Monday, July 20, 2015

Nakedness, Modesty, and Breastfeeding

This sermon my husband preached yesterday is spot on and full of biblical truth, cutting through opinions and worldly views commonly shrouding these topics in today's society. 

I am thankful that at our church, we do not have a problem of breastfeeding mothers being persecuted, simply because we started the church and have taught the people we have reached right from the start. I do feel bad for ladies and mothers being confronted with these issues virtually everywhere else, though.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Body weight and fertility

Disclaimer: As if you didn't already know this, I am reminding you that I am not a doctor or medical professional. I am sharing what I have learned in hopes of helping someone who struggles with infertility. 

As the mother of a large family, and married to a pastor who preaches against birth control, sometimes people get the idea that I am surrounded by nothing but ladies having one baby after another. And while it is true that many of my Christian friends and acquaintances likewise welcome all children as a blessing, and consequently have large families, there are almost just as many ladies who wish they had a(nother) child,  but struggle with infertility.

You see, trusting God with your family size does not equal having a large family. It simply means that you put God in charge of your fertility, whether that means not preventing children by way of birth control,  or likewise also not using assisted reproductive technology to artificially grow your family.

Modern technology and medicine can be a blessing, but it can also be used as a tool to play God. How can we tell where to draw the line of what is acceptable, and what is not? In regard to infertility, our test has always been: does this measure simply restore health, or does it go beyond that? Does it save, or does it destroy life? If a lady has medical issues that can be fixed, which prevent her from becoming pregnant, then by all means, address the underlying problems in hopes of becoming pregnant. Examples could be: hormone balances are off, the body is not producing enough progesterone, there are cysts/fibroids etc.  All these issues, when addressed, restore a normal state of health. Whereas if we think of other options out there today, such as IVF, using a surrogate, sperm/egg donation, etc., these all go beyond restoring natural health, and fall into the "playing God" category. 

To recap so far, I am not a stranger to counseling ladies regarding infertility, and I believe measures that restore normal health are morally acceptable.

With all that being said, I believe the vast majority of ladies struggling with infertility fall into two categories: they either weigh too much (BMI greater than 30), or they weigh too little (BMI less than 20). Both seem to be equally prevalent. 

That is the quick assessment. The BMI thresholds are not necessarily accurate for every individual. On a deeper level, it really is not so much body weight, as the underlying diet that is to blame, but for most of us diet/health and weight go hand in hand, so using body weight is a good indicator for most. I mention this because there are some people within normal weight ranges who struggle with infertility due to their diet, while others eat too much healthy food and are very overweight but fertile. However, the majority of people struggling with infertility tends to be either over- or underweight. 

For those on the underweight end of the spectrum, a lack of consuming healthy fats in adequate quantities is a huge part of the problem. The right kinds of fats are absolutely vital to proper hormone production, which in turn control every process in our body, including reproduction. However, skinny people often believe the once prevalent but false notion that fats are unhealthy, when the truth is that natural fats are very healthy, whereas man-made fats are what is destructive. 

Also, simply not eating enough will not provide the body with enough nutrients to grow another human, which is why the rates of miscarriage are much higher in severely underweight and anorexic ladies. 

For those on the overweight end of the spectrum, either an over-consumption of bad fats, and/or of sugar and simple carbs, will wreak havoc on health and reproduction. While fats often get the bad rap for being destructive to health, this blame should really be placed on sugar and simple carbs. These simple sugars, when consumed regularly even in moderate quantities, are stored by the body as fat, and in the long run cause insulin resistance. Ultimately, this can lead to type II (acquired) diabetes, which simply means that the body is no longer able to produce enough insulin to even convert this excess sugar into fat. In the case of uncontrolled diabetes, excess sugar remains in the blood stream, where it can lead to diabetic shock, coma, and death.

Simple carbs that should be all but eliminated include sugar, white flour and other simple grains, starchy foods like potatoes, sodas, other high-glycemic index foods such as fruit juice, and for those struggling with insulin resistance, even sweet fruits like grapes, melons, and the like.

