Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blog-In against CPSIA

I know you've seen my rants and raves about CPSIA on this blog before. And I urge you ALL to contact your representatives and senators! Or write! Or email! Whatever you can do.

Did you know of the huge impact the law will have on libraries? From the American Library Association:

Under the current opinion issued by the General Counsel of the CPSC, the law would apply to books for children under the age of 12; therefore, public, school, academic and museum libraries would be required to either remove all their children’s books or ban all children under 12 from visiting the facilities as of February 10.
This law can not go into effect. Too much is at stake with this poorly written law. CALL TODAY!

And check out BrightonWoman's blog with lots of links to other bloggers writing about this today.

Need Help figuring out what to do? Try the CPSIA action kit.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Vitamins

"MOM! I need to have a vitamin or my TEETH WILL SCRAMBLE!"

I was unaware that vitamin deficiency lead to scrambling teeth, but now Lacy has educated me.

Surprises since going Wheat-Free

We've had a few surprises in our wheat-free adventure over the past couple of weeks. Mostly, I've been pleasantly surprised with the good surprises!

  • It IS possible to bake a good tasting loaf of gluten-free bread! I make a variation of this recipe. I use two whole eggs instead of four egg whites. Leaving 4 yolks for another recipe means I may or may not have use for them, so the yolks could go to waste. Also, we liked the bread better when I used whole eggs rather than egg whites. I don't have a french bread pan, so I just stick it on a cookie sheet. This bread sticks really hard, so I also use some parchment paper. Since the dough is sticky, I wet my hands and shape the bread with wet hands into a rustic shaped loaf. I bet this recipe would also work for making hoagie rolls or dinner rolls, too.
  • We like the gluten-free oatmeal pancake recipe better than the regular wheat pancake recipe. Yeah, it's a bit of a pain to make because you use cooked oatmeal as well as oat flour, but they come out nice and fluffy, and a teeny bit crunchy on the outside, just like we like them.
  • Dave prefers gluten-free brownies to my old recipe. And my old recipe was GOOD. My version of this is slightly different: I use unsweetened chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate.
  • Cheerios and Life cereal both have wheat in them! WHAT? I knew most cereals are not gluten-free, but we're not a gluten-free family, just wheat-free. The reason many cereals are not gluten-free is because they use barley malt, which Dave is not allergic to. So yesterday when shopping for cereal, I was only able to get Snack Balls (aka Kix) and Rice Chex, which actually is one of the few mainstream cereals that is gluten-free. YEA CHEX!
  • There are tons of naturally gluten-free meals that you can make! Chili and cornbread, tacos with corn tortillas, stuffed green peppers, curry and rice, polenta and Italian-style sauce... yeah, we'll miss pasta, but getting control of allergies is so much more important.
Next month Dave and I have our birthdays. This cake that Dave's cousin made looks soooo good, but it is made with coffee. It's strange... I don't feel weird cooking with alcohol, but coffee is a different matter to me completely. I guess because alcohol usually burns off most of the way, but coffee is still going to be coffee. I'm going to have to test it out with some sort of coffee substitution to see if I can make a delicious wheat-free cake.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Zip it!

Lacy likes to talk. A lot. She's been talking non-stop since she first figured it out when she was a baby. Last night she was talking too much. So Dave told her to zip it.

"No, I'm not going to zip it. I'm going to button it. Button, button, button, button. Now I can't talk anymore! Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm. Mmmm mmmmm mmmm mmmmm mmmm. Dad, when we get home can you read me a story?"

"I thought you buttoned your lips!"

"I unbuttoned them."

Of course. And she talked until about 9:30, after several threats of a frowny face on her sticker chart, she finally got quiet and fell asleep!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How Will the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act Affect You?

Please read this great article in the Seattle Times by Allison Brownrigg. If you haven't yet, please call your senators and representatives and tell them to stop the implementation of the CPSIA on February 10th. It will have a devastating effect on our economy! Big children's product manufacturers like Matel will be able to afford the testing on their products, but small to medium sized businesses may not be able to stay afloat with the types of testing that are required.

