Friday, January 30, 2009


Ah.. High Fructose Corn Syrup. The "natural" additive everyone loves to hate. Myself included.

I've systematically cut out (almost) all the HFCS from my diet. I started a few years ago, I converted Dave shortly after we started dating and I'm not sure if it's coincidence or not, but my parents are more alert now to the HFCS lurking in the grocery store. And lurk it certainly does. When I started my no-HFCS diet, I was surprised at how many places it was lurking. Sodas were no surprise, but what about cereals, breads and pasta sauces? What was it doing in there? I've even found it in lunch meats, cheese products, yogurt, fruit juice, soups, canned fruit and salsa. The US Department of Agriculture reports that on average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, accounting for approximately 1 in 10 calories. With certain populations, including teenagers and college aged African Americans easily consuming as much as 500-700 calories a day of HFCS.

Why is it in so many things? Well it's cheap, it's sweet and according the FDA it's GRAS. (generally recognized as safe) The first two are perennial favorites of American manufacturers. The last means it doesn't have strenuous testing or reporting requirements.
The GRAS designation basically says that although a food ingredient hasn’t been completely studied or tested for safety, the FDA a priori considers it to be safe, putting the onus instead on the public to somehow marshal evidence after the fact that consumers have been harmed by it.
The FDA’s regulations provide that GRAS ingredients must be reexamined in light of new scientific information. The FDA has been petitioned with no response to reconsider HFCS status as GRAS, given the building evidence of its health impacts. source

One of the more recent findings includes a peer reviewed scientific study published in the Environmental Health journal that finds HFCS to be routinely contaminated with mercury. In order to separate the corn starch from the corn kernel, there's a substance called caustic soda applied to the HFCS and that caustic soda is derived from mercury cells and can be contaminated by them. (I think caustic soda is lye, but I'm not sure) The Environmental Health report lists mercury levels up to 0.570 micrograms (ug) mercury per gram of high fructose corn syrup. If you combine that upper limit with the USDA's reported average American intake of 50g of corn syrup a day, a rough estimate puts total mercury ingestion via HFCS of up to 28.5ug total mercury/day. Now, stay with me here. :-) The EPA has only established guidelines for methylmercury. This is the form found in large fish, who live in contaminated waters. (Contaminated in no small part by the caustic soda manufacturers mentioned above.) There are NO guidelines for intake of straight Mercury. I think we can safely assume it's not very high though. The methylmercury guidelines recommend no more than 0.1 ug/kg/day for women and children. That's less than 5.5 ug/day, FAR lower than the possible intake of 28.5ug with contaminated HFCS.

So, if you've followed me this far, a few caveats. First, not ALL HFCS is contaminated. There are manufacturers of caustic soda who don't use the mercury cell method. That caustic soda also gets used in HFCS creation. HFCS made with that caustic soda will not be contaminate with mercury. Also, the Corn Refiners Association, (the ones with all the nifty "Sweet Surprise" commercials touting the benefits of HFCS) had this to say about the study.
This study appears to be based on outdated information of dubious significance. Our industry has used mercury-free versions of the two re-agents mentioned in the study, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda, for several years. These mercury-free re-agents perform important functions, including adjusting pH balances. -- Audrae Erickson, President, Corn Refiners Association.

Now the tricky thing about what Erickson just said, is he DIDN'T say they ONLY used the mercury free versions. He only said that those version had been used. He also DIDN'T dispute that versions exist which are contaminated. Now, maybe I'm being too analytical about what he says. But, even if you take it at face value, and assume they are using entirely mercury free methods now, he doesn't dispute that at one time they used the mercury contaminated versions, and that the contamination was something they didn't feel like sharing with consumers. It makes you wonder what else they aren't sharing.

I know I'm not going to risk it by switching back to foods sweetened with HFCS. I'll take my sucrose in the form of cane sugar or powdered Stevia. Minimal processing is, in my opinion, the key for healthy foods. Once you start processing, you start to run into things like mercury-grade caustic soda.

