Category Archives: baby

February 20, 2012

1:42 pm. I’ve neglected this a bit. My health hasn’t been the greatest. I have retrobulbar optic neuritis, swelling of the nerve between eye & brain. Vision blurs, light hurts, red doesn’t look red anymore. And having it increases my odds of developing MS. Just had a spinal C/T MRI on Friday. Almost 2 hours strapped in a tube, ending with searing pain, like my muscles were being ripped from bone. I get a brain MRI this Friday.

I turned 33. The day itself was nice enough. Then I got word that my cousin Ignatius – Iggy – had hung himself. Sad.

Mia turned 3. She spent the day, like most, cheerful and excited. Thursday night we had cake & presents when John came home. Purple kitty boots, pink heart rain boots, “floppers,” and art supplies. Daddy did awesome.

Saturday night John took me out to dinner. We tried Vallata, Pump House, called Turtle Club, drove by Gambardella’s, wound up at Bobby’s. After, we picked up the kids and drove out looking for the aurora and stars. Awesome night.

Yesterday, John took the older 2 to see Mr Justin and Miss Hannah. Peanut and I stayed home since he was vomiting. I finished The Great and Secret Show, started Mrs Dalloway.

Today I started writing, again. Feels totally awesome to have words flowing, to have a character coming together out of nothing. Now, I’m going to get ready for a day of shopping & hanging out with sweetie.

Protected: Letter to my biological father

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Whoa.

Holy absentee blogger, Batman!

I’ve sort of been writing.  Elsewhere.  Stuff more for me and less for public consumption.  I just haven’t been writing enough, which is likely why I feel… congested? emotionally.  Time for a cathartic dump.

I’ve been exhausted, aching, and/or ill, for what seems like for.ev.er.  I have depression/anxiety/panic issues, and fibromyalgia, and chronic back pain from an ancient injury.  Those are all the basics that are with me on an almost daily basis.  I’ve had in increase in migraines (complete with aura, awesome), a resurgence of insomnia, an uptick in panic attack intensity and frequency, and some unexplained diffuse lymphadenopathy which hit me like a freight train.  And this has all just been my shit.  Each of the kids has had their own (typical, uneventful, unremarkable, viral) illness, and John has had his fair share of ickies.

So through all this shit, a lot of things have taken a back burner.  This blog was one.  My spinning.  My painting.  My knitting too, on occasion. Reading, some writing, most frivolous/fun things.

I’ve spent more time primping and preening.  I figure if I feel like absolute shit, I will at least look good.  Hot, even.

I listen to more music than before. [Side note: each of the kids has a distinct musical preference. JR = bluegrass/jam bands, classic rock. Mia = ’80s hair, metal, industrial.  River = r&b and hip hop.  These are usually incompatible genres, often leading to musical chaos and at least one disappointed child.  Thank goodness for Pandora.]

I text more, play Words with Friends, nurse an ever-teething baby.

River’s not really a baby anymore.  He’s 26+ lbs of adventure, charm, and mischief.  He turned ONE YEAR OLD on July 3.  My Itty Bitty Baby Boy is ONE.  It’s amazing, and kind of heartbreaking.  (He got cake.  He loved it.  He took his first steps just days before that.)

I’ve reconnected with some really great people.  My friends and my music have really gotten me through some crappy times these last few months.  Thank you.

My lymph nodes are all starting to calm down, finally.  My spleen still hurts, but it too is on the mend.  I have medication for the panic attacks and insomnia.  Now that I’m getting at least 4 hours of sleep a night and am in less pain, I’m starting to feel like things are looking up.

Maybe I’ll get over this mental block I have about sharing certain things and y’all might see some more posts.

Pictures soon, promise!

Randomly, and in no particular order:

Femmer is getting bigger and more rambunctious.  He’s a very pretty, very talkative kitty.  He really loves it when I take the pet hair slicker to him, usually comes when called, and will stand on his hind legs to get a yummy treat.  Camilla is his favorite person though.  He tried to curl up on her when she’s sleeping.  Sometimes this wakes her up, which makes her furious, and then they both cry.  Still kind of cute.

Femmer, sleeping on the couch. (Click to enlarge.)

Buffle is bulking up, and is totally happy hanging out in the back yard sniffing at strange things.  Surely spring has sprung.  She’s a bloody stupid dog, but she’s mine, and she makes me smile anyway (even if she can never find the ball once I’ve thrown it).  She puts up incredibly well with the kids using her as a jungle gym and trying to ride her like a horse.  Stupid horse dog.  She just licks them.

