Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Complete Organic Pregnancy: Blog Book Tour

Even though I am not pregnant nor planning to get pregnant in the near future, I was excited to read this book. I tend to believe I have a relatively healthy lifestyle and I'm definitely interested in organic foods. I also thought I knew a few things about what living and organic lifestyle meant, but it turns out I was very wrong! I was almost overwhelmed by all the aspects of our lives that we often overlook and that may present a hazard to our and our family members' health.

It's good that our deepest instincts take over when we have a baby growing inside us and we want to do everything we can to protect our child. Therefore, the desire to get pregnant or pregancy itself were what motivated the authors to research and write this book. Especially during pregnancy, the decisions that we make regarding food, the materials that enter our house -- be them furniture, chemicals found in cleaning supplies and even make-up and toiletries -- can have effects on our future offspring that we may not know about.

The Complete Organic Pregnancy is a very comprehensive book which is useful not only to pregnant women, but anyone who's interested in living a healthier, less toxic, artificial, and more organic life. I would heartily recommend this book.

Just a couple of nuggets. Did you know that:
  • "The environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found the air quality in our homes to be two to five times more toxic than the air outside." (p. 30)?
  • "A water bottle in a landfill or lying around as litter will take over 1,000 years to biodegrade. " (p. 107)?
These are just two tiny examples of things we may not think about but which have an impact in our lives and that of our children (born and unborn).

Below you can read the three questions that I asked the authors and their responses. I think the wording on the first question was not precise. "Attack" was too strong a word, I probably should have used something like "displease." I still think that the disclaimer is a bit unusual, I don't remember having seen another one like it anywhere else. But perhaps in a world of ever growing litigations, it's going to become a standard practice.

Q: I found the "disclaimer" on the copyright page very interesting. Who decided to include it (authors, editors, publisher?) and why? Do you anticipate that the book is going to be "attacked" by health care professionals and/or other people?

A: We think you’re referring to this:
Any product mentioned here by name is something we genuinely love and use. We haven’t been swayed by freebies, been paid off by CSA farmers, or taken promotional fees from the migratory birds who would prefer you buy shade-grown coffee.

This book is designed to provide information only. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician or other health care professional. You should be under the care of a physician or other health care professional during your entire pregnancy, and should consult that person with respect to all concerns you may have. All efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this book as of the date published. The author and the publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein.
We wrote the first paragraph sort of jokingly but also to let people know that we didn’t blindly include products just because they were organic, or because someone sent us something to test. We want our readers to know that this book is very much a labor of love, a journey we both took (are taking!) and so we take what we suggest very seriously.

The second paragraph is what you’re really asking about and for that we don’t have a personal answer. It comes from the publisher and is, we gather, a pretty standard legal disclaimer, especially for a health/pregnancy text. We don’t expect to be attacked, no. And we highly doubt HarperCollins expects to be attacked.

Q: My favorite parts of the book are the "diaries" or personal essays. They certainly take the edge off the content that may feel "intimidating" to people who are not familiar with an organic lifestyle. Why did you decide to include them and how did you select the writers? Five "diaries" from the authors were included (only one by Deirdre Dolan). I'm sure you could have shared more of your personal experiences, why didn't you?

A: We included them for the very reason you liked them – to take the edge off. There is a lot of how-to information in the book, and some of it is scary. We both found the diaries to be welcome antidotes to the regular text. We also know – as pregnant women/moms – that it is comforting/interesting/helpful to read first person accounts, to hear from other parents who have gone through what you’re going through. We wanted to include as many voices as possible. Writing a book with a co-author means a division of labor. Deirdre actually curated most of the diaries, and Lexy has always felt very comfortable writing first person essays; it is an easy medium for her to write quickly in. So she wound up writing more about her story as she went. Lexy was also pregnant while the book was being written, so it all felt very topical to write about, while Deirdre became pregnant when we were editing.

