Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Compassion Kits: Teaching Your Children Generosity

Our compassion kits

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
--Dalai Lama

Today we went to a meetup with our local AP mom's group (I have to say that I love that group and I really feel like we've found a group that feels like "home" for us). Today's event was the 2nd Annual Compassion Kit Playdate.  Each family brought 20-30 of an item (or two) for everyone to put in their bags. We contributed bar soap and Q-tips. Then, everything is lined up assembly line style and each family makes three bags. We actually had enough to stretch it out into five gallon size Ziploc bags. We are going to keep the bags in our car and when we see someone in need we can give them the bag.

Each bag is comprised of some (or all) of the following:
  • Scarves
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Socks
  • Bar Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Dental Floss
  • Crackers
  • Single serve fruit
  • Hand warmers
  • Deoderant
  • Safety pins
  • Chapstick
  • Q-tips
  • Kleenex
I'm sure there's more I'm not thinking of. We also had some Hershey's chocolate bars at home so we popped those in the bags, too.

I'm so thankful that we had the opportunity to do this. It opened up a dialogue with Beanie about those who are less fortunate and how we can be compassionate & help. We talked about how some people don't have a home to live in or food to eat. It's been quite cool and rainy here the last couple days and Beanie said she wanted to give people her blanket and pillow. Isn't that awesome? I was so proud of her for coming up with that on her own. It confirms to me that we discussed the topic in an age-appropriate fashion and that she "gets it." Or at least "gets it" as much as a three-and-a-half year old can.

Things have been tight here financially lately. I had committed to doing this awhile back and really didn't want to back out. The truth is, for about eight bucks we got a pack of bar soap at Costco and we had the Q-tips at home already. It was so awesome making the bags after everyone pooled their donations together. We may be tackling our own financial issues, but we do have a roof over our heads, food to eat and the ability to pay our bills. We have so much to be thankful for. Our difficulties seem small when looking at the bigger picture. It's good to keep that in perspective.

I'm excited to put our kits in to action. While we've been talking about it the last two days I am quite interested to see Beanie's reaction (and the subsequent dialogue) when we do get to pass them out.

***I cannot take credit for this idea at all as it was the brain child of another mom in our mom's group, but I am so glad we were able to participate this year.***

Click here to read an update about how Beanie reacted to giving out the compassion kits.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 11/29

One of the things we have really started to take a good look at is menu planning. We go through spurts where we do really great & then there's the not-so-great spurts, the times where we just feel like something else or feel like we deserve to go out to eat. Both Glenn and I are making a renewed effort to menu plan and stick to our plan. I'm really excited about this because Glenn is even helping come up with the dinner ideas!

As always, we sit down and plan Saturday - Friday. That's just how we roll.

***All recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free or easily adapted to be.***

Saturday: Turkey Tostadas (our Thanksgiving leftover favorite)
Sunday: La Bamba Casserole with blue corn chips (sans cheese for dairy free)
Monday: Stuffed Peppers with green salad (I will post this recipe -- and link -- when I make it. We adapted a family recipe and these are so yummy!)
Tuesday: Meatloaf Muffins with mashed potatoes and green salad (I'm really excited to try this recipe from Cook it Allergy Free for the first time this week.)
Wednesday: Sweet 'n Sour Chicken with rice
Thursday: Arroz con Pollo
Friday: Italian Sausage Soup

For the gluten-free Menu Plan Monday hosted by Gluten-free Goodness, the ingredient of the week is sweet potatoes. I LOVE mashed sweet potatoes and, I dare say, our dairy-free version this year was better than some "regular" sweet potato casseroles I've had. Everyone thought they were quite delicious.

I don't remember where I got the original recipe, but this is a dish we've made for Thanksgivings in the past and I'm glad my dairy-free soy-free version turned out well.

Marshmallow Mashed Sweet Potatoes


2 1/4c sweet potatoes
2c rice milk
3 Tbsp Earth Balance soy free buttery spread
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
dash cinnamon


  1. Steam potatoes (peeled and cut) until tender.
  2. Mash potatoes with mixer.
  3. Add rice milk gradually.
  4. Mix in remaining ingredients.
  5. Put in casserole dish.
  6. Heat at 250 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Cover top with marshmallows.
  8. Cook until marshmallows soften or are lightly browned.
I'm linked up over at I'm an Organizing Junkie and Gluten-free Goodness so click on over for more menu ideas.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I am hopeful that this is going to be a good week.

Last week was rough and that would be putting it lightly. I was in a very poor mood and Thanksgiving sort of crept up and made it even more of an anxious week. Add on a few other personal things and wa-la! it was a recipe for disaster.

I have my first appointment with the counselor on Wednesday. I'm glad. And nervous. I hope I like her. I hope I feel at ease enough to talk through everything. I've had a lot on my mind lately and the PPD just seems to be compounding things.

Glenn sat down and balanced the pile of receipts we had for the checkbook today. I usually handle all the financial issues -- the checkbook, paying the bills, etc. He brings home the bacon and I distribute it. I think having him write everything down really gave him a better perspective on things. We have been talking a lot about financial stuff lately -- changing our expenditures, our mindset and so on -- and I really feel like we're on the same page. We have a plan for the future. Now just to implement it.

I also feel better about getting a plan into place for keeping up with chores around the house. I don't want it to be immaculate all the time, but I'd like some semblance of order. And, now that Bubby seems very ready to crawl I really want to make sure things are more tidy, kept out of his reach, etc. I have this master plan where I could clean one room a day and do one (or two) loads of laundry a day and then each week things would be taken care of. I seem to get into an all-or-nothing mindset and I don't think that's helpful at all. Little by little is how it's going to have to be.

I also think we're going to start doing some holiday things this week. I'm hoping to get out to one of the local evening events if the weather is nice. We'll have to go on Glenn's night off because my anxiety and crowds don't really mix right now (or ever). We'll probably put the tree up on Wednesday. I'm really excited about that, but, at the same time, it'll probably be an adventure with a eight-and-a-half month old who's learning to crawl.

So, we'll see how the week goes. For now, I'm hopeful that it will be a good one.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving was an adventure in baking for sure! I was scared excited to see how everything turned out. I was very pleased with the pumpkin pie. I adapted this recipe. For the crust I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Biscuit and Baking Mix (the recipe for the crust is on the back of the bag). I used Earth Balance dairy-free soy-free butter when preparing the crust.

Pumpkin Pie

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1-15oz can pumpkin
  • 1- 14oz can light coconut milk

  1. Prepare crust according to directions.
  2. Place 2 eggs in medium-sized bowl; beat lightly.
  3. Beat in remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour into shell and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about an hour longer, or until knife comes out clean when inserted into pie.
  6. Cool completely.


Friday, November 26, 2010

'Tis the Season

photo credit: James Jordan Photography/ Flickr
For Hanukkah?


