Sunday, October 30, 2011

Today's the Day.

In a couple of hours, I am heading to El Paso.  The city where I lived until I was 14.  The city where my mother died.  I haven't been in  almost 2 years.  Tomorrow (or possibly tonight) I will start going through Mom's stuff (furniture, clothes, random household items, I'm sure some unexpected things), and also my journals from middle school and high school.  And photo albums.  I'm sure to bring a few small things home with me.  Most of it I will catalogue and discuss with my sister to decide what to do with it later. 

We both live very far from El Paso, so transporting all of this to our homes right now isn't really an option.  My little family of four will be moving in the next year or two, so we will possibly pick up the furniture mid-move...we will see. 

I am looking forward to looking through stuff and seeing things I have been thinking about.  Apprehensive, because I know there will be things I have not thought about in years.  The sting of lost memories is harsh.

I'm not going to be very hippy-crunchy for a little while.  I haven't even been able to run in a few days - I tried at our hotel (we're in San Antonio), but couldn't find a safe running route and the treadmill tried to kill me.

And after a few days in a hotel, I am definitely looking forward to some vegetables and drinking a lot more milk and water!

I will possibly post a few pictures of things I find!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This Week in Sleep (Is it really almost November?)

Reflection of a sleeping Bean on our way back from a hike.
Tuesday, Bean did not know that he had just taken a 4+ hour nap...   When I informed him he had been in his room for 4 hours (never mind the fact that I had gone in there and he was definitely asleep), he told me "I was in there for 4 hours with my eyes wide open."

At one point awhile back (probably a year ago), we thought he was lying when he would tell us he had slept, but we have realized that he really has no idea when he has or has not slept.  If he so much as dozes off for a split second - or pretends to sleep - he might think he has taken a nap.  But, then again, if he takes a 4-hour nap he might think he hasn't slept at all.

My kid has a strange relationship with sleep.  He also stayed up until sometime after midnight one night this week because he was determined to finish building a hydra out of Duplos.  He and The Beast had been looking at pictures and talking about the mythology of the Hydra before bed...and Bean just became fixated.  He hadn't even napped that day, so we figured he would fall asleep early....but no.  He wasn't flipping out as he does when he clearly needs sleep.  He was just focused.  The Beast found him asleep in the living room at 4AM, completed hydra next to him and miscellaneous Duplos scattered around him (similar to the scene at the top of this post).



And my other kid slept on a mini-trampoline this week and fell asleep in a playground-style swing last week.  When A-Train is tired, he pretty much just sleeps.  No fighting it, no resisting it.  He is Bean's sleepy antithesis.



Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homemade Body Care and a Giveaway!



This giveaway is now closed.
Honey Tangerine Lip Balm in Team Carlson tins.

I started planning my holiday gifts quite early this year because I wanted to make vanilla extract, which has to sit for a couple months before it is useable.  When I purchased the bottles for that, I wanted to maximize the bang for my shipping buck and purchase some containers for other holiday gifts.  I flipped through Organic Body Care Recipes with some family members in mind and decided to make a hand salve and a lip balm. 

Of course, whenever I'm doing some hippy, crafty, quite-possibly-going-to-fail project I think of my blog and how funny it will be for everyone to laugh at  with me if I fail, or how helpful it might be if I'm actually successful.  And I was going to attempt recipes I hadn't tried before, plus making some sort of label (this is my first use of Mod Podge ever!  I am pleased! - and they aren't actually completely finished in the picture.  They look great!).  Failure was totally an option.

In any case, I was thinking about what I would tell everyone about this project.  It didn't seem right to give away loads of Stephanie Tourles' recipes from this book by posting them on the blog (actually, it's probably a violation of copyright laws).  Plus I had found the book valuable in its explanation of how our various external "beautified" body parts function (like exactly how it is that our diet and health impact our hair and nails) as well as how each ingredient was produced and how they contributed to healthy skin, nails, and hair.  It is a satisfying book in telling me "why" rather than just "how-to."


Alli won the giveaway with her comment "And I already like your page!"
 
The Giveaway
I contacted Stephanie Tourles, and she has agreed to giveaway an autographed copy of Organic Body Care Recipes to one reader of my blog!

