Saturday, December 31, 2011

Is it really the end of 2011?

It's been pretty quiet here. Last year I resolved to add myself to the list of people I took care of. I think I did pretty well with that. I know that I am doing so much better than I was last year at this time. I'm sure weekly therapy sessions for the last 13 months and (later) Zoloft have helped with that. The PPD/PPA has lessened and while I deal with my normal propensity toward anxiety, things are much improved. I feel like I can handle what comes my way.

If last year was about taking care of me, then this year will be about focusing on my marriage and my family. Now that I'm feeling whole again I can work on those other things.

Earlier today I read a friend's status on Facebook and it said that her focus in 2012 was going to be on balance and simplicity. I couldn't have said it better. I also hope to strive toward a more balanced and simple life. I just finished reading Simplicity Parenting and I think it provided some great food for thought. We aren't really over-the-top with our toys or activities, but there are some areas in which I know we could simplify and make things better. First, my cluttered house; both Glenn and I felt better when we had the condo for sale and everything was neat and tidy, and I'd like to get to that place in this house too. I'd like to cut back on being tethered to my phone, Facebook, and (my new love) Pinterest. I have this divine plan of divvying up the household chores into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. I have a spreadsheet set up and I really think it will make things more manageable for me, especially because I become overwhelmed at the sheer amount of things I feel must get done.

Things have been going well, really well, the last few months. Maybe my quiet made people assume otherwise, but I've just been focusing on what's really important to me. I've been working on getting to the place I want to be in life. I haven't really felt like blogging about it. I've thought of writing in a journal (how old school lol), but haven't really done that either.

I'll wrap up with a list of things I'm looking forward to in 2012:

  • Monthly (at least) dates with the hubby (thanks sis for the babysitting coupons for Christmas)
  • Planning and starting our backyard garden
  • Canning and preserving with my new pressure canner
  • Trying out more vegetarian and vegan meals
  • Having an organized home
  • My work days at Beanie's preschool (since we signed up late I haven't actually had a work day yet)
  • Starting some sort of regular exercise again -- I'm thinking yoga and Hubby got me a Kinect and some games for Christmas
  • Going more green. As part of our very frugal holidays we made body scrubs for family members. I want to explore making more body care items. I've been using homemade cleaner for a bit here and I LOVE IT.
All right. I think that's it for now. Onward and upward.

Have a safe & happy New Year's Eve.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Books & Jeans.

Yesterday I was lamenting about how Beanie only has one pair of jeans that fit. How we made an Amazon wish list for the kids for Christmas and how everyone bought books. How I had asked for some jeans and clothes for her too. How I couldn't wait until our shipment from Osh Kosh showed up so she would have another pair of jeans.

My hubby replied that he was pretty sure no one ever grew up and worried about how they only had one pair of jeans that fit when they were four-and-a-half, but how people grew up (and grew intellectually) because they had many books to read.

Leave it to the hubby to keep things in perspective.

I love my husband.

That is all.

(And, don't get me wrong, I am super thankful that Beanie will be getting lots of books for Christmas. Really, that is what we wanted for her. I was just being emotional and am trying to re-tell the story. Don't want to sound like a thankless grinch ;))

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Birth Thoughts (and please help support midwifery care).

I've been thinking a lot about pregnancy and birth lately.

Bubby's birth.

I don't know if it's because he is nearing two-years old and it's becoming more apparent that he is more of a toddler and less of a baby.

I don't know if it's because we've decided our family is complete.

I don't know if it's because I still haven't had a post-partum period and I'm all hormonal.

I don't know if it's because the midwifery practice that we transferred care to has been pretty effectively disbanded and now there is no longer real midwifery care at the hospital we delivered at.

I do know one thing. That is that if we hadn't transferred care to the midwifery practice we most certainly would not have had the birth experience we did. My midwife was caring and supportive, she encouraged me, and gave us what we needed -- just a little more time. Not to be watched on a clock. I wish I could have been less anxious during my early labor with Bubby; I wish I could have trusted that my body was doing what it needed to and that the timing was perfect, not something to worry about. Our midwife assured us of that and every went well.

This petition at calls for the establishment of a true midwifery practice at the hospital. Please consider signing. It doesn't matter whether you birth with an OB in a hospital or a midwife at home, in a birth center, or in a hospital; the point is that every mother should have a choice.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free Thanksgiving.

We did it AGAIN. Another year with a delicious gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free Thanksgiving dinner.

The spread.


Egg stuffing.

Marshmallow mashed sweet potatoes.

Mashed potatoes (made with coconut milk)

Gluten-free stuffing.

Pumpkin pie with vegan, soy-free whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Prep.

This will be our second gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free Thanksgiving. I LOVE Thanksgiving, but we just weren't feeling like cooking this year. I also didn't feel like going over the mountains to my dads, nor did I trust my mother-in-law to actually cook according to our dietary restrictions (to her credit, I don't really trust anyone to cook to our dietary restrictions). I have two relatives with Celiac's and other family members who sort of haphazardly eliminate things from their diet and don't meticulously read labels (like my dad who served gluten free spaghetti and regular ol' bakery bread the last time we were over). Of course, that's their choice; they're adults and can cheat (or not cheat) as much as their little heart desires. Since Bubby can't choose for himself, I choose for him. And we don't cheat.

Anyway, we went from planning no Thanksgiving to having two Thanksgivings! Our small Wednesday dinner with my sister turned in to a dinner for eight. Then Thursday we'll go to my brother-in-laws. I feel somewhat safe eating the food there, but I'll probably bring food for Bubby and I just to be sure. My mother-in-law took great offense to this it seems, but, really, we were just trying to make things easier for them and reduce stress (and the chance of being up all night with a screaming almost two-year old) for me.

I'm going to make a pumpkin pie this afternoon (just as soon as I finish my coffee) and prep the stuffing later tonight. Glenn is in charge of the turkey tomorrow. We'll also have egg stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables, cranberry orange sauce, and some other dessert. Oh, and Stovetop. For some reason, my dear husband has a penchant for Stovetop stuffing so there goes our almost completely homemade Thanksgiving. I don't really care, although I do love giving him a hard time about it. I'm sure there's something else I'm forgetting.

I'll try to snap some pictures and post some recipes later.

But, don't hold your breath because seeing how my last post was on Halloween I'm not promising to get them up anytime in the next 24 - 36 hours ;)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Halloween

I've promised myself I won't get swept up in Menu Plan Mondays, Wordless Wednesdays and the like. But I am really excited about our menu plan this week and I actually have links to almost all the meals so I thought it'd be a great week to share.

All meals are wheat-free (and mostly gluten-free), dairy-free, and soy-free, or easily adapted to be.

Black bean quinoa burgers on Udi's bread with spinach, tomato and avocado.

Sunday: La Bamba Casserole (no cheese or corn) with blue corn chips
Monday: Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings (going to make biscuits on the side instead of dumplings bc both Glenn & Beanie prefer it that way)
(Meatless) Tuesday: (moved bc of Halloween) Black Bean Quinoa burgers (my friend who gave me this recipe said, and I agree, that the water to be added to the mixture must be a typo -- use about 3/4 of a cup)
Wednesday: Meatloaf Muffins from Cook It Allergy Free, with mashed potatoes and spinach salad
Thursday: Potato Omelet (from my Cooking Light cookbook, but I can't find a link online -- I'll keep looking!)
Friday: Mac and Beef (one of my mother-in-law's recipes that Glenn wants to try. We're using Ancient Harvest quinoa macaroni)
Saturday: Tostadas

I'm also planning on making some more pumpkin muffins (this is the same recipe I adapted earlier -- make sure you look around her blog, she has awesome ideas for bento boxes and more). Hopefully they'll last more than 24hours this time around ;)

Happy eating!

