Friday, November 28, 2008

Sweet, sweet...

So if you are an obsessed dedicated blogger, you may have already heard about The Mother Letter Project from Shannon, at Rocks In My Dryer, or maybe Robin, at Pensieve, or any of dozens of others. But because I think it's the sweetest thing I've run into in the blogosphere in quite some time, I'm going to link you in anyway. Also, Inspired Bliss has gotten (Robin has dubbed him) Secret Daddy to let us be his rep :) Sort of. The details are here. I'm working on my Mother Letter. How about you? :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The First Thanksgiving (...cue theme from Psycho..)

The main thing I'm thankful for today is next Thanksgiving.


This year our family ditched us for the holiday and this is how our day went at home (and did I mention that this is the first year I've ever cooked a turkey?)

2:00 AM Sofi wakes crying that her ears hurt and her throat hurts and she can't sleep.

2:30 AM Jeremiah gets home from "guys night"

5:45 AM Judah wakes, coughing, refuses to go back to bed.

6:30 AM after three trips into the kid's room to soothe Judah, I give in to reality and get up with him. Feed him half a banana. Have two cups of strong tea.

Photobucket 7:30 AM Sofi gets up, crying about her ears. Eats some toast. Listens to Redwall.

Note theme of militant, fierce mouse.

Judah bounces off the walls in accompaniment.



(video actually from earlier in the week, but adequately represents the situation)

I discover that the frozen turkey I bought yesterday is supposed to thaw in the fridge-- for 3 to 6 DAYS. (remember, first time ever to make a turkey...) I take out some aggression and frustration on the kitchen door.

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(just kidding, we're scraping it to paint it this weekend, but it came in handy)

8:00 AM Not to worry. There is an emergency protocol that involves soaking the carcass in cold water for several hours. Apparently there are lots of people who don't read directions beFORE they begin a project.

Photobucket

10:00 AM We wake Jeremiah up so he can take the kids for a bit so I can make our sleeping-in-late-brunch. He begins working on cleaning the stove on the back porch. I drink two cups of coffee (do not judge me for my excessive caffeine consumption--there is a time and a place to caffeinate and this, my friends, was It)

11:30 AM I treat Sofi's ears with Faith's magic onion trick. She cries, but perseveres.



Photobucket Photobucket

12:00 The kids go down for naps. I finally finish washing breakfast dishes in one half of the sink while the turkey is soaking in the other half. Drying dishes are piled high all across the counter.

2:00 The turkey is finally thawed and ready for the oven. We decided that since we haven't heard back from our family, none of them will be coming at all. I put the thirteen pound turkey into the oven. Thirteen pounds. Thirteen pounds of turkey-- two adults, two children. You do the math. We gonna be eatin' lotsa turkey 'round here...

2:30 Praise God, I finally get a shower and out of my pajamas!

3:00-- 5:30 Frantically cooking, drying hair, applying makeup, treating Sofi's ears a second time and as if that weren't enough, as if to add insult to injury...

A MOUSE RUNS RIGHT ACROSS MY FOOT AND UNDER THE STOVE!
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I did, of course, scream and jump across the room nearly giving a heart attack to J-- who assumed from the magnitude of my reaction that at the very least one of the children had burst into flames. But after six solid hours of Redwall, can you blame me?

5:15 The turkey is ready,
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I slap on a little mascara and some concealer. (the pics are gonna be on the internets for the whole world to see, folks, cut me a little slack here)

5:40 After fending off the starving kids with raisins, cheese and bits of bread for over an hour:



we finally sat down to eat.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm...........

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And later that night, after the kids were in bed and we'd gotten outside the better part of a bottle of Chiraz, we had brownies and ice cream for desert. I forgot to get a picture, but it tasted like this:

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Not that we don't have a lot of things to be thankful for. I'll get to that. I'm just indulging in a little Humor Therapy.