This is my first time doing a giveaway, and I feel really good about it being something that I solicited rather than something I am being compensated for.  I was not given a copy of this book to review (I reviewed it months ago and then actually purchased a copy for myself), and I'm not entirely sure that this giveaway is going to benefit me in any way except potentially more readers...and we'll see if that has any benefit for me, either.  (I will have to write a separate post about my mixed feelings about a larger readership, and about monetizing my blog in any way.  I'd love some input!)  I simply appreciated this book and wanted to share it with my readers!

So.  Would you like to own a clean, crisp, autographed, information-filled copy of Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles?  If so, here's how to enter!

Giveaway starts:  Saturday, October 22, 2011
Giveaway ends:  Saturday, October 29, 2011 @ 9PM Eastern Time
  • This giveaway is only open to U.S. addresses.
To enter:  Leave a comment below telling me the body care item you most want to replace with a recipe from this book (this one is mandatory).  For a second entry, like Contentedly Crunchy's Facebook page and leave a separate comment telling me that you have done that.  The winner will be chosen randomly (using random.org) and announced Saturday, October 29th. 

Some fine print:  I reserve the right to delete any comments that are offensive or fraudulent, hence removing that entry's eligibility.  You must include a working email address so I can contact you if you win the giveaway.  I will give the winner 24 hours to claim the book by sending me their mailing address (which I will forward to Stephanie Tourles, as she is shipping the book directly).  If it has not been claimed after 24 hours, I will pick a new winner and contact them.
And about those labels
The owl shield on my lip balm labels is our current family logo.  On our wedding day, The Beast and I kept joking every time we dealt with a little snafu by saying "Go Team Carlson!"  (Incidentally, there are now enough things linked to this blog that include my last name that I am not even trying to keep it off the blog anymore.  "Carlson."  There you go.)  For our first anniversary, I had Team Carlson shirts made, and it is now a tradition to get some sort of fan gear for the whole family on our anniversary.  We have t-shirts, shorts, sweatpants, and hoodies.  For our fifth anniversary, I had a logo designed and had it put on a yard sign that proudly sits in our yard.  So that's the logo that is on the homemade stuff I'm giving as gifts. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Love Your Body Day

This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival.  Check out the other blog submissions, and the whole of the Love Your Body campaign.  If my story doesn't speak to you, perhaps someone else's will.


Taken at a pretty low point in my body image.  I can see the puffiness in my eyes.



How I came to hate my body
As a teenager and young adult, I struggled with my body image just like every other woman I know.  I was never thin enough.  Muscular enough.  Curvy enough.  Straight-haired enough.  Symmetrical enough.  My legs were too short (I wore heels every day).

I was ok with my body (though not my face or hair) until I got sick at sixteen.  I was always thin...  Then I put on a lot of weight (it turned out to be water) in a really short period of time.  As if my suddenly-changing body (and rapidly-appearing stretchmarks) weren't enough to make me physically uncomfortable in my own body, comments were made.  I can, to a point, forgive the comments because we didn't know I was sick.  But to this day my immediate reaction to changes in people's weight (whether they are gaining or losing) is to make sure all is well with them.

That period of my life did a pretty major number on my body image, though.  I was so uncomfortable.  Not only were my clothes tight, but my face wasn't just "fat" - it was puffy.  I would wake up some mornings with my eyes swollen shut.  On those days, I often struggled to hide my face.  And there were the "ew! gross!" responses to seeing the pitting edema in my legs and ankles.  I could leave craters in my legs with a press of my fingers.  It was a bit of a crazy party trick to show my friends, but it wasn't something I wanted people to see randomly.

The low sodium diet I was put on led to some obsessing about food, though that was partly because staying on the diet in a dining hall setting (I was at boarding school) was incredibly stressful.

Eventually (and I have very rarely talked openly about this) the stress of my teen years led to what a counselor later called "passive bulimia."  I never made myself throw up, but I would throw up after almost every meal.  I didn't necessarily want to - I really didn't do anything to make it happen - but I did feel a bit of relief when I threw up after not being sure I'd stuck successfully to the sodium limits, or feeling particularly puffy and unattractive.  The low-sodium diet was, at the time, mostly to keep the swelling to a minimum (now it is also to control my blood pressure, which in turn protects my kidneys).

