Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Posted by Amber at 9:58 PM
Monday, April 1, 2013
I mentioned back in this post that I've been nagged recently about not blogging more. I enjoy it, I really do. But I'm a victim of chronic writer's block. I need a little nudge to get me writing, most days. But I do need to make more of an effort. If I'm going to write a book someday, I can't let my writing bug die!
To that end, I found a few sites that offer daily (or almost daily) "one minute" writing prompts. I have no intention at all of only writing for a minute on these, however they do provide just the starting point that I so desperately need lately in order to start writing.
Here goes my first one!
"If money, work, and family ties were not an issue; and you could choose any kind of natural environment / climate to live in that you wanted, what would you pick? A desert villa, beach hut, a cabin in the woods? Maybe for you the best kind of nature is an urban apartment?"
Ahh, this prompt brings me to a happy place. I would choose a large house in the pacific northwest on a lake. I love the pacific northwest because the air is clean, the weather isn't too hot nor anywhere near as cold as I'm used to, and you have a chance at a white Christmas but probably won't freeze to death within an hour if your car breaks down in January.
As far as the house itself, I don't require (nor really enjoy) luxury per se, but large and only somewhat shmancy would make me very happy. The house would have wood siding and a pretty dark green color trim. There would be windows everywhere. I'd have about 8 bedrooms; one for us, one for the kid, one craft room, one computer room, and the rest for all the people I would demand to come visit me. Ha! The kitchen (also large) would have beautiful oak cabinets with my son's artwork plastered all over them, just like mine are now. The living/family room would have vaulted ceilings open to the upstairs, a fireplace, and a ginormous TV on which to watch football and HGTV.
The house would also have a lovely, manicured front yard, immediately past which would be the lake. Dark blue water with fish jumping everywhere. I wouldn't be able to hear traffic from my yard. Only the fish jumping. In the backyard would be a little shed to match the house, and my garden. I want a BIG garden so I can grow healthy food and save myself tons of money while also eating right. I also want beautiful trees in the backyard for shade and yummy smells, like crab apples or chokecherries or whatever my in-laws have in their yard. Maybe an apple tree or two, too. It IS the pacific northwest, after all.
Best of all, this house would be situated only 20 minutes from a quaint little city that's small enough that I can feel safe there, but large enough to have a Target. (See? I told you I don't need luxury.) Oh, and maybe an Olive Garden, for those days when my garden food won't cut it.
What's your ideal environment and why?
Friday, March 29, 2013
One of the hardest things to get used to as an adoptive parent, specifically, is the questions that you get from strangers.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
I know I've written several diatribes lately (and yes, 'lately' is a relative term!) about my health and discoveries I've made about food and how to nourish my body better. Now that that's become more second nature for me, I finally decided it was time to do something about my lack of meaningful movement.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
One of my biggest pet peeves is parents who are jerks to their kids. It's hard for me to wrap my head around how people think it's okay to speak to their kids like trash. Actually, this has always bothered me. But now that I have a child, it makes me really angry. It's not unusual for me to really struggle with keeping my mouth shut at least once per grocery shopping trip, for example.
- A woman with children ages 1-ish, 6-ish, and 13-ish shopping for frozen pizzas. The baby was sitting in the cart screaming his head off. Screeching, really. He wasn't upset, I guess he just thought screeching would be fun. Mom didn't care in the least. Meanwhile, the 13 year old was eyeing a display of Doritos while the 6 year old politely complied with Mom's snotty requests to hurry up and choose a pizza. Mom screamed at all three kids at least three times in the less than two minutes I was near them. Finally the 6 year old says to Mom, sadly, "I can't deciiiiide!!" to which Mom replies, "God, you never like anything, I guess you're just screwed for dinner then, go hungry!" Seriously?! How about helping the kid decide instead of berating him?!
- A woman appearing to be... what's the diplomatic way to say this... a fan of mind altering substances?... making a huge scene upon coming around the corner of a display of Valentine's candy to find her son, who looked to be about 10. He was on one side of the 2-foot by 2-foot square display, she was on the other. She proceeds to totally flip out on him, crackhead style, and scream, "How many (bleep) times have I (bleep) told you to not (bleep) wander away from me in the (bleep) store?! You're such an idiot!" I gave her my best dirty look as my stomach churned. She promptly led him outside, I assumed to rush to car to be somewhere important. Because, you know, I can't think of any other explanation for her behavior... but no, she rushed outside to her friend, they each lit a cigarette, and she snidely told this child, "go play in traffic if you're gonna wander off." She and her friend laughed. The child hung his head and kicked the ground. My heart broke.
