Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

I am on my way to Washington D.C. to give a talk to the organization Advocates for Youth. I will be talking to the group’s board about what we do here at MotherTalkers and the progressive parenting blogosphere in general.

I plan to stay through the weekend to visit a couple friends who I have not seen in ages. I wish I could do an MT meet-up, but I don’t think I will have time. I am spreading a visit to the city and Alexandria, VA, over 1.5 days to leave Sunday morning. Hopefully, my next child-free visit will be a little longer!

What’s up with you?


Friday Open Thread

What’s up?

Update on our Janet aka “Janetle:” She continues to wage a fight for her life. Her husband Dave, who has not strayed from her side, has been regularly updating her blog Mukilteo Musings. Let’s continue to keep this family in our thoughts and prayers.  

A doctor over at the Opposing Views blog weighed in on the pros and cons of soy. Bottom line: Like anything else, a little soy can be good for you, but a diet solely comprised of it can mess with your hormone levels. Also in Opposing Views: A topless coffee shop just opened up in Maine. Maine moms, you must weigh in!

This makes sense to me: A federal study just confirmed that eating less carbs, less fat, or more protein does not necessarily lead to weight loss, according to an Associated Press report. What counts is burning more calories than what you are consuming.

OC Moms blog had an interesting discussion whether it was possible to shelter your children from a “raunch” culture. This particular mom was wondering if she should homeschool rather than send her child to public school to protect her from negative influences.

Katy Farber over at Non-Toxic Kids listed dishes — like old china — that may contain high levels of lead as well as tips to minimize your family’s exposure.

The Motherhood had a very brief discussion about which words to google when looking for a toy for a special needs child. Also in The Motherhood: How do you politely decline an invitation to play when a child drops by unexpectedly?

Fellow MTer Mara over at her blog The Mother of All Trips discussed why travel is important to her family even in bad economic times.

Our Dana over at Mombian had an interesting article about a proposed bill in Massachusetts that could potentially impact gay and lesbian students as well as the children of gay parents. House Minority Leader Bradley Jones filed a bill that would require parents to opt into any “curriculum, or a school sanctioned program or activity, which involves human sexual education, human sexuality issues, or sexual orientation issues” in the public schools. Dana rightfully wondered whether her son, for example, would be able to show a picture of his two moms during show and tell. Good question.

I never thought I would say this, but the comments in this discussion at Ladies’ Home Journal were hilarious. Readers lit into a woman who cancelled her subscription because Ellen DeGeneres was on the cover and she is not a “lady.” “There are a lot of straight women who are not ladies either,” one reader retorted. “The majority of the world would be glad to welcome you to 2009 whenever you would like to join us,” said another. LOL!

Libby Gruner over at Literary Mama reviewed the book Coraline.

The Washington Post ran a review of the second version of the Kindle electronic reader. Honesty? I have never even seen anyone use the first version. Have any of you replaced your paper books with a Kindle? What do you think?

Via MSN: Here is an amazing spread of all the celebrities that attended the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. In more celebrity gossip: The OC Moms blog is having a discussion on the reality show Jon & Kate Plus Eight.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Grace in Small Things

Grace in Small Things was started by the blogger Schmutzie

as a daily reminder to take notice of the positive things we tend to overlook

She’s been blogging five little things she is grateful for every day since November.  In January,  I finally got up the nerve to try it myself.  20 days in and I’m loving it!  I go through most days on the lookout for things I can post.  At the end of bad days, I make myself come up with five things that didn’t suck and it brings closure to the crappy day.
Here are five of my favorites from the last twenty days.  MotherTalkers! I want to know yours!

  1.  A clean bathtub
  1.  Full coverage swimsuits
  1.  Killian’s Irish Red
  1.  Having the baby laugh at me when I yell at the older kids
  1.  Bacon with breakfast and lunch

Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Okay. I think the hoopla around Michael Phelps’ bong photo is getting a little out of hand. South Carolina police are considering pressing charges, according to the Associated Press.

