More on Food

How have your views on food and healthy eating changed since your little ones came along?

I used to never cook. The most I did was put things in the oven. Before I met Daddykush, I distinctly remembered picking up a box of instant something and putting it back down because it required boiling water. I actually didn’t know how to boil water and thought it was too complicated to learn. When we were dating, I proudly told Daddykush I could make rice pilaf. To his dismay, I picked up a box instant rice pilaf and told him I could cook that.  Even that was huge progress for me.

Getting married helped a little in the cooking and food department as I didn’t want us to be eating out all the time and I wanted us to be healthy. I started looking at recipes and finding the easiest recipes like baking chicken, stir frying vegetables…etc. Since Lemon Cake has come along, I cook all the time now (to my parents’ amazement). I am not an amazing cook and I don’t do multiple ingredients. My goal for a meal is a carbohydrate, a vegetable and a protein. It also has to be easy and most prep work can be done ahead of time. Last night, it was baked mochi (10 minutes in oven), cut up yellow peppers, microwavable earth’s best chicken nuggets and frozen peas. Sometimes it might be more elaborate like pork tenderloin, baked brussel sprouts and pasta or rice. Sometimes it is a weird combination like stir fry tofu, tater tots and asparagus. Of course Lemon Cake’s favorite is tater tots with loads of ketchup. Lunch is usually left over or an easier version of dinner. I still feel like I am constantly running out of ideas for snack or meals. We also have the limitation of certain foods in this household. Lemon Cake cannot have any nuts, hummus or salmon so that puts some limitation to food options. However, I recently discovered he is not allergic to coconut (coconut is a fruit and a nut) so that opened up a few options for us.

Baby Banana is certainly exposed to certain foods much earlier than Lemon Cake. She has had ice cream, cake, cookies, French fries at the tender age of eighteen months. Lemon Cake has only had a few bites of ice cream when he was around the same age.

I try as hard as I can to go by Ellyn Satter’s guidance:

“You can’t control or dictate the quantity of food your child eats, and you shouldn’t try. You also can’t control or dictate the kind of body your child develops, and you shouldn’t try. What you can do, and it is a great deal, is set things up for your child so she, herself, can regulate her food intake as well as possible, and so she can develop a healthy body that is constitutionally right for her.”

If you have any easy and relatively healthy recipes that you kids love or snack ideas, please feel free to share!

It’s Not About the Accolades

I own a heavy metal toolbox filled with tools.  I used to have a drill with a cord.  My new drill?  You guessed right, cordless.  So when Red told me that if I loved her I would fix the leaky toilet in our hallway bathroom, well shucks… I’m not the kind of man that disappoints a lady in the handy department.  This was a call to action.

I can’t rightly say that I’m a professional when it comes to household repair.  No sir, that would be overstepping my bounds.  I mean, I do know my way around a wall anchor or two… and my toolbox does have a digital stud finder.  You heard me.  But I’m no Bob Villa, no sir.  I used to have some honest to goodness carpenter pants somewhere… although I’m pretty sure everybody did in NY for a few years there, you can look that up if you’d like.

Red and I have done a lot of moving over the years. During one move, after Red had spent several hours unpacking boxes, and sorting our lives back into a new home, I vaguely remember coming in, picking up a hammer and hanging a picture on the wall… then steadfastly declaring that ‘my work here is done’.  I believe Red dryly bemused that yes, I was quite the hero.  Indeed we both saw things eye to eye there… so much so that any time I hung something on a wall for years to follow, I’d quickly point out to Red that I had just been a hero again.  She always finds this gesture both heartwarming and hilarious.  Always.

Given my hero stature Red knew that I’m a man who can handle a hammer, and a cordless drill… and sometimes, when the situation calls, some channel lock pliers.  That’s right.   So she knew who to call with her leaky toilet problem…. And call me she did, because I was in California at the time, and she casually mentioned that if I really loved her I would fix the leaky toilet in the hallway.  She was putting on a brave face but I could hear the tension on the other end of the phone.

With a firm grasp on the gravity of this situation I lept into action.  In the blink of 6 to 8 lightning fast weeks that toilet is now fixed.  Did I stutter?  That’s right kids, ask and ye shall receive.  The first few weeks after I returned from Los Angeles were spent on exhaustive R&D around the problem.  It appeared the arm thingy (technical term) on the toilet handle was bent, causing the plunger thingy (technical term) inside the toilet tank to get caught on the plunger chain since it no longer hung taut which resulted in a leaky toilet.  Try and keep up.