I'm linked up at I'm an Organizing Junkie, so click over to check out more menu-planning ideas.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Itch.

I keep getting the itch to blog again. I've been horribly absent. I'd apologize, but I'm not too sorry actually. I've been focusing on my family and getting our lives balanced and in order. Glenn has had more late shifts ("late" for him being normal for everyone else) so we've had time together. I've been reading and trying to restore some semblance of order to this catastrophe of a house. I'm feeling better though. I don't feel like my depression or anxiety rules me every day, so that's good. I feel like I am thinking more clearly, able to communicate better, and able to connect with Glenn and the kids. The only downside is this is all happening at the dark time of year and I am struggling with that a bit. I've upped my Vit D and I do think that helps. I should exercise, but that hasn't happened yet. We signed Beanie up for preschool. She loves it and I am so positive it was the best decision for our family. It was a hard decision since we'd committed to the co-op with our friends, but, once Grandpa offered to pay for preschool, it was really the only decision we could make. We are all so happy with it -- Beanie looks forward to it every day, it allows Glenn and I some time together, Bubby can play without being told what to do, hit, kicked, or pushed. Yeah, it has been good for everyone. We've been menu-planning, couponing, baking, and raking leaves (lots of leaves). I've been using the TV as a crutch again and I'd like to get away from that. We've been smoothie-making fiends. Bubby hadn't gained any weight between 15 and 18months so we're on the "get good food in the kid" diet. Smoothies consist of almond milk yogurt, coconut or almond milk, coconut oil, avocado, flax seed, fruit, and spinach. We all like them.

I keep struggling with what I unreasonably think blogging should be and what I need it to be for it to be sustainable. I love writing. I think blogging through the changes that are going on right now could be a good thing. And since I haven't really learned my lesson I keep toying with the idea of signing up for NaBloPoMo for November. The theme is "Blogging for Blogging's Sake." Somehow I think for me to really blog for blogging's sake I need to not commit to doing it every day. We'll see.

I'm completely inspired to minimize and organize our stuff. Glenn and and I are both so much happier in an organized and uncluttered environment, but achieving that ideal has been hard for us. I know it would be helpful for Beanie, too. Anyone do Flylady? I'm thinking of trying that.

What else? I have lots on my mind, but I'll leave my blog ramble at this for today....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Surf: 09/18

Well, obviously it was a big fat fail at the blogging every day this month thing. Oh well. I'm not really worried about it as it's been a pretty crazy week here and, well, life got in the way of blogging.

Happy Surfing!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 09/12

Now that we're back from vacation, I'm reading to get settled back in to our routine, including weekly menu planning. We really have been able to save a lot of money while still being able to eat organic (we mostly only buy organic for the dirty dozen and milk, although we add to our organic purchases as we are able to). Most of our food purchases are whole, fresh foods -- it's nice to see the grocery list coming together and the produce section overtaking everything else on the page. In recent months we've been eating out more than we'd like, but we really need to reign that in, too (and more than we'd like amounts to about two - four times a month). It's not as healthy for us and a real budget buster so we'd like to save any dining out for our date nights.

Without further ado, here is our plan for this week. All meals are gluten-free and dairy-free. Most are also soy-free.

(Meatless) Monday: Yam and Black Bean Burritos
Tuesday: Chicken Cacciatore (trying out my mother-in-law's recipe for the first time; I'll let you know how it goes!)
Wednesday: BBQ Pork Tenderloin with spinach salad w/ dried cranberries & almonds
Thursday: Rice and Beans
Friday: BBQ Flank Steak with quinoa salad (going to make quinoa with black beans and salsa -- super easy and yummy)
Saturday: Gluten-free pancakes (we've been using GF Bisquik because Glenn likes it the best, but I want to try out making some from scratch), eggs, and sausage
Sunday: Turkey burgers in a lettuce "bun" with spinach salad w/dried cranberries and almonds

I'm linked up at I'm an Organizing Junkie so click on over for more menu ideas.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Surf 09/11

I wasn't reading too much this week. I was busy enjoying the view while we were on vacation in Pacific City, Oregon.

I did read a few good things though and here they are:

Short, but sweet. Happy reading!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wheat. Take Three.

I can't think of a better way to reintroduce wheat than to celebrate our anniversary with a cold, award-winning beer on the beach at the local brewery.

Bubby has been having wheat for a few weeks. We made the decision to reintroduce to him and to hold off on any reintroduction for me. As far as we can tell he seems to be doing fine with it. There was some question after he'd had it for about a week, but, luckily, it seems he just have a stomach bug. I've never been so happy for a stomach bug! I wouldn't say we're 100% sure that he's fine with wheat -- maybe 98% at this point. It's hard to tell with the little guy sometimes. He is a bit cranky, but I'm pretty sure that can be attributed to his cutting three more teeth right now. They keep coming in bunches and I can't really decide if that's better or worse, perhaps better in the long run, no?

I've only had the beers and plan to remain wheat-free (and mostly gluten-free). I just feel better not eating it. After talking with a naturopath, I wonder if Bubby was reacting to my antibodies earlier. I'm not sure exactly how that works (so don't ask!), but apparently if I had a problem with wheat he could be reacting to my antibodies.

He most definitely still has a problem with dairy. We had planned not to reintroduce that for quite awhile due to his bad reaction last time, but unfortunately we ran in to a very ignorant waitress who didn't know that butter is dairy. Eh....perhaps with the rising incidence of food allergies she should have been better informed. You would think. We will probably give the soy a try again soon just so we know. I'm not too keen on him (or any of us) having a lot of soy anyway, so we'll just see if there is something we're eating that he can try. I'm not going to go out of my way to reintroduce soy to him as we try to avoid it for the most part.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I had plans to blog today, but I had a clingy, cranky, I-was-up-every-hour-last-night, I-refuse-to-nap-until-I-basically-pass-out-from-sheer-exhaustion toddler on my hands.

So, I threw my plans out the window and more or less went along with his.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nine Years.

Nine years ago I said, "I do," to the love of my life, my best friend and my partner in crime.

Nine years later, turns out he's an awesome dad and a better partner than I ever could have asked for.

We've had our ups and downs, but we persevere and work hard at our marriage. The last year-and-a-half has been hard. Like HARD. I honestly think if we can persevere through what we've gone through in the last eighteen months that we can make it through anything.

I love you, Glenn. Happy Anniversary.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


As a breastfeeding mom I'm glad that I have the support of my husband and the confidence to provide information to extended family members and/or let their comments slide right on down my back.

There are so many things wrong with the Evenflo advertisement....

The baby who is supposedly nursing, but so obviously positioned to just be cuddling on couch with mom.

The comments from the peanut gallery. About mom's breast size.

The husband sitting there playing on his phone while his mother gives his wife a hard time.

The mother feeling the need to go hide in a room and pump a quick bottle (which, seriously, did you see how much she pumped?? She has an awesome supply ;)) to placate her mother-in-law.

