Friday, November 28, 2008

I really don't like Wal-Mart

Last night at Thanksgiving I was talking about my dislike of Wal-Mart. I dislike it for various reasons. I have blogged about those reasons before. I thought that perhaps it was just my local Wal-Mart that caused people to automatically lose 10 IQ points upon driving in to the parking lot (it's gone even before they come in the doors!). But I was wrong. It's not just my Wal-Mart.

In New York, a crazy crowd of anxious shoppers trampled a Wal-Mart employee, trying to be the first in line to snatch up some of their after-Thanksgiving deals. This poor employee was pronounced dead at the hospital at 6 am. The out-of-control crowd didn't allow for other Wal-Mart employees to get in there and help this poor man. At least four other people, including a pregnant woman, had to go to the hospital for treatment because of this incident. Then, once Wal-Mart informed shoppers they were closing because of the death, people refused to leave and kept shopping!

Seriously, what is wrong with people? And what is it about Wal-Mart that causes people to act like such savages?

I'm so, so glad I have options other than Wal-Mart in my city. Many of my family members don't have other options.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

Lacy is so excited for Thanksgiving. One reason is because Christmas is after Thanksgiving. She is also excited about what she gets to do on Thanksgiving. And it isn't eating.

"Lacy, tomorrow's Thanksgiving! We're going to Papa's!"

"YEA!!! I can say 'thank you' to Papa!"

She also wants to talk to Grandma and Grandpa on the phone so she can say "Thank you" to them (they're in Germany on a mission so we can't just hop over there to thank them in person). Mom and Dad, if you see this tomorrow, give us a call on Dave's cell so she can tell you guys "Thank you." She's really looking forward to thanking you guys.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Note to self...

When making a graham cracker crust, and it calls for 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs or "about 18 graham crackers," measure it first. One graham cracker, apparently, is 1/4 of the wafer, not the whole thing unbroken.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Good Eats

Seriously, there is nothing more satisfying than wholesome, natural food. Unfortunately, so much quality food is so expensive. I have resorted recently to buying cheap ground beef with insane amounts of fat and hormones, antibiotics, and the works, because I am unable to afford natural beef at this time. I do the same for chicken.

Fortunately, we won't have to be doing much of that anymore. Our family has been blessed with some venison! Dave was able to make a really good shot today-- uphill at 60 yards-- which pierced the buck's lung. It is a good sized buck which we will enjoy having in our freezer. We already had some tonight, despite Dave getting the buck this morning. It tasted pretty good, though it was a bit gamey. Dave attributes this to the fact that it is a buck and that it was "in the rut." A few days' hanging will help the flavor of the venison to become less gamey. It is cold enough that Dave can probably leave it several days in our friends' barn. Unless he gets an elk tomorrow, in which case the deer will have to come down and the elk up. I don't think I'll complain about gaminess if that occurs!

On to the pictures... CAUTION!! Dead animal and messy tailgate photos to follow:

Lacy is a proud hunter's daughter. She always likes to pose with her daddy when he gets something good to eat.

And of course there are always the fowl that he brings home... lately it's been goose, but we have also often have grouse and duck. I'm so spoiled! Except I have to clean up the feathers. Eh. No thanks.

(which is why I have feathers scattered on my back deck still)

Friday, November 21, 2008


Lacy is clumsy. Really clumsy. She's always tripping on her own two feet. I hate for her to play in dresses and tights because invariably she falls and stains them or tears a hole in them. I had simply attributed it to her genetics-- she got her mom's coordination, not her dad's (Rose is very coordinated, OTOH). Then the Kindergym teacher today suggested that she may have a vision problem. That's an idea I never even considered! It makes sense--I had a vision problem which I outgrew by about age 13/14. Dave currently wears glasses and at least one other brother has corrective lenses. I also have a brother with poor vision who has worn glasses pretty much his whole life.

I guess it's time to schedule appointments with the pediatrician. Our insurance will FINALLY cover well-child visits, so I'll talk to the doc and maybe Lacy will have glasses before Christmas.

Or maybe she's just clumsy.

In honor of International Babywearing week...

which just ended on the 18th, I give you this article. Parents who use strollers where the child faces away from them interact less with their baby which can cause some delays. Sure, I use a stroller sometimes, but, like anything else, products like this shouldn't be overused. Rose is nearly 2 1/2 and I wear her still on occasion. Usually I use my mei tai, which is a traditional Asian-style carrier. I love it-- simple, easy, pretty.

This second photo is of Lacy and me when she was just over a year old in a wrap on my back. Even in this hold there will be more interaction than in a stroller, since the baby is playing with your hair, tapping on your shoulders, kicking your bottom, and doing all sorts of things to remind you she's behind you! You can't help but to interact more.

Wraps sometimes look intimidating to use, but in reality they're quite simple. They take a teensy bit of practice, but after one or two tries you have it down. Last night Rose was having a melt down and I couldn't find the mei tai so I put her in the wrap, and instantly her mood and demenaor changed. It was like a miracle. I don't use carriers as much after they're two (they usually want to walk anyway), but it's obvious Rose still needs to be carried a lot, so I think I'll start remembering to take it with me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Please contact your Representatives and Senators!

