Monday, February 26, 2007

Aaaaaaaand they're off!

Off for 3 days (and two blissful nights) of MUCH needed R&R to celebrate my husband's completion of 4 decades on Planet Earth.

I'll be back Thursday night (just in time for the newly resurrected Thursday Thirteen!).

Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Absolutely outrageous!

I need to put my breastfeeding advocate hat on for this one, because I am HOPPING mad (and if you could see me hop you'd know how very bad that is). Warning, lots of exclamation points ahead... Thank you to Jennifer of The Lactivist for helping bring this to everyone's attention.

Robin Neorr, an Ohio mother, has been told by City Kids Daycare in downtown Columbus that she needs to pay an additional $50 per WEEK because her daughter is breastfed and receives her mother's milk in bottles while she is at daycare.

How did they justify this outrageous request?

They completely ignored all medical and legal regulations to the contrary and declared Robin's breastmilk a biohazard that had to be kept separate from all other food! They therefore claimed that they needed to store it in a separate refrigerator in another room and would have to purchase a separate bottle warmer to warm it up! They are claiming this created (completely unnecessary and medically and legally unjustifiable) extra work for the center, thus necessitating the extra $50 per WEEK. My god, for $50 a week they ought to be serving that milk in gold-plated bottles while someone fans the baby with palm fronds! First of all, there is absolutely no reason in the world for breastmilk, the most natural and healthy baby food in the world, to be stored separately, let alone labeled with a biohazard sticker (are these people for real??? A biohazard sticker??? Do they think this mother has ebola, or perhaps Deng Fever?). Are they afraid that the milk will somehow magically LEAP out of a closed bottle and contaminate the artificially-produced cow's milk formula stored in its own closed bottle on the other side of the shelf? I do read the papers you know, and I'm fairly sure I haven't seen a rash of bottle-leaping breastmilk lately.

The Center for Disease Control certainly doesn't feel that breastmilk requires any special precautions. They merely state that if the milk is being delivered to a child care provider, it should be clearly labeled with the child’s name and date. Oh yes, and they do suggest that mothers pack the milk in closed containers to avoid spillage. Dear me, that does sound difficult. Putting the child's name and using a properly sealed container. My oh my... Nor does the center's own state of Ohio see any problem with a child in care being provided with his mother's milk - the State's own Rules for Licensed Child Care Centers' section on Infant Formula and Food (section 5101:2-12-41) clearly states:

Center policies and practices shall support parent preferences (emphasis mine) in infant feeding, including breast feeding and introduction of solid foods as long as developmentally appropriate and not detrimental to the health of the child.
Infants shall be served food in conformity with dated written instructions from the parent or guardian or physician. The instructions shall include amounts of food, type of food, and feeding times and be updated as needed based upon the child's needs and parent's instructions.

As for the handling of breastmilk, it says:

If breast milk is provided by the parent or guardian, it shall be labeled with the child's name and the date of receipt and immediately refrigerated or frozen. Refrigerated breast milk shall not be stored for more than twenty-four hours. Breast milk shall be kept frozen no more than two weeks and...

If formula or breast milk is to be warmed, bottles shall be placed in a container of hot (not boiling) water or be placed in a commercial bottle warmer. The container of water shall be emptied and cleaned each day. The bottle shall be shaken well, and the milk temperature tested before feeding. Frozen breast milk shall be thawed under cold running water or in the refrigerator.and...The unused portion of formula, breast milk or food remaining in a container from which the infant has been directly fed, shall not be reheated or served again.

Hmm... I didn't see anything in there about quarantine or biohazard stickers. Let's check what that same State Code says about handling formula:

Bottles prepared at center: when infant formula is prepared by the center, it shall be prepared in conformity with written instructions from the parent or guardian, or physician. All powdered or concentrated formula shall be prepared according to the manufacturers' instructions unless written instructions from a physician or an advance practice nurse certified to prescribe medication are on file at the center.

The center shall clean and disinfect all counter surfaces and equipment needed to prepare the formula. All equipment shall be washed in a dishwasher or scrubbed with hot water containing soap, and be thoroughly rinsed. Equipment not washed in a dishwasher shall be boiled for five minutes or more just prior to filling bottles. Handwashing facilities shall not be used for formula or food preparation or for rinsing or washing dishes and bottles. Handwashing facilities shall not be used for formula or food preparation, or for washing dishes and bottles or rinsing for reuse.