Q: This book is so comprehensive that I'm finding it hard to think of questions about it! Is there anything that looking back now that the book is being released you would like to add or maybe change? Anything new that you have learned since it was submitted to the publisher? Or maybe further things that you have since experienced in your lives that you might have shared? –

A: New stuff pops up daily! For example, while taping a segment for the Today Show (we’re going on 9/28 and are very excited about it!), in which we went through each room of a pregnant mom’s house to tell her where she could try to make things more organic, she asked us about her kitchen sponges. We hadn’t considered sponges in terms of their toxicity levels, and are researching now. Since the book was submitted to the publisher, so many things have happened. One organic baby formula we mentioned has been discontinued/folded into another company, a new study showed that organic milk has higher nutrients than non-organic milk, several American nail polish manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to remove a hormone disrupter from their polishes, fish is getting closer to being able to be certified organic in Britain, the fight against genetically modified foods continues stateside, organic crib mattresses are growing in popularity, so much so that orders are backed up. It took us both several months to get ours delivered. We could go on and on. The world of organics is so hot and fast paced right now that not a day goes by where we don’t learn something new we would have happily included in the book. We’re also learning more as we grow. Deirdre is due on Thanksgiving and has a different perspective than she did when she wasn’t this pregnant. And Lexy has a different view of things now that she is breastfeeding, and her 8 month old daughter is teething, putting everything and anything in her mouth, and eating solids. We’re keeping copious notes and hope we’ll be able to update this book in a new edition when the time comes, and to write the next book in an organic series. Meanwhile, check us out on Yahoo! Health, where we blog about organic pregnancy here.

Edited to add: I just noticed that one of the authors, Lexy Zissu, commented on Kateri's post, so I decided to add one remaining question I had so she can respond in the comments if she likes!

Q: I know that their personal "diaries" in the book begin to answer this question, but I was wondering whether Dolan and Zissu were already invested in an organic lifestyle before thinking of getting pregnant. How did the findings of this book change your lives? Have you tried to implement every single suggestion? [that sounds like a daunting task! :)]

I'm sure reading their blogs about the subject will bring lots of answers too (link above), but I thought I'd ask!

P.S. Another cool thing about this "assignment" was having in my hands a book that had not yet been released (last week it wasn't available yet at Amazon, although it is this week).

Blogroll Slightly Updated

Well, I finally added a few new blogs to my blogroll... I feel bad that I wasn't reading these blogs just because they were in my bookmarks but not on the blogroll.

I think that my blogroll is very "tiresome" (I can't think of a better word, sorry, it's too late and I need to sleep!) to look at because of my passion for categorizing things and crosslisting right and left to get everyone sorted out in the right categories... (sigh).

I guess I need to upgrade to the Beta version. I want to change the template and I've been longing for guess what? Categories or tags so I can sort out all my posts...

Now I'm off to put the finishing touches on the promised "book review" post.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Book Review/ Q&A Coming Soon!

I promise I'll soon get to answer your questions, but this week I'm participating in yet another blog book tour, sponsored by Mother Talk, Inc. Thanks for inviting me, Andi!!

So I'm delighted to announce that I am now a Mother Talk Blogger.

P.S.1. I want to put the badge on my side-bar, but I still have to figure out how to do it. I know I need some code. If you know about these things, let me know :)
Edited to add: thanks to Alice, who gave me the html to link to the Bilingual/Bicultural Family Network a long time ago, I was able to insert the badge!! I also have to blog about my columns there, but I'll have to do that later, sorry!

P.S.2. Another reason I didn't blog this weekend was that we traveled to Maryland for my oldest nephew's 2nd birthday. My in-laws were there, it was also my MIL's birthday and my youngest nephew's baby dedication in church, so we were busy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Random Things About Me You May or May Not Know

Since I don't have much time, here's a quick one:
  • I was/am a tomboy.
  • I do love pink, and "girly" clothes though.
  • I drive a mini-van (an "old model" 1997 Odyssey - it's a bit smaller the doors open like a regular car. That's why my hubby wanted it. My oldest son now wants one with the sliding doors, though. Oh, and a DVD player, of course.)
  • I've always been a voracious reader, but graduate work and motherhood put a bit of a damper on that.
  • I'm a lazy person, unfortunately.
  • I generally prefer salty/savory to sweet foods.
  • But once in a while I have chocolate cravings. I can't stand American chocolate. Love Swiss (Lindt -- hmmm). Brazilian is OK.
  • I don't much care for ice-cream, but I eat it, particularly if it's this one or another one that I just found out from Amazon doesn't exist anymore!! (Breyers' old Cherries and Cream, which the Amazon commenters have now explained has been changed and ruined -- how sad!! I really thought it was wonderful, with big pieces of black cherries and cream. I even tried other brands and hated this flavor). I didn't find this out earlier because I tried to refrain from dairy products as much as possible this past summer.
  • I am very impatient (and fidgety).
  • I am basically vegetarian. I avoid dairy products, eat eggs and, once in a while, fish.
  • I tend to be a perfectionist.
  • I am extremely disorganized, however.
  • I am short and skinny, but I guess you've figured that out from the photos.
  • I'm very friendly and an extrovert, but I have a hard time speaking with new people I meet (unless I know them from the internet -- hahaha, true, though). Sometimes even with people I know already. I have a hard time asking questions.
  • I am quite clumsy. I bump into things a lot.
  • I pretty loud (as most Brazilians in general are). I come from a family of nervous screaming women, however (my dad, uncles and hubby hate that). Problem is: boys are becoming just like me, what a shame!
All right, I'll stop here. What else would you like to know?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Potty Time

