Monday, October 31, 2011

Well, I Made it Eleven Weeks

I tried to make it the full four months, I really did.  Kind of.

I went out yesterday for a short walk/run, and ended up doing 10 minutes of walking, 5 running, 5 walking, 5 running, 5 walking, with no pain.

After that run, I felt pretty gung-ho to start Pfitzinger's stress fracture recovery program, but I woke up this morning to some thoughtful comments to a question I posted on a running forum.  The comments basically said the same thing:  it's better to be overcautious then wind up with a setback, and that there are plenty of other sidelined runners who feel my frustration.

Perhaps it is better to wait it out a bit longer... I'm just not sure.

This injury is bringing out a different side of my personality.  Normally, I'm pretty secure in my opinions, and prefer to research an issue endlessly than bring it up to someone for advice, but recently, I've been seeking medical advice from anyone that crosses my path.

This new trait was clearly displayed a few weeks ago - I was at a relatives house who is not a runner, doesn't know anything about running, and there I was, hopping up and down on my injured leg like a lunatic, frantically saying, "See?  See?  Don't you think I could run on this?"

Please.  There are worse things than being sidelined for another few weeks (like being a whiny moron).  Besides, since I'm not really an "athlete" right now, I can continue to enjoy my breakfasts of champions:  Halloween candy and a glass of chocolate milk in my inspiring pint glass.

P.S.  Did you enter my giveaway yet?  Super cute tank top from Running Divas is up for grabs!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Seven Things You've Never Wanted to Know About Me

The sweet and very funny Kim from (Just) Trying is For Little Girls nominated me for this award - I'm pretty sure it's because all Kims have this secret pact to bond together and eventually we'll RULE THE WORLD!!!!  Go ahead, try to stop us.  :)

Also, Katie (who makes me laugh every day) from Will Race For Carbs nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award... so we're going to do a big old Blogger award party in one post... mmm  kay?

So I have to come up with seven random things to tell you... and then I'm supposed to tag people.  But really, if you read my blog, please consider yourself tagged and because I want to read all of your random facts too.

OK.  Here we go....

1.  This is one of my favorite shirts for two reasons.  First - it's from the Chicago Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon, which is one of my must-do-every-year races.  Second - and most importantly, it kind of looks like the skyline is giving the finger, and I like to think about that whenever I get stuck talking to someone I don't like.  Yeah buddy, that's my shirt flipping you off and you don't even know it.

I'm smiling because inside I'm happy.

 2.  I name a lot of things.  My first car (that my husband still drives - 300,000 miles and going strong!) is the Black Stallion.  He's a noble beast.  My old mini-van is called the Turkey Van because my mom hit a turkey with it on the way to one of my races.  Judy Blue is my current van and is named because as my brother put it "she's an old girl, but she's classy."  My guitar is Lady Jane because she's plain and sweet.  

Lady Jane

3.    As a child, I was a bit of a food hoarder.  I used to keep boxes of Halloween/Easter/Christmas   candy in my closet... I didn't ever eat it, I just wanted to have it.   Yeah,  I was a weird kid.  

4.  I can bend my thumb back behind my hand really far, and if I straighten my arms, my elbows naturally bend a gross amount more than normal.  Other than those two oddities, I am ridiculously inflexible.

5.  I have a big problem chewing gum.  I love to chew it, but if I don't think "Chew, chew, chew", I accidentally swallow it.  Seriously.  Every time.  If I can keep a piece of gum in my mouth for ten minutes, that's a big accomplishment.  

6.  I have an incredibly juvenile sense of humor.  If one of my kids is playing with balls, and someone says something like, "Oh, look at Alex playing with his balls!" I get the uncontrollable giggles.

7.  I have a fear that my blog will come back to haunt me some day.  I'm pretty sure I'll be sitting in an interview in 10 years, and the interviewer will ask me what my skills are, and of course I'll say that I'm awesome, serious, dedicated, a great multi-tasker, a hard-worker, blah blah blah, and then he'll say "Oh really?  Because it says here that you can't chew gum properly, and you think balls are hilarious."