How I came to love my body
Sometime around my freshman year of college, the puffiness subsided.  (The puffiness is technically called nephrotic syndrome and it is not uncommon for it to disappear after a number of years, even though the disease that caused it is not in remission.)  I found the time to exercise regularly, and I started to like what I saw in the mirror.  I didn't consider myself "attractive," but at least I felt somewhat at home in my body again and liked the way clothes looked on me.

Always under all this was that there is literally something wrong with my body.  Part of me does not work quite right.  It's so hard to put in to words the love/hate relationship that has sometimes held for me.  I have had to conceptualize my kidneys - my body - as "quirky" just like I am.

I never struggled much with the weight gain of pregnancy.  (If you're curious, I gained 40lbs with Bean and 43lbs with A-Train.)  Frankly, I was so terrified during much of Bean's pregnancy that I was obsessing more over the numbers on my blood pressure monitor than those on the scale.  And I figured I would bounce back from whatever I gained because I had gone into pregnancy more fit than I had ever been before (I was training for a half marathon).  I adopted the "9 months on, 9 months off" mentality and was shocked to be back in my pre-pregnancy jeans at about 7 weeks postpartum.  I suppose I got lucky on the stretch mark front - the ones I got from pregnancy are in places that are covered by swim suits.

My body changed a lot more after A-Train's birth.  My breasts are lower, probably by a couple inches!  My butt seems to have joined them for the journey south.  My stomach will always have a different look (is it extra/stretched skin?  The muscles being less taught?  Honestly I'm not sure, but I'm positive it's not something I can change with diet or exercise!).  My belly button is permanently disfigured.

And I love my body more than ever.  I think I have my mother to thank.

My mom was a single parent of two daughters.  It was just us girls in the house.  I have lots of memories of watching her get dressed while I talked to/bothered her about something or other, and I remember asking her about bras.  I wanted to know how to put them on, how they functioned, etc.),   In any case, I have clear recollections of my mother's body after two kids.

I remember she had stretchmarks.  I remember that her stomach was not flat.  I remember that her breasts hung down and looked weighty (I never would have known to use the word "saggy," but that would be the common parliance, I guess!) - they were not the perky globes that I was graced with as a twenty-something.  I'm about the same bust size as she was, and I used to look at my body and not know where the heck it had come from.  It seemed to be curvier than my sister's - and I think her body type comes from our father's side - but not as soft and curvy as my mother's.

After A-Train was born and I had lost much of the weight (it took much longer the second time around), I got out of the shower one day and my body looked shockingly familiar.  It brought back a flood of good memories.

I have two kids.  My breasts hang and look weighty - some might say saggy (to whom I say "bite me").  I don't have the stretchmarks on my belly, but my maimed belly button is a pretty good substitute.  I'm softer and curvier than I once was. 

My mother was beautiful and I always wanted to be just like her when I grew up.   Well, now I've birthed and nourished two beautiful, perfect babies.  Just like Mom. 

So I love my body.  I love the marks of motherhood, and the connection to my mother.  There was a time I was not sure I would ever get to experience pregnancy, and there was a time when the experience of pregnancy was one of terror.  But my body, complete with quirky kidneys and now-maimed belly button, gave me these two great joys.  Its softening and changing has given me another connection to my mother.  It feels good when I run.  It feels good when I snuggle those I love.  The only thing I ask of my body now is that it continues to cooperate as I finish that life list.  I want to meet my grandchildren!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Grandpa's Long Oakmeal

With cooler weather starting (and stopping....and starting...and stopping...), I have stopped making my weekly double-batch of granola and started making steel-cut oats.

Bean loves oatmeal.  He usually has "short oakmeal"  (rolled oats, made quickly by pouring boiling water over them and soaking for a few minutes) for breakfast instead of granola.  My father-in-law makes steel-cut oats every morning and Bean was thrilled to eat multiple bowls every morning while we were there.

So I have started using Grandpa's recipe for "long oakmeal," and making a huge batch of it (8 servings - all I can fit in my double-boiler) at a time.  It's stored in the fridge and re-heated in the morning, adding a splash of milk.

Ingredients (per serving)
-1/4 c. steel-cut oats
-1 c. water
-1 TBSP ground flax seed (I grind them in an old blade coffee grinder)

-1 TBSP wheat germ
-1 TBSP chia seed (this is in Grandpa M's current recipe, but The Beast doesn't like the texture in the oatmeal, so I omit)

Fill the bottom of a double boiler with as much water as you can and still have the top pan sit properly.