I highly recommend you read the entire article, Not So Sweet, Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup. The end of the article has an appendix with all 55 tested, name brand, items and their mercury content.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Some more Riot numbers

For those of you who have missed it, we are Rioting for Austerity. A little explanation in case you are still confused as to what we are trying to accomplish.
In his book _Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning_ George Monbiot observes that we lack the political will to make change happen, and says, "no one has ever rioted for austerity." So, there exists a group of people, connected through online blogs like this one who are attempting to do just that. We are attempting to do what the politicians tell us is impossible and unwanted. Our thinking is if we can get a thousand people to 10% of the American average for resource consumption without any help from the government, imagine what we can do with a little help. And as front runners we can help answer the questions that are going to crop up. So, in a sense we are the guinea pigs for the most important question my generation will ever face, "Can we live and be happy with less?" I think the doing with less is going to happen whether we want it or not; the being happy part is a bit more tricky. The great thing about being one of the guinea pigs is I can take my time about it and do some trial and error. I hope to find out that we are still decreasing in all the categories, but I'm guessing it won't be that easy. So, here's the progress report.

Since I'm in my third trimester I'm starting to count the baby as part of the household. Is this cheating? *shrug* I don't know. :-) I feel like there are so many things right now that he is already influencing, that the numbers would be inaccurate without counting him. So, there's the full disclosure for this Riot update.
If you are new to this Riot thing and curious about where I'm getting my percentages, I recommend you check out the calculator that I'm using.

My goal to figure out the bus system did happen. I even get a free ride on the bus since I'm a state employee right now. Bonus! Dave and I still car pool most days, but sometimes I'll bus home if I get off early. We try and combine errands so we rarely go out driving just to go to one place. We pick up groceries at the store once a week on our way home from work. I am also trying to teach Dave how to hypermile with our manual transmission Civic.
So, we are down a tiny bit to 8 gallons per person per week. It's still pretty high at 83% of the American average, but we are still going down.

We used 541 kWh in November, which puts us at 60% of the American average. As I suspected, the darkness of winter caused an increase in our electricity usage. We have to turn on more lights in the morning and more lights in the evening to get the meals cooked and to quietly entertain ourselves. I've also got my grow light hooked up in the basement, and we run an electric heater for 20 minutes a day during our showers. *shrug* I know it'll go down again in the summer when there's more light. I'm just a little stumped as to how I can get it any lower at this point. I have a few friends who are interested in a group purchase of a Kill-a-Watt meter. Maybe that will shed some light on the issue. I have thought about shutting off the fridge, it's old and huge and ridiculously inefficient. Sadly though, we live in a rental house and I have no way to modify a space into a cold room. The food would have to go outside, and while it might save us some money, we'd lose money to heat costs because I'd have to unseal the back door. We'd also run the chance of losing food to the dog-sized raccoons that patrol the neighborhood. I'll try and find solutions to these problems this summer and talk the husband into turning off the fridge next winter. Maybe I can find some of the 2L bottles I was using for heat sinks in the garden, freeze them at night by the front door, and toss them in the fridge for the day. That might be an easy way to offset the magnitude of inefficiency I have to deal with.

Natural Gas:
We used 62 therms in November. O_O eek! That's 75% of the American Average. I was really hoping we were doing better than that. We keep the back entryway and basement closed off and unheated. The windows are double paned and pretty new, The house thermostat is set at 63. Sadly, we don't have a programmable thermostat, but again it's the problem of renting. The landlady said they had recently re-insulated the attic space, but maybe I should get Dave to stick his head up there and do a quick measure. I don't think I'll be able to talk him into turning down the thermostat any more, he already complains it's too cold. This one I'm totally stumped on.

Not much change here. We send our veggie scraps through the worm bin since the compost outside is frozen. We recycle everything. We throw away kitty litter, a small bit of plastic packaging and food that goes bad before we get to it. I'm getting better about that last one, but it's just something that takes practice. Plus, I'm a young cook. There are still occasional meals that are not to my husband's taste. (That's his nice way of saying something was a disaster) For instance the meatloaf saga of two weeks ago. :-D :-D This category went down a tiny bit, the weight of output was about the same, but since we are 3 now instead of 2 our percentage is better. 4 pounds per person per week. 13% of the average American.

*Sigh* Our usage for the past two months has been consistent at 600CF per month. That works out to 1496 gallons per person. Which is lower than at my last check in. But, it still puts us at 50% of the American average. I'm almost positive our slow progress in this area is my showers. I would bet money on it. I take boiling hot showers every morning and they last at least 10 minutes, some 15. My excuse is it's the only reason I'm able to move since it feels like every joint in my body is expanding. (They probably are.) Hopefully, after baby comes I can use stretching exercises instead of hot water to relax my muscles and cut my showers down to 3-5 minutes. But, right now I can't even see my toes, much less touch them and my hot showers are the only thing I got. Perhaps a more modest goal is in order. I'll time my showers for a few days and try and reduce them 25%.