Go forth and post your own Seven Things!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Running Divas Review and Giveaway!

Hey, good morning!

The awesome folks over at Running Divas recently gave me an opportunity to review some of their sweet products.

I really like this company because they make clothes that are cute enough to wear while not working out.. but they have fun sayings printed on the gear so everyone who sees you knows you are a badass runner.  Plus, the prices are REALLY reasonable, and the quality is excellent.  Definitely a great gift idea for a fellow runner.

I received this black long sleeve T - and I love it:

It is so cozy and the sleeves are long enough to pull down over my hands, which I love.  The back says "flaunt it".

My absolute favorite thing they sent (and probably my new favorite top period) is this:

Back shot to spare you another picture of my face.

It's really lightweight and soft, and the sleeves are longer than most short-sleeve shirts.  It also has a hood.  Does not get any better than this.  Here's the interesting thing on this.  It's a size Large, and fits me perfectly but I normally wear a Small or Medium.  Maybe I just like this particular item a bit looser, but if I were going to order it for a gift for someone (which I am going to) I'll order a size up.  The back says "Don't make me run after you."  Love it.

Now, on to the giveaway!

I have one tank top, size medium up for grabs for one lucky reader.  The tank top is very long and the material is stretchy, so I think it'll fit a wide range of bodies.

The front reads "freakishly strong" , and the back says "i know - alot of me tells me that".  haha.  The green color is really vibrant and pretty in person.

To enter:
(leave a comment for each entry)

+1 Become a follow of my blog or let me know if you already are (mandatory).
+1 - "Like" Life in the Twin Lane on Facebook - I just set up this page, and it's pretty lonely!
+1 - Share this giveaway on any of your various social networking tools, you tech-savvy folks you.

That's it!  

I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, November 2!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spinning - Overcoming Terrible Music... and Lady Bit Problems

I took a spin class yesterday... and I really, really wanted to like it.

Well, let me rephrase that.  As I lurched out of bed at 4:38 in the morning, I grumbled, "This had better be good."

And it wasn't.... bad.  It was fine.  I've been to two or three spinning classes before, and I definitely didn't catch the bug.  I was hoping this time would be different because I'm finally able to start cross-training on the femur, and spinning seemed like a good way to start.

The instructor was really nice - I got there early and he helped me set up my bike and gave me a few pointers on form.  He had to make a few adjustments once I was in the pedals, so I tried to get my butt as far away from his face as he worked... but then I realized that to the people coming into the room I definitely looked like I was humping the handlebars.  Ah well.

People started filtering in, and I eyed them up a bit, hoping to catch some idea of what I should be doing.  A person would come in, make their bike adjustments, hop on and start pedaling at a moderate pace. Super - I can handle that.  

I hopped on, sat down, and thirty seconds later glanced at the clock in desperation.  It was 5:10am.  Class was from 5:15-6:15am and I felt like my lady bits were on freaking fire.   For the next 65 minutes, I silently begged this dude to do some climbs or jumps just so I could get some relief.  I kid you not - the pain was intense, and I'm pretty sure that my inner butt cheeks are bruised.  

WHAT AM I DOING WRONG HERE FOLKS? I seriously feel like I got whacked in the hoo-ha by a two-by-four for a few hours.

Ha!  Speaking of hoo-has, or whoohas if you will, check out this picture Rachel snapped at the race this weekend:

Marketing Genius.

The only other "issue" - if you can call it that- was the music.  I'm not sure what music normally accompanies a spin class - but the other class I took had a pretty gnarly mix of Enya-type new-age stuff and German metal.  You haven't lived until you do jumps to "Du Hast".  ha.

Yesterday, the dude put on Rachel's dream playlist.  Sixty minutes of 80s power ballads mixed with 80s hard rock, and I wanted to strangle myself.  Seriously.  One can only take so much Ozzy and Whitesnake before 6am.  