If you have a child, THIS WILL AFFECT YOU!!! If the law goes into effect as written,

  • LIBRARY BOOKS and school supplies will all be suspect. There is no "grandfathering" in this law, so all products will have to be compliant.
  • Sellers of used children's items will have to abide by this law. They won't be required to test products, but how will they be able to know if their products are safe without testing? Fines are up to $100,000 and jail time!
  • Stay-at-home moms who make handmade items to sell online in order to support their families will be forced out of business. I know of one mom who is a single parent and has a disabled child that cannot attend daycare due to his complicated health issues. The testing will be more than she can sell her products for. What does this mean for us? Either she will have to get a job and put her child at risk, or she will have to seek public assistance and use already scarce tax dollars to support her family, which she does not wish to use!
  • Importers of quality children's products will no longer import to the US because of the new regulations. It's easier to just leave the US out of it rather than to get expensive testing done.
  • Medium sized businesses will have to cut their product line drasticly to stay afloat. They'll still be able to provide products to the public, but we won't have the selection we once had.
Implementation needs to be pushed back until all these issues, and more, are addressed. Call, write or email your senators. Call, write or email your representatives. Phone calls and snail mail letters are more effective than email. There is one person who can call a hearing to delay the implementation of this law, but so far he has not done so. In addition to calling your own representatives, call Rep. Harry Waxman. Here's his contact information. Do what you can! He needs to know this law is disasterous to the small businesses, schools and libraries of the United States! (You need to have a zip code in the California 30th district-Los Angeles- to send him an email message)

In Washington, D.C.
2204 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-3976 (phone)
(202) 225-4099 (fax)

In Los Angeles

8436 West Third Street, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 651-1040 (phone)
(818) 878-7400 (phone)
(310) 652-3095 (phone)
(323) 655-0502 (fax)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Push Day

January 24th is "Pushday" in the campaign to help recognize Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, known as the Big Push for Midwives. Currently, only 24 states legally recognize CPMs as licensed medical providers. By recognizing CPMs as the legitimate, trained professionals that they are, this will improve maternity care for all women and allow many women who wish to birth at home or in a freestanding birth center the option.

Some women don't have choices in maternity care other than a highly managed obstritian's office. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but some women want a different kind of maternity care that is just as safe and effective as traditional OB care. Some of these women have the choice of going it alone (unassisted childbirth or UC) or using an OB. I support unassisted childbirth for women who choose it and educated in their decision, but I don't support it as the only alternative to overmanaged OB care. Women should have real chocies when it comes to birth.

In areas where the is no recognition of CPMs, women who choose midwives for their homebirths will have to use midwives that are unlicensed and uninsured, so it is more difficult for them to find out if there have been problems with their midwife in the past, and they can continue to practice even if they have a "bad record" since they don't have a license to suspend in the first place. And good midwives in these states can be prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license, even though in many cases they are more trained and experienced in normal childbirth (and sometimes even more complicated vaginal childbirth, such as breech, twin deliveries and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), which are increasingly not allowed in a hospital setting) than other birth professionals who are granted licenses. CPMs are required to go through schooling to get the certification, and also assist other midwives and attend a minimum number of births before being tested and granted the title of CPMs.

Women deserve real choices in birth! I chose a CPM for both of my births. Lacy was born at home, and while my sister, who was there, will claim that it was a scary experience (Lacy was a little blue but she pinked up right away and I passed out a couple times, which was no biggie for the midwife who handled it beautifully by administering a little oxygen which she carries with her in her birth supply kit), to me it was a wonderful birth experience, despite the minor hiccups we experienced. I was able to have a waterbirth, which wasn't available at the hospital at the time, which reduced my pain and the length of my labor. Rose was a more complicated birth, and my wise midwife knew when to transfer me to the hospital. Although she was confident with her abilities, she knew with the complications I was experiencing, it could quickly turn into a real emergency which would require a stat c-section, so we went to the hospital. Thankfully, Rose's heartrate when down when my water was broken at the hospital and I didn't experience cord prolapse like she feared would happen if my water was broken at home, so I didn't need surgery and ended up with a nice hospital birth with my midwife by my side. I want all women to be able to choose competent and caring midwives, so I support the Big Push for Midwives and encourage all of you to do so, too.

