Thursday, February 28, 2008
I was really struck by the way he has used music to draw people to a cause, such as civil rights, war protests, or saving the environment. Whether you agree with his politics or not, you have to admire his dedication to peace and non-violence and his love for his country. He was the driving force behind cleaning up the Hudson River and was the founder of the Clearwater movement. If you can, do try to catch the program. It's good stuff. Here's one of my favorite quotes- (I think this was in response to being called a liberal.)
"I like to say I'm more conservative than Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other."
I think I'm with him on that one.
It's interesting- there is something afoot these days in our culture. It's been around for a while, but only on the fringe, never mainstream. But it's gaining momentum, and people are talking, and making changes. Even big business is starting to take note. I can't put my finger on one word to describe it, but I think you will know what I mean. It's that feeling that things aren't quite right. That, hey! I don't want to feed my kids pesticides anymore. And, hey! What is all this plastic JUNK doing in my house? And, hey! Maybe natural medicine IS better! And, hey! Why am I spending my evenings watching TV programs about other people living life instead of actually living my own? (Exception: Pete Seeger program. :- It actually inspired me to live my life- better.) And, hey! Maybe I don't WANT to be available all the time via email, IM, phone, Blackberry, etc.
Maybe the word is natural. Or green. Or unplugged. I'm not sure- but it definitely is here, and gathering on the horizion like a thundercloud, and I like it. I see it in other people's blogs, like Jennifer's and Rebecca's and Jade's. I see it at the grocery store in all the new organic products. I see it in my own life as I make choices with new guiding parameters. (Is this natural? Is this worthwhile? Is this helpful or harmful- to us, to our world?) I'm definitely no Soule Mama yet, but I'm a lot closer than I was a year ago.
Interesting stuff, friends.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
1. Blumchen- Check out that Easter goodness! Oh, my, get out the credit card!
2. Bento Corner- This is such a fun way to eat lunch. Great Japanese concept to make healthy food appealing, but I'm afraid Sister won't go for the seaweed.
3. Rebecca Sower's reflections on going unplugged for a day. I love this idea. I think I'm going to try doing it on Sundays. (We really want to attempt a Sabbath around here- so far it isn't happening but I haven't given up.) One thing that stood out to me in Rebecca's entry was how she realized that in the absence of TV, phone, internet, etc. she did a lot of thinking. She says, "And I realized that more than stealing our creative time, all these 'gadgets' might also be stealing our thoughts, our ability to muse and reflect and dream and ponder."
How much more true for our children, who are in danger of never learning the quiet language of dreaming and pondering in this loud, technological age?
OK, back to mini-swap fun!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Jenni Bowlin's stuff
Heidi Swapp's new stuff (always love Heidi)
Friday, February 22, 2008
But, lately, this system isn't working as well. For one thing, the number of children with serious food allergies has increased rather dramatically (especially peanut allergies.) Why is this? I could go into a serious rant about the GOVERNMENT'S and BIG BUSINESS'S utter failure to protect pregnant mothers, babies, etc. (i.e. lead-laced toys, poisonous plastic baby bottles, trans-fats, etc.) but I won't. You know all that.
Anyway, the other reason that the system is failing is because some people are COMPLETE IDIOTS. Here's the case in point: a 2nd grade child at DH's school has a deadly peanut allergy. Yes, deadly. Just being near any peanut product can cause her throat to swell shut. She must have an Epi-pen on her person at all times. Her mother is very proactive and volunteered to be the room mom for the class in order to be sure that parties and special events were peanut-free. The mom even sent out packets to all of the parents at the beginning of the year with a letter explaining the situation, a photo of her daughter, etc.
Fast-forward to Valentine's Day. Another mom in the class showed up to the class party dressed as a peanut M&M. OK- no big deal, until M&M mom insists on passing out packets of peanut M&Ms to the kids in the class. Room mom politely asks her to stop, reminding M&M mom of her daughter's DEADLY peanut allergy. M&M mom says, "But I have to pass them out- I'm dressed as an M&M!" I have no words to express how I feel about M&M mom (no nice words, at least, so I'll move on.)
Fast forward to yesterday where Room mom meets with my DH and resigns as room mom, in tears of frustration, expressing fear for her daughter's health/safety.
DH doesn't know what to do. Here are his ideas, followed by my responses:
DH:Maybe we should just be a peanut-free school.
Me: You mean people couldn't pack their kid a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch?
Me: Horrors! What would Sister eat every day? She would starve!
DH: But what if her peanut butter sandwich could cause another child to become seriously ill or die?
Me: OK, good point. But what about parties?
DH: I'm thinking of having a fruit-only policy for parties.