So, the question is if I'll go again next week to the same dude or switch days to try a different instructor.  Seriously, I love music.. and I'm pretty open to most musical genres.  Let me spin to classic rock, hip-hop, metal, dance, folk, or even show tunes, and I won't fantasize about banging my head on my handlebars.

What's your favorite music to spin to?  

What do you do about the butt/crotchal area issue?  I need some help!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dirty Hippies and Epic Spectating

This weekend, Rachel and I went down to Lake Geneva to cheer on my mom for the Zooma Great Lakes Half Marathon.

Side note - I swear someday soon you will actually get to read a race report of mine instead of all of these "spectator reports", so get it while the gettin' is good.  :)

Rachel and I have been emailing furiously all week... trying to hammer out the details of our one modest goal.

To launch our spectating to the next level.  To become legendary spectators.  Like this guy:

OK, not really.  What we wanted to do was change the lyrics to popular songs to make them all about running, and then serenade all of the runners with our mad skills.  I gotta be honest... they turned out pretty badass.  With lyrics like this, how can you fail?

To the tune of "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz (lyrics by Rachel):

Well open up your stride and run like me
Loosen up your belt and damn tech tee
Look into your pace and you'll find love love love
Listen to the music of the footfalls runners prance and sing
We're just one big family
And it's our GU-forsaken right to run, run, run, run run...

To the tune of "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley/Leonard Cohen (lyrics by yours truly):

I heard there was a special race

Just for girls

In a special place
They called The Zooma Great Lakes

Well the course is hard
the hills
the flats
the water stops
the timing mats

The awesome runners
racing thirteen miles.

It has been a long time since I have laughed so hard while emailing.  This crazy song writing is a super awesome hidden talent of Rachel's that I'm going to definitely exploit as my guitar playing improves. :)

Anyway, we set up shop at the three mile mark, cheered for all of the smoking hot lady runners, and then walked five or so miles down the course and started cheering again.  The houses (mansions) were set back 50 yards or so far from the road, but that didn't stop the guy who owned the house behind us from coming out to harass us a little.  He asked what we were doing (uhh... playing the guitar for pennies d-bag) and then satisfied that we weren't bringing down his property value sauntered back in to harass his maids or organize his collection of smoking jackets or whatever it is richie riches do these days.

Please harass me.
I figured there had to be a camera around somewhere because otherwise Mr. Money-wad-up-his-ass wouldn't have heard or seen us from his palace, so I spent the next two hours talking about exactly where on his lawn I wanted to take a dump.  Don't mess with me, pal.  

Luckily for him, my mom ran by just as I was seriously considering dropping trou, and I ran with her til just before the finish.

I am going to write a whole post on how awesome my mom did at this race, and on why I'd never recommend a Zooma race to anyone, but let me just give you a clue on how her race went - she finished her second half marathon on a ridiculously difficult course with a seven minute PR.  She's a rockstar.
Me, momma, Rachel after the race.

Momma and me.  :)

We came.  We sang. My mom conquered.

P.S.  If there is lots of awesome feedback about our epic songs... I *may* be able to be talked into posting a video of one of them.  Or maybe it'll just happen magically next time Rachel and I see each other and there's too much beer.  :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Be a Miracle.

So you guys may have noticed the new little button up to the right here....

It's for the DKMS bone marrow registry.  I found their website a few months ago, and I was blown away with all of the things I didn't know about bone marrow donation.