The Solstice?

I'm pretty excited because this morning Glenn and I placed holds on a bunch of books at the library. We want to expose Beanie (and Bubby, of course, when he's old enough) to stories and information about all the Winter festivities. We got two books on St. Nicholas, two on Christmas, two on Hanukkah, one on Kwanzaa and one on the Winter solstice. I think it will be interesting for all of us to learn more about traditions and holidays that we aren't accustomed to.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the United States. We had a great, albeit busy, day here.

Today I am thankful for the support of my friends and family. I'm thankful that we have a roof over our heads and food (delicious food!) to eat. I'm thankful that we are happy, healthy and loved.

I'm also thankful that my gluten-, dairy- and soy-free stuffing and pumpkin pie both turned out wonderfully.

I'll post up the recipes tomorrow, even if it is a tad too late for Thanksgiving. Maybe Christmas? I didn't want to post the recipes until I was sure they turned out.

There's so much to be thankful for. What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winter coats not safe in car seats.

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research study seven out of ten children are improperly restrained in their child safety seats. Proper installation is of the utmost importance as child safety seats can reduce fatal injury by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers according to the NHTSA. Have your car seat inspected to make sure it is properly installed.

In the cold Winter months, there is another risk to children in car seats that many parents are not aware of. It is not safe for your child to wear their winter coat in the car seat. When you think about your toddler waddling around in their puffy snow clothes you can easily see why. The coat adds a lot of bulk and, if worn in the car seat, your child cannot be properly & safely restrained.

I shared the following link on Facebook a while back and a mom posted it on my mom's group discussion board last week. Please check it out.

How to safely wear a Winter coat in a car seat

Wordless Wednesday: First Snow

Earlier this week we got our first snow of 2010 and Bubby's first snow ever.

I'm linked up over at Hobo Mama and Dagmar's Momsense so click on over for more Wordless Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Struggling to Be a Gentle Parent

It's been a rough day today with Beanie. I feel like there was a lot of yelling (mostly on her part although some on mine too). I just feel like whatever we are doing discipline-wise with her is not working for her or, really, for any of us.

Beanie has done amazingly well transitioning into her role as big sister. There have been struggles, but, for the most part, I was pretty excited with how well she took on her new role. Within the last month or so things have become more difficult.

I know a lot of her problems right now come from wanting attention. Glenn and I try to make sure that we each have one-on-one time with her. Lately it's been harder for me because Bubby is in that stage where mommy can not be out of sight. We try to make the most of mother-daughter time during Bubby's naps. The change in our relationship has been hard on me and, obviously, on her as well.

She is also learning how to interact appropriately with her brother now that he is becoming more talkative and mobile (he's an expert army crawler). I know she is wanting to show love to her brother, but her attempts are often too rough and I feel like we're always saying, "don't grab your brother's hands so hard," "don't grab his neck," "be gentle," and so on and so forth. We need to help her and give her the opportunity to show that love (appropriately) more often.

Our bedtime routine tonight was especially rough. Things just aren't working. I find myself not being the parent I want to be. It's hard because my own PPD and anxiety cause me to be a little on edge even before the normal three-and-a-half year old stuff hits.

I've had some books that I've wanted to read for some time now. I know my mom bought me Playful Parenting for Christmas and I've been wanting to get Unconditional Parenting for quite some time.

Any other books you'd recommend?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow Day.

I'm pretty sure that when you're three-and-a-half there isn't anything more fun that watching it snow ALL.DAY.LONG.

I'm also pretty sure the same holds true when you're 31.

Sunday, November 21, 2010






The last few days have been hard. I feel like there is a giant dark cloud hanging over me. Even when the day starts out fairly well the cloud comes and permeates everything. It seems to come with no warning and for no reason. It's just there. I want it gone.

I am lucky to have such a supportive husband. He is my rock. I feel bad for leaning on him so heavily right now, but he is my constant source of support and comfort.

My first counseling appointment is next week. It seems so far away. Dang holiday getting in the way.

It seems there is little that makes me stay happy for long. Before the cloud comes back. But today, it snowed. Just a little, like so little you had to squint to see it most of the time. Beanie was so excited. She was going on and on (and on and on) about the snow. She wanted to put on her snow boots and snow clothes. She was ready to go out and play, to build a snowman. She was singing songs about the snow, the squirrels and birds playing in it, and how happy she was.

I was happy too, really truly happy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


It looks like we're quickly heading from this:

to this:

It is cold here. I really do hope we get a bit of snow this weekend or early next week. Beanie will be so excited.

Friday, November 19, 2010

"My mommy taught me..."

"...to be nice and respect everyone, even if they're different."

I would be so proud of my Beanie if (when??) she said those words.

I'm not entirely sure how this conversation came about between Glenn and I. It was a few weeks ago after I read this blog post about bullying and homosexuality. Somehow our conversation turned to religion and we discussed how Beanie would be different because her parents don't believe in god (or to be more specific, her mom doesn't and her dad is agnostic). Please note I said "her parents don't" and nothing about what she does (or doesn't) believe. She's three. She can make that decision when she's older, can think critically and is cognitively capable of making such a decision.

Glenn mentioned something along the lines of a classmate or friend telling Beanie that she would go to hell. I replied, "My mommy taught me to be nice and respect everyone, even if they're different." I'm sure it will happen, someday. We live in a predominantly religious society. I'm not trying to knock religion; I'm more of a live and let live person. If religion provides you comfort, support, whatever then so be it. Please respect that I get that comfort, support, strength, whatever elsewhere. And not everyone would tell their child that a friend was going to hell, but it happens. Glenn's mom told him that about some of his friends when he was little. My own mom has told me I am going to hell. A scary thought for her, I guess.

I digress.

Respect for others no matter what. No matter what god they believe in or if they don't believe in one at all. No matter if they're gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor. You treat everyone with respect. No matter what. That is what I will teach my children every day. Mutual respect can go a long way.

I don't talk much about religion (or lack thereof) on this blog. It is a big issue in our lives as we decide how best to raise our children in an overwhelmingly religious world. It's been on my mind a lot lately with the approaching holidays and my ever curious (almost) three-and-a-half year old. Maybe I'll start to write about it more as we navigate through this journey.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quantity vs. Quality.

I've learned something over the first 18 days of NaBloPoMo.

I much prefer quality over quantity when it comes to blogging.

Over the last few days I've felt like I have to post even though I may not really have something to say. I've become a blogger who wants to have something to say, not just to type and hit publish. I'm struggling with a lot of things right now; blogging every day this month has probably saved my sanity, but I also struggle with living up to my own expectations.

Is it time to throw in the towel on NaBloPoMo? Or really dig deep and finish up those drafts in Blogger?

