May 13, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Baby

   I am extraordinarily fortunate to be celebrating 12 years of sharing married life with my man.  Recently he made a special effort to surprise me with a sweet gift and note to tell me how much he loves me and is proud of me.  He is far better at expressing his emotions than I am.  My instinct is more to show love by actions than words, because when it comes to expressing my feelings, words fail me.  For a person who seems to never run out of things to say, it is ridiculously hard for me to wax eloquent and romantic, which always feels melodramatic and cheesy to me.   But for his sake, I try.   

 For our anniversary we went out for a simple date.  Dinner together, and then a visit to a local karaoke joint that we like to go to from time to time.  My dear husband sang a duet with me as we held hands.  He has rarely sung in public since our high school choir days, where we met, so it is special to me to hear him sing for me.  I sang a special song for him, but could not even say anything sweet to him about it, other than that it was for him.   I wanted to, but I just couldn’t find the words. 

Over the last few years, our lives have changed dramatically.  We have been turned upside down more than a few times, sometimes with great things, other times not so great.  But through it all we have always surfaced together, always pulling closer together instead of floundering and growing apart.  I have no idea what the secret is to having a marriage still happy after 12 years, other than just love.  We find a way to overcome everything through love.  We treat each other with love and respect even as we recognize our own humanity and forgive the mistakes and flaws that we all possess as imperfect beings.  We find a way to laugh and love through all of life’s speedbumps.  My husband is the one I want to turn to when I have a great day, or a horrible one.  He is the first one I call, always.  He is the one who fills in the gaps for me, as I do for him.  Separate we are an incomplete puzzle, but together, the pieces fit perfectly. 

October 20, 2010

being grateful

Today I am staying indoors caring for two sick kids. My daughter has been stuck to me like glue since 4:00 this morning, poor baby.
Having to see your children suffer is the hardest part of being a mother for me. Feeling so powerless, constantly watching and waiting, debating if a visit to the doctor would be helpful, or just a germ-infested waste of time(I find that many times I have brought my children to the doctor, they have caught something while there.)
That being said, today I feel a strange gratitude. I am grateful I have nowhere else I am supposed to be, no work I had to call in for or stress about to-do lists that are not getting done. My job is being done, even as I type this waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in and to feel my darling child to start to cool down. Yes, I am falling behind in chores and housework, but that part of my job is secondary to the health and well being of the small ones I have created.
Today I feel overwhelmed with the choices I have made in my life. I chose the absolute best life I could have chosen for myself. I chose to be a stay at home mother, and I am so grateful that I have the time to devote my every breath to taking the absolute best care of my sick children. I am so glad to have a husband who supports my decision and goes to work, I feel sorry for him today as he was up this morning with us, serving up ibuprofen and cool rags, and then had to go to work and worry about his kids all day. That is a huge sacrifice on his part, on any normal day, but it is moreso on my mind today that he is running on practically no sleep and lots of worry. (Don't worry, babe, "I got this!") He often makes the point to me that the role of working dads is harder than it looks, just like the stay at home mom role. And he is right, especially today. It is hard for him to leave his family behind every day and miss out on the fun stuff and enjoyable parts of their day. But on a day like today, I cannot imagine having to drag myself out of bed and tear myself away from my sick children. The feeling of dread would be overpowering as I tried to focus on the tasks at hand. Luckily, he knows he has me here to count on to care for them and keep him in the loop. And, as we all know, I am an amazing mother who takes the very best care of her kids. (wink, wink)

September 15, 2010

A Colorful World(warning, opinions)

Our little family has been rocked a few times in recent months by discoveries of what is in the food we eat.

My husband has consumed protein powder for years. You may have seen on the news that several brands have been found to contain arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. Heavy metals with your workout, anyone? And this is perfectly legal, because there are very small amounts in each serving. The problem is that heavy metals build up in the body, and when you consume three servings of them a day, many of the brands tested exceeded safe levels. Needless to say, we were scared out of our wits.

I have been walking for a year with a very nice woman. I will not tell her story here, because that is her story, not mine. What I will say is that through the course of our conversations, I have discovered this website that has opened my eyes a bit. That website has an entire program for children with specific medical and behavioral problems, which I have so far been fortunate enough as not to have my children diagnosed with.

Basically, the point I am focusing on right now is that artificial colors are made from petroleum. Gross. Several cosmetic companies are steering clear of using petroleum-based products to apply to the skin. Kudos to them for that, but why is it still acceptable in our society to ingest things made from crude oil? When artificial colors originated, very few things consumed were colored. Now? Kids get candy nearly every day. Their toothpaste is colored. Their mouthwash dyes their teeth blue. They eat colored cereal and fruit snacks, and drink pink milk and drinks in every color of the rainbow. Salmon is not pink enough, mac-n-cheese is not yellow enough, and fruits are not colorful enough.
If a person were to look at the labels of everything their family consumed in one day, I wonder how much petroleum they would have taken in? A little at a time? And imagine if your child had a particular sensitivity to them, what do you think would happen then? And why do we have to have everything we put into our mouths super colorful?

