30 January 2011


Aah, the weekend has come and gone. We spent it indoors, as the freezing weather hasn't let up, aside from today. It truly felt like spring! I would have felt hopeful except that it is still winter, and will be for two more months. I am definitely ready for a new season. As exciting as the snow is, we are going crazy not being able to get outdoors. Here's to hoping February and March pass as quickly as January has.

This past week, I was added to a group called "Young Moms" on Facebook. Normally, I would pay it no mind and not participate, because it's just not my style. Well, I guess it is! I posted a thread asking if any moms would consider themselves "crunchy", and to my surprise quite a few people responded. The post turned into a spanking debate pretty quickly. We firmly do nottt spank in this house, and here's why: violence is truly not the answer. I want A to be able to express herself creatively and calmly instead of resorting to violence. I don't want her to fear me, either. I get on her level and talk to her. My number one tactic is removal and redirection. I'll take her away from the dvd player, computer, Blackberry - and grab a book or a toy. It works 99% of the time. Sometimes I get extremely frustrated with her, but who doesn't? I try not to yell, because I find that she mimics me *lol. And before I get reaallyy angry that she won't quit messing with something, I think of the 10% rule. For babies, temptations are so great, and they can only control themselves 10% of the time at 1 year. 20% at 2 years, etc. So I don't expect much from little A when she keeps getting into the tupperware draw. My last reason is, I respect my baby and how she feels. I didn't like being spanked when I was younger. I probably would have behaved much better had I been treated respectfully. I recently read a post on a Mothering.com forum (http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1294076/slipping) where a poster said "Spanking works. But it is not about whether spanking works or not. Rather it's what kind of relationship do you want with your child". That's a good way of putting of it. All opinion of course, no judging here. But something to consider.

C and I just finished watching the Kennedys Home Movies. It was great! Time for bed though, long day tomorrow. Xoxo, S.

28 January 2011

#6. The Vaccine Series. Our Experience

I am planning on writing a series of posts on vaccination throughout the year. It's one of the topics I feel very strongly about, and have a surprising amount of information on.Vaccines are a huge part of society, whether we realize it or not. Vaccines are always changing, as is the research done on them. New information is always being made available.

Note: I do not think I am a better parent because of my choices. Every family is different and believes / requires different things. I am not writing this article to change any minds, I am simply writing it to put my perspective out there. I am not a doctor nor come close to one. My observations are made through experience and research.

I am not pro-vaccine. I am not anti-vaccine. I am pro informed decision. Vaccinating A is something that just doesn't sit right with C or myself. We think we are making the right choices for our family, and we will defend them if need be. I don't feel that not vaccinating my daughter will put her life in extreme danger. C and I did not make our choice lightly, we are still open minded and will consider what A's pediatrician has to say. However, my questioning of vaccines started in May 2010 because of my then 6 month olds reaction to the Rotavirus vaccine. I am currently in the process of getting her medical records and we are reporting the incident to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (http://vaers.hhs.gov/index).

At the end of the 3rd week in May, A was to be given her 6 month shots. We went to the Department of Health in Titusville, Florida, and she was given Rotavirus, DTaP, PCV13 (pneumonicoccal) and IPC (polio). A was real irritable after the injections, and slept a lot. The irritability continued for the next few days, and then came the hives (on her tummy), the diarrhea, 104 degree fevers, and vomitting. Forceful, clearly painful projectile vomitting. She started to get listless, even falling asleep in the bathtub during a bath. We brought little A to the E.R.  where she was admitted. Ghostly pale, severely dehydrated with her highest temperature at 104.3, she wouldn't even take a bottle of Pedialyte. When she finally did, it came back up (on me, every time) within 5 minutes. It was also accompanied by 20 minutes of heart-breaking screaming. It started before the E.R. and continued to happen well after we returned home from the hospital. A was pumped with fluids for 3 days before we were released. She still wasn't herself, and was waking up screaming every 40 minutes. It was a very hard time for everybody in the house, because nothing would comfort A at all. The screaming stopped suddenly in mid June, and she was starting to finally get some liveliness back. The doctors at Parrish Medical Center had ultimately diagnosed it as "unknown". Unknown??! How can doctors not know? That was very frustrating for me. It wasn't until I did process of elimination that I figured it out. Nothing in our daily life had varied, except she had gotten her vaccines a few days before the serious reaction. But at first, the thought of them didn't even cross my mind. I started doing research on the vaccines she had been given, and I am now 99% positive that A had a reaction to the Rotavirus vaccine, or caught it because it is a live virus vaccine. Her symptoms were in line with reported reactions to that vaccine. http://www.druglib.com/druginfo/rotarix/side-effects_adverse-reactions/ What the hell is going on here? I was really wondering. It brought me back to my own past, which I was totally forgetting.