Me: HORRORS!!! Fruit-only parties? At Christmas? At HALLOWEEN?
DH: It's not like the kids need the candy, you know.
Me: Of course they don't NEED candy, but sweets are what make life worth living when you're a kid. You can't forbid that- it's too cruel!
DH: (exasperated) Then what do you suggest?
Me: (after a few moments of thinking) What if you sent out a list of pre-approved treats people can buy at the store, like packaged Rice Krispy Treats and stuff like that. Then kids can still have some sweet stuff at parties, and you eliminate the risk of homemade goods, etc.
DH: Maybe. That's a thought. I'm going to ask the leadership teacher team and see what they think. It's a big problem.
So, I'm asking you, dear reader. What do you think is a fair solution? I'd appreciate your ideas.
Edited to add: If any of you have schools or school districts with good policies in place regarding food allergies, could you email me at amamaonamission.gmail.com? I think our district is way behind the times (as usual.) Thanks!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Man. I don't think I've been that stomach-sick since I contracted food poisoning in college. (Um, could that have possibly been 13 years ago? Yikes.)
Sitting there in the bathroom floor with my so-sick little boy, two thoughts occurred to me.
1- God BLESS single mothers. I really don't know how they do it. In our society I often perceive an undercurrent of hostility toward single mothers as if they have somehow committed a grievous sin to cause them to end up in their situation, and consequently, are not worthy of support or sympathy. They often seem to bear invisible scarlet letters on their chests- SM. One will hear a woman explaining how life is hard in some way because she is a single mother, and people nod their heads but behind their hands (or in their heads) say "Well, she should have..." fill in the blank:
-waited until marriage to have sex
- made her marriage work
- chosen a better man
- used birth control...
I will admit that at timesI have had similar thoughts. It's easy to fall into the judgment trap. But as I lost my lunch into the toilet and watched my 1-year old boy doing the same in his Daddy's arms, I thought, "There but by the amazing grace of God Almighty go I."
Truly- what would I have done? How would I have cared for him when I was so very ill myself? How would I do so many, many things that I am able to do because I have a wonderful and supportive husband?
2- My second thought was, "Thank you, God, that sickness is our rarity and not our normality." There is a children's hospital in driving distance that is full of very ill children. So rarely do I consider them, or their parents, or pray for them. And what must it be like to have a little one who is so sick- not just for a few days- but for weeks, months, years? It truly is inconceivable to me.
Not cheering thoughts, but grounding ones. God always amazes me. I can be laying half-dead in the bathroom floor and He's still teaching me lessons. Always moving me away from judgment and self-righteousness. Always moving me toward mercy.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
A closer look at the coolness...
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I think it's safe to say that Sister likes the cupcake tote.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I was just preparing to write a lovely blog post featuring the beautiful cupcake tote I won in the Bloggy Giveaways Contest.
But then Sister woke up from her nap screaming and I went in to find lots of pink throw-up. (Pink because of the Valentine's cupcakes she ate this morning.)
Seems we have been stricken with the bug that's going around our community.
Hope I'll be back tomorrow.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Now, since becoming a mother, I'm sad to say my journaling habit has really suffered. I still write, but my entries are in a dozen different places now: in a notebook, on the computer, on the back of a church bulletin, etc. I have vowed to myself that one of these days I WILL print/tear out/gather them all into one binder.
I find it rather ironic that the memories that will be the most precious to me in my old age(mothering my young children) are the ones that rarely are recorded. I have done some scrapbook-style memory keeping, but just haven't found time for it in the last two years.
So, this morning, I was looking for a certain Word file on the computer and came across this journal entry I typed well over a year ago during a few stolen moments. It spoke to me, and I thought it might speak to you.
Here it is:
October 4, 2006
As a teacher, I have always known about the power of praise to get kids to do what you want them to do. But I never considered its power in my own life. Lately, I have really felt the uplifting and encouraging power of a kind word spoken in my direction. Last week, a girl from my playgroup watched me interact with Sister at My Gym while toting Brother in the Baby Bjorn. After about 40 minutes she looked at me and remarked (with true admiration in her eyes), "Wow! You do such a great job with two of them!" I was startled and thrilled. I have not thought of myself as doing great with two- I have thought of myself as surviving with two. To hear her say that really encouraged my heart.
It happened again today at playgroup. A new mom, Kimberly, was asking me about how difficult it was with two. As we were talking, she kept making statements like, "I’m amazed that you can be so upbeat even though you’re still getting up with your baby in the night." and "Your daughter isn’t in preschool? You’re a tough woman! I’d be begging to drop one of them off somewhere!" She too was being genuine in her praise, and it felt so good to hear. Because I AM trying to be upbeat even though I’m tired, and I DID make a conscious decision that preschool isn’t right for Sister at this time even though it would be a lot easier for me.