Today I got this email from my midwife:


November 17, 2008

Please Help U.S. Birth Centers
Birth centers are in jeopardy of closing due to an impending change in Medicaid policy. Birth centers have been recognized by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as Medicaid providers since 1987. Recently, however CMS has directed its regional offices to stop federal payments to any state for birth center services. Recently, CMS has disallowed such payment by several state Medicaid Agencies, including Alaska, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington State, and other states WILL follow! This action puts pregnant women at risk of losing access to safe, high quality maternity care!

Please Act Now!

Each and every one of you CAN take action to put birth centers on the Congressional radar. The birth community must take the lead on this--Congress won't take any action for us unless it hears from its constituents. AABC's lobbyist Karen Fennell is busy making Congressional visits, but they are saying they have not heard from you--so it must not be important . . .

Right now, Rep. Susan Davis (CA) will sponsor the bill and Rep. Lois Capps (CA) will co-sponsors, but we need many more--including Republicans so it has bi-partisan support.

Call your Representatives and Senators!

To find out who they are use these links:

Find your Senators - ... rs_cfm.cfm
Find your Representatives - - use the tool in the upper left hand corner

The American College of Nurse-Midwives also has a tool on their website -

Tell them you are a (midwife, staff person or client, neighbor, or supporter of birth options) of a birth center that cares for Medicaid women, and you want to let them know that birth centers are a needed service, and deserve to receive reimbursement! Other birth centers have already closed due to lack of facility reimbursement.

On the House side, ask Democrats to co-sponsor our bill which would add Birth Centers to Medicaid covered services. (Our bill does not have a number yet). Ask House Republicans to be a sponsor or lead. On the Senate side, we need leads and sponsors in both parties.

Please notify Karen Fennell ( of your calls. Provide her with the representative's name, the staff person's name, and any questions or information she should be aware of.

This is urgent if we want to sustain birth centers in the United States. Please call today. Remember, this is important to the survival of ALL birth centers we are working for--we need 50 calls this week! Please also pass this on to anyone you know who has had or would like to have a baby in a birth center! Thank you for your support!

I wrote the following response to my senators-- feel free to copy and modify as needed if you want! We need calls and letters ASAP (I'll try to get over my phone phobia and call all three offices as soon as possible). Calls are probably more effective than emails, but do what you can!

Dear Senator X:

Birth centers are in jeopardy of closing due to an impending change in Medicaid policy. Birth centers have been recognized by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as Medicaid providers since 1987. Recently, however CMS has directed its regional offices to stop federal payments to any state for birth center services. Recently, CMS has disallowed such payment by several state Medicaid Agencies, including Washington State, and other states are sure to follow. This action puts pregnant women at risk of losing access to safe, high quality maternity care.

As clients of a birth center that cares for Medicaid women, we care deeply that women have choices in where and how to give birth. Birth centers are a needed service, and deserve to receive reimbursement. Other birth centers have already closed due to lack of facility reimbursement. There is a newly introduced bill that will add Birth Centers to Medicaid covered services. This bill has not yet been assigned a number. In the house, Rep. Susan Davis (CA) will sponsor the bill and Rep. Lois Capps (CA) will co-sponsor. This bill needs support in both the house and the senate. Please lend your support to midwives and birth centers by supporting this bill as a sponsor or lead.


David & Carolyn N.

I wrote almost the exact same letter to my Democratic representative, asking him to co-sponsor this bill. He's cosponsored a breastfeeding bill before after I asked him to (I'm so certain it was all because of me LOL), so I have high hopes!

Please help!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Note to self...

Crayons don't make an effective rinse aid.

What have I done?

Thanks Brightonwoman for this meme!

Bold the ones you’ve done.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said "I love you" and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse well, I've seen partial eclipses and lunar eclipses AND I was in "Little Shop" and SANG about a total eclipse...
34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn't care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country

44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe not backpacking, but camping.
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain probably, but nothing "romantic" that stands out.
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theatre

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on a television news program as an "expert"
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period yay surgery!
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States at one point this was true, but not anymore.
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you if music is artwork then yes...
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ HOT 104!
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No, I haven't forgotten about my blog...

I've just been a little preoccupied lately. Dave's had some medical issues come up, and we're preparing for an exploratory surgery on Monday to check out his GI tract. He has a lump on his thyroid as well, but that has been checked out via ultrasound and the results were good (I don't have the exact results, just the nurse on the line leaving a message to call back, emphasizing that it wasn't urgent.

So yeah, the surgery's Monday, and Dave is on a low fiber diet to prepare. That would be no problem for most in this country who live off a Standard American Diet (SAD). But for us? I use a lot of whole grains and fruits and veggies, and usually less meat than called for, so it is really a change. Last night Dave had saltines with tuna salad as a snack. At dinner I managed to prepare a delicious low-fiber meal (shepherd's pie). But I have no idea what I'm fixing tonight.