Stir together all ingredients in the top of the double boiler, multiplying for number of servings you want.

Cook at low to medium low for about 2 to 2-1/2 hours.  Stir occasionally.  Watch the water in the bottom of the double boiler to make sure you don't boil it dry.  You'll have to experiment with your stove settings, pan characteristics, and the texture of your oats to figure out what works best.  You can shorten the cooking time by using a higher temperature, but then you really have to watch the water level.

Leftovers freeze, refrigerate, and reheat very well.

Top with what you like.  We tend to go with brown sugar, and berries if we have them.  How about you?

Also, I have a friend with a really tasty steel-cut oats recipe involving a grated apple...I'm sort of hoping she'll pop in and leave it in the comments!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grocery Shopping as Special Time

Hmmm...kid shopping carts at a liquor store?  Would it drive sales up or down?
(Photo credit:  eelke dekker on Flickr)

I love grocery shopping with Bean.

Yes, I know that most parents think taking their kid grocery shopping is their worst nightmare.  But, provided he is well-rested and fairly freshly-fed, grocery shopping with Bean is kind of a treat for me! 

He usually misses out on my big shopping trip for the week because of the way Saturdays go, but he usually joins me for our weekly trip to the Co-Op.  We go - just the two of us - after dinner while The Beast is home with A-Train, and I look forward to that 1-on-1 time with my firstborn. 

We have little rituals:  he gets one of the little pencils from the bulk section and makes his own "list" on whatever paper I produce from my purse (usually a receipt of some sort); he jabbers on about funny things the entire time; he makes sure that he gets a "treat" - at the Co-Op, it's usually dried mango, but sometimes a honey stick or something completely random he sees.  Occasionally, he has brought his own money (earned through a complicated system of chores and band-aids) and shyly paid for a special treat.

When we do our main grocery trip together, he prefers to ride in one of those carts with a car on the front.  I make sounds of screeching brakes and say things like "Turn left!  Turn right!  Straight ahead to the tomatoes!"  We have a ridiculously playful time and I try to have fun, but not to be so wild and loud that it's obnoxious for other shoppers.  A tough balance, but he is so into being safely in his car/cart that it doesn't tend to be a problem ("I'm not buckled in, yet!  Don't drive away yet!  Ok, my seatbelt is on!  Let's go!").

I love picking out produce with him, and he loves being given the responsibility of choosing which tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc we will bring home.  We talk about the features of the various produce that make them look good or less-than-appealing to eat.

He will keep some items in the car with him, and he loves helping me put things on the conveyor belt.  We chat the whole way home.

Yes, there is asking for random stuff.  On one occasion, we ran a couple extra errands and he had not eaten enough for dinner beforehand so he asked for every food item he saw.  It was obnoxious and I wanted to shank Target when we got to the check-out line and there were candies and foam toys at Bean's eye level.  My frustration was premature, as he pretty easily bypassed everything with a simple "no, you already have your treat" and just a little negotiation.  (And I felt better when I had the time to let him play with one of those toys until he was done, and I didn't have to buy it or endure a tantrum.)

But that same trip, he went armed with a war hammer (pretending to be a Viking), and discussed dominant versus non-dominant hands with me the almost the entire time.  When he insisted on holding my hand (I love when he wants to hold my hand!), he explained to me why he had to hold it with his "weak hand"  (because he had to hold his hammer in his "strong hand," and usually he'd be holding a shield with the other hand).

As we got in the car to head home from our last stop, he puzzled for a moment over how it was that we didn't hold each other's strong hands or each other's weak hands (we are both right-handed).

I just love when I can give him my undivided attention, or when we're working together on a common activity.  Grocery shopping is, surprisingly, a really special time with him.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just a little MORE controversy?

In a recent blog entry, Gary Schwitzer complains about the choice of Elizabeth Banks in Just a Little Heart Attack.  He goes through a whole process of determining Banks' 10-year risk of heart disease (though he completely misses the fact that Banks has a strong family history of heart disease) to say that a different actress should have been cast - an older one at the least.