So, I write this journal entry to remember these moments; not only because they uplift me but so that I never forget the power of a kind word in another person’s life. Moms work hard and are largely unrecognized for what we do. After all, it all seems so mundane. Change the diapers. Run errands. Prepare meals. Entertain our kids. Clean the house. At face value, it doesn’t seem all that worthy of praise. And yet, we deserve some recognition and appreciation for what we do- it’s of the upmost importance!
I’m going to mindfully practice praising my fellow mommies from now on. I know it will be as much a blessing in their lives as it was in mine.
I'm going to praise at least 3 mommies I know this week with a hand-written note. (One is my S-I-L, one is a woman who faithfully brings her 3 young kids to church every week by herself -Dad won't come, and one is just a friend who I also think is a great mom.) Can you think of a mommy in your life to encourage this week?
One more thing- a recipe for you that is so yummy on a cold day!
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
(from the kitchen of the ultra-healthy Sister-In-Law)
Makes 6 servings
1 1/4 lb. Lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (28 oz.) Can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) Can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (1.25 oz) package chili seasoning mix
½ tsp salt
Toppings: shredded cheese (Colby and Monterey Jack blend)
1. Cook first 3 ingredients in large skillet over medium high heat, stirring until turkey crumbles and is no longer pink. Spoon mixture into a slow cooker; stir in corn and next 7 ingredients until well blended. 2. Cook at high 4 to 5 hours or at low 6 to 8 hours. Serve with desired toppings. Yummy with tortilla or Frito chips!
Friday, February 8, 2008
I started laughing really hard, "Well, thanks Grandma! Nobody has ever given me that compliment before!"
She started stammering and justifying it, "Well, it's true! You write all those grants and you have so many ideas. It takes a lot of energy to do that!"
I agreed so she could be off the hook. It's just too bad that mental energy doesn't help you lose weight and stay in shape, or I'd put that SIL to shame. And if only this mental energy of mine could do the laundry or clean up the 1 gazillion toys that are littering my den floor...
But maybe you can get a glimpse of my hulking mental energy on this blog.
Mental energy. Ha!
I will leave you with a few blog entries I have enjoyed this week:
Andrea has some yummy-looking recipes for homemade salad dressing (get to it, mental energy!)
Holly gives tips on how to manage life with young children. She has 8 (yes, 8) kids, but the tips are helpful for someone with even one measly ol' little kid.
Meg is doing a month of puppets. (I have a thing for puppets. More on that another day.) This one is especially beautiful and doable.
This blog is just right up my alley. Artful parenting? Sign me up!
OK, my mental energy needs some Gatorade before the kiddies wake up. Gotta go ice down the old brain. They say using too much mental energy is just as bad as using none at all.
Sorry- I just can't help myself!
Thursday, February 7, 2008
If you're reading this chances are that you found me via the QUEEN of Canadian family blogs - Beck. Beck suspects we may be long-lost twins, and if that were found to be true, it would confirm my childhood suspicions that I did in fact have a sister whom my parents traded for my brother. (Wanting a boy and all that rot.) Beck, are you also a princess of a small and unknown, yet incredibly wealthy, country? Because I was always convinced that I was one of those too.
Anyway, thanks for visiting my little blog, and thanks a million for the shout-out, Beck!
Lately, when I've had five minutes here or there to read, I've been reading Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison. I will admit that I approached this book warily. I admire mothers of all kinds and respect that there are many approaches to parenting. I have strong opinions about how I parent and what is right for my family, but that doesn't mean that I think other people with different approaches are wrong. (Unless they are the parents of the child who sat next to me in a restaurant last week and who was an ABSOLUTE TERROR.) But in general, I think this parenting thing is really very hard and we all do the best we can and don't need to give each other crap.
Having said that, I will say that I am always rather skeptical about some of the newer-age approaches to parenting. (While also finding bits and pieces that I think are brilliant about those approaches.) At first glance, I thought Mitten Strings For God was going to be a little too far out for me. I looked at the chapters titled things like, "Peace" and "Rhythm" and "Healing" and thought I had bought a lemon. (Actually, a lemon scented incense stick.) Now having read several chapters, I think it is the best parenting book I have ever read.
Kenison's writing voice is encouraging, entertaining, and authentic. She doesn't demand that I mother my children in a certain way, she just gently pushes me toward being the mother I am, only better. Hers is not a book of activities, but after I read it for a while my head is spinning with ideas. It is the kind of book I will keep on my nightstand and reread frequently. I highly recommend it. If anyone else has a parenting book that really impacted them and helped them to be a better parent, please say so in the comments.
