Friday, June 18, 2010


Hey there!  First of all, welcome to any new readers who stumbled up on Shades of Gray via Casual  Kitchen and Cheap Healthy Good.  My blog on breaking the cycle and raising a daughter with a healthy body image is definitely one of the most intimate and poignant pieces I have written in a long time and it moves me deeply to see that it resonates with so many others.  It sounds like more and more people are working diligently towards adjusting their mentality on this issue.  My hope is that if we stay committed, we can be a generation of healthy women raising a generation of healthy daughters, emotionally and physically.  Thank you for sharing your stories and struggles with me, you are beautiful and thank you for stopping by.

There has been so much on my mind these past few weeks since Emerson was born that I need a few days alone with a coffee pot and a keyboard to make sense out of it all.  Unfortunately, those days are a little more difficult to come by lately.  Most days, by 3:00 p.m. Em and I have both grown a little weary of the rattles and bells so we load up in the car and take off for a driving exploration of Salt Lake City.  We put on some Iron and Wine, Em finally succumbs to a nap that has been waiting in the wings for hours and I drive aimlessly, acquainting myself with the hills of Deseret and writing blogs in my head.

I have found since having Emerson that my tolerance for Cable News has gone from minuscule to non-existent and yet I spend hours, upon hours picking and choosing my way through the New York Times on my blackberry in the dark of night and wee hours of the morning... kind of the equivalent of poking one toe at a time into the water until you think you can handle the temperature.  Its been a completely new experience to have the combination of immobility (while nursing Em) and seemingly endless amounts of time, darkness and silence with which to digest this world in which I have actively chosen to raise a daughter.  However, at the same time, cradled in the safety of our rocking chair, shielded by our lullabies, the madness of this very same, often broken world seems so very removed and far away.

It started with the oil spill.  I believe Emerson was born on day 5 of the spill.  I'll be honest, we had other things on our mind and had no concept of the magnitude.  Who did?  When we came home, while we fiercely cradled our own little tiny, fragile miracle in our arms, the news in Salt Lake was consumed locally by the tragic and brutal death of a 4 year old little boy.  I couldn't handle it.  I was forcibly banned from all news outlets for several days. Then, the oil wasn't going away and the Dow dropped below 10,000 for the first time since February.  Then the oil was getting worse.  Then.... facebook changed its privacy settings.  Facebook changed its privacy settings and the world stopped and wrote about it.  This was when I started to tune back in.  My "blog in my head", as I was tooling around the grocery store to kill time with a sleeping baby, consisted of:

 (abridged), "Hey!  DISCRETION!!!!!!!!  If you're not comfortable with your parents, grandparents, teachers, or bosses reading it, don't send it out into the ether.  Put some clothes on, expand your vocabulary, and if you must talk about last Saturday's debauchery, either pick up the phone or, if that's too much human contact for you, send an email to your 20 closest friends."  I was irritated and I don't think it was hormones.

So, my frustration with facebook's privacy policy dominating the news cycle during a period that seems to be of "Darling, you were born on day 5 of the worst man-made disaster our planet has ever known significance" got me thinking (though, yes, I was following the story on facebook... privately):   At some point we must come out of the bubble.  To really seal the deal, there was an oil spill of 500+ barrels about 2 miles from my home that has poisoned every natural water source in my immediate vicinity (you might not have heard about it, but that's over 25,000 gallons of oil in my little creeks and rivers).  For lack of better terminology, the chickens have come home to roost.

The pelicans and geese are dying, people hurt children, families fear about putting food on their tables and this morning, the state that I now call home, paid 5 individuals to shoot a man to death for crimes committed over a quarter of a century ago.

Here we go again, what do we do.  Do we pace the nursery, wringing our hands?  Do we talk over coffee about how distraught we are about the fact that our babies might never sit for hours in the tidal pools of southern shores watching the tide magically bury their little legs with sand?  Do we sleep even less; agonizing over injustices, terrified in quiet places of our minds of faceless, invincible enemies?  Yeah, a little.  I don't know.  What else is there?