And the dad. Drinking the breast milk. The horrible looks on everyone's face. The slow motion. The comment that it must be 2% (i.e., sub-par in some way).

I mean, have you tasted breastmilk? It's pretty sweet. It'd probably be damn good in coffee.

I HATE this advertisement. I HATE that a company who used to be WHO code compliant is now so blatantly playing up the supposed "hard parts" of breastfeeding and undermining what many have worked so hard for -- REAL support for breastfeeding moms.

Read Annie at PhD in Parenting's take on the Evenflo ad. As always, she states things intelligently and causes you to pause and think.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 09/05

Menu planning has become a bit trickier lately as I am eating some soy and Bubby is now eating wheat (more on that later). I guess not so much tricky as we just need to make sure we have all the bases covered. Dinners are largely still eating gluten-, dairy- and soy-free, or quite easily adapted. 

It's kind of a weird week for us, but here's our plan:

Monday: Teriyaki chicken wraps with broccoli and rice tortillas (We used San J gluten-free teriyaki sauce (contains soy), but we've used Coconut Aminos in the past with good results).
Tuesday: Dinner out with family???
Wednesday: It's our 9th wedding anniversary so we'll be going out :)
Thursday: Spaghetti (we usually use Trader Joes GF pasta, but I bought some De Boles gluten-free pasta because it was on sale at Whole Foods -- and had a coupon!)
Friday: Applegate organic hot dogs (OMG, I will never eat another kind of hot dog again!) with Udi's gluten free buns & fresh veggies
Saturday: Turkey Tostadas
Sunday: Chicken and Dumplings (I made the biscuits on the side this time because both Glenn & Beanie prefer it that way)

I'm linked up at I'm an Organizing Junkie so click on over for more menu-planning ideas.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Surf: 09/04

I've finally gotten in to reading blogs again after quite a long hiatus. Just getting back in to it, but I've read a few really good things over the last week (or so). Here are a few of them:

Head on over to Authentic Parenting for more Sunday Surfing.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Progress in the Garden.

I've been pretty motivated lately to dig out the garden. Once my body stopped aching I got to work. I wish I'd taken a before picture, but just think completely overgrown, full of weeds, jungle garden. This is what it looks like now:

There are four blueberry plants in the far corner. We planted them last year and may add a couple more to that corner of the garden. I have dreams of a thriving vegetable garden. I'm cautiously optimistic as I have a self-proclaimed brown thumb. I have been known to kill off pretty much everything I attempt to grow, including a Christmas cactus. A friend suggested a few gardening books so I'm going to check those out, do some planning and hope for the best come next year!

Any green thumbs out there? Have any good tips for a newbie?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Giving up the Dishwasher

When we were looking at homes to buy I was pretty adamant that our new places must have a dishwasher. I mean, what would we do? Wash the dishes by hand? Now, about two-and-a-half years after moving in, I'm thinking about saying to hell with the dishwasher.

I've been toying with the idea for a few months now. There are a few reasons. First, our dishwasher is a piece of junk so we pretty much have to scrub and scrape all the dishes before they go in the washer so it wouldn't really be that much work to put a little more effort (and soap) in to it and just do the whole job at the sink. Second, I'm curious how our electric bill would be impacted by eliminating use of our dishwasher. Third, water conservation. There are a few things holding me back too. First, the fact that I am just really starting to get in to a routine, back to normal, etc. Second, my kitchen can go from sparkly and shiny to this disastrous mess faster than you would ever imagine possible. Or, maybe it wouldn't surprise you if your household is anything like mine.

Is anyone here dishwasher-less? Did you have one before? Do you miss it?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Return to Life.

As I said before the theme for September's NaBloPoMo is 'Return.' I found this somewhat fitting for my return to blogging, but, more so, in my recent return to life.

I feel like post-partum depression robbed me of so many things over the last 17 1/2 months. I read a blog post quite awhile back (I think it was on Postpartum Progress, but last time I searched I couldn't find the exact post) about how having PPD made you feel like you were in a bubble floating over everything that was happening in your life. I can definitely relate to that feeling. I doubly kick myself because I don't have too many pictures of Bubby over the last 17 1/2 months. I guess I wonder if, without pictures, I will remember what all occurred while I was in that bubble. I am always thankful that my step-mom has her camera out and ready nearly every time they are over because at least those pictures serve to help me remember. Logically I know that, in the end, it doesn't really matter. Bubby won't grow up and wonder why there aren't a lot of pictures of his first year of life. He will grow up and thrive because of the love and attention he received during this period of time. Still, I have that guilt that the pictures aren't there, that I felt like a spectator in the highest, farthest away seat in the stadium and it was my own life.

At least now I feel like I am an active participant in life. Perhaps not fully to the extent I'd like to be, but we're getting there. I remember dancing with the kids a few weeks ago. Just happily dancing. Not watching them dance. I was there, in the thick of life, and loving it.


If you're a regular reader, you've probably noticed I've changed a few things up. New title. New layout. What do you think? If you're visiting from NaBloPoMo, say hi!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I've had that nagging feeling that I want to write and tinker around with the blog. I hadn't been feeling that way in awhile, but it's sort of been creeping up on my for the last week or so. I want to change a few things, write about a few things, reconnect a bit, and have some fun.

I also saw that the theme for September NaBloPoMo (which, as I've said before is now apparently NaBloPoeachandeveryMo) is 'Return" which seems somewhat fitting, so I'll probably give it a go and see where my writing leads me.

So, I guess I'll play around here for a few days and get to writing. I'll leave you with a bit of an update for now...

I'm still on the Zoloft and it seems to be helping a lot. We've adjusted my dose a bit and things are going well.

While I've been feeling pretty well emotionally, physically has been another thing. About two-and-a-half weeks ago I woke up in immense pain -- joint pain everywhere and muscle pain on top of it. It localized in my right arm and hand, to the point where I couldn't pick up a tortilla chip, grasp my phone or move the mouse without my hand aching terribly. One night on the way home from dinner my lips and tongue were numb. Things have been mentioned that scare me. Fibromyalgia. Progressive neurological disorder. Rheumatoid arthritis. I don't really have a clue what is going on. The pain is gone now and I'm back to just normal neck stiffness. I went to see a general practitioner and they drew a bunch of blood to test. I think they checked everything under the sun -- the general stuff, along with thyroid, iron, vitamin d, potassium, blood sugar, ran a rheum panel, and a few other things I can't remember. I'm waiting to hear the results. So, that really sucks.

I've been working on focusing on me, my marriage, and my children. I worked out in the garden the last couple days (somewhat amazing considering how I felt last week) and have high hopes for a vegetable garden in the next year or so. I know next to nothing about gardening, so I'll have to do my research. We've been working at eating more locally and it doesn't get any more local than your own backyard. I've been reading a lot. Finished Raising Your Spirited Child (which, I swear, the author wrote about Beanie) and am now reading Parenting Beyond Belief. I just ordered Raising Freethinkers with an old Borders gift card I found so I'm excited for that too.

Right now I'm sipping a coconut milk mocha and having some time for myself. I've been trying to be more vigilant at speaking up and taking time for myself, but it's been hit or miss the last few days. It feels nice to be sitting here alone.

It feels nice to be blogging.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Mish-Mosh of Utter Randomness

Wow, it's been awhile, eh?

Where to start?


