Monday, November 23, 2009

What makes a child dance?

The music is playing, he stops what he's doing and starts dancing. Clapping. Smile on the face. A quick look around to see who's watching.

No one taught him to dance. Although we certainly encourage it.

He's got his own style, but it's not unlike his peers.

And, anyone watching would be hard pressed not to smile, laugh even.

His moves have expanded lately: He added the squats the other day - a move that really works your quads if you decide to groove along. Today, he added some raised arm motions that looks a lot like celebration.

My dear, dear boy. He doesn't let me stay down for long.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A ho hum day of blah

Some days seem like a waste.

I wish it was a matter of wasting time sitting around. At least then I'd feel rested.

Today was more like walking a treadmill on the uphill setting. Only then I'd atleast be able to say I got some excersize.

Bear didn't have a good day today either. No one wanted to do what he wanted to do, and no one could figure it out.

Nothing was accomplished today, and no one had any fun.

Here's my pledge to make tomorrow a better day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sometimes it's more important to live in the moment than to capture the moment.
Sometimes it's more fun to take a walk without a camera swinging around my neck.
Sometimes I can make up my mind to have a great morning, and it really happens.

Bear and I went walking with the Haleys' near their house this morning. It really wasn't a special event. I suppose you could say we were celebrating the unseasonably warm weather.

Bear walked the longest distance I think he ever has. Up hills and down hills. Running, and trying to keep up with the older boys, and falling, and getting back up again. He got muddied by the wet dog shake and hardly seemed to notice.

He did ask to be picked up a few times, but always wanted back down again. And, he wasn't looking for Mommy. He was actually asking Jen to pick him up more. And, didn't mind having Rael carry him a bit, too.

What's even better is that this walk would have made me happy even without Bear. It was absolutely what I wanted to do with my morning with or without my boy. And, it was what my boy wanted to do.

Ahhhh... It feels good to be healthy.

The icing on the cake (yes, there's just a bit more) ... After we left the Haleys' and Bear went smoothly down for his nap, I had enough time for embroidery. Pulling the needle and thread through the fabric ... that's therapy. Not quite meditation today, but if I get this project going ...

And, that was my perfect morning.

(sorry, no pictures).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Getting back

August was moving month.
September was Katie's wedding month.
October was sick month. (formerly known as birthday month)
I'm officially declaring November get back into a routine month.

I'm bound and determined for that routine to include blogging. For starters, some photos of a wonderful walk Bear and I had between our colds and our flu.

Since we've gotten better again, I keep trying to repeat this walk, but he doesn't to want to cooperate.

The morning we took it, nothing was planned. It was quite chilly, but sunny, and we needed something to do before lunch. We bundled up, got out the wagon and headed down the street. Rather than sticking to the street, I decided we might head into the woods. Bear decided he didn't want to stay in the wagon. This was fine with me; he stuck to the trail and was a fabulous junior hiker. This was true both down the hill and back up.

It was absolutely a GEM on a morning.

The next day, we carved our pumpkin. Bear wasn't quite as into the activity as I expect he will be in a couple of years. But, I was perfectly pleased with how well he did cooperate.

I carved the face while he was napping.
And, we did attempt Halloween dress-up ...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1st Birthday

A little behind in times, but a few random birthday pictures...

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Berries picked with a passenger on my back...
Playing in the sand/dirt at Beaver Park...
A hike up Bradbury Mountain...

Playing with friends...

The weather may be wet, and our life may be stormy, but this is my boy's only first summer, so we're taking advantage of the breaks in the clouds. Sometimes even making our own...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Food is growing

For a while there it seemed like I was letting go of my ambitions to eat local food. Now that veggies are growing here in Maine, it's time to get back on track.
The picture at the top shows my peas at the beginning of the month. That's nothing compared to what they look like now. They're ready for snacking, but I'm hoping if I hold off another couple of days, they'll get bigger and more plentiful.
We've eaten all the radishes I planted, but more of those are coming from the farm and I'm looking forward to make lots of radish recipes this week.
And, although the spinach didn't turn out like I'd hoped, I did have some in a salad last week.

Tomorrow will be our fourth veggie pick up at the farm. Each week we get at least one recipe to go with the featured veggie, and I'm loving trying new greens. I've eaten arugula before, but it was so much tastier fresh. Tatsoi was new and yummy sauteed and in a salad. And, who ever knew you could eat rutabaga greens. They're good, too.
Lucky for us, we got a tour of the farm at a time when the rain actually stopped. It was a fabulous way to get outdoors, and we actually did it as a family.

