Waging war in the urban jungle

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The most wonderful proud feeling

This is how my son described himself to me moments ago on the phone.  Why was he so proud?  He finished his second chapter book.

I ask my kids to read daily when school is out, I think their little brains need the exercise.  He finished the first book last week and called me to share his happiness that day, he just couldn't wait to tell me until I picked him up.  I loved that.

He picked out a new book Monday morning, read that day at his Grandma's, yesterday was a busy day so he didn't spend any time with his book.  But today when I dropped him off we agreed that he would spend time with his book this morning since he has a play date this afternoon. 

He just called me a few minutes ago to tell me he finished that book too!  Now, these are not huge books, nor should they be for a beginning reader.  The first was a Werewolf Club book and the second a Junie B Jones book, but both are around 80 pages, and he finished them!  He's so proud of himself and I am just as proud of him. 

What I really love though is how excited he is to share his accomplishments with me.  He's proud of himself.  He worked hard, he finished the task, he feels pride.  He's connecting those three things early which I hope will take him far, not only in school but also in life.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Changing perspectives

This has been an...unusual holiday season.  It's sort of snuck up on me.  Thanksgiving caught me by surprise and I found myself at the grocery store the day before picking up things I'd forgotten, that never happens-me and crowds do not get a long. 

My company holiday party, which I host, sort of did the same.  Very last minute on a lot of things, barely got the food ordered, was shopping for it day before-had to take the morning off work to do that.

Christmas was much the same.  I barely got our Christmas cards out! I was wrapping literally the day before.  Heck, I still shopping the week of! 

Despite all of that, it's actually been a very enjoyable holiday.  It's been hectic at times and I have had to cut a few things loose that I just could not do this year.

I normally bake goodies and send fudge to my dear friends that live out of state....didn't happen.

Paulo usually has hand made crafts for his loved ones, little treasures for the Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents.....didn't happen.

I like to make my packages pretty with bows....didn't happen.

But, what did happen, was some lovely, quiet, one on one time with my son.  We went to a holiday concert last week and we went to see The Christmas Story on stage Thursday night.  We did make fudge and gluten free gingerbread men.  We did watch our beloved holiday classics.  And, we read A Christmas Carol this month.  Bit by bit, chapter by chapter, every night.  To be honest, I've never read A Christmas Carol before, I've seen the Mickey Mouse version many times and I've seen it on stage at my old college....many, many times, but I'd never read the book.  I've owned it since Dimitri was Paulo's age, but it sat on my bookshelf, waiting for my son. 

What also happened was a truly special Christmas Day.  We have stayed home today, just me, my husband and our son-sadly we are missing Dimitri who spends this holiday with his Mother.  We had friends over for lunch.  Paulo played for HOURS with his friend from next door.  And then we capped it off with a fancy, Momma made, steak tenderloin dinner with rosemary mushroom gravy, smashed red potatoes and carrots with freshly baked gluten free bread.  It's good bread, really good bread.  Now we're heading over to a dear friend's house for dessert.

Yesterday we spent time with Rene's family.  Tomorrow we will see my sister and the rest of my family.  Today, today belongs to us.  And it has been delightful.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holidays and husbands

My conversation this morning with Rene....
"uh, I don't mean to be tacky but Paulo typically likes to pick out my present himself.  Have you taken him anywhere??"

"uh..........no...........guess we will do that tomorrow"

Are all men like that?! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday traditions-the fudge edition

Every year Paulo and I make fudge.  We do this for many reasons, the first being that we both really love chocolate, he inherited my sweet tooth!  The other, equally important, reason is to remember my Mom. 

My Mother was a compulsive baker.  Every year come Christmas time our house would be filled with the sweet smells of sugar, chocolate and flour.  I have fond memories of my Dad sitting at the kitchen table with the big bowl in one hand and a spoon in the other getting all the last tid bits of fudge from the bowl-we don't want to waste fudge now do we?!  All of her treats were great but her fudge was special.  It signified Christmas to me.  She died in June 2006.  Come Christmas time I was found myself standing in the kitchen pondering the fudge, who would make the fudge this year??  I did.  I started looking up recipes, I didn't know which one she used because, sadly, she had never involved me in the making of the Christmas goodies.  To be fair, I probably never asked her to either!  I found an easy recipe and started mixing and heating and stirring and tasting.  All the while with my sous chef, Paulo, at my side. 

Baking 2008.  He looks so little!
I bring Paulo into the kitchen for a variety of reasons, one being I really like the little dude so it's one more fun way for us to spend time together, but also because I want him to remember cooking and baking with me and I want him to know how to do it himself if the need ever arises.   
Christmas is fast approaching and this year his allergies have thrown a little monkey wrench into the mix.  The fudge I typically make is full of milk and marshmallow fluff uses eggs, two of the foods on the naughty list for Mr. P.  I, of course, turned to the internet and started researching vegan fudge recipes.  I found a total winner, this recipe is as easy, or easier, than my normal recipe and only uses coconut milk, vegan margarine, chocolate chips, confectioners sugar and vanilla.  I will post details and the recipe as soon as I get a good picture.  In the meantime, Paulo (and I) really enjoyed the end result!

Happy boy with a chocolate face!
 Next up is gluten free gingerbread men and chocolate peppermint cupcakes!  It's such a busy time of year, it's good for us to stop and lick the bowl from time to time, brings us back to what's important, family and making memories.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Traditions

I love traditions.  I love the consistency, the routine, the planning and expectation and the comfort that it all provides.

One of the newer traditions that we began last year was visits from the Christmas Elf.  Paulo hung up my very old stocking from when I was a wee babe and waited.  Waited to see what little trinkets and treats he might receive. 

This year we hung the stocking last night and today he sprang out of bed to see what that little rascal had left for him.

I love to see the joy on his face when he pulls the gift from the stocking.  I love how happy he is to be drinking his juice out of his new candy cane silly straw cup.  I love my baby boy.  Having children make the holidays so much more fun.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?  Did you start new ones with your family or carry on the ones from your own childhood?  I will be sharing more of our traditions in the coming weeks.  It helps me to refocus on what matters most during this often hectic time of year: my family.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My my where does the time go?

December 8th...really?  How did that happen!  So much has happened since I last posted. 

My sweet boy won the grand prize for his efforts with our school's first ever Run for the Arts.  He was given his award in our school's first ever assembly.  Thankfully I was tipped off by the Mom that organized the whole deal to come to the assembly and even more thankfully I work two minutes away so I was able to come and watch him accept his award with typical Paulo enthusiasm.  We are seeing The Christmas Story at Portland Center Stage later this month as part of his award package.  And we will have tickets to a Portland Youth Philharmonic concert coming up in March.  The prizes were outstanding, but even better was watching his complete and utter joy.  That boy knows how to accept an award! 

It's blurry but you get the idea!  He was so happy and I was so grateful to witness it.