Muttley, the ferocious pine cone chaser. (Click to enlarge.)

I found out last month that my baby sister Melinda died of dilated cardiomyopathy.  Miss you, Sissy.

Dad fell, broke his ankle, spent a few days in the hospital, gave us all a scare.  We went down, spent some time near him.  The kids, of course, love playing with their Grandpa.  It was bittersweet for me to spend a few days in my parents’ house; I miss my mama terribly, but I enjoyed having my kids play in the house I grew up in.

There was inevitable bullshit drama with my sisters.  I give up.  I hope they find peace and happiness because, until then, they’re just going to continue to tear others down to make themselves feel better.  Sad.

I finally got to hang out with my dear friend Kelley and her daughter Jazmynn — twice!  Our kids had a great time together, and I’m so glad to have reconnected with Kell.  We need to make damn sure we don’t let another 4 years go by without seeing each other again!

I never showed off my new ink here!  I’m absolutely in love with my new tattoo (that I got at the beginning of February).  Custom work done by Jedidia Reid, owner of Element Tattoo Studio in San Antonio, TX.  I vow to only get work done by him, or by an artist recommended by him.  I hope he comes up to Fairbanks to do a guest spot!

Photo by Jedi Reid, owner/artist at Element Tattoo Studio, San Antonio, TX. (Click to enlarge.)

I’m trying my hand at a garden for the first time this year.  I’ve started seedlings for cherry tomatoes, basil, green onions, summer squash, spinach, carrots, and butternut squash.  This weekend, I’m going to get a prefab mini-greenhouse and some planters, start transplanting a few things outside.  I love love love the idea of fresh homegrown food!

River can crawl!  And pull up on people/furniture!  And cruise around it!  Poor little guy has another ear infection, but he also has 8 big teeth, and insatiable curiosity and charm.  I’m a sucker for him.

River, at a rest stop on the way back up from Anchorage. (Click to enlarge.)

JR & Camilla are getting taller, smarter, funnier, and more charming every day.  They have new rain gear and XtraTufs, and just need to search out some huge puddles now.  I’ll definitely share those pics once they’re taken!

In summation…

Randomly, on another Tuesday:

  • I miss Melinda.  I’m talking to my little brother Michael again.  I’m talking to my sisters again.  I miss mama.  Loss is lonely, and each one exacerbates the others.
  • The flights down to Texas weren’t too bad.  Long, but not bad.
  • San Antonio was extremely warm the first several days, then cooled off to something tolerable for this Eskimo.
  • The kids had heaping tons of fun with Mimi, Popo, Aunt B, Uncle Schim, and cousins Matthew/Chewy, Nolan, and Colin.
  • They also had a great time with Uncle Lawrence, Aunt Susan, Brennan, and Uncle Ables.
  • Fun was also had at Chuck E Cheese’s with Uncle Alex, Aunt Kimberly, Adriana, Pops, Kyle, and Camden, Aunt Tasha, and cousins Morgan, Trent, and Natalie.
  • Miss Sally liked being chased by the kids, though she tried to pretend otherwise.  Lucky adored Milla.
  • Camilla is “kah-MEE-lah”.  We call her Milla (MEE-yah).  I’ve also written it as Mi’a.  She calls herself Illa/Iya/I’a (pronounced EE-yah).  Aunt B noted that it’s spelled/pronounced like tortilla.  I think this is going to stick with my poor girl forever now.
  • I got a tattoo by Jedidia Reid, owner of Element Tattoo Studio in San Antonio.  I LOVE it.
  • There will be a ton of photos uploaded in the coming weeks.
  • I hated the trip up to Chicago more than words can capture.
  • I loved being in Aurora/Chicago with Aunt Cara, Uncle Mike, and cousins Maddie, Ryan, and Tori.
  • The wind and humidity there make their winter just as cold and unforgiving as ours.
  • They have so much snow that I’m jealous.
  • I didn’t think I could be jealous of precipitation.  I am.
  • The trip back to Fairbanks was long, but nowhere near as bad as the one to O’Hare.
  • We picked up some kind of icky flu-ish/cold-ish bug that has us all feverish, with deep, racking coughs.
  • That hasn’t diminished the pleasure of being back home.
  • We all miss our friends, family, and travels.
  • We wish y’all were closer, and that we could see you more often.  Preferably through teleportation.
  • I’m trying to put the house back together, and will update with more details and pictures when I can.
  • And lastly:

