Thursday, August 20, 2009

Faces of Birth, part I

First baby-birthing class last night. Seems like an amenable group - at least most have a good sense of humor. The teacher is just the typical nice, smiley, woo-woo sort that sitcoms have led me to expect. At least she's got her chops - we jumped right into discussions of circumcision, childcare options and other kinda touchy stuff and she kept it all comfortable.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hiking while pregnant

Over the first weekend of August, Sam, Ryan, Jodi, and I went for a four-day backpacking trip in the Goat Rocks. I have never hiked while six months pregnant, and all in all I think it went pretty well. I certainly feel accomplished to have met this major goal!

The area is where I have been hiking since I was first allowed to go with Dad on "Big Hikes," and where Sam and I spent our honeymoon. This being the year of our 10th anniversary, the trip had even more significance for us. We were prevented from going up the drainage of the North Fork of the Tieton River by a forest fire, so we went up the South Fork to the McCall Basin instead. It was interesting viewing the landmarks we know and love so much from the rear, as it were.

I am so thankful that I was able to make this trip, and grateful to the other three hikers for allowing me to take my time and carry a little less weight. I could not have done it without lots of help from my friends.

The best part of the trip? Aside from the company and the sheer thrill of accomplishment, it would have to be the wildflower display. I have never seen such a lush bloom as this! It was also great to see a herd of over 30 mountain goats cavorting on a snow field. And of course Sam's "Frog Stomp" is not to be forgotten.

The worst part of hiking six months pregnant? It's a tie between trying to find a comfortable sleeping posture on the Therm-a-Rest (always a challenge!), and wearing the pack's hip belt really really low - right over the bladder, as if the kid himself doesn't put enough pressure there. By the way, we decided that if he comes out showing any effect from Mama's pack wearing, we're gonna nickname him "Bucklehead."

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's a . . . Zombie?

Alien autopsy photo? A ghostly apparition? The missing link?

No, it's our new life-form project we've affectionately code-named "Skeletor".

Ain't it cute?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Anarchy Fist

Little Peanut is a punk rocker already. Here he can be seen raising the fist whilst still in the womb. And I haven't even played him any Ramones yet...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No thrifting for Peanut?

I may forever be prevented from shopping at my favorite places - Goodwill and Value Village - for little Peanut's necessaries. Well-meaning do-gooders who pushed legislation to keep lead and other toxics out of kid's toys have unintentionally (I hope) made life much more difficult for secondhand stores and all-natural toy and clothing makers.

Here is a quote from a Rick Woldenburg article published on the Free-Range Parenting blog:

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act became law on August 14, 2008 and it dramatically changes the way we regulate children’s product safety. After several toys from China were recalled in 2007/8 for high levels of lead, Congress wanted to do something – anything — so it did. And went way overboard.

Until then, the Consumer Product Safety Commission focused only on products that posed an actual threat to your child’s safety – things like faulty car seats, or toys with small parts that could break off and cause choking. Under the new law, Congress imposes arbitrary standards that require the manufacturers of pens, shoes, t-shirts, ATVs, bikes, books, backpacks and toys to “prove” the safety of their products, and label them a new way...

The law also makes it difficult and risky for Goodwill, the Salvation Army and other charities to sell or give away used children’s products, because merely by selling something with plastic or old ink, they might be breaking the law. Thrift stores are reacting to the new regulations by closing their children’s departments. Some have actually THROWN OUT any children’s books printed before 1985. That’s when printing ink still included lead – which might be a problem if children sat down and ate books, page by page, but is no problem at all if they just read them.

- - - -

I'm not afraid of the big bad unproven goods wolf, but I hope that all the awesome secondhand and consignment stores I've been looking forward to shopping in are still doing their thing when I want 'em.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Water Words That Work: A Blog I Love maybe my favorite blog so far. I say this mostly because I work for an environmental non-profit who provides consulting to other environmental non-profits and often the issue of "framing the problem" comes up. This blog primarily focuses on water issues (streams, stormwater, pollution, water rights, etc) but the concepts could be applied to almost any environmental issue.

The genius of this blog is not immediately apparent, but read a few posts and you'll see that this guy (Eric Eckl is his name) writes well and stays focused. You won't read many platitudes or "engagement made easy" kinds of articles because he understands that getting people to change their behavior for the common good is difficult work.

In short - community organizers, and local non-profits take note!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pons Aelius

Pons Aelius
Originally uploaded by samknox
When Hadrian commissioned his great wall in AD 122, he ordered six forts be built along its length, a castle every mile, and two watchtowers between each milecastle. With today's visit to the Castle Keep in Newcastle (from which the modern city gets its name), we have been to the site of five of the six forts. There is nothing left of the fort at Pons Aelius (the bridge of Aelius: Hadrian's family name), but there is a fun Norman keep. We climbed all the way to the roof up the scariest spiral stairs we've yet seen to some beautiful views on this beautiful day, our last here. The two modern bridges you see in the background are the main car and pedestrian routes, respectively, to the city of Gateshead across the River Tyne. The pedestrian bridge is an engineering marvel - it's a drawbridge that hinges at its abutments and swings vertically out of a passing ship's path.

We visited the Diamond pub one last time, and much to our delight the man in grey was still there, as was cask conditioned Black Sheep ale, our favorite on this trip. Having said our goodbyes to the beer barrels, we are now ready to travel for 30-some hours tomorrow. The only form of motorized trasport we won't use is a boat! We will post if time and brain allow. Thanks for reading this, and we look forward to showing you all of our pictures when we return.