Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Greatest Company on Earth

I never dedicate my posts... but this one is for Toni

A few posts ago (who's been paying attention?) I mentioned something about wondering how I felt about blogging anymore. I like many people wonder if it is worth the time I dedicate to it and sometimes feel that the things I write are nothing of great importance to the world at large making me wonder... why do I publish this stuff to the world at large.

BUT in the past few weeks as I have sat mulling it over (I love that expression by the way) I have come to the following conclusion about why I shall and must continue TO blog and to read blogs.

First the Bullet Points
  • Writing is therapeutic, and I have always loved journaling... Chuck tells me that once I write stuff on here it is never going anywhere. I think it might be fun someday for my kids to go back and see our little family history online. Because lets face it, I DON'T scrapbook and I have been neglecting my paper journal.
  • Blogging is FREE!! Ok so maybe it costs a bit of your time, but you can always set limits for yourself. We had to do that in our house.
  • People come to you... I like it because I don't feel like I am bombarding people with my life through countless e-mails or phone calls to talk about myself (seems a little narcissistic). People can come check in whenever they want and spend as much or as little time looking around as they want.
  • Reading other people's blogs makes me laugh and is a good way to start my day. Plus it gets me thinking about things and subjects I might not have... for a stay at home mom without a TV I need a little bit of connection with the outside world if you know what I mean.

And now for the big reason and for the namesake of this post.

There are many different types of blogs that exist in the world. There are sports blogs and photo blogs, adventure, music, cooking, crafts, family... etc. etc. etc. I would classify mine under the family category as my blog is not directed to any one group of people and I don't market anything. I just write about family and friends for my family and friends.

If you blog often you know that there are probably millions of blogs just like yours and mine (especially from Utah they love blogging). They are filled with pictures of kids doing cute stuff, random stories, thoughts, and questions. You can almost anticipate posts as holidays roll around and there seems to be some standard posts that you will see from almost everyone, (The birthday post, The we're pregnant, The here's my belly, The family outing post...etc...etc)

I was reminded the other day of when I worked for a large company in downtown Minneapolis. When I started I had access to the company directory and could e-mail or call anyone in the company all over the US in a matter of seconds. It was really helpful because sometimes I had to figure out how to do something I was unfamiliar with or contact another department. There was also a company website which would publish newsletters and keep us all updated on the latest company happenings.

I would like to think of "family" bloggers as being a part of the Greatest Company on Earth. I mean if we strip away all the fluff in the world... family is the most important part of our lives. Blogging is a way for us all to keep connected in our business of raising the next generation... it is like our company newsletter, and a way to network and stay connected. Sometimes I read blogs for cooking tips, organizational advice, project ideas, and ways to have fun with my husband and baby. These are all aspects of my "job" as a mom and a homemaker, and I would like to think of Blogging as a part of my job.

Some of you may not realize this but I LOVE seeing random pictures of your kids, because it gives me that warm mushy feeling about how great being a mom is. It is motivation for me when days are challenging. And I love hearing about your lives and what you are up to... and sharing in your happy times and relating to and sympathizing with your hard times. It makes me feel like we are all in this together.

SO THANK YOU for blogging I have enjoyed the posts of the past and look forward to the posts to come. Happy Blogging :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Five For Friday

5 noteworthy things from the past few weeks...

The past few times I have gone to the grocery store alone I seem to end up next to someone who is "a little off" which makes for an entertaining check-out experience. The first time it was a man who explained to me some of his purchases and then spent the rest of the time digging through my groceries and saying things like "Mmm chocolate chips, these are MINE!" Pretending to take them, laughing and then putting them back in the cart.
The last time this happened it was a cute little old man and he would grab tabloid magazines and show me pictures inside and then giggle in such a way that his shoulders would move up and down. The first picture he showed me was one of those "Worst dressed" pages and he pointed to some celebrity at an award show and said, "look at that dress... giggle giggle, and that one.... giggle giggle." As grocery store shopping can be an exhausting task I enjoy getting to chuckle a bit before I leave.

The absolute last thing I like to do is draw attention to myself while I am trying to feed my child in public. However as of late Fiona has decided that she does not like ANY sort of noise to disrupt her when she is dining, and thus will scream until she starts choking and gagging under my nursing shield leaving all eyes on me. I tried to have lunch with my Grandma at a restaurant the last week and Fiona had a meltdown. I was so flustered we ended up just leaving as soon as I got myself all tucked away again. I really do think nursing is amazing if it works out for you... but I still feel frightfully awkward about it unless I am in the comforts of my own home. I find myself in new situations wondering what the breastfeeding etiquette is...

I was only exposed to breastfeeding when I was a little kid myself and so I didn't really think of it in the terms of my being a women and someday be doing it. I find myself wanting to study other women who seem to feed their kids effortlessly and without drawing attention to themselves. Sometimes I feel like I might as well just blow a foghorn and yell. "HEY I'm ABOUT TO BREASTFEED MY KID!!!!"