  1. If you are chosen as a match, they're not going to strap you down and stick a giant needle in your hip.  Many times, they can get the cells they need from your blood via the veins in your arms.  Sometimes, they can't, and they gotta go in and get that marrow.  But, they knock you out so you don't feel a thing, and you don't even have to stay overnight at the hospital.
  2. Every single person that is added to the registry is new hope for someone dying.  There is only a 1 in 540 chance that a person on the registry will be matched with someone in need of a life-saving marrow donation, but you just may be that one person that is the last hope for someone out there.  Think about that.
  3. Getting entered in the registry is easy.  It's a cheek swab.  That's it.  They sent me an envelope with two Q-tips, I swabbed my cheek, sealed them up, and sent them back in, postage paid.  That's it.
  4. It's free.  They waive the costs associated with cheek-swab... although donations are very much needed.
  5. If you get matched, they'll pay your medical bills.  If you're lucky enough to be identified as a match for someone, you don't need to worry about paying for anything associated with the donation.
  6. There are thousands of people waiting to find a match.  A lot of them are little kids with leukemia.  You could save their life.  

Did anyone see The Lion King Broadway production?  Do you remember the beautiful little girl with the amazing voice who played Nala?


Her name is Shannon Taverez, and she was diagnosed with leukemia.  Last year, at the age of 11, she died because doctors weren't able to find a match for her.  Could any of us have been that match?  Is it possible there's another little kid out there who is dying that we could be a match for?

It's estimated that 6 out of 10 people who need a marrow transplant die without ever finding a match.  The only way to change that is to grow the registry.  Every single person needs to be added to the registry.  What if it was you, your husband, your child, diagnosed with leukemia?


Go click on that box up there and sign up.  Do it right now.  They'll send you a kit.  You send it back.  That's it.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

World's Oldest Marathoner

I'm not one to obsess about my age, but I occasionally fall into those little moments of panic that I know most of us get.  "I'm almost done having kids, then they'll grow up, then I'm old and decrepit, and then I die."

In these moments, it helps me to think about old people who are living a kick ass life.  Old people that are laughing with their friends and family and doing the activities that bring them joy.

Check out this old guy:

Fauja Singh after finishing the marathon

This man just finished the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

He is 100 years old.

The most incredible part of this story is that Mr. Singh ran his first marathon at age 89.  Eighty-nine.

I am going to put up a picture of this awesome dude on my treadmill, and look at him when I get discouraged that I'm still. not. running.  If I'm anything like him, I have another 70+ years of running, and it probably doesn't matter at all that I took a three month hiatus in my twenties.  And when I'm running hard, and it starts to hurt, I'm going to look at this picture and try to imagine the pain that his hundred year old body endures during a marathon, and I'm going to straighten up and soldier on.  

Ha!  I just noticed something hilarious at the bottom of this article:

"... and even finished ahead of five other competitors"

 Oh man.  How would you like to run a marathon, have a hell of a day and finish in over eight hours, and then be publicly called out for finishing behind  a hundred year old man?  Whoa.  Talk about a kick in the pants.

Monday, October 17, 2011

One More Week.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I've made it one more week without running.  This was a harder week - I have found I really don't feel like myself when I have all of this pent up nervous energy.  Some weeks I handle it better (i.e. lots of cross-training and weightlifting) and some weeks I handle it worse (i.e. yelling at my husband).  I still can't wrap my head around another eight weeks off (it's already been TEN), so I'm just trying to take it one week at a time.

On the bright side, all of this not running has really opened up my weekends!  On Sunday, the kids and I took off while my husband installed a new patio door for us.  We headed down to visit my uncle who had brought up a pumpkin he grew for the Mishicot Pumpkin Fest.

325 pounds of pumpkin!

Today I'm taking the first step to knock out one of the items on my List of Goals.  Speaking of which, I need a better name for that - help a mama out!

I'll keep you in suspense until tomorrow - but it's scary and I'll be sure to have picture documentation to ensure the embarrassment can never fade.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Baby Stripes and Love Handles

Happy Friday blogland!

This morning I wanted to write about a topic very near to my heart - the amazing female body.

What does this picture have to do with this post? Not much, but it's a lot of beautiful bodies, and I love me some Pink Floyd.

Growing up, I didn't have a lot of respect for my body.  My t*ts were too small, my ass a little too round, my belly not flat enough.  I just didn't like it, and I spent a good part of my adolescence and early adulthood starving myself into an unhealthy place where I hated my body even more.

