Waging war in the urban jungle

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why I say no

My son asks me regularly for a DS. I tell him no every single time he asks. You'd think he'd get the hint and stop asking but children are remarkably resilient. They don't accept defeat easily, which to be honest is a trait I admire. He asks me why and I tell him that I simply do not think he needs to have mobile video games. That the time he plays at home is more than enough-often more than he should!-and that there is no reason he needs to play in the car or the store or the doctor's office waiting room. And I tell him, he is just too young.

I had a grocery store experience yesterday that reaffirmed my stance. I love taking Paulo out and about. He's a social butterfly, he chats up old ladies at New Seasons, talks to the tellers at the bank, compliments the checkers at Fred Meyers, he's a social child. He'll strike up conversations with people in the line in front of us, as he did yesterday. There was a mother and child in front of us and Paulo asked what's your name. The child did not look up. Her mother answered for her and, after seeing my son try to say hello to her daughter, nudged her and insisted she respond. If you can call it a response. She barely made eye contact and was at first totally unaware of my son's presence. She assumed she was being asked to address the checker in fact and said hello to her first. Then, after being nudged again, finally acknowledged my boy's presence, then she went right back to her DS.... okie dokie...Now it is of interest to note that this child was at least as old, if not older, than my son, but was in the grocery cart, where the babies sit. After all, walking around a grocery store with your nose in a DS can be dangerous, she likely would have crashed into something or someone. But this girl, who was more than capable of walking through the store for what appeared to be a very brief trip, was sitting....and playing video games....and ignoring my son's attempt at making contact.

What struck me though is the lack of social skills displayed. The constant influence of media is taking a toll on basic social skills that are necessary for a successful society. When do our children learn to make eye contact if they never look up from their DS? When do they learn to politely converse if they can't be pulled away from the latest Pokemon adventure? Do we really need to give video games to soothe them during a 20 minute pit stop at the grocery store?? Video games can be fun, I'm a big fan of the Wii bowling myself, but there has to be balance.

To be fair, this child may be extremely well adjusted and quite a social butterfly herself, obviously I only saw a small glimpse. But it was enough to give me pause. And to reaffirm my stance on the DS. Sorry, Paulo, no DS for you, I want to encourage you to talk to strangers and make friends, to brighten old lady's days with your sweet random compliments about their eyes or their glasses or their sweaters. I want you to never, ever lose your ability to look a person in the eye and smile at them while saying Hello! So, for the foreseeable future there will be no DS in my son's hands while making a pit stop at the grocery store on our way home for dinner.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to my baby boy!

6 years ago today my life changed. My son was born. I remember that day so clearly. All the excitement. The fear. The pain. The complete and utter joy when I held him that first time. He is my most precious gift. I was so nervous and so excited to meet him all at the same time. But when I held him, in that first moment I knew we were meant to be together.

He's changed so much in the last six years. He's independent. He's funny. He's smart, sometimes too smart for his own good! He's such a love bug, very affectionate-for which I am eternally grateful. I don't know what I'd do if he suddenly stopped hugging and kissing me! He's such a great kid.

He asks me sometimes if I wish he was still a baby. And I tell him, that there are moments I miss his baby days, but that I love the boy he is now. If he were suddenly returned to babyhood, I would miss our conversations. I would miss him cooking with me. I would miss him reading to me, and vica versa. That yes, sometimes I get misty eyed remembering the times when he was completely dependent on me for everything, but that I'm so proud of the boy he's become. And I'm so curious to see the young man he will be.

I'm grateful to go on this ride with him. This wild and crazy, and sometimes stressful, ride called Motherhood. I could not have asked for a better son if I'd phoned in the order directly. Yes he challenges me sometimes, but that too seems perfect. If he didn't challenge me then neither of us would grow.

