Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Guest Entry - Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act

I was asked to help raise awareness about a petition regarding legislation about postpartum depression & am copy-pasting from the letter I received from Susan Dowd Stone:

I am writing to ask that you post the following link on your websites. It is an online petition to support passage of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act. A companion bill passed in the House of Representatives last fall to a nearly unanimous bipartisan vote! Democratic Senators Obama and Clinton both support this legislation along with Republican Senators including Olympia Snowe of Maine. Please help us gain our target goal of 100,000 signatures for this petition.

After just one week, we have generated 10,000 and the petition will remain active throughout May, during which time it will be marked up for review. This bill calls for research to help determine the etiology and best treatments for perinatal mood disorders which will affect 800,000 women next year... and this figure does NOT include women whose babies are stillborn, miscarriage or other vulnerabilities such as adoptive parents, single parents.. stakeholders for this legislation are anyone who has ever been a mother or a child!!

We Need Your Help Now! We Must Speak Out in Full Support of Postpartum Depression (PPD) Legislation NOW.

Click here to connect and be counted!

Articles & information about PPD after infertility

Review: The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy

The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy
I received a copy of The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy by Erika Lenkert which I offered to review.

In a word: Refreshing.

In a sentence: A colorful, fun, magazine-style book for the pregnant woman and her partner.

Erika Lenkert is a writer who decided to write the pregnancy book that she wanted to read while she was pregnant. The book focuses almost exclusively on the mom and her experience (and not on the baby & its development). It's refreshing in that it's really easy reading, broken up into small chunks; no topic goes on for too long. The design of the book is colorful and appealing, with nice (not cutesy) illustrations and typography (though the font they chose for the book is way-too-small for my eyes, which made me wonder if they were trying to say I'm too old to be reading it). Once I put on my reading glasses, I was drawn into the book and found myself turning the pages eagerly, waiting for the surprise on the next page. In addition to her own experience, Erika had 111 moms fill out a survey and she includes their feedback throughout the book. An OB-GYN reviewed the medical information.

Things I liked (in addition to those already mentioned):

  • Nice sections for the dad-t0-be, including tips on understanding his partner.

  • No avoided topics - sex during pregnancy, hemmorhoids, moodiness - it's all there.

  • Survey results like, "Top 10 Cravings" and "Creepiest Moments".

  • Recipes - e.g., Avocado Cream Pie & Tortilla Soup.

  • Tips about maternity clothes, including the fact that you're likely to be wearing them well after the birth.

  • Links & recommendations for sites, shops & books.

Things I didn't like:

  • Statements like, "It feels like an instant Charlie horse and fortunately goes away rather quickly." (about leg cramps). This seemed to be too much of a generalization based on her own experience. I had terrible-horrible leg cramps in my calf, in the front and the side of my lower leg. I had them going up my entire leg. Sometimes they lasted 10 minutes and longer & were intensely painful. Sometimes I had them in both legs simultaneously. (There were not many of these, just the ones there were really annoyed me. Another example is "Shopping is depressing". I loved buying maternity clothes...)

  • Use of terms like "Leaky Faucet" for urinary leaking and "Scary-olas" for the changes in the areolas. Personally, I prefer grown-up talk...

  • Erika claims to minimize the list of things you need for a new baby and some people might actually want to buy all the things on her list, but trust me, nothing happens if you don't have a changing table, a rocking chair and a bottle sterilizer (to mention just a few). After her introduction, I was disappointed not to find a "bare minimum" list. (I also never used a nasal aspirator and have no clue why you'd need 2.)
Overall, I'd say it's light reading, interesting and informative, with a lively, modern design. The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy is a book a pregnant woman would enjoy having even if she already has a stack of pregnancy books, because it really is different.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

17 trips to the mailbox...

I didn't actually count, but there were many. Just about every 15 minutes, since we were waiting for the letter... And, finally, it arrived.

Hadas was accepted to IASA - Israel Arts & Science Academy!

I'm so happy for her, but it means that in September, she'll be moving to Jerusalem and I already know how much I'll miss her... and, whereas other kids go home every-other-weekend or so, she will only be coming here half of those weekends, because on the others she'll go to her dad's house... Fortunately, he lives nearby (walking distance), so I'm sure I'll get to see her a little on those weekends too. Right?

