Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"That's why they call me Budget!"...for breastmilk?!

First off, have I ever explained the, "That's why they call me 'Budget'"? Or being called Budget? If not, that was my trail name on the PCT and one night when Alex and I were talking about my mad budgeting skills he praised me on a particularly good deal I scored and I responded in a game show/ sing-song voice "That's why they call me Budget!" and it stuck.

Now, for my real post: I know I've mentioned Freecycle before ( it's a yahoo group they have in many different cities all around. It's like the free section of craigslist in email form. Anywho, I recieve a bazillion different emails each day with things that people either "Want" or are "Offering". I've found some great finds on there, but the other day I was very surprised to see "Breastmilk" in the "Want" section.

The woman who posted the ad had just adopted a baby (not sure of the age) and wanted her child to have the nutrients of breastmilk. She said that the baby so far had been drinking breast milk that other mothers were donating for him.

I had never heard of such a thing! As I have mentioned before three of my siblings are adopted. My mom tried to breast feed my first sister using a breast pump and herbs to start lactating but she stopped after a while because it wasn't working very well. My other two sisters were bottle fed. My "biological" (really hate using that term, but need to differentiate here) siblings and myself were breast fed. When Alex and I started talking more and more about adopting I brought up breastfeeding our adopted children and asked what his stance was on the topic. He and I both felt that we needed more information but were open to different options.

If you adopt you have several options. You can obviously do formula bottles. You can take herbs or other suppliments to help spur on the lactation, you can use a breast pump to imitate the sucking action of a baby (that will start lactation) or you can use a "lactation aide" (pictured here). A lactation aide like this one has a bottle filled with milk (be it donated breast milk, your own pumped breast milk, or formula) that is hung around your neck in a bottle that has a tube that comes out then wraps around to your breast so that it imitates how it would be if you were breastfeeding. This also can help stimulate lactation.

I have such mixed feelings, and really no opinion seeing as how I've only read online what this is like and never talked to anyone who has done it. Half of my siblings have been breastfed and half have not. How do I decide or be able to tell what differences a lack or abundance of breastmilk has had on them? One thought (yes, it is superficial) that I like about adoption (for myself) as opposed to birth children is avoiding what happens to your body when pregnant. One of the many benifits of adopting is that you don't have, how do I put this delicately, "changes" in your body or breasts. However, I have read that what causes the "changes" in a woman's breasts is actually being pregnant and those hormones that make them become larger, then "deflate" (sorry) after the baby is born. Apparently it is not breastfeeding that causes that. Second "pro" is that breastfeeding is supposed to help in bonding of the mother and child which could to help avoid R.A.D (Reactive attachment dissorder) which can occur in some adopted children, other factors are key in them being candidates for that as well though.

Nutrients, bonding, cost (no need for buying formula or many bottles) are all arguments for breastfeeding your adopted baby. There are other things that come to mind though, if you're adopting internationally you most likely won't be adopting a baby under six months and they will have (most likely) been bottle fed since they're been at the orphanage and can get "nipple confusion" if they change from bottles to breast. They may also be much older, which some adoptive parents still try to breast feed. One woman taught her three year old to breastfeed because she saw how it was helpful to her other five adopted children.

I still stand free of judgement on either stance being as that I just don't know. I've never been someone who really had an opinion or stance one way or the other about breastfeeding in general, and hadn't thought much about it at all because I've always known I would adopt and didn't think of it so much as an option. Seeing the post that the new mom made though made me think about this more and it is obviously one of the many things to consider when thinking of adopting. We have plenty of time to figure this one out, but I wonder, what are your opinions on this somewhat touchy subject?

Wordless Wednesday: yesterday was one month until this: AHHH!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Passport love

Oh passport, you are my ticket to freedom and yet another chance for a self-esteem reducing heinous picture! Government issued photos and I have gotten along in the past, but since last year and the DMV's new "Bone Recognition Software" we no longer care for each other.

When Alex and I got married I had a license picture that was cute, I was sixteen and elated to have just passed my drivers test and you can see it in my smile. It wasn't a model worthy pic or anything, but cute none the less. That ID carried me all the way until Alex and I got married and I had to get a new one, I don't know if it was the post-honeymoon glow or what, but I was very, very, very lucky. My picture was beautiful, simple as that. Then, last summer I discovered that sadly my beautiful newlywed license did not renew my license, it had only replaced the one from when I was 16.

