27 March 2009

I made the finals list!

I'm so excited!!! I applied for a summer research program at USD. I figured it was a long shot, but I applied anyways. They only take 10 people a year and I got invited to interview! It looks like they are interviewing 16 people or less, so odds aren't too shabby! Besides, I'm an excellent interviewee :)

I'm seriously in shock that they even asked me to interview!

25 March 2009


Me! (in 1980 :P )

Me in 1994, 8 months pregnant with Kellie

My dad and mom (she's pregnant with me here)

My first cousin Linda (I've never met her!) sent me this pic of my grandmother and aunts (I never met them either) on my dad's side.

Me in the familial Swedish folk outfit. This puppy is in a museum somewhere in Missouri now. It's probably from about 1850-1880 or so.

Esta es mi madre y mi hijo durante Navidad 2008. (I really need to work on my Spanish!)

I kinda look bald in this one.

My mom with my grandaunt and granduncle

Another pic of Aunt Beth

I found another pic of my grandaunt. I really like this one so I'm posting it. Yes, I'm the adorable kid on her lap!

20 March 2009

The Last of the Grandaunts

My grandaunt Beth passed away this morning. I knew she was frail and I should have seen her while I was in California. For some reason, I just didn't. Part of it was years-old resentment stemming from my teenage pregnancy and some of it was just exhaustion. I was pretty wiped out for most of our time in California. In any case, resentments aside, she was really the grandma in my life when I was a child since my own grandmother was in a nursing home and didn't really know who I was. I have so many wonderful memories of her holiday get-togethers in my childhood. I'm thankful to have had her in my life. My grandaunts were wonderful women, both of them!

My dear Granny Eleanor (also my grandaunt, Crimson is named after her) is on the left, my very beloved Aunt Jeannie (my actual aunt! Rejeanne is named for her) is in front with Gustav (great-granduncle) behind her. On the right is my lovely Aunt Beth (my grandaunt)

15 March 2009

Photo Overload

I took a bizillion pictures of the kids today. Most of them were horrid, but a few were so cute I couldn't decide which ones to use, so I'm using them all :)


12 March 2009

Move Over Dr. Phil, Here Comes Dr. Somov!

I randomly found this book at my local library. I love our library here but I think I’ve actually blogged about its wondrous nature in a previous post. The book is called “Eating the Moment” by Pavel G. Somov, PhD. He is a clinical psychologist in Pennsylvania. Dr. Somov’s book is described as “141 mindful practices to overcome overeating one meal at a time”. It is a very interesting mix of topics with exercises geared to become more aware of pretty much every aspect of eating and exercises to change habits. Since I’m currently undergoing a workbook-style cognitive behavioral therapy for my PTSD, I can definitely see some similarities in the exercises in Eating the Moment. I’d call it a blend of CBT and eastern philosophy practices. Dr. Somov’s approach is simple, fun, interesting and very fresh. It’s not a diet book, it’s a book to help become aware of what drives our eating behaviors and an exploration of ways to change the undesired aspects of that behavior. I’m only on page 57 but I’m completely impressed by this book. I would HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who struggles with food or their feelings toward food. I think it would be worth every penny of its $15.95 cover price (I’m lucky enough to get it at the library :P)

Anyways, thanks to Dr. Somov for coming up with such an interesting twist on CBT and the gift of being able to explain some meditative adaptations for those of us who fall asleep while trying to meditate. For instance, he used an analogy of a lava lamp being much like watching thoughts go by in meditation. You see the globs go by and you just watch one glob after another, none really distracting you or capturing your attention. I thought this was a really wonderful way to describe the way one is supposed to let thoughts pass in meditation. It also helped me to remember how much I love lava lamps because they are sooooo relaxing for me! He offers many different descriptions and analogies for many eastern principles so that these practices could easily be used by people who aren’t particularly interested in Buddhism but can still reap the benefit of some of its offerings. I just can’t say enough about how this book is written. I’ve had something new to really think on in every page and so many exercises to try out that I’m going to have to renew this book a few times. Most of all, this book has really given me some hope that I can achieve some mastery over my stress eating and feel better about myself in the food department.

09 March 2009

What happened here???

Walmart, why have you forsaken me??

I've always been able to find a respectable, not-pink, one piece bathing suit for Crimson at Wal-mart. Not this year! All of the suits are cut with low cut tops to show off the non-existent cleavage of the 5-12 year olds, some even enhanced with sequins on the chest zone. Most of the suits are bikinis (no) or tankinis (normally ok, but not with the tops this year!). Finally, I locate the only one piece style they are offering, but it too has a low cut front AND that old late 80's "holes cut out of the sides so its nearly a bikini" look. What a mess!

I don't get it! Wal-mart is committed to only selling clean versions of music CDs but it is selling only sexualized swimsuits for girls who are barely in sight of beginning their sexual maturation. I really hope Target and Old Navy are still on the one-piece wagon or I'll be making swimsuits this year! For the record, making swimsuits is not particularly easy!

08 March 2009

Tomorrow is another day!

Tomorrow, I'm wrangling Rejeanne into clothing and taking pictures. Even if they are pictures of her screaming, hiding or pouting, I'm taking photos of that child in clothing. I may even push the envelope and do her hair! I really hope she's in a good mood tomorrow morning! Poor little girl. She has such a meanie mom! Me with my silly notions of clothing and cute hair! If it doesn't work, I'm gonna try photoshopping an outfit on to the above picture and pretending.