Then, I got knocked up, and spent a lot of weeks on bedrest packing on the pounds for the little monsters in my belly.  I went from an athletic 120 to a hugely pregnant 164, and that weight just didn't come off after delivery.  I weighed myself when I got home from the hospital, and I was still thirty pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight.  My once perky little B-cups suddenly were overflowing double-Ds when my milk came in, and my belly was swollen and covered with dark purple stretch marks.

I was devastated.  I'd never seen stretch marks on a mama's belly, and I wasn't prepared for what I was seeing in the mirror.  I know I'm not the only woman to have stretch marks... why is it that I'd never seen them before?

As I tried to squeeze myself into post-partum "shapewear" (which is pretty much exactly like trying to put on a wet bathing suit that is four sizes to small),  I wondered why I couldn't just cut myself a little slack and let my belly pudge out over my pants a bit if it needed to.  I had just grown and nurtured two lives in my belly, and the only feeling I had for my body was disgust?  There is something very wrong with that.

I tried to love my "baby stripes", I really did.  I got to the point where I wasn't ashamed of them, and if one of my friends wanted to see them (which happened with surprising frequency), I was OK lifting up my shirt (if I'd had a few beers).

My husband helped tremendously.  He told me he loved my belly, and even would sing a song for it  - to the tune of "Superfreak".  ha.  "Super freak, super freak, she's super freaky" became "Baby stripes, baby stripes, the stripes of babies."

It wasn't until I read a story about a mom who'd lost her baby at birth that I began to actually love my new belly.   As her belly expanded during her pregnancy, the stripes started appearing, bunching around where her baby's little head pressed outward toward her loving caresses.  When she went into labor, her baby was already gone.  Now she looks at the marks on her belly as a sweet reminder of the life that was there and is so thankful to have that tangible memorial.

It's funny - I've thought about getting a tattoo to honor my children... and it's wasn't until recently that I realized my babies made a beautiful, one-of-a-kind tattoo on me that was months in the making.

I wish we as women talked about this more.  There is a website called  The Shape of a Mother that is a gallery of images and stories of moms, and the longer you peruse the photos, the greater appreciation you have for the miracle of the female body.  

I feel like so much about our bodies and what happens during and after pregnancy is taboo to discuss, even among mothers and daughters and closest friends.  This needs to change!  I could write a hundred posts on things I learned during my pregnancy.

So go look at some naked ladies.  If you're a lady, go to the mirror and think about how beautiful and strong your amazing, one-of-a-kind body is.  And if you're having trouble getting that lovin' feeling, sing a little "Super freak".... it helps.  :)

Have a super weekend guys!

P.S.  I didn't run yesterday.  I was surprised with how many people told me on my post yesterday that perhaps my doctor is smarter than me (the outrage!)... so I held off for one more day.  We'll see if I can resist temptation today.  :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stress Fracture Schmess Schmacture

Hey, good morning.  Just want to take moment to thank all of you who read and comment on my blog - I love this community.  The comments on my post about my dad last week meant a lot, and I loved the insightful thoughts on my post yesterday about discriminating against smokers.  I'd love to hear some contrary opinions on that one - so if you didn't like the post, let me know!

You may remember from my weeks of obsessing and whining about my leg that I have a femoral stress fracture.  It happened in August, was diagnosed in September, and I was told no running until mid-December.  If you're so inclined, read about it here and here.

Well, guess what?  I have trouble with authority, and I think I know better than doctors.  (Yes, the school-skipping, cynical child-Kim was a delight for my parents to raise, I'm sure).  But, really, I have never read ANYTHING that supports taking four full months off for a stress fracture, so if you know something that I need to be taking into consideration, I need to know.  Please.

Here's the deal - I have no pain.  Starting in September, I started walking briskly (love that word, reminds me of chewing on snow.. crunch crunch) three times per week on my buddy the treadmill.  I started off with 15 minutes, and gradually increased to 60 minutes.  Now I have walked for 60 minutes, three times a week, for two weeks, no pain. 