So happy birthday to my sweet, sweet boy, Paulo Rene Rodriguez. Momma loves you so much and I am blessed to have you in my life.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Almost made it through

Paulo caught a cold a week and a half ago. I waited, on pins and needles, to see if it would move into his ears and cause another ear infection. Thankfully it did not. There were a couple of tense moments when he told me his ears hurt, and I cringed, waiting for the fever to spike, but it didn't.

On Sunday we took advantage of what looks like the last dry Portland day before May and went up to our neighborhood school to play soccer and toss the old football around. He's been taking all of his new meds like a champ and really it is quite a list of meds to keep his allergies under control and boost his immune system but still being outside for an hour and a half was tough on him. I noticed him rubbing his eyes quite a bit towards the end. We packed up and went home.

Shortly after that I noticed that his eyes were...a little gooey. Hmmm...allergies? Virus? Bacteria? Not sure....Monday morning came very early, at about 5:15 my 5 year old crashed into my bedroom door. Why did he crash? His eyelids were glued shut. GROAN! I took him back to his bed and got a warm cloth to unstick his eyes and, much to my dismay, he decided to go ahead and start his day. Really freaking early! This was made much worse by the fact that I'd laid there staring at the ceiling until after 12:30 am. I kept him home from school on Monday and watched those eyeballs. By Monday night you could see that both eyes were gooey...sigh.

Tuesday morning my first wake up call was at 2:15, I unstuck his right eyelid and put him back to bed. At 7:30 it was the left eyelid that was glued shut. Bummer. Off to the doctor today, eye infections, both eyes. So now we have eyedrops to do twice a day, two drops in each eye. He's not a fan of the drops. But to be honest, I am so happy we avoided the need for antibiotics! I will take those drops over another 10 day regimen of antibiotics any day.

So, while I'm sad about the eye infections-which will keep him home from school a 3rd day and means he'll miss his birthday at school, not that we do parties or anything but still-I'm happy to know that all the things we're doing between the no milk, the herbs, vitamins and the neti pot are working. It's encouraging and makes me more determined to continue.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The grind

Some months I get stuck in the grind. This is one of those months I think. The grind...well it sucks. There's too much going on right now and it makes me want to hide my head under a pillow. Or stick my fingers in my ear and chant lalalala, depends on my maturity level at the moment.

I'm sure most can relate to the feeling of being pulled on. I've got Dimitri on one foot pulling for homework help. Paulo on a hand pulling for play. Rene pulling on the other side of me for both work and home. And I'm just trying to keep it all together. Keep all the balls in the air. Don't drop anything....can't drop any...thing...oops, dropped something. Right now that something is the downstairs bathroom. Needs to be cleaned. Haven't done it. Maybe tonight...or not.

Yes it's been a busy, hectic, month. Some of the busy has been fun. We took the boys to lunch and a movie on Sunday, we hadn't done that since last summer! I had lunch and dinner out with girlfriends, long overdue and passed too quickly. We've had holidays and birthdays and have more birthday parties this weekend and next. But we've also had grocery trips. Doctor appointments. Homework. Allergies. Sickness. Work, work and more work. The grind....the grind sucks.

I'd like to press pause sometimes on life in general. Just hit pause and sit, in silence, until I feel recharged. Or sleep. A midday nap, that's indulgence. A full day at home, alone, to putter, read and nap, heavenly. Simply time to read the PILE of books on my nightstand-hey maybe I should put away that pile since seeing it makes me feel bad-but time to read, I miss time to read. Honestly I have to be glad that there are no more Harry Potter books coming out because I simply don't have the free time I used to have to read. I used to burn through the new book in a matter of days. I would read while I made scrambled eggs in the morning, Rene laughed at me. But I was proud that neither the book nor the eggs burned! If there was a book 8 I'd be screwed, when would I read it? The older the boys get the less leisure time I seem to have. I suppose that is what makes us appreciate retirement so much. By the time we're ready to retire we've been stuck in the grind for decades and it just gets more grind-y every year, so man when that time comes to exit the rat race, we really appreciate it!