Open containers of ready to feed and concentrated formula shall be covered, dated and refrigerated. Prepared formula and food shall be discarded if not used within twenty-four hours.

Any formula or food to be stored at the center for any period of time, whether prepared by the parent or guardian or the center, shall be labeled with the child's name and date of preparation and shall be used only for the intended child.

Until used, all formula or food shall be refrigerated immediately after preparation or upon arrival if prepared by the parent or guardian. Formula or food that is commercially prepared may not be required to be refrigerated until after opening. Formula and food shall be stored no longer than twenty-four hours.

Well gee, it looks to me like the guidelines are even more complicated for formula-fed infants. Perhaps the Center is planning to start charging those parents an additional $60 or even $70 a week to cover the additional effort of all that mixing and sterilizing?

Robin Neurr has removed her daughter from this childcare center and she is ready to both spread the word about City Kids Daycare and to push for legislation to prevent all Ohio daycares from discriminating against breastfeeding children. You can help.

Activism works. The National Pork Board apologized to the Lactivist with hat in hand after just two days of bad publicity. You can help by spreading the word - talk about it, blog about it, lobby your representatives, and write directly to City Kids Child Care Centers. The centers are owned and operated by Patricia Elam. Her e-mail is or you can call either of their centers at (614) 464-1411, or (614)777-4320. Daycare centers do not have the right to try and bully mothers into positions that compromise the health of their babies.

If you are a Central Ohio mom and would be interested in getting personally involved, please contact

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Simple Pleasures

We took our houseguest to a nearby Crusader castle this morning. It's really something special - stark ruins against an azure blue sky with the Mediterranean Sea splashing on the cliffs below (or at least it would be if today hadn't been so hazy that you could barely see...). It's both impressive and close to home, so it's a great place to go when we've got visitors from overseas. Here, see for yourselves...

Itai particularly enjoys the castle mockup and pictures of knights that he can pretend to joust.

And Maya? Maya likes the simpler pleasures in life. She was happiest walking on the stone edges of the paths and better yet, just sitting in the dirt playing with the rocks, completely ignoring the 800 year old pillar lying on the ground behind her.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Shabbat Dinner

We've got a houseguest arriving from France any second now, so for the first time in ages we're actually making a (semi-)traditional Shabbat (Sabbath Eve - Friday night) dinner - appetizers - various Israeli dips and spreads just for local color, homemade challah bread - made by Jay, who's awesome at it, vegetable soup with pasta bits, roast chicken with lemon, new potatoes, salad and probably fresh fruit for dessert, since I ran out of time without making anything.

It's funny, for many of you this is probably a completely normal sounding menu, but we so rarely eat this way that it's actually kind of exotic LOL.

He here, gotta go. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Enough messing around Robin - Create custom images

Thursday Thirteen - 4th and Final

It looks like the TT is coming to an end, just as I'd found it, too. It's a shame, I was really enjoying it. Here's my final installment. Thanks for playing.

Thirteen Tried And True Techniques For Making Your Spouse Get Up With The Baby

1. I just came to bed 11 minutes ago
2. I'm too tired
3. You do it
4. I swear she called "daddy"
5. Just go
6. I have to get up early in the morning
7. She misses you
8. I think he's hungry. You have to go (said by dad to mom)
9. The silent shove - oh sorry, did I wake you? Well, if you're awake anyway...
10. You have to get up in a half hour anyway
11. You're the one who wanted kids
12. My eyes are bandaged and my arm is broken. (Wait a minute, that one would probably only work in my house - we actually had a week like that a few months ago)
13. I just don't feel like it

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Apparently I've been doing it wrong all these years

(Having that other post up on top was stressing me out, so I decided to add a bit of fluff just to bump it down. Feel free to still comment on it though, I just didn't want to see that big title staring up at me every time I opened my blog.)

I was just reading Jo's (Leery Polyp's) post on singing your children to sleep (I've been lurking there for years. Love her blog.). Neither of my kids have ever particularly liked being sung to sleep (hmm, that doesn't say anything very good about my singing now, does it?), but I have occasionally gotten away with it, mainly with Maya.

