Wednesday, January 31, 2007


i've just finished reading the book "birth: the surprising history of how we are born" by tina cassidy. for a history book, it was quite a page-turner! i couldn't put it down, and i really enjoyed learning about how ideas about birth have changed throughout history. she highlights ideas and practices about pregnancy, fertility, midwifery, doctors in the delivery room, medical procedures, operations and tools, drugs, recovery and post-partum issues. you can hear an interview with tina cassidy on npr. (she also has a blog, linked to her website, which is really interesting.)

of course this topic is so much more relevant to me now after having experienced birth myself, and of particular interest as i anticipate a second birth, hopefully a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).

on that note, i've just started "silent knife: cesarean prevention and vaginal birth after cesarean" by nancy wainer cohen. nancy wainer is a midwife and childbirth educator who apparently coined the term VBAC. she is passionate about disseminating information about the current proliferation of cesarean sections and ways we can increase the number of natural childbirths. after i'm done with "silent knife," maybe i'll move on to her second book, "open season: a survival guide for natural childbirth and VBAC". click here to read a beautiful article by nancy wainer from midwifery today magazine. there's also a lot of information on VBAC here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

9 months

last week we had noah's nine month check-up, and it turned out to be a pretty terrible experience. noah cried the whole time, which is really bizarre for this kid who adores people and being out in public. and when we weighed him we found out that he only weighs 17 pounds! we put him on the scale three different times, and he weighed 17 pounds each time, which is less than he weighed at his 6 month check-up, and therefore kind of scary. he is definitely a tall and skinny little boy, but apparently this drop in weight and percentile (from 50th to 25th) is dangerous. so... we'll meet soon with a nutritionist and try to pack on the pounds. that said, it's only been in the past couple weeks that noah's been eating solid food, which he now devours, so it seems like the problem should resolve itself naturally. i hope.

but the whole experience had me feeling pretty bummed out. i felt inadequate as a food source--feeling suddenly that my milk wasn't enough for him, which i'd never felt before. and i felt frustrated at the whole medical system of "benchmarks" for babies--i.e. they should be doing this, weighing this, eating this by such-and-such an age. noah barnes bandstra does not fit neatly into this system, and never has. he's taken his time with sleeping through the night, eating solid foods, sitting up, babbling...and until recently i haven't really been concerned. he's laid-back, we'd say. he takes his time. he focuses more on observing things, watching people. he isn't a mover and a shaker. but it's hard to trust your gut about your baby's differences being okay when the system (including all the pamphlets, all the books, all the websites) tells you that your baby should be sitting up and eating by six months, crawling by nine months, walking by twelve, etc. this is just not my boy.

and i want to trust my gut that my boy is just fine (and in fact wonderful!) the way he is, but i also want to care for him well, to help him if he needs help, to encourage and teach and challenge him. have any of you mothers (or fathers!) out there dealt with these issues? and how do you resolve them? i'd love to hear any ideas for finding a positive middle ground.

for now i am trying not to live in worry and fear but to enjoy noah as he slowly (slowly!) changes and grows. this whole new solid food phenomenon is hilarious. he is such a little muncher now! he loves pears, sweet potato, applesauce and banana. he is not into peas, green beans, broccoli, etc. i hope this anti-green food thing doesn't last too long! but it's really fun eating meals together as a family, and letting him get really messy. when he has sweet potato in his hair, all over his face and all over his clothes (despite the bib), he really looks like a little boy, no longer a baby. and he's getting playful and really fun, doing this little head-bob dance move, laughing in a funny, chuckly sort of way, and indulging me and aaron in little jokes (like pacifier stealing back and forth). it's great. being noah's mom is pretty awesome.