There is still discussion over the California mom of the octuplets. Here is what the moms over at the OC Moms blog had to say. Here is what the dads at OC Moms blog had to say. As one dad who happens to have 12 siblings said, it will cost her $1,000 a week just feed and diaper the 8 babies. She apparently has no money, which raises all kinds of questions like how is she able to shuttle around all the kids, including the six she already had, and how could she afford IVF.

It looks like this mom does have a plan to support the kids. She wants to become a television child expert and has reportedly offered herself to Oprah and Diane Sawyer for the bargain price of $2 million, according to ParentDish. What won’t people do for money?

Also in OC Moms blog: Check out this mom’s account of opening up a Facebook account. She was surprised by the number of requests she received, including from the popular kids she did not talk to in high school. Still, she accepted them as friends. How selective are you in your friend requests?

Oprah.com had an expert help women figure out the best jeans for them. Oprah.com also doled out advice on how to weather the economic crisis we are in.

Readers over at BabyCenter doled out advice on how to deal with an 8-year-old bully. Also in BabyCenter: Fantas-Eyes in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a recall of about 15,000 High School Musical manicure sets because the glittered letters on the casings contain excess levels of lead.

Attention winter sports enthusiasts: Heidi over at Outdoor Baby is posting reviews from the Winter Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah.

ParentDish had a sweet post of 15 famous men from various industries talking about their mothers. The slideshow presentation included Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

This month is Black History Month. The Root’s Michael Ross wondered why black history had to be separated from American history. Good question.

Via MomLogic: A group dedicated to the economic well-being of the Asian Pacific American community has issued a statement against Miley Cyrus for appearing in a photograph slanting her eyes like an Asian. This can’t be good for the singer who is only 16 and looks drunk in the photo. Also in MomLogic: Madonna won custody of her two sons with now ex-hubby Guy Ritchie. She plans to move the family to New York.

In more celebrity gossip: Adam Sandler sounds like a great dad. He dresses up as the main character of the books he reads his 2.5-year-old daughter, Sadie, according to Celebrity Baby Blog. Aww.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Friday Open Thread

What’s up?

Fellow MTer Mara ran a guest post on her blog Mother of All Trips by a father who attended the inauguration. Parents were discouraged to bring their children, but many African-Americans did. The pictures embedded in the post are too precious for words.

I loved this story in the Seattle Times of the Tuskegee Airmen who attended the inauguration. Thank you to fellow MTer Janetle for highlighting it in her blog Mukilteo Musings. Also, let’s keep her and her family in our thoughts and prayers as she continues to wage a battle against colon cancer.  

The Motherhood blog is discussing a Newsweek story on how Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — she is still in the news? — is lashing out at the media for misleading coverage about her and her family. Also in the Motherhood: Autism screening and funding is so high on President Obama’s agenda that it is the only disease or disorder singled out on Whitehouse.gov.

A mom over at New York City Moms Blog wrote a funny piece about selling girl scout cookies to her co-workers. It turns out that a couple co-workers also had cookies of their own to sell.

Katy Farber over at Non-Toxic Kids reviewed a green lunch box set. It’s nice not to have to worry about BPAs and other toxic chemicals in food containers.

The OC Weekly had an article about why midwife-assisted deliveries are becoming increasingly rare. Answer: A local hospital’s maternity ward closed. OC Moms blog also discussed the matter.

Also at the OC Moms blog: Some moms are wondering if people are ruder today than yesteryear. Do you agree that people are less polite today — not saying, “thank you” and “please” — than our parents’ time? Please do discuss!

There are a lot of good discussions over at the OC Moms blog. But I was deeply disturbed by the homophobic comments in this thread. Similarly, an article in the Orange County Register about protests at Rev. Rick Warren’s church over his role in the inauguration also spurred massive amounts of comments.

Thanks to fellow MTer GiGi for commemorating the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on her blog One Lazy Liberal. In somewhat related news, the Opposing Views blog wrote about Krispy Kreme’s controversial move to give away donuts on inaugural day. Anti-abortion groups accused the chain store of using pro-choice language in its promotion.