She's always enjoyed hearing Brahm's Lullaby ("Lullaby and Goodnight"), which I've always sung like this:

Lullaby and goodnight, go to sleep my little baby
Close your eyes, close them tight
And to everyone good night.

Goodnight, goodnight, and to all a good night.
Goodnight, goodnight, and to all a good night.

Having now looked at the real lyrics, I've realized that I wasn't even close. I wonder where on earth I got my words from... I like mine better though, they're much simpler. I think I'll stick with them. Besides, Maya already knows them by heart and likes to sing along. Can't go rocking her world with new lyrics now, can we.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Communication Evaluation for Maya (updated at bottom)

I'm not sure how to title this. Maya's teacher called me aside this morning and suggested that I get her evaluated by a communication therapist (sort of a cross between speech therapy and early intervention I guess).

As I stood there with my mouth hanging open things started to fall into place a bit. She had some concerns about how Maya communicates, and some of the difficulties she has in doing so, that mirror those of that quiet little voice inside of me. Maya can speak. Beautifully. In complex sentences. In two languages. But she often doesn't, particularly in a group setting. She needs to feel very comfortable or she just shuts down verbally. If she's stressed or unhappy she can't seem to get words out and just points. While she can repeat entire scenes from dvd's by heart, complete with mimicking the proper intonations, if you interrupt her to ask what they're about or talk to her about them she'll ignore you and keep right on going with her speech. She has the physical ability to speak, and the vocabulary, but she doesn't do a lot of imaginative storytelling. It's harder to engage her in an in-depth conversation than it was with Itai at this age (I know, I know, I'm trying not to compare.) Her teacher also said she's not engaging with other children as much as she should be at her age. She can see that she wants to, but something inside seems to be holding her back. She can't seem to get past that barrier and remains on her own, even when she wants to engage. She's worried that while Maya is doing well in her current preschool, where classes are small and she gets an abundance of love and personal attention, that she'll struggle later if we don't find a way to help her open up more.

Right now I'm not sure whether to be upset, relieved, grateful, or just stunned. All I know is that yes, I think they're right that there is a concern here and I need to be as proactive as possible in getting my daughter whatever help she needs. I know that in the grand scheme of things this does not look to be huge, no one is talking about something truly awful, like god forbid a life-threatening disease, or something that would hold Maya back forever, but I just can't shake that sick, scared feeling in the pit of my stomach. I spoke this morning with a friend who's a developmental psychologist, who explained to me that this evaluation is the first step, and that depending on what they find they may continue there or recommend a psychological evaluation. I am trying to schedule her for a dr's appointment as soon as possible so that I can get the referral, and then I want to move ahead with this as fast as I can, so that Maya can start getting whatever help she needs.

I just wish I knew whether we were talking about some kind of minor "tweaking" that needs to be done to help Maya progress or about some kind of major issue. I KNOW that she is still the same wonderful, sweet, intelligent, physically daring, full of personality girl that she always was, the same girl who's been so very fun to live with these past few months, but I can't help feeling thrown for a very large, uncertain loop here. I'm sure once I know what we're up against it won't seem so frightening, at least I sure as hell hope so.

And I can't help but ask myself if somehow *I* did this to her. Did I not nurture her enough? Not correctly? Not give her some kind of tool that she needs to find her place in the world? Does she not get enough attention? Does she get too much? Have we been seeing her as too young and holding her back, or have we been expecting too much? So many unanswered questions...

I took Maya to the ped this afternoon to get a referral. He said that a communication therapist is completely inappropriate given the level of her speech. He did say that she seems to have issues with self-confidence and security (she shut down completely when asked to draw circles with a pencil, but 5 minutes later filled up the entire paper with circles, happy faces, bananas, etc., then stuck it in the dr's face to get his agreement that she'd done a very nice job. By the time we left she'd given it to him for a present.). He did say that she's on the late end of the continuum for developing social relationships and said that was worth looking into. He recommended either a psychological evaluation or a private preschool teacher to work with her one on one at home for a bit and then sit in on her class to help "facilitate" and "be a catalyst" for her to develop interpersonal relationships :confused. If we wanted to go the psychologist route, he told me to exaggerate her condition so as to be eligible for more treatment hours from the health fund (a suggestion that I REALLY don't like, because it will skew the results and I still won't know what's really going on!)