That's when I really got humbled (as if the PCT, which we had just come off of, hadn't done that enough!) when the typically "kind" woman at the DMV told me that since I got my last ID they now have "Bone Recognition Software". What is that you may ask? Well, that means you have to be zoomed up on at horrific closeness and then they'll tell you to "look here" which will result in you looking droopy eyed and under the influence of one substance or another and that the scarf that you will have chosen to "brighten your face" will only further the look of your detached head and possibly drunken demeanor. Ugh. I still haven't shown some members of my family, it's that bad.

Also since getting married I now need a new passport because my last name has changed, so yet again I have to go from having a relatively cute passport picture (I was 21 and my grandma was taking me to Mexico, so I was again excited and happy) to...the one I have now. One fabulous feature of today's modern world is that you can now take a passport photo at home, that fits certain restrictions, and use that as your passport picture. Being as how I'm on a time constraint I had to take my picture during the time that I was having an allergic reaction to nail polish (my eyes had bright pink rings around them up to my eyebrows and they were peeling, very attractive) that I apparently had suddenly developed. Miraculously I had come up with a somewhat decent picture.

They rejected it. At this time, I had about five weeks before I left to France and it's supposed to take 4-6 weeks to get your new passport! I had to bite the bullet and go to Wallgreen's asap to have them take a picture that wouldn't get rejected.

I walked into the store looking for their photo department and the little screen I would step in front of for my picture. I couldn't find it so I asked for help and the attendant pulled down a screen that was above the chips and gets a digital camera out to take my picture. She then informs me that she recently had someone come back saying that their photo had been rejected because they were smiling. Okay, no smile. And because their ears weren't showing. WHAT?!
So not only did I not have a chance for a shower that day but I then add on no smiling and making sure my ears are especially visible!

Compared to my license (which, no, I won't post) this looks like a professional photo shoot! But, who cares when the end result is traveling the world! But it could always be worse....

Totally unrelated, here's Alex's passport picture: he was trying to "bulk up" for the trail at the time ;)....

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shopping Spree!

Now, what is better for celebrating a little weight loss, turning the big 2-5 and two months is France? Well, shopping of course! I have not been able to afford, or been particularly motivated to buy, new clothes (well, a lot at one time at least) recently, so it was great to have so many excuses to do so when I was in Oregon (and again, tax free!). I was very happy to find a flattering, yet sexy bathing suit, especially since I just bought the top and already had bottoms to match! Now, the picture really doesn't do it justice, it's really more...
I also got my flight outfit, just need some new
leggings, kind-of a look like this, but with flats instead of flip flops. I got some adorable sandals and a new brazier as well. I had figured that since losing some weight that I would possibly need to be re-sized. You can imagine my astonishment when the woman at Victoria's Secret told me I was two cup sizes bigger than I thought I was. WHAT?! Have any of you ladies been in there lately? I went in there wearing a bra I had bought a few years ago (I clearly needed some new ones!) from them and it sort of fit and then she gives me this huge bra, and it fit perfectly! Now, I know I haven't grown there, or had any plastic surgery without my being aware. So, I'm fairly certain they're vanity sizing their bras now! Alex argues
that it's not really "vanity sizing" as much as ego boosting for the husbands, but still. Anyone think they have a small bra size? Well,
head on over to Victoria's Secret and you'll get quite a surprise!

On top of my fun new wardrobe I also got an early birthday surprise from my mom...I am SO excited for it to get here in a few weeks!! I will do a post with actual pics of me, and it, when it comes!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rebekah Carey's Food Revolution!

Well, technically, "Rebekah McNall's Food Revolution", but I just thought Carey fit better for this. I have been somewhat quietly dieting since MLK day (no, it's not significant of anything, it just happened to fall on that Monday, or maybe I was inspired?!). I have been struggling with my weight (ugh, let me just say, I know it sounds vapid and somewhat ridiculous to say "struggle" with being my size, but at 5' 1'' any weight gain really shows!) I guess since I got married. It was when my crazed routine of classes, play rehearsals and work (which kept me in pretty good shape!) all changed to just nannying and the vicious world of pursuing acting in Los Angeles. *Shudders*

Without having people start throwing things at the computer, let me just say briefly that it was very hard in LA and my size was considered "over weight" or too big. It's sick really, totally
unrealistic and just perpetuates the anorexic look we see on TV every night. However, it really took me awhile to get over that and to get motivated again. I really thought that walking
two hundred miles on the PCT would have made me lose a little weight, but no! I didn't lose a single pound whereas all the other people I met were losing it by the baker's dozen! When that didn't work I figured that I just wasn't working out correctly and off setting it with high calorie trail food couldn't have helped.