I still have a long list of posts I want to write, but life has caught up with me. I'm busy parenting, trying to cook healthy meals for the family and... I'm getting back to dissertation work too, because I really need to finish. And dissertation work makes me a bit depressed, so I don't feel like posting. I promise, I'll try, OK?

Anyway, I thought I had already posted about the news in the potty front from my eldest son (who is 4 1/2), but I just realized I hadn't. When I went to look up for my old post on this subject, I noticed a big coincidence -- I wrote it exactly one year ago!! So, last year, I asked for help from the readers because my son kept insisting in asking for a diaper for pooping. It took almost a year for him to finally give it up (In the meantime I had even thought of writing a post titled "All Quiet on the Diaper Front," but eventually never did).

We tried to bribe him with promises of Thomas trains and other gifts, but nothing worked. Except that daddy kept telling that we couldn't go to Florida if he didn't start using the toilet, so he promised that once we got to Florida he'd do it. And you know what? It worked!! It happened on our first morning in the hotel. I wasn't allowed in the bathroom, not even later to see what was produced, so he took a few photos before flushing so I could see it. I wasn't allowed to celebrate either (I had previously been telling him that I'd jump for joy when he finaly did it and I guess he wasn't too happy with the idea), so I was very low key about it. The next day I was allowed to see it and, in spite of the lack of celebrations, he didn't forget the promise of trains (from me and my mom), so we had to go and get him the trains a week or so later when he reminded us of it.

So here comes the anecdote I wanted to share today.

This morning my son called me from the bathroom, I thought he was done or needed help, but no! He wanted me to get him a magazine to "read" from the basket full we keep in the downstairs bathroom. Well, I guess he has just discovered the joys of reading in the bathroom!

Just like the little boy in the glazed tile sign from Brazil that we have in the bathroom door (photo above) -- isn't that a cute sign? (I have one for the kitchen that says "my lab").

Sunday, September 17, 2006


On Friday night, Aliki, from World of One Thousand Different Things tagged me for a couple of memes. I don't know if I'll be able to do the second one fully, but the first one sounds fun! Here it goes:

Meme #1

The instructions are:
-Grab the book closest to you

-Open to page 123
-Scroll down to the 5th sentence
-Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog
-Name of the book and the author
-Tag 3 people

Now I have to confess that I had two books close to me on top of my computer desk, I'll be participating of a blog book tour for one of them next week, though, so I decided to pass that one up (moreover, the subject of page 123 was very unappealing -- not to say that what I ended up with is more appealing :) . The other one is a book I recently purchased, which comes highly recommended by Mary McKinney, the Academic Coach. Here it goes:
While they might have put writing aside until things were taken care of or until an illness had passed, most of these writers resumed writing at the first practical opportunity. This pattern held in surprising cases, even where the death of someone close to a writter might have disrupted and even blocked writing; instead, these writers reported a stronger desire for activities like writing that distracted them from their losses.

All but one of the few cases of traumas associated with wrting problems might better be categorized with disillusionment or with lack of planfullness.

From Professors as Writers: A Self-Help Guide to Productive Writing by Robert Boice. This book was on my wishlist since I saw the recommendation on the Academic Coach. I ordered it together with another book I needed to get at Amazon so I could get free shipping because I thought it might be helpful since I need to finish writing the dissertation. I find it very telling that I'd get this particular quotation. It's from a chapter titled "Dealing with Relapses" and one could say I have plenty of those in my dissertation writing. Of course my relapses are not caused by Traumas, which is the subject of the quote above, but it's surprising to see that people who actually suffered traumas continued writing and I quit for much more questionable reasons or no reason at all.

Meme #2

Name your top ten favorite TV characters.

OK, I have never watched much TV and I don't care for it much. Since my sons were born, I have watched even less. I just don't have time to "waste" on it and we don't even have cable. So... I'll try, but I probably won't come up with 10...

