Thursday, March 31, 2011

the dog days...are they over?

I don't think they are...but phew! What a week it's already been.

I'm not the biggest fan of continually posting, "This has been a challenging week," because it seems I'm all discouraged and no fun and like I walk around with a frowny face all the time, but *knock on wood*, a few things seem to be on the up & up these past few days.  I really appreciate everyone's input and words of encouragement; it's always worlds better to hear from others that you're not alone, is it not?

It's been stormy weather this week and today was no exception.  We had a doctor's appointment in South Tampa at 9 this morning, and mother (I never really call her that), you'd be so proud of me, even with the inclement weather, Mia & I arrived on time.  Not that that means our appointment went in a timely fashion. My goodness!  We didn't leave the place until after 11 and it was raining cats & dogs.  Almost.
Aside from today's outing there really hasn't been much going on these past few days and I'm starting to get cabin fever.  I fear we're going to come down with an Elmo virus or something; I reluctantly admit I've relied on the TV a bit more than I feel comfortable with the last few days.  We make up for it in the evening though some and have no TV time to just unwind and not get sucked in.

Tomorrow's to be sunny and warm -- no storms we hope -- so I'm sure we'll get out and be a bit more adventurous.

Until then, here's the little girl who was trying to help me get ready this morning:

headband on, give me the soap!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who's in charge around here?

After months of having fun with Mia, just doing our daily "day-to-day" with little to no consequence, life throws a curveball at us.  Or maybe we've been well overdue.  I mean, after a string of a few solid months when people ask you, "How are you? How's life?" and you genuinely can say, "Great!" without adding qualifiers in your head ("Well, it'd be MORE wonderful if ____..."), maybe our time for real nonsense had arrived.

Maybe it is time for the terrible twos.

Mia is less than a month away from entering the age of two, technically, but behaviorally she's been there for the past month or so.  Greg and I are starting to feel like everybody's out of sync, out of control and we need some firm footing again.

So, back to the drawing board where decisions will be made, a few choices eliminated, and this chiquita bambina is going to relearn who's the boss.  Not her...ME.  Not her...Daddy.
I'm all about "empowering" kids to know what they're capable of doing, but I'm not all about entitling kids to feel like anything's free game.  So, while my actions may not have been clear to Mia in the past about communicating this ideal, it's about to change.

Wish us luck and send up a prayer or share a word of encouragement with us.  We're total n00bs and humbly admit we need the most guidance here.

And to total newbies: Don't worry...it's not always like this, and every kid is different, and you can learn from our mistakes!  That's part of the point of this blog...to share ideas!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mia sings the ABC's


Mia sings the ABC's from Megan Ciampa on Vimeo.



Semi-intelligible, Mia hums/mumbles her way through the alphabet!

And 2 more fun pics from my iPhone this past week:

How Mia fell asleep the other day...



and Mia eating at Panera: the vision of leisure...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

All in a day's work

Even though the days are lengthening as spring is here, they still seem to be flying by.  We have just over a month until Mia turns two and party-planning really needs to get going.

This past weekend we took Mia to Busch Gardens for the very first time.  We finally buckled under the (really non-existant) pressure and got annual passes so we can take our family anytime we want throughout the year!  We only were able to do just a little bit when we were there Saturday so I know we'll have plenty of exploring we can do in the next twelve months.  Mia was a bit awe-struck by the Sesame Street section seeing life-size versions of Elmo, Abby, Zoe, the Cookie Monster.  We also took a train ride through a "safari" and I tried to pretend we were really in Africa, like our friends Trevor & Laura were who just got back from there.  Not.quite.the.same.  But still fun!


getting ready to leave -- who's driving??
really chill on the train ride


who are all these people??

watching the Sesame Street show

We had a good time at Busch Gardens and even though you can't tell from the pictures, Mia's Nana & Granddad were there too!  Thanks to their skillful eyes, we determined perhaps Mia is teething a bit too, which might be causing her quite colorful behavior of late.  

I think right now, Mia's vibe can be summed up by what's on the side of her Kindermusik home materials box:

Bound away and back...
Just as the young kangaroo bounds away and then back to the security of the pouch, the toddler is eager to explore alone then rushes back to the parent for reassurance.  While the desire to investigate urges the toddler forward, the need for the adult's security is at the core of the child's enormous potential to learn.  It is a delicate time (my note: so true).  It is a time for recognizing and affirming the emotional pull between dependence and independence.  