Surprisingly I think we are down in this category. Although if you look at the numbers for 4th quarter retail sales, we are clearly not the only people spending less. Unless I'm forgetting something, we spent 200$ last month between presents for nieces/nephews and spending some of our received money on things like shoes. And I spent 200$ this month on cloth for the cloth diapers. That puts us down at 24%, a very modest 3% drop from the last check in. Hopefully we can get the car seat and stroller used next month and drop a little more.

This one has suffered from our current reliance on WIC checks. WIC checks require me to buy milk, eggs and cheese with "no special claims" i.e. no Rbgh free milk, no local brown egges, no organic cheeses. And I get to buy juice on the WIC check, but not fruit. *roll eyes* We are still eating off the onions and garlic in the basement and the preserved veggies in the freezer and cabinet. But we are eating way too much meat, and it's definitely not local. Our diet has changed so drastically with these checks I'm not even sure I can do a good estimate. So lets just call it bad.

So an overview:
Progress made in the categories of goods, water, trash and transportation.
Problems with food,natural gas and electricity.
Goals are to cut my showers down 25%, try freezing bottles to help the fridge, reduce our meat intake, check attic insulation and do a household evaluation with a Kill-a-watt meter.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


America seems to be in a state of denial about the purpose of breasts. Biologically speaking they exist to produce milk for our young. A full 50% of the population has them. Significantly more of the population has used them. But, when it comes time to actually put those babies to the test, we are quietly told it would be best if we could limit ourselves to 2 months of "that". And if we must continue, perhaps we could do it in a nice closet or bathroom, with a safe, quiet, electrical device.

Study after study has shown the benefits of extended breastfeeding. Breastfeeding reduces your risk of metabolic syndrome, and reduces your risk of rheumatoid arthritis by half. Breastfeeding protects babies from breast cancer as adults, improves intelligence scores, reduces the risk of childhood obesity and reduces asthma risk.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond. SOURCE

Sadly, American women have to deal with the least amount of maternity leave of any industrial nation. In fact, the U.S is one of only 4 countries that doesn't offer paid leave to new mothers -- the others are Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho. ( Really nice guys. Super. This of course leads to the wrenching decision that faces most women in the US, stay at home to breastfeed and deal with the lost wages and probably lost job, or go back to work mere weeks after delivery. Not surprisingly, this leads to the CDC's reporting that among American children born in 2005, less than a third were breastfed to 3 months and only 11% are breastfed to 6 months.

Now, I can already hear my father voice in my head, "Yes, but Jennie, those other countries have MUCH higher taxes to bear the burden of all that maternity leave." True. But here in the US, childbirth is a leading cause of "poverty spells" in the U.S. -- when income dips below what's needed for basic living expenses. And can anyone tell me what happens when income dips below living expenses? Mommy and baby get on WIC, they get on food stamps, they get on Medicare, sometimes all three at the same time. Those services most definitely get paid for through taxes. And they have the added "benefit" of being horribly inefficient and usually overwhelmed. In my opinion, taxes are part of what it means to belong to a society. You all pitch in as a group to help out those who need it. And yea, sure if you are a working, healthy man, you'll likely get less of that help. But, it's quite possible the reason you are healthy is that your mother had enough support to breastfeed you. Not to mention your offspring are more likely to be healthy if your partner has adequate support and can stay home and breast feed.

This is more than a women's dilemma, this is a public health dilemma. I would argue that the savings with less doctor visits for sick children would almost make up for the "cost" of supporting the women so they can stay home and nurse.

Again I hear an argument, perhaps not my father this time, but a voice piping up with, "But Jennie, noone is saying women have to stop feeding their babies breastmilk, they can pump!" Yes, we can pump. That voice must belong to a man, because really, how can anything that plugs into the wall be compared to breastfeeding? Most women have to do their pumping in bathrooms. Eeew. Most employers will not pay for pump breaks. So women who have to take 3 pump breaks of 20 minutes have to work an hour later every evening, keeping them away from their babies even longer. If said baby is in daycare, that extra hour can be costly. Not to mention the ecological impact of the extra electricity to run both the pump and the fridge at work to keep the milk cold, the manufacture and disposal of plastic milk bags, etc. Is it any wonder women give up the fight?

So, what's the solution? What's an ecologically minded, caring mother to do? I don't know.