I also got my first picture in the paper.

It's raining; it's pouring ...

June has been a down right stormy month. This is both a straight-forward statement and a metaphorical one.

Let's see, we started out with some sunny days, but we had a sick boy. The day Bear came down with his fever, we had a playdate scheduled. I was in such desperate need of a day out of the house, that I had myself convince that he wasn't really sick and we went anyway.

Later that day, I realized how very wrong I was. This is what my poor little guy looked like in the midst of a fever and hot weather. It ended up that he had a text book case of Roseola. Well, not quite text book. The description said most don't have get all symptoms. Bear had every symptom described.

The one good thing about Roseola is that it doesn't linger. Once it was over, it was over, and my little boy was back in action again.

I'm saddened to say that with all the rain and unfortunate events that I'll withhold here, the camera hasn't come out much lately. But, here's one cute picture of him riding on his Daddy's back.

I'm certain the camera will be out more in the coming weeks. The big boy's birthday is just around the corner. And, I've got to catch some of the big boy steps on film.

Friday, June 19, 2009

First steps

Yep! That's right. Bear took 2 and a half steps towards his mama this morning. I wish I had a picture to document, but you can't really plan such a thing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

He's still my little baby

It seems I'm constantly thinking about how big Bear is getting. He's doing new things almost daily. Right now, it's standing alone for longer periods of time. And, today he even started to take a step.

But, he's still a little baby. I'm reminded of this when we sit down to nurse. We snuggle together, and I feel his little shoulders and back, and I'm reminded how much more growing he has to do.

I love those times. We've had our challenges nursing - first, he wanted to constantly, then he rarely wanted to at all - but, now it is purely peaceful. It's especially precious to me on my nights off when I get to put him to bed.

At all times, it is the perfect paradox of his growing independence, and his persistent dependence on his mother. His ability to help find his own way to the target is a demonstration of his independence that only I get to see. Yet, his primary source of nourishment is still coming from me, a true testament to his dependence.

So, I look forward to the times when we go into his room and snuggle in the milk chair, or sometimes sit on the couch; Bear gets his favorite drink, and I take a deep breath and relax - what other choice do I have after all? I don't know how many more months we'll have this, so I'll cherish each while we still do.

I don't let it happen to often, but sometimes this snuggling leads to this...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Playing outdoors

Life has been turned upside down, and getting on the computer has been difficult (two unrelated things), but Bear and I have spent some time having fun outdoors...

We met Bear's friends Emma and Chloe (not pictured) at a playground:

We crawled around in the backyard (this is just one day of many):

We spent 2 90-degree days in the park...

...where my happy boy napped both days...

Too bad I wasn't unable to photograph him playing in the pond. We weren't planning on swimming, but it was so hot, I decided we should cool our feet. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was allowing Bear to sit down in the water in his clothes. He had fun. It was worth it. He just didn't wear any clothes for the rest of the time we were there.
We've also done some gardening.


I don't want to talk about what happened to the cucumbers and peppers... well... OK... they all DIED after I transplanted them. But, the peas and radishes are doing great, and the carrots and spinach look like they have a chance. So, I've decided that for any future gardens, I will plants seeds in the ground, or buy seedlings. Until, someday, I have more time, and appropriate indoor space.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Parenting is a rocky road

...a rocky road through a beautiful forest of never ending surprises.

I'm certain this is no surprise to anyone, but this month, especially this week, has been a good demonstration of that.

- Bear has figured out how to opening the kitchen cupboard with the pots, and can now amuse himself almost endlessly by pulling things out and playing with things. This is especially fun if I provide a spoon to drum with. (Not for Saturday mornings when Daddy is sleeping in).
- We've had lots of sunny time to spend outdoors playing ball (and eating grass).
- "Walking" either holding our hands or holding on to furniture is getting more and more fun. - I've figured out that if we go for a walk shortly after lunch Bear will fall asleep in the stroller and stay asleep long enough for me to get some yard work or gardening done.
- Waking up less in the middle of the night.
- We're started signing. Or, at least I am. I don't expect Bear to start for several weeks, and then only if I'm consistent. Checked a book out of the library and I think it could be great, if I can be consistent enough.

