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Archive for April, 2009

Now we are One.

Well, Judah is one, anyway. This Big Event happened on April 12th…and it is so interesting to me to think of the passing of time since Judah was born.  It is difficult to believe that Judah has been with us for only one year, in spite of how quickly this year has gone by!

Just born

Just born

A bit of anxiety around turning one

A bit of anxiety around turning one

Our dear and generous friends from Haven House had a lovely party for Judah, on a sunny spring day.

Zach made a delicious carrot cake for Judah!

Zach made a delicious carrot cake for Judah!

It was so fun to BBQ on Maggie’s deck with the great view and Judah was quite impressed with the scores of friends present to pay her much attention. She was also pleased with the balloons…photo121photo10

I have been thinking back to Judah’s birth; it was such a great experience for me. Not only did I have a very peaceful, ideal labor and delivery at home, but also I had a sweet little baby…the concept of which was not quite a reality until suddenly, it was.

Zach and I really love having this fun girl with us.

party dress

party dress

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Evidently President Obama has declared April to be Sexual Assault Awareness month. One might learn more about it here. I think this is great. The thing is though, wasn’t April already Sexual Assault Awareness month? Oh well, at least it is confirmed for this year, so all is good I suppose, if not a bit redundant.

I wonder what this Awareness should really look like. The campaigns I have been involved with in the past that promoted sexual assault awareness, domestic violence awareness  or child abuse awareness felt a little silly to me. I hope that someone became aware. I have my doubts however, and am more inclined to think that people just assumed lunacy of the throngs of marching women carrying signs that read “NO means NO!” Um, it’s true. No means no. Is it a compelling message though? Does it make you think? It made me feel a little embarrassed. I don’t feel embarrassed to take a very strong stand against violence of any nature, and I am certainly not ashamed to do what needs to be done to promote awareness of this giant issue, but my question is: how is that best accomplished? If it can be achieved by holding signs in one’s downtown, then I’ll quickly get over my embarrassment and become a fervent sign holder. I just feel like people don’t take that too seriously. I know that I don’t take it very seriously at all, although I might take the message and intent seriously…the act of bearing signs as a means of protest or activism just does not resonate with me.

The problem is, I am entirely unsure of what would be the most effective means of promoting awareness. Probably many people in many places have had some great ideas and are implementing prevention and awareness plans that I just don’t know about.

It would be great to be commemorating this month of awareness in Homer. There is always a cause to support…endless causes…but violence against women, and sexual assault specifically (against any gender) is like an insidious disease and knows no boundaries of race, age, class, etc.

The good news is that I work at Haven House, the domestic violence and sexual assault shelter, so I guess technically, it’s my job to help promote awareness (regardless of the month). If signs and slogans is all we have, then thats what we’ll use. The worse option would be to do nothing.

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Book Club!

I have been contemplating for months now, how the addition of a Book Club would be such a welcome thing in my life. I do love to read. Beyond that, I think that I could certainly use some regular stimulation and if I have to organize a book club to bring about something potentially stimulating, so be it.

The thing is, I have such an enjoyable life. I have a very happy little family and a fulfilling job and some great friends. I anticipate summer to be complete with loads of fun and productivity and physical exertion. All such needed things. However, while so perfect in many ways, gardening is not necessarily mentally stimulating (for me). I have a hilarious and wonderful time with Judah, daily, and while she does cause me to think deeply about new things, she has yet to spring forth with stimulating questions or insight about the world. I think this is only because she has not yet begun to speak. I believe she is an old soul and full of wisdom and good humor. It’s interesting though, because the thing that Judah does cause me to ponder and ask myself on a daily basis is the question of how much dirt is it possible and unharmful for one to eat? I realize that unharmful is not a word. But at what point does unharmful become harmful in the world of consuming mouthfuls of dirt?

I digress. This illustrates where I am coming from though; a place where I cannot seem to wrap my mind around the antics of babies, but at the same time feel a deep need for attempts to contemplate “greater” things.

All of these thoughts came together to remind me of an author whose work I have absolutely loved for a myriad of reasons. The reason that I love best is that when I read his stories, I feel like he is articulating concepts that are inherent to who I am, but have not yet articulated for myself. I have often felt that reading these books gives me a better understanding of myself. This is a very narcissistic view for me to hold and I’m sure Italo Calvino would be highly insulted.

The point is however, I’m starting a book club and I’m quite excited. We shall have to wait and see if it will exceed or at least meet all of my lofty expectations.

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I have been thinking long and hard about The Learning Tower. I am positive that Judah would love it and I think it would make some activities more accessible to her while also keeping her somewhat contained…without causing her to feel too constrained. For instance, Zach has devised a makeshift Learning Drawer for Judah, while they make bread together. It involves pulling out the middle drawer under the counter and allowing the baby to stand in it and make large messes in bread flour; on the safety scale, it ranks at about number zero. Furthermore, what is the weight limit on the Learning Drawer? I am guessing that we are nearing the maximum load intended for our drawer, which previously had only been used for holding kitchen towels.

Some of the factors that make the Learning Tower so much more ideal than the Learning Drawer, or more ideal even than a standard kitchen chair pushed up to the counter, are the safety aspects. The LT is very sturdy and is designed to not tip over. It also has a rail of sorts around it, to keep small children from falling off. It is multipurpose as well! It can be used imaginatively as a fort, jungle gym, puppet theatre…oh the possibilities are endless.

It has crossed my mind that since I so highly value this clever contraption, I should perhaps set about making my own. I’m sure it’s possible, but I have neither tools nor know-how and I am confident that any creation of mine intended to resemble the LT, would be a rickety death trap. It would not have the sleek, aesthetic quality of the LT, either. I have also vigilantly watched craigslist for any word of an LT waiting to be passed on, but alas. Clearly, people love their LT’s too much to sell them.

The brand new LT costs like, hundreds of dollars. What kind of a scam is that?

Herein lies my conundrum.

I think this would be a valued addition to Judah’s belongings. I try to give it serious thought before I cave in and buy whatever fancy thing has been marketed in my direction, and I feel like I buy quite selectively. Judah does not own a mountain of Useless Items that might be considered by many to be necessities. When I do decide to give in and shell out the cash for the baby accessories, I make valiant attempts to purchase second hand or make my own items, or find some real person that makes said item, ideally in my own town. It’s not looking so promising for any of those to be available options for acquiring the LT however, and I am facing this dilemma.

Thus, I have created a poll and I am very anxious to have some objective and varied feedback! Please vote, and feel free to leave comments elaborating on any thoughts regarding The Learning Tower.

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Restless

Due to volcanic ash drifting down all around us, Judah, Zach, Blaster, Amesa and I have been feeling rather trapped in this small, but generally cozy house of ours. The days of Staying Home are adding up, given the ash and inclement weather of varying nature. Zach is expressly concerned for Judah and her newish set of lungs. Rightly so, as I’m sure that sucking in ash from volcanoes is not exactly conducive to good respiratory health. Never leaving the house is not particularly helpful for maintaining my sanity however, so it seems to be a bit of a trade off. The pristine state of Judah’s lungs, for zero jaunts into the not-so-fresh air for the rest of us.

While we have been privileged to observe the volcano erupting, others have been proactive enough to capture excellent photographs and videos even, of Redoubt mid-eruption. One is able to view them here.

Pending further volcanic activity, we will continue to focus our efforts on indoor projects, such as brewing wine and mead. I’m pleased to say that both appear to be coming along nicely, if not transforming our mere living room into a brewery of sorts. Very small scale, but exciting, nonetheless!

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