We celebrated Thanksgiving last month with dinner for 16-this is a decrease from last year by about a full table!  It was still lovely, even with a few less faces.  I have my toe dipped into being a vegetarian though so there was some personal conflict leading up to the big day.  Ultimately though I ended up eating some of my bird.  I have not eaten much meat at all since the end of September.  October was Vegetarian Awareness month and I answered the challenge to forgo meat for the whole month.  It was easier than I thought it would be and I found my body runs better without the meat clogging the pipes.  Plus since Paulo is not eating dairy there have been more days than not that I have actually been vegan.  I am still not 100% committed to being a vegetarian and honestly some of my hold ups have to do with my family.  I married a serious carnivore and he comes from good, hearty, meat eating stock.  Food is such a big part of our lives too, all of our celebrations revolve around food and frankly most of them center on meat.  I'm not sure where I am though in it, I'm still a work in progress.

We entered December and were hit with Paulo's first major illness.  He had developed a cold in mid November which settled into a lingering cough.  On the 1st of December he woke me up around 4:30 and as soon as I reached out and touched his hands I knew he had a fever.  He missed three days of school and ultimately ended up with a trip to the pedi and a round of antibiotics.  She suspected a sinus infection.  I really didn't want to give him the drugs but ended up starting them last Saturday after the 4th day of fever.  By Sunday he was fever free so I suppose it was for the best.  Through it all though I did take comfort in the fact that his ears were CLEAR!!!  Ear infections plagued us last year, it was terrible.  Holding your sobbing child while he waits for the pain meds to kick in...it's no fun.  I was so happy he was not in pain last week.  It does give me some encouragement to keep up on his wheat/dairy/egg free diet.  He's able to tolerate eggs to a certain degree but definitely no wheat and dairy right now.  The other thing that comforted me was how well he'd been sleeping prior to the fever.  In the past every cold meant days of disrupted sleep.  But he's been a much better sleeper this Fall despite a little case of the sniffles here or there. 

Paulo got to experience his first ever professional Blazer game with his Dad.  Ooooh boy, was that a huge hit!  He was able to yell and cheer and scream and no one told him to Shh!

We're gearing up for Christmas now and all the events that go with it.  We went tree hunting last Saturday, despite Paulo not feeling 100%.  He was a trooper though, it helped that we were in and out of the farm inside of 20 minutes.  It was by far the fastest tree hunt ever for the Rodriguez Family. 

We have our company holiday party coming up soon and then a week later, wham! It's Christmas Day!  I am amazed at how fast this year has flown by.  It is almost 2011!  One of my boys will be 7 in April and then the oldest turns 16 next August....16?!   I don't know quite what to think of that. 

I know I need to remember to slow down and enjoy these moments as they come.  Seeing the years fly by reminds me of that.  But to be honest I have a hard time putting it into practice.  I know I should slow down....I know I should enjoy the moment....but how when there's a pile of dishes to be washed and lunches to be made?  I think perhaps that will be my New Year's Resolution, to sloooooow down.  Wow, time to start thinking about goals for a whole new year.  I do make resolutions.  Often they are about food or health related, one year it was to remove HFCS, another year to purge food dyes, that sort of thing.  This year though perhaps I need to refocus inward and see what sort of growth I want to see in myself.  What about you?  What has the coming end of the year brought to mind for you?  What do you see for yourself in 2011?  Amazing...2011.  But before I get ahead of myself, I need to enjoy the end of 2010.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So proud!

Today was Paulo's Run for the Arts at school.  He was a rock star!

Our little school does not actually have a track.  So the fabulous Moms and Dads in charge of RFTA set up a loop in the parking lot.  You had to run the loop 4 times to equal 1/4 of a mile.  My son ran the loop 36 times!  Doing the math he ran 2.25 miles today in 30 minutes! 

He was completely exhausted when it was all said and done and actually very emotional about the whole thing.  There was a moment 1/2 way through that he really wanted to quit.  He had a stitch in his side, he was having a hard time catching his breath, he was "done" he said.  I tried to talk him through getting some deeper breaths, I offered to walk with him while he caught his breath, rubbed his tummy, encouraged him and after a couple minutes the switch flipped and I could see this determined look come over him and he set off running again.  And he ran.  And he ran.  And he ran.  All the while I cheered and cheered for him!  I was so proud of how he never gave up.  It was hard.  He knew it was hard.  He wanted to quit.  He didn't.  That to me is the greatest lesson he could learn from this experience.  Life's hard, you might want to quit, but don't.  Don't quit.  Believe in yourself and finish what you start.  And finish strong he did, he ran all the way through the countdown of 5....4....3....2...1! 

After it was done I got him a drink and some orange slices and told him how proud of him I was.  He, being the critic that he is, was disappointed that he didn't run the most laps of all.  But I introduced him to the idea of a PR-personal record.  This was his PR and next year, next year he can work on beating his PR.  It's not about beating all the kids in school, it's about doing your very best every time.  It's about always giving everything you got and he definitely did that today.  He gave it all he had and he did amazing!  I couldn't be prouder to be his Mother.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Like looking into a mirror

Paulo is a lot like me, in a lot of different ways-some good, some...not so good!

Today though he surprised even me.  I went to wake my sleepy boy at 6:30 like I do every morning and I hear these words slip out of his mouth....just five more minutes.....

Now, if anyone actually reading this could ask my Dad he would tell you he heard those exact same words come from my lips every single morning!  And he would go back downstairs for five minutes then tromp back up the stairs to wake me.  He was my original snooze button.  He did this over and over and over, for years!  And now, like so many other times, I know now what it felt like to be one of my parents!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I so do not have time for this!

It's been hectic the last couple of weeks.  The first thing that lands on the chopping block when life gets hairy is my gym time.  I decided to adjust my schedule a little this week to work out in the morning because our evenings are full of birthdays, anniversaries and soccer practice.  Then I woke up today...with a familiar twinge of pain in my lower right back.  That twinge progressed while I made breakfast to the all too familiar spasm.  The 800 MG of Ibuprofen is keeping it down to a dull ache.  I'm just frustrated, I try to switch my schedule around so I can still work out and my back says nope!  No go lady!  I shouldn't be surprised though, life's been hectic, I had my husband's birthday party on Saturday and all the cleaning/prep/clean up that go along with that I'm sure added to the strain.  I think this is my body's way of telling me to slow down, but really, can't you just send a card or something?  Write me an email, send a carrier pigeon, something, anything except the back going out! 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Growing up is hard to do

Empathy: Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives.
Kindness: The quality or state of being kind.
Respect: To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem.
These are three things that I have always felt Paulo had in abundance. He feels things. He loves deeply. When another child is hurting or upset, he wants to help. He still remembers the little girl at preschool that had separation anxiety, when she’d cry; Paulo would run to her cubby to fetch her blankie. Last year, when a classmate’s pet died, Paulo went to him to tell him how sorry he was about the loss and offered him comfort. He’s a very, very sweet soul.
I worry about that sweet soul being trampled to dust in school. I want to shelter him from any and all unkindness and I hate it when I can’t.
Last week a classmate said something mean to him, told him he was stupid-actually he told another boy to tell my son he was stupid-bullying by proxy perhaps? This is a sadly familiar situation; in Kindergarten he had a similar conflict with two tablemates. I had to ask he be moved away from those boys. When Paulo shared his story last week with two of his Kindergarten buddies one of those boys told my son that “pretty much everyone” hated him in Kindergarten. Ugh! Cut to the quick! That hurts. Words hurt. You cannot erase something cruel once it’s said it’s out there, forever, and held in the heart for good.
We talked about this situation from a number of different angles. First being the boy that called him stupid, number one, are you?  No. You’re not. You’re extremely bright.  Number two, children say mean things looking for your reaction. If you allow yourself to get upset, angry, cry, etc., then that fuels the fire so to speak, so it’s best to practice your bored face and walk away. If this boy cannot be kind to you then avoid him, there’s no need to play with a child that is going to turn around and say something cruel. I told him if he felt compelled to he can tell this boy that he really wants to be friends (because despite being insulted by this child he wants to have him over for a playdate to try to make friends), but he cannot be if he’s going to be mean to him. I know the teacher was involved in the situation and Paulo tells me there have been no more conflicts-yet.