  • Bubbles are awesome.  (recorded in summer 2010)

Random on a Tuesday

  • My youngest sister, Melinda, died at 25 on January 14, 2011.
  • We drove to Anchorage for a small memorial service for her, held on Friday, January 21, 2011.
  • It’s got me mourning my mother all over again.
  • The kids got to play with Grandpa, cousins Faith, Caleb, and Vicky, Aunts Jessie, Tasha, & Sandee, and Uncle Darrell.
  • We took family photos at my parents’ house, courtesy of Sandee Rice Photography.
  • Back at the hotel, we took the kids down to the swimming pool.  They had a blast.
  • The chlorine in the pool did crazy tightening things to the dreads forming at the back of my head.
  • Bouncing Bears is the coolest place to get kids worn out before a long road trip.
  • The living room floor is the greatest place to roll around after many long hours cooped up in car seats.
  • The wolf and the orca share the same animal spirit in Yup’ik lore.  These are the two animals I debated between in trying to identify the animal essence of my youngest child River.  JR is a polar bear.  Camilla is a lynx/mountain lion/fox.
  • I’ve spun 4 oz of a pinkish-purplish wool/alpaca batt by Bohoknitterchic Spins into 400+ yards of a fingering weight single.  Melinda loved pink.  I’m going to knit a shawl out of this yarn.
  • I’m knee-deep in laundry that needs to be done before we leave Thursday night on vacation.
  • I get a kitten after we get back.  It will go nicely with the litter box and cat food I got from John for Christmas.
  • I’m planning on getting tattooed in San Antonio and Chicago during the next couple of weeks.
  • I’ll be starting a Little Acorn Learning curriculum for JR and Camilla after our trip.  I’m excited.
  • I definitely need to get back to daily workouts.  They’ve fallen by the wayside with a marked increase in fibro pain.
  • I nearly forgot how comfortable Vans are until I bought a new pair the other day.
  • I am very clearly doing anything possible to avoid laundry and packing.
  • I have to start all that now, before Thursday gets here.

Sigh.

She looks so sweet

when she’s asleep.  Don’t you agree?  Little angel.  We won’t discuss at this time the mischief she’s in when she’s awake.

Camilla Rose, asleep with her baby doll, December 27, 2010

Let It Snow!

One of the oh-so-many reasons I love living in Alaska:

JR & Camilla, catching snowflakes (photo taken by John, November 2010)

Awesome & Win

The nurse-in last Friday was made of awesome and win.  Thank you all.

I was so proud of the turnout — a photographer from the local newspaper pegged us at over 20+ mamas strong, not including daddies and babies and other supporters.  KUAC-FM mentioned us during the 12 pm newshour before the event.  CBS News 13 interviewed me before the nurse-in, and we were featured in the 6 pm and 11 pm news that night.  Two photos from the event were featured on the front page of the Fairbanks Newsminer the next day.

The energy from the participants was amazing, and the sentiments from passersby seemed largely positive despite a couple of unfortunate encounters.  The media was initially kicked out of the store, but were later invited back in.  John and I guessed that they didn’t want any more bad publicity.

We were there for about an hour inside the store, nursing, visiting with other parents, reveling in the positivity, enjoying the moment.  We had sort of descended on Starbucks en masse, and they were so patient even though I’m sure they were a bit overwhelmed.  The clerk nearest to us was very pleasant and polite.  Management stood by, looking rather nervous or insecure, possibly both.

I’m still so excited that it all went so well.  Overall it was such a wonderful experience.

Click images to enlarge


I’m so proud of the nurse-in, and of all of you out there who came out to support us, or sent your support from wherever you are.

I had mentioned to a few people how I’ve been wanting to expand my social circle, to meet like-minded people to hang out with and have playdates with, and one fabulous mama put it in an  awesome, empowering way:  I manifested a community around me, I manifested friends.  I guess I truly do have powerful magic.  I know I’m blessed to have had the support that I did, that I do.

What a great time it was.  I’m so hopeful that I’ve helped spread the message that there is nothing indecent about breastfeeding, and even more hopeful that at least one more mama will feel comfortable feeding her baby whenever and wherever he’s hungry.

At the nurse-in. Photo by Georganne Hampton, cropped by me.

Call for a nurse-in and a boycott!

You read my blog, presumably because you like (most of) what I have to say.  I don’t always address you directly, but that’s because I treat this blog more like an online diary.  I know you’re out there, and I appreciate your readership.

Now I’m going to ask you to help me out.