What you can do: Write to President Obama and ask him to include CPM's in federal healthcare reform. You can use either of these websites to send him a message:

http://change.gov/page/s/healthcare
or http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Just copy and paste this: Please be sure to include Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), who specialize in providing out-of-hospital maternity care, in federal healthcare reform.

Thank you, dear readers!

We're making a difference!

Check out this letter from members of Energy & Commerce to the Chairman, Henry Waxman, regarding Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. We're making a difference!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Haircuts!

The girls got haircuts today! It was Lacy's very first haircut, and Rose has only had her "rat tail" trimmed, when she was 13 or 14 months old, but other than that, no haircut for her, either. Our wonderful neighbor Lindsay did it for us, for free (she went to beauty school and she just loves cutting hair! She is so sweet). We were looking at $40 at a children's salon, maybe $20 at a discount place, so that really saved us a bunch! Considering our budget for haircuts is $0, that was perfect for us!

Lacy's hair was getting pretty scraggly. And Rose had a short side and a long side. As an illustration, check out this picture from Christmas. Note the right side of her head has a spot without any long hair. It looks fine when her hair is up, but when it's not, it looks terrible.

And it only got worse between then and now. She likes to pull out her ponytails. Pretty much the only rubber bands that will hold her hair are the teensy tiny little rubber ones (her hair is super fine and anything else just falls right out) and they tend to grab other hairs on their way off the hair. So every time she would pull out her ponies, she would grab a good clump of hair, and she always went for the right side first.

So, since I can't keep her hair looking good while it's up anyway, I may as well have it looking good when down.

So today was the day. Lacy was so looking forward to it. We went over to Lindsay and Brandon's house at about 4 this afternoon, and got started. Rose was up first.

I don't think she really knew what was going on yet.

Our lovely neighbor beginning the haircut... Rose is still a bit unsure, but very cooperative.

I'm including this one because you can see how scraggly Lacy's hair is. And, oh, her eczema is getting bad again. Bummer.

The finished haircut.

Lacy's turn!

She was a little bit excited.


The finished cut! She looks so cute, if I do say so myself.

The girls with their stylist for the afternoon


MUCH better!

They were both so well behaved. I was impressed with their behavior, especially considering we've had a really hard week. They both were angels through the whole process.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My adorable firstborn

I went in to check how the girls were doing a second ago, and I had to take a picture of Lacy. I have more weird sleeping pictures of that girl!

Yes, she is snuggling Woody, even though she has two perfectly good babies in bed with her, and she's wearing a tiara. That's my little princess.

Monday, January 19, 2009

We're Going Wheat-Free

So, it's official. A couple days ago, Dave ate whole-wheat pancakes followed a short time later by mac and cheese, both of which are wheat-based meals. Dave has tested positive for wheat, but we weren't going to worry too much about the wheat allergy quite yet. But then, his body rejected everything and he felt sick for the rest of the day. So now, he's wheat-free, and the rest of us are gradually transitioning with him. I'm sure Rose will be disappointed to no longer get to eat her beloved mac and cheese, and Lacy will really miss quesadillas, but it is all for the best. If Dave has a wheat allergy, it is very possible that the girls do, too, or may have it sometime in the future. Especially considering they both have eczema.