Healthy fats that should be consumed daily to the tune of at least 2 tablespoons per day include butter, tallow/lard from pasture-fed animals free of hormones, antibiotics, or GMO feed, and some naturally saturated plant fat like palm and coconut oil, as well as unheated olive and avocado oils. Some foods that are naturally high in healthy fats are fatty fish like salmon, nuts, eggs, whole milk products, and avocados. People struggling with infertility would do well to consume these daily.

Fats to be avoided at all cost, even in small amounts, are: vegetable oils such as corn, canola, or soy etc, man-made fats like margarine, store-bought "lard" or shortening, or any other hydrogenated fats. This also includes any ready-made foods and snacks that contain these, which includes virtually all conventional, packaged goods (e.g. cookies, chips, cakes, fast food, anything fried, etc.)

Further avoided should be simple sugars and carbs, especially in liquid form. These will destroy your metabolism and hormone balance, in turn preventing you from being able to become pregnant.

In a nut shell, my advice to those struggling with infertility is: If you are underweight, seek to gain weight and achieve a BMI of over 20 by daily consuming healthy fats, in combination with complex carbs. If you are overweight, switch to only consuming healthy fats, and drastically reduce your intake of sugar and simple carbs, while aiming to lose about 5-10% of your body weight. If there is no known underlying cause of your infertility, this will almost certainly allow you to become pregnant.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Hodgepodge Post

Please pardon the unusually long blogging absence. This blog has collected quite some dust since my last post I'm afraid. With summer in full swing, there have been some special activities and outings going on. Just typical summer bucket list stuff. The kids also go to bed later than usual, for which they make up by getting up earlier than normal. As a result, my quite alone time, especially on the computer, has pretty much ceased to exist. I have taken to going on early morning walks by myself at the park every day for that little link to sanity. The weather at that hour is cool and mild - some mornings, I have even enjoyed a bit of rain showers.

Most days, Boaz cooperates, and goes back to sleep after I nurse him whenever I wake up, typically around 5 a.m. Other days, he won't go back to sleep, but is too tired and crabby to actually enjoy being up. For these times, I just purchased a new soft-structured carrier that I really love, and want to recommend: the Lillebaby. Putting him on my back or front in it is a snap, and I can bring him along on my morning walk, which sends him back to dreamland where he is supposed to be at that early hour. Very comfortable even for extended walks!

That look! :)

Anyhow, the long days and extra activities have left me with virtually no computer time, but it's summer, so it's all good.


There was a gastrointestinal virus that made its way pretty much through the entire state, and also brushed us. None of us got seriously ill, but because no two of us were sick at the same time, it really, really dragged this thing out over the course of almost two weeks. Just as one person would get over it, the next person would start. Fun, fun!

In a little more serious of a medical incident, I took little Stephen to the pediatrician after having a somewhat severe reaction to a bee sting on his hand (red, hot, considerably swelled, and a rash over his body). Since all his symptoms involved only one system (the skin), this was not considered an anaphylactic reaction. But clearly, he must be allergic to some extent, and his reaction this time was quite a bit more severe than that after his first sting last year.

 It doesn't look so big, until you put it in relation with my hand under his.

The pediatrician was concerned the severe swelling on the hand would cut off circulation to the fingers, especially since the swelling had not yet reached its peak. So on we went to the children's ER, where Stephen was subsequently admitted to the hospital after several hours of observation, when IV steroids had failed to reduce the swelling significantly.

He took it all in stride. When they moved him up to his own room, I told him it was like staying at a hotel on vacation. So for the rest of his stay, he kept telling everyone he was on vacation in California :) He never cried once, not even when they laid the IV, but when I went home that night and he stayed behind with Dad, we wailed and really wanted me to stay instead. Since Bo still nurses, and I didn't want to keep him overnight at the hospital, me staying there was not really an option. 

 Watching the helipad and the arriving ambulances.