Also in Opposing Views: New York Gov. David Paterson is facing steep opposition to his proposed 18 percent sales tax on sugared beverages, including soda. Not surprisingly, it has been called a “regressive tax” by the American Beverage Association.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Friday Open Thread

I am off to Denver to visit a dear childhood friend who had a baby girl a few months ago. It will be a girls’ weekend — another mutual friend is coming, too — and the guys will be watching the kids.

It will be my first big break in a long time sans kids. But it is the holiday season so I will be filling out my Christmas cards on the plane and keeping up with work on the computer.

I will be showing up at my friend’s house with a few gifts from Santa, including a must-have gadget I just bought for myself and need to share with all of you. Thanks to fellow MTer Erika who visited me this past weekend, I learned about the vegetable chopper at Williams-Sonoma.

Prior to this $30 purchase, I was hand-chopping all my veggies — keep in mind we are a vegetarian household — which would take me forever to prepare dinner. With the vegetable chopper, I simply place big chunks of onions, potatoes, or whatever, and with one press it is chopped for me. Sweet!

It has officially become the gift I plan to give every new mom.

Have a good weekend all!


Hump Day Open Thread

Have your children taken their photos with Santa? Fellow MTer Kay was shocked that her two-year-old daughter sat still and even thanked the jolly old guy for the candy cane.

Ari has always loved Santa — from afar. Recently we were in downtown San Francisco and walked by a store with a long line of kids waiting to have their pictures taken with Santa. I asked Ari if he wanted to go in to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas. “Prefiero escribirle,” he told me. I prefer to write him. We did just that when we got home. But the expression on his face was funny. Clearly, he was freaked out by Santa.

Who is in the news? Unfortunately, Sarah Palin still is. Most recently, the New York Times reported that the McCain campaign spent $110,000 in two months for Palin’s various stylists. And we thought John Edwards’s $400 haircut was expensive…

Also in the news: Not that we didn’t already know this, but retailers reported their worst November sales in 30 years, according to the Washington Post.

Readers rightfully blasted Working Mother for this trite piece on mothers and caregivers. Just curious: Do fathers get jealous of their children’s nannies?

Here is a pat on the back to Strollerderby for highlighting an AP story letting parents know it is okay to say no to kid requests this holiday season.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

The mommy wars have re-reared their ugly head with this Washington Post column by Ruth Marcus, the latest writer to criticize Michelle Obama for taking on a more traditional family role as First Lady. My take on it: Can we become strong women secure in our decisions? Why must we continue to judge women for the way we balance work and family? Ugh.

Singer-actress Jennifer Hudson’s brother-in-law, William Balfour, was arrested and charged for the murders of Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Crazed Parent had a diatribe against crocs for safety reasons. Her son broke his toe after a metal seesaw fell on his foot. He was wearing crocs. There is also a $7 million dollar lawsuit against the company after a little girl wearing crocs got her foot mangled in an escalator.

Dooce admitted she does not enjoy being pregnant and recommended everyone wear a condom. I could relate in that both my pregnancies were riddled with morning sickness, bad acne breakouts and too many emotional highs and lows. What about you? Did you like being pregnant?

The Mormon Church is being investigated for some of its donations to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in California, which banned gay marriage in the state, according to Pastor Dan at Street Prophets.

Keeg’s Mom reviewed video game consoles over at her blog Kids’ Flix.

Here is something every new sleep-deprived parent can relate to: Ladies’ Home Journal’s “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” column was about a couple that stopped having sex after their first child was born.

MOMocrats have been debating the proposed automotive industry bailout. Initially, I was for it because I thought it would save my father’s job. My father works for one of the suppliers in the automotive industry. But after talking to him I changed my mind. He thinks the proposed $25 billion will benefit only the people on top and not him. At this point, I can’t help think we would be better off investing the money in unemployment and job training for auto manufacturing workers like my dad rather than give it to CEOs who have run the companies to the ground. What do you think, MotherTalkers?

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Tuesday Open Thread

What’s up?

Despite the pounding Wall Street is taking, Manhattan’s elite private schools are flush with cash and receiving a record number of applications, according to the New York Times.