Anything you, my loyal readers, would really like me to write about? Anything you are dying to know about me?

The Cursed Day.

When I was younger November the 18th had a nickname.

The cursed day.

When I was in ninth grade, my (supposed) best girl friend started going out with the boy I was so in love with. He was my real best friend. We talked on the phone for hours every day. I was sure that I was going to marry this guy, that we were meant to be together forever, and on & on. It was devastating to the fourteen year-old me.

In tenth grade, I was dating a guy my stepdad nicknamed "The Italian Stallion." All the girls thought he was the best. My crush for him grew exponentially as I sat in the athletic trainer's office icing my knee and waiting for him to come in and get taped up for football practice. My best friend and I went trick or treating at the ripe age of fifteen just so we could go to his house. I was speechless when he answered the door with his shirt off. After that we went out a few times and, on November 18, I found out he was also dating a gal from the other high school in town.

In eleventh grade, my boyfriend broke up with me on, you guessed it, November 18. We had been dating for almost a year and he had turned my whole world upside down, probably not for the best in the short-term, but definitely for my betterment in the long-term.

As I type all these out now, they seem silly. To a teenager they were monumental. I dreaded November 18th every year. Every single year. I don't recall any other specific things happening on November 18, but I was convinced the day was unlucky for me. I'm sure that, over the years, I noticed little things occurring that I would've have paid much attention to on any other day of the year.

In 2006, the curse was finally broken. I found out I was pregnant with Beanie. I thought I was sick or had food poisoning, but, no, it was morning sickness.

I've never looked back.

Have you ever had a day you consider particularly unlucky?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Frugal Holidays.

Or, a more appropriate term may be, the frugal life.

It sort of snuck up on us, the realization that, once again, we really don't have a lot to spend for the holidays. I know that it isn't about giving and receiving gifts. For us, it's about spending time with family and enjoying their company. But, since we celebrate "commercial Christmas" as we like to call it, the whole gift part is pretty fun. The last two years have been tight on money. In 2008, Glenn was on the chopping block and we weren't sure he'd have a job after Christmas. In 2009, he finally got a permanent position (after getting laid off in early 2009 and, luckily, getting the last temporary position they had for laid off reps), but his income had dramatically decreased and we were trying to make it work. This year I was really looking forward to celebrating! So was Glenn.

But, right now, I'm stuck trying to figure out how we're going to stretch our dollars and have enough money for Thanksgiving dinner next week. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I will figure out a way to make it work.

What I do know is we really need to figure out a new way to live financially. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, then you know we've struggled with this before. We've been talking about it a lot lately and decided a shift in thinking is required. And quickly. There's also the change in thinking of how we can make things happen that we do want (from little things like a nice dinner out to big things like remodeling the house to building our savings).

So, our current Save Money Now plan is:
  • Plan meals weekly and shop once.
  • No going out for dinners when we're lazy, tired, don't "feel like" what we have at home.
  • Pack Glenn's lunch every day.
  • Start selling things that we just have sitting around on Craigslist.
  • Change how we think about income and expenditures.
The shift in thinking is the big one! The others are easy once we get in a groove. But the shift in thinking must occur for all the other stuff to stick.

I'm looking at making things for the grandparents for the holidays. Does anyone have an idea of something they're going to make as holiday gifts? Glenn doesn't like any of the ones I've had so far.

And, I'd love to hear your ideas on saving money.

How do you live frugally, both during the holidays and all year long?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Date Night!

It's Tuesday night so that means it's date night. We haven't had a real date in about 8 1/2months, but we do try to take advantage of the time we have together on Glenn's nights off.

Tonight? Well, he's playing Fable and I'm blogging.

At least for the time being. We are both quite tired. I haven't gotten a chance to sit down at the computer at all today. He hasn't gotten to play his new game since he got his XBox fixed. So, we each needed a bit of time to unwind.

But, date night...yes.

We haven't been out on a date since before Bubby was born. It's hard with little family living close by (and the ones who are close by are busy as all get out themselves). Between that and just the difficulties of the last eight months it hasn't happened. So, we try to take advantage of the little things and the two nights a week Glenn stays up later than the kiddos.

It hasn't been quite as much fun since we canceled our cable. We no longer have On Demand. We used to try and watch movies or catch up on our favorite shows (like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report). Now there isn't much on TV. But, it's nice to just have time to ourselves to reconnect. To talk. To eat a treat. To do what we want and remember we are husband and wife as well as mom and dad.

Speaking of. Gotta go!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Halfway There.

Whew, where has the time gone? NaBloPoMo is already halfway over! I'm liking it so far; it's definitely "forced" me to carve a little time out for myself. Instead of dorking around on Facebook and Twitter all night long I try to take some time to sit and write. I have a few posts set up in draft that I'm working on. I'm feeling good about things in the blog-o-sphere.

Oh, you thought I'd have something important to say for the halfway mark? Sorry. No bones.

Actually, I was hoping to have a "better" post to write today, but it's been a rough day. Beanie had a rough go at bedtime last night. I let myself get uber frustrated and subsequently beat myself up about it. Bubby is cutting his other front tooth and nursed nearly every hour last night. Then, both the kids were up at 4:30 this morning. Eek! All three of us were back asleep by 6:30 and slept for a bit longer. We missed a playdate at a friend's house I've really been wanting to see. Bubby is very cranky -- poor guy with his tooth and with some tummy issues. There's a few other things that are going on -- finances, family stuff, etc -- that are adding stress to life.

Beanie and I took some time to drink cocoa and have pumpkin muffins together. Well, she had hot cocoa and I had coffee. It was fun. I've been wanting to take her out for a latte (steamed milk for her), but the finances just don't allow it this week. I braided her hair and she really liked it. Right now I am home alone while Glenn and the kids are at the store shopping for dinner. We're making spaghetti and hoping it'll last for at least two dinner this week.

So, that's it. All I got for today. And I'm not going to beat myself up for writing a semi-lame (or maybe really lame???) post just to keep up with NaBloPoMo. Hopefully back to more meaningful blogging tomorrow....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cranberry Orange Bread

Cranberry Orange Bread

As Autumn arrived and Thanksgiving was on my mind I vowed to start trying to adapt recipes early. We love Thanksgiving in this house! The baking, the family, the leftovers. The thought of our very first (and hopefully only) gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free Thanksgiving was a little overwhelming. Overwhelming with the possibility of being a really cool and exciting adventure I guess.

I haven't done as much adapting as I would like, but today Beanie and I made Cranberry Orange Bread. The original recipe is my mother-in-law's and it's one of our fall favorites. I am very pleased with how our gluten-free version came out.