To my local readers, I just want to give a huge shout-out to Cardon Children's Hospital. This has been our second experience with them, and both stays have been excellent in service and care. (By comparison, every experience I have had with Phoenix Children's has been awful.) The nurses and doctors at Cardon are very friendly, respect their patients and their parents, and generally go out of their way to make everything as pleasant as possible. Some examples: Stephen was showered with new, in the box, age-appropriate toys and activities in the ER, while they fed me fresh deli sandwiches that are kept on hand just for parents. The inpatient rooms offer comfortable, spacious rooms, and made-to-order meals, hotel room service style (minus the price tag, since it's all included). There are tons of play rooms, therapy dogs, interactive displays etc. that make this hospital a beautiful and fun place to be for patients as well as siblings that are visiting. A few days after we were back home, Stephen received a card that had been hand-signed by all his doctors and nurses. Last but not least, because we do not carry medical insurance, the hospital automatically deducted about 2/3 off our price as a cash discount, making this stay cost only about what most people pay for their health insurance premiums in a couple of months. 

On that note, another huge shout-out to Samaritan Ministries, a Christian medi-share program that allows members to help each other bear such unexpected medical bills by sharing funds. We joined them last year, after a short and disappointing stint with "real" health insurance (which made as little financial sense then as it did ten years ago when we first cancelled it). Until this incident, I had enjoyed reading Samaritan's monthly newsletter, being able to put a real name along with my share each month and send it directly to whoever needed it, along with a Get Well card, but the way they have handled this need is truly just a testimony to how wonderful it is to join together with other believers in such an undertaking. We wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone as a fabulous alternative to medical insurance. This medi-share program is acceptable under the new mandatory health care laws, so between not paying the fines on taxes and the inevitable maternity and child-related needs being covered, this is a great fit for us.

Stephen now has to carry an Epi-pen (well, I do), but otherwise has no lasting harm. We have a lot of bees around here, so much so that I suspect a backyard urban hobby beekeeper must live close by. People always think of scorpions or rattlesnakes being the deadly animals here in Arizona, but they kill less than 1 person per year in the US. By comparison, bees are the deadliest animals, killing more humans in the US every year than any other animal (approx. 55/year).

Anyhow, if you think of it, please pray that Stephen does not get stung again anytime soon, and that if he does, his reaction will not be severe.

One last shout-out for my local readers to a place we discovered a couple of weeks ago: Shakes and Cones in old-town Scottsdale.

An all-organic soft serve ice cream place. Think Dairy Queen, minus the weird aftertaste and questionable ingredients. So, SO good!!! Price-wise, very reasonable, especially since the portions are humongous. Service is outstanding. What's not to love?  That they are not closer to my house. Or maybe that's a good thing.

Hope you are all enjoying summer with your loved ones!

(No affiliate links in this post, I really just like everything I have recommended above.)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Breastfeeding and Modesty

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. - Ecclesiastes 12:13

A recent status shared by my husband on his Facebook wall has made me realize how much confusion there is amongst Christian ladies and mothers regarding breastfeeding and the question of modesty.

As the verse at the top of this post says, it is important that we look at God's commandment(s) regarding this issue, so we know what to follow rather than being led by our sex-crazed society that puts women on birth control wholesale, and sees them mostly as objects to gratify men's lusts rather than as nurturers and mothers.

First off, let's see how God defines nakedness

Exodus 28:42  And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:

nakedness = loins unto the thighs, or what we would call waist to the top of the knee

Isaiah 20:4  So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt

God in Leviticus 18 talks about all sorts of scenarios between both men and women of who should not uncover who's nakedness, but there is no alternative definition of nakedness given for women that expands it to include the upper body. 

Quite to the contrary, by relating "uncovering a woman's nakedness" with "uncovering the fountain of her blood," the Bible reiterates that nakedness is referring to the part of the body from waist to knee (loins and thighs in Bible words). 

Leviticus 18:19  Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness. 

