Brain Dump

Remember these? It’s been too long and my list of lings is overflowing once again.

Birth Plan

I know I have a lot of pregnant girls reading. I came across this birth plan by Rixa and it’s my favorite ever. It’s something about that first plan, that’s so simple and straightforward.


I think I didn’t link to this here yet, only on my Formspring. The LDS Church is anti-pornography, and I am as well, and this is one of those rare situations where a woman is able to write publicly about her story of finding out about a pornography addiction and her decision to stay with her husband. When Pornography Hits Home. A few weeks ago our bishop met with the men in a special meeting where he talked about pornography and told them to repent and get things taken care of. He is meeting with the women this week and I hope he is talking about the same thing. It bothers me that the Church so far only focuses on men, acting as though women have no addictions, and that men’s pornography problems don’t involve them. It involves us. It involves us very much!


I am not a fan of Babywise. Here is a very good reason to stay away.


Kelli Nicole sent me this video a long time ago. Watching it makes me really happy.

Avoiding Farmer’s Market Scams

It’s almost Farmer’s Market time here in Chicago once again! I hope some of you have never been to one before will think about finding one near you to visit. I know some people are nervous about having an experience like Mandy, showing up and buying a bunch of stuff that someone bought at the grocery store that morning and then marked up by 200% while lying and saying it’s organic, but I think if you use a few of the tips in this article you’ll be able to find some honest-to-goodness organic farmers out to sell the lettuce and tomatoes they harvested that very morning. The “check to see if it’s all uniform” tip is my favorite one. And paying attention to whether one stand has something no one else does (like tomatoes, when no one else has tomatoes) because that is a good indication that they didn’t come from the area.

Utah Portrait Locations

If you’re in Utah I’m jealous of you. Though it’s no longer updated, this blog is a great resource.

Yellow Pages Opt-Out

How is this still a viable business? I have no idea. But if you haven’t opted out already you should do so.

7 Things You Really Don’t Need To Take A Photo Of

Haha, I have broken every one of these “rules”. 🙂

Wedding Photography Done In The Worst Way Possible

Part 1.
Part 2.
Read them both and then when your friend says she’s going to “hire this one girl” remind her why that is a very bad, bad idea. Hire someone who knows what they are doing, has back up equipment, has networked with other photographers in the area that they can count on in case of emergency.

T1 and his “lovey”

I’m not sure if this qualifies as an actual lovey, since most kids seem to need theirs and would cry and cry if they didn’t have it, which doesn’t describe T1. But lately he’s been a little obsessed with this soft rag, often doing what you see pictured in the second photo below. He particularly likes it if I mimic him and shove the rag in my mouth as well.

My favorite is when he carries it around in his mouth hands-free, like a dog.


28 thoughts on “Brain Dump

  1. Babywise- We used it with our daughter and plan on using it with our son. I think it’s unfair for people to blame Babywise for their own children failing to thrive. Throughout the entire book it advises people to cater the SUGGESTIONS in the book to their child’s own needs and to never ignore your child when they are hungry. I blame parents for their children failing to thrive for their ignorance and complete lack of judgement. Why on earth would anyone follow a method to the exact letter when the book (from chapter one until the end) is telling you that you are reading suggestions and never should they keep you from doing what you think is right for your own child.

    7 things not to take photos of- LOVE IT! lol!

    Grace Reply:

    I hadn’t heard of Babywise before this post. From what I’ve read about it, it sounds similar to other sleep training parenting methods. As long as you are comfortable with crying and are sensitive to your child (as Meg discusses above), then it’s probably a fine method.

    What makes me uncomfortable about Babywise though is that you are supposed to start the program so early. I don’t think most very small infants (under 3-4 months) have the physical or psychological capability to be sleep trained to the extent recommended. (For instance, their stomach capacity is too small.) Better to be patient and wait a few weeks/months.

    Meg Reply:

    We started our daughter with Babywise when she was a month old (maybe a month and a half) and it worked perfectly. I think it’s all about what works for that specific child and family.

    Baby wise mom has a blog that is great!

    Mary Reply:

    I agree! We used Babywise with our daughter, and the suggestions it provides for breast feeding mothers is the SAME advice my lactation consultant gave me (especially in the first few weeks when building up your supply). I agree with Meg that the book is all about suggestions–but its not for every child or family. I think, like all parenting books, you have to use what advice/suggestions works best for your family.