The second part, the whole everyone hated you bit, we looked at from a logic stand point. I asked him to name the children that he knew liked him and he rattled off about 10 names off the top of his head. To which I pointed out that was over 50% of his Kindergarten class, therefore this boy was obviously mistaken. I’ve tried to instill in him that not everyone will like him, and he will not like everyone in his class, but I expect there to be common courtesy and respect. We also talked about how to be a good friend, showing respect, courtesy, caring, listening, etc. The thing is, he knows how to be a good friend, but sometimes I feel like his classmates need a few lessons.
Yesterday he had a rough day. He was very emotional at bedtime and cried in my arms worrying that he’s not doing well, that he is not fitting in, and he’s lonely in school because the boys that he really bonded with last year are not in his class this year. I wish I knew what to say to make it all better. And sometimes I wish I could just keep him home, shelter him from all cruelty, and home school him! I would love a Mommy Magic Wand to wave and take away all his fears and insecurities. It would be great if that same wand could instill some empathy and kindness into the hearts of his classmates. I worry about my boy’s sweet soul, I do not want him to lose his empathy-there’s a shocking lack of it in our society today, but at the same time I want him to be able to protect his heart, to thicken his skin a bit so to speak, so that the cruel words that slip from others mouths so easily do not become part of his identity. It’s a delicate balance, keeping the heart open to others yet not an easy target. This growing up stuff….it’s tough.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Challenge, phase two

I reintroduced wheat to my son on Saturday.  It did not go well.  I made him cream of wheat cereal, which he gobbled up, loved the stuff.  About 15 minutes later he jumped down from the laptop and ran for the bathroom.  Shortly after that the coughing began.  A wet phlegmy cough.  And after that the nose plugged up.  A few hours later, his tummy hurt.  I think it's safe to say we will be continuing our no wheat policy for Mr. P.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Elimination diet updates

With the hustle and bustle of school starting I didn't post about the challenge phase of Paulo's elimination diet.

We've started challenging the foods that Paulo was restricted from last Friday.  He got to pick the order in which they were reintroduced. He chose eggs first.  So Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday he had eggs twice a day.  Once at breakfast and again at lunch in the form of a hard boiled egg.  At first he was quite excited but by Tuesday after breakfast he requested no egg in his lunch.  Which in itself is telling.

Some things I noticed, the shiners got dark again, he had some difficulty falling asleep, but with the change of school and seasons I am not putting too much weight on that.  The thing that really stunk (pun intended) were some of the gastrointestinal side effects.  That boy was stinky by Tuesday.  I took him back off eggs Wednesday and then let him have one this morning to see if anything changes.  The other thing that I noticed was Tuesday night.  We were reading story and he kept squirming around and scratching, I took back the covers and realized that an eczema patch had flared up.  He seemed to have had some level of reaction to eggs, but the thing is he would never eat two a day normally.  So, like Kelly mentioned, we may be able to have eggs as long as we keep it under his sensitivity threshold. 

Saturday we start with wheat.  I'll keep ya posted!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The first day, in pictures

Big stretch!  It's hard work to eat a plateful of pancakes!
Last minute checks to be sure he has everything he needs.

Nervous?  Nah Mom, I got this, school is no problem!

Getting his first assignment from his teacher, Mike.

Our first day of school self portrait.

Already hard at work, hardly even knows I'm gone!

Why is there ink on my face?  I don't know...

The big, soulful, eyes of my 1st grade boy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Self discipline

In order for our weekly schedule to work I have to be disciplined.  It sucks.  I want to just lounge and chill out.  I want to stay up until 11 watching all those new shows that look interesting.  I want to have a glass, or two, of wine.  I can't do any of that.  Because I know if I do then the morning will derail.

I sincerely hope I can continue to look at that big picture and not indulge my inner child.  I need to remember how peaceful I feel when I walk into my kitchen at 6 am and see the counters clear of dishes that would normally sit and air dry at night.  I need to remember how rested I feel at 5:45 am when my alarm goes off when I've been a good girl and hit the sack, lights out and off to sleepy land by 10:30 (frankly the 10:00 that I did last night worked even better!)  I need to remember how clear headed I feel when I abstain from alcohol.  I keep reminding myself that Friday is coming, I can have a glass on Friday if I want, but during the week?  Nope.  It really affects the quality of my sleep and my mood and I cannot sacrifice either of those. 

I just need to take it one day at a time and remember what is most important, a smooth and peaceful morning for my boys before school.  I can remember plenty of mornings when I ran around like a crazed harpie.  It rarely was their fault I was angry, I was angry because I was tired.  Because I hadn't slept well or long enough, because things hadn't gotten done the night before.  I was angry at myself.  I do not want to be angry at myself anymore.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back in the saddle again....

The start of Paulo's school year was delayed by two weeks due to a snafu in our new building-namely the renovation was not done!  The administration has been scrambling for the past month, once it became clear to the new building owner that he would not be prepared for us, to find a new facility.  We finally found one last week that would house all of our K-8 classes and was "E occupancy" which basically translates to the school won't collapse and crush our babies in the event of an earthquake.  The extended summer vacation has been both a blessing and a curse, it was hard for me to get back into the Fall swing of things when only one of my kids was going to school.  I think it was hard on Paulo as well, he enjoys school and missed his friends.

Finally, today was my baby's first day of 1st grade!  Hallelujah!!  I laughed as we walked in at the grins on all the faces of the parents.  This two week delay has been really tough on some families, fortunately I was able to take some time off and I have my mother in law as my back up, so it wasn't a strain on me.  But for those traditional two income families, it's been tough.  We were a giddy group of Moms and Dads today!  The kids seemed happy (and nervous) but us parents?  We were ecstatic! 

I deposited Paulo to his classroom, a 1st/2nd grade blend taught by his favorite teacher, Mr. Mike, this morning.  He quickly found his cubby to stuff his backpack into and got started on his first assignment, to write and/or draw about something you did during the summer.  After a couple last pictures and a begrudgingly small kiss good bye I left the room...and stole a couple more pictures after that.  I stood there for a moment though marveling at how he jumps right into new experiences, I hope he never loses that enviable personality trait. 