You all (should) know that I breastfeed my children.  My boys are uncircumcised.  All the kids wear cloth diapers, many handmade by me.  They have all slept in our bed with us.  We eat organic & free range wherever we can.  We support local ventures whenever possible.  I fight the fights worth fighting (and some that aren’t, but I’m not afraid of confrontation), and this is a fight worth fighting.

I want you to join me (or just come and support me) in a nurse-in at Safeway grocery store here in Fairbanks, Alaska, located at Airport Way & University Drive.  It’ll be Friday, August 6th, 2010, at a time yet to be determined.  I want it to be at a time convenient for enough people to show up.  Here’s why.

They told me to stop nursing my baby and leave.  I’m sure y’all know I didn’t comply with this “request.”

Here’s the story:  My newborn son started crying at approximately 7:25 pm on August 1, 2010. I figured that he was in need of a diaper & sent my husband to the truck to get one.  While my husband was outside, I remained inside with our 3-year-old son, our 16-month-old daughter, and our newborn.  My newborn started his hungry cry, so I sat down at a stool next to the Starbucks coffee stand and began nursing him while our other two children sat in the kiddie car portion of a grocery cart in front of me.  My husband returned from the truck, ordered a coffee, and came back to stand next to us.  It was at that point that the shift manager approached me and said while pointing at my chest, “You can’t be doing that.  You’ll have to leave.” I said, “I won’t do any such thing.  I’m protected by Alaska state law.”  Some woman I couldn’t see said, “Yeah right, like it’s protected for you to just be indecent in public.”  My husband said, “If you want, you can call the state troopers.”  The unidentified woman said she would.  This was about 7:30 pm.  No such call appears to have been made as I continued to sit there nursing for another ten minutes and the Alaska state troopers never came in.  When my son finished nursing, we left the store without making any further purchases.  [An employee in the parking lot collecting grocery carts told me he believes the shift manager’s name to be Josh.  “Josh” is in his late 20s to mid 30s, is Caucasian, has dark hair, wears glasses, stands roughly 5’8 to 6′, and is heavy-set.]

There is nothing indecent about breastfeeding. My body grew a tiny, perfect human being (three times, at that).  Now that my child lives outside of me, my body continues to provide him with sustenance.  Without my body, he has no nourishment or comfort.  My body has done amazing and beautiful things.  My body is useful for so much more than sex.  My body feeds my baby (and occasionally a thirsty or upset toddler).  Breastmilk gives my children so many more benefits than formula-feeding.  Learning their cues also means that I am more in tune with their needs and personalities, in turn letting me become a better parent.  I will not let my child cry it out when I have the ability to calm him and meet his needs by breastfeeding.  I will not let some ignorant jackass stop my child from eating, wherever the fuck I am.  If I am breastfeeding, I am protected by Alaska state law, anywhere I go that I’m allowed to be.  I should be protected anywhere I ever go in any state, but some places haven’t caught up with what should be yet.  You can help raise breastfeeding rights awareness.

Alaska is among 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands, in that it has laws with language specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location.

Alaska is among 28 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands, in that breastfeeding is exempt from public indecency laws.

AS 29.25.080. Breast-Feeding.

A municipality may not enact an ordinance that prohibits or restricts a woman breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. In a municipal ordinance, “lewd conduct,” “lewd touching,” “immoral conduct,” “indecent conduct,” and similar terms do not include the act of a woman breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. Nothing in this section may be construed to authorize an act that is an offense under a municipal ordinance that establishes an offense with elements substantially equivalent to the elements of an offense under AS 11.61.123 (indecent viewing & photography). This section is applicable to home rule and general law municipalities.

AS 01.10.060. Definitions.

(b) In the laws of the state, “lewd conduct,” “lewd touching,” “immoral conduct,” “indecent conduct,” and similar terms do not include the act of a woman breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. Nothing in this subsection may be construed to authorize an act that is an offense under AS 11.61.123 (indecent viewing & photography) .

So here’s what I ask of you —

NURSE-IN:  Join me in Safeway at University & Airport this Friday, August 6th, 2010, to nurse your baby in public.  Leave a comment below or email me at crystal@hippiediva.com and tell me what time is best for you.  I want to set this up so that as many people as possible can participate.  Get the word out!  Also,

BOYCOTT:  After the nurse-in, let your voice be heard with your dollars!  Boycott Safeway!  Get the word out!

Please, pass this along.

What a way to ring in World Breastfeeding Week.

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