Speaking of the rat race I have paperwork staring at me, time to return to my grind. My vent time has passed. Don't get me wrong, I love my boys, I love my life, but sometimes the grind just gets to me. There are moments though, moments of shine. This morning my 14 year old surprised me with a little gift. It was a bookmark. A really cute metal bookmark with a charm dangling from it. The charm is a peace symbol with Celtic style markings. He'd seen it the weekend before at a garage sale and got it for me. How sweet is that?! Totally out of the blue too. Little moments like that make the grind seem less grind-y.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Do over, please!

I'd like a do over. Only of the last 10 minutes before we left the house this morning. But still, I'd really appreciate a do over.

I hyper focus. This morning my focus was on helping Dimitri prepare for his history test. He's really struggling with his tests. He does good on class work but then he bombs the tests. I....love....History. I wanted to be a history teacher. So I'm doing what I had to do last year, about this same time, and that is read his book with him and discuss what he's learning. He's a "doer" he's a hands on learner. How do you "do" history? You can't really. But you can discuss. So this morning over waffles and eggs we discussed Industrialization, Capitalism, Socialism, Reform and all that goes with it during the period of the Industrial Revolution. It was going well to be honest.

Then I looked at the clock....and it was 7:40. We need to be in the car and backing out of the driveway no later than 7:35 so I can get Dimitri to his school by 8:05. Did I mention they hadn't brushed their teeth yet? I went from teacher to shrew in .01 seconds! Go brush your teeth! Get on your shoes!! Get your stuff!!! AAAAAH PANIC!!!!

I have issues with being tardy. I cannot stand to get my children to school late. But really, I should be able to keep control of myself! I even snapped at my poor 5 year old because I came in to find him with one shoe on and one off just sitting there. I snapped at him as I tied his shoes, only to find out later that he was sitting there with one shoe on and one shoe off because he was trying to figure out how to tie his own shoe laces.....yeah, I really need to teach that boy to tie his shoes. It's been on the list for months but then he got some new Sketchers with Velcro and well, it didn't matter much after that. But yesterday his class walked to "the Beach" by his school and his shoes are not fit for human use right now. So, needless to say, when he told me what he was doing I felt like shit. You know those old Tom and Jerry cartoons where Tom's head turns into a heel or an ass? Yeah, that was me, I was an ass head driving down the street this morning. I did apologize for losing my patience. But I'm still mad, at myself. I also took the opportunity to remind him that our love for each other doesn't change even when we make mistakes, like Mommy's mistake this morning in losing her patience. And when he makes mistakes my love doesn't change either. I'm fortunate that he bounces back quickly and is a very forgiving and loving child. I hope I can learn to be as forgiving of myself as he is of me.

We'd all calmed down after that 10 minute frenzy and Dimitri and I were able to continue our discussion of History, poor Paulo, he was bored out of his mind I'm sure-in fact he told me that all the talk of History made his stomach hurt. I sent Dimitri off to do battle with some words of encouragement and drove off with Paulo....and Dimitri's history book. Sigh....took Paulo to school and then went back to Dimitri's high school to leave the book-and some written words of encouragement-in the office. He has study hall this morning and he needs that book. Unfortunately I had tossed it in the back seat of the car and then covered it with crap so when he got out at school neither of us saw it. So by the time I rolled into work at 8:45 I felt like I'd already put in a full day of labor, in the mines or the factories of 1850 Britain. I'm so glad it's Friday, we all need this weekend. It's been a stressful week (which in hindsight likely played a role in my reaction this morning) and I'm so happy to have reached the end of it.

A glimpse

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I decided to take advantage of that and take Paulo to the park on our way home. I figured we'd only have 1/2 an hour or so to play but that was better than nothing!

We stopped at the very cute Metzger Park. It has a nice sized climbing structure with a very steep slide-Paulo loves to go UP that slide as much as down. It is surrounded by trees, has a large grassy field, and is one of the few places left in Portland with a merry go round. I find it funny that the merry go round is still just as popular with my son's age group as it was with mine. What is it about making yourself dizzy we loved so much as kids? Paulo had a great time on that merry go round with a group of older boys, 1st/2nd graders. I love watching him interact and socialize.