After we left there we went to a playdate I'd arranged last week, and for the next 2.5 hours I watched as Maya and this other little girl played BEAUTIFULLY TOGETHER - not in parallel, together. And the whole time she was talking up a storm. I mean this girl did not stop talking or interacting for 2.5 hours! The other girl's mother watched her and thought we were insane for being concerned. All I can think of is that the problem is more with larger groups or places where she feels insecure.

I decided that given all of this, I would rather pay for a private evaluation by a child psychologist, so that I could at least get an objective opinion and have some idea of what's going on here (and save the issue of HMO-funded hours for a later time, if it becomes necessary). I also spoke this evening with the head of a psychological institute in Tel Aviv who takes my insurance. He agreed that there was no need for a communication specialist, but that it couldn't hurt to get a psych evaluation by a qualified child psychologist, either there or elsewhere to find out whether these are physical or psychological issues, and to recommend a course of action. I'll call his secretary tomorrow and see what the story is with my coverage, but we'll probably do that.

So, that's where we are. I'm still confused, probably more than before, but am feeling a lot more relieved after seeing Maya and her friend interact this evening. There is probably still and issue with how she handles group settings, and I'm sure that if she were better able to use her voice as a tool of expression we'd have fewer meltdowns, but I think I'm now able to at least view this as a "something" that may need to be dealt with without spending hours googling frightening syndromes on the internet.

I'll update of course as we learn more.

I wanted to update this again for those of you who are finding this page through a google search. It's about 9 months later now. Over the summer, Maya completed a full evaluation with the Child Development Authority (Machon LaHitpatchut HaYeled for those of you here in Israel). While they did manage to rule out the scariest scenarios and have reassured me that Maya is likely to do just fine over the long-term, they did recommend both speech and psychological therapy for her. Her speech evaluation, conducted in both English and Hebrew, showed that while she was on track for English her Hebrew showed a 6-8 month lag, and she has difficulty with actually *using* her language (expressive language). She's been seeing a ST for a few months now and is making great strides in both of these areas. We've still got a ways to go, but now that she's progressing we can really see the difference from where she started. At the same time, she's also continuing to receive psychological therapy from the same developmental psychologist we spoke to in the very beginning (privately - the funded option the health fund offered us was not acceptable). L works with her (together with a parent - my husband and I switch off) on interpersonal skills and relationships, among other things. Progress there is slower, but visible.

If you found this page by searching for "communications evaluation" or something similar, I suspect it's because you too are now facing some of the questions we were. If that's the case and you're feeling as unsure and bewildered as I was (and sometimes still am) I hope that this update has helped. Feel free to e-mail me if you're the parent of a child facing similar issues and you're looking for someone to share the walk with you. My e-mail is robintlv AT gmail DOT com.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #3

And now for something completely different...

Robin's 13 Favorite Dead Tunes

(in no particular order)

1. St. Stephen
2. Me and My Uncle
3. Scarlet Begonias
4. Ripple
5. Friend of the Devil
6. Box of Rain
7. Hell in a Bucket (yeah yeah, I know it's "new", but I like it anyway. Oh wow, I just checked and it was first debued in 1983 and I just called it "new". I think I'm dating myself here. No, better to just say I've been a deadhead for a lonnnng time.)
8. Operator
9. Sugar Magnolia
10. Uncle John's Band
11. Touch of Gray (another "newbie" that I'm starting to appreciate more as I get older)
12. Playing in the Band
13. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo

I know there are some Deadheads out there among you. Which songs make your heart go zing?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

In the blink of an eye...

He went from this

to this

Happy birthday Itai-boop. I love you no end. All the way up until space.

(Get a load of that costume. The magician had him wearing that gold hat and cape the whole time. He loved it.)

And for those playing our little confectionary guessing game, it was this:

It's a wizard's hat (or rather it was, since it's gone now LOL). Ignore the fuzzy looking edges - it's the reflection off the tinfoil.

I'd love to write a long mushy post about how quickly the past 6 years have flown by and how much motherhood has changed me, but truthfully I'm way too tired. G'night everyone. I'm going to bed.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Can you guess what this is going to be?

This is a portion of the decoration for Itai's cake. Any guesses what it's going to be?