Going wheat-free is tough. Most everything at the grocery store that is pre-packaged contains wheat. But that's not a big deal, because I cook mostly from scratch, anyway. But there are a few things we're going to have to do differently. For thickeners and gravies, I will have to use something other than flour. I've used tapioca flour before, but that was a little weird with the end result. I'm thinking maybe I'll try rice flour or potato flour next time instead. We'll have to start buying a different soy sauce, as the kind we currently get contains wheat. There are several brands that are what-free, however. We will no longer eat pasta, since most pasta is wheat-based, and the non-wheat pasta we've tried is disgusting. I may try corn and quinoa pasta to see if they're any better than the rice stuff we've had before (yuck!). Bread is questionable, because it is so delicious made from wheat, but we can have gluten (just not from wheat), so I'm going to have to look into that. Wheat makes the best bread because its gluten content is so high. I'm going to experiment with other grains to see what works best. Breakfast is going to have to change. I typically make a lot of pancakes, so I'll have to get a new recipe. I do make spelt muffins which are great, so that's one thing we'll still be able to eat! Woo hoo! I may make some tomorrow for breakfast, since I can. I often add pecans and dates to the recipe, and it is delicious.

Meals that have worked for us since going wheat-free include stuffed green peppers, baked potato bar, and steak and fries (one of Dave's major comfort foods-- thank goodness he can still have that!). Our starches are mainly going to be potato and rice from now on. I'll have to start stocking up on rice for our food storage now instead of wheat. And we'll grow potatoes every year, too. They're a lot of fun to grow and they store really well. We still have a few pounds of blues left from last year (we harvested in October I think). I'll probably plant double or triple what we did last year.

Dave's disease in his throat, Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE), is an allergic reaction that was described to us as an asthma attack, but in the esophogus. Dave only tested positive to two allergins, wheat and bananas. We already knew he had an allergy to bananas, but we didn't know about the wheat. I think that an overload of wheat or bananas in his system causes the allergic reaction to occur, and by eliminating wheat he will be able to lead a relatively normal life, perhaps even enjoying some wheat-based meals on occasion once we've eliminated wheat from his diet completely for quite some time. I am so thankful for all the great resources out there for wheat- and gluten-free living, especially all the great pastry recipes! I love to bake, so I'll just have to learn to bake differently. Dave's cousin, Theresa, is gluten-free and is a baker, and has a blog full of lots of great ideas, information and recipes for gluten-free living. Another resource that I've found is Gluten-Free Girl, who not only has lots of recipes and info, but has lots of links to other gluten-free blogs and websites, too.

Tomorrow I'm going shopping at the co-op and I'm getting myself lots of little tiny bags of flour! I have a few already, but I'll be adding sorghum flour and potato starch to my collection, and probably some others, too. I already have xanthium gum, tapioca flour, potato flour, arrowroot flour, and some others, plus I have lots of rice and oat groats and a grinder, so I make my own rice and oat flour, and any other kind of flour that I need (I have a collection of different grains that I can grind into flour at any given time, including spelt, kamut (which I'm not sure if we can eat or not as it's pretty close to wheat, but a little different), quinoa, millet and a few others).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Call, Write and Email!

February 10th is not too far away, people. Soon the government will be taking over our right to sell and buy quality, unique, handmade items by requiring testing that is prohibitively expensive to small business owners. Testing for one kid's telescope is estimated to be $24,000, but the annual sales of this product are only $32,000! How is this going to help the economy? This will force thousands of businesses to cease doing business!

This could also affect your local library-- books will be subject to this law, too. The price of books will increase, and the books already in the kid's section will be suspect.

And even though there is an "exemption" for second-hand stores, they are still liable if they sell something that has toxins in it, even the tiniest amounts. Violations of the law can be met with federal prison time and fines of up to $100,000.

I know I'm just another "mommy blogger" that the CPSC (consumer product safety commission) hates so much. They said "mommy bloggers" are spreading misinformation and paranoia. Well, is Forbes Magazine on the same level as "mommy bloggers," CPSA?

Seriously, you guys, I am terrified at the detrimental affects this law will have on our economy, on our children, and on our future! Please call, write and email your senators and congressmen about this issue! This doesn't just affect small business owners, this affects our economy as a whole. This law is too restrictive and unfair! Call your senators and representatives!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Go out and vote!

Please take a couple minutes and vote to save handmade toys at Change.org. The top three will be presented to Obama.