I realized this week that I am quite competitive. Which is interesting because I have always considered myself NOT to be. I suppose it's just another example that just because we think something, doesn't make it true.
I have a big family reunion coming up with Chuck's family and I have to fix a meal for like 20 people. I kept stressing out about what I was going to fix and wanting to know what everyone else was making... Chuck jokingly said, "you know if you don't make something good my brothers will not like you anymore and you will get kicked out of the family." I laughed because it seemed so absurd, but it was actually a thought that had crossed my mind (which sometime I would love to write about all of the completely absurd scenarios I run through my head all day). Upon further reflection I realized that I was approaching this meal like I was asked to be on some cooking competition on national television. WIth this realization it almost seemed like someone lifted a fog from in front of my eyes and I could think of COUNTLESS other examples where I approach life like a contest. Anyway... I am working on changing my thinking.

I was able to run a race this last week in Downtown Minneapolis. It was a 5k called the Torchlight (because it is run at night). It felt good to get out and run with a big crowd again. That's one of the reasons I love doing races, I like that big group feeling... and listening to the sound of thousands of feet hitting the pavement. And I also had the chance to behold people wearing these:

There is a pretty big movement of people who run barefoot, or with these shoes which are really more like gloves with thick soles. There is a guy in our neighborhood with really long blond hair who Chuck and I see all the time running barefoot with his shirt off. Every time I see him I feel like I am spotting big foot in his natural habitat or something. It just seems so wild and primitive... only this guy wears Nike Shorts and is in the center median of Summit Ave in Saint Paul.

I was able to do a nutritional assessment of myself for three days (not a whole week like I had wanted). I am still analyzing the numbers because the program I have has like 7 different reports you can run about what you ate. BUT Being the lactating lady that I am I need over 2,700 calories a day just to break even. I tried to be really true to my diet and enjoy things like snacks and pizza. I realized that I am under my calorie need almost everyday (which is why I am steadily shedding the baby weight). Which made me feel like I would try another assessment after I stop breastfeeding.

I did find that I eat a lot more salt than I should... Pretty much if you eat anything processed or use pre-made sauces from the grocery store your sodium levels will be off the charts. I made "just add water" pancakes one morning and had no idea they were packed with sodium. That day I was like at 294% of what my sodium intake should have been.

I realized that I enjoy doing nutritional assessments and wouldn't mind keeping better track on a regular basis.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pot Luck Nightmares

This weekend I learned that you should NEVER make a giant (I mean like 15 pounds) Tuna Noodle salad for a potluck, UNLESS you are ready and willing to eat the entire thing on account of three other people bringing basically the same salad.... which is exactly what happened at church on Sunday, and is why I have eaten almost nothing but Tuna Noodle salad for the last four meals.

Seriously I think one person took a scoop out of the bowl. I watched in horror as people continually took from the other bowls. NOOOOOOOOOooooooooo!!!!!!

Megan you know what I mean because you watched me make it, and witnessed Chuck pretending to be crushed under the weight of the bowl when he went to put it in the fridge.

And Clarinda, thanks for feeling sorry for me in the potluck line and eating a scoop... truth be told I ate your version and not my own.

Saturday night I had visions of a delicious fresh fruit salad... I only had to walk three buildings down to Whole Foods to pick up the ingredients. Yet at that precise moment the tornado sirens went off and the rain came down in sheets while tree branches flung through the air. My attempts to wait out the storm were unsuccessful as I waited until the store closed. My only back-up... Tuna noodle.

So if you have a craving for some chicken of the sea married with a delightful white sauce (MAYO BABY) and tossed with pasta, please don't make any. Just come on over I have plenty to share :)

And just for Fun...

Fiona has recently discovered that she loves paper... and her mother loves watching her rip pieces to soggy shreds with her slobber mouth and somehow get them stuck up her nose. I know... I know... I probably shouldn't give her pieces with ink on it. Shortly after I snapped this photo Chuck made me take it away from her and instructed me only blank pages next time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Sugar Story and my life in Nutrition

During the 1930's a young man had become obsessed with eating sugar. His mother became very upset with it, but no matter how much she scolded him and tried to break his habit, he continued to satisfy his sweet tooth. Frustrated, she decided to take the boy to see Mahatma Gandhi, who was the boy's idol. She believed that the boy would listen to him.

She had to walk many miles in the hot sun to reach Gandhi's ashram. When she arrived she shared with Gandhi her predicament and asked him to tell her son to stop eating so much sugar.

Gandhi replied, "Come back in two weeks."

The women looked confused, and left. She made the long journey home and in two weeks time made it once again as Gandhi requested. When they arrived Gandhi looked directly at the boy and said...

"Stop eating sugar, it is not good for your health."

The boy nodded and promised that he wouldn't. The mother was puzzled and asked Gandhi why he couldn't have just told her boy that two weeks ago.

Gandhi smiled and replied, "Two weeks ago, I was eating a lot of sugar."

On another occasion Gandhi also said...

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Part of my recent introspection has been about finishing school this year. While I am excited by everything that I have learned in school about nutrition I realized that I am somewhat lacking in the application. For the most part I already eat a well balanced diet... but thinking of this story reminds me I have a lot to work on.

Hypocrisy weakens your message... Gandhi waited two weeks to talk to the boy because he wanted his statement to have validity and to be powerful. The boy probably would have been hesitant to agree to his counsel if Gandhi had a Big Gulp Slushee in one hand and a Snickers bar in the other.