There are options, none of them are great, but options exist. If you are lucky, you can scrounge together all your paid sick leave and vacation time and tack it on to the FMLA 6 weeks unpaid and skate through 3 months.

Maybe you can stay home and use old fashioned home economics to make the household work off one check. i.e. cloth diapers, cook from scratch, bake, preserve garden produce, etc. Sometimes those things can be enough when combined with no daycare costs and reduced commuting costs.

Maybe you can work at home. I've not looked in depth into this yet, but supposedly there are transcription jobs you can do from home. There are mothers who sew childrens clothing and cloth diapers and sell them online. There are mothers who make soaps and lotions at home and sell them at local natural stores.

I'm going to try and do the latter two and skate through 3 or 4 months with baby. I'm not sure if we'll make it or not, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do after those 3 or 4 months. I imagine it partially depends on how the economy does. But, at least I'll feel better knowing I tried. I'll feel better knowing my baby had at least 3 months of breastfeeding and I know my ecological footpring will be smaller because of it.

I'm just a little angered that the wealthiest nation in the world can't figure out a more elegant solution.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cloth progress

Progress has been made. Actual items are ready to use. Yay! Clockwise from upper left, 2 postpartum pads, 1 menstrual pad, changing pad for baby, small wetbag for baby, large wetbag for baby (folded in half), 1st fitted diaper and 21 flannel wipes. To give you a sense of scale, the wipes are 5"x5". Not pictured are the 3 crib sheets and 3 blankets that are also done. I have tons more cut out or in various stages of completeness, but unlike the cutting, stitching stuff together takes larger blocks of time and is more location picky. For instance, yesterday I was babysitting my nephew while Becky worked on her bermed house. It was no problem to take a couple yards of diaper fabric and my cutting board. I got four more diapers cut out while the little one was napping. Taking my sewing machine would have been waaay too much packing/unpacking and general lugging about. :-P So, there's a bottleneck of things that are cut out but not yet sewn. But, nothing a couple of weekends of focus can't solve.

The really nice thing about making it all myself is I can make (usually) exactly what I want/need, and I know exactly what's going in them. The material that will be next to my skin or baby's skin is an organic bamboo velour. Now, my mother is cussing me out over this stuff, cause it's a pain to sew. :-D No arguments there, but it is also the softest stuff I have ever felt, crazily absorbent, with the benefits of being sustainably harvested. The inner absorbent layer(s) are an organic hemp terry cloth. Another sustainable crop, hemp uses far less water and far less pesticides than cotton, boasts a higher yield per acre, is more absorbent, is more durable, gets softer with use and it has natural antibacterial properties that make it resistant to molds. Of course, I had to order these fabrics online, since neither is made in America. (Don't even get me started on the idiocy that prevails in the agricultural policy making in the country.) But, the troubles of finding and ordering and shipping in bulk pale next to benefits of using these fabrics.

Besides the serious stuff, I get to do fun stuff like coordinate my diaper bag, changing pad and wetbag. :-D And pick fun fabrics like the poison dart frog print for the large wetbag. I also get to tweak things so the end result fits exactly what I need. I added the velcro ties onto the large wetbag so it can hang off the end of the changing table, it's also the perfect size for that space, because I made it so. :-D Since I despise most air fresheners I added a little 2" square tab of terry cloth to one of the inner side seams to put essential oils on. It won't work miracles, but I'm hoping it'll do a little to cut down on odors. The bag itself should keep most odors in, since it's waterproof.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I'm using free patterns for everything I'm making. The wetbags are actually an amalgamation of two different free patterns, plus my own tweaks thrown in for good measure. Waay too much fun. :-) Would I have gotten this much enjoyment from just buying all these things from Walmart? I doubt it. And this route may have been more in terms of upfront costs, but over the life of the items, I'm betting it'll be cheaper. Since they are made out of better materials and custom made, they'll last longer. That means that when we get done using them, I can take them apart and make something else with the components. Or they can be pressed into service doing something else. (If it works to hold dirty diapers I bet it'll work to hold soccer cleats.)

Anyway. I'm pretty happy with the progress. A shout out to my mom for sewing the first two diapers with me. :-) I'll leave you with more pretty pictures of my creations.
Here's the inside of the fitted diaper.

Here's a close up of the diaper all folded and fastened.