Leviticus 20:18  And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

THAT is the only correct definition of nakedness - loins to thighs. My husband has been preaching this all along, even as far back as 2006.

Not radical Islam that says a woman must be covered literally from head to toe, including gloves and a screen over her eyes, because virtually any part of a woman's body can be sensual in nature to men. Examples are: dainty feet, luscious lips, tender eyes, a perfectly curved calf, hair in soft curls, feminine hands, etc.

Not the nudist idea that says if you have a hat on you are not naked.

Sometimes, vague verses are used to try and teach for commandments the doctrines of men, such as 

1 Corinthinans 11:14  Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 
The argument being that even though the Bible does not define breasts as nakedness, we all know that they are. Well, we DON'T all know that, and one cannot just add to God's Word to suit their opinions or "common sense." In the passage in Corinthians, God does not leave us to guess what correct hair length is, along the lines of, "Well, I don't need to talk about hair length, because you all know about that in your heart anyway." On the contrary, God devotes a huge section to telling us about the length of men's hair and women's hair, and He just follows it up with a comment that even just nature itself also confirms this law of God. Get it? Nature confirms the law as fully expressed in the Bible, it does not substitute for the law, or generate it. The verse does not give someone who feels in their heart that something is right or wrong a cart blanche to impose that opinion on others.

Nakedness is a very shameful sin, except between husband and wife. As such, God gave us clear, consistent commandments in the Bible as to what defines nakedness. It is not left up to personal opinions that disregard the Bible. The upper body is never once defined as nakedness, and I defy anyone to post a verse to the contrary. 

Breasts, breast, breasts

If the word "breast" makes you cringe, consider this: the Bible uses "breast" 18 times, "breasts" 27 times, "paps" 4 times, and "teats" 3 times. 

Indeed, if the word "breast" makes you cringe on the inside, you have been influenced (and not for the better) by our weird, twisted society that views women only as objects for the sexual gratification of men since reproduction has all but gone by the wayside, an afterthought of sorts. Breasts have been blown out of proportion as sexual objects because we have lost touch with the fact that women are mothers and nurturers first and foremost. Under normal circumstances, a woman's breasts will be used ten times as often to feed a baby, than to satisfy their husband's righteous desires.

To further illustrate my point of breasts being overly sexualized, consider this: it is entirely acceptable to use the word "nipple," but only in the context of "bottle nipple." We even try to make them look and feel and function as close to the real deal as possible, yet nobody bats an eye if you pull your fancy breast-replica bottle nipple out, or even drop it off with baby in the nursery.

Personally, I have always found these rubber replicas to be far more explicit than a woman breastfeeding without a cover, since the real nipple is actually in the baby's mouth and out of view. If someone made a replica of the part of men's or women's private parts that the Bible defines as nakedness, I certainly wouldn't want to show and pass that around any more than the real thing, because even a replica would still be obscene. 

If breasts are nakedness, or even just terribly immodest, why are we publicly displaying these life-like replicas without so much as a blush?

Before you pass out, read on, because then there is 

The question of modesty

1Timothy 2:9  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 

Proverbs 31:25  Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

Are breasts sexually appealing? Of course they can be! Is that their primary or even predominant function? No. 

Many guys find ladies' feet and/or calves appealing, too. In fact, for decades, many churches taught that ladies ought always to wear closed shoes and hosiery in order to not lead men into lusting after them. On the other hand, there is an entire style of shoes - high heels - that accentuates this part of ladies' bodies. But the primary function of our feet is still to get us from point A to point B, not to strut around and get attention. You will never see me wearing such "hooker shoes". Not because they expose my nakedness (because they don't), but because they are immodest, drawing attention to my body merely for the sake of drawing attention, rather than for any practical purpose. It is the presentation that makes such displays immodest, not the very fact that I have feet, that I use them, and that I don't cover them in tights and closed shoes. 