So, don't you think I'm ready for a little running?  Right?  On Thursday, I'm going to start my awesome stress fracture recovery program modified from this one, which starts with 10 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 5 walking, 5 running.  It does the walk/run thing for three weeks, and at the end I'll be running about a half an hour at a time.  Sounds easy-peasy right? 

What do you think?  Am I ready for some running, or should I shut up, sit down, and listen to my doctor?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Smokers and Fat People.

Is it too early in the morning for such an inflammatory post title?

Katie at Will Race for Carbs (go check out her blog.. it is hilarious and one of my very favorites) had an awesome, thought-provoking post the other day about China encouraging young people to smoke.

In her post, Katie talks about seeing an article in Businessweek about the smoking rates in China, accompanied by a disturbing image of a little boy smoking a cigarette.  In China, they are marketing cigarettes to elementary school children, and the smoking rates are skyrocketing.  Katie made the very astute observation that it's not unlike the partnership that Coca-Cola and other soda manufacturers have with schools in the US, and how while drinking soda may not be as bad as smoking, it's a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic.  (Don't rely on my synopsis, go read her full post here.


I started to comment on her post - but as it gradually grew to take up the whole screen, I realized I had too much to say about the cultural perception of smoking... and other vices, and I wanted to dedicate a post to it. 

Everything about what the Chinese government is allowing the cigarette companies to do is so very wrong, I'm not even going to delve into it.  This article brought up all of these feelings for me about how relatively socially acceptable it is to be obese in this country, yet smoking is demonized.

Full-disclosure: I'm a former smoker, and I've never been overweight (except a little of my post-babies days, and I got cut a lot of slack.)

Here's the crux of the issue for me:  it has become socially acceptable to be openly rude to a smoker due to the recent anti-smoking marketing campaigns..  As a smoker - you get harassed all of the time for smoking, and here's a not very funny story about that.  In my college days, I was working at a restaurant, taking a break in the smoking section, and a customer walked up to me, took the cigarette out of my mouth, and ground it into the ashtray with a haughty "You shouldn't smoke."  I felt violated, ashamed, and very, very angry. 

For those of you thinking, "Yeah, probably not the best way to go about that - but smoking is SO WRONG!"  I get it.  But this is a slippery slope.  Imagine me again, sitting at a table on my break in that same restaurant, but imagine me at 250 pounds.  And imagine I'm eating a cheeseburger.  I know you know where this is going... Can you imagine someone walking up to my fat 19 year old self and taking my food out of my hands looking down her nose and saying "You shouldn't eat that."

Sugary drinks and fast food and all of the fake food GMO bullshit on the other hand are arguably just as detrimental as smoking, but are totally socially acceptable. The dichotomy is baffling.

I want to be clear here - I'm not arguing that smoking is OK.  It is horrible, and horribly addictive.  I wish we lived in a world without cigarettes.  But we don't, and I think the smear campaign the government has spearheaded in the past decade has effectively turned the country against smokers.  Not cigarettes, but smokers.  Have we forgotten that most smokers are in the fight of their lives and would love to be non-smokers?
We now live in a world where "smoke-free" workplaces are ubiquitous.  But that doesn't satisfy the anti-smoking lobbies; now we are gradually shifting to "smoker-free" workplaces.  Smoker-free?  Is this a joke?  Apparently, by refusing to hire smokers (and firing those unable/unwilling to quit), some companies believe they will save money.  If that's the rationale, perhaps we should also refuse employment to other high-cost groups of people:  Obese people, definitely.  Cancer patients?  That probably gets pretty expensive.  How about people with depression or anxiety?  Pregnant women?  They get paid to not be at work - the outrage!