When I was in first grade, it was 1996 and 5 turning 6 years old. To get our vaccines, the children would line up single file and walk to the basement cafeteria area. We would all take our turns sitting down, getting the vaccine, getting a band-aid, and getting sent back upstairs to our classroom. That time it was the Meningitis shot. I walked up the stairs and remember my throat starting to tingle and get tight. I walked in the first room to my left at the top of the stairs and went to sit down on the rug for story time, except by that point I couldn't breathe. The last few things I remember is being picked up by my teacher, brought to the nurse, and then being loaded into an ambulance. I stayed at Hasbro Children's Hospital for a week. They say I was allergic to the mercury in the vaccine.

After the incident, I promised myself that I wouldn't blindly agree to anything regarding A until I had the chance to educate myself on what it is, its ingredients, the benefits, the risks, and plain ol' whether I feel alright with it or not. I am her mother, who has her best interest and well-being at heart. I am her protector, and I will do so from anything potentially damaging. To me (after all the research I've done on disease infomation + control, vaccine history + ingredients, and adverse reactions), the risks outweigh the benefits. A is very low-risk. I am a stay at home mom who is with her 24/7. When I start my classes in February, she will be going to a home daycare run by my aunt. The only other children in her daycare are two other toddlers, one being A's cousin. We eat lots of fruits and veggies, supplement and overall do not consume much processed sugar.

I don't not vaccinate A because of that one reaction. In actuality, that one reaction started me on my quest to make the most informed decisions as possible. I feel that after all of my research, and in my gut (and heart!) I am totally making the right decision - for US. I do not think everybody should stop vaccinating their kids. They obviously are proven to work. But remember to do your research. There is so much information out there that you will have no clue existed until you look. You are in control of your kids vaccination schedule. If it feels wrong to you, then it probably is! Be your babys biggest advocate because you are all they have.     xoxo, S

27 January 2011


I can't say I like days like today. C didn't have work because of the snow, and while I love to have him home, it just screws up my weekday routine with A. When he stays home, the day just seems to drag on because currently I really have nothing else to look forward to. That plus my subconscious unwillingness to do anything productive just led to a bummer day. I managed to clean the house this morning, but couldn't work up the gusto to make a 3 part meal. I threw a ham in the oven - Sigh. I so desperately would love to go vegetarian. But with my meat loving C, I don't see this happening anytime soon. - and let it cook with hand squeezed orange juice, pineapples, and brown sugar. When it finished, it sat on the stove. I don't know where the three of our appetites have taken off to lately, but please, come back!

A is getting smarter and funnier everyday. She truly amazes me. Mothering is not an easy job, but she makes it so worthwhile. Her new thing lately is to fake laugh - "ha ha ha!" She is 14 months old and sarcastic! It has taken A awhile to show affection. Of course I know she loves me, and C. But she is so active that she never wants to be sitting. I am okay with that, it is her personality! But she has finally become content with sitting in my lap for a snuggle! I get an extraordinary amount of kisses daily. Still, A is a high needs baby, so I am so thankful to have my sling. Lately C and I have been speculating that A is going to be musically talented. She will hum to songs she likes, and click her tongue to beats of songs. It's pretty great, but C and I are both heavily influenced by music and we listen on a daily basis (instead of tv). Aah I love her <3

Lately I've been trying to find more young mamas like myself and the search has been going.. not well. I don't think I'm asking for too much, and I know I'm not the only person interested in the things I am, so whyyy is it so hard? Most of the people I know are kind of like "huh?" at some of the things I do, like making my own cleaners and babywearing, sometimes I even get downright attacked for my beliefs on vaccination and religion. I just want a friend with common interests. I think that I'm just looking in the wrong area, but where to look? The only community crunchiness I see around here would be the farmers market.. and probably a few parents on the East Side. Winter is hard because you can't just go outside and explore. *Literal sigh. C just asked "what is the matter?" haha*.  I can't wait to get outdoors, I feel like my creativity wanes in the cold weather, I get brain cabin fever.   I'm just rambling now, so until next time.. xoxo, S

26 January 2011


Today has been quite the day! The weather has been insane, and doesn't seem to be varying from snow much in the next week. I'm not complaining! I love the snow, and I don't mind cold weather. A must take after me because she adores the snow. Stares out the window at it, and grabs her boots! I am beyond thankful to be back in the North. The South just isn't the same. This industrial city looks like a little mountain village when it snows, cars tinkering by. I can't get enough of it. We're currently in the middle of another Nor'Easter - looking forward to tomorrow when A gets to trek through the fresh powder in our urban yard lol.

We had woken up to snow this morning. C and I were up about an hour and a half before A! I enjoy that quiet time immensely (but not as much as big bed cuddle time!). I got ready for the day, while C started to get A's things together to go with my aunt while I took my test for school.
*I'm currently trying to get into the Stepping Up Program in my state. They offer completely free education, but you have to pass a Tabe test and also have an interview before you find out if you are accepted or not. It's pretty competitive, but I have an interview! I went for the test and it was moderately easy. I flew through the reading comprehension, but math is a bit hard for me (total dyslexic). Enjoyed my walk home from Main Street in the snow, aside from there being no sidewalks! A few hours after my test I received a call from Ms. R saying that my reading was above college level, and my math was well above what they require for the program!  !!! So I have an interview on Feb4. This is the first step to completing my career goal plans, and so far so good. If I keep good grades throughout the 7 weeks of classes, I'll get to go into their CNA program. After that, well that's when I get to start my nursing courses. I'm pretty excited, I hope next friday comes fast!   