I'm sure this is an incredible opportunity for her :-) I can't wait to hear about her experiences there.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My oven's an imposter

My oven's temperature gauge is designed like a speedometer. You know how the speedometer goes up to say... 140mph and your car, even with the perfect tires, road & weather conditions could maybe get to 110? My oven claims to go up to 250 (celsius) but if you actually put it on that setting, it heats to a certain point and then blows a fuse (or whatever it is). Fortunately, it revives itself after a while. Anyway, this year I was clever enough not to repeat the mistake of previous years and the oven is behaving nicely. (I just hope it reads my blog and appreciates the fact that I'm writing about it.)

This Passover stuff is just way too stressful. I mean, when else would you bite off someone's head for putting something down on the table? (Maybe when you just ate sandwiches on the table and the 'thing' that someone was holding was a box of matza...) Fortunately, it's almost over. Unfortunately, being a vegetarian makes it a challenge for Ohad. In addition to not eating anything with flour but matza, we also don't eat anything with corn, beans, rice, green beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, etc... so it kind of limits his diet. Even worse is the fact that some people do consider these kosher for Passover, so they're sprinkled in everything. It makes shopping, even in Israel, in a kosher supermarket, a really annoying experience.

For a break (from the cleaning) I got up-to-date with as many blogs as I could... and I stole this from Rachel:

85 words

Speed test

My dad encouraged me to learn touch-typing during the summer between 9th and 10th grade. He was doing a post-doctoral program at Harvard (in ethics) and needed someone to type his papers. He not only paid for the course, he later paid me to type his papers... it was a good deal :-) I think his feeling was that no matter what I did in the future, knowing how to type would always give me something to fall back on. I enjoyed the course so much the first year that I went back and took another course the following summer.

Congrats to Ahuva Batya who just got a piece of GREAT news :-)

And happy Passover to all those who are celebrating!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Can you tell I'm in love?

He may not be the best person to take shopping, but he already likes to play... He seems to have gotten so big so fast - he's just over 5 weeks old(!)
I'm busy trying to prepare for Passover (which I think should be switched to every-other-year or maybe only leap years?) and am especially thankful that I was smart enough to buy an apartment within walking distance of my parents, allowing me to have all the comforts of home yet still celebrate the Seder with them.
Our boiler (is that what they call them in English?) is short-circuiting the house again. This is at least the 6th time since we moved in less than 3 years ago (probably more). At least we also have solar panels that heat the water - otherwise we'd be showering in cold water (yuck!). In Hebrew we call the boiler a "dood", so the dood dude is coming by tomorrow morning to hopefully fix it...
In other news, Hadas is finishing the last part of the process to be accepted to the high school she wants (wanted?) to go to in Jerusalem tomorrow. It meant spending 3 days and 2 nights in the dorms, taking classes and exams and having social activities. She said it's not at all what she expected and she needs to rethink whether she wants to go there or not. I'm cool with whatever she decides... (though I do think it would be an amazing opportunity for her if she did get in and chose to go there).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I think he likes having a little brother

Today I spent the day with my two boys :-)

Matan certainly waited long enough to finally have a little brother. I think he's pretty happy about it :-)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

When it rains...

It actually doesn't rain here much during this season. In fact, it won't rain much until October. We may get another rainy day here or there even as late as June, but the summer here is day after day of hot, rainless weather (I'd say dry, but it does get pretty humid, making the heat even less bearable). But, actually, that wasn't what I was talking about anyway...

Ohad sent me an SMS last night saying "You won't believe what I won." (I knew he was at the Microsoft party.) My best guess was the 4GB disk-on-key he was planning to buy when he got home (just because when my mom had 'wished for' an IPOD, she won one at a conference she was at). It turned out Ohad had won the top prize at a Microsoft party (at the CHI2008 conference he's at in Florence) - an xbox 360! Needless to say, the kids are pretty excited. I wasn't planning to tell them, but Matan guessed too well - it was his 2nd guess (after a laptop), so I gave in and told them...

And then, at 3:17, after having hit the refresh button about 493 times in the past 4 days, I got the email that was sent at 3:14 saying that Ohad's other paper (one was rejected) was accepted for the conference in Amsterdam. I was so excited that I jumped just as high as Matan had when he heard about the xbox :-)

Ohad's on his way home & that is the best news of all.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


One of Ohad's papers was rejected and we still haven't gotten news about the second one... I actually wrote them to ask what is happening with the answer and they said it would take another few days (they were 2 different types of papers, so maybe that's why the answers are on different days). We have already been to Amsterdam together once (on our 'family honeymoon' in summer 2004) & I'm sure we'll go again someday, even if it isn't this year.