By the same token, if women go topless, have plunging necklines over push-up bras, have implants, show cleavage, etc. they are doing all this for the sensual and vain reason of putting their body on display. Immodesty = seeking attention

A woman breastfeeding, on the other hand, is doing so 100% for the express and practical purpose of feeding her child. She is not seeking the attention of gawkers, and is therefore not immodest. 

By this correct definition of immodesty, a woman who struts around in high heels, with a fancy hairdo, covered in jewelry and make-up is still immodest, even if she covers up when she breastfeeds, because she is seeking to draw vain attention to her physical features. 

Lamentations 4:3  Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.
Here is a quick science lesson: whales (or sea monsters, as the Bible calls them) do not actually have breasts in the sense of that being some appendage like an udder; they have mammary slits. Nor do they have anywhere to pull these breasts out of, nor do they have hands to pull them out with. God is using this metaphor to say that even whales do more for their young than these wicked women, who should be the ones drawing out the breast and giving suck to their young. 

Drawing the breast out of where? The clothes, of course, since there is nothing else to pull them out of. Drawing out the breast, to then cover it with a blanket? Hardly!

Why not just cover up?

Well, why don't YOU eat your meals under a blanket? There are many reasons, such as 

- heat and stuffiness for mom and baby
- baby wants to see mom
- mom wants to see baby
- baby wants to study and learn about the world around them
- baby wants to hear what's going on
- new moms have a difficult time getting a good latch blindly
- blankets and those hideous nursing bibs draw more attention, not less
- covers further push the idea of over-sexualized breasts

However, all these pale in comparison with the biggest reason not to cover up while breastfeeding: Because it hampers healthy breastfeeding. 

A baby wants to eat under a blanket as much as you want to eat by yourself in a sterile white room without being allowed to read, talk, look out the window, play on your phone, etc. You would hurry up and finish the meal, so you can get back to the funner parts of life. So yes, get a baby hungry enough, and he might sit still under a blanket long enough to fill his tummy, which in a baby over 3 months takes about 3 to 5 minutes. But they will not want to linger at the breast, suckling on lazily while taking in the world around them. THAT kind of nursing is prerequisite for most moms to make lactational amenorrhea (LA) work for them. If you only ever, or mostly, cover up while nursing, your baby will spend a small fraction of the time on the breast that it would if they were uncovered. Not to mention all the bonding and close contact you and baby miss out on when separated by a "veil". 

God could have made milk come out of our pinkies if He had so chosen. He could have made it so babies eat table foods from birth. But no, in His wisdom He designed our bodies to nurture our babies in our bosoms, where they can smell us, see our faces at the ideal distance that their little eyes are attuned to at birth, and hear our heart beat that is so familiar to them from the womb. We moms, while gazing down at our baby's sweet face that God designed to be most appealing to us in its features, are so much more likely to sit and linger, put our feet up for a much-deserved rest, and admire God's perfect handiwork, rather than just getting the job of feeding baby done in a matter of minutes, and propping him up in some bouncy gadget while we tackle the never-ending housework.

Breastfeeding is God's design to allow a lady's body to recover from one pregnancy before embarking on the next. Breastfeeding hormones, like all hormones, are fickle and easy to disrupt. Just as the baby needs to be skin to skin with mom, suckling all night by her side, to make LA work, so extended breastfeeding throughout everyday activities is crucial. It's simply not possible under a blanket - no baby wants to do that.

Other suggestions, such as nursing without a cover, but off in another room, or staying home from all outside activities while baby is breastfed, are too ridiculous for me to address in detail. Obviously, no mom of many can leave the main part of the house and retreat to her bedroom, leaving the other kids unsupervised, for hours each day. And no husband wants to take on the outside responsibilities of his wife for two to three decades of their married life.

Women who pontificate about breastfeeding under a cover likely only have their token child or two, or they use birth control. If they don't, they will have children spaced very closely. Sure, there are a few women who will never have a cycle even if they just nurse their baby once every 24 hours, but that is the exception. Most moms, unless they breastfeed extensively each day, will have their cycles return too soon to be healthy or sustainable. 