I started taking Zoloft four weeks ago. After feeling like I would surely lose my damn mind for about 48hours (which, not so awesomely coincided with the preparation for Beanie's party and the party) and feeling like intermittent waves of panic would strike at any time for about a week, I am happy to say that I am feeling better than I have in the last 16.5months. Probably. Still having some ebb and flow (to be expected I suppose) and I'm still on a very low dose. I also have a prescription for Klonopin for panic attacks, but, luckily, have only had to take 1/4 pill. Once.

I wasn't really feeling like blogging during this transition time. It was a difficult decision for me to go on the meds, one I've probably been considering since I started therapy back in December. It was time though. I haven't been the mom, wife, friend, person I've wanted to be in awhile. But, things are looking up. I may talk about it more later. I may not for awhile. I am glad I made this decision because I do think it's helping. I'm hoping it will be the little extra oomph I need to get to doing the things I know will really help me feel better.


Beanie's party was a big success. I'm absolutely certain she had a blast. She is already planning her fifth birthday party (and, I think, has been since two days after she turned four).

My little pirate.

I've been staying away from virtually all television and computer time in the evenings. I've found that if I read before bed I fall asleep more easily. So nice to not have a busy mind at bedtime. I've also covered up the alarm clock in the room (should probably just get it out of the room all together because we never use it) and it really helps to not have that awkward light in the room during those nighttime nursing sessions (which there have been a lot of lately as Bubby is cutting all four one-year molars at once). I haven't really felt like blogging even until the last few days. I've been trying to focus on myself, my family and the house. I've been reading mostly non-fiction (finished In Defense of Food (loved!!) and am reading Raising Your Spirited Child (Beanie to a T!!)).


What else? My neck and back had been feeling pretty good until a set back late last week. I now feel horrible again, at least in my neck. Had a good adjustment at the chiropractor today so I'm hoping things are looking up again soon. Was hoping this would be my last month of going so often and I could just drop in for the next few months until my insurance kicks in again for the new year. We shall see. Maybe I'll win the lotto between now and August 1st? Would help if I played, no?


I'll be around more often I hope. I'm here. Just working on taking care of me. I have a little blog project I'm working on (so far I'm just working on it in my head so we'll see what materializes) and I do miss reading others' blogs too.

Until next time....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Three Strikes.

This last weekend included a lot of




sibling rivalry,


and birthday party planning.

And not a lot of blogging.

Perhaps June, with all it's plans and busyness, wasn't the best month to revitalize my blogging self and try to blog every day....

Friday, June 10, 2011

On Food: Part One

Last month Glenn came home from work and told me about what he's heard on NPR earlier that day. Author Michael Pollan had been on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me. I hadn't heard of Pollan or his books, but what Glenn heard peaked my interest and now I'd really like to read The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. Actually, friends have told me they are very similar.

It's not that we ate horribly before, but if there's one thing I'm thankful for over this food journey with Bubby, it's that we are more aware of what we eat. We now eat a predominantly whole foods diet. We sort of have to, but I'm not sure we'd want to go back even if we could.

Like I said, we didn't eat a terrible diet before, but we just weren't aware. The classic example I give is when Glenn went out and bought a different brand of tomato paste than we usually use. He didn't look at the label and when I looked (after dumping it in our homemade pasta sauce of course!) I noticed the can said "Contains wheat, dairy, and soy."


Shouldn't it contain, I don't know, tomatoes and, um, paste?

All silliness aside, we didn't really pay attention to the extra stuff in our food. At first I'd get upset because Glenn didn't read labels as closely as I did. Then he started noticing. "This has soybean oil in it? Why?" Soy is a sneaky one. Check your pantry and I'm sure you'll find it places you didn't think you would.

We are devout label readers now. We have to be. At least we don't have to read as many labels since our shopping cart is primarily full of fresh foods. But I like that we're more aware of what we are putting in our bodies and that we are, in turn, teaching our children to be more aware as well. Beanie eats pretty darn well as is. She's never had a soda. We don't drink juice. She knows that McDonalds is a place "some people" go to eat. I was amazed when she told my dad that we had to take the jam back (Glenn had purchased the one on sale without double checking the label) because it had "stuff in it that isn't good for people," namely high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup. Really, both. And sugar. Bleh.

We're far from perfect. I don't claim to be. Beanie's favorite quick breakfast is an Eggo waffle (I'm thinking I should just make a big batch of waffles and freeze them? Or atleast starting to buy frozen waffles with an ingredient list that is a bit shorter). Until I watched Food Revolution I could down a whole box of Mike & Ike's in one sitting. But, we're making progress. We're getting there.

It's Friday and I'm off to catch up on Food Revolution. Love that show!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"I want nobody to take care of him."

Those were the days....

It took nearly fifteen months, but today it happened.

And by it I mean Beanie asked to get rid of her brother.

I actually was surprised it didn't happen sooner, especially with his non-stop crying and colic before we figured out he had food sensitivities.

This afternoon/early evening she was having a very difficult time. I think she spent the majority of time in time out (which I somewhat reluctantly started trying with her when she hit her brother. I haven't been big on time-outs, but the constant clotheslining, hitting, shoving, and pushing of her brother had to stop and my therapist suggested trying this). She was overly tired and, at the same time, a constant ball of energy -- running around, jumping, screaming, and on and on. After her ten-millionth time out (or did it just seem that way?), she finally let it all out.

"No babies."

"I don't want a brother."

"I want it to be just mama....dada...and [Beanie]."

"How can we get rid of him?"

"What can I do? I don't like angry people."

"I want nobody to take care of him."

And there went my heart, broken in two. We try so much to give her individual attention and it just seems never to be enough. I have forsaken any opportunity to tidy up, establish some sense of order, etc while Bubby naps just to spend all my time one-on-one with her. Glenn and I set aside time for "dates" with her.

Bubby has been crankier than usual (hence the "angry people" statement). His bottom gums are incredibly swollen where his molars are (hopefully) about to cut through. He seems to be in the midst of a growth spurt. He can't decide whether he's a one-a-day napper or two. We tried the soy somewhat unsuccessfully (more on that later). He's at that stage where he wants to do a lot of things that he isn't ready to, or things he just can't (like play in the garbage or with the toilet water) so he's easily frustrated. It is frustrating to me; I can't figure out what's wrong with him. Any help I give seems marginal at best. I imagine it is 100x more frustrating for an almost four-year old who doesn't really have the ability to comprehend what it going on.

I held her and we talked. I assured her that it was okay to feel that way and that I was glad she told me. I knew this was likely and, dare I say, normal. Her actions have been telling us these feelings for some time now, but this was the first time she ever said it all out loud. I'm pretty sure I felt exactly the same way about my little sister when I was young; I'm also pretty sure I was not allowed to feel that way. I want her to feel okay expressing these things, they don't need to be hidden away, she isn't bad for feeling them -- all those things I was made to feel when I was younger. I'm going to try my hardest to support her in any and every way I know.

It still breaks my heart though. I'd give anything for each of them, and hate to see Beanie in so much turmoil. I feel like I've failed her somehow. Obviously, this is a huge trigger for me and I'm just so sad tonight. What an end to an already rough evening.

If you're a mom of two (or more), how have you gotten through this stage?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Girls Can Be Pirates Too."

