My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

Readers enjoy your feedback and Reviews (82!) on amazon. Kindle Version Available!

Please Join me on Facebook at Punger Family Medicine.

Monday, December 31, 2007

I Love Learning...

...Learning never ends. Sometimes I feel like I am unschooled.

I'd personally like to take more classes. The structure doesn't fit into my life. Of course that doesn't mean I can't learn. I learn everyday.

First of all, if it isn't obvious, I don't practice medicine like medical school taught me. Medical school gave me the degree I needed to get licensed, but AFTER medical school and residency only then did I fine my own style. I had to pursue it myself.

Medical school did not teach business skills or marketing or how to go into private practice. Me and my husband have divided the tasks and each learn and read what we need to know to do our share.

On the fun side of things, I never held a camera until my schooling was complete. I did take adult photography classes after my formal schooling was complete, but I continue to work on my skills indepentently.

I did not write well in school. School failed in teaching me to love writing. I even took remedial English in college. The first story I wrote was my birth story. I found that I loved communicating through writing and I never stopped telling and retelling my story. I read grammar and editing books to get more efficient on my own as an adult.

Computers weren't around when I was born. :) I taught myself how to keyboard, e-mail, use word programs, use HTML, use discussion groups, etc... in the past 10 years.

Did I have a nutrition class? If I did I must have slept through it. I am teaching myself nutrition now.

I am not sure what school taught me that I use today. You can see why I am not in a rush to make my kids attend school. If I can continue learning at home, there is no reason they can't be successful doing learning at home, too.

Diaper Covers: Bummis vs. Bumkins

Since I wrote about the actual diapers, I thought I'd write about the covers I am familiar with. The cover is the water resistant outer layer.

Bumkins all-in-ones do not need a cover. The outer water resistant layer is built in.

Bummis and Bumkins both make a high quality diaper cover.

As long as the cover is not soiled, it can be reused before laundering. A cover can easily be rinsed and hung at the sink or it can be laundered with the rest of the diapers.

Covers are used for Bamboozle (the organic fitted diaper) and pre-folds (the white rectangles). There are many other types of diapers, these two kinds are the kinds I used the most and know the most about.

Both come in white and prints. Both have velcro closures (like paper diapers). Currently Bummis also offers covers with snaps. These covers have a newborn, small, medium, large, XL size. You do not need pins. They are easy to put on and take off.

Bumkins covers are a lighter water resistant material than Bummis. Some like the structure and firmness of Bummis. Some like how quick Bumkins dries off being so light weight.

Both fit nicely around baby's waist and thighs. I enjoyed using both and having the variety.

There are other diaper covers made out of natural fibers like wool and polar fleece. I tried fleece when I was in Georgia, but didn't use it long. I never tried the wool.

Feel free to add your own comments and questions.

I've been waning to make a list of other uses for a cloth diaper, so look for that list soon.

What's Unschooled?

Nikki from Blogs for a Cause asked me what "unschooled" means in my "About Me" bio. My boys are unschooled.

To me unschooled is a form of homeschooling where we don't follow a curriculum. We tend to take advantage of learning opportunities we encounter within our daily adventures. I do not believe that government ordained curriculum are in the best interest of all kids and particularly not mine. For the most part I haven't found homeschool curriculums that meet our needs, either. Nor have I found a private school. (Plaid uniforms, yuck!) (Sometimes the silliest things can be a turn off. But seriously I don't share the religious philospophies of private area schools. )

Having said that, my oldest son has gravitated towards a online Florida Junior/High School this year. He completed keyboarding as his first class with a 100% final grade (brag alert!). This semester he is taking Language Arts and Science, both 6th grade classes and he would be in 5th grade if enrolled in public school. He is also taking the advanced track (the other option is the standard track) for both his current classes.

Nikki's question is timely also because I was going to write about what we learned during our vacation days these past two weeks. We have gone from a very informal and non-demanding routine to a very filled schedule for William. Besides his online classes, his real life extracurricular activities are Hebrew School (meets twice weekly), karate and drums. I was glad to get a break from the pace these past two weeks.

Taking a break from school does not mean you are not learning. These two weeks have been unexpected good "unschooling" weeks for William as well as the other boys.

We planned to go to the ICE show in Orlando, a holiday ice sculpture. They keep it 9 degrees in there. We learned about proper dressing for the temperature and got to see ice art sculptures and experience something different. My boys all tried ice skating that day. Scott did very well for the first time. We saw a Rock and Roll Holiday show with laser and smoke. I have drum bangers. This was very important for stimulating for their creativity.

The buffet on our day trip offered opportunities to try new food. The favorite was dipping the strawberries in chocolate. Not an experience we will be doing anytime soon at home in my sugar-free zone.