I also love how he can make a friend at the drop of a hat at the playground. Perhaps I will remind him of that the next time he tells me that everyone hates him....there was a little guy there yesterday about Paulo's age. Paulo wandered up to him and said hi and the little guy said hi back. Next thing I know they're mapping out a plan of action. The play structure was first their ship and they were pirates. I watched them run around with that theme for a bit, then Paulo switched it. He was Ben 10 and the boy was Kevin-Paulo has become recently enamored with Ben 10. After that the little boy switched it, he was Sonic and Paulo was Knuckles. They were running all over "in character" and having a blast. I'd noticed that this little boy was with his rather young father. Young Dad was approached by a much older woman who started talking about how she hates being on such a tight schedule. I didn't think too much of it, wasn't sure what the relationship was because it was quite obvious they were not related. I almost thought perhaps she is his boss. Why she'd followed him to the park I had no idea. I overheard little snippets of conversation while I watched our two sons play. Soon it was time to leave and again the older lady was apologetic for the time frame and Young Dad said that he didn't mind as long as he got to see his son.....that's when I understood. This was his caseworker. His son would not be going home with him after the park. He would be leaving with the caseworker. I instantly felt sorry for this young Dad and this little boy. How hard must that be? To spend time together and then have to say goodbye, again and again. Unfathomable. Obviously I don't know the circumstances that led to that young Dad losing custody of his son I was only able to see one small glimpse of interaction between the three of them yesterday. But still I felt for him. I seriously had an urge to go talk to this guy and see what happened and how was he making it better. I didn't, I'm not crazy. But I wanted to. I hope he's getting some level of support to make positive changes in his life and get his son back. Wherever you are, Young Dad, good luck! Stick with it! You can do it! It'll be worth it in the end when your son comes home!

In the meantime I feel extra blessed to be able to take my children home night after night after night. Kiss your kids, I know I will mine.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Paulo told me today as we were driving to school that "everyone hates me" at his school. My how those words bring instant fear and pain to a Momma's heart! Of course I know, in my logical self, that everyone does not hate my son. Anytime we speak in terms of absolutes, "everyone" and "nobody", "always" and "never", we are not speaking the truth. It's like the old argument with the husbands of America "you NEVER do any housework!" Now really, never? Come on, even the most slovenly male lifts a pinkie now and again and he will use those few and far between times to shoot holes in your statement. When we use that absolute of never we shut down the lines of communication.

But back to my son and his Kindergarten dilemma. I asked him why he thought that. And he told me that two specific boys in his class, who shall remain nameless, hate him. Between you and me, he might be right there, but as I explained to him that doesn't really have anything to do with him. Sometimes people have so many other things going on in their lives that they are simply not able to be your friend. After that I asked him what about *insert child's name here*? Don't you play with him? Oh yeah he says, I guess that person doesn't hate me! No baby, that child does not hate you, in fact he likes you enough to come to your birthday party next weekend. I reminded him to try to focus his attention on the positives. Look at how many children you can call a friend. Those two boys that have their own struggles to deal with, maybe those two boys don't like you (or anyone!) right now, but that does not mean "everyone" hates you. In fact, if the teacher is to be trusted (and I truly think she is) then my son is very well loved. It's amazing to me though that at the age of 5 he's struggling with his sense of self worth. Those TWO boys out of 20, he's allowing those TWO to define him? Oh no, I don't think so! I understand the human need to be loved though and it is just so easy to focus on the negative. We have to have reminders to look at the flip side. And leave the absolutes where they belong, math class.