Cranberry Orange Bread


2c gluten-free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1c sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh grated orange peel
1/4c Spectrum palm shortening
3/4c orange juice
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2c fresh cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift flour and other dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Put the palm shortening in the middle & cut it into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Blend orange juice and egg; add in to mixture.
  5. Fold in cranberries.
  6. Turn into greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50min or until golden brown and a toothpick is dry when inserted into loaf. Cool on it's side on a rack.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Miss Kung Fu.

***We take a break in our regularly scheduled mommy blogging for a post I've been promising for at least two years.

Bri, are you out there???

Because this post is just for you.***

I miss kung fu. I miss it a lot. I miss the hard exercise. I miss the stress relief and mood elevation. I miss the people (well, some of them).

It frustrates me that I can't get past a certain point in Kempo 2 anymore. That I've forgotten some (if not most) of my forms. I'm sure if I got back into working out and training that they would come back to me. Still. They used to be ingrained in my mind and muscle memory. I could do them in my sleep. I did.

There was a time that I thought someday we would go back to training. Now I am sure that is not going to happen. Not unless we train together by ourselves. Not that that would be a bad thing. Glenn is an amazing martial artist. Watching him do his forms is breathtaking. I've always thought so. He's powerful in his movements, but has a fluidity and grace that I envy.

In the spring of 2002, I started training with Glenn at kung fu. He had started training in 1997 or 1998, before I knew him. He had wanted me to start training with him for quite a while, but I wasn't really sure I wanted to until then. It wasn't the best timing; I was in my last quarter of college, we were planning a wedding, etc etc. I started out slowly, but really enjoyed it from the start.

I was asked to join more advanced classes and began to enjoy it even more. Kung fu, especially the style we trained, is beautiful. Beautiful in a kind of I could break your arm kind of way. I remember the first time I saw the dragon form; it took my breath away. I have to say, far and above, learning and executing forms was my favorite part of kung fu. Sparring? Didn't really care for it; definitely didn't give myself credit for any skill I had at it. I could practice forms for hours on end. I wasn't the most confident martial artist. Training with someone who seemingly mastered their forms beautifully (although I'm sure Glenn might disagree) always gave me something more to strive for. I always felt (probably incorrectly) that I was sort of grandfathered in because my husband was an awesome martial artist. I didn't give myself enough credit even though Glenn (and my instructors) gave me positive feedback.

In 2006, we started working with the owner/master. We put out lead boxes and were planning on partnering with him to open our own studio. We lived and breathed kung fu. We trained for at least three hours a day, five times a week.We looked for places to rent. Glenn started teaching. We were both preparing for our black belt tests (Again, I felt grandfathered in. The reality was that many things in our studio were changing, including the way the black belt tests were conducted. Still, I never felt quite good enough).

As Glenn worked more with the owner and learned more about the business, he learned some things that didn't bode well for us partnering and starting our own studio. (I should add that during this same time there were a lot of issues going on between the grand master and the local studios; things were, in essence, falling apart. The local owner/master was "kicked out" of the franchise. Another master split from our studio, etc etc.)

In August 2006, Glenn quit kung fu.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. He told me (over and over again) that I didn't have to quit just because he did. I contemplated continuing to train, but it just didn't seem right. Kung fu was something we did together. And, knowing what I then knew, did I really want to train anyway?

Glenn flew to Georgia for two weeks. Our entire life & plan for the future had been thrown into upheaval. We didn't have a business to start. Glenn didn't even have a job. My heart ached for him because I knew what a disappointment this was. I don't think I really let myself process what a change it was for myself.

Glenn came home from Georgia and said he wanted to start our family. Shortly thereafter we were pregnant with Beanie and, even though I missed kung fu, the fact was there wasn't really time to train. At least not the way we were accustomed to.

Over the years we've thought about training again. About training with the other master. About trying to go back to our old studio. The timing, or financial situation, or whatever was never right.

When Bubby was just a few days old we decided to go in and see if we'd be welcome to train there again. We wanted to sign Beanie up. We wanted just to be able to go and train and stay out of the politics (if that was even possible).

We soon found out that our "past" was in question, that it was assumed we had left to train with the other master (I guess guilty until proven innocent?) and that we wouldn't even be offered the common courtesy of being spoken to about rejoining until some calls were made. I was really disappointed. So was Glenn. I'm not entirely surprised at how it played out. We did try to "explain ourselves" through an email, but we didn't want to play the games. Glenn told them that and we never heard back.

Their loss. Although, really, it's ours too.

I know I've left some details out & left some things intentionally vague. I guess to protect the "innocent."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Elimination Diet: My Favorite Foods & Products

When I first went on the elimination diet & eliminated all eight top allergens from my diet (dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish) I had a hard time adjusting. There were are lot of things I couldn't have. I tried to focus on the things I could have, but in the beginning that list seemed short -- meats, fruit, vegetables and rice. I quickly learned to make the best of our new-found diet situation; it was all about exploring new foods, preparing my own food and eating whole, unprocessed foods.

The following is a list of the foods and products that made me feel like I wasn't missing out on anything at all. In fact, I got to add a bunch of news foods to my repertoire.

1. So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer: I really like a cup of coffee in the morning. I like it with creamer. A lot of creamer. When I first went on the elimination diet, a friend suggested almond milk for my coffee. Too thin. I tried vanilla syrup. Better taste, but still not my thing. I ended up forgoing my morning cup of joe because I just couldn't find anything I liked to put in it. When I found out about So Delicious coconut milk coffee creamer I was ecstatic. I think I ran to the store that same day to buy some. It tasted just like the creamer I was used to, if not better. The consistency was just what I was looking for; it's creamy and flavorful. I never run out of my vanilla coconut milk coffee creamer now; the fridge is always well stocked.

2. Zing bars: We were wandering around the market one day when I noticed a sample table. I usually avoid them, but this one caught my eye. I was so excited to find Zing bars. They are locally made. When I was first starting the big elimination I was at a loss for what to eat for protein. Before, I stuck with nuts, eggs, and dairy for most of my protein, meat to a lesser extent. On the elimination diet, I was starting to feel like I was always hungry. I was starving in the evenings between nursing all the time and the diet. The Zing bars were perfect when I needed a snack to get me through. I started out with the Chocolate Coconut Zing bar (contains almonds & coconut) and, later when I could have peanuts, I tried out the Chocolate Peanut Butter one. There is also a Cranberry Orange flavor that is dairy free too, but contains cashews. I am positive I will never look at a protein/energy bar the same way. You'll be hard up to find one that comes close to Zing bars in taste.

3. Quinoa: I had never had quinoa before going on the big elimination. Glenn had picked some up at Trader Joes a long while back and it was sitting in our cupboard. One night we were getting dinner prepared and I realized that I couldn't have the side dish Glenn had picked out (I can't remember what it was or why now). I started looking through the cupboards trying to find something I could eat as a side. I found the quinoa. I'm so glad I did. Quinoa is one of our favorite grains now. We use quinoa pasta in our favorite soup. We have two delicious side salads that we make: Greek Quinoa and Red Quinoa with Papaya & Mango Salsa and Arugala. We have quinoa for breakfast. Beanie loves it too.