Image credit: mikebaird on Flickr

Beanie will be four at the end of the month. As birthday planning commenced (a whole six months before her birthday) Beanie decided that she wanted to have a pirate birthday party. Cool, I thought. It's a nice change from the princess party, a character party, or etc. We play pirates quite a bit; she sets up chairs to make a pirate ship, she has a telescope, and we go digging from treasure around the house. A pirate birthday is perfect for my little girl.

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked if we're doing "girly pirates,"  as if girl pirates need to have heart-shaped eye-patches and pink clothing. I overheard my father-in-law telling her about piratesses (???) and later she told me that grandpa said she could be a pirate queen or princess. The pirate stuff was in the boy's section at one of the party stores we checked out.

Glenn and I told her that if people started telling her what kind of pirate she "had" to be, that she could just reply, "Girls can be pirates too!"

Because they can.

And they can be any kind of pirate they want to be.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On Hold

I had a copy of Raising Your Spirited Child on hold at the library. I didn't pick it up in time, so I guess I'll have to put a hold on it again.

Darn. I really have a feeling it could come in handy.

I mean REALLY.

Especially these last few days.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: 06/06

This week is save money and go through the freezer week. We're trying to stick to $125/week for groceries (including Costco). I'm sure this sounds outrageous to my couponing friends, but between my special diet, trying to eat organic when we can, and Costco (which I'm really trying to figure out if it's worth it for us; we've cut down to only absolute staples there and we try to find them on sale elsewhere beforehand. It's nice to know we can get some ground turkey at a reasonable price if our freezer stock is gone though) $125 adds up fast.

I've also tried to really cut back on the food items I buy. Like coconut milk coffee creamer is A MUST. Cannot live without. But gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free waffles? More like a once in awhile thing. It's hard because I still go through phases where I feel like there's nothing in the house I can eat, but I try to make sure I have an adequate supply. Like today I got two Lara Bars and two Amande yogurts (almond milk yogurts which are pretty good; I wasn't a fan of the coconut milk yogurt I tried so we checked this one out. Tasty, but little nutritional value; I think I'm just in a missing dairy phase...). Also trying to stock up on fresh fruits & vegetables and nuts for my evening snacks. I guess I'm just mostly trying to eat foods that are naturally free of gluten, dairy and soy.

Enough rambling. Here's our menu.

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

Sunday: Turkey Tostadas
Monday: BBQ Chicken with homemade potato salad and fresh veggies
Tuesday: Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers (we're winging this -- some sort of concoction with lentils, rice, veggies, etc)
Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner
Thursday: BBQ Pork, polenta and green salad
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: ??? We'll have to grocery shop again on Friday so....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Surf: Late Edition

I haven't really been reading a lot lately. Well, except for links I see on Facebook. I'm trying to get back in to reading the blogs I enjoy, but here are some of the best things I read last week:

  • I was sad to read  in Bringing Nature Play Back that the average child spends only a 1/2hour per week engaged in unstructured outdoor play. I really like the idea of a dedicated digging pit. One of my favorite memories is playing for hours with my sister digging and playing in the dirt. I'm sort of sad we don't have a dirt area for the kids to dig in; they can help with the garden (once we finally get it going), but I think we'll save some garden boxes or get containers that are their own little spaces, too.
  • There's a Summer Reading Challenge over at No Time for Flash Cards.
  • Enter to win an Ergo baby carrier over at Job Description: Mommy. Or don't, giving me a better chance to win (just kidding!)
  • A good reminder to take a break from technology and Be in the Moment
  • A good overview of carseat types and information over at The Stir.
  • Amanda at Let's Take the Metro reminds us that by believing that we are enough we teach our children that they are too in I am Enough.
I haven't linked up (maybe I will when I get regular with posting these), but you can check out more Sunday Surfing over at Authentic Parenting.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Just what I needed

Quite awhile back I'd scheduled a mom's afternoon out for today. Just a quick trip to a local coffee shop. I always feel like I can be a better parent when I take the time to refresh and rejuvenate. I've been involved in other mom's groups that do a lot of mom's night outs, but those never really work for me (since, you know, my kiddos fall asleep by nursing). I'm glad there's a pretty good response in our AP group for afternoon mom's only events; babes in arms are always welcome and, in fact, even those that don't always like to stay in arms are welcome, too.

As today started I found myself wishing everyone would just cancel and I didn't have to go. I get in moods like that sometimes. Bubby has been very cranky lately (molars, a bit of a cold last week and the soy reintroduction turned out to be the triple threat) and only mom will do. Beanie has been having an especially rough time; it finally clicked that it's probably quite taxing on her to have an upset little brother screaming and hollering all the time, too. As I was getting ready to leave, both kids were sprawled out on the hallway carpet, not happy campers. Glenn got them up and took them in to the back yard and I finished getting ready. I said my goodbyes and made my way to the coffee shop.

It was just what I needed. Many times when I start feeling like our day is spiraling out of control I feel like just hunkering down and staying in. I forgot how much a change of scenery can help, not only for the kids, but for me too.

I sat outside in the sunshine (it's absolutely gorgeous here this weekend!), tried hemp milk for the first time (it was good, but I think I prefer rice milk lattes), and made a new friend. The other mom I met is also gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free (imagine that!) so we had lots to talk about. Her daughter is just a week older than Beanie and they attend a local UU (Unitarian Universalist) congregation (do you call UU establishments "churches," I don't know. Not something we're interested in right now, but I've definitely thought of it.)

My sister came over later and we played outside with the kids, BBQ'd, and roasted marshmallows. It was a good day.

Sometimes when I just want to hunker down and hide from the world I really just need to get out and confront the day head on. Easier said than done.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread
I'd been wanting to make zucchini bread for quite a long while and we finally got around to it. I've been pretty pleased with how all my breads have been turning out, so yay! I used a tiny bit of xanthan gum, but I think I probably could have left it out since there was so much moisture in the recipe anyway.

If we ever get around to planning and planting our garden, I'd love to grow some zucchini and yellow squash. The weather this weekend is forecasted to be spectacular, so maybe we'll get around to weeding and digging out some of the old owners' stuff in the next few days. We need to do the digging quickly as some plants are popping up that are really encroaching on our blueberries.

Zucchini Bread


4c coarsely shredded zucchini
3c gluten-free flour (I use Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour)
2c sugar
1c canola oil
4 eggs (beaten)
1Tbsp + 1tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2tsp gf baking powder


  1. Generously grease two bread pans. (I use Spectrum palm shortening)
  2. Beat all ingredients at low speed, scraping bowl constantly.
  3. Pour in to pans and bake at 325 degrees for 50-60minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean).
  4. Cool ten minutes, then remove from pans.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"He's Really Attached to You..."

As I stated earlier, my inlaws moved back recently. After a hello and a kiss (oh, I am so not the huggy and kissy type), my mother-in-law said to me, "We heard [Bubby] is still really attached to you, so I guess we won't be getting any hugs."

I was pissed.

I don't know why, other than the obvious negative connotation she implied. It was an accurate statement. Bubby is really attached to me. The likelihood that he would give a near stranger (sorry grandma, but you haven't seen him since he was 2months old which makes you pretty much a stranger) an instantaneous hug was slim to none. As I relayed this story to my therapist she asked me what I could have said in response. I replied that I could have said, "Yes, he is. We don't see him being  attached to his mother as a problem."

Ooh, I wish I would have thought of that one on the spot!

