Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dear Placenta

Dear Placenta,

Thank you for all the hard work that you are doing and the care that you are taking of Baby Peterson. I really appreciate it, and think that you are doing a truly fantastic job.
However, I think that we need to keep our long term goal of delivering a healthy baby naturally in sight. Having said that, it would be most appreciated if you could move a little higher up in the uterus (and away from the cervix) in the next few weeks.

Thanks very much.
Your loving host,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm A Holiday Behind

Probably time to talk about Thanksgiving, on the eve of Christmas Eve. Oops.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Food, Florida, and family; I couldn't be happier.

We arrived to perfect November weather in Florida. Warm during the day and cool at night. Wednesday night we had dinner at my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Ray's house in Land O' Lakes and then jetted off to the store to get the ingredients for the dishes we were responsible for on the big day. All the "kids" stayed at Casey and T.C.'s house again this year.

Food assembly was a completely different experience this year....now that their kitchen is well equipped (that's what happens when you get married).
Thursday morning we finished all our cooking and headed back to Cathy and Ray's to begin the festivities. The kitchen was buzzing, and family started arriving. The Schers and Goldings always join us for Thanksgiving and it's always a pleasure to see them.
We spent plenty of time outdoors enjoying the gorgeous weather and watching Ray's masterful handling of the deep-fried turkey!

After completely stuffing our faces (of course!),
the boys played football and we played some cards.
The Armstrongs and Days (T.C.'s family) arrived after a while and joined us for a gigantic bonfire in the backyard.
Dad picked Ali's new mandolin, and we attempted to roast some marshmallows. Of course the night wouldn't be complete without a rousing game of Catchphrase!
And then we were spent....
Friday we went to our family's condo in Clearwater.

We also enjoyed one of our favorite Clearwater traditions, lunch at Crabby Bill's.

The family ventured out on the boat on Saturday, while Baby Peterson and I enjoyed some relaxing downtime. Apparently it was very bumpy, so it's a good thing we opted out. Saturday night we had dinner at Cathy and Ray's again and then went to the movies.

On Sunday we all suited up in Tampa Bay Buccaneers gear and headed to the game against the New Orleans Saints. It was great fun as always and I'm so thankful to Casey for supplying us all with tickets to the game. Although it rained for much of the game, we had lots of fun. And then we were off the airport and on our way home.
It was a wonderful wonderful weekend. Thank you to my Florida family for being such wonderful hosts! I love you so much!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

So Much to Learn

My perspective on so many things has changed during this pregnancy. Thoughts about religion, family, community, country, the environment, and politics have all been swirling inside my mind even more than usual as I grow this baby. It's amazing how aware you become of your environment when you are pregnant.

One of the very first things I found myself becoming more concerned about is the chemical environment in which we all live. Our days are full of chemicals: from the air we breathe, the food we eat, the materials in our homes, to the beauty products we as women slather ourselves with every morning and evening. As soon as I knew I was pregnant I started taking a very hard look at the products in my "beauty regimen", and was frankly shocked by what I found. This is a great website that allows you to enter the name of a product and it will rate it on a "hazard scale", based on the ingredients within that product. Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database (http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com/)

It's easy to get bogged down in the research and details of all of this. But I think the best advise I've heard on this idea is that if you can eat a product that you put on your skin or hair, it's probably not that harmful. Not that I'd want to start taking shots of my shampoo, but if I did, I'd be fine, as would my baby. I've been thrilled with the shampoo and facial care products I've been using from Goddess Garden, a Colorado small business. (http://www.goddessgarden.com/) I love knowing that I'm not passing on any harmful chemicals to my baby while I wash my hair and face, and that I'm treating my own body more gently by using all natural and organic ingredients.

As I examined my daily and weekly rituals and started thinking more carefully about what effect products may have on my health, I also took a hard look at the cleaning supplies I use in my home. It's been so much fun for me to start using non-toxic cleaning products. I used the guidelines on this website (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/make-your-own-non-toxic-cleaning-kit.html) to make my own cleaning kit. The only ingredients in my cleaning supplies now include: baking soda, mild soap, washing soda, white vinegar, water, and tea tree oil. Making your own cleaning supplies in reuseable bottles is so much more affordable than buying bottle after bottle of the 409 and Windex I used to use.

As I've made these small changes, and realized how easy they have been to make, I'm committed to continuing to reduce my impact through the products I use, as well as to make my home a healthier place for myself and my family. Along those lines, Brian and I have decided to cloth diaper Baby Peterson when she arrives in February.