And before you say that smokers should just quit - let me say that I couldn't agree more.  But we need to understand - truly understand -  that for some people, the addiction is so fierce it is nearly impossible to quit.  When I quit smoking for the final time, I was so addicted that I was physically ill for more than a week, and not smoking was the hardest thing I've ever done.  I am not confident that if I started smoking that I would be able to stop again.  When I quit, I was a happy, healthy RUNNER with tremendous family support and very little outside stress.  It was probably the environment most conducive to quitting smoking, and it still was terrible.   Not everyone is as lucky as I was.

I can only hope that when the mob-like tendencies of the collective American spirit turn on obesity, that we keep our rage and disdain focused on the problem - obesity.  Not fat people.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Babywearing Week!

Today marks the beginning of International Babywearing Week!

As a babywearing mama in an area where wraps and slings are scarce and stroller-pushing is the norm, I've gotten some weird looks, and tons of great questions while out and about with a baby wrapped snuggly-tight on my chest.

Baby A, about a week old.

Babywearing Daddy = Major Sex Appeal

Baby B, three months old.

We chose to babywear as much as possible because we believe that babies need all of the snuggling they can get in the early months.  Our baby spent some time in the NICU, and we feel that skin-to-skin bonding helped him feel safe and secure after those uncertain first few weeks.
For more information, head over to Babywearing International.  Here's a list I pulled from their website of some of the benefits of babywearing:
Happy Babies. It’s true … carried babies cry less! In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours. (1)

Healthy Babies. Premature babies and babies with special needs often enter the world with fragile nervous systems. When a baby rides in a sling attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes—walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses. Research has even shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not. (2)

Confident Parents. A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our babies’ cues successfully. Holding our babies close in a sling allows us to become finely attuned to their movements, gestures, and facial expressions. Every time a baby is able to let us know that she is hungry, bored, or wet without having to cry, her trust in us is increased, her learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction deepens the mutual attachment between parent and child, and is especially beneficial for mothers who are at risk for or suffering from postpartum depression. (3) (4)

Loving Caregivers. Baby carriers are a great bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, adoptive parents, babysitters, and other caregivers. Imagine a new father going for a walk with his baby in a sling. The baby is becoming used to his voice, heartbeat, movements, and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Baby carriers are beneficial for every adult in a baby’s life. Cuddling up close in the sling is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!

•Comfort and Convenience. With the help of a good carrier, you can take care of older children or do chores without frequent interruptions from an anxious or distressed infant—which helps to reduce sibling rivalry. Baby carriers are also wonderful to use with older babies and toddlers; you can save those arms and go where strollers can’t. Climbing stairs, hiking, and navigating crowded airports all can be done with ease when you use a well-designed baby carrier!

1 - Hunziker UA, Garr RG. (1986) Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A random-ized controlled trial. Pediatrics 77:641-648
2 - “Current knowledge about skin-to-skin (kangaroo) care for pre-term infants”. J Perinatol. 1991 Sep;11(3):216-26.
3 - Pelaez-Nogueras M, Field TM, Hossain Z, Pickens J. (1996). Depressed mothers’ touching increases infants’ positive affect and attention in still-face interactions. Child Development, 67, 1780-92.
4 - Tessier R, M Cristo, S Velez, M Giron, JG Ruiz-Palaez, Y Charpak and N Charpak. (1998) Kangaroo mother care and the bonding hypothesis. Pediatrics 102:e17.

Have a super Monday!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

This one goes out to my Daddy.

My dad died a year ago today.  It's hard.

On my wedding day, if I had known that my dad would be gone in two years, I couldn't have imagined life without him.

On the day my children were born, if someone would have told me my dad would only know them for six months of their lives, I never would have believed them.

Hold the ones you love. 

When I was a little girl, my mom and dad would sing "Hotel California" to me, changing the lyrics to "Hotel Kimifornia".  Some of my earliest memories from my childhood are slow-dancing with Dad, he on his knees, slowly circling around our basement to the great music of the 60s and 70s.  I remember begging my dad to "knee-dance" with me, and the elation I felt when the music started.

This one goes out to you Daddy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Hey, good morning.