Both grandmas have dogs that the boys help with when we visit. One grandma has a little orchard. Grapefruit, oranges, and lemon are in season. We picked and now they are helping me juice. Again new experiences. It's important to know where food comes from before it goes to the grocery store. Agave nectar replaced the sugar and makes great lemon aid. The sweetener is also great on grapefruit. Anyway, you get the idea. Meaningful learning can take place in a variety of settings. It doesn't have to be at the desk in a classroom.

The boys have had annual evaluations each year. The level of work William is doing this year shows that what I have done from him in earlier years has been the right thing for him even if he seemed behind at different points. He has transitioned well from unschooled, to one elective class, to two advanced-track classes.

This homeschool post is about my first year of unschooling. This post is also a chapter in my upcoming book. A version was also published in the Florida Parent Education Almanac, the state homeschool quarterly a few years ago. By them publishing it, gave me proof that the school year was a credible year to someone official. :)

I am sure I'll have more to say about homeschool/unschool in upcoming posts.

Bumkins, FuzzyBunz and Bamboozle Cloth Diapers

Catalina asked me about the different brands of diapers in my Tribute to Cloth Diapers.

Bumkins and FuzzyBunz are both a high quality diaper. I tried FuzzyBunz with David when I started cloth. With FuzzyBunz you have to fold and insert the absorbant part into the layers in the cover before use and remove it to launder. I found myself to lazy to do that, at least at that phase of my cloth diapering journey. Some like the insert on the inside layers b/c they feel it wicks the moisture away.

Bumkins is an all-in-one. It is easy to put on. It's all one piece with velcro closures. Sometimes I did add an insert, but I did not have to fit it "inside" the layers like FuzzyBunz.

Recently I learned about Bamboozle diapers. I realized the link in my store to it wasn't showing. It is now. Here it is:

They are organic and made out of bamboo. They are the softest diaper I have ever felt. (It's hard to believe that bamboo can be so soft.) They have been very popular. They do need a cover over them. There are only two sizes. One size takes you from birth to 18pounds. The other size takes you from 12 to 35 pounds.

Bumkins and FuzzyBunz have at least three sizes.

There are advantages to having more than one style of diaper. I'll write about that another time.
Feel free to add your comments about the diapers.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tobacco Cessation for the New Year

I have never smoked, but I appreciate how hard it can be to break a habit.
I have heard of several techniques people use to quit including hypnosis, accupressure, and medication. Currently there is three pharmaceuticals available to aid cessation. Nicotine patches and gum are over the counter. You don't need a prescription to buy. Zyban and Chantix are prescriptions. There may be a nicotine inhaler currently available by prescription, too.

Arguments I hear not to pursue these techniques:

Are they safe? Anything is safer than smoking! Even while breastfeeding, even in pregnancy. Cigarettes contains the worst toxins we are exposed to on a regular basis.

Why use a Nicotine patch (or pill). It's still nicotine? Yes, its still nicotine, but without the second hand smoke. Do you know how dangerous second hand smoke is to kids and family members. Wheezing illnesses and lung cancer very common in smoking households. I see wheezing daily. Between my husband and we diagnosis lung cancer at least monthly and loose a patient frequently to lung cancer.

But I'll gain weight? Better to have the weight than the toxins.

The treatments are too expensive? Yes, but so are cigarettes.

My insurance doesn't cover it? No one's insurance covers it. "Insurance not covering something" is a lame excuse not to do what is best for your health. I see this excuse used all the time in many aspects of health care.

I tried quitting before? Each time you attempt to quit you have a greater chance of success.

If you must smoke, could you stop smoking in your house and car. If you carry passengers (kids) in your car you shouldn't smoke in it even when they aren't in there. The second hand smoke lingers. Can you change your clothes before rejoining the family/group(to get rid of the second hand smoke)? In public can you be considerate of others around who don't smoke. Nothing like going to the beach, mountains, anywhere in nature to enjoy nature and breathe fresh air and someone lights up. If you can't stop smoking completely these few things would be a great way to help cut back and compromise until you are in a frame of mind to quit.

Do you know its easier to quit if you and a buddy choose a target date together and support each other. You may want to combine techniques: use the patch and medication together.

Do you know smoking is out of fashion. Personally there is nothing more unattractive than seeing someone put a smoke stick in their mouth and then see smoke come out of their nostrils and mouth. Oh... and please don't tease a non-smoker and get in their face and exhale. I've had dental associates and other professionals who need to get up close and I can tell they just came back from a smoke break when they breathe. What a way to loose business.

I have no financial interest in the pharmaceuticals or other techniques. But if you keep smoking, you'll be in to seem me or whoever your physician is more often for illness.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Tribute to Cloth Diapers

With David's pregnancy (my third pregnancy), I had a yearning to try cloth diapers. I couldn't come out and admit that I wanted to. I new hardly anyone who used cloth and I figured everyone would tell me I was weird.
Before I could come straight out and admit it, I emailed cute photos like this around wondering if anyone would get it.