- And okay, this isn't a jerk parent case, but I'm putting it in this post anyway because sometimes I just don't get people. When I went to check out, there was a woman at the checkstand whose last few items were just being scanned. When they were all bagged, the cashier asked her if she had her store loyalty card with her. She replied that she didn't have one. He politely said, "okay, no problem" and just gave her her total. She quickly said to him, "no, I'm not letting these points go to waste, I want to use my friend's card." The cashier asked her for that person's phone number so he could put it in the computer to get that person the points. Oh, but the woman didn't know what phone number her friend's loyalty card account would be under. Rather than let it go like 95% of rational people would do at the busiest grocery store in town on a Friday night at 5:30pm, what does this woman do? Right, she gets out her cellphone and calls the friend to ask what number the card is under. The person on the phone is obviously confused, so she explains that she doesn't have a card but doesn't want the points to go to waste. Rather than give her the phone number, the person on the phone proceeds to ask her what she's buying. She tells them... one... item... at... a... time. The cashier shoots me an apologetic look. I smile and gesture that it's no big deal. (Because really, what would be the point of getting upset?) Eventually the person on the phone convinces the lady in front of me that they don't know what number it's under. They finally hang up. Whew, finally! ...No. She calls someone else to get THEIR number. Oh boy. They're probably on the phone 3-4 minutes before she finally gets the number and hangs up. The poor cashier obviously wants to deck her. Somehow he maintained his composure. My hat's off to him, and when it was finally my turn, I told him that. But really, her friend probably got a nickel worth of rewards for this purchase. Why booger up the whole line, especially during rush hour, for that?! I have no idea.
Posted by Amber at 2:55 PM
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
A couple months ago, I wrote this post about an epiphany I had about food, nutrition, general health, PCOS, feeling good, and how all of those things are connected. I knew that 2012 represented a corner I was turning in terms of the way I think and feel about food.
Truth be told, the holidays were hard. They always are. Here I'd spent all this time educating myself about the things I should and shouldn't be putting in my body. Then, as I learned, there was the whole other process of implementing all of these changes, forming new habits, detaching myself from the comfort of my old ways. Those things are hard anytime, but they're especially challenging when you're bombarded by sugary treats everywhere you go. Add to that the rush-rush-rush of the shopping, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, baking and so much more that comes with that time of year, and it's REALLY tough to turn away from convenient processed foods and drive-thrus.
Considering all of that, I haven't really lost weight since I wrote that post. However, I have continued to educate myself and to make small changes in the direction that I want to go. I buy more organic fruits and veggies than non-organic. I've always loved salads, but now I make them with organic spring mix instead of regular old iceberg lettuce. I make Blueberry Buckle Oatmeal from my PCOS Diva meal plans almost every week for a quick and easy breakfast I can eat at work. It's gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and I'm being totally honest when I say it beats the pants off the sugar- and salt-laden instant oatmeal I used to eat each morning! And it's much more filling, too.
Point is, it's a process. In my case it's a loooong process.
Then, last night, I did something I've been meaning to do for a long time.
I watched Food, Inc.
Oh my goodness gracious. If you haven't seen this, you really should, for education value if nothing else. Even if you don't feel compelled to change your habits as a result of what you learn - heck, especially if you don't feel compelled to change your habits after watching this - you really should see it anyway so that you are an informed consumer.
When the movie ended, I was more than a little horrified. I thought about all the things in my pantry - and especially in my freezer - that are chock full of hormones, chemicals, and... cruelty... for the sake of the almighty dollar. Argh. The things happening on some conventional beef and poultry farms should definitely be illegal.
(While we're talking about things that should be illegal, did you hear that the FDA has issued a preliminary approval of GMO salmon?! The fish you buy at your supermarket might not only be a fish that has never actually seen the ocean, but might actually be a fish that was invented in a laboratory?! How is this okay?!)
The unmistakable message at the end of this movie is that we control these practices by creating - or removing - demand for these products. And although I have never been in a tighter financial situation than I am now, the truth is that I just can't afford to put myself or my family at risk anymore by buying this junk. It's time to insist on organic meats for sure. It's even hard to find them here sometimes, but I just have to put that extra effort in. If it means my son isn't ingesting hormones and antibiotics and fecal matter and carcinogens and who knows what else, then it doesn't matter what it costs. Now that I have this education, it would be really neglectful of me to continue feeding him the things I am used to buying. I just won't do it. (Not to worry, I'm not going to be that mom that forbids my kid from ever touching a chicken McNugget. Moderation in all things, after all, but I can at least ensure that the vast majority of what goes in his mouth is really good for him. Or, you know, at least not covered in poo.)
Crap. I'm becoming one of 'those people.' Slowly, it's happening. It's a box that can't be un-opened, a hill that can't be re-climbed. I've passed the point of no return.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find one of those bumper stickers about farmed fish.
Friday, January 11, 2013
It has been entirely too long since I've talked in any detail about what Aidan is up to these days and where he's at, developmentally. This will probably be a boring post, but I want to have it for later since I have been terrible about
starting keeping up on a baby book for him!