1. Samantha from Bewitched.

2. Ally from Ally McBeal.

3. John Cage from Ally McBeal. I thought he was hilarious.

4. Larry Paul (Robert Downey Jr.) from Ally McBeal -- yeah, I thought he was cute...

5. Joe from Friends. He was the one that annoyed me the least.

6. Carrie from Sex & the City. (all I watched was the full last season during the short month when we had cable and free on demand -- I really loved that show, someday I'll watch the whole thing)

7. Kramer from Seinfeld -- funny guy.

I really can't think of any more TV characters. I'll edit this if I remember any other.

I don't think I'm going to tag anyone, but feel free to take up any of them or both memes if you want to!

P.S. I'll try to do the book meme you tagged me for, cloudscome, OK?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Reasons for not Posting as Often as I'd Like

I just wanted to do a quick post so you know what's going on around here and why I'm not posting as often as I'd like to post.

1. Two constantly fighting boys. They provoke each other all the time, especially the eldest and the youngest always screams very loudly in return. Sometimes the youngest bites the older one and extremely loud and endless crying ensues. Very annoying.

2. Trying to unpack (I finished unpacking the suitcase from our vacation trip only yesterday!)

3. Trying to clean and organize house (we haven't done that in over a year) because we have guests this weekend.

4. Finish organizing the boys' bedroom since we moved them in a hurry and all the toys were a huge mess (we're almost done). Guests are staying in their bedroom too...

5. Shopping for bins, underbed storage, curtains, and bookcase for boys' room. After several trips to Ikea and other stores, only the bookcase is lacking (out of stock at Ikea).

6. Summer clothes shopping for me, a friend, and a few things for the boys. When a family's on a more-than-tight budget like ours, we only shop for clothes in the end-of-season clearances. My eldest boy still doesn't fit on several of the summer clothes I bought for him last year, so I only bought a few good bargains for him. My wardrobe, on the other had, is sorely in need of some more updated summer clothes. In addition, every two years or so, a friend from Brazil sends me money to buy a "whole wardrobe" of clothes for her boy and girl and I have a ball spending other people's money!! Of course the clothes are all VERY cheap and my friend is very happy with both their price and quality.

I'm sure there may be more stuff, some of it just the usual, cooking, laundering, cleaning...

Maybe I'll post a few pictures of the boys' room later, if you're curious.

P.S. I thought I'd say a few words about how the boys' move to their own bedroom at night is going. The youngest woke up either very early in the morning or late at night a few times and had trouble going back to sleep. On Wednesday morning, he woke up his brother too, at 5 am... Dearest husband is the one who's dealing with them on most days. Our room has light-blocking curtains and yesterday we got some for their room, so we expect them to have better nights (and early mornings). Last night was very good, the little one came to our bed at 6, nursed and went back to sleep until 7:45, which is EXCELLENT for him (who seems to have an internal clock that wakes up up at 7 am the latest).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Boy, the Sea, and the Sunset

I want to share with you some of my favorites photos among the over 1,000 pictures I took during our vacation to add some mid-week pizzazz to the blog. I'm quite busy to write long posts right now, in spite of the fact that post ideas abound.

You may remember my post about the Florida vacation from last July. I Googled the last place where we were going to stay (Palm Coast) and pulled a photo of the Flagler beach pier for the post. Well, I went there and there was a beautiful sunset. Check out the results.

The Boy, the Sea, and the Sunset

The boy was simply mesmerized by the sea.

He couldn't bear to turn his back to it.
The crashing waves were beckoning him to go back
every time

He was almost dancing for joy.
The boy, like his mother, expresses his feelings very physically.

Before we left, I took some photos of a lonely looking lifeguard "chair" and I personally think they turned out stunning. I apologize for the lack of modesty... :)

The next one is my absolute favorite:
I was going to post two other sunset photos, but blogger won't let me. But maybe it's best to end with my favorite one. I guess it's really a common-place photo, but the life-guard stand is something brand new to me, in spite of the fact that it's an icon of the American beaches.

P.S. Oh, and I have a question to ask my American readers about American beach towns, but that'll come later, OK?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11

This is my first post about this topic. Last year I didn't think of posting about 9/11 for some reason, but this year I want to do it. I can't believe it's been 5 years already, I can remember that day as if it were yesterday.
First, let me tell you a bit about the photo above. It's not from the internet. My husband (then boyfriend) took it from the ferry as it left Ellis Island on July 15, 1993. I never imagined it would become such a meaningful image to me many years later. This photo was one of the first things that came to my mind when I learned the towers were gone.