Children who are securely attached grow up being trusting of others and without concerns of abandonment; they have a high degree of self-worth and feel liked. Attachment is "a secure base from which to explore close relationships."

My children know that they can count on us, as their parents, to be a safe haven and a place of comfort. They know that from that safe place they are free to explore their world and live to their fullest potential.

And, you know what, that's exactly what he did. Once he got acclimated to the situation, a new environment, new people and three little yip dogs pitter-pattering around, he was running around blowing kisses and giving away hugs.

So there.

Score: Secure attachment - 1; Nay-sayers - 0

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Just Me and My Blog.

Three. Three posts in May! Eek. I have got to get out of the blog rut. I decided to sign up over at NaBloPoMo (which apparently is now National Blog Posting Each and Every Month) and commit to blogging every day in June. (We'll see how it goes!)

It's not that I don't have anything to say. I do. I've been unreasonably hard on myself about what I have to say,  my anxiety is at a level not seen since my college years, the PPD is still ever present, I have physical problems coming to a head besides my horrible neck and back pain (but, on the upside, I may actually have a diagnosis for what is going on) and it's just been a hard time for my family -- all of us.

All that complaining (or was it just explaining) to say that I'm here. And I'm going to write. I don't know what about. We've slowly been reintroducing soy. My inlaws moved back here. We're starting up Beanie's co-op preschool adventure. The weather is getting nicer. I want to start making our household cleaners. We've been talking a lot about food (real food) vs. food products. I don't know what the next month will bring, but I'm just going to carve out time to write. Time that is just for me. Where I don't have someone peering through the door jam as I pee. Or yelling at me that the sparkles on their shirt are hurting them. Or wanting to stay latched on 24/7.

Just me. And the computer. And my blog.

The theme (which I can tell you right now I won't be sticking to) for June NaBloPoMo is "Fan."

Image credit: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget on Flickr

No, not that kind of fan.

The kind that cheers you on and supports you.

The kind of fan people like to have when blogging.

Sometimes it seems like it's a competition. How many followers do you have? How many page views? What do you write about? Who reads? Who comments? Do people share your posts on Facebook? Retweet your tweets?

I just want to get back to where it's just writing. Because when you're just writing, the rest falls in to place.

It's not like this blog is paying the bills, after all.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I'm having a hard time enjoying the peace & quiet that comes during the evenings in which Glenn and the kids are all in bed relatively early.

I should be reveling in the joy of a couple hours to myself, but instead I find myself lonely.




I could be scrapbooking, reading, folding clothes, day-dreaming, but instead I just sit.

And stare at the mind-numbing TV (can we just cancel our cable already???).

Or the computer.

I could be blogging and saying something, but instead I feel like nothing is good enough to say.

I mean, who wants to read about this crap?

And the rapture is happening tomorrow and I didn't even get to Flying Apron beforehand.

P.S. The rapture isn't really happening tomorrow.

P.P.S. Maybe soon I'll have something nice to say.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Finding My "Me Time"

Image credit: dbphotography on Flickr

I'm struggling to figure out what I really want for my "me time."

A couple weeks ago I had the great idea to go to a local coffee shop and read a book. Their coffee is delicious and I haven't been there in a long time because they didn't have rice milk (they do, however, have hemp milk but I haven't been too keen on wanting to try that). Anyway, since we've slowly been reintroducing soy (more on that later, but we think it may be going okay, or at least that he can tolerate smaller amounts in my breastmilk) I decided to go there and enjoy some me time.

Glenn took the kids and I headed out to the coffee shop. I had my copy of Unconditional Parenting in my purse and I was looking forward to reading. First thing I pull in to the shopping center and realize it's quite busy and there's nowhere close to park. I circle around and end up getting stuck in a line of cars waiting for the garbage trucks to empty every.single.dumpster. I immediately started getting anxious, but I reminded myself that I was alone, albeit in my car stuck waiting for the damn garbage man. I turned on some music and tried to relax. Finally I was able to park and walked over to the coffee shop.

It was packed.

If there's one thing I really don't like it's crowds. They cause almost immediate anxiety for me. It definitely wasn't quiet in there. I ordered my coffee and decided to try and sit and read for a short while.

I texted a friend and joked that the next time I got out for quiet time I was going to head to the university library.

It just wasn't what I needed that day. I came home and realized that Glenn and the kids were still out. I took a long shower. I read a bit at home.

I know I really need to get out for some time to myself. It's nice to be at home when Glenn takes the kids out, but I really thrive when I can get out.

I'm just going to have to find a new spot. Like the quiet corner in the Health Sciences Library where I read journal article after journal article for many a day.

Maybe a walk by myself?

Any local friends know a quiet coffee shop?

What do you do for time to yourself? Do you find it difficult to get out and actually meet your needs?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sticks. And Stones. And Words.

To this day my mother finds it necessary to tell me what an awful little child I was.


A terror.

Two thoughts come to my mind as these things come up. As I look at my lovely, spirited, sometimes challenging daughter I wonder how anyone could possibly label their child with such awful words, no matter what they were doing. I also wonder why there is any need to keep talking about this nearly thirty years later.

Perhaps it bothers my mother that I have a completely different outlook on parenting and children than she did. Perhaps to admit that I really wasn't such a horrible little demon after all would cause her to have to re-examine her role as a parent. I don't know. I know that my actions so often retold (over and over again) don't really seem that out of the ordinary to me. I dumped all the diapers out of the pail and all over the floor? I'm sure many a child has done that. Was jealous of my little sister, unsure of my new-found role in the family and acted out for love and attention? Check, check and check.

For over thirty years I have accepted the "fact" that I must've been a really difficult child. Becoming a mother (and growing personally in my role as one) (and therapy) has made me realize that there really wasn't anything wrong with the way I acted as a child. I was normal. I wasn't a bad three year-old, nor was I a terror to be around. I was a kid. A kid who did kid things and expressed myself the only way I knew how.

Perhaps these realizations are what makes me really ache when Beanie is having a rough time. I view what she's experiencing through the eyes of three-year old me. But it's not the same for her. She's free to be whomever she wants to be, her parents love and support her no matter what she does and we enjoy the good times and take the more difficult ones as opportunities to grow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Minimizing Distractions and Focusing on What Really Matters

I've been working at really being present with my kids. Not checking emails on my phone or thinking about the chores that need to be done. Just being completely present, enjoying their company and giving them my undivided attention.

I'm still not back on Facebook. I miss some things about it, but other things not at all. I'll be back. Someday.

Right now I'm enjoying getting back to what really matters.

Branson over at My Reflection of Something contacted me to write a guest post about distractions and focusing on what's important. I jumped at the chance. I've been meaning to write about it for quite awhile (I think I have a draft from back in December) and I was excited to finally get it all typed out.

Head on over, check it out and join the discussion there.

Minimizing Distractions and Focusing on What Really Matters

(And, while you're there, check out some of Branson's photography -- it's great!)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: April 25

We had a really good week last week. The yam and black bean burritos were a hit! They were a quite delicious start to our goal of one vegetarian meal a week and we will definitely be making them again. Soon. We'll probably add another can of black beans next time, but no changes otherwise!

Shabby cell phone pic of definitely-not-shabby yam & black bean tacos.