Monday, January 29, 2007

ezra jack keats

i've been on an ezra jack keats kick lately, and am totally enamored with his children's books. the classics like "the snowy day" and "peter's chair" are simple, beautifully illustrated stories about a little black boy named peter, growing up in new york city. but many of keats' other stories are more complicated tales of the lives of children dealing with fear, prejudice, loving, growing up...and most of his characters are non-whites, which was really remarkable at the time he was writing.

my favorites are the books about louie, a shy boy living in the neighborhood with peter and his friends. in "louie," susie and roberto put on a puppet show for the neighborhood, and louie falls in love with one of the puppets, gussie. he yells to gussie, making a scene and disturbing the show, but susie and roberto handle the situation with grace, having the puppet ask louie to sit down for now so everyone can enjoy the show. and the book ends with susie and roberto leaving a secret note for louie, leading him to his present, the puppet gussie. this book is so beautiful! it is so heartening to see children be wise and kind and graceful to one another.

the other books about louie are equally moving. i especially appreciate keats' dreamlike illustrations, and his emphasis on dream sequences in the children's lives. it seems really apt that dreams and reality are mixed in books for children.

and keats' art is amazing. his website says he was unique in his blending of gouache with collage. i love the little collage bits of newspapers or signs you find around the children's neighborhood, and which you can read (though sometimes upside down).

in "the snowy day," peter wears a red sweater with a very pointy hood. noah has a "peter sweater," made for him by the garden street ladies. it zips all the way down the back, from the tip of the pointy hood on. it's light green and super cute. i should take a picture of him in the sweater (which makes it cuter), but here it is for now, and here's peter in his.

ezra jack keats never married or had children of his own, but he always loved children and used his own experiences of prejudice (against himself as a jew) to lend credibility to the experiences of the children in his books. he was a peacemaker, and wrote and illustrated the book "god is in the mountain" to teach children about peace from the various religious traditions. this page is from the book, and seems to me to sum up the work he was trying to do.

Monday, January 22, 2007

ella margaret

welcome to ella margaret
born january 14
7 pounds, 4 ounces
to julie and will
in rockville, maryland

napiqua rose

welcome to napiqua rose
born on december 20
7 pounds, 10 ounces
to danielle and woody
in leavenworth, washington

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


big news!! noah ate his first food last night!! he didn't gag, choke, throw up or cry. he opened his mouth voluntarily, he swallowed, he smiled, he made a total mess, and he finished off almost a whole (tiny) jar of pureed pears. aaron and i were in shock. it looked so funny, seeing our boy eating food! and enjoying it! this kid has not shown any desire to eat for the past few months as we've offered him different things. i was beginnning to think he'd have to come home from school at lunch time to nurse. but i think we've turned a corner now. at eight and half months, he's joined the ranks of baby eaters. hooray! (but now does life get more complicated?)

Monday, January 15, 2007

noah's passport photo

a very long engagement

we had a great time at irene and kevan's engagement party saturday night in white rock. they'll wed summer of 2008--a very long engagement!

aaron made these cutting boards as an engagement present. i told him i was jealous, and he said, "the cobbler's kids always go without shoes!"

adventures in babysitting

more christmas pics

a few more christmas pictures, courtesy of grandma and grandpa bandstra.

and we call this, "series with cousins on couch:"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

book reviews

i'm excited about these library books i've recently come across.

this is a page from the board book "swimsuit" by kit allen. each page is a simple illustration with a one-word description, which together tell the story of a day at the beach. i love it because it reminds me of eastern point beach in groton, connecticut, where i grew up. it really evokes the feelings of the heat, the itchy sand, the cold water, the slimy seaweed, the yummy treats from the beach house, and the exhaustion on the way home. and the illustrations are great. his website is fun, and he has three other books in this series: "sweater," "long johns," and "galoshes."

this book, "river town," by bonnie and arthur geisert, is one of a series of four books on small towns, each dedicated to a different way of life depending on the landscape. the others are "desert town," "mountain town," and "prairie town." the illustrations are intricate, and you have to look really closely to follow the small changes that happen in each town over the course of a year (like weddings, births, funerals, fires, new buildings, etc.). they're great at teaching how geography and landscape affect how people live. we haven't attempted to read these to noah yet, but aaron and i have really enjoyed them.