I read that the other day and it made perfect sense. Thanks Kindermusik!

Beyond that, all I can say is naps are really crucial right now.  Not getting enough sleep turns Mia (and me) into crazy people.  We're putting her down for naps even if it means she falls asleep at 4pm.  No one can stand a terror!

Alright, off to the park to play with friends.  "'Wing?"  ("Swing") Mia will almost inevitably say.
PEACE!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm blogging a lot.

We are highly anticipating the arrival of Greg's parents, i.e., Nana & Granddad this weekend, to visit with Mia for a few days on their spring break.  I know Mia will love playing with them, and I am looking forward to a reprieve from the current chaos a teething toddler brings to the fray.

This is the AFTER picture:
a place for shoes (green cubby) & just a few less boxes
Lately I've been feeling the urge to purge -- let's just call it a healthy dose of spring cleaning with the warmer days & extended daylight.  I rearranged Mia's closet this morning and it so desperately needed it.  Her shoes -- mirroring my own shoe condition (which is really just a lack of closet space & shoe organization) -- really needed a place to go, and there were old boxes that used to contain toys just hanging out in the closet.  Why?? I don't know. I'm a bit of a hoarder, I confess, and I guess I think, perhaps I'll need this cardboard box someday.   But I ne'er do.


hey! we can actually close the doors!

While this "organized" closet picture may cause even the most Martha Stewart like person to cringe, for me, it's definitely an upgrade.  I've always been a "messy clean," sort of person.  I think it's partially having a spaghetti noodle for a brain (everything's related), and I think it's just part of my personality.  I married the opposite of a hoarder, a "tosser?", so I guess we even out.  And occasionally lovingly drive each other nuts.  All in good fun.


While I was being all organizational, Mia was out on our patio when I heard her screaming.  It sounded like horrific pain and I was seriously fearful she was being attacked by some animal or insect.  My mommy instinct had me running out the door to find her hand was caught in the hinge of the screen door.  Ouch!!  It looked so painful and had grooves from being stuck.



Icing the hand, listening to Elmo.  
The Sesame Street pictures have got to stop.
Last Christmas, Mommo gave Mia an "ice pack bunny" to use for just such occasions, so Mia, at her very tender and understanding age, actually kept the ice pack bunny on her hand to help with the swelling.  I found a bunny sticker in her closet too, and gave that to her, and lately she's been playing with a bunny stuffed animal (also from Mommo), so maybe we're getting into bunnies right now.  I'm cool with that.  I saw one on my run the other morning and thought of YOU, Sarah Moran, if you're listening.  Bunny lover.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Technology is a toughie.

My gmail account got hacked somehow today and now I'm suspicious of just about everything.  How did this happen? I'm not sure, but I'm embarrassed that it emailed people I haven't talked to in years, or people I hardly know, not to mention the good friends & family that were emailed or texted to click on a certain link.  What a bummer.  Needless to say, passwords have been CHANGED and I've added a 2-step verification to my Google account.  So...hackers can take a hike!

Remember how I was talking about Mia's being crazy lately?  Yesterday she was about to explode.  She did not take an afternoon nap--and that honestly rarely happens--and she had a 4:30 Kindermusik class to attend so I was hoping she'd be good and not have any outbursts.  We survived through class, but once at home, she was acting quite out of sorts.  Dinner was rough so she went straight to her bath, and then straight to bed.  At 7:26pm (mind you, this is the day after daylight savings too!) she was asleep in bed, and slept until 9:15 this morning!  She did wake up a few times last night but went back to sleep quickly.  I only wish I had gotten that much sleep!
She was quite a different child today.  Funny how diet, sleep, and good playtime outside can make such a difference.

And back to food...my friends have been sharing this recipe for flourless chocolate chip cookies.  We made them last night and they were quite tasty, so you should check it out:
Food Lovers' Primal Palate: Chocolate Chip Cookies



And for those who are interested in relatively new food habits of mine, here's how I'm trying to eat 85% of the time:

a no/low-grain, no processed food, unpasteurized dairy, eggs, clean meats diet with fresh fruits & vegetables, and fermented foods (like yogurt, kefir, etc.) for probiotic boosting benefits.  I've even been downing cups of homemade chicken stock just about everyday, and it's really been soothing to my stomach.  Funny how real food can be real(ly) nourishing.