Now I'm just sitting here.....waiting....wishing that time would speed up so I can pick him up at 2:45 and hear all about his first day of first grade!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I envy Paulo's ability to enter a group of people and instantly make friends.  I saw it last week during his first soccer practice.  A lot of the kids, and Moms, knew each other.  But did that intimidate my son?  Not in the least.  He went right in and acted as if he'd known them for years.  As we were leaving the park he starts yelling "BYE IAN!  My name is PAULO!"  I had to shush him a little since the park is right next to apartments and I felt bad about my kid yelling a top of his lungs to his team mate.  But I loved how happy he was to make a new friend and how he wanted to be sure that friend knew his name.

Again yesterday I saw it.  Paulo and I were shuttle drivers for Dimitri and three of his soccer team mates to a game across town.  The game was at an elementary school-score for a playground!  There was a little girl there who had a brother on the opposite team.  Those two played the entire 90 minute game together.  Just laughing, talking, chasing, playing as if they had known each other their whole lives. 

He has the gift of easy friendships.  I think that's true for a lot of children though.  As we age we start to get self conscious about striking up conversations, at least I do.  I spent last week's soccer practice in silence.  There were two clumps of Moms chatting but I didn't know them and didn't feel as confident in my abilities to make new friends as my son.  So I stayed quiet and watched practice.  I'm sure as the season goes on I will start to chat but I don't see any deep meaningful friendships coming out of the group.

This is why I'm grateful for the friendships I do have though.  We had the pleasure of lunching with two dear, dear friends that we have not seen in a long time last Sunday.  It was as if no time had passed.  There was not a moment of awkwardness, the conversation flowed, the hugs were tight, the laughter in abundant supply.  I think as we age we get fewer, but higher quality, friendships.  And they are really so important.  They enrich our lives in ways work and family simply cannot.  We need to nurture them though and, I suppose, we need to remain open to new people coming into our lives even people we meet watching soccer practice of a group of rowdy 1st grade boys.

Friday, September 10, 2010

21 day challenge

There is a blog I frequent for raw food ideas.  The author, Susan, is starting a 21 day challenge.  The idea being that you get to step into October recharged and ready for the coming Winter months. 

I'm joining her challenge.  Despite the name of the site, Rawmazing she does not stipulate that you need to go 100% raw, I personally am going for 100% raw breakfast, lunch and snacks with light dinners.  The idea is that you spend a few minutes thinking about what changes you'd like to make, what habits you need to engrain, where will you get the most return for your time investment and commit to practicing those habits daily during the challenge.

If you want to join the fun click and read about it, come on, what do you have to lose?  Nothing.  What do you have to gain?  A whole new level of peace.

Monday, September 6, 2010

From the mouths of babes

Paulo has a friend over right now.  I told them they could play 30 minutes of Wii, after that they needed to find something else to do.  Near the end of the 30 minutes they were talking about who M had "unlocked" on his Wii and Paulo said he wanted to go see all the people that M had unlocked.  Could they play at his house now?

Paulo's friend answered, in the honesty only children have, that they couldn't play at his house because his Mom and Dad were divorcing and they were screaming at each other a lot....broke my heart.  This led to a brief discussion between the two about what that meant, what kinds of things were they screaming, that sort of thing, while I stood, motionless in the kitchen.

I grew up in a house of conflict, I remember some real doozies of arguments.  One in particular scarred me, I was laying on the couch trying to watch Saturday morning cartoons while my parents stood maybe 10 feet away fighting, one threatening to leave, the other goading her with offers to help her pack.  I feel bad for those kids, I know how hard that is to grow up not sure if your parents are going to stay together-or if they should. 

For now though I suppose all I can do if offer my home to my son's good friend so he can come here, play and just be a kid. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

As if grocery shopping weren't bad enough!

I did my bi-monthly pilgrimage today to the grocery store.  I try to limit myself to two big trips a month, sometimes I need to run in on the off weeks for more veggies and fruits.

I was in the home stretch, Winco, my local discount grocery store.  I loaded up my reusable bags first, but didn't have enough of them since this was my last stop of three stores.  To finish bagging my groceries, yes at Winco you have to do that yourself, I grabbed a paper bag.  I should have thought through what I put in which bag.  I grabbed my bag and turned to put in my cart and heard RIP!  The bag tore, my olives smashed to the ground and shattered, my cantaloupe followed-thankfully no shattering there and I'm left holding a torn bag in my hand, huge mess at my feet, mortified.  Absolutely mortified.

A very nice man starts yelling behind me asking if I need help.  Uh no, just a nice big hole to jump in would be lovely.  An equally nice man, that worked there, swooped down on me with a broom, reassuring me that he'd seen worse, and sending another guy off to get replacements for my olives that shattered and my salsa bottle that was damaged in the process.  I was surprised though that they didn't charge me for the replacements, I expected to pay again since it was no one's fault but my own that I was covered in olive juice. 

Seriously though, as if grocery shopping was not bad enough!  The only saving grace, I'm done with Winco for at least two weeks.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The death of civility

I've made the mistake of clicking on, and reading, some of the responses to certain political articles on the internet.  Oh...my....goodness!  Have we really sunk to such a depth?  Where is the sense of basic decency and respect?  Is it our new normal?  Is it real?  Or is it just the anonymity of the internet that allows people to sink to their deep, dark depths, and spew hate?  Do the proverbial gloves come off when there is not consequence for what we say because no one really knows who we are on the internet, and what does that do to us in the long run?

I did not vote for Mr. Bush, but I never, in my wildest dreams, would have posted the hate filled things I've read about our current, sitting, President.  I can disagree with your political views, your moral, your religious, etc., without wishing your death or in any way other pain or suffering.  I see so much hate being poured onto a man, a simple man, who dared to run and win the office of President in a time of severe crisis.  Honestly I am not at all sure our economy would be any better off if McCain had won.  We, the American People, are responsible in large part for our current economic crisis.  Yes the banks have their own responsibility but they did not force us to apply for home equity lines to finance vacations, upgrades or shopping habits.  They did not force us to apply for loans on homes we really couldn't afford.  They did not force us to spend MORE than we made.   We did that.  There is personal responsibility in our current, painful, situation.  There is also personal responsibility in our solution to our current, painful, situation.  It will take time however, something people are not willing to give.  And it will take setting aside the anger and fear.

One of the articles that floored me though was one about the capture of a high up dude from a Mexican drug cartel who, ironically, was a US born citizen.  I was stunned by how many anonymous people, men and women I'm sure, campaigned for the death penalty for dealers and users.  Kill em! Hang em! Cut off their balls!  Make an example out of them!  And then there were the blame Obama posts.  Really?  Blaming the President for Mexico's drug cartel?  There was another article about Meghan McCain's book that was apparently critical of the darling of the conservative Sarah Palin.  Again, the anonymous posters, tore that girl to shreds, she's an attention seeking idiot, she's useless, etc.  Plus, they tore her father, an American HERO, to shreds.  Called him an old geezer that should be in a retirement home.  The man was a POW, and survived.  He deserves respect, I'm a card carrying Democrat and I know that.  I don't agree with all his views, but he deserves my respect.  He's a human being. 

