Sunday, January 29, 2012

We are what we eat (I think) and a rant about health care professionals

If you know me, or you've been reading for a while you know I follow a fairly strict gluten and soy free diet, give or take a few irresistible dessert choices when out and about; cannoli's for instance.  (I did read a gluten free cannoli recipe over at GlutenFreeGirl, but man it looked like a lot of steps.) 
My main issue with food allergies is eczema which continues to come and go despite not eating these foods.
Our youngest has another issue; Hives: alarming, continent sized blotches leaving him looking like a pink and white contour map of the world.  Its pretty intense, about once every 2 months.  They arrive mysteriously, stay a few days, then are suddenly gone.  So far they have not caused any breathing difficulty, or even a whole lot of discomfort, but we're nervous.  He's had testing of various kinds, elimination diets, etc. with no luck in identifying the trigger.

The other day he and I saw a specialist who works at identifying deficiencies and sensitivities.
Her results were overwhelming (to say the least).  Obviously I'm still reeling from all the information and trying to take what I can from her recommendations.  So forgive me a minute while I rant:

Doctors suck.  (OK, not all doctors.  There are some I really like professionally, and some I know personally who I am glad to have for friends.)   Its really my own issue.  I get all intimidated and overwhelmed in the face of medical advice.  Of course I want to do the best thing for myself and my children.  Of course I'm thinking of their best needs when I make difficult decisions. Of course  I have researched, talked with people of experience, talked, talked, talked with friends, and still I get in that room with the Dr. and all the information flies out the window.  I'm in a fog.  Even if what they are saying goes against the decision I've made I find it nearly impossible to articulate my wants/needs.  Never mind the whole issue of insurance coverage and money.  Yuck.  From now on I may make Rob responsible for all visits to any health care professional.  There, Done. For now.

I left her office in a cloud of misery feeling like I  may slowly starve to death with my children sobbing around me, begging, please Mama, just a little bit of yogurt...

The verdict:  no grains, no eggs, no dairy, no yeast, nothing fermented.  Pretty much meat and veggies.  Now, I know people who eat like this voluntarily some because they feel better that way, others for more serious health concerns.  If I lived alone I think this would not be so crushing.  But trying to feed 5 of us on this diet, three of whom would most certainly be unwilling, is exhausting to even consider.  Never mind the global implications of a diet based entirely on meat and vegetables.

Emerging from the fog, two days later I realize that this is one person's advice.  That I am a healthy person and will be fine--even if occasionally itchy,  if I don't follow any of this advice.  That perhaps she is wrong and my body is fine eating all of these foods.  This part of me says screw it.  We'll figure out only what we need to avoid the hives, and deal with a bit of eczema.  Another part of me says lets do this, we'll get rid of all this toxic (to us) food, amp up our ragged gut linings, and go on our merry way (hopefully adding back in a few foods as we go).   Right now I'm still weighing my options.  I'm sure in the end it will be a compromise of the two, or some kind of  lifelong back and forth between strict food elimination diets and more typical eating.  In a world of fad diets and free world wide information I'm finding that its easy to find research and opinions to back up almost any diet you choose.
Convenient, maybe, but frustrating as hell.

Best to stop now before I get worked up again.


Friday, January 27, 2012

This is a moment for sharing , inspired by SouleMama's "This Moment".  In her words,  "A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."  To play along go to the SouleMama blog.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ouch.  Found upon uploading pictures.  I guess we need to have a talk about camera safety.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter Adventure and a Snowy Morning

Before Kale was born we used to have little winter adventures on a regular basis.  An adventures meant walking out into the woods in search of animal tracks, fairy houses, and any thing else that might be fun.  To really be an adventure there should be plenty of snow and hot chocolate.  Its been two years now since our last "official" winter adventure, and really it was about time.  Kale was a more than willing participant.  




Winter Greens

driveway skating

 view from the barn on a snowy morning

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Open Heart

I just finished yoga, in my living room with my amazing friend using Google plus.  We had dinner and margaritas with friends this evening, after skating with and hanging with still more friends this afternoon.  I run twice a month with an incredible group of women who are so inspiring. Weekly the kids and I learn with a growing group of homeschoolers who are so invested in their learning/teaching/playing its a blast to be around.  I am lucky to have a sister I look up to, who is near enough to be a part of several of the above mentioned groups.  I have three other siblings who I don't see nearly enough but who all have a great time together when it happens.  I have a mother who is the best Mimi around.  I have a husband who loves his family (duh) but who also loves his job--which is really great because it means I can stay home (which I really love) and we all get what we need.  Our community is full of supportive, talented teachers, artists and crafters (check out one friend's new site here and another one over here).  We have farmers who grow and sell nutritious locally grown food all year round and we are able to afford it and eat it daily.  We are all healthy.  Our children are beautiful, smart, funny little people.  It is January in Maine and it is snowing.