I used Huggies supertrim (I think that's what they are called, I can't really remember for William and Scott.) I couldn't stand how any other paper diaper felt.

David wore disposable diapers for only the first few days, until my first order of plain white Bumkins came in.

Bumkins are all-in-ones. No pins. The plastic layer is attached to the absorbent layers. They fasten just like the disposable, I was familiar with.

As cute as these prints are it took a while for me to loosen up and try them!

Ever notice the picture on the waistline of the disposable-- its often a image of an animal baby feeding out of a bottle. This was not going to work for me and was the ultimate detail that made me reject disposables. So actually, I rejected disposables "first" then I had to accept the idea of cloth.

It wasn't long before I couldn't stand how huggies super trims or any paper diaper felt and looked. I found I loved the variety of cloth diapers and prints. The softness is irrisistable.

This white diaper is a cover with a white cotton rectangle (prefolds) folded underneath. No pins needed. Many moms get these prefolds from big chain baby stores. They use them. They leak. They give up. The reason for leaking is the center is not filled with absorbent cotton. It's poly foam which does not absorb. I bought one and cut it open just to see for myself. Prefolds with covers in an economical way to go. You just have to be careful that you get a quality absorbent prefold.

The yellow covers are Bummis covers just like the white. The ZEBRA print in a Bumkins made in the USA. David loved these prints.

Finally before 3 years old David stayed dry during the day.

My friend Lisa says she was thinking about using cloth, but she needed me to really verbalize the idea and get her started. Moms like her made me decide to follow through on my encouragement and carry cloth diapers in my little office store.

She has a big bathroom and I liked how she organized her changing table and a place to hang wet diapers.

Here is one more little boy who is happy with his new diapers!

If you want to read more about cloth diapers this is an article on cloth diapers I wrote.

Also you can see the photo and comments in the previous post (below).

We kept David in cloth diapers at nighttime until recently. I am getting a handle on his bedwetting without diapers. The time has come that I must pack up the basket of diapers in the corner and put them away. I really don't want to give in to the fact there is no baby in my house.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What's This Green(not) Thing?

This left an impression on me. I took this photo yesterday at the Brevard Zoo at a conservation exhibit. I may not put comments through immediately just to give others that follow a chance to consider what this is. Hint... this one is YUCKY.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Hope I've been TOTALLY Sugar-Free for Three months.

Eating is such a social activity and detoxing from your sensitive foods can keep you home bound. Now, that's its been three months, I am comfortable shopping and what I can eat in my own home. There was other food items on my test that by the time I would navigate a restaurant menu to avoid all the foods making me sick, it was impossible to eat out. Sometimes I miss the socialization more than the food!

I didn't react as severely to other foods as I did sugar and a three month elimination was recommended for the other foods. I was stressed about leaving my "safe" kitchen over the holidays and traveling and not sure how I could maintain the detox. I decided I would keep to the sugar detox and add the other whole foods back at least until I got home.

I did plan ahead. I told my mother and John's mother I wasn't going to eat sugar. Their first response is, "Well, I don't add sugar to anything!" That's what everyone says!

My mother kindly showed me her recipes ahead of time. I can choose not to eat it or suggest a replacement ingredient. Her Pasta with Vodka sauce was clear. Her Talapia with a bread crumb and mayo was not. Mayo has sugar. Most bread has cane-sugar or corn syrup added to it. I told her I'd bring my own safe bread (Publix sour dough/ my friend bakes me bread with honey.) She left some talapia for me to top with seasoning. You have to read every label. She handed me her fish seasoning and guess what? Sugar is a top ingredient.

We did go out to eat and I stuck with eggs, cheese, fruit and soup. Somewhere I have the feeling there is a little sugar in something I ate. Not much, but its restaurant food. restaurants add taste to keep you coming back.

John's mother has been cooking healthier for a long time. She wasn't stressed at all to keep sugar-free. In fact when we go to her house, I found some of the adult cousins were also on yeast-free diets meaning they were aware of sugar content in food. I was in good eating company!

John's mother did ask if it was OK to add garlic salt to the rice. I thought it would be. I looked at the ingredient list of garlic salt: sugar, modified corn starch (yuck), preservatives, garlic, and salt. Lesson: add garlic, add salt, but don't add garlic salt. It did leave me wondering if it was added to any other foods that I may not be aware of. Why am I so anal about small drops of sugar? The nutritionist at the lab that does the testing recommends absolute elimination for the body to heal. Even for people who think they don't eat candy, ice cream... there is still a lot of hidden sugar.

But they also say that if you reintroduce a food before your body is healed, you will get sick and will have to start the elimination period all over. The good news is, I didn't get sick. I very good sign!

I am actually back in my home this morning. I am actually glad I can stick with my own food now after a few days of variety. After three month, I don't feel like I am "detoxing." I really don't want to go back to an "eat anything" diet.

