Visiting my sister and her brand spanking new daughter. Oh, squee! The girls asked me for a baby brother. No, children…

Reading several books. Finished I Am Legend, moved on to Life of Pi and Mrs. Dalloway (which I have read before but an re-reading for a book club).

Shortening Ava’s pants and turning a holey pair into shorts. That last project killed two needles on my machine so I haven’t been able to finish it.

Planning our spring vacation. John has earned an extra week of vacation with all of this crazy snowy weather. We are heading south and hitting Hannibal, Little Rock and the Ozarks on our way to San Padre National Seashore in Texas and then swinging through NOLA and Memphis on the way home. Two weeks of total stress and hopefully a little fun, too.

Learning to knit wool soaker diapers and also this dress, one for each of the girls:

I love saying it. President Barack Obama. I love it that he is closing Guantanamo and halting Bush’s last minute legislation, like his awful awful awful plan to protect medical “professionals” who don’t think women should have access to birth control.

I love looking at pictures of Michelle and listening to her speak. She is seriously stunning and gracious and intelligent and articulate and stylish.

I love it that Hillary Clinton was cheered by the state department and got a little cocky, too. I really wanted her to be the president but I can settle for this, for now.

I love this new day.

I have learned all sorts of strange things since moving here.

I know what it means to get “doored.” (Think bike rider meets car door when car owner can’t be bothered to check mirror.) No, it hasn’t happened to me but it is pretty common.

I know that when you are trying to park a car in the winter, you should not move lawnchairs, milk crates, paper bags, or other “spot savers” unless you want suger in your gas tank or a big dent on your hood.

I know that snow days don’t happen here until the public buses aren’t running. Too many people who attend public school do not have back up child care. If kids can’t get to their regular school, they can go to the nearest school and sit in a classroom of strangers all day.I guess too many 5 year olds would be left home alone and too many  kids of all ages would be short 2 meals that day without school.

Also, everything here is better when a sexual innuendo is involved. I guess that’s univeral, though.

I am sure there will be a part 2 to this post eventually…

The New Yorker has an article on the history of nursing and pumping.

It was quite timely that somone pointed me to this story, given the identity crisis that I have been wallowing in for the past couple of years. The article itself, I love and hate. Mostly the latter.

Pumping is no fun—whether it’s more boring or more lonesome I find hard to say—but it has recently become so common that even some women who are home with their babies all day long express their milk and feed it in a bottle. Behind closed doors, the nation begins to look like a giant human dairy farm.

I think that to suggest that we breastfeeding moms spend our day pumping so that we can then spend our days feeding from a bottle is pretty misleading. I don’t know anyone, not a single mom out of all of the 50+ breastfeeding moms that I know right now, who does this. In fact, most of the women that I know (and by saying “most”, I am being generous because I really should say “all”) hate pumping, dread pumping, and do it only because they really believe that the sacrifice is worth it for their babies.

The history in the article is spotty and I will just leave it at that. I don’t have a university library in front of me, but I wrote enough papers on the history of motherhood and women’s sexuality and reproduction to know when someone is stretching the truth to suit the slant of their article. But… it’s the New Yorker, not a history  journal and it’s 5 pages, not 50. So, moving on to the stuff I did like…

Non-bathroom lactation rooms are such a paltry substitute for maternity leave, you might think that the craze for pumps—especially pressing them on poor women while giving tax breaks to big businesses—would be met with skepticism in some quarters. Not so. The National Organization for Women wants more pumps at work: NOW’s president, Kim Gandy, complains that “only one-third of mega-corporations provide a safe and private location for women to pump breast milk for their babies.” (When did “women’s rights” turn into “the right to work”?)

Ah-ha! Were we not just discussing this?

She could have mentioned the melamine-tainted formula or the research suggesting that we now have too much (non-organic, genetically-modified, highly-processed) soy in our diet, starting with soy formula, when discussing why some mothers might choose to take pumping breaks instead of coming home early. And she might have not assumed that an employer would let a mother leave early even if chose to forgo the breaks altogether. And she might not have made pumps sound like such chic accessories that we are all just dying to tote around a la Will Ferrell. Okay. I guess I just like that one point she made, after all.

So, I entered all of my blogroll into google reader and am making my way through everyone’s blogs today.  I am so glad that I am catching up, as I have found all sorts of lovely, reflective, and thought-provoking posts. I highly recommend that you go read some of them.

Brigindo at Dirt and Rocks wrote a beautiful piece on empty nesting and making the transition from active mothering to… what? We aren’t sure, that’s the point of the post.

Sherri at The Claw is writing about the benefits of turning 40… I like it!

I want to do this project! We need a little summer on these bitter cold days. (And pretty much everything else that The Crafty Crow is talking about…)

I loved this little nugget from Kris at Garden Variety. As an avid people watcher and window-peeker-inner, it struck a chord with me.

I enjoyed Pundit Mom’s summary of the last eight years. Yes, yes, yes.