I was quite confused.  Why is a health blogger complaining that a role was miscast?  I assume there is more to it than a thought that a film doesn't represent a reality of statistics.  And, in reality, women just like Banks do suffer heart attacks.  No, they're not the most common group, but does that mean we shouldn't try to get their attention?  We teach high school students - including boys - how to find a lump in a breast (or was I the only one who had a lumpy fake breast passed around in health class?).  What harm does any of this information do?

The only other aspect mentioned in the blog entry was the involvement of Macy's and Merck and the fact that they stand to benefit.  Personally, I hate the mixed interests.  I don't like the involvement of powerful commercial interests in issues of public health.  I don't like it in heart disease any more than I like it elsewhere.  I understand why it is done now - for all the parties involved - but I find it bothersome.  But what does that have to do with this video?  Is he trying to say it's just an ad for Merck and Macy's?

I was really stumped as to what Schwitzer was taking issue with.  He says it is problematically framing the noble message to "make it your mission to fight heart disease in women." I'm unclear as to how the casting of someone who is an outlier - but I would say not even an extreme one - for a heart attack is causing problems with this message.

Then I read the comments.  When Schwitzer, in the comments on his own blog, quoted Larry Husten's comments from here, it seemed a little clearer. 
It’s easy to imagine young, healthy women, after seeing a video like this, returning from the gym after a hard workout and mistaking their sore muscles for a heart attack. That strikes me as a step backward rather than a step forward in women’s health.
Yes, Larry and Gary, it is easy to imagine.  But it is not (in my experience of talking about this and telling the story of witnessing such a thing in the flesh) what actually happens!   I do not tell the story of my mother's death and experience a barrage of friends making trips to the ER or dialling 9-1-1 after tough workouts!

I do not think it scares women to discuss the possibility of heart disease.  And if it does - so what?  So they are concerned for their health and they strive to learn more?  Perhaps they schedule a long-overdue physical, or mentally file away the symptoms of a heart attack in women?
 
Nine times out of ten, I am immediately asked "so what can I do so this doesn't happen to me?"  Acknowledgement of the outside possibility that even a young and healthy woman can have a heart attack - or that an even younger and healthier woman could be developing heart disease already - gets women asking questions and becoming informed. 

At least that has been my experience when I have talked to women about my mother's story.  I have seen women take their symptoms more seriously and make an appointment with their doctor.  I have seen young women (college-aged women) talk to their parents about family history.  I have seen those same young women (and some young men) encourage their mothers to take symptoms seriously.

I'd like to think that Schwitzer and Husten are not worrying about hysteria.  I'd really like to think that this is not a case of the very same sexism that makes heart disease so deadly for women. 

Again I am happy to see discussion of this anywhere, but this one does make me a little nervous.  Will doctors hear that this film (or any other aspect of awareness-raising campaigns) was an impetus for an office visit and not take them seriously?


What say you, readers?  Am I missing the point of Schwitzer's article?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things I've Learned From My Children

At 2:30AM on Sunday, I found Bean asleep and surrounded by Legos near the front door (which is just outside his bedroom).

Bean:
  1. Birth can be terrifying yet still exhilirating and empowering.
  2. Breastfeeding does not always come naturally.
  3. Babies nurse every 45 minutes.  Sometimes toddlers do, too.
  4. Babies and children do not play on their own.
  5. Babies and children do not sleep.  Especially when tired.
  6. I'm a pretty good mom, but I could improve in some areas.  
  7. Babies and children can really focus on long-term projects like improving their parents' patience and flexibility.
  8. Stubborn mom plus stubborn kid can get ugly.
  9. Let. it. go.
  10. Some babies/kids won't eat more than nibbles of solid food until they are a year old.
  11. Babies hate their dads.
  12. Toddlers and preschoolers worship their dads.
  13. Even the baby/toddler who rages and scratches and screams until they just about vomit when you try to night wean them will eventually do so pretty easily.  And they'll even eventually fall asleep alone.  But probably anywhere but in bed.

A-Train cannot yet walk, but he almost got up onto this bench - which was too high to get his knee up onto - using his upper body strength.