I get a lot of questions about sugar-free. I suppose over time my social eating time can be replaced with people who want to eat like me; I Just have to find those people.

I get asked a lot, if I recommend the test for everyone. I get a lot of inquiries about eliminating sugar. It is definitely worth trying to reduce/eliminate sugar without taking the test. You will feel better. I have noticed a pattern on my patent's test results. Sugar problems manifest itself in everyone on an American diet. Many of have a problem with sugar (not just diabetics). Many people want to be in denial about their test results and don't want to believe the results. A person inclined to take the test, thinks they are eating healthy. In my own case, I was already eating a lot of organics and making changes, but not seeing the results. I had to get tested to see what "food" was holding me back. If you can learn from my experience, eliminate your sugar and see how better you feel, you may not need testing.

The test checked me for grains. I can eat rice, corn, wheat, millet, potato, sweet potato, and OJ and apple juice with no added sweeteners. In my case I know those foods don't cause inflammation in my body and they are safe for me. Likewise, testing can be informative to you.
The test I did is

Soon I'll post more specifically on better food choices.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What's in my Hand?

Who knows what I am holding? Hint-it's not a breast or nipple, lol.

Ready for Solids?

This would be a sign that the baby is ready to start solids!
He doesn't need or want rice cereal, first, or jarred baby food, yuck! Whole foods will do!
(note his comfy cloth diaper :) )

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Coping with low milk supply.

Can you breastfeed when you have no milk? Or a low milk supply?
These photos show a variety of very cool moms (I am proud of all of them) coping with a low milk supply and/or poor weight gain. Most of these situations are temporary. The supply issues were very frustrating for all these moms, but the ability to keep the baby at the breast brings out the smiles on both mom and baby. Several of these babies show great eye contact and all the babies are very peaceful being fed this way.

She is using a Medela SNS. The baby grabs the tubing like it's her best friend! She had poor weight gain.

A medela SNS is recommended for 24 hour use, but these two babies used their apparatus about two weeks. Medela has a supplementer designed for longer term use. (I don't show a photo of it.) They both are very busy toddlers, now!

This is a close up of showing the tubing going in the baby's mouth.(click on photo to see it better.)

She rigged her own supplementer with tubing and a bottle. Nothing fancy!

This one is called a supplemate. Most of these systems are filled with formula. Expressed breastmilk can also be used. Baby is three days old. The pediatrician also was concerned about jaundice. The pediatrician recommended supplementing formula in a bottle. I want to show mom away to avoid interrupting breastfeeding. Mom has had gastric surgery. I wasn't sure about the impact of bariatric surgery on on breastfeeding, so I was eager to show her this technique before feeding issues and weight became critical as the examples of older babies in the above photos.

This is another supplemate. It is recommended for one time use. We wrapped a rubber band around it, so mom could slip her finger through it and free her hand. We could also clip it to her shirt so her hand is completely free (see top photos). Mom wants to build her supply while keeping baby at the breast.

This system is called a lact-aid. This baby is much older than all the other babies shown above. This system is for long term use. Many adoptive mothers use this system. This mom said she could nurse lying down without spilling formula. This system allows you to prepare and fill many bags ahead of time. The other systems can only be filled one at a time. He also had significant weight loss before we discovered it was the milk supply. I really did not think she would be able to breastfeed. She proved me wrong! It brought tears to my eyes when she wrote me a few months later, "I am so glad I didn't give up. I am enjoying breastfeeding so much."

I loved this series of photos I took of this mom. There is formula in that bag and this baby never got a bottle (ever!). He received all his formula supplement at the breast. As I watched this baby twiddle with his bag of supplement it reminded me of how my son twiddles with my "other" breast. I am so proud of this mom for keeping her baby at the breast (he's almost a year old)despite her true low milk supply issues. Her baby acts very attached like any exclusively breastfed/sling carried baby. He is very healthy.

Even if not "feeding" babies can get comfort at the breast.

If you can't "breastfeed" you can still nurture at the breast.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"I Couldn't Ever Labor without an Epidural!"

In America, besides pharmaceuticals, OBs aren't taught pain reducing techniques to offer their laboring patients. And, women watch too much TV birth drama (including TLC birth stories) that doesn't help us to become informed of our options. pain in labor:
Here are other non-pharmaceutical ways women have coped with labor.

Before Pregnancy:
Good Nutrition
Stop watching TV birth stories

During Pregnancy:
Good Nutrition
Careful choice of birth provider
Preparation by taking out of hospital birth classes
Read positive birth stories
Mentally and spiritually prepare with positive affirmation
Surround yourself with people who support your decision to have a natural birth

In Labor:
Doula support which includes a combination of the following
Faith in Birth
Epidurals are dangerous! Interfering! And Denying!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wife of Rockstar Wears her Baby

My friend, a rockstar's wife, made my night by posting all these beautiful photos of her family slinging the smaller ones in many positions and situations. Check it out here.