I'm trying to avoid: unnatural sweeteners, grains, high-starchy foods, and even good foods that are hard for my body to break down.
helping in the kitchen
I'm no longer specifically following the modified elimination diet that I was doing last fall or even a specific detox/cleanse, but have transitioned into something I feel is a bit better for me at this time.

You can read more about such diets at websites like:
everydaypaleo.com (Paleo)
MarksDailyApple.com (Primal)
westonaprice.org (WAPF/Nourishing Traditions)

The end.  Go enjoy a cookie and the longer sunny days!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Time for a Change

Not just from the food post but also time for a change at home.

One of our many home improvement agenda items has been painting the family room & kitchen.  This weekend we tackled the family room and chose "Sharkey Gray" to go up on our walls.  We're still determining the kitchen color, and painting the kitchen will obviously require a bit more work: lots of weird angles, tall ceilings, and the obvious appliances with which to hassle.

It's not a drastic color choice, but hopefully something that will enhance the feel & vibe of the family room more so than the vintage white that was up there before.  It's such a vast space, it needs a little coziness to encapsulate it.

Mia--as she does in many things--wanted to help out, so she stood on the bottom rung of the ladder for a long time.
We'll pretend she didn't accidentally wipe her booty across the top of the wet paint can...

We were able to do all the painting on Saturday and then we finished up on Sunday by painting an accent color on the interesting woodwork we have popping out one wall of the family room.  Unfortunately, we sorta botched the color choice so that will need to be repainted at some point.  Too bad we really thought we had that figured out!
In other efforts to keep Mia distracted while we painted, we once again relied on our good friends at Sesame Street.  "What's the word on the street?"  Mia has definitely learned her numbers and the alphabet more thanks to Sesame Street, so there must be some learning going on there!



In the meantime, our current challenge with Mia is mostly behavioral.  She won't be two for yet another month but many a mom friend can relate to me here: the terrible twos have already arrived.  I received a call while we were walking through Target this morning and since I was holding the phone, and apparently Mia desperately wanted the phone at that moment (no doubt to watch Elmo), she began hitting me in the face and screaming.  Um, not the desired behavior while in public.  I put her in timeout at the end of an aisle and tried to discuss good and bad choices (© J.H.).  There is talk of a parenting class in the works at our church and it seems there's no time like the present ... we eagerly want answers and direction in raising our little one.  She has a fun, gregarious personality, but like someone else in her family (hmmm...who could that be?), she has a strong will and is quite independent.  Some have called her "secure," which I am happy to hear about her, but it gives both me & Greg a physical & mental workout at times!

Ain't that the way it goes, though?

Speaking of workouts...we have a 5k this weekend.  Here's hoping that these little workouts + some runs with the jogging stroller will be enough to see us through!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

food. Food. FOOD!

Spend any amount of time with a person and you'll eventually talk about food, will you not?  It's a basic, daily, pedestrian task.  And it should be enjoyed.

But what do you do if eating suddenly becomes something you no longer enjoy?  You worry about the physical reactions you'll have later or you wonder if the food that is going into your body is really fueling you how it should?  Trust me, I've been there.

Food has been such an exploratory and sometimes controversial topic for me over the last year.  You could say at some points I've been obsessed about it.  Really, you could, because it's true.  First I was a bit cautious about what Mia ate when she starting experimenting with more solids.  She was a perfect little being and I really didn't want to "mess her up," until I realized you just got to do what you can do and "let it be."  The cards will fall where they may. Then I turned the spotlight on myself and decided, it's time to figure out what really makes this system work or fail, especially because I felt I was having a LOT of failures.

I've been on such a crazy learning curve of late, that while I feel voraciously HUNGRY for more information, sometimes I just need to turn off the news flow of information and just calm.down.  For real.  It can get a bit much.

Which is why my motto for this year is "everything in moderation."