First off, the nuts and bolts. At roughly two years and four months old, he weighs around 35 pounds and is 33" tall. This puts him at the 75th percentile for height and the 90th percentile for height, or so. He's a big, healthy boy! He's grown into his cheeks - somewhat - and is currently outgrowing his size 3T pajamas. I just ordered a bunch of 4T's from Carter's. (Wait, what? A barely-two-year-old in 4T jammies? Yup.) He's in 3T shirts and just now moving up to 3T pants.
I think I've mentioned that back in October, he moved from the 12-24 month class at daycare to the 24-36 month class. I was pretty nervous about this transition, because the one a year before was not any fun at all. I anticipated him fighting this through the whole two-week transition period, not sleeping, acting like a turd at home, etc etc. Much to my surprise, he didn't really need an actual transition at all! The first day they took him to the new room, he stayed there most of the day and never really looked back.
The teachers and other parents in the new room told me to just wait for the developmental explosion to happen once he was in there for a couple of weeks. They were right! When he moved up, just three months ago, he was talking, but only one word at a time, not two- or three-word sentences like some of his peers. He would most often just repeat the last word of whatever was said to him if the answer was affirmative, or deliver an unmistakable "NO!" if that was the appropriate answer. It was pretty cute, but I had begun to worry if he might be falling behind, at least partially due to the Cody fiasco.
These days, not only is Aidan talking, he's stringing multiple words - multiple thoughts - together at once. It is so amazing to watch. Here's an example from this morning, when he was playing with his Woody doll (action figure?!) and its hat fell off. I said to him, "Uh oh! Better put Woody's hat back on so his head doesn't get cold!" I wasn't really even thinking about what I was saying to him. A few minutes later he was in the other room and I heard him exclaim, "Uh oh! Woody hat off! Woody head cold! Hug Woody? ... Happy Woody!"
Yup, he's figured out that hugs make people happy. I love this about him. If we're wrestling around and he knees me in the... well, pretty much anywhere... and I get that pained look on my face, he stops immediately and says, "Mommy owie, hug!" then throws his arms around me, looks in my eyes to check on me, and says, "Mommy happy!" Of course, this also means that he feels the urge to hug strange babies and children in the grocery store when THEY cry... but it's still so sweet.
One of my favorite communication-related developments lately is the new ability to use 'yes' and 'no' appropriately. "Aidan, would you like a sandwich?" "Yes please." SCORE! No more guessing, trying to coerce him to eat food he doesn't want, etc. Sometimes I can even ask him what he wants to eat and he'll tell me. This makes life so much easier!!
Favorite pastimes lately are building toys, like his Legos and bristle blocks, and of course his various trains, trucks and cars. (Grandma and Grandpa got him THIS ginormous Lego train set for Christmas! He's definitely all 'boy' that way. However, he still does occasionally become stricken with the sudden urge to swaddle his 'baby' (a Cabbage Patch doll that I bought for him after I saw him caring for one at daycare). It's the cutest thing. He takes her out of the receiving blanket she's in, throws the blanket in the hamper, then goes to his dresser, points to the top drawer, and says, "new one?" I get a new one. He meticulously spreads it out on the floor, removing all folds and wrinkles. He then 'changes the baby's diaper,' which requires a real baby wipe of course, then lays her carefully in the blanket. He wraps her up (think sloppy swaddle), picks her up, holds her up to his shoulder, pats her back and says "shhhhhh." Cue Mommy dying of cuteness.
The grocery store is still a challenge some days. Most of the time he's really good, but other times it's not a whole lot of fun. He can't stand to sit nicely in the cart for very long on those days. He has to stand up and turn around and put his legs back through, so he's facing the same direction as the person driving the cart. Other times he has to sit sideways with his legs stretched out. And then he alternates between these three positions every 30-45 seconds throughout the shopping trip. I have a terrible fear of him tumbling out and cracking his head open when he goes to stand up, so it's hard to concentrate on shopping when he's doing this!! On the good days though, it's pretty enjoyable to take him. He likes identifying items on the shelves and especially in the produce department. Especially at high volume. "MOMMY! APPLLLLLLLESSSSS!!" I used to blush when this happened. Now I'm proud. Maybe I've finally lost what was left of my dignity??
Speaking of dignity, potty training has begun! I probably would not have started this conversation on my own until he was about 2-1/2, but when he transitioned into his current classroom, they recommended we started using pull-ups (but of course it was ultimately our choice). They take him to the potty several times a day and it wasn't a week until he started picking up on what the potty is for. He's warming up to the idea more each day! Last week he went pee in the toilet two nights in a row. You would've thought Mommy won the lottery. In a way, I'll sort of win the lottery as he progresses with this. Not only will we save dough on diapers, he gets to move up to the next classroom at school at his third birthday if he's potty trained, and that alone will save me $200 a month. Score!
Let's face it, I could go on all day about this kid. I think that about gets us caught up for now. I know everyone says this, but I really cannot believe how quickly he is growing, changing and developing. It is truly frightening! I just know that next week he'll be asking for the car keys. At the same time though, unlike some other mommies, I don't wish to freeze time. I am so enjoying this journey - even the tough parts.