free Mac-Cheese for $0.99 a box! I found whole milk yogurt with a higher fat content than Yo’ Baby, and when you have a picky toddler who loves yogurt that is a blessing. Ivy needs all the fat she can get. It was wonderful. I bought four large canvas bags full to the top of good food for $137.00 I can’t believe how excited I get over food. I want a Trader Joe’s in the mountains. I pay twice the price for some of the things I bought today on a regular basis. I think that once local people saw the food was affordable, they’d be happy to shop there.
2010 is a good year. Heck, every year is a good year. We are blessed with life! I have been inspired in these last weeks, and I know without a doubt that I am being led, and I am taken care of. It’s nice to be assured of that. It’s freedom. It makes you want to do something about it. Over on a blog I found a few months ago a challenge is being held – Hip Mountain Mama (One Small Change) . She is encouraging people to make small changes in our living to create sustainability and positively influence our impact on the environment. John and I try to work on this every day. It is of a great deal of importance to us as energy issues impact our everyday life with the coal industry being a crucial part of the economy of the mountains and living with the impact that has on our surroundings. We know that this isn’t a stable energy source, and it won’t be possible to fuel our local economy off of it forever, and John and I both believe we mountain folk need to start making those changes now and learn what we can do to sustain ourselves here. However, we know that coal provides about 80% of the nation’s electricity, so it is up to all of us to begin that change.
I probably won’t be able to keep up with the blog deadlines she has set, but I’m going to participate in my own way.
Here is what I want to change:
1. There is no recycling center in our county. The closest is about 30 miles away. Because of this we have stopped recycling. (And John watched a Penn and Teller BS episode and feels it might not be so bad. I don’t know. I’d have to revisit that episode myself.) So, in lieu of that, I’d like to reduce our waste. We have it down to about 1 garbage bag a week. The next change I think I will make it making some napkins to use in place of paper towels for eating and some mess clean up. I have some old sheets that would work perfect for that.
2. I’m going to make it a point not to buy bottled water when I am out and about. I plan to purchase a stainless steel water bottle and fill that to carry around. We use water we collect from the watering hole for consumption and cooking at home. Carrying that with us won’t be hard. Plus, after hearing about the movie Tapped, I am motivated. It is hard to think about when the local water supply can hardly be trusted because of recent petroleum spills and other such industrial pollutants. Praise God for our watering hole.
I challenge everyone to make one small change. Something you can feel good about.