The BAD:
- Eating is challenging. He wants to only eat food he can feed himself, but won't touch most of the choices offered.
- Cruising has led to more falls, which has resulted in a chipped tooth. I'm having trouble dealing with the idea that I allowed this to happen.
- The cat is sooo irresistable, and taunts the baby, which has led to multiple scratches, and yet Bear still goes back for more.
- Getting up earlier in the morning.
On the food side of things:
- I have pepper plants about 2 inches high. As of yesterday there were more, but the cat found them this afternoon and uprooted several. Oh well, there are still plenty.
- Peas and looking GREAT.
- I don't think I'm getting spinach. I don't know what I did wrong, but it's four weeks since I planted the seeds and nothing.
- Planted seeds for melon, cucumbers, basil and cilantro indoors.
- Planted carrot and radish seeds in the ground.
Also, a coworker leant me the magazine Eating Well, and Dan brought home a copy of Cook's Illustrated. So many good recipes to inspire me and help me steer away from bottle sauces, and other packages goods. I also checked out of the library Family Nutrition by Sears, which is really just backing up everything I already know.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hooray for spring!

What a week!

Monday went to last swim lesson, planted marigold and pepper seeds (indoors, of course).
Tuesday baked bread, made granola bars, baby-sat, then left Bear with other mom and went to doc's.

Wednesday Bear had a rough morning, but we still managed a long walk and some play in the grass later.
Thursday another walk and went to work early.
Friday Bear went to doctor's, ate lunch in park, walked around Brunswick, played with Emma and Chloe.
Saturday drove to Portland, bought big-boy carseat, tried on dress for Katie's wedding.

Sunday - Phwew! No steam left. First signs of peas sprouting exactly 3 weeks after planting. Yay!

That brings us to another Monday. Went to baby storytime at the library in place of swimming. More peas are sprouting. And, the peppers are starting to stir. (I can't remember what day the marigolds showed, but they're coming up too).


Finally a bit of time to unwind. Listening to Barenaked Ladies album I just downloaded called Snacktime. It's for kids! but, has some of the songs we all know and love. It's great fun!

Tomorrow looking forward to a rainy day

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's not just about the fuel

Someone dear to me challenged my desire to eating locally. This person tells me that doing so is bad for the glocal economy and may even require more fuel consumption than eating foods from all over the planet. Here's what I have to say about that. (If you already think eating locally is the way to go, you might skip this post).

While fuel consumption is an issue when it comes to eating locally versus from factory farms, it is not the only concern.

There are really three goals: Local, sustainable, organic. Local generally assumes all three. Why do I care?

Local is best because we are then getting in-season produce that is spared the long journey that requires excess fuel and makes the food days old before it even becomes available to us in the grocery store. The argument proposes that it takes more fuel to start plants in a greenhouse in cooler climates (such as Maine), than it does to transport them. I vow to dig up more information on this.

In the meantime, what kinds of vegetables and fruits are we talking about? Plants such cucumbers, pepper and tomatoes do take a few weeks of indoor growing before they can be planted outside here, but many others - carrots, peas, spinach, potatoes - can be planted right in the ground making it unnecessary for any extra fuel to be spent. I still doubt the energy requirements for starting cucumbers indoors is greater than what it takes for them to arrive from South America, but I'll see if I can back that up. Fruits and veggies that require even warmer/longer growing seasons - citrus and bananas - are simply not a part of the true locavore's diet. That person would need to get their vitamin C and potassium from other sources.

There are still other benefits to eating locally. Eating food that comes from your neighborhood farmer ensures freshness, which means it has retained the greatest amount of nutrients. Plus, small farms can grow a wider variety of produce. Fruits can be selected for their taste and nutritional value instead of for their ability to resist pests and travel long distances.

Speaking of pests, let's look at the benefits of organic food, meaning the use of chemical pesticides, and in the case of livestock, antibiotics and growth hormones, is restricted. Pointing out the obvious, I don't want to eat chemicals. These chemicals do have health risks for humans. Less obvious is the negative effects they have on the plants. The more chemical pesticides are used, the less effective they become, as the pests build up resistance.

Another issue is genetically modified plants, commonly grown by factory farms. As I already mentioned resistance to chemicals and pests, and ability to survive transport play more of important role here than taste and nutritional value. I don't think I have to tell you which choice I would make. Who wants a pink, mealy, tastely tomato, when they can eat a red, juice, sweet one?

The third issue is sustainability. Here's where I real know the least. It is also the issue that has the greatest global consequences. My basic understanding is something like this: Farms that follow sustainable practices (generally organic, not genetically engineered food, crop rotation) will survive the longest. This means they can stay put rather than move to another area, cutting down more trees. This means we can feed the world for longer without creating more global warming. OK, I may be seriously off base on this one, so I'll stand corrected if so. I'll also vow to do some more research.