Here is a link to my previous post about Wear Your Baby.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Why I Support the Nestle Boycott

One of the photos in the beginning of this slide show--a mother with her twins--is very popular in the lactation circle. The mother was told she'd never be able to make enough milk for both babies. She breastfed one and bottle fed the other. You'll recognize the photo.

I first became aware of the nestle boycott several years ago. Nestle seems to make EVERYTHING. It's good for me to review this list every now and then.

Baby Milk Action, who leads the boycott states:

Nestlé is targeted with the boycott because monitoring conducted by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) finds it to be responsible for more violations of the World Health Assembly marketing requirements for baby foods than any other company.And the World Health Organisation, who developed the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes estimate that 1.5 million babies die around the world every year because they are not breastfed. I had no idea that nestle was so huge.

They probably sell a lot more than this now!

Beverages; Nescafé, including Cappuccino, Classic, Expresso and Fine Blend; International Roast; Andronicus; Caro; Carnation; Milo; Nesquik; Vittel and Perrier mineral waters; Nestea.

Cereals: Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Nesquik, Milo

Confectionery; Kit Kat, Smarties, Rolo, Aero, Quality Street, Life Savers; Milky Bar; Milo Bar; Scorched Almonds; After Eight; Allen's confectionery, including Oddfellows, Mackintosh's Toffees, Kool mints, Raspberry Twists, Soothers and Vita C; Allen's/Heards confectionery including Barley Sugars; Black Knight; Granny's licorice; Pixie Caramel; Chokito; Chocolate Raisins/Peanuts; Nut Roll; Crunch; Regina confectionery, including Marshmallows, Party Mix, Pineapple Chunks, Strawberry Hearts and Choc Orange Slices; Nutoata bars; Canterbury Oaty bars, Willy Wonka.Cooking products: Nestlé baking cocoa, Nestlé cooking chocolate, Chocolate Melts, Choc Bits, Milk Melts, Highlander condensed milk, Reduced Cream, Quick Custard Mix.

Cosmetics: Body Shop, Garnier,Lancome, L'Oreal, Maybelline, Redken

Processed food: Maggi; Findus frozen food, including Lean Cuisine; Buitoni pasta and sauces; Nanda pasta; Crosse & Blackwell relishes/pickles.

Pet food: Friskies, Go Cat, Cat Meow, Fancy Feast, Tux, Trusty.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Breech Awareness: Breech is NOT a disease

This is my third son's purple feet.
He was born healthy on my bed with my midwife and two doulas!

Here are a few GREAT links, I've collected on breech vaginal birth: My story!
Homebirth: Midwifery Mutiny in South Australia: Breech birth a video of a footling breech

Since, most women will not be able to find a provider to deliver a breech vaginally, These are some techniques that may help to turn a breech baby to vertex:

Webster technique ( a chiropractor technique)


pulsatilla (an herb)

squatting & sitting with legs spread leaning forward

Laying in an incline with hips in a higher postion than the chest chest

Some OBs will offer external version

Most OBs don't inform women of any of these options. (They are not taught in medical training, atleast not in mine. And there is not too many of the types of studies done that convince OBs of the effectiveness of these techniques.) Its up to women to pursue them! Anything is better than an automatic cesarean.

I never imagined MY baby would be anything but head down. I was very lucky to be in the circumstances I was in to be able to follow through on a vaginal birth. The more women that I know who have babies in breech positions near term makes me realize, I need to keep publishing breech resources and create awareness.

Homeschooling: The First Year

Brothers cooperating and building a fort.

“Homeschooling is so hard.”
“How do you have the energy when you’re pregnant?”
“How will you have the time with a breastfeeding baby in the house?”
“When do the boys socialize?”

These are things I frequently hear from people not familiar with homeschooling.
My first son, William, is a September baby. This is a bit eccentric, but at the time of his birth, I was cognizant of the fact that “my genius” missed the cutoff to kindergarten and would not be required to enter school until he was almost six. That was not going to do! There was also outside pressure to put him in a preschool by three months old so he wouldn’t miss out on “the educational advantage of starting early.”

My husband had other concerns; he was over-protective (not a bad thing in this case) and couldn’t dare leave his primogenito under a strangers’ care. It was just as well because preschool hours didn’t seem to match our work schedules. In the meantime, I stocked up on brand-name reading and foreign-language curricula by the time he was 18 months old.
I don’t recall when homeschooling became a conscious thing for me, but it wasn’t long before I relaxed and realized that the world is a classroom and that I didn’t need to be tied down to formal schedules or someone else’s curriculum. By the first year we came under the homeschooling laws, we took advantage of this flexibility. And we also had the support of lots of homeschooling families to help keep perspective during times of outside criticism and questioning.