:)

You can skip ahead to 1:48-- that's the funny part :) Colbert is Austen-izing baseball. This is for you, Rebecca!



The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c

Monday, November 24, 2008

Judah eats breakfast

He sure does love his "ohweetmeeeeyuhl????"


video

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Two great reads

I've been preparing a review on a book that Laurie introduced me to years ago; The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. Since it's a topic of interest to me, I decided to blog a little deeper about my thoughts here and also introduce a website that I recently rediscovered.

The Red Tent is basically one of those books that takes an obscure Old Testament story and fleshes it out into a novel-length saga, usually including all kinds of totally unbelievable crap that in no way represent a character or environment of anything BC. IYKWIM. Which is why I usually just walk right on by. (I know, I know, I'm sure there are plenty of decent books in this genre. I just haven't run into enough of them.)

But in this case, it was different. It wasn't even the plot, writing or characterization. It was the theme of sisterhood among the women of a tribe that touched a nerve for me. Only three years married, with a young baby, in a new town, large church, no friends; I hate to be dramatic (ha, ha, you say...) but that book really changed my life. It spoke to a need in my life that I wasn't sure was legitimate-- the need for the friendship of other women. It felt almost like a betrayal of the wonderful relationship I have with my husband to admit that there was something more that I needed.

But I've learned since then that men need women and women need men, but women also need other women. I think this never occurred to me before in part because I grew up with a built-in sisterhood-- biological in nature. I never felt a lack, so I never realized a need.

God has brought some interesting reading to my attention in the last few years on this whole idea of a community of women supporting one another in their endeavors to be Godly women/wives/mothers. One website in particular has been inspirational lately; The Suburban CEO. Specifically, the article Then vs Now, which is a quick overview of the unnatural position in which SAH moms find themselves in today's society of individualism and isolation. I highly recommend that you read through the majority of the website-- or at the least, the identification and replacement of The Five Missing Pieces. If you are a young mom, feeling somewhat overwhelmed and under appreciated, you will find validation and solutions within these articles.

The truth is, being a SAHM is tough. Really tough. Like Jesse "The Body" Ventura tough. ;) And doing it alone makes it even tougher. But with a network of encouraging, likeminded mothers-- and some basic goals and organization-- it can be so very rewarding.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Superpower

I bet you didn't know I was a super-hero, did you? Well, I didn't either until last Sunday. The day of the great Motrin Mamas Debacle of '08. In a nutshell, Motrin released an ad that was flippantly dismissive of babywearing moms. The internets exploded into mommy-blogger rage-- it was an awesome sight, I tell you, awesome... (you can read the whole story at crunchydomesticgoddess by scrolling through the last five or so posts) By Monday night, Motrin had removed the ad and issued an official apology.

So, I've discovered that my super power is Blogging!! Moms are a huuuuge market share in this country, and when we band together to support something we believe in, people (read; CEOs) sit up and take notice. So I would challenge you to speak out! Blog about what you care about. Don't worry that you don't have a large enough readership to matter. I don't, but I intend to badger some people who do about an issue that's on my heart this week and see what might happen. The days of the empowered consumer are here!

Here's the link to my Issue. A woman in Texas and her husband were arrested and their children removed to foster care after pics of her breastfeeding (and of the children in the bath) were reported to local authorities by Eckerd's photo developing service as "child pornography". The children have yet to be returned to their parents, despite the case being thrown out of court for lack of evidence. The parents and children are being subjected to all kinds of psych evaluation and "group treatment for sexual issues" (did I mention that the kids are one and four??). Dear God, what is this country coming to!!

This totally dwarfs the whole Facebook bans pics of bf-ing thingy. In addition to blogging about it myself and begging bigger bloggers to help too (sounds like a Dr Seuss book...), I'm going to research what else can be done. Ie; letters to congressmen or others in power and I don't know yet what all else. If any of you have any ideas after reading the link, please let me know.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Finishing up some old business

Now that it's been snowing for two days (albeit, without sticking much at all), I am officially done with fall. I know the calendar says winter doesn't start till December 21, but that's baloney. If it's snowing, it's winter. So here's a few of our fall pics that haven't made it into publication yet. Enjoy! More later...