this board book, "awake to nap" by nikki mcclure, i read about in mothering magazine--a few days after our friend rachel told us she'd gotten some of nikki mcclure's posters for christmas. i love that it's an alphabet book, with beautiful cut-paper illustrations for each letter, but it stops at the letter "n." (this is because, according to the review, that was just as far as nikki mcclure could get, since she was working on the book during her infant son's naptimes. she felt like stopping there said something about life with babies.) her paper cuts are really lovely. she also has another kid's book, "welcome," which she wrote while pregnant with her son, and a baby journal, "the first 1000 days." you can buy her stuff here.

this book i read at sarah and jessa's house. we just ordered it with some christmas money and now it's one of our absolute favorite books. "a teeny tiny baby," by amy schwartz, illustrates the daily life of a teeny tiny baby, and it rang really true to our experience. the baby talks about how often he likes to eat (and the illustrations show his mother nursing--all the time!), all the places his parents have taken him in the city, all the different ways he likes to be transported (i.e. snugli, sling, carseat, stroller, his "other sling," etc.), how moody he is, how everyone jumps to make hime happy... it's really funny and great. you can read an interview with author amy schwartz here.

okay, one more! this book, "that's not my truck" is a "touchy-feely" book from usborne. we got this one and "that's not my puppy" from grandma and grandpa bandstra for christmas. they're awesome! noah's just become interested in touching and feeling the sensory parts, and the text is really funny too. they choose sort of random aspects of the items in question to compare (like, "that's not my puppy. its collar is too shiny." or, "that's not my truck. its radiator is too holey."). there are a bunch more in the "touchy-feely" series.

and more snow!

this winter has been crazy! we've gone from windstorm to rainstorm to snowstorm a number of times now, with people all over the state losing power more than once. the rivers are flooding, the roads are icing, tree branches are cracking, and skiiers are probably in paradise. the weirdest part is that christina told me last weekend it was 70 degrees on the north shore, and that it hasn't really snowed there all winter! what is going on??

actually, i love it, of course. i love waking up and peeking out the frosty window, and seeing the ground covered in white. i love noah's expression when snowflakes fall in his eyes, or when aaron throws snowballs at me. it's funny, because we thought moving here from new england meant sacrificing these simple pleasures. apparently not! it only means sacrificing city snowplows.

here are some photos from our neighborhood during yesterday's storm. we ventured downtown for mother's group at a coffeeshop. noah fell asleep on the wintry walk home.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

wild bells

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkenss of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

-- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Friday, January 05, 2007

you are my little bird

one of the presents we got for noah with christmas money we were given was elizabeth mitchell's new kids cd, "you are my little bird." i've been thinking about it since i heard this interview with elizabeth mitchell on npr. she plays with her husband, daniel, and their daughter, storey. our favorite song is "little liza jane," which i just can't get out of my head. you can listen to clips at elizabeth mitchell's website or at the smithsonian folkways website. she's a big woody guthrie fan, and a few of the songs on the cd are his (including grassy grass grass, sarah's favorite song). and ida pearle did the cd liner art, which is so beautiful and fun. i love the little boy with the maracas, especially.

grumble bath (video)

click here to watch this video of noah grumbling happily in the bath.

more bath pics:

new year's bike ride

on new year's day we took the ferry to lummi island and biked around with aaron's parents, sarah and jessa. the weather was sunny and temperate, and it felt great to get out and see the bay.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


one more picture from christmas, from john and jess. we're constantly forcing noah and kate to smush together and pose for pictures. it looks like kate's had enough of that!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

irene and kevan's visit

and then on friday night irene and kevan came for a sleepover, which was a lot of fun. we did a lot of lounging around, which noah is especially good at. on saturday kevan and aaron worked on the boat while irene, noah and i walked around town. the week between christmas and new year's is "celebrate bellingham" week, where all the museums and lots of other activities are free, and there are horse-drawn trolley rides every day. so the three of us checked out "mindport," a cool interactive gallery. irene and i checked out the exhibits and noah checked out the fish.

irene tried to put noah to sleep...

and kevan succeeded

posing with noah's new grinch (from grandma helen). irene was really attached to the grinch, which came with us downtown.