Tasteful Magazine Cover?

Does this magazine cover offend you? Before you answer, let me point out a few things about it. Babytalk is a free parenting magazine that OBs and pediatricians have on hand in their offices. The magazine is also mailed out to parents who request it. It's not sold in stores. And the people who read it? Are overwhelmingly mothers of young babies.

This magazine cover has ignited a shit-storm of controversy, however. And not from the conservative right. And not from uptight churchfolk asking us to please "think of the children!" Instead those that are offended by this magazine cover are the very people who read it-mothers, many of whom are currently breastfeeding or who have breastfed their own babies.

According to this article, one mother of a 13 year old boy, who had breastfed all her children, has said of the cover, "I shredded it. A breast is a breast — it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that."

Another mother said, "I'm totally supportive of it — I just don't like the flashing," she says. "I don't want my son or husband to accidentally see a breast they didn't want to see."

First of all, in my opinion, a breast is not a "sexual thing" (regardless of how American culture has objectified women and their bodies to a collection of parts, breasts included). Breasts contain mammary glands. Breasts feed babies. And this function is the ONLY reason women are born with them. And does this woman actually believe her 13 year old son has never seen a woman's breast before? Please.

And then there's Ms. Contradiction's comment about "supporting" breastfeeding, but feeling uneasy about her son or husband "accidentally" seeing a breast they didn't want to see. I don't know about you, but I don't know a single hetero man who would run away, eyes covered, screaming with horror at the sight of an exposed breast.

My feeling is this. Where are these mothers and their outrage when it comes to women posing with their breasts exposed on the covers of Playboy and Maxim? Where are their concerns for their husbands' and sons' delicate constitutions when it comes to seeing women's bodies objectified and exploited in these magazines for the sole purpose of male enjoyment? It's an outrage for BabyTalk magazine to show a very "tasteful" picture (no nipple or areola expose) of a mother breastfeeding her infant, and using her breasts for the purpose for which they were intended, but guess what? If Little Jimmy was found with a dirty magazine under his bed, these same complaining women would explain that away with a simple "Well, boys will be boys."

So, what do you think? Is this cover "gross" (as another mother was quoted as saying in the article)? Have we as a culture debased women's bodies so much that no matter how much we hate to admit it, we do see breasts exactly the way the Hugh Hefners of the world want us to?

Weekend Cat Blogging #59

Here marks the solo pictorial debut of Louie on Interrupted Wanderlust. He's shown up here before, but he's never appeared alone. The reason being that Louie is camera-shy. And Kristi-shy. And really, really Rich-shy. To be blunt, Louie loathes Rich with a fiery passion. And we figure it dates back to an episode in his kittenhood.

When young master Louie was but a wee kitten, he loved to hide and to get into trouble, as most kittens do. So one weekend morning I was scrubbing out the bathtub with cleanser when the phone rang. I had just poured the cleanser in the tub, and then left the bathroom to answer the phone. Can you see where this is going?

When I returned, I found Louie in the tub, covered from head to toe with the green powdery (and VERY toxic) stuff. I immediately grabbed him, turned on the water, and hosed him down. Then, Rich held the very terrified, shaking, and dripping wet Louie while I used the hairdryer to blow-dry him. We don't believe Louie ever forgave Rich for the events that transpired on that day, because Louie will flee from the room whenever Rich enters it.

For more cat tales, check out Clare and Kiri!

You've Got Questions? I've Got Answers. Part 2

To finish answering my wonderful reader questions from my blogaversary post:

Geekwif asks: If you were baking yourself a cake in celebration of your first year, what kind of cake would it be?

Kristi answers: Mmmm... cake. I could totally go for some cake right now. I would probably bake a two- or three-layer white cake, with vanilla pudding filling, and whipped cream frosting. Either that, or a cheesecake. Maybe even a pumpkin cheesecake!

Shannon asks: If you were forced to be in a tribute band called The Aerosmiths, would you rather be dressed up as Aerosmith playing Smiths songs, or dressed up as The Smiths playing Aerosmith songs?

Kristi answers: This is the most difficult-to-answer question I received, because it forced me to figure out what's more important to me: couture or music. After much deep thought and a few sleepless nights, I would say I'd rather be dressed up like Aerosmith and playing Smiths songs, rather than dressing like the Smiths and playing Aerosmith songs. Because seriously, nothing could be worse than singing what essentially amounts to the exact same song with the exact same themes over and over and over.

Sher asks: I'm wondering who will Beastie listen to: Wiggles or Raffi?

Kristi answers: I will now have to expose my ignorance of all things related to children's music because I'v only ever heard of the Wiggles and Raffi in passing. I have no idea who they are or what they sing. I did, however, receive a Baby Mozart CD at my shower, and I do know who he was! I wonder if Beastie will be content listening to my Cure and Depeche Mode CDs?

Dawn asks: If you had the opportunity to take lessons to learn to do something (anything), what would it be?