Already?

Sofi informed me today, in a lordly tone, that she is "too old for babies" (dolls). Sigh. I suppose it was bound to happen some time. I just figured it would be a while yet...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our family reunion weekend consisted of, as I put it to a friend recently, going from one high-intensity conversation over here to another one over there and then back again. With intervals for eating, laughter and game-playing. And did I mention eating? Thanksgiving Dinner for 24 (sorry you're not feeling well, Laura :(


Unfortunately, I wasn't real diligent with my camera duties, so your window on our world is rather limited.
Laura, Susi, Ben and Violet, we missed you!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Discouraged

I've been kind of down lately. It's my body that's getting me down. This old thing. It don't work right, nohow. It's like an antique car that needs to be babied and coddled along in order to function correctly and even then it's loud, obnoxious and large.

Here's the struggle. I have sugar issues. PCOS is pretty close to being Diabetes, except with luck, exercise and diet you can post-pone the D for ten or more years. My body craves sugar all the time. But sugar is about the worst thing for me. In fact, if I want to get to a confidence-inducing weight, I'd need to completely eliminate all sugar and simple carbs from my diet (except some small amounts of fruit sugars). That, and exercise 45 min a day. Yes. 45 minutes a day of intense cardio-vascular exercise. According to my dr that is what's considered to be a "weight-loss rate of exercise". Ha. She should know better. She has kids too...

I've really tried to commit to exercise. I've even gone so far as to wake up at 6:00 am in order to fit in a work-out and shower before the kids get up. How did that go, you ask? Can you guess? Yep, Judah moved his wake-up time from 7:00 to 6:20. I guess he senses that there is something more fun than sleep going on somewhere in the house. This is only one example of the many ways the kids have outsmarted my attempts to get regular exercise.

The sugar craving thing is a bummer, too. It's really an addiction. Apparently it has something to do with the way my body processes sugar. When I eat sugar, it gives me a rush of energy and a good mood. But shortly thereafter I'll crash and burn. Then the sugar craving hits again. And so on... So, like any addict, I have to tough it out through several days of crankiness, fatigue and NO SUGAR and then I'll be okay, until the next time there are cookies or chocolate in the house. Or the next time we have a stressful week, or sick kids, or sleepless nights, etc.

So here I am. Stuck at 20 pounds over-weight. Struggling with fatigue, sugar-addiction, out-of-control acne and pms. Unable to exercise more than once or twice a week. And discouraged.

If you're waiting for the uplifting and positive conclusion to all this, don't hold your breath. I just don't have any answers to the dilemma at this point. My current attitude is a sort of "batten the hatches" approach. That is, do the best I can to eat well, exercise whenever I can fit it in (run around in the yard with the kids, go for walks, bike to the library. etc) and try to ignore the extra 20 lbs until the kids are older and there's a little extra money coming in and I can go back to the gym on a regular basis.

*sigh*

Monday, November 17, 2008

Comfort Food

It's snoooo-wiiiing! And so the yearly battle against cold, wet and miserable begins... My first warning shot over the bows of Old Man Winter came from Susi-- a Curried Broccoli Soup with my own Herbed Batter Rolls on the side and Spiced Apple Cider and a nice Merlot to drink. Here's some photos and the recipes.



Curried Broccoli Soup

2 lbs Broccoli
1/2 stick Butter
1 onion, chopped
1 lg potato
2tbsp Curry
1 1/2 qt Chicken stock
3/4 c light Cream


Melt butter in soup pot. Saute onion and butter. Add all other ingredients except cream. Bring to boil, cook till tender. Turn burner off. Add cream. Remove 1 to 2 cups to blender and process till smooth. Return to soup pot. Serve.