    Meg, what is the blog for the baby wise mom?

    Austyn Reply:

    Chronicles of a Babywise Mom

    I agree. We’ve used Babywise with our son, now 4 months, from birth, and it’s gone so well for us. It’s a misconception that BW advocates withholding food. The main focus is really making sure they get full meals each time to encourage them to sleep longer. If they are hungry, they get more food. End of story. I totally agree that you just have to find what works for your family. Personally, I really like the Baby Whisperer book too.

  2. Yeah, I agree with Meg. Babywise is AWESOME and throughout the book the authors constantly repeat that you must use your own discretion. You, the parent, are the best judge and know when your child is hungry/sleepy/colicky, etc. It’s unfair to blame a book for someone’s poor parenting skills. For me, I’ll take a thriving 3 month old baby who sleeps 11+ hours at night and goes down for 2-3 solid naps with no fussiness.

  3. I agree with the above girls, though I must say that I never read traditional “baby books”. I’m just not the type to look to a book for parenting help or to adopt a methodology as my ‘absolute parenting creed’. I know most people read parenting books for good ideas or helpful hints – – that’s definatly good, but some people completely buy into one person’s opinion with their whole body and soul and I’ve just never been one to label myself and parenting style. If I need help, I find other like-minded mothers (including my own), especially those that know me and my children personally, and get their feedback.

    I just do what makes sense! I don’t follow one parenting extreme or the other, try to strive for moderation, and use my gut. Sometimes a baby just needs to cry it out, sometimes you know something is wrong and you need to fix it in the best way YOU the parent know how. I’m all about mommy-empowerment! We are smarter and more capable then we think!

    And I love the ‘photos you should never take’ site. That was hilarious!

  4. I love it when my 1-yr-old walks around with things in her mouth hands-free as well. This morning it was two baby bottle caps, nestled in each other, held by her teeth. Completely random, but I laughed out loud.

  5. The article on Pornography is interesting… and spot on in many aspects.

    I hate that four years later her husband still relapses and she continues to stay. It seems almost like he takes her for granted. That as she stays, she’ll just continue to be abused and betrayed.

    I don’t understand why women stay in these situations… it is the harder choice but I don’t always think it is the right choice. In some ways it is the easier choice, to just accept and move on and “check out” of being involved in the husband’s life — just like he checked out emotionally with his addiction.

  6. I went back and read the pornography story, so I’m commenting twice. 🙂

    I’m shocked at HOW different the approach is than what the Catholic Church teaches. Of course, we teach that pornography is a sin, too. But we also teach that the vows you take when you get married are unable to be nullified. So divorce isn’t an option for us (except in situations where the vows were never made with full intention, or abuse). So things that other churches would teach are grounds for a divorce, like an affair, isn’t in the Catholic Church. So pornography would definitely not be a reason to leave your husband. We are taught that we have to stay and love each other even through sticky times. (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this woman is just giving up on him, I think she is working through it, I just was surprised to hear divorce was an option).

    I was also really surprised to hear that he was excommunicated. Is it a relatively common practice? In the Catholic Church it’s only reserved for really serious offenses, like creating your own religion or something.

    It was interesting to hear the LDS take on this!

    Jenna Reply:

    I think maybe Natalie is quicker to jump to divorce to I am. It think it’s an impractical viewpoint since I think far more men are struggling with pornography than most men realize. Any woman who thinks her spouse has never seen it/had issues with it is naive!

    You aren’t excommunicated because you look at pornography (again, there wouldn’t be very many members left!), only when it’s a very serious problem (I actually don’t know of anyone who has been). It’s possible he had an affair, I don’t know for sure but I think all those who have an affair are excommunicated. At least all of those I know who have been.

    Tiffany Reply:

    IF you read the comments on the pornography article Bethany explains excommunication and a little bit about why her husband was excommunicated. It might help with some better understanding.

  7. I have never heard of a farmers market scam before! I know they are crazy strict at a few farmers markets out here, but I went to a small one a few weeks ago and it really made me question a few of the farmers.

    I don’t have any problem with porn, but Sean isn’t into it. I think a sex-negative culture it creates people that want to look at porn all day. I don’t think there is anything wrong with women watching porn, whatever does it for you — but I don’t know really any women who watch porn.