Kristi answers: I would love to take a quilting class. Does that make me sound like a 65 year old retired schoolteacher? I love knitting and counted cross-stitch, and I would just love to learn how to sew a beautiful quilt. Either that, or an Italian cooking class, although I suppose to learn Italian cooking, I just need to pull up a stool in my grandma's or great aunt's kitchen.

Annelynn asks: What are your food aversions?

Kristi answers: How long do you all have to read my answer? The truth is, I have more food aversions than I can name actual foods I like. It all started when I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 5. All of a sudden, a lot of foods I had previously eaten, including vegetables, many fruits, etc., were off limits because they are hard to digest. And even though my large intestine was removed (entirely) at age 10 to cure me of colitis, I never did go back to eating many of those foods because honestly, what kid wants to eat her vegetables? At age 17, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and a lot of the same food "no-nos" emerged once again. Vegetables? Not my digestive friends. Some fruits? Same thing. To make matters more complicated, I became a vegetarian at age 18, then at the advice of my gastroenterologist, began eating chicken and turkey again at age 23. So, to make a long story short, my food aversions can basically be summarized as childhood digestive issues combined with plain old adult stubborness about trying new foods.

Thanks for the questions, all. I had a lot of fun answering them!

Baby Got Back

...and it's currently shoved up into my ribs center-stage, where it's been residing for the past two weeks or so. Beastie is head down, "in position" (as if such things mattered, which they don't since I'm having a c-section), and his/her back is wedged firmly on my right side. Beastie has obviously selected my right side as his/her side of choice (dear go-o-d, please let this not be a sign of Beastie's future political affiliation) because not once have I felt the Beastie body on my left.

And I am reaching that uncomfortable final stage of pregnancy.

Let me first say that I am having a really hard time even writing this post. As most of you know, this pregnancy didn't come easily to me. We tried for two years. We went through over a year of fertility treatments. We went through 5 failed IUIs, and were blessed with Beastie on our first IVF cycle. So complaining about the pregnancy is not something I feel entitled to do. There are so many women, some who read this blog, who would give anything to be feeling the pains I'm feeling now, and I'm ever-mindful of this. But because I didn't create this blog to self-censor, I'm going to admit, with a degree of guilt, that playing host to the Beastie body is getting really difficult. Which of course isn't to say that I would trade it for anything. I know how lucky I am. And I will never forget what I went through to get here.

Sitting upright for eight hours a day in my "Ergonomics? What's that?"-assigned company chair is all but impossible. Not only does it hurt my back, but I literally cannot lean forward to type on my keyboard because I have what feels like a stack of bricks shoved way up into my chest. I take frequent breaks. I walk around. But most often, nothing helps.

I understand now why many women start maternity leave a week or two before their due dates in a way I didn't before. I always thought it was silly to take time off before the baby even arrives, but not only is my body not co-operating most days, my mind isn't either. I'm distracted. I can't remember things my co-workers tell me worth shit. Sometimes, even walking to and from the bathroom takes effort. And most embarrassingly, I've started taking the elevator to my third floor office, rather than the stairs, which I've always taken, up until about a week ago. I feel like my body is betraying me. I used to run 30 miles a week, and now I'm exhausted from hoofing it up a few flights of stairs?

Now I know all this is normal. It happens to every woman (or most every woman) in the final weeks of her pregnancy. But I guess I stupidly didn't think it would happen to me. I walk much slower now than I used to, to the point where I have to tell my husband, who usually would refuse to even take walks with me because my pace was so much quicker than his, to slow down. And sometimes I can sleep. And sometimes I can't.

Beastie will be here in 3 weeks and 6 days. I can't wait to meet him or her. I can't wait to see who Beastie looks like, and to be the mother to the baby I never thought I'd have. I can last that long, and I would last longer if I had to. But I'm ready to not share my body anymore.

And now a break from your regularly scheduled programming. Because I am 9 years old (and perhaps many of you are as well), I thought I would point out two entertaining advertisements I saw in a pregnancy magazine last night. The first is this. First item on the top of the list. Now, besides the hysterical name, wouldn't this contraption cause even MORE attention directed at you if you whipped this out in public? And the second is this. Weee! Look how easy pumping is! You can hook yourself up, talk on the phone, and schedule a power lunch in your daytimer, all at the exact same time! Who ever said breastfeeding has to slow you down?

In Search of Dr. McDreamy

This past weekend, Rich and I conducted two pediatrician interviews, and took a newborn care class at the hospital where I'll have the Beastie extraction. Regarding the pediatrician interviews, I learned two indisputable things:

1. Pediatricians look nothing like Dr. Derek Sheppard on Grey's Anatomy.


2. I need to learn the fine art of patience.

Of course, with regard to #1, it might have actually helped achieve a better outcome if I had set up interviews with male doctors. We interviewed two doctors, who were both, unquestionably female. Perfectly nice women, the both of them, and seemingly good doctors. But not a cute dimple nor a sheepish, self-deprecating grin among them. And also, neither had appeared in this movie, which incidentally is the last time I cast eyes on Patrick Dempsey. My, how he's changed for the better.

Ahem, moving on.