The first official year of homeschooling included moving out of state and traveling. I did not look for employment, and I savored my time with both boys, knowing that I would be back in the work force soon enough. Anticipation of a new baby has not been a hindrance to learning, and young boys don’t need to be confined to desks. Nor do they need to be diagnosed with behavior disorders and controlled with meds in order to make a teacher happy.

If we had done nothing else that first year except move from Florida to Georgia, we would still have completed educational requirements for William, who was six years old that year. I was not legally required to document Scott’s learning, because he was just four that year, but freedom from documentation didn’t mean he wasn’t learning.

Moving exposed us to a variety of subjects. The boys were introduced to geography through maps and compared their native coast terrain with the mountains of Georgia. We found elementary biology in regional plant and animal life. Our study of meteorology was enhanced by the fact that Georgia experiences all four seasons, which is very different from South Florida. William and Scott practiced rudimentary writing skills in the notes and photos they e-mailed to their friends, describing their new experiences. Every time we went back and forth from Georgia to Florida to visit our loved ones, they practiced their budding math skills: “How many months until we go back to Florida? How many miles is it to Georgia, and how much time will it take to get there?”

Besides the usual school subjects, my boys got to raise their EQ (emotional intelligence) as we processed all the feelings that go along with moving. It is stressful not only for adults but also to young children. And if you’ve ever moved you realize it takes much longer than you expect to process the grief of leaving friends behind. At the same time, learning how to face loss with the support of your family and healthy coping skills is probably the best lesson that anyone can learn in childhood.

We went back to visit Florida three times during our first “school” year. Young children learn through repetition, and all of our “lessons” were reinforced with each trip. We have traveled elsewhere, too, in our homeschooling career, and that has presented a host of learning opportunities. Scott has been to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Alabama, Tennessee and Washington State. William has also been to Canada, Nevada and Arizona.

These trips have included beaches, mountains, state parks, jet skis, the Smithsonian, aquariums, hiking, barbecuing, mining, rock quarries, canyons, waterfalls, caves, ethnic restaurants and historical activities like Civil War re-enactments and Colonial craftsmanship.

Our adventures have also included the socialization that the under-informed worry so much about. (I can’t help but remember every schoolteacher who ever said to me, “Turn around and face the front, young lady. We’re not here to socialize,” or “The quietest student gets a reward at the end of the week.”) William says a trip is not a vacation unless you see your friends. Through homeschooling, he has learned the value of friends and real socialization. Scott says his favorite trip is to Grandma’s to get toys.

To finish up their first “school” year, my sons attended a British soccer camp. Their coaches were from Wales and Scotland, and both boys still talk about those countries. They recognize their flags, and Scott even acquired a British accent.

When worried (or are they jealous?) people fret that kids might fall behind by moving out of a school district, I don’t have to deal with that secret fear that they might be right. I know our boys were exposed to a tremendous variety of learning opportunities in the very first year of homeschooling, more opportunities than many school children will ever have!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Can You Tell I LOVE my Blog?

I've had a website for the practice for a long time. I love my website. And I love that it gives me a place to post my most popular articles (birth, my breech homebirth, cloth diapers, co-sleeping, babywearing) and families could get to know me through it. Two downsides. Everything I put on it has to go through a web designer. I couldn't just write, but I had to explain how and where I want it placed. It makes for changing things around more involved than I'd like it to especially, if I don't get it right the first time.

Second, I really craved wanting to put more and more on the website about topics of particular interest to my side of practice. I am eager to share what I learn from personal and professional experiences. My husband's Senior patients see the website and think they are in the wrong practice and tell him. Grrrrr. So I have used some self-control about keeping the site balanced.

This blog has been the perfect solution. My creativity can now go beyond the practice website. This blog has been so easy to set up and maintain compared to other sites I have done. I was concerned about older posts getting buried beneath newer post on the blog. On my website, every page is visible from every page. I found a blog tutorial about maintaining a strong and visible blog. Blog tutorials showed me how I can keep old posts at the top by adding a list of "Popular Posts" in the navbar. I can change these around to refresh topics. Blog tutorials gave me other good tips like how to name posts and making the layout readable. I highly recommend blog tutorials.

Since I had a professional website, I never looked into myspace until I noticed that many of my families had showcases of the baby photos there and then I got interested. I don't update it much, but I do like to look at my friends family & baby photos. And, I found out myspace isn't evil either!

I hope you like this blog. I'd love to know you are out there. If you haven't left a comment before, I'd love for you to introduce yourself and if you have a website or blog, let me know how I can find you. I'd love to know who I am talking to.

PS-I can't believe I've admitted that I have a myspace account.

Besides an Epidural...