  8. Thanks for the heads up on the Yellow Pages opt-out. I hadn’t know there was one of those! I am a long-time fan of–if you’ve never tried it, you should!

  9. I find the article about pornography really puzzling (I am not LDS). I don’t see why her husband looking at porn was so upsetting: why does it matter if he looks at porn or not, assuming that their relationship is good? If it is not good, then there are other issues involved (poor communication, life changes and both spouses feeling unsupported in the article, for instance).

    If you are adamantly anti-porn, then your husband/boyfriend is still going to look at porn, but now he is also going to lie to you about it, and possibly also feel very guilty, with all the problems that causes.

    If you realize that porn is just pixelated images, then you can be honest with each other (and even watch it together for a boost to your sex life, if that’s something you’re into). It can also be a way for the two of you to explore different aspects of your sexuality (what turns the two of you on, new ideas to try together). In other words, porn can help a relationship.

    I myself don’t find porn at all interesting, but I think it’s a harmless way to either explore or satisfy one’s sexual self. Condemning it seems like you are just creating additional problems, when marriage and relationships are already hard enough. For instance, the woman in the article is now facing divorce, with the tremendous negative effects that will have on her 4 children.

    And yes, I know that sometimes porn is made by the exploited or unwilling, which is sad. But often it is made by fully consenting, enthusiastic adults (especially if it’s from the US), or even by people who aren’t professionals, just amateurs who enjoy doing so. It’s just like any other product (food for instance): consume it from reputable producers and be aware of the conditions in which it was produced!

    Sophia Reply:

    Grace, I think you explained my feelings on it pretty well. It’s hard for me to relate to that article because I have never known anyone that had an addiction to pornography, but most of my male (and female) friends have watched it- myself included. But they don’t think of it as something terrible and forbidden to be avoided, so I wonder if they’re just bored with it since it’s not some forbidden fruit kind of thing? I dunno.

    Two of my very, very good girl friends are in porn- one is a Playboy model and does nude modeling full time, the other is a porn star and a nude model. They are both educated (one has a masters degree that she achieved with a full scholarship, the other is about to graduate with her degree in neuroscience and is heading to grad school) so I agree with you that everyone in porn isn’t always exploited. Both of my friends chose it. I think it’s a way of dealing with brazen female sexuality to say “oh, they’re not really enjoying it, they’re all exploited”. It’s much harder to deal with a woman who *is* really enjoying being so openly, blatantly sexual.

    I wonder if it’s also an issue of setting the bar very high within a moral framework- I say this free of value judgment, but if you’re coming from a framework where masturbation is a sin, even looking at or being curious by porn is going to be a huge sin. So, what is termed “addiction” within that framework may be called “normal sexual exploration” in another. It’s all relative, I think, depending on one’s morals. Kind of how drinking wine once or twice a week is no big deal to some, but within the LDS or other religious frameworks it’s a huge deal.

    Sophia Reply:

    I want to reiterate that I don’t think it’s good or bad to have a negative or positive view of porn, just different opinions informed by one’s personal moral framework.

    Shanna Reply:

    I agree. I think the use of ‘addiction’ in this article doesn’t conform with the definition of a real, honest-to-goodness addiction. For some reason, I have the feeling that a wife wouldn’t be able to not notice an addiction to pornography beyond noticing some emotional withdrawal.

    @Natalie, if it is a real addiction then he shouldn’t be disparaged for his relapses and his wife is right to stay with him. Having an addiction is beyond the control of either party and it takes A LOT to help someone recover. Both parties are being wronged here, which do you think it’s worse for? I would vote for the one who can’t stop hurting himself and the ones around him. Then again, I also don’t see how it’s a betrayal or abusive, so….

    Jenna Reply:

    You’ve already read it and commented on it, but I did want to point you back to this post just in case 🙂

    Sophia Reply:

    Jenna- I don’t know if you were linking that post for Shanna, but thanks for linking it! Man, re-reading my comment makes me sad all over again about that feminist mormon housewives thread 🙁 I still don’t get how people can joke about how they never “let” their husbands have sex with them, or how they never have sex… If you’re going to be in a committed, lifelong relationship (especially one where the ONLY sexual outlet at all is your spouse, and even masturbation is off the table) you have to be open and giving in that area of the relationship, and willing to compromise.