To make the day even better, my brother in law R has returned home from a long years stay in Afghanistan. C and I are overjoyed at the fact that he is home and with my little sister, A. I miss her terribly, but know how wonderful her life is going to be in her new home in Middle America. She texted me a photo of the two of them and I started to cry! So sweet to see them back together. Tell your loved ones you love them one extra time, and be thankful you don't have to go without them. <3     xoxo, S

                                                             My wonderful smelling Paper Whites!

24 January 2011


A and I had a very adventurous day yesterday. We headed to Zig Zag Zone located at the John Smith Sports Center in Milford, MA, with my lovely friend L and her 20 month old daughter S. If you can put aside your worry about germs or your kid getting stuck with a needle in the ball pit (I'm kidding! Does anyone remember those scares?!) , it's a pretty great way to spend a cold day having a blast with your kid indoors. A is only 14 months, but she's been walking since 9 months and is extremely mobile. This place is perfect for kids who are able to climb relatively easy, and who aren't afraid of heights! Zig Zag Zone is comprised of a bouncy house, a huge play area with tubes, slides, and other activities, and a giant bouncy slide at the end. It is on the side of an indoor field, so soccer or field hockey practice is usually going on. A and S had a wonderful time! Entry is $7 for all day access, and the best part is, you get to play alongside your child! That's right, L and I were climbing right along with the girls - it was awesome for us to see firsthand how much fun they were having. The lunch area is decent, chicken fingers (healthiest on the menu) were okay. This was my first time, and L suggested going on a weekday morning if possible, because all the older kids would be in school (there were a decent amount today). Parents in the waiting area were overall very friendly, casual conversation was made. Most either read or toyed on their Blackberries. Overall a very cool place, A and I will definitely be heading back here.   Xoxo, S


22 January 2011


This morning, the three of us woke up early and continued our routine - cuddles in the "big" bed before we start the day. I was extra excited this am because we had been planning on making homemade pop tarts for a while ( a la  http://www.cookingwithmykid.com/ ). Today was that day! Unfortunately I'm not the greatest working with sugar, and my batch of apple butter for the tarts didn't turn out as planned.. I was revelling in the smell of cooking cinnamon'ed apples and sugar, until it started to burn! Either way, it was full steam ahead with fresh dough from Calise Bakery, amazing French blueberry & strawberry preserves, and an adorable little baker named A. Needless to say, the three of us had a sweet morning, complete with some great treats and a romp in the snow!  Xoxo, S

21 January 2011


"My mind's not a well, it won't run dry." - Anthony Green

My first post in over five years! Feels good to be back on the blogging scene and figuring out the quirks of this platform. Before I start, let me just say this is a wip (work in progress). It really has been a while since I even had to write anything remotely similar to a paragraph, so I had to throw the "work in progress" warning out there. Aaaanyway!

I'm a young, stay at home mama to spirited, sassy, currently 14 month old A. She was born in November '09, and I've been head over heels in love ever since. It isn't always roses, but she always brightens my days. A's daddy is also my lover, C. We've been through so much together, but we're still keeping on. Again, not always roses, but he makes me happy. <3

You'll be seeing quite the amount of photos on this blog. Why? - Because I'm a photographer. I am at my calmest with a camera in my hands, and I truly love being able to express myself through my photography. In time I would love to go "pro", but I recently ventured into that and stopped because I was losing what photography means to me for the sake of money.

Although I let my photography 'business' (if that's what you call getting taken advantage of) fizzle, over the past seven months I've become extremely interested in living naturally. I (and C, to a point) have decided to try living as informed as possible for the sake of little A. We're a currently semi-crunchy family - I make our household cleaners and laundry detergent, we eat organic as much as possible, sometimes co-sleep, always babywear and gentle discipline, we do not vaccinate A and we are free-thinking atheists. I'm learning not to care about material things, and I LOVE it. But remember, I did say "semi"! We still use disposables (is 14mos too late to start cloth?), bottled water lovers (but we don't want to drink fluoridated faucet water!), and my little A loves her some good old fashioned white sugar. But hey, we're doing the best we can to raise a happy, healthy kid. We are totally doing alright!

My hopes for the future are always changing. I really don't know where we will be in another five years. In 2010, I learned a lot about what is truly important to me. In 2011, I'm going for something a little different. A lot of loving, content feelings, and no more negativity. Happiness, and amazing memories, hopefully a lot captured on camera!

Looking forward to the future, and whichever direction this blog goes... xoxo, S