Then, there is a bonus to eating locally: less packaging. Even if I eat organic produce that I buy in the supermarket, I have to buy it in a package. No matter how much I try to recycle some of that inevitably ends up in landfills. By eating local veggies, especially if I grow them in my own garden, I have much greater control over how much packaging is used.

I was also told that the global economy would suffer if we stopped buying food from South America. I'm not an economist, and never will try to be even an amateur one. But, I have two thoughts... I prefer to think that it is more important for me to support the local economy than the abstract global one. I don't even believe that the people of Costa Rica are benefiting if I buy their bananas. I think some large corporation that could be based in the U.S. or elsewhere is benefiting. Secondly, my simple mind thinks that all the reasons above are more important than money.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Shopping spree

Just after our walk yesterday, as long as we were in Brunswick, I decided to go into the natural foods store. I can't do this all of the time, but I ended up going on a bit of a natural/organic/local foods shopping spree.

I bought eggs, milk, dried apricots, dried cranberries, granola, yeast, wheat germ and honey.

I plan to use the yeast to help support my newly-formed bread making habit. The granola and dried fruit will be used for the granola bars I hope to make this afternoon.

It's hard to imagine

It's hard to imagine that less than a month ago this boy couldn't even sit up on his own, let alone crawl or stand up. Now, he's on the go constantly. He's bumped his head more times in the last two week, than in the rest of his short little life.

He has added "dada" to his vocabulary, and now plays ball with Dada. He just doesn't make the connection between what he's saying and this favorite person of his.

In other news, Mr. Bear seems to be mostly over his illness, although he keeps tugging at the ears now and then, and the nose keeps dripping. At least his appetite seems to be coming backs. But, for the past few days he's had a couple of teeth coming through, so that just complicates his misery.

One thing I'm surprised hasn't changed. He still likes being in his Snugli. We went for a walk in Brunswick yesterday, and I thought for sure he'd protest the confinement, but wanted to try anyway. We ended up taking an hour-long walk, and he was as happy as could be, talking to his "girlfriend" (who was in a stroller) while attatched to me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Steps in the right direction

I started planting the garden this weekend. Yay!

Those I've told have mostly responded with something like, "What? The snow's gone?" Well, yes, indeed it is. And, just about everything I've read on gardening say peas and spinach go in "as soon as the ground can be worked." So, in they are.

Initially, I was pretty happy that it would rain the day after the seeds were planted. Now, I'm a bit worried that it may have rained too hard. It was really coming down last night. I guess we'll see.

My other big accomplishment has been baking bread. For just over a week now, we've had only homemade bread in the house.

I'm not sure this is the recipe I'm going to stick with. I like it. It's a pretty hardy whole wheat. But, Dan prefers his bread a bit whiter. So, we'll have to see. I could always alternate this one with a loaf of German sweet bread.

Well, someone is sick of his ExcerSaucer and typing one handed isn't very efficient. So, mommy duty calls.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Response to comment

A friend posted some comments, which raise good points, and I want to respond. I hope that she doesn't mind I've copied her comments here.

ADKJen commented:

The hundred mile diet (not diet, as in to lose weight, but as in what you eat) in Maine will not include citrus then either? I think it would be difficult to raise a healthy boy to his potential without the proper protein of meat. Ethical treatment of animals is important to me also! Why should an animal suffer through its short life to feed me and my family? Also, farmed fish (not in the ocean, but in pools on land) is something of a recent obsession of mine as far as educating myself and it's impact on the environment and other fish in the sea. Ocean farmed fish is really terrible in that respect, but I don't want to get myself started here!

My response:

If I decided to strictly adhere to the 100 mile diet, it would not include citrus. But, I will probably always allow citrus as one of my many exceptions (along with chocolate and coffee). If I got down to it, I could find a way to get Florida oranges that traveled with my family who was traveling that way anyway. However, there are other good ways of getting vitamin C. Leafy greens and green peppers can both by grown in cooler climates, and the greens can be grown indoors all year round. If that's what I choose to do. But, I'll probably just keeping eating citrus in the winter.

I definitely do not intend to go "veggie." Much more likely is that I would buy local, organically raised meat. Although I tried being a vegetarian at one point, I'm a firm believer that humans are meant to be omnivores. However, the abuse of animals in factory farms does bother me. And selfishly, I'm concerned with the effects on my health that the way these animals are fed and treated have. For example, chickens that are fed a diet of grass and bug lay eggs that are higher in omega-3's than chickens that are grain fed.

