Saturday, September 29, 2012

Loving the little days...

As we start to say goodbye to the month of September, I realize we're closing the gap on Gabe's first year. Come October, he'll be 11 months, and before I know it, 1 year old in November.  This has been one of the fastest years of my life.  If I'm honest with myself, I'd have to say I'm going to be kind of sad to see it go.  Babies are only babies for so long!

To quote from a poem:
by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Not me.

The days are long, but the years are short. If you need me, I'm gonna be with these peeps for a while...

fell asleep on me at a potluck - tired bebe

anticipating a playdate
sweet kids holding hands in the stroller

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oh, Experience.

I almost fell apart laughing last week when I was looking through Mia's desk trying to help her find something. If you don't know every intricate detail of my life (which, I truly hope you don't), then you might not know/remember that Mia's desk is my old desk from growing up. My parents were wise and bought really sturdy furniture that thankfully we've been able to pass onto our children. I love that that piece of history is being passed on. What I wasn't expecting to find though was a real piece of my history tucked away in Mia's desk.  I know for certain there are more -- I just don't know where -- but in one of the drawers of this desk was a journal I kept from 1994-1996, the years in which I was in 6th-8th grade, and oh my...were they ridiculous.  REE-dic-YOU-luss.  Like, awfully funny, and just as equally embarrassing.

I initially opened up to this page, and almost peed my pants.

Life was hard for this sister in the middle of three brothas

It sounds like a pretty typical story from 1994.  We don't mean to, and we don't realize it, but we somehow get in this me against the world mentality. I shared it with both Brer Luke and Brer Jackson and we all had a chuckle.  Ain't nothing like 18 years of experience to add some perspective to that story!  And now, hand me a tissue while I shed tears that it's ACTUALLY been eighteen years since that occurred.

The next one was from 1996.  Oh, for shame.

"6 notes!!!"
I love, loathe, and cringe that I was so obsessed with my gal-pal friendships.  But, I was entering my adolescence  and friends were such a big deal.  (BTW, Erin, if you're out there, trust me that I have very fond memories of our friendship and am way thankful we were such good friends back in the day!)

Part of me was ridiculously overjoyed to have found this journal.  Now, I could read and remember and relive all the silly, excruciatingly awkward moments I captured from the tender ages of 12-14 and therapeutically laugh out loud at how simple my life was then in comparison to now.  How could I not want that?

Let's also discuss how much my penmanship improved in about 2 years. If only my handwriting was that easy to read now! Blame it on the rush, rush, rush of life with little ones.

The other part of me was so embarrassed and also a bit turned off by how, as I put it, "shallow," my self-dialogue was.  I was pretty naive, and that's not always a good thing. I was very focused on petty things.  I had the vocabulary and the brains to describe it, but I was seriously lacking in maturity.  [See Erikson "Identity vs. Role Confusion" (Adolescence, ages 13-19)] Who wants that??

Reading various parts of this journal (and I couldn't bring myself to all of it--some of it was just too mortifying) reminded me that we're not all there yet, and we never will be--at least in this earthly life. 

If I could snatch my journals from college (which are much pithier, as I spent far more time on the phone or with friends, or yes, even studying than I did journaling), I would probably come away with similar sentiments -- "Wow, gurrrrl, you really didn't know very much, did you??"

Sometimes experience is painful, awkward, or confusing.  Sometimes, it's pure delight.  Or a mix of the two.  Or just somewhere in the middle. Whichever way it turns out, all I'm going to say is I'm thankful for the perspective that comes on the other side.

Next time you find yourself in a pickle, remember this: Your life just got a whole lot more interesting, because you were presented with a challenge you had to navigate, and you learned a whole lot of something about yourself and about life.  You've not arrived, but, you're getting closer. And stronger. And hopefully, wiser, my friend.  We don't always get it right the first time, but oh, how sweet it is when we do the next!

I want to get back into journaling.

Do you journal? If so, do you allow yourself to go back and read what you wrote, or is it a closed-book once it's written? How long have you journaled, and how does it help you?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guest post!

I'm not a mom of school-aged kids yet but I have packed a few lunches in my day for playdates, appointments, and such (thanks to my mom for teaching me how!) ... and today, I'm (*gulp*) doing my first guest post over at Modern Alternative Mama!  Come check me out! 

Hint: this does NOT involve Lunchables.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Endearing Moments

No relation to the story - just a fun picture of the gal

The other night, Mia warmed a few hearts during a small-group bible study...

Sunday nights at our church, we're meeting in classrooms to discuss a set of bible readings we've done Monday-Friday of the previous week. One of the stories we read the other week was about the Golden Calf in Exodus. Last week, Greg explained the story to Mia in his own words, and on the way to church Sunday night, he reviewed it with her.  An elder is leading our small group's discussion, and Greg told Mia that he might ask the little kids some questions, and that it would be okay if she answered. He also told her that he would probably speak up in class.  So anyway, that's a little intro....