I never saw the events live on television on that fateful morning. I slept in as usual and when I got my husband's email at around 11 am, I truly thought it was a joke. It was just one telegraphic line which said something like "Airplanes hit the Pentagon and the twin towers and and the towers have fallen to the ground." I immediately turned on the TV and images of lower Manhattan flooded the screen, but all I could see was a cloud of smoke, there were no towers. My husband actually didn't see the towers falling either because he got to the campus center place with a large TV after the first one had fallen and the second one fell while he was emailing me.

When I realized what had happened, I was filled with despair. I had found out I was pregnant with our first child only four days earlier and I thought it was "the end of the world" in a sense, I felt was despair that I was pregnant in such a terible time. At the same time I felt it was awful to feel such despair because it migh hurt the baby growing inside me. I was getting frantic and I needed to see somebody. Anybody. I rushed upstairs (our TV was in the basement) and out the door of our condo/towhouse. The neighbor's door was open and I called her. I was in tears by then and she gave me a hug. I told her I needed to see someone, and that the hug made me feel better. I also mumbled something about not believing in what was happening and that I had missed seeing everything... I couldn't believe that either.

I loved those towers, as I love any tall buildings, towers, and structures. I love to be able to go as high as I can and see the world from up there and I do it in any city we visit. I had been up there in the World Trade Center twice, in 1993 and 1996. You can see a photo of me with lower Manhattan in the background also taken on July 15, 1993.
The Sbarro restaurant in the lower level of the WTC was dear to me because we had had a meal there with my husband's family when we first came to the U.S. in 1993 and subsequently with my parents in 1997. The Borders bookstore in the street level was a place I enjoyed as well and we had been in there literally for hours as we waited my parents go up the towers in 1997. I thought of all those books having become dust, of us never eating again in that restaurant, or taking the trains to our friends house in New Jersey there. I remembered the WTC subway station very clearly. I also thought the number of deaths would be much higher than it actually was in the end.
Another photo taken by my husband on July 15, 1993.

That December, when I was 7 months pregnant, my three brothers-in-law, my SIL, and one of my younger BIL's girlfriend came from Texas to spend Christmas and New Year's with us. We went to NYC on Dec. 30 and 31st and on the 31st we decided to stay in line to see Ground zero. It was incredibly cold and my sister-in-law and I tried avoid the cold to stay indoors at a nearbyCatholic church (which was very cold too) and a coffee-shop while the men stayed in line in the freezing cold for almost 4 hours. When the time came for us to walk up the long wooden ramp to see the site, Rudy Giuliani appeared! It was probably one of the last things he did in his last day as mayor of NYC. We even took a picture!
We were a very numb because of the cold, but it was quite moving to see ground zero only three months after 9/11.
I have been back there several times since then, but none of them can compare to that first visit, when everything was still so raw, all buildings around ground zero were still severely damaged, the Hilton hotel accross the street, closed. The church that served as a memorial place (I can't remember the name) was loaded with posters, photos, mementos. The line and the entrance to the ramp to view the site were actually right by that church.

I still have a hard time to think about this event, process it, and accept that something like this ever happened. It just seems so unthinkable... but the unthinkable happened.

Edited to add: Professing Mama wrote an excellent post criticizing the ways the 9/11 events are used and politicized. For another moving personal account check out this post by World of One Thousand Different Things.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Every time I come back home from a trip I have certain feelings and impressions that I always want to write about. I usually am not able to do it, though, because things are quite hectic after we travel, particularly when we come back from Brazil where we have stayed for two months, for instance. I'm glad that now I have decided to post more often (and also worry less about proofreading and writing "good" posts), so I don't loose these fleeting thoughts, since they go away pretty quickly.

This time, after two weeks in Florida, I found that the place we live is just too noisy! Two weeks away made me realize that living in a city is quite noisy. I lived in Sao Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world, for 11 years, so I should know that, but 7 years in a rural area here in the U.S. have made me enjoy quiet places more. Of course we've lived here for two years now (we moved to the Philly area on July 29, 2004) and although the firehouse siren (it's only 1 block away) and the freight train whistle at all times of day and night are annoying, we're used to them now.

I guess part of the shock has to do with the fact that we spent most of the summer with the AC on and all windows closed; however, I have left the windows open these last days, so we hear all outside noises much louder. It also seems like the neighbors are trying to enjoy the last days of summer and there are lots of people outside talking loudly, kids screaming, etc. Of course this neighborhood is not the one we would have chosen had we been able to afford a house anywhere else and that doesn't help too much, but this another subject I don't want to get into right now.