Our first interview was on Friday with Dr. G. Our appointment was for 10:40am. We sat in a child-infested waiting room until 11:05am. We were then escorted to a room, where we waited until 11:30am when Dr. G walked in. The practice is small, only four doctors. But we received very personalized attention from Dr. G, and she was very patient with us and our questions.

Positives about Dr. G:
  • She answered all our questions in great detail.
  • She will be the doctor to see Beastie in the hospital within 24 hours of his/her birth.
  • The practice has both a sick-child waiting room, and a well-child waiting room (although it certainly would have been nice if her receptionist had directed us to the well-child waiting room when we arrived, which she didn't. Instead, we sat amongst a room full of germy kids and their parents, and only realized this when Dr. G pointed out the separate well-child waiting room on our way out).
  • Beastie would always see her when we brought him/her in, but in the case that she wasn't there, Beastie would be seen by another doctor in the practice.

Saturday, we interviewed Dr. M. Unfortunately, Dr. M's office started out with at least half a strike against her when the practice's receptionist phoned our house at 7:28am on Saturday morning...to remind us of our appointment that day at 9:45am. This was reminder #2, as she had called just the previous day to remind us. Now, I understand doctors' time is valuable and all, but so is the pregnant woman's beauty sleep. If there's an emergency, or you're a friend or family member in need, by all means pick up the phone and call me anytime, day or night. But DO NOT call my home at that ungodly hour to remind me of an appointment you already called to remind me of, not 24 hours earlier. I am wicked-ass cranky when I'm awoken earlier than I need to be.

Positives about Dr. M:

  • The receptionist handed us a folder when we walked in containing all sorts of good information, including a booklet on common newborn illnesses, what to look for, and when to call the doctor. Oh, and a sheet detailing the consistency and frequency of what Beastie's poop should look like in the first week of birth, which while informative, included the use of the words "seedy" and "tar-like" a few too many times for my liking.
  • The practice is larger, so the doctors tend to work together to see patients whenever there's a need. So if Beastie were to get sick, and Dr. M wasn't available, Beastie would likely be able to be seen by another doctor in the practice right away.

Our appointment was for 9:45am. However, we met first with a Nurse Practitioner, who entered the room where we were sitting at 10:15am. We had to fill out massive amounts of paper work for Dr. M's office, which seemed to us a waste of time, considering this was an interview, and we hadn't selected her as Beastie's pediatrician. The NP went through our paperwork with us, asked us a bunch of questions, and then asked if we had any questions for her. She saw my list, and encouraged me to fire away, which I did.

Then, she left, and we waited another half an hour before Dr. M came in. And while she was perfectly nice, it seemed like she was in a big hurry to leave the room. She didn't ask us if we had any questions for her, so I asked some of the few ones I had saved for her. Also, this practice is larger than Dr. G's, and Dr. M wouldn't be the one to see Beastie after he/she was born; whichever doctor is on call at the hospital that day will see the baby. And this practice didn't have a separate well-child waiting room.

On the way home, Rich and I hashed out the pros and cons of each, and decided we would go with Dr. G. Although we liked Dr. M, we didn't like the fact that she only spent 5 minutes with us, and that the NP did the majority of the work. We really wanted both a well-child and a sick-child waiting room, which Dr. M didn't have. And we think Beastie will receive more personalized care with Dr. G.

Now I can finally get my OB off my back. She's been bugging me about picking a pediatrician since I was about 20 weeks!

Weekend Cat Blogging #58

These pictures represent my grandma's worst nightmare. Here we have Chubbie, lounging on Beastie's downstairs changing table, taking an afternoon siesta, or possibly asking for her diaper to be changed. I haven't quite figured out which. My grandma believes my cats will kill Beastie by jumping on Beastie's head, sitting on him/her, and causing suffocation. As such, she thinks the cats should be locked in our basement until Beastie is approximately two years old. I think grandma's on crack.

Oh, have I mentioned Chubbie's also been found sleeping in the crib? And so has Claudia, pictured below. Needless to say, the crib tent is going up this weekend.

Shhh...Don't tell grandma.

For more pictures of kitties in various compromising positions, check out Clare and Kiri.

34 weeks: Now More Tan and Tired

I'm in my 34th week now, and you know what that means. It's time for another belly shot. But don't scroll down yet! I have lots of really important things to say up here before you look at the pictures.

All right. Scroll down. I'll wait.

Okay. Now where was I? Oh right. This week I finished the sweater I was knitting Beastie. This is the very first sweater I've ever made, and I'm actually pretty proud of myself! I got through some sticky parts with the help of my great aunt, and the finished product actually looks like something a little person could wear. I knit the 0-6 months size, but it looks a bit big. Then again, I don't think I'll be bringing Beastie home from the hospital at the end of August in a wool sweater, so I think he/she will have plenty of time to grow into this.

I had my 34 week appointment this afternoon and we met Dr. C, who will be performing my c-section. We're confidant in her abilities, in that she's done quite a few gynecological surgeries as well as c-sections, and we have an on-call general surgeon in case she runs into any issues due to my previous abdominal surgeries for ulcerative colitis 20 years ago. I gained two pounds for a total of 16 so far, my blood pressure is good, and Beastie's heart was pumping away in the high 150s. I have appointments every week now until the big day, in less than 5 weeks.