Gender Neutral Child-rearing

Many people don't know this because I don't make much noise about it, but I like to experiment on my kids. Now, not like reattaching limbs in weird places but just trying out all these random theories either I or someone else have come up with. Some of my ideas have been short tries and some of them are life long endeavors. So far, all of them have resulted in the desired results. With the first child, I wouldn't react to any injuries unless she started crying first. The result of that was that she would fall or something and bounce right back up and keep going unless she was truly hurt. That was quickly undone by her adoptive parents and it was pretty funny for me to watch her freaking out over the slightest thing and the whole house would come running. Kids are very responsive to their environments. Experiment #2 was to never say the word "no" to my second child in the hopes that I could avoid having a two year old in a "no" phase. While this worked wonderfully with Crimson (she would just say "I don't like that" and not while shrieking either!), Rejeanne was apparently born with the word "no" hardwired in to her vocabulary. I'm pretty sure that I just didn't stick to that theory very much with Rejeanne, plus she was in daycare early which totally ruined my experimental environment!

Another one I've tried, mostly with Crimson, is to insist that people ask her if they can hug her, etc. For instance, instead of saying "Come give X a hug", I'd insist that people say "Can I hug you?" or "I would love to give you a hug" and then respect her decision. This was someone else's theory that it would nurture a notion that affection was optional and that each child has a right to his or her own body. The thought was that teaching a child early that people may not touch his or her body without permission and that an environment without the usual social pressure of kissin' granny would help a child be much more able to identify when someone is trying to violate their personal boundaries and be a bit of protection against abuse or at least make a child more inclined to report abuse. I have to say that this one has worked amazingly with Crimson. If you cross a line with Crimson, she will say so and she will expect you to stop. She will also rat you out. I'm very impressed that only a few early years of enforcing this rule has resulted in a stronger respect for her own body than I think many children have, as well as a determination that people who violate her boundaries are not acceptable friends. I was only able to maintain this rule firmly for about the first three years of her life and much much less since she has lived with her dad since 2005. I have to say that experiement has produced much stronger results than I had anticipated!(I also have food experiments that I do with my kids that seem to be working good as well. I'll save that diatribe for another time!)

Now on to gender neutrality. I've always been annoyed by the pink not-so-active girl toy section and people's obsession with slathering girls in pink. There is also the flip side of that where there are no cleaning toys or much imaginative role-playing toys for boys and if a boy is in pink, it's just not too acceptable for the most part. Another one of my experiment was if no one buys the toy in advance or suggests the toy, what toy will a kid pick out on their own? When Crimson was little, she had neutral toys and clothes. No characters on the clothes, no pink or boyish stuff. Everything was very neutral in primary colors. Crimson on her own never role-played and prefered toys normally associated with boys. Lots of sporty stuff, things that shoot, and cars. Crimson LOVED cars. Even now, Crimson is not especially attracted to things people would consider "girly". I should point out that Crimson did go through a clothing phase when she was kindergarten age where she would only wear the color pink, but with spiderman or spongebob boy underwear. Personally, I would not have allowed the boy underwear, but her stepmom bought it for her, so that was that. Once she hit first grade, she would only wear boy clothes. Over the last couple years, she is starting to be more accepting of girl clothes. Anyways, it was an interesting experiment that had me thinking that maybe girls really don't have an automatic desire to tea party and prance around in high heels and feather boas.

Then comes Rejeanne. I pretty much do the same with her as I did with Crimson, but it doesn't last long. Rejeanne makes it very clear that SHE is a girly girl! She gravitates to the pink and sparkly. She steals my bracelets. She turn household items into bracelets. She color coordinates. She got her first babydoll by stealing loaves of bread and carrying them around like babies (this is before she had any little brother hanging around!). She also tried to feed my foot some cheerios and a sippy. That was it, I bought her a baby doll! She also ADORED a little kitchen my friend Gwen brought over for her! Who knew she'd like a kitchen??!! I ended up buying her a different one since transporting the original wasn't feasible at the time and it has been one big Martha Stewart adventure around here ever since! Now, I try to keep the house under control, but busting out a tablecloth and setting the table doesn't really happen around here. So what does Lee find Rejeanne was doing today in her room instead of napping??

I almost fainted! For the record, she's never played tea party or anything like it. Note how she used her favorite blanky as a tablecloth! Holy moly!!!!!

Cyrus Likes To Eat

Cyrus LOVES to eat. He loves to eat so much that if anyone else is eating, he'll stare you down until you're done. He's not watching you, he's watching your food! In fact, if you don't shovel the food in for him fast enough, he'll start squealing at a high pitch until the spoon arrives. But wait, there is a problem! While you are trying to reload the spoon, Cyrus is busy trying to eat the only other thing available: his bib! He will not be distracted from this, no matter how much food you waggle in front of him or how much you try to pull the bib away or get his attention. Once Cyrus has his mind set to eat something, he's gonna eat it!

First, he grabs the bib and tries to stretch his tongue over there to reel it in

Then, there is success!

The upside is that his face is much cleaner than it would otherwise be! Of course, the same cannot be said for the bib

Lame about Posting

I've been so bad about posting. I'll just blame the fact that we've all been sick for weeks now. Today, we're all feeling much better and it snowed this morning, which ended up keeping us at home though we tried to get out the door! Anyways, it's catch up time. So, here's a photo of Rejeanne being a couch ninja to start things off!