A human being.  What does that mean to you?  How do we show our humanity?  I believe we show it through kindness.  Through patience.  Through civility.  What if civility is dead?  What does that mean for humanity?  The Golden Rule, treat others as you would have them treat you.  Where does that factor in on these anonymous, hateful, internet posts?  Where is civility?  Where is respect?  Where is decency? 

I'm not a religious woman, in the traditional sense, but I am what I consider to be Spiritual.  I believe there is a higher power that watches over us, that sees how we deal with conflict, how we deal with people who differ from us, are we able to treat them as equal human beings or do we belittle, blame, or worse yet, kill them?  That Spirit, however you call it, is watching.  That Spirit wants us to treat each other with kindness.  With respect.  With civility.  That Spirit would not approve of anonymous internet posters wishing death upon the President, Republicans, Democrats or even drug dealers.  That Spirit wants us to learn.  That Spirit wants us to become better.  More patient.  More loving.  Kinder.  Gentler.  More accepting.  I believe that Spirit wants our soul to evolve as we go through life and subsequent reincarnations.  To open our hearts and minds.  To reach out to one another.  To help, to love, to be present in each others lives.  I believe we are here on Earth to learn how to love each other.  I do not see a lot of love right now, and that, frankly, scares me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Elimination diet update

Paulo saw Dr. Kelly today.  We will keep on this elimination diet for 2.5 more weeks and then start the challenge phase. 

She's very happy with his results so far though.  His voice is less nasally.  His nose is clear.  His tummy problems are less frequent.  Basically he's doing great, and while he may miss the occasional bowl of mac and cheese he knows he feels better following this diet. 

We will see what the challenge phase brings us.  We've decided to start with eggs.  He'll eat two servings of eggs a day, everything else stays the same so no dairy and no wheat, and we will see if anything changes.  We'll be watching for behavioral changes, sleep changes, mucus production, headaches, aches and pains, that sort of thing.  If eggs go well then the next thing we'll challenge is wheat.  He'll get two servings of wheat a day, no eggs and no dairy, and we'll watch for any changes.  The last thing will be dairy.  After that we'll see what we can, or can't add back into his meals.  I like Kelly's description of trying to identify his "threshold'.  At what point does he cross the threshold and start to have side effects, for instance can he eat eggs and wheat a couple times a week but maybe not at the same meal?  Will we be able to go out to breakfast but I will have to be prepared for the likelihood that he'll wake in the night because he's having a hard time breathing from all the mucus?  Where is his critical mass so to speak?  I know he and I are both happier with him sleeping all night and I realized that he has not gotten sick since June.  I know it's summer...and I use that term very loosely here in the Northwest, but he usually has at least one bad summer cold.  But not this year.  I would really, really love to get through the winter without calling him in sick time after time after time.  That's my dream.  That with these diet changes he won't get sick and miss school and he will not need more antibiotics.  That's the dream, the golden ticket to happiness. 

We shall see what the challenge phase brings us.....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Self care

I went to the gym every single day this week.  Either before or after work, mostly before.  I really prefer before, I love going to work knowing I'm done, once work is over I can go straight home, Paulo can play with his buddies, I can start dinner, no rushing.  Some weeks do not work out so well for me and my gym time.  This week was marvelous though.  The stars and moon aligned just right so I could fit in exercise every single day.  I'm sore, but my mind is happy. 

My other weapon this week was a nightly cup of....tea.  Sleepy time tea.  My mother in law bought me the cutest little teapot for my birthday.  It comes with its own cup, it makes drinking tea a fancy affair-but not too fancy. 

Extra sleep has helped me too.  And, since I had my braces adjusted on Wednesday and can't eat much, I've been drinking a lot of green smoothies.  I notice a substantial boost to my mood and sense of peace when I go raw 80% of the time.  I'm not 100% raw, I'm still eating cooked foods at dinner, and today I will probably have miso soup at lunch, but breakfast and lunch have been predominantly raw all week and I know my brain and body benefited from it.

This has been a good week for self care.  It has taken substantial effort but it was well worth it.  Now, if only the stars and moon continue to align right next week and the next week and the week after that!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


We are thinking of turning our day trip to the beach into an overnight at the beach.  However, with Paulo on his elimination diet this proves somewhat tricky. 

I've found two restaurants that are listed as "gluten free friendly" one of them even has gluten free pizza, it remains to be seen if that is also egg free and dairy free.  I've emailed the company to ask. 

My alternative though is to pack food, enough for dinner, breakfast, lunch and another dinner.  Bake a loaf of bread, slice it, bring it, bring nut butters, ham, GF mustard, that sort of thing, bring cut fruits and veggies GF snacks for lunch or dinner.  Bring stuffed corn muffins or make some pancakes, something that could be reheated in our room for breakfast.  We, thankfully, have not had to travel during our elimination period, I didn't give the demands of traveling on a restricted diet a second thought, until today.  Now, it's getting a second, third and fourth thought! 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dear Baskin and Robbins

I am not a satisfied customer.  Given the rising occurrence of dairy allergies and lactose intolerance I find it difficult to understand why your franchises would not stock more allergen friendly options.  I phoned two local stores and in one there were a whopping two choices, the daiquiri ice and the tropical ice, the second only had the daiquiri ice.  My dairy free 6 year old has no frame of reference as to what a daiquiri tastes like and is understandably not interested.  He's a child.  He'd like something in a strawberry or perhaps a dairy free chocolate variety.  He's 6 after all and despite not being able to consume dairy he's a totally normal 6 year old boy.  He loves frozen treats.  I thought for sure your franchises would stock some sort of soy ice cream or coconut ice cream options, alas I was mistaken.  Apparently the growing portion of the allergic population is not welcome at Baskin and Robbins.  Duly noted.

An irritated Mother.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Elimination diet update

We are half way through the elimination period.  Paulo has adjusted well to the restrictions.  He's very good at reminding others too of his special diet.

I had a very interesting evening with him on Friday.  We needed to do the grocery shopping so I took him to one of the very few restaurants that I considered safe, Pho.  Dairy?  None.  Eggs?  Nope.  Wheat?  Nah, we get the rice noodle soup....safe right?  Perhaps not.  We split our usual, chicken noodle, and off we went to New Seasons.  Within minutes of entering the grocery store my son was bouncing off the walls.  He literally could not stand still to save his life.  Now, if you know Paulo, you know he's pretty rambunctious.  But, this was different somehow.  I reminded him that we were in a grocery store and he really needed to settle down, to control his body.  He agreed and then, seconds later was jumping up and down again.  It was as if he could not control himself.

I looked back through his food diary and at first glance saw nothing amiss.  Then it hit me.  Pho, Vietnamese soup, did they use MSG?  Was his behavior related to consuming MSG?  I phoned today to be sure, after a few seconds of a language barrier the man said yes, they use MSG.  I also looked back through his food journal.  I would say easily 80% of the nights he's struggled with falling asleep, or staying asleep, he's been at Pho for lunch or dinner.  We thought it was our safe spot for dining out during this elimination period, looks like we thought wrong.