But what is my role in all this? I reminded him of how many children he does play with. I tell him countless times a day that he is loved and appreciated. I encourage him to play fairly and with kindness. I encourage his empathy and sense of responsibility. It still stings though to hear your child say he thinks that he's not liked at school. That's my single biggest residual fear from childhood. I was a lonely child, I didn't have deep friendships, and I feel terrified that my child could experience that pain. But I have to remember this is not my childhood! He is not me. His life is miles away from my own childhood. His path is going to be so very different than my own. I have to quiet my own psychic scars so that they do not become his. He is not me.

The journey of Motherhood is not an easy one. There are so many land mines. So many opportunities to mess up. I hope though that my sweet, sensitive, boy can grow up with a strong sense of who he is and how much I adore him. I worry that he'll feel pain but at the same time I know he has to experience all of the bumps and bruises of growing up and sometimes, like with those boys, someone won't like you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The revised battle plan

I took Paulo to my naturapath for her opinion on the management of his allergies. She looked at his report from his skin test and her eyebrows shot up, yes, my son is allergic to 3 out of 4 seasons, plus indoor allergies as well. Lovely I know. We're managing the allergies well right now with daily Claritin and daily Nasonex but frankly I'd rather not be responsible for keeping both of those companies in the black. Plus I'm not crazy about dosing my kid 75% of his life. So, that's why we went to Kelly, to see what else we can do to support his little body.

Here's my new plan for my son:
  1. Increase Vitamin C to 1000 mg twice a day (unless his tum tumbly objects)
  2. Increase his Omega 3 to 1000 mg, he had been taking about 700
  3. Adding in a homeopathic grass and weed mix, 10 drops under his tongue up to 3 times a day, or more if his symptoms are bad-like after his infamous tuck and roll afternoon. This basically introduces some of the things that his immune system over reacts to on a daily basis to calm down those reactions.
  4. Adding quercetin, 1/4 tsp twice daily, mixed in juice or applesauce. This stuff is bright yellow! It does not mix well into juice, but mixed ok into the applesauce this morning, Paulo's not crazy about it. Says it tastes funny.
  5. I will also be adding a general immune system booster, Kelly is getting back to me with the name of her preferred brand-they were in the process of reformulating the taste.

Some other non ingested things we're doing is to continue, and increase, the use of the neti pot. He really hates the neti pot but it does help. His right side nostril is completely plugged up. Kelly looked at his ears yesterday and they are red and look like they're pulled back due to the sinus pressure, basically if he catches a cold right now he will get another ear infection. So, we are going to neti pot the snot out. She gave me a good tip, use it in the shower. That worked pretty well last night. We'll do it again tonight...and tomorrow...and the next night. We are also going to keep using the warming sock treatment. After his shower and jammies when he's all toasty and warm I put cold, wet, socks on his feet then cover them with warm, dry, wool socks and put him to bed. The idea being that the body works hard to warm up the feet and so it pulls the blood flow down and relieves some of the nasal congestion. It's actually very pleasant, Paulo was already a fan of that treatment, he was happy to do it last night. Makes up for the neti pot torture....a little.

We will also continue with our ban on dairy products because he already makes too much mucus, we don't need to add more in the form of milk. And I'm not sure if it was a coincidence or not but when I eliminated milk he started sleeping through the night consistently.

It's seriously a battle plan! It's me against the allergens! Doing battle to keep my baby healthy! If we can manage his allergies then I know we can reduce his colds and infections. And if he stays healthy then I stay happy, we all stay happy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kitchen experimenting

I'm not "officially" on my cleanse anymore but that two week period definitely altered the way I cook. Poor Rene, he misses the nightly serving of meat. He knows better than to complain, for the most part. But occasionally he whimpers when we're having a vegetarian night. Don't get me wrong, I still cook meat, just not every single night like I used to. I can't help but think that will lower my grocery bill-although the increased organic produce definitely offsets the savings of buying less flesh.

I've impressed myself a couple of times this week. I made a very simple basil pesto sauce to toss with whole wheat penne the other night. It was a sauce a vampire would fear...and with only three cloves of garlic! Paulo wasn't crazy about it, but he tried it-twice. He ate his noodles with just Parmesan cheese.