I think step one is to pop the bubble and keep singing but stop hiding behind the lullabies... try to find a way to balance functionality and awareness?  Autonomy and activism?

It's a process.... it will take some time, at least for me at this juncture in my life.  That said, I think I can start by opening my eyes, talking... educating... writing... initiating a dialog and amongst us, maybe we can change something, do something.  I'll be honest, I truly believe that together, you and I, the two of us,  WE really can change the perspective from passively reactive to passionately proactive., and if nothing else modify the generation that we are raising to simply be better than... to be greater than....

All that said, let's start by opening our eyes, then our minds, then our mouths, then our hearts.  One day at a time.

So very much love,


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen: Miss Emerson Gray Best

Oh my dear god in heaven, where do I begin!?!?!  I have SO much to say and so little time with which to say it!

So, I gave birth.  I guess I could start there.

Emerson Gray Best was born on April 25, 2010 at 11:42 p.m. after 18 hours of labor, 13 of which were UNMEDICATED which was NOT BY CHOICE, ACCIDENTAL AND UNINTENTIONAL.  When it was all said and done, however, the epidural did eventually arrive and her actual delivery was probably the best experience of my life.  After a day that was wrought some stressful and fearful moments... and... well... pain... lots and lots of pain.  When it came time to her actual delivery, we were all very relaxed, excited, and having a great time.  In fact, Emerson was literally laughed into this world.  I can't think of a better way to enter this mad mad world than coming into a room full of warm, sincere, laughter.

Of course, she is beautiful and perfect and amazing.  She has reddish/blonde hair (My mother calls it 'golden')... truth be told, it is the color of a wheat field at sunset - seriously... it is.   She has the fairest skin I have ever seen on a child and her eyes have decided on deep, deep blue.  She turns us both into little puddles of melted love every time she does this little 'coo' thing after she sneezes, her favorite thing so far is a toss up between dancing with her daddy and playing with her hands, and the other day, when I accidentally almost cut her little finger off trying to clip her nails, I had to resist an urge, the likes of which I have never experienced, to punitively throw myself down the stairs.

Emerson's first 72 hours were spent being monitored closely in the nursery while she recovered from an extreme case of hypoglycemia and being monitored for other possible issues such as polycythemia (an excess of red blood cells), and a possible infection.  It was the most intense, emotional, terrifying 72 hours of my life but ultimately she turned it all around.  Because of the rocky start, it has taken us a very long time (over a month) to recover her birth weight, but we finally turned that corner last week and she's back up to 7 lbs 5 oz.  Of all of the weight issues I was concerned about dealing with, I didn't expect to a) have to deal with them immediately upon birth and b) have the to attack the challenge of helping my daughter GAIN weight.  That is just so not how we do things where I come from.

In these first five weeks we have had lots of visitors and more to come and while it can sometimes be a little stressful packing 5-6 people, two dogs, and a cat into a sleepless house with out a true guest room, the joy of being able to share her with our loved ones is so very great.  I mean, really, its hard to get the full effect if you're not cuddling up to her, breathing her in, and covering that little fold in her neck with kisses while she nuzzles up and sticks her tongue out at you.  Just sayin'.

So this is my gushy, I have the most magical daughter on the planet blog.  Don't get me wrong... there have been so very many challenges that would have made for some incredibly entertaining, a little more sardonic fodder and I'm sure there will be more to come.  Spending 5 weeks of your life forcibly homebound and topless (and NOT in a fun, 'I've been drinking tequila' sort of way) with the most psychotic sleep schedule known to man makes for some good reading material.  It has taken me 5 weeks to get through this blog, so i don't know when I will write again, but I hope to make it a little more frequent.  I feel like in July, when I return to work, there will hopefully be time for me to resume regular posts.  However, for now, I will leave you with this cherubic face and I am going to go cuddle up and take a nap with my sweet baby girl.