And just for fun, this is what Jay and the kids went to see on Saturday. Not bad for the dead of winter, huh? Oh, and by the way, it's a gorgeous blue-sky day today. It was even warm enough that I sent Maya to school without a jacket. Gotta love an Israeli winter... *ducking now*

Monday, Monday

D-1 and counting.

Cake is cooling on the counter and it's only 9:30am. I feel so virtuous and productive. I'll shape it and stick it in the fridge when I get back from an appointment and will decorate it either late tonight or tomorrow. Probably tomorrow, since Jay and I have a sitter for tonight (yay!). We're meeting good friends at the Tel Aviv Brewhouse to go hear a third friend's band play. The food's not great, but the drinks are (obviously) good and the band does a great job with Chicago Blues.

In between I've got a pedicure (I have issues with my feet and have to go once a month), work and Itai's English lesson. Oh, and I should probably throw in a few loads of laundry and buy some paper goods too. No rest for the weary, or the lazy LOL.

Later taters.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

So much for Saturday

We were all geared up to go down to the desert with a group we belong to this morning to see the flower's bloom (the desert is gorgeous in winter, so colorful) but I ended up lying in bed coughing my guts up all night long and was a wreck come morning. Jay, saint in human form that he is, decided to take the kids and go anyway so that I could stay home and rest. And rest I did, I didn't even wake up until 12:30! I sure needed it too. Most of my cold is gone, but I'm still fighting off the tail end of it and it's been v unpleasant.

Jay and the kids are now about to meet up with everyone else for a joint picnic lunch. The logistics were a bit tough (something about the path being too muddy for rollerblades and having to push two kids on a bike) but they're having fun. We were all supposed to visit friends later to meet their new baby, but they just sms'd us to say that their middle daughter is sick so that's off too.

So much for Saturday. At least the rest of my family is off having fun. They get grumpy if stuck at home too long (especially DH!).

Ok, enough about sickness. I'll leave you with some random cuteness instead.

This video clip is in Hebrew so most of you won't understand the words, but the kids' exuberance comes through without a translator. They're singing along with the Ice Queen's song from Festigal (see, I've been telling you they're obsessed). It cracks me up to hear Itai singing "I'm a cooo-ooooo-ooooo-ld queen" at the top of his lungs. Umm, you're cute, but I wouldn't give up your day job just yet kid...

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Thursday Thirteen, edition 2

Thirteen Things
ROBIN still has to do to get ready for her son's 6th birthday party on Tuesday
(yup, I'm hijacking the list for my to-do list - at least this way I won't lose it!)

1. Buy his gift from us (new bike), add bow.

2. Wrap gift from little sister (soccer ball) and from grandparents (digital camera (he's gonna flip!) and batteries, books). Wrap gifts from my sister.

3. Make sure the bomb shelter is clean (the party is in our building's bomb shelter). Put up decorations - balloons, streamers, signs, carpets, blankets over old scuzzy couches.

4. Bring down big garbage cans, basket for gifts

5. Put favors in loot bags. Consider adding bubbles, too.

6. Make and shape cake - at least one day before frosting so it can "set"

7. Prepare cake decorations - blue frosting and yellow and maroon stars - and decorate cake (sorry, to find out what it is you'll have to come back in a few days, it's a surprise)

8. Make invitation sign for Itai's classroom door and sign for lobby showing where to go Hang signs in lobby.

9. Buy 40 drink packs, 30 pitot (plural of pita), chocolate spread, hummous, and assorted snacks and candy (bisli, pretzels, marshmellows, potato chips, etc.), water and drinks for adults

10. Cut and stuff pitot - 40 halves with chocolate spread, 10 with hummous, leave last 10 for emergency replacements). Arrange on trays. - Tuesday afternoon.

11. ,Buy paper goods - plates, napkins (including for cake) and birthday sign for bomb shelter door. Get cups from shed..

12. Get cash to pay magician. Confirm he's coming and any special requirements.

13. Charge camera batteries, clear memory card.

Whew, I hope that's it, I'm out of numbers!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Hey bozo!