In somewhat related news, the Anti-Racist Parent ran an essay by a mom who is of West Indian descent and uncomfortable with buying her child a fake cleaning cart from the FAO Schwartz catalogue. She doesn’t want her kid to become a maid or a janitor. Oy vey. To be fair, she did poke fun at her elitism. But I can’t help but think we have a vendetta against workers in this country. Sigh.

BlogHer’s Erin Kotecki Vest pointed out that three of five major cabinet positions in the upcoming Obama administration are women: Janet Napolitano (Homeland Security), Susan Rice (United Nations) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. What do you think of these picks, MotherTalkers?

Also in BlogHer: Another writer fretted about what to buy her co-workers for the holiday. Good question. How about scratch lottery tickets? I remember participating in a “secret Santa swap” at work and someone wrapped up 10 scratch tickets. Of course, there is the danger that co-worker may become a millionaire and leave the job….No, seriously, I thought it was clever and even dropped my own scratch tickets for the holiday party. What other ideas do you have?

A mom over at Silicon Valley Moms Blog described the intensity of shopping on Black Friday, although she said it was nothing like the Wal-Mart in Long Island, in which the crowd trampled an employee to death. Ugh.

Here is a freaky post at Boing Boing about disappearing acorns and starving squirrels. At least one botanist said it could be due to unusually heavy rainfall in the spring that washed the pollen out of the air. Global warming anyone?

Also in Boing Boing: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is as effective as anti-depressants in controlling long-term depression, according to a study in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Boing Boing writer Cory Doctorow talked about his own battle with depression and recommended a book, The Feeling Good Handbook. For holiday gift ideas, he had another post of recommended non-fiction books, including parenting, science and technology.

Chicago Teacher Man gave an overseas perspective of Thanksgiving. Chicago Teacher Man, who is in India, gave his take on the recent Mumbai terrorist attack, which claimed the lives of at least 200 people and injured hundreds more, according to the Financial Times.

More and more elderly people in Japan are committing petty crimes like shoplifting due to loneliness and poverty, according to the Washington Post.

CityMama shared pictures of the food she served on Thanksgiving. Yum!

Crabmommy displayed these cute craft Christmas ornaments. Good idea!

In Celebrity Gossip Break: Celebrity Baby Blog had a summary of an interview with Britney Spears, in which she talks about her two sons and the love-hate relationship she has with her postpartum body.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

It seems like everyone is already on break or fretting about Thanksgiving dinner.

We are having some friends over this year. One family plans to prepare a turkey, mashed potatoes and dessert. We and another family will purchase our share of the food from Whole Foods and split the cost. Considering I cook every other day, including weekends, I am looking forward to a night off!

Are you cooking? What are you cooking?

CityMama shared her Thanksgiving menu. Edgy Mama also shared her favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

Cookie’s Crabmommy had a funny post — and picture — of her hideous childhood school uniform. Unfortunately, my mom has all my Catholic school photos because I think I would beat Crabmommy in the ugly uniform department. Our uniforms were these simple dresses in pastel pink, yellow, green or blue and buttons all the way down. The problem was the buttons easily faded or fell off, prompting us to put safety pins in their place, making the dresses look even more hideous.

Also in Cookie: Crabmommy reviewed Gwenyth Paltrow’s new website, Goop. While some of the criticism is fair, it is cool that Paltrow is sharing her secrets from favorite hotels to personal recipes with her fans.

Daddy Dialectic cited research and even mentioned a book to confirm his suspicion that young children segregate themselves according to race.  Also, Daddy Dialectic described the nightmare that is the San Francisco public school lottery system.

A Miami judge declared Florida’s ban on gay adoption unconstitutional, according to a diary at Daily Kos.

Dooce is pregnant with her second child. Loved the headline: “Internet, I’m craving Doritos.”

The Swiss Army has banned vegans along with thin people from serving in the military, according to Eat. Drink. Better..

Edgy Mama had a funny column about the toys parents hate, but children love. I found myself nodding throughout it.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?