It has always been a source of annoyance to me that the foods that are the least nutritious for my children are the most brightly colored and visually appealing, with characters they recognize on their packages.
I have always been a little concerned about colors, since years ago when I changed my son's diaper after he ate colorful cereal and found the contents to be an unnatural shade of green. But I have never known how much is hiding in children's favorite foods and where it came from. So I am making a change. I am making an effort to find food and drinks for my children that do not have artificial colors in them. And it isn't as hard as you might think. Some juice pouches are free of artificial colors and flavors, others are made from real juice. All I had to do is make sure to buy certain brands and my son still gets to have a juice pouch in his lunch. I found name brand fruit rolls that were made with "simply fruit." When I opened the package to give one to my kids, they smelled so good and fruity they made my mouth water. They aren't bright red and blue, but my kids did not complain a bit, just begged for more. Candy is a little more difficult, because almost all of it is very colorful, but I found chocolate, caramels and lollipops and several other new things to try. My son is old enough to understand that we are trying to stay away from colors, but he was really hoping that the eyeball-shaped Halloween gummies did not have any colors(double gross.) My daughter does not yet understand, so the trip to the store was a little bit more difficult than usual. However, I successfully steered her away from the pink milk, which is a noteworthy accomplishment.
I will let you know how things are going and if I notice any change in my children's behavior. I am not trying to follow the entire program at this time, just staying away from BHA, BHT, and artificial colors. Call me crazy if you want, but if there is a chance I am improving the health of my family, it is something I am going to do. I won't judge you or tell you what you should do with your kids, but I will do what I believe is best for my own(said with a charming smile!)

A sidenote: Why doesn't the government stop the food companies from putting all this nasty stuff into our food, you may ask? This brings up a topic I think best covered in a future post about politics, however, I believe that we hold the power. If we as a people stop buying things that are unhealthy, we remove the demand in the market for them. And if there is no demand, companies will stop making them and start supplying foods that we want. If we buy cookies made with real ingredients and juices made with real fruit, we will see more of them on the shelf. I believe we must educate ourselves and make good choices for ourselves, and the supply will follow demand.

What do you think? Are you willing to experiment with your family's diet with me? If so, we can share recipes and delight in new finds in the store that hit it big with the kids!

August 22, 2010

Singin' In the Rain

My darling husband got up early yesterday and spent seven hours helping a dear friend move. He rushed home afterward to take a shower, for it was time for a "family date." When we take our kids somewhere fun, we always call it a date, and they think it is so special. Then when it is time for Mommy and Daddy's date, they know it is no big deal, they go on dates with us all the time. On the agenda this evening was a baseball game with Auntie and Uncle and cousins. As we stood in the extremely long line waiting to get into the game, the heavens opened and poured down buckets on us. Daddy ran to the car and retrieved a tiny umbrella from the car, but by the time he got back, we were soaked.

So what do you do when you have an umbrella and you are already soaking wet?

Why, dance in the puddles, of course!

Eventually the rain cleared and they started the game. Chiquita got to see her best friend Tuffy, and had a nice conversation with him:

And my son finally posed for a picture with him!!

The game only lasted an inning and a half before the rain hit again, but it was just long enough to see a home run and get some cotton candy and popcorn! The game was called, so we went to a restaurant to eat hot dogs and pretend they were from the ball park. They were really good and covered in chili, can't beat that! And my sweet husband bought some extra food and gave it to a hungry woman outside who had nothing to eat. What a guy! I am reminded of something my mom said to me once. She and my Grandma were having a conversation and concluded that my husband was going to heaven for sure. He is such a good guy, always the first one to jump to help out anyone in need, whether a stranger, acquaintance, or my grandma the time she rolled out of her chair at the 4th of July parade(she was fine!) He is so generous, kind and full of joy that you can't help but be drawn to him. I know I was!

August 3, 2010

Sad Neglect

I must begin by apologizing for the sad lack of summer posts and pictures. Yikes. So, so I post old news and pictures one by one, or one giant too-lazy-to-do-more post? Yeah, you know me, all right! So one gigantic, I-just figured-out-how-to-upload-pictures-to-my-new-computer post(I-think-I-am-addicted to-this-key.)
The summer went by far too fast for my taste. So fast, in fact, that I don't know what happened to most of the pictures I took anyway. So the gigantic post I promised will probably be broken up into a couple disjointed pieces jumping around to document our adventures. Oh, well, the curse of having two computers, I suppose.
We made a special breakfast for Father's day, and my son has discovered french toast. Can you blame him? His mother is only an awesome cook! He learned how to dip it and flip it, two of the things that make French Toast great! Butter and powdered sugar topped it off, and he was hooked!
I do have a question for you, my faithful readers. Do you find that your daughters are more willing to help around the house than your sons? My daughter is always right next to me when it is time to do dishes, or cook. My son has to be called and instructed what to do. He is five and she is three, so is it their age that is the difference, gender or personalities? I had to talk to my son about how important it is to learn how to cook and clean up so that he can do it for himself when he grows up. But is this something carried in the Y chromosome? Are males born helpless and reliant on females? Is it innate for them to have a subservient female, mother and then later wife, to cook for them and clean up after them? Or do we as mothers condition our sons to expect to be served their whole lives? Am I fighting against nature to teach my son to fend for himself? Nah....

We also toured the Fire Station with some friends and had a fabulous time! A dear friend took some pictures of my kids and sent these adorable ones of my daughter to me: apparently, the pictures of my son jumping off of the pillars outside the station didn't turn out! hahaha!
Notice the Fireman badge...

How did I give birth to this? She is so beautiful I fear for her safety. Seriously.