Last night though was good! I really liked last nights dish. I cooked 1/2 cup of quinoa with 1/2 cup of bulger-they conveniently cook in the same ratio of water to grain and in the same amount of time! I sauteed the white part of a leek and added some frozen diced sweet potato and let that cook up for a while. Then added 1/2 of a zucchini diced up, very small, and thinly sliced mushrooms. Finally I added some left over steamed carrots sliced thin. Basically I was trying to clear out as much of my veggie drawer as I could! When the veggies were ready I dumped the grain mix into the pan and mixed everything up. To that whole tasty mix I added the lemon dijon sauce I, and Paulo, LOVE. Some halved grape tomatoes and a bit of goat cheese on top and voila! Dinner is served! For my carnivores I did add some of the left over Easter ham, I figured two meatless nights in a row might result in mutiny.

The truth is I love to cook. If I feed you I love you. That's what it boils down to for me, it's how I show love. I'm enjoying the expansion of my cooking repertoire. The challenge of trying to find new and exciting ways to present healthy, whole, real food to my family, it's become a bit of an obsession.

I started reading Robyn Openshaw's 12 steps from www.greensmoothiegirl.com. Love her! She's filled with great information and you can really tell how much she loves sharing it with people. Seems like she truly hopes that the changes we can all make will result in us feeling as great as she and her family does. I've had green smoothies for the past two days now, and I'm hooked! Still trying to experiment and find a ratio of greens to fruit that is palatable for Paulo-he's not sold on the smoothies, but he is enjoying his fresh juice and doesn't complain when I slip kale or collard greens in with his apples and kiwi.

Making a few changes, that admittedly do take some prep time, has made a huge difference in my energy level. I'm off caffeine-I can have a cup of black coffee if I want to but I don't need to. I'm off soda, I haven't had one since I started my two week plan last month. I have not heard the whisper of the candy bowl in a while. I feel like I manage stress better, although I know I have to be more protective of my sleep, when I'm tired I am a mess! And as a total added bonus I'm losing weight, without really trying. I've spent YEARS obsessing about calories, fat grams, proteins, carbs and obsessing about work outs with little result for my effort. Now without thinking about any of those things but simply focusing on fresh, whole, mostly raw foods (my daily goal is 60% raw) the stubborn last few pounds are slipping off. It's encouraging. It reassures me that I am on a good path to take care of my body. And only if I take good care of me can I take good care of my family.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Easter visit

I will preface this to say that I have always believed in life after death, reincarnation and spirits. I grew up in a haunted house. Doors opened on their own. Things moved. A sibling saw the spirits of two young children. The usual haunting sort of things.

My Mother first visited me two days after she died nearly four years ago. I was home alone with Paulo-who had just turned 2-I was doing laundry while Paulo watched some good old Thomas the Tank Engine. While I was in the laundry room he was a few feet away from me in the upstairs family room. After a few minutes of sorting, folding and swapping out the laundry I heard the volume on the stereo go up significantly. I left the room and scolded, albeit gently, my toddler and told him not to touch the knobs on the stereo. He looked at me blankly and continued with his Thomas fix. I went back into the laundry room and again the volume went up. This time I will admit I scolded a little more vigorously. However I did notice that when I left the laundry room Paulo was on the couch and not next to the stereo unit, but really, toddlers are remarkably fast so I was not surprised by his stealth! What happened next raised the hair on my arms. I was walking away from the family room, laundry basket in hand, and the volume shot up a 3rd time, I turned to see my child sitting quietly on the couch having not moved a muscle. Out loud I told my Mother, OK, I get it, and I heard her voice in my mind telling me to stop feeling sorry for myself. Typical Sharon style.

The second visit was a year or so after her death. Paulo and I were in the car driving in for him to go to school and me to go to work, and I was overcome by a sensation of floating. Now, I'm behind the wheel of a car, this is not a good time for an out of body experience, thankfully it didn't last long. This time the message was that she was worried about my Father.