4. Trader Joes Brown Rice Penne Pasta: I was sure I'd have to miss out on pasta being gluten-free. Not the case! We definitely don't have it as often as we used to, but the TJ's brown rice penne pasta is delicious. We've tried a few brands of brown rice pasta, but the TJ's one is, by far, the best. For a full review, click here.

5. Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour: I'm not a fancy baker or cook. I do like baking with Beanie and, having the dietary restrictions we do, it's often easier to make something yummy at home. Often times recipes call for a mixture of flours, but I found the easy way out -- Bob's Red Mill gluten-free all purpose baking flour. We had started using rice flour initially, but switched to the Bob's Red Mill one, which is a mix of gluten-free flours and potato starch, and are happier with the taste and texture of our baked goods. Also, must mention the xantham gum too -- really helped with the baked goods! Basically, we've liked every single Bob's Red Mill gluten-free product we've tried and there have been quite a few: vanilla cake, cornbread, brownies, and pancake mix to name a few.

6. Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss ice-cream: Okay, okay ice-cream is definitely not an essential food item. Or maybe it is? What I do know is that Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss ice-cream was my treat when I felt like I couldn't eat anything. In the beginning of the big elimination, I felt like every time I ate it was a constant reminder of the diet. Going to the freezer and pulling out some ice-cream was something I looked forward to each evening. My two favorite flavors are the Mint Galactica (the best mint chocolate chip ice cream Glenn says he's had and he's something of a mint chocolate chip ice-cream connoisseur) and the Chocolate Peanut Butter. The Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge was the first one I had and it is so rich and tasty that just a small bit will satisfy you. Even if there's no reason for you not to have dairy ice-cream I implore you to try Coconut Bliss.

7. Rudi's gluten-free bread: Sometimes you just really want a sandwich. Or a slice of toast. Glenn found Rudi's gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread for me and I was hooked. Their multigrain bread is my favorite for sandwiches. I don't do sandwiches a lot, but when I do I definitely prefer their bread. (contains eggs -- I didn't try this until later on)

8. Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread: Earth Balance dairy-free soy-free spread is so good! It's great for baking, putting on toast, or (Beanie would tell you) just eating out of a spoon. I'm not kidding, just today we were making biscuits and she was so excited to put the measuring cups in the sink so she could, and I quote, "lick them all clean." She now asks for "mommy's butter" on her food too.

9. Rice Dream Rice MilkRice Dream rice milk became my go to drink. I don't really drink it by itself, but I always have it on hand for baking, granola, and lattes. I was so excited to get a case of it at Costco; I only have two cartons left so I hope I can find it there again soon.

There were obviously foods that, although not "required" by any stretch of the imagination, made the elimination a lot more fun. So, honorable mentions go to:

Enjoy Life chocolate chips -- Enjoy Life Foods are gluten-free and made without any of the top eight allergens
Kinnikinnick cinnamon donuts -- These are delicious with coffee.
Kinnikinnick frozen waffles -- Some mornings I don't feel like oatmeal. Or eggs. Or making pancakes. These waffles are easy to pop in the toaster and really tasty.
Udi's gluten-free double chocolate muffins -- My post Best Treat Ever pretty much sums it up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today I made the call.

I finally called my midwife to get a recommendation for a counselor. I know, I know...I said I was going to do this two weeks ago. But I didn't. The days passed. Things have been going a little better. I feel like I have a better handle on things. Some of the time. I talked with a friend who is going through some of the same things.

There's no shame in reaching out for some help. Sure, I could've done it earlier. I also know better today than tomorrow.

My midwife just called back and they have a list of counselors in the area. I figured that would be a better option than throwing a dart and picking one of the long list my insurance has. I chatted with my midwife and it felt good. I think it will really help to be able to go and talk with someone about all the stuff that's going on.

I haven't shied away from getting help (either psychological or pharmacological) in the past and there's no reason I should now. I would prefer to avoid pharmaceutical medications now and I think seeking help from a counselor is a great first step. I also want to start exercising again. I really need to walk my talk; here I am with a research background in the anti-depressant effects of exercise and doing nothing about it. But, if there's one thing I know about depression, it's the starting to do something about it that's the most important part.


And, one year ago today we found out we were having a baby boy. Seems like eons ago.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Falling Leaves

The neighbor's maple tree makes for a lot of fun (and work) for us in the Fall.

Look! The tree is almost bare!

I'm linked up over at Hobo Mama so click on over to see more Wordless Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Attachment Parenting and Our Family.

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: What is natural parenting?
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our Carnival coincides with the launch of Natural Parents Network, a community of parents and parents-to-be who practice or are interested in attachment parenting and natural family living. Join us at Natural Parents Network to be informed, empowered, and inspired!
Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

It seems that every so often I hear the question, How did you find attachment parenting?

For our family the answer is very simple. We didn't.

I guess, in a way, it would be more accurate to say it found us.

When Beanie was born we didn't set out to parent in one particular way or another. We knew there were certain things that our parents did that we didn't want to do. We largely followed our instincts and parented in a way that seemed most logical and "right." We didn't know there was a label to how we were parenting. It wasn't until later we learned that we were following a philosophy of parenting called attachment parenting. Attachment parenting is responsive parenting, respectful parenting and instinctual parenting. It's a tool or set of ideas, not a checklist to which you must comply. Dr. Sears talks about the Seven Attachment Tools, or Baby B's, which are:

  • Birth bonding
  • Breastfeeding
  • Babywearing
  • Bedding close to baby (or bed-sharing or co-sleeping)
  • Belief in the language value of your baby's cry
  • Beware of baby trainers
  • Balance
All seven of the attachment tools are important to our family. Some, like breastfeeding or co-sleeping, come more naturally than others, like balance. Each attachment tool sort of fell into place for our family before we even knew there was a name to our instinctual parenting philosophy. Admittedly, some AP practices, like co-sleeping, were more instinctual for me than my husband, but we worked together to make it work well for our family.

I'd like to share in a bit more detail how each of the attachment tools, or Baby B's, has helped our family thrive.

Birth bonding -- We had amazing birth experiences with both Beanie and Bubby. We were fortunate to deliver Beanie with a naturally-minded OB and we were under the care of a midwife for Bubby's birth. Both were delivered at a baby-friendly hospital so we initiated breastfeeding early, roomed in and had visits with lactation consultants. When we got home we worked hard to make sure that we promoted bonding with lots of holding, nursing on demand, and lots of love.