Here's the pretty bag I made with Mom that I'm going to use as the diaper bag. Dave assures me that it's "waaaay too small." But, I think if some restraint is exercised in terms of how much extraneous stuff gets lugged around for one little baby, the bag should be plenty large. The small wetbag and changing pad have dimensions chosen to easily fit in this bag. It'll easily hold two diapers, a diaper cover, a change of clothing, a few wipes, a toy or two and a sippy cup. What more could you possibly need to run errands or go out to a meal with a diminutive human? :-D

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Well, being a state employee my office was closed yesterday. With all of my time spent on the Obama site voting for what should go in the Citizen's Briefing Book, I noticed he was pushing for Americans to spend MLK day in service to their communities.
I thought to myself, "Self, that is an excellent idea." So, I went to one of the service websites for Des Moines and looked at what was scheduled for MLK day. Sadly, most of the options were painting or heavy lifting or flood cleanup. I figured in my 3rd trimester, these were not things I should be doing. So, I gave it some more thought. I wanted to do something at least slightly in the spirit of the day. So, I decided I'd spend the day in the basement setting up my seed starting area. At least that work would go towards providing the community with local organic produce. And plus it's been on my todo list for months. :-P
Steps completed:
1) attempt to control draft coming in under back door. This thing leaks like a sieve and I know the cold air goes straight down to the basement. So, I picked up and organized the can collection that was cluttering the area and put the heavy wool army blanket down along the base. It's not 100%, but it's definitely better.
2) general clutter cleanup. My garlic and onion braids made a little bit of a mess on the floor of the basement. I brought some of my perennials inside for the winter and they were randomly scattered around the corner where I want to grow. So, I picked everything up and swept the dirt and the leaves and the onion skins up. No need to grow in a dirty space. :-)
3) table building. I have two 4 foot grow lights. Nothing fancy, just florescent grow tubes in housings. My original plan was to used them on the existing shelves in the basement. Sadly, only one would fit. I couldn't figure out how to do everything I want to do with just one grow light, so I had to build something for the 2nd light. Cheaply. :-D My solution was two Rubbermaid containers with some pegboard that dear hubby salvaged for me a couple weeks ago from his work. Not the most permanent of work tables, but sturdy enough for seedling trays.
4) bring down/set up lights, fans and warming mat. One light is completely set up, on a timer with the fan happily oscillating on the shelf. The other light needs to be hung, I just need to drill some holes in the exposed ceiling beam and screw in my hooks to chain the light to.

So, a most successful afternoon project. I should be able to grow at least 30 of the seedlings we'll need for the CSA beds this spring. That will save us a good chunk of money and allow us to control what kind of plants we grow.

In separate news, the cloth baby care items took a big step forward this weekend. A million thanks to Mom for driving over on Sunday. We got the first two diapers done! I'll make some more progress on the bags and miscellaneous stuff and post a pretty pic sometime this week.

Did anyone else have any exciting MLK day projects?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Freezin our bunz off

Well, I don't think the thermometer outside got above zero all day yesterday. With the wind chills approaching -30 in some parts of the state, it was just plain cold.

Dave and I have been participating in Crunchy Chicken's Freeze Your Bunz Off challenge this winter. To that end we (I) vowed not to set the thermostat higher than 65. Since we don't have a programmable thermostat, I'm not setting a different temp for nighttime, it's just staying around 63 all the time. Now, the thing is, the thermostat is in THE warmest part of the house. It's in the dining room, which only has one external wall, and one window, both of which are covered by one of my wall hangings. So, I'm pretty sure our living room, which has the tv/computer in it, is at least 5 degrees cooler, and the basement where we shower is probably somewhere between 50-60. I should find a thermometer so I can accurately document the differences, but I haven't got around to it.

Now, even I find this a bit chilly, in spite of being in my third trimester with baby. But, it's not intolerable, and really I think it has it's plus sides. When we are lounging in the living room in the evenings, we keep our layers on; for me it's a sweater, for Dave it's his long johns. We both have house slippers that stay on until bed time and we both have lap blankets that we cuddle with. And Rienne is a fine lap warmer when you can get her to sit where you'd like. Three simple steps (4 if you count the cat) and we're both toasty warm.

The pluses include easier humidity. Heating the air in our home involves flame, which produces a dry heat, it would take a huge humidifier to counterbalance all that drying if we kept the house at a warmer temp. We get by with just a small room humidifier in the bedroom. The higher humidity is easier on our mucous membranes. Couple that with the benefits of minimizing the temp swings as we go from indoor to outdoor and I think we stay healthier. We've both weathered illnesses this winter that brought our co-workers to a screeching halt.