I know I have to enjoy this "open window" time as much as I can, because the noises soon will be dampened again by closed windows. The thought of winter makes me very sad, particularly because I probably won't go to Brazil again this winter as I have in the past two years. I have learned to enjoy the seasons, but having grown up in a tropical, year-round green and lush country, I feel always depressed in the winter months. So, I should welcome the noise, really, because the eerie silence of snow falling is beautiful, fascinating, but also a bit sad.

Goodbye Family Bed

Attachment parenting issues have been addressed lately by Kateri (at Wet Feet), and coincidentaly, I have something related to share here (although our story is different and the focus is sleep, not breastfeeding).

After I finally got around to writing my sleep problems post last July, things got better quickly. Linton has really been sleeping through the night since then. After my parents left in August, we decided we'd take the next step and move the boys to their own room, in spite of the fact that Kelvin (who's 4 1/2 now) has been "finishing the night" in our bed almost every day and Linton has been sleeping in the crib (with one side down) next to me since he was born (27 months ago).

During the last week of our vacation, we stayed in the four bedroom house of two friends of ours who are still childless (they have been trying to conceive for 3 years and apparently all is "normal" with them -- same thing with two other friends here in Philly, their experiences make me feel so sad!), so we were able to have a room for ourselves and put the boys in another room with two beds. This worked perfectly well and they generally only came to our room in the morning when they woke up (I guess it helped that they were tired from going to the beach several days :).

Anyway, yesterday, in spite of the incredibly messy house, empty fridge, and all the unpacking that needed to be done, I moved two chests of drawers from the boys' "playroom"/ guest-room (it has a futon) and moved the crib (with a protective railing more or less like this) and the toddler bed there. The night wasn't completely uneventful, given that Linton came to our bed between 5-6 am and there, after nursing, he slept again until 7 and Kelvin got up too, but my husband went back to his room with him and got him to fall asleep again.

The funny thing is that my husband is the only one who's kind of sad to see them go. He truly enjoyed sleeping snuggled next to Kelvin every morning. I guess this is one of the key elements for the "Family Bed" to work -- the willingness of both parents. Both of us enjoyed spending the nights next to our boys, but I guess now it's time to claim our own space again, I'm really ready for that and hopefully the boys are too!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Get Ready to See More of Me

I have decided it's high time I start posting more often here. The number of posts I have started or have thought about writing is getting higher and higher and I think that instead of spending the bulk of my "blogging" time reading and commenting on other blogs, I should just write more. Particularly considering that many of the bloggers I read and diligently comment on (because I truly enjoy the content and the writers) don't read this blog.

Blogging is not easy for me sometimes because I feel I'm just a "nobody" out there. Besides, I feel I'm too "eclectic" and end up not fitting well into any "clique" or category. I'm a blogging mama (I don't like the "mommy blogger" label too much) who doesn't write often enough about her sons -- one reason is that I'd need to translated all the cute things they say and that would make them much less funny (I have been planning a post about things they say for two years now, though :). I'm an dissertating/ABD/ academic blogger who doesn't blog about academia too much -- my conflicted feelings about academia and being an academic are a big reason. Finally, I'm an expatriate who should write about her country and her feelings about the new country more often, since these things are part of every single day of my life (all right, sometimes I do write about this - probably not lately, but I have written about it several times).

Well, I'm really tired from the trip, the house is still a mess and I know that tomorrow is going to be a really loooong day, so I'll stop for now, but I should be back soon. I even have some interesting news regarding the boys (hints, sleep, potty, etc... all those fun parenting subjects!).

Oh, and I have one more reason to go on a "posting jag" -- soon I'll have to take a break to go back to dissertation work in earnest. This is my last year. Wow, I can't believe I just wrote that, but it is, no matter what!!

I'm Back!

We got back from Florida this afternoon and although I'm dying to post and catch up with other people's blogs I really can't because this house is a big mess!! I hope to come back as soon as possible and share with you lots of beautiful photos from our trip. We didn't have internet access for the past week, we only checked email at our friends' office, or I would have posted earlier.

Our trip was wonderful and I didn't miss home at all (I never do, though, I love to travel). The boys enjoyed it too, but I guess they are happy to come back to their toys (not for long, unfortunately :)

Well, I'll see you soon!