Remember a couple years ago the lead scare in children's toys? Well, the US government decided to step in and help with the situation by making a new law that will require increased testing of all products for children under the age of 12. So far so good, right? Well, they are requiring tests that are prohibitively expensive on everything, even on natural products that have never been a threat. This will force thousands of small business to go out of business as testing can cost up to $4000 per item. Say a mom works from home in her spare time to provde an extra income for her family. This law will effectively shut out businesses like that. However, the large mega-corporations will be able to afford all the testing no problem. There is more information on the link. Please take a minute to vote!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

She fell asleep!

My Roozer fell asleep on her own, by herself tonight! I know, for most people, that is not a big deal for a 2 1/2 year old. But this doesn't happen very often in our house. I'm hoping to wean her soon, so it's nice to be on our way toward that goal. After the usual nursing, she was still awake, so I put her in bed with a sippy cup of water, and she fell asleep. Lacy wasn't even asleep yet, so they didn't distract each other! I'm hoping to move Lacy to the big bed in her room this summer, and Rose to the toddler bed at the same time, and move it from our room to the girls' room. It will be so weird to sleep all by ourselves after all these years.

In other news, Dave got his allergy test results back. He is allergic to bananas (duh!) and wheat. Nothing else came up positive. They said the banana allergy wasn't all that bad, probably because he has avoided bananas now for about 6 or 7 years (he used to eat them all the time, but it was waning when we got married and it soon turned into this allergy he now has). The wheat allergy is mild, but I don't know if it is an avoid gluten thing or an avoid wheat thing. I'm going to talk to him about what course of action to take tomorrow. I'm thinking possibly a short term elimination diet like we did with dairy when Lacy was a baby, avoiding wheat intirely and completely for several months, and then adding it back in in small doses, and not every day. We've been eating a ton of rice lately, so I'm sure we'll continue on that path.

man

Lacy and I have been working on reading together. She's learning the letters and their sounds, and today we started talking about blending. We're using the Rocket Phonics system, which is really fun for her because it has bingo. I say the letter sound and she covers the letter on the bingo chart. We work on a few letters at a time and then move on. We've been working on lesson one now for, oh, a year I think! But it's only now that I feel like she is mature enough to really follow through and begin reading. The letters we are working on are a, e, i, f, n, m, h, k, and l. She's learning them all in lower case because that's what you see more. She's having trouble with f (she always says it's a t), and h (it's too similar to n). the rest of them are usually no problem, though she can get confused with e and i sometimes too.

So anyway. We talked about blending and we got out the little rocket ship peeker and started reading the words using those above nine letters. It took a while for her to get the concept, so she didn't read "an" by herself. The next word, though, was man, and she sounded it out all by herself! It took a minute, but she got it! She was so proud of herself for reading a word! There's no turning back now-- she'll be reading books before I know it! Pretty soon I'm going to have to get some easy readers for her to read.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What an Egg-citing morning

This morning Lacy was set to have eggs for breakfast. She told me while I was still in bed. I was sore from a vigorous yoga set from the day before so I was taking my time. I got to the kitchen and found Lacy had broken two eggs into the tiniest tupperware container we had in our home. It probably fits about 1/2 of a cup in it, if that. Two eggs were overflowing in this teeny little thing. But no egg shells! Of course, Rose decided she wanted to help as well. But her eggs weren't broken as neatly as Lacy's were. She broke hers on the floor.

You MUST pet the ducky!


Rose really loves her cousin Cooper. He's so sweet and cute and so easy to love, it's no wonder she adores him so. Yesterday, Cooper came over for a while and Rose decided to read him a book. She grabbed his hand and forced him to pet the little ducky!

No, this is not how I punish my kids. I swear.

All the laundry was done and they decided to see if they could fit. I had to have them stop playing their game once Lacy started closing the door on Rose. They did this about a week ago and haven't done it since, which is good because it makes me so nervous!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Scripture Power

Tonight at spiritual time, Lacy was having a heckuva time paying attention. When it was her time to read, she was turned around, completely not paying attention, but still somehow repeating everything I said. What she repeated went something like this: "And now behold, even as there was once a girl who was turned around during the reading of the scriptures, even though it was not good in the eyes of her mother and father, yet she still remained turned, and this girl was named Lacy, and she was reading the scriptures..." when she FINALLY caught on that she needed to turn around!