I read a lot of books.  All kinds of books - I just love reading. 

You know what I don't like?  Book reviews.  I get so BORED!  I love book recommendations from people, and if I see someone has written a favorable review of a book, I'll put it on my library list, but I just don't get into the actual review.

So if you're like me, I need you to fight those bored tendencies, and give this post two minutes of your attention, and then I promise you can go back to whatever exciting things you have on your agenda this beautiful morning. 

I feel compelled to share this book I just finished - Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. 

Here's the quick and dirty.  It's a historical non-fiction that follows an Olympic miler Louis Zamperini as he is drafted into service in the Pacific theatre of WWII.  He is on a bomber that is shot down over the middle of the Pacific ocean, and he tries to survive on a small life raft with two other soldiers for a really, really long time. 

The stories in this book are unbelievable - I had to keep reminding myself that this actually happened - it's hard to wrap your mind around.  In one particularly terrifying day, starving to death, covered with huge salt sores, and desperate for water, Louie and his raftmates finally see a passing aircraft.  Suddenly they are in the middle of a shower of machine gun fire from the plane - a Japanese fighter, bullets whizzing through their inflatable raft.  As the raft is sinking, the men try to keep air in it by blowing into the holes, while one of them patches.  Underneath them, sharks are rubbing their backs along the floor of the raft, and occasionally, one will leap from the water, jaws wide, and the men fight them off with oars.  You must read this book.

Aside from being a page-turner that I just could not put down, after I was done with the book, the horror and the hope of the book stayed with me.  As I go through my daily routine, I think about these men, and other POWs and the hell they went through.  The spirit of courage and survival of these men is profoundly moving, and as I read the book, I could feel a shift inside me, that I can't really articulate, but I think this is a must-read for every man and woman.  Go to your library, and get it.

Thanks for hanging with me there.

If you made it this far, tell me what book I should read next.  Any genre. I don't discriminate - I'm an equal opportunity book lover. :)

Monday, October 3, 2011


Over the weekend, I decided I wanted to take my hair (which naturally is a particularly unpleasant shade of dishwater) and turn it into the sun-kissed blonde of my youth. 

After seeing this sign, I felt particularly empowered:

So emboldened was I that I decided to forgo the conventional wisdom of staying within 2-3 shades of my natural color.  I went with this bad boy:

I'm gonna be BLONDE!

Apparently, the hair gods heard my prayers, but instead of "Sun-kissed blonde", they heard "Sunkist".  



No need to adjust your monitor folks.  Yes, this shade of bright orange is not like the orange hair that redheads sometimes have, or really even like the orange hair of say, a tiger.  This is not a hair color that occurs in nature.  Ever. 

I busted out my trusty laptop and went to Google.  "Orange hair disaster".  "Tried to go blonde and now it's orange"  "Bleaching gone wrong".  I was having trouble finding any helpful information - there were a lot of posts from people in my situation, but the only answer seemed to be "Get thee to a salon!"

Well, if I wanted to spend all that money and have someone shake their finger at me for coloring my hair at home, that might have been an option, but it wasn't.

It wasn't until I Googled "What the f*ck did I do to my hair?" that I found some hope.

Apparently, I had two choices.  I could get another box of lightener, and then some toner, and color corrector, and then dye it the color I wanted.  Umm, no thank you.  I failed chemistry.

Second choice - dye it dark.  A warm dark brown should work. 

So I put that disaster in a bun, hopped into my sweet mini-van, and drove back to Walgreens, but seriously- in a different town.  I was not risking being seen with this fried orange mess on my head. 

Picked up the new color, and headed home.  (Funny sidenote - when I got back into my van, I glanced in the rearview and noticed I had a chocolate milk mustache.  I laughed the whole way home knowing that the checkout girl was probably calling everyone over to review the security tapes of this orange-headed freak she just checked out.)

Long story short, I colored it brown, it stuck. Now I have brown hair which doesn't go particularly well with delightful red blotchy skin tone, but it's better than orange.

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