MadHatterMommy at Under the Mad Hat has posted December’s just posts. There is some good reading here when you have the time. Check it out! I really liked this one and this one.

I love Tracee Siouxx’s blog in general, and she wants pictures of our daughters being the awesome little creatures that they are.

The impossible meaning: getting my kids to pick up their stinking room. For four days now, I have said, “Please clean up your room. Your friends are coming over. You need to pick up. Your room needs to be clean before breakfast/lunch/dinner/bath/bedtime.” And still I cannot walk across their floor.
It is a small room. Emma and Eleanor share this particular problem space. Ava is getting too old for loads of toys and her room stays mostly clean now that I keep the little ones out of it.
I have had enough. Tonight they were all in that room and when I opened the door, the door had to push things out the way in order to open. I was livid. I said, ”This is RIDICULOUS!!!! Clean this room RIGHT NOW!!!!” I waited 5 minutes and thought about what I was going to do if, as I suspected would be the case, they didn’t clean the room.
I walked back in. I had many many plastic bags in my hands. They were on the floor playing, just as they were when I left them. “Everybody OUT!!!! Get OUT of this room this minute!”
They saw the bags. Screaming and kicking and begging commenced but I was not moved. I forced them out and closed the door. I loaded every single toy on the floor, on the bed, or in the wrong bin into the bags. Needless to say, that left all of two toys in the closet. That’s right. ALMOST EVERY SINGLE TOY THEY HAVE WAS SOMEWHERE ON THAT FLOOR.
I had already decided not to throw them out or give them away. I cannot afford to replace them, nor do I care to entertain them more than I already do because they have no toys. And bored kids cause trouble. No. I put them in Helena’s nursery. I told them that they may have them back, one bag a day as long as they were willing to put all the toys in that bag away once it was returned to them. At that rate it will take them 2 weeks to earn back all of their toys. By that time, I will have put baby gates up in their closets and they are going to have to ask me to get things out and they are going to have to put things away before more things can be had.
Damn it, I am going to win this Toy War one battle at a time.

On resolutions:

1. Stop buying bread and breakfast cereal. I made my own bread last week and it was so delicious. The girls and I ate half a loaf by noon. One recipe equals two loaves which is plenty for one week. I neat thing I found out is that I don’t have to bake both loaves at once. I can refrigerator one loaf before the second rising and pull it out when I am ready to bake it. It rises best in the oven with a pan of hot water, perhaps because it take a while to warm up after being chilled? I don’t know, but I do know that I like smelling and tasting fresh bread twice in one week instead of just once. Plus, I only have one bread loaf pan and I don’t want any extra stuff in my kitchen. As far as breakfast cereal goes, it’s just too damned expensive for such an inferior product. I finally managed to put together an oatmeal recipe that we all love. I am naming it apple pie oatmeal because that is exactly what it tastes like. And no, it is not loaded with sugar! Just 2 tbsps of sugar for 3-4 cups of cooked oatmeal. I think it could have less, too, and still be yummy.

2. Yoga at least 3 times a week. Everyday is just  not realistic for me. I don’t need to lose weight and I don’t really care about getting “fit”- I just like yoga and want to do it more.

3. Once Helena is sleeping a little better and not so dependent on the boob, I am totally committed to once a month date nights with John. Yes, once a month. I know lots of moms do the once a week thing. That would never work for us. Too much routine makes it lose all appeal. Once a month is just enough to keep it exciting and something to look forward to instead of a chore.

4. Read more. I only read 32 books last year! That sucks! I am already on my 2nd and 3rd book of 2009, so far so good, but I need to keep it up or I’ll never get through my GoodReads to-read list! Speaking of books, I was able to download lots of books on podcast through Zune and I am really looking forward to listening to that in the car this spring when we drive to Texas. Alice in Wonderland (which I have read 3 times, but hey, the girls love it), Aesop’s Fables, The Wind in the WIllows, Anne of Green Gables (also read many times), & Harry Potter.

On the future:

For those of you who read my last blog, you know all about my internal crisis regarding my future career. The path is pretty much wide open. My BA is useless for the most part, so no matter what I do I’ll need to start over. Either go back to school, or start in a very entry level position and work my way up. Here’s the thing though: at what point do I admit to myself and others that I don’t really want to do anything? Because that’s the truth. I like being home with kids. I like having the time to knit things and bake and garden. I don’t want to choose between Ava’s holiday concert and a meeting. I don’t want to eat out more because I am too tired to cook. I don’t want to worry about having enough vacation time to take my kids to their grandparents for a good chunk of the summer. I just want to be a gardener and a knitter and mom to my kids and a wife to John and random volunteer when I have the time and it suits me. My kids are still little and I am in the thick of mothering. Perhaps this will change when my kids don’t need me as much. I certainly need to maintain an identity outside of my family because there will be day when my kids don’t depend on me. But for now, I don’t want to worry about a career. I am not failing feminism by doing this, either, and I am done feeling guilty about it.