The R&D phase of the project ran until yesterday.  When the toilet handle broke clear off the bent arm thingy.  Up till now our crack research teams had come up with “jiggle the handle, it will stop the leaking”.  This was only a stop gap measure, and now all hope was lost on that front.  No use jiggling a handle that’s not connected to the arm thingy. Fear not, as I’m nearly a professional handyman, and I’ll deal with this pronto.

What to do?

Like a flash I’m off to the hardware store.  Eureka.  They sell replacement toilet handles and arm thingy’s at the hardware store.  20 minutes later, with a little pressure from my trusty channel locks, and that toilet is fully functional and leak free.  In the blink of an eye, or just under 2 months since requested, that toilet problem is no more.  There’s no need to thank me… really, I’m just a man.  I do what I do, its not about the accolades.  I’m not in it for the accolades…  that telling mixture of joy and relief on Red’s face is reward enough.  I own a heavy metal toolbox filled with tools, and I’m not afraid to attempt using them.

Ghost

This is going to be short and sweet (I hope).

Friday we moved into our new house (the first home we have ever owned) and are still without Internet and the 3G coverage here sucks….hence, me being short.

The sweet part…last night my husband and I went to see the Indigo Girls at a concert on the lawn at the Oregon Zoo. It was the ideal evening for an outdoor event like that one. Perfect temperature, perfect sunset, perfect setting. Too often our date nights involve dinner, maybe a movie, and sometimes shopping at Target, Costco or Home Depot. So it was super nice to be out doing something so unique. But the part that stood out the most for me was the fact that pretty much every kind of family was there.

Of course the place was jam packed with lesbians, but there were lots of gay men too. There were straight people thrown in, and about 1/3 of the people there brought their kids with them. There were babies and toddlers, young children and teenagers. There were extended families and families of friends. There were white people and black people and brown people. There were Asian folks and Indian folks and just about every other kind of folks you can imagine. There were interracial couples and lots of adopted children. There were elderly people (some smoking bongs – Ha!) and disabled people and heavily tattooed people and people with crazy piercings. There was just about every sort of diversity you could imagine and…the best part? No one seemed to care.

The Indigo Girls played a song for us that one of them wrote about her neighbor in Georgia and, before they sang it, she said something like “This song is about my neighbor, John, who proves that no matter how different we may seem on the outside, we are all so eerily the same on the inside.” I think everyone who is somehow still homophobic should go to an Indigo Girls concert and see that all different kinds of families exist and they all love each other and that there really isn’t any difference between us.

Anyway, it was awesome. And they sang “Ghost” which is probably my all time favorite song, and that song just so happens to have kept me alive in 2002, and so I feel like I somehow owe them my life.

Til next week…

Family Day

We had a great family day today – the kind you imagine having.  We took the kids to the local public pool which offers both rich diversity and a favorite family pastime:  swimming.  There is a playground right next to it and a family friendly restaurant on the way home where this family of mine had a harmonious dinner.  We then came home, had some ice cream and went out to play in the neighborhood playground for a bit before bedtime.   On the way from bath to bedroom LM said, “This was the best day ever, right mom?”  Ringing endorsement from a harsh critic, my friends.  A harsh critic.

To end the evening LM sang me a song (in the vein of “Frances” – if you haven’t read those books, please give them a try.  They are wonderful) and I leave you with her words:

People are both nice and mean

Everyone

Nice and mean, mean and nice

And you never know who is going to be what

Nice and mean, mean and nice

And this is where your eyebrow is (complete with a gentle stroke to my eyebrow)

Good night, everyone, and have a good week.

Runaway!

Yup, that’s the new thing in our house. Whenever Peanut gets upset about something, she says “Runaway!” When I ask for more details, it usually involves running away to Nana or Grammie’s and for some reason it also includes “buying meat” (when I ask what kind of meat, the answer is typically “chicken”).  Huh?

I can’t help but wonder if the frequency of this new phrase has anything to do with the fact that we are moving…tomorrow.  We have talked with Peanut about moving to the new house, we have taken her there several times to explore and we are planning on having a “new house” toy and maybe even a balloon for when we arrive tomorrow.  From the parents out there that have survived a move with a toddler, any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Guest Post from Acclaimed Author!