We meet with our naturapath next week to go over our progress so far and discuss reintroducing the three food groups.  I'm anxious to see what, if any, reaction he has to each item as we allow him to eat them again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lifting the fog

24 hours can make a difference.  I noticed on my drive home last night that my face was...lighter.  It's difficult to explain but when I'm in meltdown mode my face feels flat, emotionless, blank, heavy.  My smile does not reach my eyes.  When it lifts those symptoms lift too.  It's lifting. 

We actually had a nice evening last night.  I made a quick and easy fish taco dinner.  Quick clean up.  Then took Paulo up to the school to practice his moves.

He starts up with soccer for real soon.  So far he's only had his Jamboree.  Which was really fun for him but we could see he needs to work on his stamina.  He's a go all out kind of kid so he gets winded really easily. 

So last night Rene took him and put him through a few drills.  It was cute.  Paulo was a sweaty, tired mess by the end of it.  They practiced trapping and passing.  The practiced maneuvering around the cones.  Then they practiced getting past the defender to try to shoot on the goal.  It was the first time Rene has really taken him out to the field and tried to teach him.  They've kicked the ball around plenty but no instruction.  Paulo had fun, especially when he tried being the defender and Rene had to try to get around him to score!  He seemed to treat this as if Rene needed to practice his skills too, so really he was doing Dad a favor by going out to the field with him!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Ever have one of those days where life just seems, well, impossible?  When something so small, so insignificant, just sends you right over the cliff?  Where the idea that we can have it all, do it all, and be whatever we want to be just feels so ridiculous? 

Yeah, me too, yesterday.  It sucked.  I'm kind of, sort of, climbing back up from the abyss thanks to extra snuggle time and an extra vigorous work out this morning.  But it's still sucking, just less than yesterday.  I'm still struggling with how to get everything done that I feel needs to be done and still carve out a little time everyday for me.  To do that today I got up at 5:45 AM, ouch. 

You know what really stung?  We were watching Wipe Out last night, as we always do on Tuesday night, and a commercial came on for an antidepressant.  My six year old asked me if I needed that.  Big ouch.  Yesterday perhaps I did, today I don't.  That's why I quit taking them, the dark days are few and far between, so why did I want to take something every single day if I didn't need the help every single day?  I didn't.  So I quit, cold turkey-yeah that was rough-and tried upping my work out intensity.  Most of the time that, and my supplements that I take from my naturapath, are enough.  But yesterday? Yesterday sucked.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The official start of Fall

SOCCER!!  We're a soccer family, by "we" I mean my husband.  He's the soccer player.  Me?  I'm along for the ride and to make sure my players have enough water.

Today was the start of Fall 2010 soccer for Paulo.

It got off to a great start, he scored a goal.  And ran back to the other side of the field to his team mates screaming VICTORY!!!  As you can see, he's a very shy and reserved child....snort.

I really love this picture!  I have a very similar shot of his father from his high school glory days hanging in Dimitri's room.  It was snapped mid stride of a track meet and you can see the focus and determination on his face, that and his really long hair flying behind him.  I see that focus and determination here, in our son.  I think that will take him far in life.

He was really hot and really tired after the jamboree.  We've had a lousy summer, weather wise, it's been downright cold!  My poor tomato plant may never give me ripe, red, tomatoes.  Today was over 100, fortunately the jamboree started at 9 am so it wasn't too bad but still, it was over 80, and he was running almost nonstop for over an hour.  You know what that means?  Oh yeah, he'll be sleeping good tonight!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The bird

No, not the ones flying high in the sky....THE bird.  Paulo has always been a very animated talker, he uses his hands to get his point across, he points...a lot.  He often chose to point with that finger.  You know the one, not the pointer, but its neighbor.  I opted to stay silent.  After all, to him it's just a finger.

Yesterday we're leaving the gym and he's venting about a kid that called him stupid head and we're talking about what he can do differently if it happens again, how he can defend himself, etc., etc.  We're in the car and my child says "you know what else is mean?" I glance back to his seat and see my 6 year old son flipping the bird!  I actually gasped.  "Who showed you that?!" I asked.  "My brother."  Eyes of death fixate on the teenager beside me...."NO! I didn't show him, I just told him to stop pointing with that finger because it means something bad".  I told him that until he said that it was just a finger.  Until you assigned a meaning to the gesture it was just a finger, nothing more.....oh, he says.  That sound I heard?  One more crack in my baby boy's innocence.....sigh.....

Saturday, August 7, 2010


That's how I feel right now.  Violated.

That's the window of my front porch.  Well, not my front porch today, but the front porch I grew up in.  The window I could see out when I had to wash dishes.

That used to be the back door I ran in and out of to the back yard.  It was the laundry room and the pantry was just off to the left when you walked in the door. 

That's the window I watched the big lightening storm out of when I was a little kid.  I sat there in the dining room with my Mom, just the two of us.  I saw a flash of lightening so big, so bright, so close and so perfectly formed it scared the socks off me! 

And those are the doors we used to leave open in the summer to get the breeze in.  When we were really little that was the bedroom of my older brothers.  When I was a teenager it was my Dad's "den".  I can still see him sitting at his desk, balancing his check book, grumbling to himself.  I can still see 11 year old me sitting at the ancient computer playing the old Wagon Train, Westward expansion, game.  It was one of the only computer games I had.  This was pre Nintendo days. 

I took Paulo berry picking today out on Sauvie's Island.  To get there we have to pass down Highway 30, which is where my old childhood home sits.  I saw my Dad's white truck in the driveway on our way out to the farm.  I figured if he were still there when we came back we'd stop, I'd show Paulo the house I grew up in-it's light years away from how he's growing up, almost like another planet, and he's old enough to start to understand where I came from.  He was still there an hour or so later when we passed back by so we stopped.  And I found my Dad standing in the driveway and our house, vandalized.  The house has been empty for years.  I started pushing my Dad to demo it a few months ago, for a variety of reasons, but one of those is that this empty house is a liability.  I was more concerned about a homeless person getting in and starting a fire to keep warm, that fire then getting out of control, destroying the business next door, Forest Park, etc.  But I also knew that his house was a huge temptation to vandals.  It's like the geek in 5th grade with a kick me sign taped to his back.  Unfortunately we have a lot of red tape to cut through because the house is still titled to his late 1st wife, we hired an attorney and the slow process began.  It's has not gotten very far.  And sometime after Wednesday and before today, someone decided to kick my house.

I just feel, violated.  This was my home.  I came home from the hospital to this house when I was born.  I learned to walk in this house.  I learned to ride a bike just down the street in the big parking lot of a warehouse.  I remember my bike, it was a Christmas present, it had a banana seat.  I celebrated Christmas there more years than not until I was an adult, and even then, when I was in college I came home there for holidays.  My Mom baked cookies and bread in that kitchen.  She read to me in that house.  My Father and I played uno and built jig saw puzzles in that dining room.  And someone just peed all over my family home.  Yes it's uninhabitable now, but it was our home at one time.  Two people raised a family there.  It didn't belong to them, they did not have the right to kick my house.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The arts

Aaron Meyer, a local rock violinist, played a free concert/lecture at the Tigard Library last night.  I saw him at our grade school's fundraising auction last Fall.  He is amazing.  http://www.aaronmeyer.com/ Check him out, listen to his music, it is uplifting, inspiring, beautiful, I really cannot say enough about it.  His music is just so moving.