I really do want to help people improve their health and quality of life through food, and so I am analyzing my diet this week for weaknesses. Yesterday I started a week long dietary assessment. Which... if you have ever done one is kind of tedious, you have to measure out and keep track of every single thing you eat or drink all day long and report physical activity. It's pretty amazing what yo discover about yourself though when you pay such close attention.

So check back in a week for the results!

And ask yourself today, "What change can I make in myself that I desire to see in others?"

Friday, July 9, 2010

Five for Friday

Five things that make me UNcomfortable....

1. Phantom hairs that fall out and stick to your clothes and tickle the backs of your arms but no matter how hard you look you just can't seem to find them! This occurs almost every 10 seconds for me as I seem to be shedding at an alarming rate lately. I am told it is normal after you have a baby... but no less discerning.

2. My garage which is hot and steamy like a sauna and full of spiders. It is like a basement, which was one of my greatest fears in childhood. When I have to get in or out of the car I try to spend as little time humanly possible in there and I always check for spiders when I'm outta there. This should be no surprise though as all bugs make me uncomfortable even lady bugs.

3. Walking through the ghetto with my baby... and NOT because I am afraid of being snatched or something happening to Fiona. But for some reason (which I would love to have explained to me) Baby's Mamas are a hot item in the Ghetto. I get honked at and flirted with more pushing a stroller than I would at any other time. Is it the mom butt?

4. Having cool clean feet immersed in the water of the lake and then having to cross the beach which is hot and dirty (as it is made of dirt). Consequently sand granules get stuck all over the previously cool clean feet and so the struggle begins to try to get the sand off before sticking the now hot dirty foot back into a shoe/flip flop.

5. Having to use the toilet in a dirty Mexican rest stop. This only happened once (Julia, if you read this you may recall), but one time was enough for me to know that I never want it to happen again. SO I had to use the bathroom something fierce and I was in a car on an old Mexican road with a lot of bumps... we stopped at the tiniest little shanty in the middle of nowhere and I was told this would be the last chance to go for a few hours. I entered the bathroom, which had no door and was really just a hole in the ground of a big dark area with the dirtiest and most ridiculous imitation of a toilet seat I have ever seen. And of course there were bugs all over the place. I had my sister in law stand guard at the entrance and I attempted the squat method to avoid touching anything within sight. However a combination of stage fright (because I could hear a heard of banditos outside), fear of strange Mexican bugs crawling on me, and images of me falling in this hole and/or touching anything, were inhibiting my ability to relax and go. In addition there was a van full of people waiting for me... and I hate taking too long in bathroom situations, in reality NO ONE cares, but somewhere locked in my subconscious is that old middle-school fear that people are going to tease me about it. (you can probably tell that this happened to me often in my childhood... if you met my brother and sister you would understand, I will just add that to the reasons I need therapy!) ANYWAYS, under that kind of pressure and in a squatting position for over 5 minutes I lost all strength in my legs and began to shake trying to hold that position and relax at the same time. I zipped up and thought I would just hold it for a few more hours. My sister in law encouraged me otherwise.. and after a good laugh and having her give me water imagery out loud like "there is a waterfall pouring over the mountain" I finally had success.
In actuality this UNcomfortableness extends to all questionable restroom facilities and most port-o-potties. Just ask my dad about my bathroom denial of last weekend. I really could write an entire post about my public bathroom phobias and concerns.

I have issues.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summertime and the Living is Easy

(Flowers From Chuck)

Well the title pretty much sums it up. So far this summer has been quite relaxing. Chuck and I have spent lots of time taking long walks and just enjoying Fiona in the Air Conditioned Bliss of our apartment.

I am not quite sure why I have been neglectful to my blog, for some reason I am having mixed emotions about it. I keep writing posts and not publishing them... I still love all of you though, and blog stalk you often. I have been taking lots of photos though which you can find on my Facebook page if you want to snoop on me. I have just been in deep contemplation the last few weeks. Partly because I had my first female emotional meltdown in a long time. It was intense... I felt like I was drowning in a sea of irrational thoughts and it seemed that everything in my life suddenly became a huge crisis. I was scared to open my mouth for fear that fire and daggers would be emitted directly at my sweet sweet husband.

I called my mom in a panic, and she said that I should avoid talking about ANYTHING serious. (Great Advice) So I gave Chuck the silent treatment, which I felt bad about but was a necessary evil, as I waited for the crabbies to pass. I did some emotional release grocery shopping, took a power walk, ate a lot of Kettle Corn and pizza, and stayed away from sharp objects.
So crazy how hormones can change your personality and perspective on life. My husband bought me flowers and chocolate as a peace offering... what a genius! And my internal storm eventually passed on by. And none of the stuff I was all worked up about seemed like a big deal... well except my kitchen towel "dilemma" which has since been solved :)

Today I get to hang out with the cute little 8-11 years old girls from church, it is part of my new church calling. I put on activities for them twice a month. Today we are making friendship bracelets and enjoying frozen smoothies.

What a great summer this is turning out to be.