New pregnancy developments: I'm still craving peanut butter and Doritos. And winter. Can people crave seasons? It's been so unbearably hot here in the Northeast (as it has been everywhere), and the heat really affects me. I work from home two days a week, and I spent all day Tuesday working from my bed (and no, I'm not employed as a prostitute). Our bedroom has the only air conditioning unit in the whole house, and it was entirely too stiffling to work from anywhere but there.

Sleeping has gotten a little easier lately (shhh... don't tell the Beastie, as he/she still has no concept of sleep and when it's time to let Mommy get some sleep and stop rearranging furniture in there already!).

Last weekend we made a run to Babies R Us and picked up more baby paraphenalia. You should see our house-it's so full of Beastie gear it's ridiculous. But I'd say we're almost prepared. I say almost because Rich still needs to set up the pack-and-play where Beastie will sleep during the day. I need to organize some shelves in the kitchen for Beastie bottles and such. And we need to install the car seat and get it inspected.

The Beastie belly is definitely more rounded (and Rich insists slightly lower than last month's picture) but I don't notice that much of a difference between last month and this month, unlike the big difference I noticed between 26 and 30 weeks. See for yourself.

26 weeks

30 weeks

34 weeks

Stem Cell Research is Not a Moral Issue

Rant ahead. You've been warned.

Today, W vetoed the embryonic stem cell bill that would have loosened the restrictions he placed on this research five years ago. This bill was passed by the Republican-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate. It enjoyed overwhelming cross-party support, and 72% of Americans are in favor of embryonic stem cell research. But according to this article, Bush apparently felt "honor-bound" (whatever the hell that means) to veto the bill.

For those of you who don't know, stem cells are extracted from frozen embryos created via IVF. The drugs you take during an IVF cycle cause most women to go into super-ovulation. That is, they produce 10, 15, or even more eggs, and the ones that are the best quality are injected with sperm. The best of the best are then transferred to the woman, and the remaining surviving embryos are frozen for later use in FET (frozen embryo transfer cycles). I have four such "frosties" waiting for me at my clinic. This bill would have allowed people who have completed their families via IVF to donate their extra embryos for research purposes to cure such diseases as Parkinson's and Alzeheimer's, and to help those with spinal cord injuries.

Otherwise, guess what happens to the embryos? They're thrown out. Unless the couple wants to donate them to another couple going through infertility treatment.

So, according to W, it's A-okay to toss the frozen embryos into the trash, where they'll help no one and serve no purpose, but it's absolutely amoral and a sacrilege to put them to good use to potentially save millions of people's lives via research. Does anyone else see a huge problem with this?

W and his ilk claim "all life is sacred" and that "no one should get to determine that one life is more valuable than another" (unless you happen to be an inmate on death row, apparently, but that's a W hypocrisy for another post). But I think the apocalypse is near, because I agree with Orrin Hatch (Orrin Hatch!) when he says that embryonic stem cell research "aids the living, which is one of the most pro-life positions you can take."

I have a grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer's. Rich's grandmother has Parkinson's. Stem cell research has the potential to directly benefit the ones I love, and I bet a vast majority of Americans can say the same. And can even the most evangelical Christian out there honestly say they wouldn't want to do everything medically possible to save their mother with MS or their grandma with Parkinson's?

So for me it comes down to this. If Rich and I are lucky enough to have the two children we want, and we have two frosties left over, we will be donating them to stem cell research. End of story. I don't think I could donate them to another infertile couple, much as I love the idea of embryo donation, because for me it would just be too difficult to have a child biologically ours out there in the world who will never know who his or her biological parents are. And I wouldn't want them thrown away, which is the only other option.

So let's hear it. Where do you stand on this issue? And what do you think of the Bush veto?

I Wonder What My Cats' Food Will Taste Like

Yesterday I received some bad news. I don't know what illegal substance I was indulging in when I thought that it was either a state or federally mandated law that women on maternity leave receive full pay for six weeks (for a natural delivery) or eight weeks (for a c-section). My soon-to-be depleted checkbook knocked me upside my drunk-ass head when my HR rep informed me I'd be receiving only 60% of my pay for six weeks (unless my doctor writes otherwise on my short-term disability forms). Apparently, New York state mandates only $170 per week for people on short-term disability. My company purchased an "enhanced plan" (ha!) to pay the 60% of my salary...instead. No I won't even get both the paltry $170/week + 60% of my weekly salary. This was obviously information I did not expect when I created my plan for maternity leave.

This has to be wrong, I thought to myself as I returned to my office following the meeting. A few quickly circulated emails to friends with kids confirmed this fact. One friend's company pays 70%. Another's pays out maternity leave based on years of service: the longer you've been with the company, the more weeks of FULL pay you get. I don't even get one measly week at full pay.