I don't usually pass on any of the myriad crap interesting and informative materials one particular friend insists on sending to me, but this one was too funny not to share.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Paper Cut

I have a paper cut on the pad of my left index finger (I'm a leftie). Amazing how something so small can be so damn annoying. And painful. This sucker hurts. V aggravating.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Just another Sunday, and The Lactivist Beats Big Pork

No Super Bowl hype here. The game won't even start until 4am our time. I'm not really a football fan anyway, but when I lived in the States I did like checking out the new commercials (and the nachos!) and occasionally watching parts of the game if it was a particularly good one.

Today was just a regular work day here, except that I'm still fighting off this cold so I decided to just rest up today and try to beat it. Verdict still isn't in. I'm not dying, but I'm definitely not healthy either.

Good news for those who've been following the Big Pork vs The Lactivist issue (the bozos at the National Pork Board actually sent this woman a nastygram for selling t-shirts (off of which she's earned a whopping $8!) that say "The Other White Milk"). The Pork Board has actually apologized for their completely over the top and inappropriate sledgehammer tactics (helped I'm sure by a veritable flood of bad publicity all across blogland). Score one for common sense and the little guy against big corporate idiocy.

Friday, February 2, 2007

I hab a cold ih my nose

I'm sick. My head hurts, my sinuses ache, my throat hurts and I have a giant canker sore somewhere inside my mouth.

Just in time for ICFBD tomorrow morning, too.


Thursday, February 1, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Introductory Edition

Thirteen Things about ROBIN

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

I've decided to give the Thursday Thirteen bandwagon a whirl. Since I'm a lactation consultant and a LLL leader, I figured what would be more appropriate than making my introductory Thursday Thirteen about why I'm passionate about helping moms and babies to breastfeed.

1. I had such an incredible experience breastfeeding my two children that I wanted to help as many others as I could to experience their own joy.

2. There's nothing in the world like that milk-drunk smile your baby gives you as he's drifting off to sleep.

3. I feel strongly that mothers today are not given the support that they need and deserve to succeed at breastfeeding. I want to do my small part to change that.

4. It's easy!

5. And if it's not, someone like me can help.

6. It's free!

7. It's portable! The baby is able to be a part of your life, not a burden tying you down. No worrying about bottles, whether you brought enough, the availability of clean water...

8. Because too many mothers think breastfeeding has to be difficult and painful - it doesn't, and it shouldn't be. If it is, PLEASE seek help. Things CAN get better. If you need help and don't know where to turn, let me know and I'll help you find it.

9. It's the perfect food for your baby - designed for baby humans, not baby cows.

10. It's healthier for YOUR body too. Extended breastfeeding actually lowers your risk of developing breast cancer.

11. It promotes a strong, loving, involved bond between a mother and her baby.

12. It gives your baby protection against diseases in both the short and long-term that they can't get anywhere else.

13. Because it's wrong to see mothers beaten down by societal, family and other pressures and not do anything to empower them to make their own decisions, from a position of knowledge and strength.

(And if I were going to do a number 14, I'd add "because it gave me bigger boobs", but that would make me seem shallow. So I won't.)
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

GNI time again - and it was oh so good

It was definitely time for an evening of over the top high caloric goodness - last year's fondue night was such a rip-roaring success that we decided to make it an annual tradition.

Tonight the GNI (Girls Night In) crew gorged (and I do mean gorged, diets be damned) on both cheese and chocolate fondue, with a few green salads thrown in to keep us from all keeling over dead on the spot.

My contribution to our dining pleasure was spinach and strawberry salad:

340g (12 oz.) fresh spinach
1/4 c. salad oil
1 to 2 tbsp. sugar
Dash of pepper
Dash of tabasco
2 tbsp. roasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tbsp. minced green onion
1 tsp. salt
1 pt. sliced strawberries

Wash spinach, discard stems (mine comes predone - yay!); dry and tear into bite size pieces. Wrap in paper towel and refrigerate.

Toast sesame seeds on pie pan, in 350 degree oven about 10 minutes until golden (or, if you're lazy like me, buy pre-roasted sesame seeds); cool.

Combine oil, vinegar, sugar, onion, salt, pepper and tabasco in covered container until sugar dissolves; refrigerate.

To serve: toss spinach and sesame seeds with the dressing. Gently mix in the strawberries. Delicious and looks great in a salad bowl.
(Note: if you're planning on photographing it for your blog though, make sure the top few leaves aren't upside-down and therefore wilted looking. Live and learn...)