She continued to not pay attention, and in the verses following there is metion of sheep and a wolf. I asked her what animals were mentioned, and she said, "I don't know, a zebra? A zebra and a horse?"

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Bubble Bath Incident

I got a 3-in-1 bubble bath/body wash/shampoo for Christmas that I've been using in the shower. Lacy knows what it is and always asks to use mom's shampoo. Today, when I wasn't looking, the girls grabbed the bubble bath and Rose poured about 1/2 cup of it into their bath.

Suffice it to say, their bath was a bit bubbly.

They did have fun. Until they found out that with a bubble bath, they can't get out of the tub 'till they're showered off. Lacy enjoys showers, but Rose does not. Rose also kept getting soap in her eyes.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am not a fan of bubble bath for kids.

Mother

Lately, Lacy's been calling me mother. ALL THE TIME. She calls me nothing else but mother, unless she's not thinking and she reverts back to "mom." It's hilarious, frankly. It sounds so... formal.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Healthy Living Challenge

I'm now a contributor to my friend Kathy's new blog, Healthy Living Challenge 2009. I will be participating in the challenge and this will help keep me accountable. My goal is to lose at least 20 pounds my earning 8 points per day (except Sunday). I get points for reporting, exercising, drinking water, taking a multi-vitamin, and more.

Today, so far, I have done 20 minutes of cardio yoga, drank 24 oz. of water, taken my multi-vitamin, and had snack balls for breakfast instead of granola. Snack balls is actually Kix, which is whole grain and has 3 g. of sugar per serving, so it fits within the parameters of this challenge.

I'm hoping to lose the weight in 12 weeks, and then I'll do some sort of modified version of the challenge for the rest of the year to keep the weight off.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Piano practice blog

Since one of my goals this year is to practice piano every day for approximately 1 hour, or at least as much as I can, I thought I would blog my practice. I'd like to do a daily blog to go over what I have worked on and what I learned during my practice sessions. For those who would like to see where I am, please visit my piano practice blog, See Mom Play! I'm looking forward to learning new works by great composers, re-polishing works that I once performed at recitals or began to learn but never finished, improving my technical ability, and increasing my knowledge of theory and music history.

Other goals for this year is to read the Doctrine and Covenants, go to bed at a reasonable time (whoops! Off to a bad start already), get up at a reasonable time, and keep the house reasonably tidy. It would also be nice if I could lose 20 pounds-- I can't believe I lost most of my baby weight and gained so much of it back! I have a personal rule for myself that I'm not allowed to get pregnant if I'm not back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. So I guess I have a few months at least before Dave and I start talking about babies again.

I set too many goals for myself last year and I failed miserably in so many areas that I really don't want to review my goals for 2008. I probably will anyway, but it's so depressing that I'm not sure I really want to for a while. Perhaps when I get my routine down this year and start making headway on my new goals for 2009 I can do that.

Happy New Year, everyone!

And with that, a video of my kids as monsters, from this evening. This was right before spiritual time, and I can say that the girls weren't very spiritual when we began reading scriptures just a few minutes after this was shot. Rose wouldn't repeat the words I asked her to, and Lacy made up movements to a song that is a sitting still song and struggled with reciting the articles of faith (we're working on #11 now!). Even the threat of a frowny face drawn upon her chore and attitude chart didn't get her to cooperate! She cried while she was doing what she was asked (mostly because she didn't get to watch "Elf" today like I said she could). With that... a note to self. Do not get the kids all riled up right before bed. But they were SO DARNED CUTE! They started acting like monsters after their bath when I was putting "tickle stuff" and "eye makeup" on them (that's our words for the topical steroids that they have to use for their rashes-- a stronger prescription for their bodies and a weaker one for sensitive areas like their eyelids, since steroids can weaken and thin the skin if used too much). I love the way they roar. Lacy just wants extreme close ups and Rose has trouble with instructions. As you will be able to tell right away.


video