When we had moved onto the Golden Calf story and the elder was segueing into that, Greg leaned down to the floor (where Mia was sitting), and whispered, "This is the story we talked about!" and as soon as Joe finished saying, "Who can tell me what happened when Moses went up on the mountain?" and was kind of looking at the kids--but not directly at Mia--Mia immediately piped up and started telling the story, in her own words, not even raising her hand, and looking directly at Joe.
It sounded a little like this:
"Moses went up on the mountain to talk to God, and the people stayed at 'the down of the mountain' and, and, and, and, um...and the people took their necklaces and their earrings off and they made a baby cow out of their jewelry."   
(It definitely took her a lot longer to say all that than it did for me to type felt like it lasted 3 minutes in real life but she was probably talking for maybe a minute.)

Joe said, 
"That pretty much sums it up. It sounds like you've been studying that this week."
It was really cute and she spoke very confidently and clearly; I think everyone could understand her, and meanwhile Greg and I were trying to not cry because it was a very proud moment. I saw two people across from me whose eyes were watering, and I had to take Gabe out a minute or so later and people were looking at me like, "Awwwwwwh" and becoming kinda weepy.  I was actually hiding a little bit behind Gabe while she was talking because while I wasn't embarrassed, I could feel myself getting red from all the attention I know she was bringing our way.  It was a good thing and it was really cute. I think the clincher in her story was "baby cow." That probably sent everyone over the edge. 

And then, Gabe.

Silly boy eating frozen blueberries before dinner

how to sign "milk"
This story actually took place the night before.  Greg & I went out on a date (woohoo!) and our babysitter, "Miss K," was to put both of our kids down for bed.  I explained to her how we put Gabe down, especially if I'm not there to feed him right at bedtime, and that swaddling helps him feel comfy and cozy.  When we got home, both kids were asleep and all was well.  Miss K told me later though, that when she was rocking Gabe to sleep, he got his arms out of the swaddle and was banging his hands at her chest. She thought he was just moving around until she realized he was holding his hands in her face signing MILK (looks like you're milking a cow).  She thought it was so precious he was doing that to her, and meanwhile I was in shock that he actually knew to do that, and I also though it was just a tad hilarious.  Hey, LADY, where's MY MILK???  Especially since he was hitting her in the chest. Oh, Gabe. Those moves won't work when you're older!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Organic or Conventional? 4 reasons to still choose organic

Organic or Conventional, what's the difference?
Well, according to the most recent news off the block from Stanford, apparently not much. This summary of the research, from a NY Times blogexplains, 
"A new study by Stanford researchers has added fuel to a debate about the differences between organic and conventionally grown foods. The Stanford report, an analysis of 237 studies of organic produce, meats and dairy foods, concluded that organic foods are no more nutritious than their conventional counterparts."
When I first heard the report, I initially thought, "Okay, well then I guess I shouldn't feel so bad when I do eat conventional produce, which is probably 40-50% of the time" (based on what I buy according to EWG's Dirty Dozen list).  But the more I got to thinking about it, the more irked I was. I don't believe the study was funded by outside sources, so hopefully there are no conflicts of interest, but here is why buying organic, when available and possible, is worth your while:

  1. There's no "safe level" of pesticides for our bodies, regardless of what the FDA says. Yes, our bodies were created in an amazing way to weed out nasty things and release toxins, but the environment, processed foods, needless drugs and antibiotics often take their toll on our bodies, making it harder and harder for organs such as our livers to do their jobs.  Choosing organic means one less toxic thing we put into our bodies and one less thing our bodies have to wrestle with, and many have reported whether it's anecdotal or scientifically documented, improvements in health upon switching to organic.
  2. Choosing organic means you're not supporting GMO or genetically modified foods.  These are foods, which as the name suggests, are genetically changed so that the foods are bigger, different colors, or so that apples won't turn brown when cut open.  GMO is a really hot topic right now, and if you want to learn more about it, see here: Millions Against Monsanto
  3. Choosing organic can often mean you're supporting a smaller-scale family farm or at least a farm committed to not contributing to the toxic effect we all feel from pesticides and nasty chemicals in our land, water, and food.  I'm not a farmer, but the fewer chemicals we have around us, the better.
  4. Pesticides are connected to ADHD and other diseases.  It is especially important for a pregnant or nursing mother to remove as many pesticides from her diet and choose organic when she can.  Occasionally, I feel silly for trying to ensure that most if not all of Gabe and Mia's fruits & veggies are organic (again, according to EWG list), but when I realize all the other things they're up against in this world, it's just one other protection I can offer.
There are surely more reasons than just these four, but they are the first that came to mind. 

For now, I'm going to continue to buy organic when I can, based on availability and finances.  It might not always be possible, and the Dirty Dozen list changes yearly, so things will always be in flux, but I don't think this new Stanford finding will change much of what I do.

What about you?  Do you buy organic?  Conventional? How has this new Stanford report affected your thinking about buying organic?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Day at the Market

On the last trip to the library Mia picked out a book called, To Market, to Market, which is all about going to a farmer's market. Today we got the chance to go to a local fresh market event - not exactly a farmer's market but close enough for suburbia.

Ready to go - basket in hand

In line to check out with the produce

Chicks! And baby chickens
Megan has already made quick work of our haul: corn on the cob for supper, fresh squeezed lemonade, and peach cobbler. Good day. Good food. Let's do it again.