We've conducted a lot of research and even taken some classes about the benefits of cloth diapering, and after acquiring all the available information, it was a very easy decision for us to make. Information that we considered while making this choice:

  • 18 billion disposables end up in American landfills each year

  • those billions of disposable diapers use 3.5 billion gallons of oil to produce

  • by making the choice to use cotton diapers we will help to prevent one ton of non-biodegradable waste from ever reaching a landfill

  • a single disposable diaper can take up to 500 years to decompose

  • disposable diapers contain gel beads which absorb the urine. These gel beds are made of sodium polyacryslate which is the same material banned from women's tampons in 1985 because it caused toxic shock syndrome

  • disposable diapers will cost us around $2,500 between birth and potty training. Cloth diapers will cost us between $600-$1,200 from birth to potty training, and we can use them for subsequent children!

And they're cute!!! Cloth diapers have come a long way. We'll no longer have to struggle with folding flat diapers and use sharp safety pins with a squiggling baby.

Thirsties (http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/) is a Colorado company that makes the cloth diapers we plan to use. I can't wait to get started!

I've also been trying very hard to be aware of what we're bringing into our baby's environment as I register for and buy toys, clothes, and bedding. This has proved to be quite an undertaking, and has taken a lot of my time, but I feel like it's time worth spending. Brian and I recognize that we have some personal decisions to make and research to do about the toys and other products we want in our baby's life from a consumption/commercialism standpoint, from an environmental standpoint, from a health standpoint, and in terms of what message the toys send.

We love the idea of having wooden and natural fiber toys, as long as those are entertaining to her. These are some great sites I've found for more "natural" toy choices:




I know that the production and transport of commercial plastic toys has a significant environmental impact.

I worry about the messages that will be sent to our daughter by commercial culture, and aim to limit her exposure to commercialism through the choices we make about what toys she plays with and by limiting her exposure to television as long as possible.

I've learned that in the past several decades, production of plastic toys has changed as manufacturing of these toys has been outsourced to overseas locations. In 2007, for instance, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued 90 recalls affecting more than 14 million children's products containing lead.

So, it can all be rather scary, but I also recognize that we cannot overthink every single purchase we, and others, make for Baby Peterson. However, I feel that by doing some research and being aware of some of these issues, we will automatically be more inclined to make smarter, more responsible choices as parenting consumers.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I Love My New Camera!

For my 30th birthday, (back in September), my husband gave me a new camera. Well, he didn't actually give me a camera, but instead had a pop-out paper camera in my birthday card and lovingly told me to pick out a new camera of my choosing. I've been using his old camera since we met, and it has served me very well.

However, I did find that its zoom capabilities weren't quite what I needed for taking pictures at festivals and concerts (which I love to do). I also thought that the impending arrival of Baby Peterson is a good excuse to get a better camera.

So, after putting off the task for several months, I finally settled on a Panasonic Lumix digital camera. The extremely helpful salesman at Mikes Camera assured me that this is the best digital camera you can buy without getting into the large super-zoom and SLR models.

It has 9.1-megapixel resolution and 10x optical zoom capabilities, and seems just about perfect for everything I will use it for. It's bigger that some of the compact digital cameras out there (because of the higher zoom), but still small enough to conveniently fit in my purse.

I've been a bit overwhelmed by all the cool things this camera can do, and haven't been able to make much sense of the instructions manual. But I used our recent Thanksgiving trip to Florida to familiarize myself with some of the camera's features. We spent Thanksgiving Day at my Aunt Cathy's house in Land O' Lakes, Florida. I took advantage of Cathy's amazing flowers and garden art to play with my new toy.

I also took some pictures at our family's beach condo in Clearwater. Here are some of my favorite shots!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mine doesn't need protecting, thanks

Copy the above sentence into your blog if you’re in a heterosexual marriage, and you don’t want it “protected” by those who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.

The media has been full of discussions about gay marriage since constitutional amendments defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman only were approved in California, Arizona, and Florida on November 7, 2008. This issue has been on my mind a lot and I'm feeling saddened. I can't believe that although this country passed a major milestone in electing our first African American president, a majority of Americans are threatened by the right of two consenting adults to enter into a loving commitment that will be recognized by their government. Why should discrimination be up for a majority vote? What does any of this have to do with me and the sanctity of my own marriage? Of course two people who love each other and are committed to each other should be afforded the same rights that I am as a heterosexual married woman.

I saw this in the blogosphere today and thought I would repost it. It sums up how ridiculous arguments against gay marriage have always seemed to me.

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong:

01) Being gay is not natural. And real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Re-post this if you believe love makes a marriage.