Breastfeeding -- For our family, breastfeeding is more than just a way to nourish our babies (and toddlers). Breastfeeding has become the way we nuture, the way we ease frustrations or pain, and, yes, the way we nourish our children. When Beanie was born I didn't really know a lot about breastfeeding. I just knew I was going to do it. I didn't know how long. When she turned one I questioned the idea that she "didn't need my milk anymore." I wondered what magical switch happened that one day she needed it and the next day she didn't. I didn't worry that, even at one year old, she wasn't all that interested in solids; I knew she was getting what she needed from me. I didn't worry when, as a toddler, she wanted to eat blueberries and Kix all day; I knew she would get the nutrition she needed from me. Breastfeeding Bubby has been an entirely different journey, definitely more difficult with colic, thrush, elimination diets and food intolerances. I am thankful every day to be surrounded by the support I need. I hope that someday I can provide that support to someone else.  I can hardly put into words the impact that breastfeeding both my children has had on me; I've gone from a mom who knew little about breastfeeding to a strong advocate for all breastfeeding and hope-to-be-breastfeeding moms.

Babywearing -- The fact that I let a Moby sit on a closet shelf and go unused with Beanie amuses me now. Amuses me in a sort of angry I can't believe I never used that kind of way. With Bubby, babywearing is something that has made life as a mom of two easier. When Bubby's colic was really bad I would wear him in the Moby almost all day. When I take Beanie to the park I never have to worry about being able to care for both of them; Bubby is always snuggled right up next to me. We now use the Ergo most of the time. I've even gotten Glenn to try it out and he loves wearing Bubby in the Ergo too. I cannot image life as a mom of two without utilizing babywearing. I babywear every day. I love that Bubby is close to me. I love hearing his breath and knowing he is safe. I love when he looks up at me with his big blue eyes and just stares as I carry him around as we go about our day. I love that babywearing makes living life easy.

Bedding close to baby -- When we were pregnant with Beanie, Glenn & I discussed co-sleeping. I think the conversation went a little like this:

"Gosh, some people let their kids sleep in the bed with them!"

"I know. We will never do that."

And then I gave birth to my beautiful daughter and nothing seemed more natural than having her sleep right next to me. In fact, the thought of having her sleep far away in another room was something I could hardly fathom. I was comfortable. She was comfortable. We both slept better. Nighttime parenting and nursing was so much easier. As I stated before, co-sleeping was definitely an instinctual thing for me, not so much for Glenn. With Glenn's work schedule dictating that I be on solo nighttime parenting duty, co-sleeping became my decision by default. Since then, he has seen how much easier it makes things and we've worked on some compromises so everyone is happy with the situation.

Belief in the language value of your baby's cry -- I remember the first time someone told me I needed to let Beanie cry it out (CIO). I think she was about four months old. The thought of leaving her alone to cry broke my heart. It didn't feel right. Forget what any parenting guru tells you, the fact that it caused my anxiety to rise to even think about it told me it was not the path for us. Infants have no other way to communicate than to cry. They can't say "I'm too cold," "I just need you to hold me a bit longer," or "I'm hungry." They don't understand that you're "training" them. They need you and, in my opinion, by leaving them alone to cry it out you are letting them know that you aren't there for them when they're telling you they need it the most. When Bubby cries it's for a reason. We may not know that reason right away, but he can rest assured we will try our best to figure it out. And, even if we can't, we will hold him, nurse him, comfort him, and let him know that his parents are available when he needs them. We don't CIO with our three year-old. She has needs too and sometimes doesn't have the language to communicate them. Sure, sometimes she needs to have a good cry, but we are always there to comfort her and let her know that we are there for her.

Beware of baby trainers --  When Beanie was little, people (mostly family) would ask which method we were using to get her to sleep. They talked of different sleep "experts" and their thoughts on how we should get her to sleep better. Better, of course, is a matter of opinion. I love reading and devour information on parenting and babies left and right, but I can think of no better "expert" on my baby and his or her sleep patterns than myself (or hubby). I've found books with helpful ideas and information to guide us, but I am always leery of anyone who promises to "fix" our sleep problems, especially when we don't necessarily see our children's sleep patterns as problems in the first place.

Balance -- Surely balance is the Baby B that I struggle with the most, especially now as I am struggling with post-partum depression and anxiety. While achieving balance in our lives is a huge challenge, it isn't one that we treat lightly. Both Glenn and I struggle to maintain individual identities beyond that of mother and father, or even that of husband and wife. Somewhere there is that component that makes us individuals as well as caring partners and parents. We strive to find (and make) the time for each of us to remember what that part of us is, whether it is through Glenn's photography and love of nature or my love of writing. I think the struggle for balance is especially hard for breastfeeding mothers of infants, but it is important to get some me time even if it's only twenty minutes of reading or a long shower by yourself.

I am so glad that attachment parenting found us. For our family, attachment parenting makes life easier. It means that everyone in our family, no matter how young, is treated with respect and treated as an individual & an important part of our family. I am positive that our parenting philosophy made the transition into life as a family of four easier.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaStop by Natural Parents Network today to see excerpts from everyone's posts, and please visit a few to read more! Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Three of the participants below will instead be featured on Natural Parents Network throughout the month, so check back at NPN!
This list will be updated by afternoon November 9 with all the carnival links. We've arranged it this month according to the categories of our NPN resource pages on "What Is Natural Parenting?"

Attachment/Responsive Parenting

Attachment/responsive parenting is generally considered to include the following (descriptions/lists are not exhaustive; please follow each link to learn more):
    • "Attachment Parenting Chose Us" — For a child who is born "sensitive," attachment parenting is more a way of life than a parenting "choice." Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares her experiences. (@CodeNameMama)
    • "Parenting in the Present" — Acacia at Be Present Mama parents naturally by being fully present.
    • "Parenting With Heart" — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment parents naturally because healthy attachments early in life help our little ones grow into healthy, functioning adults.
    • "Sometimes I Wish We Coslept" — Sheila at A Gift Universe has started to add cosleeping into her sleep routines and has found frequently unspoken benefits. Watch for her post, which will be featured on Natural Parents Network on Tuesday, November 30. (@agiftuniverse)
    • "Unconditional Parenting" — The philosophy of Alfie Kohn resonates with Erin at Multiple Musings, who does not want to parent (or teach) using rewards and punishment. (@ErinLittle)

Ecological Responsibility and Love of Nature

Holistic Health Practices

  • "Supporting Natural Immunity" — If you have decided against the traditional vaccination schedule, Starr at Earth Mama has some helpful tips for strengthening your children's immune systems naturally.