Glenn also had the idea to take out cash for our weekly food budget each week and then when it's gone, it's gone. Food is really where we spend the most money (and blow our budget). It's hard to keep our budget as low as we'd like (or, really, we need) when I am on this restricted diet. Not that we used to eat a lot of crap anyway, but still. It's still more expensive. I will be excited when the farmers markets start up next month; it will be something fun to do with the kids and we can stock up on good fruits and vegetables.

This week our cash is in an envelope -- we'll see how it goes. We'll have to save up any leftover money for our Costco trip. I'm hoping to cut those back, too.

Indonesian Chicken

All menus are wheat-free, dairy-free and soy-free, or easily adapted to be.

Sunday: Pasta sauce from freezer with Trader Joe's organic rice pasta
Monday: Sloppy Lennies
Tuesday: Meatloaf Muffins with mashed potatoes and green salad
Wednesday: Indonesian Chicken served over steamed spinach and rice (sub Coconut Aminos for soy sauce)
Thursday: Leftover night
Friday: Breakfast for dinner
Saturday: BBQ Chicken with homemade potato salad and green salad with strawberries

Click on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Sometimes I just feel like I'm waiting. Waiting for something. Waiting for many things.

Sometimes I feel stuck. In limbo.

Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning. Or like a time bomb about to explode.

Sometimes I feel like I'm ninety, not thirty-one. I can barely walk. I'm in so much pain. My head is pounding. I feel like I'm going to vomit.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm a big fat failure at this parenting thing.

Sometimes I want to get out for some time to myself, but I just don't know where. I don't want to talk to anyone. Not even long enough to order a coffee.

Sometimes I look at my daughter, her hair glistening in the sun and smile wide across her face, and wonder how I got so lucky.

Sometimes I look down at my son as he smiles at me while he's nursing and know I wouldn't trade anything for being where I am.

Sometimes I look in to my husband's eyes and know that I couldn't have a better partner in all of this.

Fortunately the good sometimes are starting to outweigh the bad ones.

Sunday Surf: April 24

I unplugged a bit more than I had originally intended for Screen Free Week and it was really, really nice.

I did have the opportunity to read some really good stuff over the week though and here are some of my favorites.

Head on over to Authentic Parenting for more Sunday Surfing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: April 18

Another attempt at weekly menu planning. We've actually been doing pretty well. I was going to try and post up last week, but didn't get around to it. I realized nothing I was making had any links so you didn't miss much!

I didn't go grocery shopping today, so I'm hoping that doesn't throw a kink in things. We have plans every day this week. It really helps us to go shopping just once, but with playdates every day, four doctor appointments, and family in town we're going to have to work to make that happen! One shopping trip -- I'm aiming for Monday afternoon before my chiropractic appointment or maybe Glenn can take the kids with him while I'm at my appointment.

Enough about that, here's our weekly menu plan:

All menus are wheat-free, dairy-free and soy-free, or easily adapted to be.

Sunday: La Bamba casserole (no cheese)
Monday: Chicken and Dumplings (we're going to try the gluten-free Bisquik for the dumplings this time. We usually use Bob's Red Mill gluten free biscuit mix, but Glenn doesn't care for it much.)
Tuesday: Stuffed Peppers
Wednesday: Broccoli Beef (I use Coconut Aminos in place of the soy sauce)
Thursday: BBQ Chicken (crossing fingers for good weather) and Texas quinoa salad (I'm going to try and recreate a chilled salad I got at PCC -- it was quinoa with tomatoes, chiles, roasted red pepper, and cilantro)
Friday:  Yam and Black Bean Burritos (I think we are going to start trying for one vegetarian meal a week. I'm really excited about this! Glenn just wants to make sure we have good recipes to cycle through. We had these at our friend's house and they're delicious! So, send me some vegetarian recipes!)
Saturday: ??? We have family in town and are coloring Easter eggs, so who knows. Maybe leftovers? Maybe we'll go out?

I'm linked up over at I'm an Organizing Junkie so click on over for more menu planning ideas.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Surf: April 17

Not much reading this last week with a never-ending migraine, a hectic week with kiddos and more, but I did want to share a few things I really enjoyed this last week.

Did you check out the Carnival of Natural Parenting? This month's theme was compassionate advocacy. Here are a few of my favorite posts. I can't wait to go through and read some more of this month's posts.
And a few more:
Sort of a lackluster week, but, hey, that's how it goes sometimes. I'm hoping for a headache free week this week. I'm back to using my Posture Pump after giving it a break for a few days, so I'm hoping things keep moving in the right direction.

Screen-Free Week: April 18-24

Screen-Free Week is this week, April 18-24. And just in time.

This morning I was making breakfast sandwiches for everyone and Beanie comes in the kitchen singing, "It's fun for you...It's fun for me..."

What song is that, I thought.

Yes, my daughter was singing the Xfinity advertisement.

I think she had just heard it on the TV as Glenn flipped it on, but still.

We don't watch much TV with the kids, but we have been watching more than I'd like lately. With PPD, horrible back pain, neck pain and headaches and a teething one year old it's been easy to slip into the habit of turning it on in the morning and then just leaving it on. I'm okay with our normal TV habits with Beanie -- a show while I nurse Bubby down for nap and a show or two before bedtime. I would like to get away from mindlessly having the TV on and from her seeing any parts of adult shows. Or Xfinity ads because, damnit, now I have that tune in my head.

Where I'd really like to make a change is with my screen habits. I don't turn on the computer unless everyone is sleeping or Glenn is with the kids. I don't really watch TV until everyone is in bed either. But, I check Facebook and emails all the time on my smart phone. Mindlessly check it. Do I really need to check it 200 times a day? Did anyone comment on my status? Does anyone like my picture? Did anyone read my link? Does anyone like me??? I'm in a place where I've been taking things too personally too, so I really feel the need to step back. I had to do it before with my online mommy boards. Now it's time to cut ties with Facebook, at least temporarily. I'm going to deactivate my account for a week. A friend suggested that was extreme, but I know if I don't actually deactivate it I will check it. "Hello, my name is Kristen and I'm addicted to Facebook." As for emails, do I need to feel like I should drop everything and check that email the instant it arrives? Do I need to respond lest I forget later when I actually get on the computer? And, no mind-numbing TV in the evenings. I just have it on for noise, mostly, because there aren't many shows I like watching lately. Except Food Revolution just started.

So, I'm going to unplug more. I'm not committing to being screen free. In fact, I know I won't be. I'll check emails once or twice a day. I'll blog if I feel like it. The point is to be more mindful of media and how we interact with it.

Are you participating in Screen Free Week 2011? What are your plans?

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Natural Parenting Blog Party

I've been wanting to get on and write a quick post about this, but it's been a rough week. I've had the headache that just won't stop -- the kind that comes and goes and debilitates you and nauseates you. I think the combination of corrective care on my neck and personal stress is just too much right now. My chiropractor thinks the stress is probably playing a greater role, so I'm going to try and rejuvenate a bit this weekend.

 The Natural Parenting Blog Party is hosted by The Peaceful Housewife and is going on right now. I'm excited to find some new blogs to read (I've decided to spend more time reading, whether it be blogs or books, and less time staring mindlessly at stupid stuff on the Internet).

