Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Henna Experiment

Here is a collection of photos showing how I used a 50/50 mixture of Henna and Indigo to color a sample of my hair.

Original Hair Sample (Before Henna-Indigo)

 Final Hair Sample (After Henna-Indigo)

The Process

Initial Henna Mixture (Before Dye Release)

 Henna Mixture After 12 Hours (After Dye Release)

Indigo Mixture (Mixed When the Henna was Ready)

Henna and Indigo Side-by-Side

Henna-Indigo Mixed Together

Hair Sample Partially in Henna-Indigo Mixture

Hair Sample Ready to Go (Left it About 5 Hours Before Washing It)

Monday, November 10, 2014

I Would Do The Same Thing

I moved back home in 2003, and shortly thereafter I started having dinner with my Grandparents on Monday nights. We continued this tradition for many years, and during these dinners, sometimes I would ask them questions and sometimes they would tell me stories about different things.

Around the time of their 65th wedding anniversary, I was still a newlywed, so I asked Grandpa and Grandpa for their best advice for a successful marriage.

Grandma said, "Learn to stand up for yourself."

Grandpa said, "Learn when to keep your mouth shut."

I must admit, I was expecting advice that was more along the lines of "be a good listener," but I got a nice chuckle out of this. Their response was so honest and so real. It reminded me that we all need to figure out what works for us in our relationships and they did that so well for 69 years.

During one of our Monday night dinners, my Grandpa showed me an old black and white composition notebook, the kind with a spot to write your name. On the cover, for name, he’d written, “Life of Ken Lehman.”

On these pages, he writes about growing up near Alma and Cochrane, attending a one room schoolhouse he called “Little Blue Bell,” and working on his parent’s farm until he was 21.

He talks mostly about specific events, like his first job hauling livestock to St. Paul and his first 1957 Chevy. He talks about love in only one spot. When he gets to the part about meeting Grandma, he writes,
“In 1943 I met my wife Carolyn Dutter. I guess it was love at first sight! We were married July 28, 1945 at Norden Lutheran Church.”
He goes on to write about their 3 children, and that he drove ready-mix trucks and dump trucks for American Materials for 40 years.

After Grandpa went to live at the nursing home, he made Grandma an anniversary card, and one of the nurses used her phone to record an audio message from Grandpa. The nurse later sent that message to me. In this message he says to Grandma,
“If I was to do it over, I would do the same thing. Love you dear, Happy Anniversary.”

These are the best things I learned from my Grandpa -- that to be loyal, and honorable, and live in such a way that you have no regrets -- these are the things that are most important.

Kenneth R. Lehman from Fuller-Speckien-Hulke Funeral on Vimeo.

Monday, October 7, 2013

My Liquid Gold

Check out the current issue of Breastfeeding Today (link below) for my essay about my son, who was born prematurely at 27 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound and 15 ounces, and spent the first three months of his life in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). 

When Baby Boy was in the hospital, I pumped milk every two hours around the clock for almost three months. My story shows that it is possible to breastfeed successfully even when you encounter many obstacles. In addition, my story shows that providing breast milk can have tremendous emotional benefits to the mother, and can provide a feeling of connection between a mother and her baby, even when physical contact is limited.

But my story is also about the science and technology behind caring for premature infants, and in general, about dealing with challenges in your life. I wrote about this experience because nourishing my premature baby is the most important thing I've ever done. It is the one thing I will always be the most proud of. Can you remember a time when you did something really important, at a time when you were challenged?

View the article ~ In the Table of Contents, click Mothers' Stories, then advance a few pages.

You can get printed copies of the magazine here:

Baby Boy, aka Little Man, 2 years old.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Little Man

My Baby Boy has become a Little Man.

Do you see a common theme in these pictures?

If Not Running, Then Climbing

More Running

Constant Motion. That's right. He Never Stops Moving!

Here are the Big Things (that I can remember) that have happened since I wrote last:

  • Little Man started walking (around 18 months old)....and then running and climbing, and he hasn't stopped since.
  • We sold our house, bought a new house, and moved (I hope we never do any of this again.)
  • My Grandpa now resides (permanently) in a dementia unit of a local nursing home. This is hard to accept but it is the safest place for him.
  • My sister and her son came home, after living in another state for 12 years, and not seeing them for over a year.
  • Little Man started talking, just after his 2nd birthday.
  • I am obsessed with food blogs and have been experimenting with a plant-based diet (ever since watching Forks Over Knives when I was on maternity leave. FYI ~ FOK is available on Netflix streaming). 
  • I started a new job a year ago as an Instructional Designer and have done a fair amount of traveling, including a trip to Boston this summer.
  • Hubby and I took our first solo trip post-Baby Boy, to Santa Cruz, CA to attend my friend A's wedding.
That is everything I can remember for now.

I feel like I remember specifically when Baby Boy became a toddler, if that is possible. He had been working on crawling/standing/walking for a few months, and then suddenly, one weekend he was all over the place, digging through the kitchen cabinets. After that he was everywhere, and signs of him were everywhere. I would open a kitchen cabinet to get a pan and find several colored stacking cups, or a half full sippy cup.