A-Train:
  1. Labor and delivery can be incredibly easy and entirely lack fear.
  2. Breastfeeding can be a difficult road even if you've got great support, literally years of experience doing it, you're informed, and you're proactive.
  3. Babies who nurse every couple of hours (except during growth spurts) and spread feedings out from there do exist.
  4. Some babies can even be left home with a full belly but without Mom for a couple of hours and you won't come home to find them in hysterics on their father's shoulder as their father wears noise-cancelling headphones and trails the cord as he paces the length of the house...
  5. Babies play on their own.
  6. Babies sleep when they're tired.
  7. There is no such thing as babyproof when you have a climber.
  8. I am an awesome and loveable and comforting mom.  I should never change.
  9. Some babies eat everything...
  10. Parts of a cocktail umbrella can pass through the stomach and lodge in the colon.
  11. A post-colonoscopy baby farts a lot.
  12. Your hair, outfit, floor, baby, baby's outfit, and several burp cloths can be soaked in spit-up and your baby is still getting plenty to eat. 
  13. Babies are lukewarm on their dads.
  14. Babies love their siblings.
  15. Quiet mobile baby = trouble
  16. Babies will wake up, look around, smile at you, and fall on their faces asleep again.  



Saturday, October 8, 2011

Deodorant Revisited


I can't believe it has been nearly nine months since I made my own deodorant.  The deodorant has worked great for me.  However, when The Beast finally ran out of Old Spice and tried it, he was not impressed.  He said it worked great for about 6-8 hours and then he was stinky.

So I tried another recipe (Kimberlilly's Cream Deodorant from here), and The Beast said that worked great.

However (did you smell the however coming?), both recipes are a little inconvenient.  Mine lives in the fridge, so I couldn't travel with it this summer.  The Beast just keeps forgetting to use his since he now has some Old Spice, and it's more convenient to apply.

I have debated adding a little beeswax and seeing if I can then keep mine outside of the fridge, and I could turn The Beast's into a solid the same way.  I'll update if I try it!  For now, I really do love my deodorant once it's on.  I love the feel, it keeps me smelling clean, it doesn't irritate, and it doesn't leave a residue.  I haven't had any problems with it staining or otherwise marring clothes, either!

Also, I am still using the same stick I started with.  Probably one batch will last a year.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yogurt Cheese. Yum.

Whenever I make yogurt cheese, I think of a certain nursery rhyme...

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider
And sat down beside her, 
and frightened Miss Muffet away!

Actually, "curds and whey" is cottage cheese (you have to curdle the milk to get curds).  But still Little Miss Muffet accompanies my every yogurt cheese endeavor...

Yogurt cheese is very easy to make, highly nutritious, and a great alternative to sour cream or cream cheese. 

Essentially, you separate the solids in the yogurt from the whey (liquid).  I used to do this by tying a cheese cloth to the opening of a large jar and plopping yogurt into it - I'd end up with yogurt cheese in the cheese cloth and whey in the jar.    Then I got a yogurt cheese maker, simply because it is so much easier to clean than cheese cloth.  It's all the same concept, though.  You can use a tea towel, cheese cloth, coffee filter, etc.  Drain out the liquid overnight.

Even more simply...
Ingredients:
Yogurt

Instructions:
Strain it overnight through something with a really fine mesh.



You get this creamy, slightly tart, yumminess.  (If you don't strain it long enough, you get Greek yogurt.  Still yummy, just not as thick or spreadable.)

I make this with whatever yogurt we have left as I go to make more.  This time we ate it all in one meal - as sour cream on tacos.

One of my favorite ways to eat this is with fresh dill mixed in, and then spread over toasted sourdough bread.  You can mix whatever you like into this and use it as you use sour cream or cream cheese, though it doesn't melt like cream cheese.


And what about the whey? (And, yes, those are plain ol' store-bought, probably GMO corn tortillas you see!)
The whey is also very nutritious.  Lots of protein, more of those great cultures, etc.  There are all kinds of ways to consume it, though some will heat it enough to kill the cultures.  Some ideas include drinking it straight, substituting for some of the water in a bread recipe, lacto-fermenting some vegetables or soaking some grains (I haven't tried either), dumping it in some soup, cooking rice in it, cooking beans in it.  I read somewhere that it would be good to wash your face with, but I haven't tried it.  I'd rather eat it!

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Life List, ca 2006

Me.  August, 2006.  (The only picture from this time period I seem to have on my computer...)