Herbed Batter Rolls

1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
assorted herbs
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup white flour

preheat oven to 400 degrees

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add assorted herbs (I try to match the type of herbs I use to the flavors of the main dish) to taste, sugar, salt, egg, olive oil and whole wheat flour. Beat with a wire whisk till smooth. Stir in white flour with a wooden spoon. Cover with a damp cloth and rise till doubled (when I'm in a hurry, I tend to skimp a bit on this step...), about thirty minutes.

Deflate batter by stirring. Scoop batter into lightly greased muffin tins-- 3/4 full. Set aside to rise in warm place for about 15 minutes. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm (with butter!).



Y'all have any favorite cold weather comfort foods? If you want to share, let me know in the comments, leave a link to your blog post with your recipe in it and I'll add your link to this post here on my blog. I'm particularly interested in a spiced wine recipe for our up-coming Christmas party... any suggestions? How about some cozy desserts?

New Review...

My newest review is up at Inspired Bliss! It's on The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare, a favorite of mine since high school. Check it out! Comment!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Go thou...

...and read this. And consider it long and hard. Don't simply react to something that challenges a dearly held pre-conception (haha, no pun intended), but feel free to post your own counter-arguments. This is a search for truth here. Not just spouting the favorite theories de jour.

you can read part 1 here

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fantstically Hysterical

This is for Jeremiah and Sue and Ben and Sam and Polly and Tess and Hos and Omi, all the other Storysingers and any other musician reading. Hooray for John Williams!!!!





....and a thank-you nod to Sue.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Book Review

My new post is up at Inspired Bliss. We're talking about myths and legends this week. Check it out! Comment!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More on Attachment Parenting

Since Denise asked for more details about our views on AP, I thought I'd turn my email to her into a blog post and thus kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Ie; I do actually get the info to her (those of you who've had the misfortune to attempt email communication with me in the past know of what I speak) and I get a blog post written at the same time. Ah, the perks of a blog...

So. Anyway. Attachment Parenting. We actually were first introduced to the idea in an article by Michael Pearl, although not labeled as such, when Sofi was a baby. We went on to read other books on the topic (including Dr Sears' books--although I confess, I didn't study them extremely thoroughly), but many of our ideas on this topic have been formed by his writings. However, since the Pearls are such a hot-button topic these days, let's just stick with some quotes from good ole Wikipedia.
Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatricianWilliam Sears,[1] is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, a strong emotional bond with parents during childhood, also known as a secure attachment, is a precursor of secure, empathic relationships in adulthood.

According to Wiki, attachment theory states that;
the infant has a tendency to seek closeness to another person and feel secure when that person is present.

Okay, that's a no-brainer, right? So basically, the "theory" of attachment parenting (lower-case letters) is pretty common sense. You pretty much work with the idea that closeness with the parents provides an infant with security and contentment. Wouldn't you agree?

Well, now let's take a look at Attachment Parenting (capitalized). Again, Wiki, describing the Eight Rules of Attachment Parenting, coined by Dr Sears:
  1. Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
  2. Feed with Love and Respect
  3. Respond with Sensitivity
  4. Use Nurturing Touch
  5. Engage in Nighttime Parenting
  6. Provide Consistent Loving Care
  7. Practice Positive Discipline
  8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
These values are interpreted in a variety of ways. Many attachment parents also choose to live a natural family living (NFL) lifestyle, such as natural childbirth, home birth, stay-at-home parenting, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling, unschooling, the anti-circumcision movement, the anti-vaccination movement, natural health, cooperative movements, and support of organic food .

Again, hard to argue with, all things that we have embraced wholeheartedly. I doubt you could find much wrong with most of these basic tenets-- on the face of things. (Although I suppose vaccinations and circumcision are a little controversial.) It's when you start to examine some of the "putting it all into practice" stuff that Jeremiah and I start to part ways with many people who practice Attachment Parenting (capitalized).