Natural Learning

  • "Acceptance as a Key to Natural Parenting" — Because Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog values accepting and responding to her daughter's needs, she was able to unravel the mystery of her daughter's learning "challenges." (@myzerowaste)
  • "Let Them Look" — Betsy at Honest 2 Betsy makes time to look at, to touch, and to drool on the pinecones.
  • "Why I Love Unschooling" — Unschooling isn't just about learning for Darcel at The Mahogany Way — it is a way of life. (@MahoganyWayMama)
  • "Is He Already Behind?"Ever worry that your baby or toddler is behind the curve? Danielle at born.in.japan will reassure you about the many ways your little one is learning — naturally — every day. Watch for her post, which will be featured on Natural Parents Network on Tuesday, November 16. (@borninjp)
  • "How to Help Your Child through Natural Learning" — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now offers tips on how to understand and nurture your child's natural learning style. (@DebChitwood)

Healthy Living

Parenting Philosophies

Political and Social Activism

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just Me, Blathering On...

I don't really have much important to say, so let's see if I can blog about nothing in particular and hold your interest. I'm determined to make it at least one week in NaBloPoMo.


I took Bubby in to the pediatrician today. We hardly ever go in except for our well-checks. I was worried he had an ear infection since he'd had a cold and has been super cranky, pulling at his ears, and nursing all night long. The good news is no ear infection! The bad news is these teeth are obviously really bothering him. The top right one cut completely though today (yay!) so I'm hoping teeth 4 ,5, and 6 are also planning to make their appearances shortly.


Beanie & Bubby played catch today. With the O-Ball. Well, as much as a three year old and an (almost) eight month old can. It was so neat to see them actually playing together, not just Bubby trying to roll and Beanie trying to show him the way. Or crowding his space.


The kids got up at six today (damn you Daylight Saving Time!!!) and we actually had a pretty productive morning. I washed our sheets and comforter, washed pans, vacuumed the living room and hallway, folded some laundry, went to the pediatrician's, went grocery shopping and put our dinner in the crock pot (Indonesian Chicken -- delish!). I'm feeling quite accomplished today. It helps with my depression to really get on a good roll in the mornings, otherwise the days just seem to waste away. Or things come up. You know with two kids things always come up. After this little break, I'm going to finish up a few more chores and I'll feel really good about today.


And, totally random, but does anyone have a recipe for bean soup? We got some delicious looking beans at Costco and I want to make some soup.


I'm also trying to plan out all our Thanksgiving fare. A lot of things will likely be easily adapted. The one recipe I'm most worried about is the stuffing. Not sure what route I'm going to take with that. I'm going to try our pumpkin pie recipe with coconut milk instead of evaporated milk.  I saw some Sunny Valley Wheat Free pie crusts at PCC and they're also dairy-free & soy-free so I'll probably use those. I'm planning on a few test runs with the recipes so I'll let you know how they turn out.


That's it I guess.

What did you do today?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Saving Time was definitely not invented by parents.

Daylight Saving Time was started during World War I in order to take advantage of the greater amounts of sunlight during April and October. It was initiated again during World War II. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act and Daylight Saving Time was consistent across the states. In 2007, Daylight Saving Time was increased by four weeks in hopes to reduce the amount of oil consumption during daylight hours.

If there's one thing I know about Daylight Saving Time, it's that "fall back" or "spring forward" I lose an hour of sleep. This fact was reiterated once again this year as both my children woke up at 5:45, even with trying to push Beanie's bedtime back a bit.

There's no winning with Daylight Saving Time as a parent. The days of enjoying a late night with dreams of an extra hour of sleep are long gone. Sure, you can enjoy that extra hour Saturday night, but you just may find yourself pouring an extra big cup of coffee come 5:45 Sunday morning.

How did Daylight Saving Time go with your family? Did you get an extra hour of sleep?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What's Really Important.

I was all set to finish up a blog post about how Beanie and my relationship has changed since we became a family of four.

Instead I decided to sit in the rocking chair with her and read. Just the two of us. No little brother grabbing the book, getting cranky, or taking mommy's attention away.

So, I guess you'll just have to wait.

I'd apologize, but I'm not sorry in the slightest.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Looming Reintroduction

In less than two weeks Bubby will be eight months old. The time is quickly coming when we can reintroduce the allergens into my (and subsequently his) diet. His pediatrician said that we could reintroduce at either nine months or twelve months old; she left it entirely up to us.

On one hand, I'm excited. According to our pediatrician, most babies outgrow milk protein & soy sensitivities by one year of age. She said that out of all the infants she'd seen with sensitivities she only had three who didn't outgrow at one year and only one who didn't outgrow the intolerance by three years old. Right now, it really isn't a big deal for Bubby. He nurses and he doesn't know any differently. I really hope he outgrows the intolerance by the time he's old enough to know what is going on. Being able to consume wheat, dairy and soy (or, really, any combination of the three) would make things a lot easier, for me right now and for Bubby later. It's only been in the last few weeks that I've started missing foods, started craving a grilled cheese sandwich, or started getting frustrated when Glenn comes up with dinner idea after dinner idea that I can't have. The other thing is that the holidays are looming right around the corner and, while I'm sort of looking forward to lots of recipe adaptations and exploration, it'd be nice to be able to enjoy some of the holiday favorites we are accustomed to. If we tried a reintroduction at nine months, there is the possibility we would be good to go at Christmas. When I think about the reintroduction from my "holiday perspective" as I call it, it makes me feel more than a tad selfish.

On the other hand, I'm nervous. I don't want to reintroduce these allergens if they're really going to bother Bubby. I know we have to try them out sooner or later. The fact that he had such a difficult time when I reintroduced before (mucousy, horrible diapers with streaks of blood and incredibly fussy) makes me want to wait as long as possible. Eliminating wheat, dairy and soy from my diet made all the difference in the world for Bubby. I don't want to cause him pain or discomfort.

I know the reintroduction is something we have to try sooner or later. Glenn and I have been talking about it. I've been reading what I can. We want to be able to make the best, most educated decision for our son. It's nervewracking, but it also brings about the possibility of no longer living gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free.

I know I should be (and I am!) happy about that prospect, but, the truth is, I have become very accustomed to this lifestyle. I feel healthier, although I am almost positive that can be attributed to the lack of dairy as I noticed a difference when I was only dairy-free. Part of the nervousness with the reintroduction has to do with not only how Bubby will react, but how my body will react.

There are a lot of unknowns with this looming reintroduction. I am excited to see how it all plays out and also a bit nervous too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Two Moms.

No, they're not gay.

Although lately I have the feeling that would be easier to explain to a three year old.

When I was 14 (?) my parents got divorced. My dad quickly got remarried. BUT I've never considered my stepmom my mom. At all. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that our families were friends while my parents (and my stepmom & her husband) were still married. Probably has a lot to do with the fact that my stepmom would call and ask us if my mom was home when she knew she wouldn't be and then just ask to hang out with me, my sister and my dad. Probably has a lot to do with the fact that my dad chose his new wife over his children and we didn't speak for a long while.