I'm doing a ton of decluttering - both physical and digital - and found this life list.  I am not entirely sure when I wrote it, but I'm pretty certain it was in late 2006 or early 2007.  It had to have been after we were married (because our honeymoon was in Wales), and it had to have been before I decided to go back to school for music (which never really happened because I got re-accepted for my Master of Music and then found out I was pregnant with Bean).  It also must have been somewhat shortly after we were married, because I was a fairly proficient knitter by the end of that summer.

In any case, I found it amusing in terms of how I have and have not changed, especially after I looked through posts for A-Train's birthday and saw the one I wrote about my identity.  I will comment now in purple.

1. Write my memoirs (perhaps get them published) - Well I certainly still like to write about myself...

2. Return to Wales and speak more Welsh! -- see the rest of The Beast's
dreamed-about castles! - I still love languages and cultures and architecture, and would go anywhere with The Beast.  The Beast especially makes history (and even more especially medieval history) fascinating for me.

3. Experience pregnancy, Experience motherhood, See my child(ren) graduate
from high school and college, get married, and have their own children. - I guess I can check off the first two goals here!  And probably the rest of them are now my #1 life goal.

4.  adopt or be a foster parent? - I'm still interested in this.  The Beast reads my blog sometimes and might be a little freaked out.  It's ok, babe.  I don't plan to press you on it, but I still have a feeling that this opportunity is going to present itself. 

5. Spend a period of 3 months travelling with my husband abroad - This has now morphed into a hope that we will be able to spend a sabbatical abroad, immersing our children in some completely different culture, possibly doing volunteer work.

6. Grow old with The Beast - Working on it!

7. Learn to knit (in progress!) - Done!

8. Learn to crochet - Not done!

9. Make a dress - I still have a fear of sewing machines.

10. Make up my own knitting pattern! - Who has time to knit?!?

11. Get over my fear of sewing machines See #9

12. Take a volunteerism trip to Africa - I have no idea why I specified Africa.  I'd like to take a volunteerism trip anywhere.  Even within the U.S.

13. Own a house outright (no mortgage!)  - Wow man.  I was thinking big.

14. Compete in something again (music? A sport? Somethin' brainy?)...and
win! - I'm wondering, younger self, if competing against a three-year-old counts?  I have yet to beat him in the carseat race...

15. Return to Italy and learn more Italian! - How did I not realize that becoming a mother was going to end many possibilities of travel??

16. Visit Paris (with The Beast!) - Maybe someday...

17. Visit Israel - I'm now very conflicted about Israel.

18. Take a trip with my sisters - Sisters?  Are you reading this?  Again, though, how did I not realize this stuff was not going to have to wait once I had kids?

19. Visit Russia - try to find out where my family lived? - I would still love to...

What's on your life list?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This week in sleep ...er....uh...

A-Train sleeps in some of the most uncomfortable positions I can imagine.  This is how he napped this morning.  Last night he fell asleep on his right side with his right arm pinned mostly behind him and his left arm hanging behind on top of him.  Stretching his pectorals or something?!?
I completely forgot last weekend's edition of This Week in Sleep.  And I am a day late on this week's. 

This week in sleep, A-Train got his first ear infection.  I don't even remember what day that was.  ...I think Tuesday night/Wednesday morning?  I got over my third cold of the month, ran a 5K feeling on-the-mend, and then promptly came down with my fourth cold of the month of September.  Just in time for October.

A-Train has been on antibiotics and generally feeling better.  He had a 100.9 fever and drainage from one ear, plus he was screaming and not sleeping.  Now he is snotty and coughing occasionally, but he's at least smiling and laughing as he covers the couch, me, toys, the dog, etc in boogers.

Bean is on some sort of Duplos bender.  He stays up until who-knows-when building impressively huge, sturdy stuff.  We're pretty sure he is often up until 11PM.  I usually am in bed by 9:30PM and The Beast is asleep by 10PM, but Bean builds quietly in his room - quietly except for the tell-tale click-click-click of the Duplos.  The Beast is asleep not far from him, and one night this week woke up to pee at 11:30 and Bean was laying in bed mumbling.  Probably reciting from a book or a video...

Bean is taking solid 2-hour naps.  Sometimes 3-hour naps.  As long as everyone gets the sleep they need, I just don't worry about it anymore!
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