My MIL is upset that I told her it isn't convenient for her to come over in the middle of the day tomorrow when I'm alone with 6 kids, all of whom have a variety of things I need to do for them, including helping them prepare for a show they're appearing in in the evening. She may also have forgotten the fact that in addition to caring for my kids during the day, I'm not sleeping that much (combine night feedings with night sweats - not great). I felt it would just be too much chaos... She told me that I'm "keeping her from seeing her grandchildren..." I offered Friday (once Ohad comes back) but they only want to come here on the train (and not drive), so that wouldn't allow them to stay long enough. It's not like they didn't know I was pregnant when they booked their trip to China that left 10 days after Yirmi was born...

Yirmi is up 2lbs from his birthweight. He nurses so well that I haven't been worried at all.

Ohad is up in Giotto's bell tower now. I have to admit - I'm not even jealous, I'm just looking forward to seeing the pictures when he gets home.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ten things you might not know about me

I sing. I even took voice lessons for a while. My teacher thought I should sing opera, which I was willing to try, but never did. I am too shy to sing in front of anyone but Ohad & the kids, so you'll probably never hear me unless you stand outside my window.

At the world premiere of the movie Genocide (1981 or 1982), I was responsible for being with former US President, Jimmy Carter, while we waited for everything to be ready. I spent 15 or 20 minutes with him during which I asked several questions including whether he got bored of attending events like that. He replied that he really didn't mind. I was also part of a choir who met Menachem Begin in Plains, Georgia , when he came to meet with former President Jimmy Carter. I think we sang mostly in Hebrew...

I love spoons. I don't have that many, but I buy any interesting one I can find. I like to use all different spoons to serve with. I also have some long spoons and espresso spoons (at least that's what I call them). The most expensive one cost about $7.50 and has a pewter handle.

I was fascinated by the whole pregnancy-baby thing even as a child. My mom taught Lamaze classes and I loved looking at her materials. During the summer when I was 12, I did over 100 hours of volunteer work in the newborn nursery at the Army hospital in Fort Benning, Georgia - including things like dressing babies for the first time, changing diapers, wheeling thembabies to their mommies and encouraging them to breastfeed.

I once wrote a book that was published. It was about graphics software on PCs and although it's terribly outdated, the distinction between vector and bitmaps (which was the main point of the book) is still relevant. I even happened to be at a book fair once and saw my book at one of the stands (I took a picture).

My best friend from my childhood got addicted to drugs while we were still in high school. I only found out a few years later, because I moved to Israel after graduating early and we lost touch. She went through lots of bad stuff, spent some time in jail and, the last time I saw her she didn't even remind me of who she had been. We were best friends from the time I was about 7 or 8 & it was really hard for me to realize I had lost her as a friend forever.

I used to be addicted to coca cola. I would often drink 2 liters a day. I have now replaced that addiction with one to soda water (no calories, no caffeine...)

I used to be able to eat anything without gaining weight. Until I was about 20, people used to think I was anorexic. I didn't even realize I was thin... When I got married in 1989, I weighed 95lbs. I think I never knew I was thin because I always had to buy large sizes because I'm wide-boned. Even at 95lbs I couldn't wear size 6.

I confuse my kids' names all the time. It's not that I don't remember who they are, it's just that when I call them, the wrong name always comes out. Sometimes several times. Sometimes I accidentally call Matan "Ohad" or "Akiva" (my youngest brother). In addition, I have a terrible memory for both names and faces. Unless I know someone well, I find it hard to recognize them. This is particularly embarrassing when people clearly remember me and I have no clue who they are... This happens often.

I hate planning meals. I would rather clean toilets than plan meals. Before Ohad left for Florence (which I keep wanting to call Venice - I can't even keep my cities straight), we made a list of a bunch of different meals that I can prepare while he's away. If we hadn't, I'm not sure he'd have gotten on the plane (evil grin).

We should find out today if Ohad's paper was accepted for the conference in Amsterdam. If it is accepted, we're going to try to work it out so I can join him (with Yirmi, of course). The only problem is that it's right at the beginning of the school year... on the other hand, the older kids can just be with their father for a few days.