Needless to say, I've sunk into panic mode. I was worried about how we were going to afford three weeks of zero money coming in from my end (I had planned on 8 weeks full salary for maternity leave, plus my three weeks of vacation time, leaving 3 weeks of unpaid time for a total of 14 weeks off after the birth of Beastie). Now our financial situation is significantly different, what with the pathetic policy of my company.

I immediately began some research and discovered that the good old US of A is second only to Papua New Guinea in providing women with the WORST maternity leave benefits in the world. The United States mandates companies provide zero weeks (ZERO WEEKS) for maternity leave. Individual state policies vary. If you live in Sweden, however, parents receive 18 months of fully paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. And fathers are encouraged to take a minimum of three of those months! Can you imagine that here? Or how about Bulgaria, where women get 45 days prior to the birth of their children, at 100% full pay, and then 2 years of paid leave, followed by an additional one year of unpaid leave, if requested.

In the States, our leadership is all gung-ho about "family values" and "protecting the family" and "family first," but when it comes time to helping parents try to do exactly that in this country, our government makes it impossible to do so.

Beastie is only going to be an infant for a few short months. We tried for so long and went through so much to have this baby, and now my plans for taking care of him/her have completely changed. I cannot imagine how I am going to juggle returning to work earlier than we planned, and taking care of an infant at the same time. I was counting on those 14 weeks to get Beastie into a schedule I can manage, because I'm going to be working at home four days a week when I return. And truthfully, I don't WANT to return to work earlier than we planned. Beastie is going to need me, and I want to be the one to provide for him/her, and not one of my relatives.

Things will work out. I know they will. But right now I'm seriously worried about our financial situation. How will we pay our bills on what essentially equates to one salary for most of the time I planned on being off?

Pass the kitty kibble. Luckily in a three-cat household, they're used to sharing.

I Am My Own Anchor

This weekend dished up the hottest days of the summer so far here in upstate NY. The temperature was in the high 80s Saturday, and soared to 95 degrees here yesterday, with near 100% humidity. And my house? Has no air conditioning.

Oh, we have a window unit in the bedroom. But because our house has only long vertical windows on the first floor (it was built in 1925), a window air conditioner won't fit in any window on the main part of the house. So sleeping provides 7 hours or so of bliss. The other 17 or so represent pure hell. Literally.

We do, however, have a small inground pool in our backyard, a rarity in my neighborhood of older houses with tiny yards. So, Rich and I practically lived in it the entire weekend, emerging only to make a trip to Babies R Us to buy more Beastie gear, and to go to my aunt's for our regular Sunday dinner.

Oddly enough, with some baby oil and a shoe horn, I can still squeeze myself into my regular bathing suit. Granted, my resemblance to this cannot be denied, but at least I didn't have to spend money on a maternity bathing suit, thereby leaving more money for Doritos. Score!

Once in the pool, I floated around for awhile, and since my energy levels to take my daily walk have been non-existent lately, I decided to swim some laps. This little endeavor lasted approximatly 5 seconds, because after that time, I literally felt as if I were being sucked down to the bottom of the pool, stomach first. Beastie weighs only 4.75 pounds at this point, but dear
g-o-d, you would have thought it was 50 pounds instead. So all that talk about feeling weightless in the pool? Is bullshit.

The weekend wasn't a total wash, however. I may not have been able to get my exercise by swimming laps, but I was able to exercise my somewhat cruel (although I'll let you be the judge) sense of humor with a photographic coup I've been waiting for since this post . This is my next door neighbor. We'll call him Mr. M.

Mr. M is approximately 107 years old, by my best estimate. He looks like the CryptKeeper from those Tales From the Crypt movies. And all day long in the spring and summer, no matter what the temperature, he lays on his lawn with a brown cardboard box by his side, and appears to weed his garden. "Now, that's not that strange, Kristi," you might be thinking. And you're right, it isn't. Except for one thing.

Nothing ends up in the box when he's finished.

I don't know if he ingests the weeds as fuel to keep his marathon weeding sessions going, or if he buries them under his creaky, skeletal body or what. But those weeds never make it into the box.

And equally strange is his wife, Mrs. M, although she flies her freak flag in a slightly different, and 100% more disturbing way. Mrs. M is only slightly younger and less rickety than Mr. M. She sits outside for hours on end, under her tree, in what the geriatric set might call "housedresses." But Mrs. M didn't go to the Emily Post school of etiquette. Oh no, not her. Mrs. M instead models her sitting position after Mr. M. Which often results in an eyeball-searing visual for Rich and I. I'll leave you with this: there is lots of thigh. There are some extensive vericose veins. And there is, occasionally, a glimpse of white granny panties. I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Mrs. M is also fond of lingerie that is, shall we say, "freshened" by the summer air. I warn you, before you scroll down, if you have a heart condition, are recovering from the flu, or have a weak constitution, you may want to point your browser elsewhere. Immediately. Otherwise, soldier on at your own risk.

Behold, the granny undergear. Three bras and one item of questionable function flying in the hot summer air. I was a little disappointed that the super-sexy, industrial strength granny panties didn't make an appearance on the clothesline yesterday, as usually they're matched up nicely with the bras. Ah well, there's always tomorrow.