All of that is in the past though. I do get along with my stepmom and my dad just fine now. Sure, the relationship has its awkwardness but, for the most part, it's as normal as a relationship with your parents can be. They see the kids more than any of the grandparents since my dad is in town for business at least once a month.

Beanie was convinced my stepmom is my mom. I tried to explain that, no, Grandma L was my stepmom. That the other Grandma L was my mom. The concept of divorce is lost on Beanie. I'm glad she doesn't understand that right now. I try to explain that my mom and dad used to be married to each other, but now they are married to other people. I tell her that it means she gets an extra set of grandparents.

I don't think she really gets it. I suppose if the circumstances were different I really wouldn't care that Beanie thought I had "two moms." But, the way it all went down (even though it was over 15 years ago) makes it that I don't want Beanie to think my stepmom is my mom. It isn't really that big of a deal I guess. I'm sure in time she will understand better.

Do you have step-parents? How do you explain those relationships to your young children?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween

Okay, here are my obligatory Halloween pics.

I dare you to find a cuter butterfly or monster.

Dare you.

I'm linked up over at Hobo Mama so head over there for more Wordless Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Please Vote Today.

I would be remiss if I didn't take the time to remind all my readers in the United States (you know, all 12 or so of you) to please go out and vote today. I'm sure we don't all agree on who to vote for but, while I'd love it if you voted for all the same people I did, the important thing is that you just go vote. It's a wonderful thing that the citizens of this country are given a voice. If you don't like how things in the country are going, take some action to change it. The actual percentage of citizens who vote is dismal, especially in mid-term elections. I wish every person in this country who is able to vote would take the time to do so. If you don't, please don't complain to me about anything political.

I have to admit I'm sort of bummed that voting here is mail in. It sure does make things easier, but I feel like I'm missing an opportunity to take Beanie to vote with me. To let her know how things in this country work, or are supposed to work.

That's it. Go vote. Or, if you're a mail in voter like me, make sure your ballot is postmarked by today.

Did you vote?

(I won't stop bugging you until you do.)

Quinoa for Breakfast

Breakfast Quinoa
One of our favorite new foods in quinoa. I had never had it before going on the elimination diet, but now we have it quite often. I was really intrigued when my friend said she had quinoa for breakfast. I gave it a whirl and it is delicious! It's a nice change from oatmeal.

Breakfast Quinoa 

1/2c red quinoa
1c water
rice milk (or other milk)
brown sugar
slivered almonds
blueberries (or other berries)

Cook quinoa according to directions on box. Drizzle with honey. Add a pinch (or more) of brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir in rice milk, slivered almonds and blueberries.

I've tried it with regular quinoa too, but I really prefer it with the red quinoa -- much better! I don't really measure anything out, I just stir it all in until it looks (and tastes) good.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's been a rough morning.

Oh look, a two-for-one for the first day of NaBloPoMo.

It's been a rough morning. The kind where I wonder if I can keep my sanity in check. The kind where I count the minutes until Glenn will be home from work (and, subsequently, the kind where I'm glad he has a weird work schedule and will be home soon to break up our day).

It hasn't been anything much out of the ordinary. It's pouring which doesn't do much for my mood. I'm envious of the parents who have kids who sleep in after a long and fun-filled evening because mine were still up bright and early. Poor Bubby seems to be working on cutting about three or four teeth. He is uncomfortable and rightfully so. He's in that stage where mommy can't be out of sight for two seconds and, while we can make it work most of the time, let's face it there are times when mommy needs to be out of sight for two seconds. Beanie is having a rough morning too. I'm sure that, to some extent, our moods are playing off each other and that makes me feel even worse. She wants to cuddle and I want to too, but it's hard when there's a baby around that needs all your attention too. She wants to play music and make loud noises, but Bubby is napping (for one of the couple twenty minute cat naps he's taken today).She says, "I don't want to listen!! I don't want to do anything!!!"

I'm glad Glenn is home now. He's cuddling with Beanie, Bubby is napping (maybe for more than twenty minutes this time??) and I can have a few much needed moments to myself.

I find myself feeling guilty that Glenn didn't get to take a nap as he wanted to (because he stayed up late last night for Halloween with the family) because the kiddos were just not having family naptime. I feel guilty the kitchen is a mess and we don't have anything for dinner. I feel guilty I'm still in my pajamas (although with the weather we're having today I can think of no better day for a pajama day). I feel guilty that all my other friends seem to have it together enough to have blogged/facebooked/whatever their Halloween pictures and I am still trying to get them sorted out.

It's been a rough day.

Here We Go Again: NaBloPoMo 2010

It's November 1st which means I'm jumping right into National Blog Posting Month. For as long as I can remember writing has been an outlet for me, so even though I have about zero spare time I'm going to post every day this month. It seems that every now and again I get into this thinking that I have to have something really important to say when I sit down and blog. I've felt that way a lot recently, especially after basically quitting writing for Examiner.com. I like writing research based posts. I like providing (hopefully useful) information to others. But, I also like writing about the craziness that happens every day when you are a mom of two. I feel like I've gotten away from that a little bit, especially when I go through and read my NaBloPoMo posts from last year. I mean, being a mom of a three year old there is no shortage of silly & crazy things I could write about. I don't always have to have something important and meaningful to say. The daily grind is important and meaningful enough!

Of course, as a mom, the highlight of the last few days has been Halloween. Or, as my sister more accurately called it, Halloweekend. Because, man oh man, we had a ton of stuff going on. There were three events to go to, family in town, pictures on no less than four cameras, the Not Its! (who Beanie seemed to dig even though she was very tired and who mama thought were much more tolerable than a lot of other kid's music), and waaaay too much candy (really, what are we going to do with all of it?).

I promise a picture (or a few) sometime soon. Sometime after I upload pictures from all four cameras. What the heck? How did that even happen?

My sis gave me a really hard time because I don't dress up for Halloween. You know, you see those families that have themed costumes. That would never be us. Like never in a million years. Glenn isn't really into Halloween AT ALL; I'm just not really that into dressing up anymore. Anyhoo, Sissy got me (and herself) some cat ears and a tail. I guess I could handle that. Before we head out for trick or treating my sis told Beanie she needed to go to the bathroom. And Beanie yelled, "No! Kitties go poop outside!"

See, I told you there was no shortage of silliness in our house.

And, for the record, the crazy cat lady's cats pooped in our back yard which is why Beanie thinks cats must poop outside instead of in, um, a litter box.

But Halloween Halloweekend was fun. We had some good family time. I even got to get away (with the Bubby) for an hour or so with a friend for a chat. I was so proud of Beanie as she said "thank you," each time she received some candy. It was good, albeit tiring, weekend.

What did you do for Halloween?

***If you're here from NaBloPoMo, post up a comment & let me know. I'd love to find some new favorite blogs to read.***