As for fish, I really don't know much. I boil it down to this... Why do I want to pay the price (environmentally) for the fuel needed to transport and refrigerate haddock that comes from Norway, when I can pay the same cash for better tasting haddock that comes from Portland, while supporting the local economy?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Laundry basket adventures

I can't be the first parent to make this observation: It is amazing what will amuse a child of 8 or 9 months.
For instance, the laundry basket provides minutes of endless entertainment. (Notice, I'm talking minutes, not hours. Nothing will captivate for hours; that would be unspeakable). This mundane household tool is fun to ride in. A full basket can be used to pull up on, or be emptied with clothes strewn across the floor. And, an empty basket is light enough to push around. Amazing.
Other things that offer great amusement are Mommy's and Daddy's shoes. I keep telling Bear they are yucky, but he insists they really are yummy. Especially yummy are the rubber soles of Daddy's beat up shoes that have walked all over creation. In case anyone wonders, we do discourage this activity, but he keeps going back.
And then there's the parental favorite. An object hidden inside a closed container. When I say "minutes" of entertainment here, I'm talking double digits.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Some random thoughts on food

"Locavore" was coined from the San Francisco Bay Area on the occasion of World Environment Day 2005 to describe and promote the practice of eating a diet consisting of food harvested from within an area most commonly bound by a 100 mile radius. "Localvore" is sometimes also used.
The New Oxford American Dictionary chose locavore, a person who seeks out locally produced food, as its word of the year 2007.[6]

(My local "boundaries" will be defined as anything within the state of Maine, or when traveling, within that state, or reasonably close)

My earliest attempt at ethical eating was becoming a vegetarian. I didn't think eating meat was wrong, but I was upset about the way the meat we eat is raised. That has never stopped bothering me, but after a couple of years I relaxed my food values and starting eat meat. I found I just couldn't live without it.
For years, I've entertained thoughts of some day living on a farm and harvesting all of my own food. Besides the satisfaction of muddy hands and knees, and the romance of putting up vegatables in the fall, I've been convinced that I could grow my food in a more responsible way than what I buy at the grocery store.

I'm going to call this "the best I can do while raising a nearly-one-year-old and working full time."

I think probably it will just be local produce (fruits and veggies) beginning in June. I can make sure a lot of my dairy comes from Maine too, even if I still buy it in Hannaford. Then maybe the next step will be buying locally raise beef, poultry and fish. Fish should be easy. (I don't understand why Hannaford sells haddock that comes from Norway, when they sell local stuff down the street for the same price). And, once Bear is a bit more independent, I can start making our daily bread.

This is not a switch I can turn. I need to take steps, and only do what I can reasonably manage. I can't drive myself crazy, because I want to change this eating way of life to something I can maintain. It needs to be affordable, or even save money, at the same time I achieve the goals, I'm reaching for.

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need” – Cicero

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Beginning in the middle

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while, and finally I'm doing it. Two things I want to chronicle: my rapidly growing son; my efforts in trying to eat local food. (They're kind of connected, but I'll get to that another time, maybe). Granted, neither may be out of the ordinary, but they're both special to me, and maybe you, if you're reading.

My son:

Bear was born July 16, 2008. That makes him roughly 8 1/2 months now. So much time has passed, and he's growing so fast. I can't believe I've hardly made notes on all his milestones. I'm not going to try to backtrack, but I am going to try harder moving forward.

Today he's sick with a double ear infection and bronchitis. Yet, he's crawling faster every day, and beginning to learn to "cruise." He says "bababa" and other babbling noises that include the "b" sound. He loves his bath, but hates getting dressed.

My food:

For quite a while I've wanted to be better about eating food in a kinder way. Now, eating local is the thing to do, so I'm jumping on the band wagon. I really don't care about being "in." I do think it's awesome that the popularity of eating local food makes it easier.

It's obvious that I want to write about my son to keep his development in my memory, and maybe share with family. Reasons for wanting to blog about eating local are not so clear, but I feel compelled to do it. I suppose it may be as a measure of my success in meeting a challenge. Yet, I don't have a measurable goal. I simply want to do the best I can. (Remember, I have an eight-month-old, plus I work full time, and do not use daycare.)

Today I've registered for a farm share (actually did it last week), and I'm planning a garden. I'm still buying most of my food at Hannaford, but look for local options where they are readily available. I have started buying local fish once a week. The extra stop is worth it. It actually tastes better. I have a long way to go.