Magnolia's Oatmeal Muffins

Truth be told, I am not a fan of oatmeal. Something about the mushy texture and consistency makes me heave, even though I like all its ingredients (oats, milk, and usually some good spices like cinnamon and nutmeg). I think my dislike of oatmeal also relates to the fact that I like the milk in my cereal to be ice-cold, and obviously the milk in oatmeal is warm or hot.

But, when Mother's Day rolled around this year, and I was perusing my trusty Magnolia Bakery Cookbook for some muffin recipes to make for the brunch I was hosting, I came across this recipe for oatmeal muffins. All the health benefits of oatmeal without the mouth mush!

I really liked how these came out, and I've made them several times since. They're aren't "oatey" tasting (if that makes sense), and have just a hint of sweetness to them. You could definitely use them in place of a dinner roll, so they're not just for breakfast.

Oatmeal Muffins


2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin

3. Mix the oats and milk in a medium-size bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

4. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, making a well in the center. Stir in the liquid ingredients and the oatmeal mixture until just combined, being careful not to overmix.

5. Fill muffin cups about three-quarters full, and bake for 16-18 minutes until lightly golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do not overbake.

And if your oatmeal habit becomes too addicting to quit (you know, kind of like my Doritos habit), check out Marie's recipe for Oatmeal Pancakes, which I'm going to attempt to persuade Rich to make me this weekend, despite the 90 degree temperatures we're expecting.

You've Got Questions? I've Got Answers. Part 1

For my first blogaversary last week, I hosted a question forum, where you, my awesome readers, could ask me any question you wished. I received some very interesting questions, so without further ado, here are your answers to the first batch.

Caryl asks: "Will Beastie use a pacifier?"

Kristi answers: Hell yes. To be completely honest, I've done zero research on this particular topic. But I cannot think of a single reason why I would want to listen to a screaming baby who has been fed and diapered, is well-rested, and whose finger isn't lodged in the crack of a door, but who still insists on yelling as if he/she was dying, when a simple pacifier will end the agony for both of us.

That said, it's time for a true-life story of how a certain relative of mine just couldn't bear to part with her pacifier, which for some odd reason my mom always referred to as a "sassy." Yeah, I don't know either. My sister loved her sassy with a passion. It went everywhere with her, and g-o-d help the relative that didn't pack the main sassy and some backup sassies when taking my sister out to lunch or to the library, or to sleep over their houses.

However, Karrie's attachment to her mouth plug lasted a little longer than most other childrens.' She was four when she finally said goodbye. And it was traumatic for her. My mom marched her over to the bathroom garbage pail. She gingerly placed my sister's last remaining sassy at the bottom of the pail, and told my sister her sassy was going to "sassy heaven" and that she'd see it again someday. My mom then held Karrie's hand and led her out of the bathroom. Karrie, however, materialized several minutes later with the sassy firmly inserted in her mouth. Yes, she had dug it out of the garbage. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Several times. Finally, my sister let it go. I still think she cries over the tragic loss of her sassy, some 24 years later. You might want to ask her about it.

Hopeful Mother, Ramona, and Beagle ask: Do you and Rich have names picked out for Beastie?

Kristi answers: Yes, we do. Well, sort of. Rich is a teacher. His position automatically casts down the death knell on several names I've liked because of the negative connotation of the name associated with particular students who have, shall we say, less than stellar personality traits or behaviors. For example, we'll never have a child named Kyle (although neither of us is that fond of the name anyway), because Rich has taught a string of Kyles who exhibited behavior similar to that of a spastic toy poodle on crack.

That said, we are about 90% positive of our boy's name, and much less so of our girl's name. If Beastie is a boy (which is my suspicion), his name will be Noah or possibly Brady. The girl's name is much more difficult because we each want a different (albeit similar) name. If Rich reigns supreme and Beastie is a girl (which is Rich's suspicion), her name will be Isabella. If I "win," her name will be Ella. My dear husband is under the impression that if we just name her Isabella, I can call her Ella for short. I respond to this nugget with, "Well, then let's just call her Ella and eliminate the nickname issue." Truth be told, he wants to call her Izzi. So we'll have a child with an identity complex issue very early on. Feel free to chime in with your vote. And don't worry, I'll still love you even if you side with my husband. Maybe.

Ramona asks: Will you videotape the birth?

Kristi answers: Nope. I'm having a c-section due to prior abdominal surgeries, and despite all the medical intervention, surgeries, procedures, and hospital stays I've had throughout my entire life, I have no desire to see Beastie yanked from a bloody slit in my stomach. I think even if I were delivering naturally, I probably wouldn't want it taped either. I'm highly encouraging Rich to avoid viewing the "Beastie extraction" because he has a bit of a "queasy tummy" issue himself, and I want him upright and awake to take multiple pictures and hold Beastie once he/she is out, since I probably won't be able to. We also don't have a video camera (although my digital camera can take short films) and have no plans to buy one right now, given all the other Beastie expenses we have, so there you have it.