Last Mother's Day we were getting ready to leave for brunch. Dimitri and Rene were upstairs. Paulo was hanging out under my feet while I put on my lipstick in the downstairs bathroom. There's only four of us in our family and all four were accounted for. While in the bathroom Paulo and I heard his Toy Story RC start to move around. He shouted, "who's playing with my car!?" He can be a bit possessive! He and I left the bathroom at the exact same time and walked into the living room to be greeted by....no one. But all the same RC was moving back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Paulo was thrilled and shouted that RC was ALIVE! Just like the movie!! I...was a little freaked out. I felt though that it was a simple hello, I'm thinking of you visit. No serious message conveyed. Just a hello.

On this past Easter Sunday my boys were all upstairs. Rene and Dimitri were saving the world from aliens on Halo. Paulo had planted himself in the guest room to read some books. I....was working. It was a holiday but there were still groceries to be cleaned, chopped and prepped and things to be put away. I picked up a handful of things that had been improperly discarded on my kitchen counter and walked toward the den to put them away. I paused at the stairs to yell upstairs to check on Paulo. I wanted to be sure he wasn't sitting there watching Rene and Dimitri blow up alien creatures, after all, I'd like to sleep at night not be up with a nightmare stricken child! Satisfied he was not watching the grisly game I turned around to see RC move out from his parking place and turn a corner....pointing directly at me. Again, every single hair on my body stood up. I felt this odd sensation of energy moving up and down my body. I immediately had the sense of being embraced by my Mother. When it was over I was filled with a sense of loss, a renewed sense of mourning, it was a painful reminder of all the things I've missed out on since my Mother died. But there was also a reminder that love does not die when the physical body gives out, that I find reassuring and comforting. I welcome her visits. She's also visited through dreams but I find her waking visits to be a true blessing.

It's an age old question isn't it? What happens when we die? What happens to the soul when the body can no longer serve as a vessel for spiritual growth? What are we here for anyway? I hope that my Mother is simply healing right now. Healing her soul before she comes back down to Earth for another go round. Learning from her mistakes. Processing her successes. Growing. And when her soul is ready it will make the trek back into physical form and continue its spiritual journey. Good luck on your next go round Mom, perhaps we will cross paths again.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Paulo has a field trip on Thursday. I'm very excited for him but disappointed not to be taking part myself. My little boy is taking the bus with his classmates down to NW Children's Theater to see a play. I wanted to share his first live theater experience with him but the other Mommys beat me to it and all the chaperon spots are filled. I know there will be many other plays in our future, plus I believe some of his own work to be done on stage, but still I'm bummed to miss out on this first one.

And to be honest I am resentful! I resent not being able to stay at home with him and therefore never have to hesitate to volunteer in the classroom or on field trips. But I do have to hesitate. I have to weigh the positives of sharing that experience with the stress it causes when I miss a day both in terms of catching up on work and dealing with cranky Rene. He does not appreciate my absences. He kind of understands...sort of...maybe on a good day....but he is not 100% supportive of me taking time off to be involved with our son's school.

On a positive note I did find 29x34 khakis for Dimitri, but I also did have to order them online. Apparently pants for skinny tall boys must all be ordered on line. Good to know.

My new challenge

Finding pants for my teenage son. Now, shopping for pants should not be a challenge but it is. Why you ask? Because Dimitri is a bean pole. He's 6' tall but has a 29" waist. So he needs 29x34 pants. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find pants for a tall SKINNY boy?! To find a 34 length the waist is 32 or 34 itself. He'd swim in them. To find the 29 waist means the length is 30, he doesn't need capris! If I need to find pants for my "husky" son no problem, those we have in stores in abundance but because my kid is thin I have to special order them online. I did find some at Gap online, I'm going to call the store first to make sure they are on the shelves. I also found some online at Macy's and Nordstrom, but again, are they on the shelves? Don't know yet.