In yoga we did some back bends today, some chest stretching, heart opening asanas.  I guess they worked.

I feel so grateful for all the love around us.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

homeschool thursday

We had a long respite from any kind of organized learning around the holidays.  The week before Christmas we were busy creating, decorating, and cleaning for guests, the week after enjoying some family time, and the week of New Year's playing with schooled friends home on vacation.  By the end of this time Juniper said, "Mom, can we do some math please".  Love this.  Times like these reassure me that yes, we're doing something right.  

A few more child led learning moments from the first weeks of this new year:  

                     "Let's do some chemistry"  

He would of  course prefer toxic chemicals, and as he often mentions, "a real bunsen burner", but fortunately was happy (in this particular case) to work with colored water, funnels, and test tubes.  

business on top, party down below!
    home made bunsen burner

"Presenting:  the Nutcracker"

This was a math lesson in calculating perimeter, that quickly turned into a game of finding perimeter, area, volume, and an introduction to multiplication (oh and a little gymnastics because, well you know how it goes).

This tracing paper was a gift I picked out that has been a huge hit.  Its fun to see what they choose to trace:  design magazines, clothing catalogs, bird books.  

All good stuff, and all child led.  A nice way to kick off the new year.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

quote of the week:

"Is it wrong to love a vacuum this much?" 
 --Rob, in reference to our new Kenmore Inspiration.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Morsels: Other People's Good Ideas

If you have stairs and you have children, chances are your staircase looks something like this.  Or maybe not.  Maybe you actually carry the stuff upstairs where it belongs-- or maybe even your children do this themselves!  I'm going to assume you don't because I know you're all way too busy doing much better things, and hey so are your kids right?  Exactly.

Enter the bucket.  You may have seen these here or over at  soulemama.  Disclaimer:  There was a time in my life (ok so I'm still kinda in that time, but working to get past it) that I considered using anyone else's idea to be copying.  Copying, as in the annoying thing little sisters do, as in never to be done.  Being creative involved creating everything--every idea, or so I thought, from scratch--or at least making it my own as best I could.  Now in the world of crafting blogs, and homeschool resource sites etc. I'm realizing people share their ideas because they are good ones!  Because they know you will like them too and want to make them for yourself.  So, here is this bucket.  I did not make it up.   I copied it, and I love it (and so does Kale, can you tell?).
This one is actually Juni's.  All of the stuff to be returned to her room goes into the bucket and when she heads upstairs she takes it with her to empty and return.  At least in theory.  The boys have some coming as soon as I can find the time.
And viola!  Clean stairs (at least in theory).  

* Juni and I put together this little "Mr. Gumpy" set for Kale's Christmas present.  "Mr. Gumpy's Outing" is one of Kale's all time favorite books.  This is reminiscent of a project I learned as a preschool teacher, we called them Coffee Can Stories, and kept all the props for telling the story in a coffee can.   I made a set similar to this for my nephew's 5th birthday.  He has since outgrown it (he'll be 9 next week!) and  it was returned to us last summer, but promptly lost.  So, here is a new one.  It's just a felt boat, plastic farm animals and some tiny wooden people.  But it has been a big hit.  It's so sweet to hear him reciting some of the pages almost word for word in his tiny baby voice.  He is saying so much now--6 and 7 word sentences with pronouns and everything but his voice is still so sweet.

* I made these granola bars the other day.  They don't look like much but they were really the best granola bars I've ever had, except maybe a little too sweet.   I made them with gluten free oats, but I'm still skeptical about the gluten naturally found in oats.  I ate several anyway, as soon as they were cool enough to cut.  A word to the wise however (and most likely all of you already know this):  wax paper is not the same as parchment paper.  Oops.  Fortunately I used an all natural wax paper, so I didn't mind too much that parts of them were coated with the wax that melted to them.   We ate the entire batch in a day so I made another using rice flour and rice puff cereal in place of the oats.  These were also really yummy, but not quite as good as the first.
We'll definitely be making these again this week, with few substitutions:   honey or maple syrup in place of sugar, and less of it.  In the first batch I used some condensed milk I had kicking around in place of the corn syrup and it was great, I'm guessing just a bit more honey would do the trick as well.

* We finally got a bit of snow the other day, but have really been enjoying the clear ice for skating this year.

* This morning Wylie said, "how come Juniper can knit and I can't?".  Well, he tried and he could!  He's finished two tiny scarves (for Duck Duck and Boris) and has started on one for himself.  Here he is sporting his new Mama made hat.  I can already tell Kale is going to need a pom-pom hat too.