Stay tuned for the next installment of your IW questions answered coming soon.

Showered with Schwag

On Sunday, I had my shower, which was hosted by mamacita. 37 of my closest friends and family members, and the surviving members of my grandma's "Gang" (her best friends for the past 50 years) partied like it was 1999 to celebrate Beastie. There was food. There were lots of laughs (many courtesy of my two cousins who vamped it like Vanna in helping to distribute the prizes during the games, and who did a great job writing down my gifts for me), and there was a delicious cake, of which my guests likely tasted two crumbs due to the assinine way the staff at the party house where the shower was held cut it.

And on that day, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the generosity of my friends and family. Gratitude for my mom and my friend Jenny for putting so much time and effort into organizing and planning things. And gratitude for being there-at MY baby shower. An experience I truly believed I would never get the chance to have.

Okay, now for some pictures!

This is my dear friend Veronica, who flew in all the way from Miami for the weekend so she could be here for the shower. She also gave Beastie the coolest baby clothes I've ever seen. More on that later.

These are the favors we gave to everyone. They are small ladybug magnets, and inside the netting is the story of the significance of the ladybugs during my IVF cycle (minus the details of Beastie being conceived in a petri dish in an egg lab at a fertility clinic to spare the sensitivities of my uber Catholic relations), and some chocolates, all wrapped up with ladybug ribbon.

And this is the cake. Possibly the best cake I've ever tasted. Our nursery theme is ducks, and of course we needed a few ladybugs thrown in there for good measure. I was so excited for everyone to taste this cake. Rich and I drove all the way out to east be-jezus to pick up the cake from this baker who makes all the cakes for special events at Rich's school. He's brought me home pieces of it in the past from his co-workers' birthday/retirement parties, and it was so good, I knew I wanted her to bake my shower cake. So when the serving staff was passing around the pieces, I was so annoyed to see that they cut slivers so thin, you could practically see through them. I was worried that the cake wasn't big enough-until the end of the shower when I saw they brought out this huge wrapped package for us to take home. Inside-almost half the cake!!! I have no idea why they didn't cut bigger pieces. Idiots.

My sister couldn't make it for the shower, but instead sent this lovely card, which she made, of course, an adorable outfit for Beastie, and a gigantic wrapped package (which you'll see down below) inside of which was the crib tent so that my cats don't jump into the crib and smother the baby. I registered for this particular item more to pacify my grandma, who is 100% convinced that my cats will cause the untimely death of Beastie, than my own fears of what they might do.

Here's me opening a gift from my friend Veronica.

And a very small portion of the schwag netted by Beastie. Beastie is a very lucky baby indeed.

And here is me posing with most of the gifts. It filled three carloads, and until last night, an entire room in my house. I had no idea a baby could require so much stuff.

Okay, is this too cute for words? I *heart* this onesie like nobody's business. Veronica was worried I wouldn't dress the baby in black. Obviously she doesn't live in my closet, because that would be all she'd see. She bought the clothes from here. I am so ordering Beastie more clothes from this site.

Here's me channeling my inner Veruca Salt (think Willy Wonka, not Seether). This is a gigantic bag from a certain online retailer that employs my sister. The crib tent came in this.

My mom and I spent all day yesterday washing, folding, and organizing baby clothes and blankets. We set up the downstairs changing table, and organized the nursery. Beastie arrives six weeks from today. Yikes.

*And thank you so much for all the good wishes for my blogaversary on Friday. I'm going to be working on answering all your questions very soon.

It's My Blogaversary!

Today is the first anniversary of this blog. I started it on July 7th, 2005, at the encouragement of my real-life friend, Marie who had started a cool blog earlier in the year.

I truly didn't know the direction in which I wanted to take this blog and in many ways I still don't. I know I missed writing creatively, as the corporate machine has sucked dry my writing ambition for the last eight years. I had varied interests (travel, books, knitting, current events, politics, and infertility...if you can call that an "interest") but I didn't want a blog focused exclusively on just one of these.

So instead, IW is a hodgepodge collection of all of these, with some random cat pictures thrown in for good measure. And for reasons that are still a mystery to me, many of you come back day after day to read my random musings. And that's a very neat thing indeed.

In the past year, I've gone camping for the first time. I made my very first loaf of bread from scratch, and I have made more baking strides in the kitchen than I ever thought possible. I still can't cook myself dinner (I repeat: the microwave is our closest friend), but I can make a damn good American Dream Torte! I even have a Recipe Index!

I have bitched numerous times about my mother's husband, referred to on this blog as #4. In the summer of 2005, I took a three month break from infertility treatments, after having going through over a year of drugs, invasive "wandings," shots, tests, and procedures. In the fall of 2005, I started my 6-week IVF cycle. And on December 18th, 2005, I found out that after 2 years of trying for a baby, we were expecting the Beastie. Isn't Beastie cute?