America, besides pharmaceuticals, OBs aren't taught pain reducing techniques to offer their laboring patients. Women watch too much TV birth drama (including TLC birth stories) that doesn't help us know our options.Pain reducing ways woman have used to cope with pain in labor:Stop watching TV birth storiesPreparation by taking out of hospital birth classesMentally and Spiritually prepare with positive affirmationGood Nutritioncareful choice of bith provider Doula support emotional and physical supportwater birthhypnobirthmaintaining mobilitymassageheatFaith (Many of the women in Christine's and Courtney's blog circles have written Powerful posts of how faith influences adoption, family building and other areas of their lives... don't give up during labor!! Many women suddenly think their OB is god and suddenly trust their OBs more without considering other opinions.)Christine's photo with her baby in the water shows how empowering this birth was for her. It's a great photo. Epidurals Deny, Deny, Deny.... Chrisitne, Rockstar's Wife, can you think of any more ways to reduce pain...

Natural Substitutes for Sugar

These are natural replacements I have found for cane sugar during my detox.

  1. 1.Stevia
  2. 2.Agave Nectar. I have reviewed this product at amazon. This has been my greatest find!
  3. 3.Honey
  4. 4.Maple- great in oatmeal and home-made granola (to replace packaged cereal).
  5. 5.Whole Fruit
  6. 6.Naturally Fructose Sweetened ei, 1.All natural juice (apple, orange, pomegranate, for example) 2. McCutcheons makes a variety of flavors of Juice sweetened Jam's. Locally I get them at Nelson's on Midway. These jam's (pumpkin butter or pineapple) cook nicely on fish and chicken and they caramelize and taste delicious cooked. For me these jam's satisfactorily have replaced many of the other high sugar sauces for cooking chicken and fish.

I'm not big on artificial sweeteners. Cane juice is from cane. It is less refined than cane sugar. May be a better choice for those that don't need to avoid cane. Cane juice is often found in organic and environmentally friendly foods.

Fruit and fructose are high-glycemic, causes spikes in blood sugar) (not good for diabetes), but the others are low-glycemic (slow and steady release of energy). Truly cutting out/cutting down on sugar would probably allow room for some diabetics to enjoy more fruit.

I use to have hypoglycemia before lunch if I was running behind schedule. I have had no hypoglycemia since cutting out sugar. I am convinced too much sugar is ironically the cause for low blood sugar.

Any other great ideas for sugar replacements are welcome! Is this kind of information useful to you?

PS-In case your wondering my kids and husband are not being forced to stick with this. I could only wish they would. I'd hate to think how much junk all of them have eaten already today.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Continuing the Natural Family Planning Discussion

I have been thinking about all these comments and information left behind at my Breastfeeding and Birth Control post for the past few days. These are some random thoughts:

I read the Quiverfull article written by Stacy McDonald, a woman who doesn't keep an NFP calender and lets G-d be in total control of all her pregnancies. I've never kept a NFP calender and thought I should or that it was hypocritical of me to recommend others to do so if I don't. This article was informative to hear someone verbalize why she doesn't keep a written calendar. My only excuse is that I am lazy and unorganized.

However, I do know my body and my cycle so whether I keep a written "calendar" or look for cervical mucous, energy level, or skin blemishes, I always know where I am in my cycle. I haven't used hormonal birth control in years and I did so only for a very short time (when I was surrounded by physicians who thought BCP was good for a women's sense of wellness). My husband also always seems to know exactly where I am too, on my cycle. Men can use this to employ man's birth control (condoms, interrupts, avoidance). At least mine does. Like the author of the article points out, these are not very romantic options.

For some couples that aren't in tune with their cycles (and those that can't seem to get pregnant), there are benefits to taking classes. Classes in NFP can help you understand your cycle and potentially help you with "timing" before pursuing major inventive, demoralizing, fertility work-ups. Also by understanding your cycle, knowing when you conceived can keep you in control of your due date as doctors and technology (like ultrasound) are to quick and INSISTENT to change due dates.... and we know that leads to other harmful interventions. Some woman think their mid-cycle healthy cervical mucous (a sign of good health and fertility!) is a recurrent yeast infection.

I like the Quiverfull article (please go read it, if you haven't) because the author speaks how children are blessings, not burdens. It seems everywhere I go children are treated like burdens. I hate that. Even when it's my children that have brought me to a particular place or event--they are still often THE burdens by others!

Using the phrase "unintended pregnancy" bothers me. My first pregnancy was "unintended," "John, I forgot to pack something and it's day 14." (or was that intended if I forgot and we ignored?) My second pregnancy was intended, "John, this is a good weekend," I FLAUNTED. Both boys are a joy to me and "unintended" is confusing and demoralizing. "Unintended" does not mean unwanted, unloved or undesired. It's not empowering to ask a newly pregnant women experiencing the range of normal mixed emotion whether it was "planned" or "unplanned," verses "unintended" or "unintended." "Unintended" reinforces the belief that babies are burdens not Blessings.