    In line with that, I do think that if porn is interfering with one’s sex life with one’s spouse/partner then clearly there is a problem. I’ve just never known anyone for whom porn was ever even remotely close to that big of an issue.

    Jenna Reply:

    I’ve written about pornography from my viewpoint (and it matches the LDS viewpoint) here:

    I think that might help.

    Also, if you believe it’s not possible to never look at pornography, and that a man who says he is not doing so is lying.. well that’s a sad world I don’t want to live in.

    Grace Reply:

    I read your post about pornography, which was interesting and thoughtful. I don’t agree with most of your premises though, because I don’t think pornography is addictive (at least for most people), at least as addiction is usually defined. Instead, most people just enjoy thinking about sex (not surprisingly, since sex is necessary for our species’ survival), and porn provides them with an opportunity to do that. A better analogy is food (also essential for survival): most people enjoy eating, thinking about food, and even looking at pictures of food.

    I agree with you that both men and women use pornography, and that it can include things like romance novels, movies, etc. I also agree that a sexual relationship with your spouse is special and important, and that you should have sex with your spouse regularly (and have a good reason for turning him/her down).

    But I think it is unwise to decide that all sexual gratification must come from your spouse alone. It’s too much pressure, especially because sexual frustration usually makes people grumpy. What if you can’t have sex for health or logistical reasons? Your spouse may be understanding, but they are also going to get more and more frustrated and short-tempered (especially bad if you need them to be even more patient than usual). A little masturbation would help everyone out. Also, most people aren’t a perfect match sexually (like they have different preferred frequencies, or are interested in different types of sexual behavior). Some compromise can happen of course, but since sexual drives/interests tend to be pretty unchanging, significant compromise is not going to work without allowing the option of alternate methods of gratification. Finally, I think it’s important to maintain a sense of yourself as a separate person from your spouse, including seeing your sexuality as a personal thing (having your own preferences as distinct from his/hers), and I think solo sexual activity, in whatever form you are comfortable with, helps with this.

    As far as never looking at pornography…I never look at it, because it’s not my thing, so I certainly believe it is possible. Some men don’t like it either, and maybe your husband is one of them. But since approx. 90% of men do, most women’s SO will be looking at porn. (And people’s sexual interests hardly ever change post-puberty: see the abysmal record of ex-gay programs). I don’t think that creating a system requiring most women to live in denial, and most men to lie to their wives, is at all desirable.

    Shanna Reply:

    Ha ha, Grace, you’ve hit on some of my biggest problems with most organized religions! My opinion is that everything in life has the potential to be addicting. EVERYTHING. So that argument just doesn’t fly for me. I understand religious tenets that were created to protect the health of constituents but I can see no valid logic behind the proscription against pornography and masturbation. I can’t imagine what my sex life would be without it, but then again I also wouldn’t consider marriage without having sex first. To each their own but I prefer to have a healthier, more natural sex life.

    I’ve got a quick question for you, Jenna, or any other Mormon willing to answer. Without getting too much into the nitty gritty details, how does the church feel about “mutual masturbation.” (Don’t google it, I just made that mistake. 🙁 ) I never bothered to ask my bishop about that one…

    Jenna Reply:

    I think the problem with masturbation (I.e. Arousing sexual feelings in yourself when you are alone) is that you no longer have to turn to your spouse to meet that need. But any type of sexual activity that involves your spouse doesn’t fit that definition, in my opinion. Wo cares who is touching what as long as you are sharing the experience together?

    Shanna Reply:

    I think that’s where the major difference in opinion is. I can’t comprehend, and neither can my husband, how touching oneself ever could or would replace another human being. It doesn’t for us, but I’m sure there are people out there like that. I also think that the majority of people in the world wouldn’t consider sex and masturbation as interchangeable. I think the world’s oldest trade (prostitution) and the most prevalent marketing strategy (sex sells!) support this as well. Plus, it can be such fun to do with a spouse. Perhaps it should be classified as sexual activity sanctified within the bonds of marriage only?

  10. Hey Jenna,

    Thanks for posting my story about my wedding photographer. My hope is that is will help people to hire professional photographers for their wedding. It is the biggest regret about an otherwise perfect day. Also, I *now* know so many wedding photogs (like you!) who care SO MUCH about their brides and know every aspect of their day. That to me, probably because I didn’t have it, is the best scenerio possible!

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