Greg & I have been discussing what foods were truly intended for our bodies and we've struggled to figure out if certain foods were mentioned in the Bible why would they not be okay now?  (Like wheat and bread, for example.  The New Testament even calls Jesus the "bread of life.")  To not do a research paper on it all right now, all I will say is some things have changed in the processing and growing of wheat in the last 100 years that can sometimes make it much harder for a person's digestive system to handle.  Don't get me wrong though: I love bread, I love toast, and I don't hate grains.  I just have to quote 1 Cor. 10:23 (NIV, 1984 version):
"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive."


We may be allowed to eat all things but not everything necessarily works for us.  Right now I'm in the midst of another cleanse.  I know it makes me sound like a yo-yo, I really do.  But I'm just trying to work one more thing out for my little gut, and then hopefully I'll be able to reintroduce grains bit by bit at some point.  Because right now, not all things are beneficial for me.  I really wish it was, because man, those fritos in our pantry are CALLING MY NAME.  "EAT ME!!!"


But instead, I'm gonna hard-boil some eggs for some protein snacks down the road and try to make myself a new recipe of gluten-free pizza crust.  I'm trying to slay the sugar & grain monster right now so shoot up some prayers for my patience.  You don't know how good ice cream, cupcakes, french bread, and a Jimmy John's sandwich sound right now.  In due time, in due time.  

Friday, March 4, 2011

Northern Exposure

Last weekend we traveled northward to Minnesota quick trip to visit with family.  Mia traveled super well on all our flights and even though an airline employee accidentally ripped up the copy of her birth certificate, almost all things went pretty well.  Gotta love all the do's & don'ts you just have to learn on the fly when you travel with a wee one (pun intended).  



Even though it took Mia about a half hour to warm up to Uncle Nate on Friday morning (she avoided looking him in the eyes at all costs), after spending just a little bit of time with "Na-ate" and Aunt "Jonga," Mia was pretty taken with her Minnesotan aunt & uncle.  Anytime they left or she thought she heard the garage door, she'd point towards the door and call their names.

We had many other jokes about "batdus" (diapers) and the poopy stairs and Mia got to show Nate & Jenna how cool Elmo's World is.  I'm sure we'll all be singing, "A-B-C, A-B-C" India Aire style for a while now.  See the Youtube video below if you're not sure what I'm talking about.



Now we're back home enjoying warm weather & sunny skies.  This is pretty much the best time of the year in Florida.  It was 19°F when we left Minnesota on Monday and it's been the 70s & 80s here all week.  Funny; I guess every climate takes their turns loving life outdoors.  Let me tell you, come July & August, we won't be loving it so much!

PEACE to you where'er you be.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Where to begin.

February's over, we're already 3 days into March and I only blogged 4 times in the last month.  For a while there I thought my blog was dying.  (That lasted for about 12 minutes.)

I have a ton of blog post ideas, but am not sure where to start.  It could begin with our trip to the Great White last week; Mia's being on the verge of becoming a 2 year old, and what all that entails; how my mind's been hashing out so much how-to-do-this nutritionally that sometimes I'm afraid it may explode from overexposure; or how I'm suddenly re-motivated to continue decorating/painting/reorganizing our house and if I had the free time allotted to do so I would begin immediately.

Mia & Uncle Nate in MN
In the meantime, I'll let a cat out of a bag (you are REALLY interested now, aren't you??).  I've been writing another blog for a while about my findings in nourishing nutrition over the last half a year at:
Nourishing Newbie.  Pretty much no one reads it, which is cool, but now I feel calm enough to share it with others.  I have thoughts about other things to share on there but I'll probably do it slowly over time.  I have realized myself it takes quite a while to let new things regarding food and its preparation to sink in.

And secondly, I've also been an "affiliate" of Kelly's Closet for a few months too!  I love shopping on their website for all things cloth-diaper related, and since I talk about cloth diapers so much, I decided to add an affiliate link on my page: http://www.kellyscloset.com/?AffId=414.  That way, if you shop there through my link, I get a tiny commission.  Hey, you or your beloved get cloth diapers, their store gets business, and I make like 5 cents.  ALL AROUND WIN!  Every little bit counts!!

With that, I'm now turning in for the night. A tad late for my liking, but true to my Night Owl self...after 11pm.  'Nighty Night!

Goodnight Moon.



PS: And once again I steal music from Kelle Hampton's blog.  Am only constantly inspired by her!