When I am with a woman who is newly pregnant and I am not sure how she feels, I don't ask, "Is this planned or was this unintended." I ask how she feels about this pregnancy. "Is it good news or bad news?" If it's good news, it's easy to provide cheer and congratulations. If it's "bad" news, I can provide her with empowering reassurance that her mixed feelings are normal. If it's REALLY bad news, I can provide her with an empowering option: adoption.

PS-for awhile I was training with doctors who thought BCP created a sense of wellness for a women because of lighter and more predictable periods. Perhaps being easier to remember when to do a self-breast exam (at the same time in each pack of pills). I find much more wellness on not being on them, having an awareness of where I am in my cycle and being all natural.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Customized Style for My Blog!

My blog has a new look! Today Nikki updated it. She is a college student in Ontario raising money for an humanitarian trip to the Dominican Republic.

This is Nikki's profile photo. It was taken on her last trip to DR. It's one of Nikki's favorite photos. It immediately grabbed my attention as this little girl is comforted by being near her breast. It is so normal for children this age to want to clutch to the top of mom's shirt for comfort. And, since I am particularly observant of toddler behavior, I also notice how uncomfortable, many women are with being touched anywhere near the breast.

Nikki is not Naomi's mom, and that emphasizes a BIGGER point: this shows how toddlers can be comforted near the breast even if they can't be breastfed. The Light shining RIGHT on her breast intrigues me. There's a Powerful story in this photo. Atleast, that is my interpretation.

I am glad I found a way to support Nikki's mission. She is young and ambitious and will touch the lives of many!

Click on the photo to learn more about Nikki's and her projects, and how you can have a new design for your blog. For the month of December she is running a special. Only $20.00 for a new header and style uploaded to your blog. What do you think of this new look?

Naomi and her family are refugees from the Dominican's neighbouring country, Haiti.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What foods is Cane Sugar found?

My husband saw me drinking orange juice last night. "Why are you drinking a big thing of OJ if you are eliminating sugar?"

I admit, I've always been confused about "sugar," too. As I began reading labels, I found out cane sugar was in everything. No surprise to anyone it's in candy, ice cream (Breyer's my favorite!), and other sweets.

It's ALSO in pizza crust,bagels, saltines, salad dressing, mayo, ketchup, crackers, saltines, every boxed breakfast cereal (except things like puffed tasteless millet.) I liked to have cornflakes or total in the morning (also has sugar). I had to think about what I was going to replace cereal with. That's when I started making granola and hot oatmeal without sugar and just using ingredients from my "safe" foods list.

My test showed I was sensitive to cane sugar. I was not sensitive to honey, fructose (natural sweetener from fruit), corn (found in high, fructose corn syrup), or maple. I can have those sweeteners (I read about what's in high fructose corn syrup and made a personal decision to eliminate it.) OJ, apple juice, pomegranate juice (and a few other juices) for the most part are fructose sweetened. Cane sugar is my problem. Not fructose. That's why I can drink OJ.

Potatoes, rice, corn, barley, millet and other high carbohydrate rich food were safe for me according to my test results (unless sauces and dressings are poured on them). They are not cane sugar. They are carbohydrates.

Understanding where cane sugar is found helped me to understand what foods I can have while I detox.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Unveiling the Cover of My Book

I am happy to share the cover of my book!

Cover Photo "Joan and Onika-- In Tune with Nature"

Joan gave me the idea for a title in a note she wrote me 4 1/2 years ago. "It's almost like you've given us "permission" … to nurse just the way we want to, for how long we want to." Her note stuck with me and so did this photo I took of her in her beautiful garden. What I learned from her birth also stuck with me and is included in my book.

My friend Melissa Walter, who I've known from college, designed the front and back cover.

Thank you so much for designing this beautiful cover, Melissa!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Before My Sugar-free Kick

Before I found out I was sensitive to sugar, I was actively participating in a local organic produce co-op. I had already made changes to eat better. I was eating and cooking many vegetables I previously didn't know existed. I was also using a lot of organic cane sugar, garlic and olive oil--thinking I was doing something good for myself.

At this time, I began cutting out foods that are obviously not good. I wasn't "dieting" or "calorie counting" per say, but it seemed like it was still way too easy to put on weight while eating healthy.

Really, you can imagine my surprise to find out I was sensitive to these foods and more. It is a universal belief that garlic and olive oil are good for you. Alcat teaches that besides water there is not one universal food that is good for everyone. Alcat also teaches that food that causes inflammation in our bodies, also creates a vicious cycle of craving the food (like sugar) that is not good for us. Indeed, I notice my appetite never seemed satisfied. Alcat also teaches that our body can recover from these sensitivities by a total elimination for a period of time. That makes me feel motivated an encouraged.

The first week I started the elimination, I thought I was going to die of starvation. I wasn't very strick the week two of my sons have birthdays. That week, gave me a chance to review my progress and learn what I could eat, so I wouldn't feel so deprived. Sugar-free options is what I will post about soon.

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