The other major plus is we are still ahead on our heating bill. I had us paying a hundred dollars over on the gas bill this summer and fall as part of the "budget billing" option offered by our gas company. Now we are only paying for a fraction of what we are using and halfway through the winter we still have a surplus to draw on.

I've been rather pleased with the experiment. In fact, if we stay in this house another year I will probably petition my landlady for a programmable thermostat so I can decrease the house temp during the night.

The only downside has been my grow nook. I have it down in the basement, and I have seeds I want to start, but I know they need 70 degrees to germinate. I do have a seed warming mat, but it's only big enough for one tray. I'm not sure if I can time everything so I'm only starting one tray at a time. Seed warming mats are 30$, not sure if I have the resources to invest in a second one this year. Maybe I can work out something with a space heater on a timer...

Anyway, I was reading blogs today about others trying to lower their heating oil consumption and I ran across this posting that really spoke to me. It was written by an American who moved to Japan, where they routinely don't have heat in their houses.
I especially liked this paragraph:

There's another reason I appreciate this new experience, too. It is what the Japanese call "Gaman." It means "endure," or "tolerate" but there's more to it than that. It ascribes value to enduring something difficult. To Gaman is a principle, its a virtue. It's a cross between hanging in there and fighting the good fight.There are times when gaman is a pain. Sometimes enduring hardship as a virtue when the situation could just as easily be made more comfortable seems nuts. But as a cultural value, doing your best and enduring hardship is refreshing. I won't speak for other Americans, but my experience has often leaned too far the other way when it comes to putting up with difficulty without complaint.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Change I can believe in...

For those of you who can't read the small print in the above shot, allow me to quote it's contents. You can also click on the picture to get a view of it real size.

What Are Your Top 10 Ideas for Change in America?
The Ideas for Change in America competition was created in response to Barack Obama's call for increased citizen involvement in government. The final round of voting began on January 5 and is comprised of the top 3 rated ideas from each of the 30 issues in the first round of the competition, which collectively received more than 250,000 votes. The top 10 rated ideas from the final round will be presented to the Obama administration on January 16th at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, co-hosted by the Case Foundation. At the event we will also announce the launch of a national advocacy campaign behind each idea in collaboration with our nonprofit partners to turn each idea into actual policy

The website is
The TOP voted for issue is "Legalize the Medicinal and Recreational Use of Marijuana." Second place is a rather unspecific plea for health care for all Americans. Third is "End the War on Drugs." Legalization of marijuana received 20% more votes than the second place health care plea.
Obama's official website at also has voting underway for citizens ideas. (The Citizens' Briefing Book) The ending of marijuana prohibition is second highest issue under Economics and the TOP issue under Homeland Security.
The citizens are speaking. I'm interested to see if the president elect is listening and whether he'll engage in an open, honest and adult conversation with this country about the failed drug war. That would be change I can believe in.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My belly button is disappearing!

Well baby and I are 2/3rds of the way through pregnancy. *nervous grin* Things are going really well. He has a distinct pattern of awake/asleep and he's usually quite active when awake. Maybe to be more accurate I should call them active/quite patterns. *shrug* Except for the difficulties going from horizontal to vertical, I really have no complaints. The doctors say we are both a good size, and everything is going as it should. Dave is a wonderful man, keeping me happy and healthy and dealing with my requests. For those bugging me for belly pics, here you are, enjoy. :-)

We went out and celebrated the new year with some friends. We ate some food, had some tasty drinks, did a little dancing and kissed at midnight. Much fun was had by all.

New year is typically a time for resolutions. I'm not certain if I really have any this year. I'm resolved to have a healthy baby in April. :-) And do cloth diapering and breast feeding for as long as I can. I'm resolved to reclaim my abdominal muscles as soon as possible. Other than that, I plan to keep on with the growing veggies, and living lightly.
It should be an exciting year. Open Source Organics (the CSA me and some friends are trying to start) will officially plant the first crop this spring. Adam and Becky are working full throttle on their bermed house at the property. I'm expecting this spring to be a mad dash to finish the interior and still get seeds in the ground. :-D But, we had a meeting Wednesday night and we have a plan of attack, and we have an organization that will buy all the organic veggies we can grow, so we are going for it. We are starting small, and we'll re-invest any profits back into the project to grow a little bit each year. We hope to put in 2 veggie beds 3'x100', and start some of the permaculture like a rhubarb bed and some hardy kiwi's. Exciting!

Happy New Year from the Erwin/Day family.