My next attempt at changing my body was this past Fall when I decided to train for and
compete in an all women's tri-for -fun (not particularly fun, but it is a shorter version of a triathlon). The race would be a half mile swim (had not swam that far since high school), 11 mile bike ride (in the napa mountains!) and ending with a 3 mile run. I trained for six weeks.
I have to say that I was very, very, very discouraged after the race (I actually did quite well and was very proud of myself, but the lack of weight loss was seriously depressing) and continued to be confounded and depressed about my weight and my body and it's apparent inability to change.

One Saturday I got my Glamour magazine in the mail and was reading an article about Katy Perry, when I came across a "Body By Glamour" meal and exercise plan. It looked simple
enough and women were giving their testimonials about how much it had changed them. I lost six pounds in the first week. I couldn't believe it! And I wasn't really exercising either, I'm a
nanny so there is a certain amount of activity that goes into that
and I do go on long walks with the baby, but noting compared to what I had been doing!

I have now lost 15 pounds and hope to lose another four or five, especially since I fear eating as
healthily as I have been may be hard in France so I would like to have that buffer. I also don't need to lose weight now as much as I would like to add more muscle and start working out more when my schedule will allow it! I have learned how to count calories, but really just to actually look at them! I can't believe how many calories I was eating without even knowing it. I honestly ate pretty well before, I just didn't know how to do portion control and didn't know how many calories are snuck into things without you even knowing it. Now, I eat what I always did, just in a smarter way and with a lot more fruits and vegetables! I know I sound like a weight loss commercial, but when this has been something so painful and difficult as it was for me, it just feels so good to know that all that needed to change was FOOD!

Before I got sick...

I have to say that our trip to Oregon wasn't all bad, I was lucky enough to have a few days of fun with the fam before I got sick. Alex worked for his dad Saturday afternoon so I took my two youngest sisters to Chuck E. Cheese's, they had never been, so that was a fun thing to experience with them. I went thinking (yes, I admit, a little full of myself) that it would be fun to play mommy for a day and that I might even look like the "cool young mom". I forgot where I was. If I had been the mom of my four and five year old siblings, I would have been considered "middle aged" in the demographic I saw there that day.

The fun didn't stop there! Later that night we had a big McNall family
egg coloring party that my sisters had a blast with as well.
They colored an 18 pack all by themselves and at the end of the night my five year old sister, Ava, showed me the technique she had used to color her eggs. It involved holding the egg in the dye with her hand (no need for the little metal dipper!) until it was the perfect color. The end result was beautiful eggs, bright green hands and two days for them to return to normal!

I was also lucky enough to enjoy some fabulous tax free shopping thanks to an early birthday present from my in-laws. I got some great pieces for France that I am feeling very excited about. I think that a little retail shopping is another therapeutic step to my over coming the fear of flying ;)

Visit Home.

Okay, I don't like to start off a blog entry on a negative note, but this past week Alex and I got to go home to visit our families. My mother warned me that all the kids had been sick with a nasty virus that had been hanging on for weeks, however I thought it ought to be on its way out because it had been so long. The other thing was that this was our one window of time that we could go up to Oregon before I left for France. Meaning, we had to go then, or it would have been seven months until we saw them all again. With young siblings that change so rapidly I couldn't possily be away for over half a year, even if my health was at risk. So, I did my best to stay away from my 12 year old sister, I love her dearly, but she was the only one still sick and the one who had been hit hardest of all. My mom aired out and cleaned the room we were staying in, but it was to no avail.

I got sick after only being there for THREE DAYS! Alex was working for his dad for two days so he was actually staying with them then (thankfully) and has been doing his best to avoid me since so that he doesn't get sick as well. As if a crappy cold wasn't bad enough, I woke up at 3am last night with pink eye. Awesome. So, I called my doctor's office and called the alternative number for urgent attention. Well, I guess what that actually means is that they page her at home. On a Sunday. At 8am. Oops! She is so nice though and I love her even more now (I've only seen her once because we just got insurance and I just picked her from a pic online from our insurance company, thankfully I chose wisely!) because she called in drops for me so that I can stop losing hundreds of dollars due to all of the jobs I've had to cancel! On a positive note, I have been pretty productive and have been able to research and finalize most of my window displays I'll be doing in France as well as researching for a wedding I'm helping with. I've also been practicing my French!

I'm SO BORED! I need to look at this as a great opportunity to relax and get done the things I'm not able to get done when I'm working 5+ jobs!