I decided that I was going to take my six year old to the concert.  I realize that I've over looked a very important part of his development-the Arts.  They matter to me, yet I have not exposed my son to enough of it, I need to change that.  Paulo did-OK.  He was a little restless about 1/2 way though, mind you the concert was only one hour!  Really though he did as well as I expected him to do for his first classical concert.  But the look on his face when Aaron picked up his violin and played those first beautiful notes....that was a look I will never forget.  He was shocked.  About 3/4 of the way through he brought out his electric violin and showed how he could change the sound of the music, now Paulo was paying close attention!  After he was done we, naturally, bought a CD and Paulo said he wanted Aaron to teach him to play the violin, I would love for my son to learn a musical instrument, I never did.  As we were leaving the library I asked him if he'd noticed Aaron's face when he played his music.  My six year old replied, yes, he looked peaceful.  That was the exact word I was thinking when I watched this man play.  He looked at peace.  I envy that-peace

I thanked Paulo last night for going to the concert with me.  He's already asking if we can go to Aaron Meyer's Holiday Concert.  I really want to take him.  We will have to start planning for that, and much, much more.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


It's hard.  It's really hard.  Keeping the lines of communication open in a relationship is scary.  You're making yourself vulnerable to another human being when you say "hey, this is what I need from you."  You're risking the possibility that the answer will be "sorry, I can't, or won't, do that".  It's scary. 

We've been married for over 8 years, together for 10.  There have been bumps and bruises along the way, as all long term relationships experience.  I can't help feeling that it should be easier by now to start those difficult conversations, those vulnerable conversations, yet it's not.  My self preservation kicks in just as strong.  I grew up in a chaotic environment.  Simple conflicts escalated into WWIII with yelling, screaming, threats to pack up and leave....offers to help the other pack...it was not a healthy marriage.  There is a still a part of me that expects my husband to respond to conflicts the way my parents did.  Now, his own patterns are not exactly helpful, he's a retreat and hide kind of guy.  A, if I don't say anything then it'll go away kind of guy.  It's been...challenging....lately. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Oregon Zoo

Yesterday I had the urge to get out of the house, to do something outside our ordinary weekend routine-which frankly does not include much FUN!  I did some speed cleaning in the morning then surprised Paulo with my idea, the zoo.  We have a great zoo in Portland.  I haven't been in years.  He goes a couple times a year with his Grandma, but had not been this summer-despite his begging.  I packed up our lunches, two reasons really, one I didn't want to spend money on zoo food and two I didn't think we'd be able to get what he needed for his diet, and off we went. 

Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea, the parking lot was full, so we had to use the off site parking and the shuttle bus system.  They use big yellow school buses to take people back and forth.  I'm not a fan.  It took a long time.  Probably four bus loads before we got on and took the less than 5 minute ride to the zoo.  Paulo was a peach though, told me it was ok, he would wait and be patient because that's just part of life....yes, my 6 year old was lecturing me about patience. 

We finally got there and went in, at this point, we have less than 3 hours before we need to be leaving, we had dinner plans with friends.  So I asked him which animals does he really, really want to see?  Basically everything he named resided in the African area of the zoo so we went there.  It was an overcast morning, I was actually really cold, Paulo was oblivious to the lack of sun. 

We had a great time.  We spent a lot of time in the monkey area, then of course we had to pretend we were monkeys.  We saw elephants, then he was the baby elephant, giraffes and the big cats.  He even got to see a screech owl up close-no touching though!  And he got to pet baby goats.  He spent a lot of time in with the baby goats.  I took tons of pictures. 

 I think Paulo would have been perfectly happy to stay in the play areas all day.  He loved climbing on the stone animals. 

I was amazed at how he would wait patiently, there was always a crowd of children, but he would remember to wait. To not cut in line in his excitement, to take turns and be kind. He was also pretty good about other, smaller, children forgetting those simple rules.

It's moments like that when you realize, your baby is growing up. 

He's maturing before your very eyes.  It's an amazing job we have.  There's nothing else like it on Earth.  It has really long hours and we might feel like we're understaffed and under appreciated, but it's the very best job ever. 

I'm glad we decided to break out of our usual routine.  I'm also glad the sun finally came out and warmed me up! 

The day also reminded me that I need to find more fun in my weekends!  There are enough hours in the day.  Sometimes I get stuck thinking the opposite, that there isn't time for fun.  There is, I need to make sure we use it!  Spontaneous trips to the zoo are a good thing.  I need more spontaneity in my life!   My original idea for yesterday was a trip downtown to the Salmon Street Springs so he could play in the fountain but it was COLD when we woke up.  I think Summer might be passing us by already.  I hope not because I'd really love to take him down to play in the fountain.  Maybe next Saturday....

I was amazed at how he would wait patiently, there was always a crowd of children, but he would remember to wait. To not cut in line in his excitment, to take turns and be kind. He was also pretty good about other, smaller, children forgetting those simple rules.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Elimination diet update

We've been on the elimination diet for almost one full week.  I've noticed a few things that give me hope.
  • with one exception Paulo has slept through the night every single night since Sunday-this is a huge accomplishment for my notoriously terrible sleeper.
  • his allergic shiners seem to be getting lighter.
  • he's eating his meals better, I'm not a member of the clean plate club but at least eat enough to fill your tummy!
  • and a big one, I noticed this morning as I peeked in at him, he's sleeping with his mouth closed.
Paulo was always a mouth breather which led to some nasty sore throats.  He was sleeping so peacefully this morning-I had to check to make sure he was breathing!  His little mouth was closed.  He also used to sleep in an arched position, like a backwards C.  I haven't found him arched back all week.  It gives me encouragement that we're on the right track.  It's a lot of work but I think we're on the right track.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The house

I want to be "the house".

The house where my sons, and their friends, feel welcome, safe, loved.  The house where they hang out.  Even at 6 Paulo has his "posse".  He has the boy next door (literally!). He has the boy across the street and he has two girlies next store.  Those are his go to peeps.  I love it!  I encourage it.  I am so happy he has friends.  I am not sure what I'd do if he were as lonely as I was as a child.  I'm so grateful he doesn't have to be. 

Right now I'm listening to Paulo, one of the girls and the boy across the street play Mario on the WII.  I'm so, so happy he has friends.  I'm not enough for him, I'm his mother, I'm not his buddy.  There's such a difference! 

Dimitri has his BFF just up the street and around the corner.  Those two, peas in a pod.  I'm always happy to have him come over, spend the night, join in family/work parties, he's a great kid-and Paulo adores him. 

It's just one more reason I'm grateful for the home we chose.  It's not perfect, the school morning commute kills me, but my boys have great friends!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A safe dessert

Paulo loves dessert.  Ever since he could talk I'd hear it after dinner..."what's for dessert?"  Often our desserts would include either a wheat product-graham crackers-a diary product-yogurt or ice cream-or some other combination of now banned foods.