Best Smile Ever
The other day I once again felt that Baby Boy had made another shift. I was sitting at a stoplight when I looked to my left and saw two girls in a truck next to me, looking my way and laughing and giggling. Do I look funny, I thought? Is there something on my face? Then I looked in the rear view mirror and saw Little Man playing "peek" with these ladies, flashing them his biggest smile, and then turning his head to hide from them, and repeating the process.

Two years have passed and Little Man has become a gentle, loving soul who likes to give hugs, make funny faces, run, and climb. (He can also be a very spirited and stubborn 2-year-old, but I won't tell those stories right now!) Here is a typical conversation with the Little Man, when he wakes up in the morning:

"Winnow." (window), he says pointing at the window.

"Open. Button. Goge." (soft "g," like "mirage") (I want to open the garage door).

"I wanna go home."

"We are home," I tell him. We have lived in our new house for six weeks, and he still asks to go home. "Where is home?" I ask him.

"I wanna go shopping," he replies. "Go Boppy's."

I start to respond but he cuts me off. "Nose," he says, placing his index finger on my nose. "Eyes," he says. I shut my eyes as I see his finger approaching....

It occurs to me that I have always been so focused on getting to the next stage: sitting up, rolling, crawling, standing up, walking, talking...It's mind boggling that all these amazing accomplishments happen within two years. I always want to move ahead, yet I don't ever want to forget any of this.

I have have made a little slideshow to commemorate the Summer of 2013 (also below).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Botched 1st Birthdays, Leslie Knope, & the Speaking Universe

Sometimes staying positive is difficult.

The last six months have brought one heartbreaking situation after another, for friends and family.
I've stopped expecting things to be normal -- what does that word even mean? But will things will ever level off? Could we get over the last catastrophe before the next one emerges? 

Staying positive is important. Sometimes you have to work at it. I find that episodes of Parks & Recreation (more on that later) and Pumpkin Spice Lattes help.

But seriously, sometimes you have to determine what the universe is saying (or SHOUTING).

The Early Bird's first birthday was especially important to me. He started out as a 1 lb 15 oz micro-preemie in the NICU and in one year, became a 15 lb rambunctious, crawling little boy.

I ordered fancy birthday invitations. We planned a party and invited friends and family. I had multiple cakes planned.

And happened.

Well, Croup happened. Just a few days before his birthday.

If you are not familiar with Croup, let's hope it stays that way. It's nasty. Wheezing, choking, gagging, projectile vomiting nastiness. The wheezing portion is particularly disturbing, as it evokes any idea you might have of what complete respiratory distress might sound like. There were multiple trips to the doctor and steroid injections involved, culminating in a trip to the ER on his actual birthday.

So there was no "1st" birthday party. There was no smashing-of-the-cake and frosting-in-the-face and all that standard jazz.

Baby Boy's Simple Cake
But I was determined that Baby Boy would still have his cake. Until I realized that he needed to be held and comforted more than he needed a fancy birthday cake (DUH ~ universe speaking to me).

I then promptly abandoned my fancy cake plans and finished his carrot cake with a simple goldfish border and let him have at it. I did manage to get a picture, before the ER debacle. (And I mean debacle. As in, q-tips-down-the-throat, chest x-rays, breathing treatments, we-think-he-has-whooping-cough, complete drama, oh wait, maybe we should actually consult with a pediatrician debacle ~ separate story).

My Balloons (Not Pictured!) Are More Interesting Than Cake

Ok, Maybe This Cake Is More
Interesting Than Those Balloons....
Party or no party...cake or no cake...Baby Boy got better and didn't look back.

Today he toddles around with the help of furniture or anything else he can get his hands on, mobile or immobile. He brings young light to a world in which I am often consumed with the nitty gritty details of aging. He keeps me positive.

Now back to Parks & Recreation.

I think it's especially hard to be positive right now. The negative campaign ads are everywhere--radio, TV, email, snail mail, phone calls. I don't know if I can handle another three weeks...

Leslie Knope, 2012 Pawnee city council candidate in NBC's Parks & Recreation, has some important lessons to teach us about staying positive. I think all political candidates should follow the Leslie Knope model of taking the high road when it comes to negative campaign ads.

The following clip is a negative ad that Leslie's campaign manager Ben created. Leslie refused to run this negative ad:

Instead, Leslie found a way to make a positive campaign ad, when everyone thought it wasn't possible:

In fact, I think this is what we all need to do. Personally, professionally, politically, whatever. Find a way to find the positive. And when you find yourself in a run of this-isn't-what-I-planned situations, ask yourself what the universe is trying to tell you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Quilts of the Ronald McDonald House

A year ago right now I traveled to Rochester, Minnesota to live at the Ronald McDonald House while my baby boy was in the hospital. I took these pictures to show others just how amazing this place is. I focused mainly on the artwork and quilts, but there is so much more to say about such an amazing place. The artwork and quilts are only one small part of what RMH does to make people feel at home, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

I can't express what it means in difficult circumstances to have a place to call home.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

12 Months

I finally completed the 12 month slideshow. This is a quick glance at our year in review, from 1 lb 15 oz baby boy to 15 lb 10 oz one-year-old baby boy!

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