"In stillness, we find our peace. Knowing peace at home, we bring peace into the world."- Katrina Kenison
Monday, February 4, 2008
Last night my husband and I enjoyed watching the Superbowl together. I am a football fan, but usually the Superbowl is a let-down. Not this year! It was a great game: lots of fun to watch.
Unfortunately, I also had to watch a man on fire plunge himself into water, a different man freaking out in what looked like a police station room (punching the wall and throwing furniture around), a man being very scary and intimidating a woman, and a firefighter desperately trying to perform CPR on what obviously was a dead woman while his peers watched. Oh, I almost forgot the most memorable one- a woman lying on a table with a drill going into her skull.
So, from where did all these lovely and restful bedtime images spring?
COMMERCIALS. Freaking commercials.
Apparently the networks think that by showing us these thrilling and "enticing" little clips of their regular network shows, we will make sure to tune in at showtime.
Pardon my French, but what the hell is going on?
When did this type of imagery become OK for primetime viewing?
We don't watch that much TV anymore, but I have been noticing the inappropriate nature of commercials more and more. It really hit me last Thanksgiving, when I was trying to watch the Macy's Day Parade with Sister. Parades are right up her alley, and I just knew that she'd get a thrill from the floats, balloons, marching bands, etc.
It was a BIG ZONK. We found ourselves either watching a seemingly endless stream of scary/sexy commercials, or listening to talking heads TELL us about the parade while it passed behind them, or watching Al Roker interview some of NBC's prime time stars who were at the parade (so they could plug their shows) while the parade passed behind them, or were seeing a Broadway musical number (the only thing worth watching.) And most of the commercials were TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE for family audiences. One that stands out in my memory was for the big hit show, "Heroes," where teenaged protaganists were doing all kinds of thing that were "thrilling" like leaping from buildings or creating fireballs and explosions or engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Just the type of thing I wanted my 3-year old to see on Thanksgiving morning.
After about 30 minutes we turned the blasted thing off. (What took me so long?)
People, I'm over it.
Now I'm not quite ready to put my TV on the curb with yesterday's poopie diaper. But I'm getting closer every day.
I'll wrap up this mini-rant (not so mini...sorry) for now, but I will revisit this. Mamas, we've got to do something. I mean, what if I had an 8 year old Brother instead of a 1 year old Brother who wanted to watch some football with his Daddy? What would I do then?
On another note, Beck- here are some book recommendations for you. Sorry there aren't more- it's been hectic around here with my grant-writing work. Here are some books that any self-respecting library should keep on the shelves:
Fancy Nancy and the latest Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy - Sister LOVES these
Pssst! by Adam Rex
Knuffle Bunny and the latest Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems
First the Egg by Laura Seeger
Rainstorm- very cool wordless picture book
The Little Red Fish by Tae-Eun Yoo
For older kids and adolescents:
The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz
Others by Laura Amy Schlitz that are good are A Drowned Maiden's Hair and The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who Dug for Troy
Oops, out of time. I'll try to post a few more this week.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
I try to stay away from the plastic stuff more and more, but when you're talking about sandboxes and outdoor play, plastic is still in consideration. Grateful today that the thermometer is starting to rise again. Please don't be jealous, northern friends. I'll pay for it in July when it's 100 degrees!
Saturday, February 2, 2008
As you see, we did use the potty. Sister was pretty puzzled by the whole thing but she played along nicely. And I received quite a lecture from the DH about statistics and probability and my method. I told him to be quiet- he was making my head hurt. Math is such a nasty thing. If I want to give away my prize in a statistically biased manner, I will. (But next time I'll use a random number generator like everyone else!)
And guess what... I WON SOMETHING! And yes, it was the CUPCAKE TOTE! I am beside myself. I never win cool stuff like this. So, thanks Jessica!
Sorry, gang, but I just don't have the time. Never in my wackiest dreams did I think that 469 people would enter my little contest. BUT, I do think the potty should still be involved. Sister too.
So, I am going to do it a little differently. Sister is going to draw numbers out of the potty.
First, she will draw from three slips of paper that say either "one digit number" "two digit number" or "three digit number."
That will narrow it down.
Then she will draw numbers 0 to 9 (depending on how many digits from the first drawing.)
That should give me my winner.
We will do all of this after naptime today and I'll report back here.
And if you don't like how I'm doing it, sorry. You'll just have to report me to the Bureau of Blog Giveaways, Contests, and Related Nonsense.