There are a few hot-buttons topics to illustrate this parting of ways. For starters, Nighttime Parenting. With both kids, they slept in our bed, or in a basket beside the bed for at least the first three months. I bf-ed on demand all night for the first year. But for both of our children there came a point at which good Nighttime Parenting involved teaching that child to sleep through the night. This inevitably involved some crying. For Sofi, loooooots of crying for a few nights. For Judah, a little crying for many, many nights (weirdly enough, not all at once-- he'd sleep great for a while and then start waking up at odd hours again...) I have never heard an advocate of AP also advocate for (what is known as) CIO (the Cry It Out method). We do!

Another wolf in sheep's clothing is the idea of Positive Discipline. It sounds good, and I would say that the training and discipline we provide for our children is indeed positive, but what is meant here is;
........... to teach the child by gentle guidance, such as re-direction, natural consequences, listening and modelling, and not by punitive means such as spanking, time-out, grounding and punitive consequences.
That is not going to get you very far in training your child in obedience. We believe in a firm but gentle insistance on the authority of the parent in every situation. You can read more about that in these other blogs posts by Jeremiah and myself.

Attachment parenting holds that it is of vital importance to the survival of the child that he be capable of communicating his needs to the adults and having those needs promptly met. Dr. Sears advises that, while still an infant, the child is mentally incapable of outright manipulation.

I agree with the first part of this quote, but definitely not the second. I know for a fact that a child learns at a very early age how to manipulate his parents. Any parent whose child cries the instant the parent leaves the room, ceases instantaneously on the parent's reappearance and consistently engages in this behavior, ought to realize that s/he is being manipulated. So therefore, part of our version of AP is to be aware of the difference between what our child
needs and what he merely wants and determine the appropriate response.

Even the idea of Presence ('giving you child your presence'-- not listed above, but included in other works on AP) although a good one on the surface, can lead to obsessive and counter-productive results. We keep our children close to us (beginning at infancy with the practice of babywearing), include them in most of what we do, teach them to participate in all the daily household activities and generally treat them as an integral part of the family unit, as opposed to a dependent needer-of-entertainment-- a sort of "Other" category. But many people who practice/advocate AP take this waaay too far. Their children from birth are on 15 minute rotations from playmat to bouncy chair to swing, reading time, blocks, etc, as mommy creates an artificial and completely child-centered environment that eventually exhausts her and (usually) over-stimulates the child. I believe it is far better to raise a child to understand his importance to the family's function and have the security of knowing his place and his role. Sofi, at six, is quite capable of tidying and dusting her entire room, baking a loaf of bread, watching Judah while I take a shower, making sandwiches for lunch and a whole host of other duties that give her a sense of pride and belonging. She is working and playing and creating alongside me, but without the "self" focus that can lead to all sorts of attitude issues.

So there are some major examples. I could go on and on (always... as I'm sure you know...), but this gives you an idea of how we apply the basic common-sense aspects of the principles behind AP and try to avoid the excesses that Katie Allison Granju spoke about in her article.




Some other articles that you might enjoy:

The Over-Parenting Crisis

12 Parenting Essentials
(especially #3, which discusses "acceptance", and #7 "boundaries")

The War On "No"

Child Training

Boys Will Be Boys

Monday, November 3, 2008

What can I say? My son is a genius...

Although he obviously comes by it naturally since god-hood runs in the family.






(Can you hear him saying "Num, num, num"? He does love his Cheerios...)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

OOOPS

So, actually, instead of this, I bought this by accident (can you tell the difference!!??). So I have to go back here and try again. But in the meantime, I've been amusing myself by reading this. It's an excellent article, written by the author of a major book on Attachment Parenting, that pretty much sums up my feelings on the trend. It might help clarify what I discussed in this post, regarding our certain agreements and disagreements with the philosophy.