In March of 2006, I turned 30. Rich threw me a surprise birthday party. And in April 2006, I had my first "in-person" blog friend meet-up. Ramona has been reading this blog almost from the very beginning, and I was so thrilled to meet up with her and her husband in Toronto. She is one cool chic.

And in June 2006, I learned that Ho's Do It Better in a Van.

In the words of the immortal Frank Sinatra, "it was a very good year."

So, to honor Interrupted Wanderlust's 1st birthday, I will offer you, my faithful friends and readers, the opportunity to ask me any question that you wish. It can be mundane. It can be deeply personal. And although I reserve the right to not answer certain questions (although I've pretty much made my life an open book on this here internet), I will make every effort to answer each of your questions in future posts.

Perhaps you've endured many a sleepless night wondering about my favorite snow cone flavor. (Answer: It's cherry). Or perhaps you've been manically pulling each hair out of the left side of your scalp one by one because you don't know the name of the celebrity for whom I would leave my husband in one nanosecond (Answer: It's Jake Gyllenhaal). Now is your chance.

Ask me, because it's the bomb that will bring us together, ya'll. And thanks for reading Interrupted Wanderlust. It gives me the warm fuzzies to know that people like reading what I have to say. Seriously.

32 Weeks. Six Weeks, 5 Days to Go

Yesterday I had my 32 weeks doctor appointment. I'm measuring on track. Beastie's heartbeat was thumping away in the 140 bpm range. No weight gain in the past two weeks, which I find surprising given the amount of food I've been shoveling down, so I'm holding steady at 14 pounds gained. Blood pressure was fine as well. It's truly bizarre to me that it took two plus years, extreme medical intervention, and a king's ransom to get me pregnant, and now I seem to be having a most routine, normal pregnancy (knock on wood). Hey, it's almost like I got knocked up the old fashioned way!

I asked a number of questions about my upcoming c-section. The surgery will be scheduled sometime in the morning of 8/22, unless there's an emergency. I'll have to stay 3-4 days in the hospital. And I was relieved to learn that Beastie will be right with me in recovery, so I can hold him/her and breastfeed right away, which is really important to me. I was afraid that I'd be lying in some clinical room somewhere for hours on end, with no Beastie in sight, until the nursing staff saw fit to release me to my room.

My sister is flying in on the morning of 8/22, and has tasked me with the minor job of refusing to allow the doctor to make so much as a nick in my skin before she arrives around 8:30am. Of course, there will likely be a ticket machine outside of my hospital room door with the massive influx of family members I anticipate being in attendance on that day. And I fully expect my grandma to seize hold of the Beastie and make a break for the nearest hospital exit.

In the baby gear setup department, we now have the bassinette and swing all set up and ready to go. The bassinette is in our bedroom, which is a pretty amazing thing to see. We hung the wall decorations and diaper storage bag in the nursery. And this coming Sunday is my shower. I'm so excited because one of my friends whom I haven't seen since she was in my wedding five years ago is flying in from Miami to attend! Hi Veronica!

6 weeks, 5 days to go until Beastie's birthday.

And tomorrow is a very special day here at Interrupted Wanderlust. So grab a lamp shade and your favorite adult beverage, and stop back here on Friday.

My Action-Packed 4th of July

We usually have my extended family's 4th of July picnic, as we do all other large family gatherings, at my grandma's house. But this year, because my uncle and his family who live in CT are in town, having rented a house on Keuka Lake, about an hour and a half from where I live, the party was moved there this year.

Turns out, there isn't much in the way a slow-moving 32 weeks pregnant girl can do at a picnic, except sit around and eat. However, I did find a few ways to entertain myself.

A boat came with the house rental, so my uncle fired up the engine, and I went parasailing! It literally felt like I was flying, so now I know first-hand what those baby robins in the nest in my backyard are in for in a few weeks. Beastie was kicking me like mad during the ascent, but settled in for the ride quite nicely once we were at the maximum height.

Next, I played volleyball with all my cousins. Can you believe no one originally wanted me on their team when sides were chosen? I'm a two-for-one deal, and still, I was last picked. I showed them, as the Beastie Belly scored five points all on his/her own. Holla!

And then there were the cocktails. My uncle is famous for his blue martinis, and Beastie and I partook excessively. After the fact, Rich had to haul my drunk arse out of the lake after a little topple off the dock. As you can see, it wasn't one of my finer moments.

I am kidding, of course. In reality, all I did was sit around, enjoying the water, and letting various relatives touch my belly, while demanding that Beastie kick them, move, or perform calisthenics. We left about 8:30, and caught some fireworks from the car on the way home.

And just because I know you are all as obsessed with the birds in the nest in my backyard as I am, I offer you yet another picture. We watched them practically all day on Saturday, as both the mother and the father made multiple fly-in food deliveries to the four hungry mouths.

Did anyone do anything fun for the 4th yesterday?

Quick Snapshot:

  • 34-year-old writer and
    mother to a daughter
    born in August 2006 following
    IVF and girl/boy twins born in October 2008 following FET. Come along as I document the search for my lost intellect. It's a bumpy ride. Consider yourself warned.

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  • "All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." -Martin Buber

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