*Big raar, num you up! (Kale's good idea, inspired by "Olivia")

    sunrise on a cold morning, minus 12 degrees

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The View from Here

This is a moment for sharing , inspired by SouleMama's "This Moment".  In her words,  "A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."  To play along go to the SouleMama blog.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Morsels

With the Christmas tree out of the house we realized this under-used sunny corner of our dining area.  By sliding the table over just a bit (and adjusting the pendant light with yarn and a thumbtack) viola, a nice corner for sitting and knitting/reading/nursing.  I'm hoping to get a cover made for this chair as it is really not the coziest.  I have some foam left over from an old project, but am coveting some material from our local fabric store.  

Check out the yard through the window--hard to believe this picture was taken in January, not July.  

* Juniper and I had a girls date, just the two of us.  We met Rob in town after ice skating and he took the boys home while Junebug and I headed to the local bookstore/cafe for a coffee and reading date.  Shortly after we got in the car she realized that she had no dress with her.  "Mama, I just have my tights on under my snow pants!"  (panic rising in her voice).  That's ok, the bookstore is not a fancy place, you can stay in your snow pants.  "I cannot go on a date in snow pants--for a date you get dressed up!"  Never mind that I was in jeans and a huge wool sweater.  Hmmm.  Fortunately Goodwill is just down the street from the bookstore.  Children's clothes are only $1.99 and there is never a shortage of little girl dresses.  I scored myself a hoodie to boot.  This little date was just what we needed.  

* On Wednesday, the kids and I found ourselves in Augusta after a dentist appointment that was much shorter than planned (only because we'll have to go back next week for the real deal) and spent a few hours at the children's museum there.  It was our first time in their new location.  This museum is very small, just the right size for little ones but with enough variety for the older kids too.  I can see Wylie getting bored after a few trips there, but being new to us all of the kids had a blast.  

Afterward we had to recreate the job site at home with the tower as a ladder, and cardboard tools.  

* When he's not in worker guy attire Kale spends the rest of his day in drag.  He and his friend had a great time "swimming' in the "pool" (ie living room rug) with their bathing suits and sun hats.  

Oh, and don't forget the heels.  

* After "swimming" we all attended a wedding of two young sweethearts.  The ceremony was every bit as charming as it looks, complete with the wedding song playing in the background and everyone very serious and quiet.  Wylie, a little embarrassed by the scene, officiated from inside his cardboard box pulpit.

* Kale and Papa snuggle up for a story, in his favorite blue dress "like Juju".  

* My new trick for dinner prep without the fuss.

Happy Monday!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Monday Morsels: haircut

Somehow in the midst of sick children, unwrapped presents strewn about the floor, piles of laundry and dishes on Christmas morning, it seemed like just the right time to cut my hair.  

11 inches to Locks for Love, and I had a bob for four days.  

Then I headed to the salon and had the rest cut off.  It was my first real haircut (ie not done by myself)  in 4 years. It was nice.  I'm still adjusting to the new do--but in so many ways its great:  no static, no tangles, no sticking to my face at night.  I could get used to short.

Morsels: a few yummy tidbits so far this year:  

What's nice about this picture is me, inside with my coffee, while all three children are outside, having fun, together.  This picture was actually taken the 30th, so not officially the new year, and while you can't tell from the pic it was freezing outside and so so so windy.
They were exploring the new ice on the marsh (no worries, the water when thawed is not more than 12 inches deep).
There are few things I love more than exploring nature with my littles, but watching them explore it together without me, is certainly up there on the list.  I'm counting on lots more of this in this new year.

Two new friends, Tiger and Redhead.

Kale's new glasses--he found them at a friend's and has been wearing them off and on ever since.

 These two side by side most of the day, deep in one imaginative game after another (clothing always optional). 

Our running club, The Hot Chaffing Dishes, kicked some butt at the Set the Pace Race in Camden New Year's Day.  Here's a photo of my finish.  The weather was both amazing and concerning (climate change seems underway) but made for a great race.  Yay ladies!  
(just as an aside the Dishes are a group of women who love to run together.  We are all ages and abilities, anyone in the Belfast area can join. Check us out on Facebook). 

Our new zip line.  We're still working out a few snags--and trying to find a height/speed that feels both safe and fun for all.  You can't tell from this angle, but right now its down right terrifying.  

Worms, in January!  This really has me concerned for our climate, and a bit sad for the lack of snow fun.   But it has also got me thinking about our garden for this new year. I'm ready to start planning out the beds.  It was so warm today I could have started the peas.  

Happy New Year!