Anyway, here's a bit about me:

  1. How many children do you have, and how old are they? Two, Beanie is almost 4 and Bubby just turned 1
  2. Do you have a partner, or are you a single parent? I have an amazing husband who I totally take for granted sometimes. He really is great. Works his butt off at work so I can stay-at-home with the kids and then comes home and helps around the house more than anyone I know.
  3. What are your “hot button” parenting issues? The two I feel most strongly about are breastfeeding and informed birth choices.
  4. Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting? I said I'd never cosleep -- haha! I LOVE cosleeping.
  5. Is there one book or person in particular that’s heavily influenced your parenting choices? Not really. Just learning to trust my own instincts.
  6. If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use? Beanie: Energetic, Bubby: Observant
  7. Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change? I regret not transferring prenatal care earlier with my son. We transferred at 34 weeks and had a great experience. I wish we would've trusted that switching was the right thing to do earlier on.
  8. Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at? Right now? Gentle discipline.
  9. Now for the fun questions – is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day? I think I could eat pho every day.
  10. Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Usually I'd say vanilla, but since I'm dairy-free for my son I prefer chocolate coconut milk ice-cream. I think the chocolate flavor masks the coconut flavor better.
  11. What’s your guilty pleasure? Hmmm -- I have food on the mind because of the ice-cream questions, so coconut milk ice-cream or some tasty cookies.
  12. If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be? The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. I miss cable when I think about those two shows.
Well, that's all for now! Looking forward to finding some new blogs to read. Hope you do, too!

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Three Years!

    Image Credit: nlmAdestiny on Flickr

    It's my blogiversary, my blog birthday, my whatever-you-want-to-call-it. I've been blogging for three years.

    Actually, a little longer. I had a short-lived blog where I mostly ranted about things that bugged me. Like pharmaceutical ads on TV. And how organic good-for-you food costs so much more than a box of crap. And other things I'm sure. Like I said, it was short-lived.

    But, this blog is three years old!

    I've come a long way, baby.

    When I started this blog I was tired. I was conflicted. I was trying to sort out what really felt instinctual to me as a parent and what society said I should be doing. Now? I'm comfortable. I've evolved in my parenting (don't we all?). I'm confident. It doesn't matter to me what others are doing or what they think we should be doing.

    I'm not tired. Well, no, I am sometimes (who isn't?). Not all the time though. And every time I see that damn URL I think about the mama I used to be. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just the where I was versus where I am now. It also makes me think about how evolving as a mother has really changed me as a person. For the better.

    Stay tuned.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    The Importance of Advocating Compassionately

    Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy
    This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

    I've written this post at least a dozen times in my head. I have drafts in Blogger. So, when I saw that the topic for April's Carnival of Natural Parenting was "Compassionate Advocacy" I knew it was time to polish this off.

    Recently a friend told me that she thought I was rare in the fact that I was "crunchy," but not judgmental. I respectfully disagree. I think that many natural parenting advocates are characterized by the actions of a few, making compassionate advocacy even more important.

    I am a strong, respectful and compassionate advocate because I desire (and expect) to be treated with respect and compassion, because I don't know what the person before me said, and because you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    The blanket statements, the "Oh, you just needed to do x,y, and z," and name-calling can become rampant on online mommy boards. It seems much too easy for some to forget that there is a person behind that screenname, a person who has thoughts and emotions and struggles just the same as you do. A person who, perhaps, planned endlessly for an unmedicated birth, but ended up with a cesarean section. A person who tried so hard to breastfeed only to be told they weren't making enough milk, baby wasn't gaining enough weight, and they needed to supplement. A person who wants to parent gently, but struggles because of how they were raised. And, sometimes, a person who has read, educated themselves, and just chosen to do things differently than you do.

    I know many lactivists, birth advocates and et cetera just wish people were truly informed. We want people to be informed and empowered as they initiate their breastfeeding relationship. We want people to know there are risks associated with epidurals, continuous fetal monitoring, routine IV fluids and other birth interventions, and that it's okay to ask your care provider about these things and expect an honest answer (not just an "it's hospital policy"). Sometimes our message is lost in the quest to disseminate information. Sometimes a few are disrespectful and judgmental and give a bad reputation to the many who follow behind them. Sometimes we forget that even the most factual statement can have loaded meaning to a mother who has been hurt or felt judged in the past. Sometimes we say, "Oh I'm so sorry, this is what worked for me," when just an "I'm sorry," would suffice.

    I have mentioned before that I link a lot of blog posts and articles on my personal Facebook page. Most are parenting oriented, although I throw in political, diet-related or philosophical links in sometimes, too. I post all these links not to annoy the heck out of people trying to quickly scan through their news feed, but because you never know who you might reach, who might need to read that particular message that particular day. I have an eclectic group of friends on Facebook -- friends from high school I haven't seen or talked to in nearly fifteen years, friends from college, friends from kung fu, from my old job, other moms, relatives -- and I post things because I hope that maybe just one person will say, "Oh, I never thought of it that way before." Maybe one person will decide to see an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant for a second opinion. Maybe one person will decide they are unhappy with how they are being treated at prenatal appointments and transfer care. Maybe one person will realize they are not alone in their struggles, whether they be in gentle discipline, nighttime parenting, or potty learning.

    When I was pregnant with Beanie I joined an online birth club board. We were all due in the same month and bonded strongly. I remember struggling when Beanie was a newborn, wanting sleep and wondering if I would ever sleep again and one mom asked if I had ever considered cosleeping. I hadn't, but that one shared idea made an impact, we tried it, and things improved from there on out. I joined another online board when I was pregnant with Bubby, but was not nearly as involved as I had found my groove, so to speak, and didn't have all the questions or need the confirmation that I was doing right as a parent. I did, however, feel that I had the opportunity to respectfully provide an alternate view on some topics, to share our experience, what we had learned, and where to go if someone was looking for more information. I hoped that I could be the one to share an idea someone hadn't considered before.

    I don't spout off the latest research and information to every unsuspecting friend and family member, but I keep sharing information in the hope that I can reach just one person. Who knows what they may do with their newly acquired knowledge? It could change their thinking or free them from the idea that there must be something wrong with the way they are doing things because (it seems) they are doing things so differently than others. With every interaction I strive to be the most respectful, non-judgmental and compassionate advocate I can because that's the face I want to put on natural parenting. Because that's who I really think we, as natural parenting advocates, are. Because I expect nothing less in return.


    Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo 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:

    • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
    • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
    • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
    • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
    • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
    • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don't share your views.
    • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
    • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
    • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
    • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don't parent the way you do.
    • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
    • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
    • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
    • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That's The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she's learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the "good news" of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
    • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
    • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
    • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
    • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
    • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
    • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people's children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter's senior kindergarten room.
    • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the "great divide" through gently teaching and being teachable.
    • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
    • The Three R's of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how "The Three R's" can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
    • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
    • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
    • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.
    • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
    • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
    • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she's been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
    • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
    • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
    • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
    • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she's doing — and it's a gift.
    • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
    • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
    • Putting a public face on "holistic" — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
    • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
    • One Parent at a Time... — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
    • Self-compassion — We're great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
    • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
    • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by "just doing her thing," she may be advocating for natural parenting.
    • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
    • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
    • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
    • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares her thoughts and some tips on Gentle Discipline.
    • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
    • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
    • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
    • Why I'm not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
    • Natural Love Creates Natural Happiness — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a smile, or a giggle, or a gaze? Jessica at Cloth Diapering Mama’s kids are extremely social and their natural happiness is very obvious.
    • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
    • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
    • don't tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.