Last night though we did up dessert right!  A bowl of soy ice cream, fresh raspberries, fresh blueberries and sliced strawberries, drizzled with a little raw honey just for an extra special dose of goodness. 

Frankly I prefer the coconut milk ice cream which we'll go back to when this soy ice cream is done.  But Paulo didn't seem to care one way or another.  He just happily ate his dessert between laughing at all the silly people hurting themselves on the Big Balls of Wipe Out.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Goodbye gluten

Took my baby out to breakfast Friday so he could enjoy one last good old fashioned American breakfast.  The boy loves his pancakes and eggs!  He did it up.  Started with a mug of cocoa with whipped cream.  Finished with a plate of pancakes, scrambled eggs, one bacon and one sausage.  Licked the plate clean. 

Last night though began our allergen free elimination diet.  It'll be an adjustment for him, but I hope he'll feel a difference in his allergy symptoms.  That will make it much easier to accept the lifestyle change I'm asking of him. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Holy sticker shock!!

We go, gung ho, on the elimination diet starting Monday.  In anticipation of that I had to go grocery shopping.  On top of my normal groceries I needed to explore the wonders of gluten/dairy/egg free products, i.e. breads, pastas, tortillas, etc.  My grocery bill was bit....higher than normal for one week.  True some of the things I bought today will last more than one week.  I did invest in quinoa flour so I could learn to make a new kind of pancake for my pancake loving son, that flour will last more than one week.  It was expensive though, I knew it would be, I tried to prepare myself-I failed.  It's worth it though, it's worth it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The mind of a sleeping child

Paulo has had very vivid dreams himself the past two nights.  In the wee hours of Thursday morning I was woken by a 60 pound weight laying across my chest.  I stumbled him back to his room and crawled in bed with him.  He seemed upset, he needed some extra snuggles.  Thursday morning as he brushed his teeth his dream came flooding back to him.  He had woken from a bad dream that morning, a dream of our friend, Marjie, having an accident and needing a wheel chair.  Then she had to put something on one of her legs and ended up getting electrocuted.  Uh yeah, that is a bad dream, honey.  I reassured him that Marjie was fine, it was just a dream. 

Last night he blissfully slept through the night.  I however was the one awake early from my own bad dreams.  I woke him up at 8:30 this morning so we could go out for one last good old fashioned American breakfast and asked him if he heard any music today.  No, he says, no music but he needed a lot of helpers.  He tells me that someone he knew lost all the "tubes" for their blood and he needed helpers to put them back in, and that there was a lot of blood. 

Makes me wonder where his mind will take him tonight.

Sickening smack

It was the loudest smack I've heard.  It was the sound of my child's head hitting the ground.  It was, thankfully, a dream.  But a dream vivid enough to wake me from a dead sleep at 5:30 this morning.

In it, Paulo had won the battle, I had bought him heelies.  We were in a store, Costco perhaps, and he was wheeling his way behind me.  Ironically a grown woman in front of me was also wheeling herself around the store.  (Side note, I really hate those shoes!)  I turned to look at him just in time to watch him topple backwards.  His head hit the ground with a very loud, sickening, smack.  I gasped, both in my dream and as I woke up.  It was terrible.

I've had some very vivid dreams this week.  Some of them quite disturbing.  This one was awful.  I'd like to dream about kittens and flowers tonight.....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs

I noticed a while ago the number 1 popping up, actually it's the number 11.  As in 11:11, I see that combo on my clock a lot.  I also notice 1:11 a lot.   A lot more than I think I should.  More than seems merely coincidental.  

I've been pondering my place in the Universe quite a bit lately.  I feel like there's something more.  Something bubbling just below the surface you know?  Paulo is in a track and field camp this week that is put on by a rather sizable SW Portland Church.  At the end of every evening they gather the kids and talk about life lessons such as responsibility, respect, fairness-you know good stuff to pour into their little spongy minds!   His time on the field has given me a lot of time to read, I finished The Spirit Whisperer by John Holland, and started Same Soul Many Bodies by Dr. Brian Weiss.  It's also give me more time to ponder. 

A few nights ago they talked about the responsibility for your talents.  Essentially not wasting your God given abilities.  It was a nice talk, age appropriate, but it left me wondering, pondering my place, trying to decipher what I'm supposed to do in this lifetime. You see, I believe in reincarnation.  I believe that in every lifetime we have certain tasks to complete, lessons to learn, things that we must do.  And if we fail to complete that Divine To Do list then we come back and try again....and again....and again....until we get it right.  Each time on Earth allows us to fine tune the soul a little more.  We learn as we go and we start to hum at a higher frequency.  Ultimately when all our Earthly lessons are learned then....well, I don't know, I'm not there yet.

I drove home that evening, pondering.  That night I glanced at my clock.  Yes, 11:11.  It happened again the next day.  And today, not the clock this time but the expiration date of a customer's credit card, this time it was 111.  It's been happening for weeks.

I googled numerology. I like that sort of stuff. There's a site I stumbled across called Spirit Link and the subject of the repeating number patterns was addressed. In it the author refers to these numbers as a message from our higher selves, the part of us that sees beyond the horizon-poetic no? I like that. It speaks to me.  So what is the significance of the numbers I am seeing repeated?

1-Creativity, independence, originality, ego, self
11-Intuition, idealism, invention, insensitivity, fanaticism

It's a bit like a tarot reading I suppose, highly subjective.  To me though what I see is a reassurance I'm on the right path.  Encouragement to keep working on my spiritual and physical self.  To trust my intuition.  Again, it's like a tarot reading, highly subjective. 

Another site I read referred to people born under the number 1.  Those include people born from the 21st of March through the 28th of April.  April 28 is Paulo's birthday. 

I suppose some could say it's merely coincidental that the numbers 1 and 11 keep popping up, but I don't think so.  I think there's more to life than meets the eye.  I think there are signs everywhere, if only we open our eyes and see them.  There are messages, but we have to be willing to hear them.

What happened to the music?

Paulo's been sleeping late this week.  He has track camp from 6:30-8:30 every night so we don't get home until 9 and then he's not in bed until 10 ish.  That's really late for a little guy!

This morning at close to 9 am he was still snoozing.  I opened his door a crack to peek at him and I could see him stirring around.  So I decided to snuggle him awake.  I crawled in bed beside him and he sort of half raises up on his stomach and starts shaking his head and rubbing near his face.  Not on his face mind you, just in the air next to it.  Then the face changes, his eyes scrunch, his mouth scrunches and the hand?  The hand makes the rock on sign.  I watch, giggling quietly as my son starts to jam out.  Then after a few seconds he flops down and snuggles up to me.  That's when he wakes up.  His head pops up and he looks around, out to the room, back to me, a couple of times and then he says, "what happened to the music?"  Uh, there was no music, what song were you hearing?  "Boom boom pow" and at that we both dissolve into giggles.  He loves the Black Eyed Peas so much he dances to their music in his dreams.