There are many reasons why we should allow God's design to space our children. One important reason is that it allows us moms to "reset" our bodies between pregnancies, lose the baby weight instead of packing on more and more over time. Also, when our hormones are not out of whack, we women tend to be better wives and mothers, which in turn sets the atmosphere for the home. Cover up at what expense? So you can be a short, snippy, angry wife and mother, run ragged by having a baby every year? There is nothing like sitting down with baby for a half an hour, nursing and cooing, to lift mom's mood through endorphins and calm her frayed nerves. She might even sneak in a short nap! Under a cover? No baby will go for that for more than mere minutes.

But what about men's lusts?

A scantily clad  woman will be viewed as a sex object, and lusted after by unrighteous men. A lady breastfeeding is viewed as a mother, and as such, occasions little to nothing in the way of temptation. 

Only a hypocrite would expect women to only breastfeed while covered, even as they watch TV every day where women are flashy, immodest, and show their breasts for purely sexual appeal all day long. Cover up in front of your teenage son, who is sitting next to you on the sofa watching some harlot on TV? Yeah, that's really important - not!

Just because a lady does not use a blanket to cover up while breastfeeding, does not mean she has to be completely exposed. A shirt can easily be pulled down if need be, and baby's body is covering most of mom's midsection.

If a man is making a point to gawk and catch a glimpse of skin, if he is drawn into temptation and lust from seeing a non-descript sliver of skin that may as well be part of the upper arm as part of the breast, then there are far greater problems at work. A man who is satisfied with his own wife, having his appetites met by her in righteous marital intimacy, will not struggle with lust from seeing a breastfeeding woman, or catching a glimpse of her breast. Ladies, keep your husbands fed, and they won't go through life so starved that breastfeeding mothers suddenly start looking appealing.

Proverbs 27:7  The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

Furthermore, as stated above, we cannot expect ladies to cover up to accommodate all of men's personal whims, unless we want to mandate burqas. The Bible has enough commandments in it, we don't also need to add our own to it. 

In conclusion

If you want to cover up, more power to you. But don't impose your opinions on others, as there is no command in the Bible that tells ladies to cover up to feed their babies.

Per law, mothers can breastfeed in any public or private space that the mother is legally allowed to be in, in every state in the U.S. Don't let anyone tell you differently! 

 1871 in church









For more beautiful breastfeeding pictures, please click here. It's worth a click, trust me!
Think these photos are anecdotal, the exception? Please share with me all the old pictures of women breastfeeding while covered, from back in the day when birth control was not used and we had normal views of breastfeeding mothers. Because they don't exist.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Apple Picking

This has been the coolest, most rainy spring/summer on record in Arizona in close to a century. We have had a few hot days, so just when I think the balmy weather is gone for good, we get more rain and cool, breezy days. 

Such was the case these last few days. I woke up early Thursday morning to the sound of thunder and pouring rain. It never rains in Phoenix in June. Like, literally never in the last 80 years. With the rain came cooler temps, in the 70s and 80s. Rain in the desert is the best thing ever, because the air becomes so wonderfully fragrant with all the plants soaking up this rare treat. Going for a walk in this fresh air right after a rain shower is just heavenly.

My husband and the oldest four went camping overnight on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, I took the little kids to a park, where we just ran around the lush wet grass until it got dark. Becky is a very fast runner, which should come as no surprise since she clocks a 7-minute mile running with my husband. So yeah, I could not keep up with her when we were playing tag. It was fun, and we all got a great workout in.

On Saturday, after breakfast, we went to a local apple orchard. Picking apples was fun in and of itself, but walking barefoot in ankle-deep thick clover was a rare treat. 

Stephen absolutely hated the feel of wet grass on his feet, and only wanted to stand on a little dirt patch he found.

Boaz on the other hand loved walking on this soft, padded surface that was forgiving of his frequent tumbles.  

I taught the girls how to make wreaths out of the clover blossoms, which brought back fun childhood memories.


Climate change for the win!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Premade swimsuits now available!