Sunday is a clear liquid diet day. Monday's surgery is at 1 pm. My friend Jainnine has agreed to watch my girls that day, which is awesome because she lives fairly close to the hospital so it will be quick to drop off and pick up the girls. I can't wait to make high-fiber meals again! I think I'll make some chili and whole grain cornbread next week sometime for dinner. Mmmmm!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

She likes to read

Lacy takes her favorite books to bed with her and reads them (well, looks at the pictures) before she goes to sleep. Tonight she actually fell asleep reading.

PS-- the book she's reading is a really good book based on a true story of a woman who came over to America as an indentured servant. Lacy adores this book, along with many other favorites.

Friday, November 07, 2008

What's for dinner?

This is what we had:


Rose decided she wanted to rock both mom and dad to sleep tonight, and sing us "Rock-a-bye." Since both adults were involved when she rocked me to sleep, I was only able to capture her rocking her daddy. What a sweet girl.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Brushing up on my piano

Once upon a time, I was pretty good at tickling the ivories. I actually began my college career as a piano performance major, with a tiny scholarship, that they probably gave me out of pity and to build up their music program, as I really wasn't very deserving of a scholarship. I was decent, but I wasn't extraordinary or anything like that. I've always been clumsy and have had trouble with my fingering.

I think part of it is because of my practicing. I've never liked practicing, but I did it because I was threatened with grounding if I didn't. Or something. I practiced about an hour a day when I was in high school. Upon arriving at WSU, I was told I needed to practice between 2-4 hours a day. That was just overwhelming to me, and eventually I realized I couldn't hack it and I quit the program. Lately, I've been regretting that I didn't just get over myself and practice.

I had a goal this year to practice enough to revitalize my piano skills, but it's been difficult. In the past week or two, I've really been thinking about it and I've started playing again. Today I actually practiced for two hours.

Here's my ideal practice schedule
  • 5 minutes of scales
  • 5 minutes of arpeggios
  • 5 minutes of Hanon exercises
  • 5-10 minutes sight reading
  • 5-10 minutes hymns/children's songs
  • 15-30 minutes focus on each piece
Today I didn't work on sight reading or hymns, but I worked on 4 songs, spending significant time on Chopin's Nocturne in F minor. It is absolutely beautiful and I want to play it perfectly so badly.

I'm keeping track of my practice time online. I'll be updating periodically to let you know how I'm doing, or you can check my progress anytime here. Find username Carolyn227 and click on "show log" to see my totals.

DIY Halloween

This year Lacy decided to be a cheerleader for Halloween. I had one cheerleader skirt that I borrowed from my sister, and some purple and white pom poms that matched. I was able to get some dollar store red pom poms for Rose, but I needed a skirt. I took a look at the fabric I had in my stash. I didn't have much in the color scheme I was going for, but I did find several squares of fabric that were intended for a quilt. The large red and white striped squares were about 9 inches square (maybe a little smaller), so I cut them in half and made ten 4.5x9 inch strips of fabric. I found some yellow squares in my stuff and I cut them so they were just over 2 inches wide. The yellow fabric was shorter than the red fabric. At this point I wasn't sure how I was going to deal with that issue.

I pinned them together and sewed them into a fabric.
I ended up needing 10 red and 10 yellow strips to make a skirt that was wide enough for my skinny minnie Rose. The rule of thumb with pleats is to triple the waist measurement. Rose's waist is about 16 inches, so I needed 48 inches of fabric to make a nice pleated cheerleader skirt.

Now I started pleating. I made outward pleats, meaning I pleated the first half one direction and the other half the opposite direction. This post on Sew Mama Sew shows a nice picture of an outward pleat (it is the second picture down). I did my pleats a little differently because I had short fabric in between the red fabric. I ended up sewing the sides together to make the pleat and connect the top fabric, leaving the yellow fabric unsewn at the top. Since the fabric was 4.5 inches wide, I wanted to end up with 2 inch pleats. I folded the pleats the way I wanted them, and sewed them all together on the folds. This left me with a nice, full skirt and a little less bulky waistline that I could fold over and add elastic into without having to worry about it being super bulky and uncomfortable. This is the inside view of the skirt after it was finished:

Here is the skirt before hemming and other finishing was completed:
The fullness of the skirt is demonstrated here:
All that was left was to hem it.
I ended up going over all the seams later with a zig zag stitch because it was unraveling a lot. My serger is broken, otherwise I would have serged the strips together and not had to worry about unraveling.

I ended up not adding elastic because, hey, it stayed on and it's just a halloween costume. I may add elastic later, but I doubt it. This was a simple project that only took about 2 hours from start to finish.

The final results were very cute!

This is a very inexpensive and very cute costume that can be used as a dress up after Halloween is over. It's pretty simple to make and is easy enough for even impatient sewers like myself!

Happy Halloween! And don't forget to vote today!

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Ga ga ga!= Family Hug!
Sankoo=Thank you
Mowf Wash=Mouth Wash
Bus A Cease=Brush my teeth
Uh KOW!= A cow/horse/donkey/hooved mammal!
Uh Yuh Yoo=I Love You