The reason I started searching is that he needs khakis for Golf tournaments. I brought home three pairs of khakis on Saturday, all three have to go back, they were 29x32. I was hoping by some miracle that they would work, but I got shot down. So, back to the drawing board, and the mall-which I hate. I despise the mall. The crowds, the noise, the cluttered displays, all of it gives me a headache. But since I won't have my boy walking the Golf course in high waters I'm not left with many other choices. In the meantime, I'll keep feeding him in the hopes that he can gain a tiny bit around that skinny waist of his!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Changing tastes

I'm proud of my adventurous drinkers today! I bought a juicer last weekend. I love it, it's my new obsession. Paulo and I have had fresh juice every morning this week. This was the first morning Dimitri was home with me, so this was his introduction to my new toy.

Now, we started off small. Apple juice, some freshly squeezed lemonade, basically fruits. But I've been sneaking in more greens into Paulo's as the week goes on. Mostly leafy greens like romaine which are pretty easy on the palate. Yesterday though I made myself green juice. I juiced collard greens with two kiwi and three carrots. Sounds gross huh? It is so good! The kiwi gives it a nice tartness, the carrots give the sweet and the greens give all the good things our bodies need desperately. It does look murky though, I wasn't sure Paulo would try it. But yesterday he tried a sip and didn't grimace, actually admitted it was good. So today he got his own glass of green juice, and he drank it! Dimitri was treated to the same glass o'goodness. I'm proud of them both first for being willing to try something new and second for drinking something that is so good for them.

I feel like it's a bit of an uphill battle though because their tastebuds have been programmed to sweet. It will take time I think for them to truly accept and look to non sugary drinks as their first choice. It'll be easier for Paulo, because he's so much younger, but with 14 years of sweetened drinks under his belt it'll be more of a challenge for Dimitri. But he's willing, and that's half the battle. I spend a lot of time discussing nutrition with (at?) him. I only hope that 50% of what I say really sinks in so that when he's out in the big, bad world and faced with making his own choices about food he'll be armed with a solid education and will make the right choices. You are what you eat, if you eat crap you feel like crap. If you fuel your body with good, clean, nutritious food then you will be strong and energetic and ready to take on the world.

So, if you have a juicer try this:

4-5 leaves of collard greens
2 kiwi, skin removed
3 carrots

And feel free to leave your favorite green juice recipe here!

I just got my produce delivery yesterday, there were beets in it....we're trying those this weekend! I'll give the skinny on how that adventure goes!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Bunny is coming, ready or not!

Easter is Sunday...seriously?! This Sunday!? Ugh I am so not prepared this year!

The baskets are still in storage in the garage.

The eggs are still white.

I just a few minutes ago got back from buying a few pieces of candy and some trinkets for Paulo. Dimitri, being a jaded teen, will receive some Itunes money-plus candy, you never outgrow candy!

But, I am not prepared for this holiday at all.

Normally by this time I've had a gang of Paulo's buddies over to dye eggs. I've at least put out a couple of Spring/Bunny decorations. The shopping is complete. This year though it's like March sneaked away leaving me shocked to find that it is April 1st and that Easter is only 3 days away.

This seems to be a common experience though. My sister, some of my girlfriends, all of us were caught with our baskets down. Looking back over the first quarter of the year though it's not hard to see why I've been caught unprepared. We've been far too busy and far too sick. If it wasn't an ear infection it was a sinus infection. If it wasn't a sinus infection it was Rene's two week throat fiasco. If we all managed to be healthy, by some miracle, then we were out too much on the weekends. Not nearly enough down time this year.

This month is not shaping up any better though. Paulo's got a birthday party this weekend. We have Easter brunch at my brother and sister in law's-looking forward to that! We have hair cuts and lunch dates and dinner plans...oh my...plus Paulo's birthday party(s). Yikes! I'm looking forward to May already!! Wait, May won't be much different than April....Calgon take me away!