Alright everyone, drum roll please...

The finished swimsuits are up on my Cute & Covered website. The following sizes are currently available:

Child sizes 3T, 4
Youth sizes 6, 8, 12
Ladies size M.

We only have a very limited quantity of these models, so please order early for best availability.

The production cost for these swimsuits has been higher than we were originally quoted, which resulted in slightly higher prices for the child and youth sizes than we had anticipated.

However, we are so happy with the production quality, that we feel it is worth the additional cost to be able to offer commercial-grade, Made in the USA, local small-business merchandise at still very competitive prices.

If you like what you see, please consider telling your friends who might be interested in modest, stylish swimwear.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Just a couple of quick glimpses

Summer has finally arrived in Phoenix, with temps about 40 degrees higher than they were just a month ago. With that comes daily playtime in the pool for the kids for an hour or two. And lots of ice cream, smoothies, and the like. No summer break from school in sight for at least June, as we are a bit behind thanks to an extensive Christmas break, and the kids spending much time at the office with Dad lately helping him ship DVDs around the country for his "states projects."

My husband was featured in the June edition of Phoenix magazine. I will leave you to guess if it was the "Summer Getaways," "Beer Guide," "Photo Contest" or "Church of Hate" article advertised on the front cover.

Phoenix Magazine typically rotates each month between reporting on the best doctors, hikes, eats, or other local offerings. This month, evidently, they decided to feature the best church in the Valley!

For the record, the photographer specifically instructed him to look serious, and not to smile. My husband smiled anyway, but none of those pics made it in. That picture, of course, is just priceless.

Speaking of priceless, then there is Bo. At almost 13 months old, he is starting to walk. Or rather, run - evidently excited about this new step. Which often lands him splattered on the tile (ouch!). He has three teeth now, and a whole lot of personality, which includes being a very picky eater. Like, seriously picky. He does like these grain-free black bean brownies, especially smothered in fresh cream.

No babies were injured during this photo shoot on the kitchen counter. I did get stabbed with that fork a few times, and I think it was intentional. Also, you can see three sad, neglected figures left in the front yard for the 60 seconds it took me to snap a few pics. You know, because I couldn't well leave the baby on the counter to open the screen door. 

 "Should I eat some more?"

 "Sure, why not!"

Then there is this little Anna, my baby girl. Such a sweet age! I just want her to stay like this forever. She loves her dolly, and is a great mommy to her. And she allows me to take pictures of her, which is always appreciated. 

Based on the photographic evidence, I must conclude that Anna took this picture of Becky on my big girl camera, a major no-no. Still funny though. This Becky is just a sweet little nutcase, and oh so precocious!

The kittens will be four weeks old tomorrow. They are super cute! The kids have fittingly nicknamed them "Salt" and "Pepper" and I am asked daily if we can keep them both. Becky keeps telling me she is a "cat lady" - okay then! She certainly is crazy enough to play that part. 


The mommy cat has become even sweeter and more cuddly since having the babies. She is also a very good mommy. The kids all enjoy watching her teach the kittens how to explore the house, play fight with her, etc. I'm afraid I am starting to sound like a cat lady myself. Actually, my grandparents in Hungary often had kittens on their little farm, and I just LOVED playing with them. Another time, I was supposed to have been at kindergarten, but had pitched a screaming fit at the bus stop until my mom gave in and took me to work with her instead. When I got bored at the office, she sent me to the house of a nearby friend, who had little kittens. When it was time to go back to the office, I took the lady up on the offer of keeping a kitten, and played with it at the office the whole rest of the day. To my dismay, my mom did not let me keep the kitten, as it was gone the next day. As an adult I more than understand why kids cannot take in every pet that comes their way, but I am also thankful for the ability to allow our kids a lot of pets, since it's an opportunity to practice responsibility, and we are home and able to care for them daily.

Nothing spectacular or particularly exciting going on, just our normal crazy life. Hope you are enjoying your summer, and your summer break if you are having one.