First, a word from MumsySus:  I couldn’t be prouder to have MammaLamb as our guest blogger today. She is not only the critically acclaimed author of Rebecca, a privately published romance novel but also a great friend, a true bosom-buddy, and the reason I met my husband and get to have baby Rose in my life. Clearly I am indebted to her, a point she doesn’t hesitate to remind me about…often. And usually right before the bar tab is settled. Without further ado, I give you…..MammaLamb recounting one of her most epic debacles.

When my friend MumsySus asked me to contribute to the blog this week, a thousand potential topics flitted through my mind. With my busy 16 month old Boss Man wreaking havoc through the house, and soon to arrive Baby Girl working on her karate kicks in utero, the topics seemed endless…but there was one of pressing concern that really stood out. Baby naming.

My husband and I have been together for eight years and during that time we always marveled at how easily we agreed on major life decisions, from wedding invitations to a new sofa. I now see he essentially just acquiesced to everything I wanted…except when it came to naming our son, Boss Man. What started as a fun project, pouring over baby naming books and lists, hanging posters around the house with our top choices, practicing calling “Hey baby (insert my choice of name), it’s dinnertime” soon became a process tense with bickering and a lot less fun. Ten days past my due date, we were still at an impasse with no resolution in sight so when Boss Man was placed on my chest and my husband suggested a name that wasn’t even ON our list that we had mentioned in passing, I weakly said sure.

Word to the wise, agreeing to something and/or suggesting something of such importance post delivery is not advisable. Needless to say it soon became apparent that neither of us really liked the name or thought it fit our son. Three months later, multiple trips to city hall, countless checks written, a court appearance to explain our stupidity as well as the incredulous eye rolls of friends and family burning holes in our backs, our son had an amended birth certificate and his true name.

Actually, it was the only name we agreed on 50/50 but at least the war was over. With Baby Girl we are older, wiser and much more exhausted. I suggested one name, my husband weakly said sure, and I breathed a sigh of relief that the process was over so quickly. Until he recently said we had a few more months to decide…

– MammaLamb

And for those that are interested, here is a photo of MumsySus and MammaLamb during their wild, pre-hubby/baby days, when they were in the navy. MumsySus was a captain with responsibility of the entire ship and MammaLamb was a deckhand primarily in charge of swabbing the deck and securing the riggimgs.

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First Place

The runners take their places at the starting line. “Ready, set….” The first runner takes off. “GO!” The rest of the runners go. The tall blonde runner is a little late on her start, but she quickly whizzes past all of her competitors, waves to some cheering fans, and handily wins the race. And that is how Kiki won her first blue ribbon in the 3 year-old girls’ division at our local 4th of July festival kids’ races.

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Our daughter is athletic. We’ve known that ever since she started walking. She is tall and strong and she was able to climb things at the playground that other kids her age couldn’t. You all know my friend Mrs. Miss. Well she’s an Occupational Therapist and she commented that Kiki at age 2 ½ had the physical coordination of a 5 year-old.

I was taking pictures of Kiki and Hubby on her first day of soccer practice and I overhead one dad point at my daughter and say to his wife, “have you noticed this girl in the pink? She’s really good.” And then his wife replied, “well look how tall she is. She’s obviously almost 4.” Kiki wasn’t even 3 yet.

We took a feamily trip to Vermont so that Hubby could realize his dream – Kiki on skis. We signed her up for a private ski lesson and took a billion pictures of her (nothing is cuter than a 3 year-old ski bunny). Her instructor was amazed at Kiki’s ability. She said she could not believe that this was her first time on skis. She even went so far as to tell us that she had taught lessons for years and that she had only ever had one other 3 year-old with as much natural ability and that kid was the son of an Olympic skier.

It’s hard not to be blinded by parental pride. Of course I think my daughter is amazing. So it’s sometimes hard to gauge how accurate my view of her athleticism is. For example, the ski instructor seemed genuinely impressed by Kiki. But do coaches and instructors just exaggerate young children’s abilities for the parents’ sake? I mean, what parent doesn’t want to hear that their child is amazing?

Hubby and I also wonder if maybe our daughter is just an early bloomer. Who knows? But for now, it’s looking like our daughter could have the potential to be an athlete if she wants to. This means I have the potential to be a soccer mom (or basketball or gymnastics or volleyball…). I hope that I can be a good one. The kind that cheers her on and encourages her. Not the kind that pressures her and criticizes her. The kind that practices with her so that she can improve her game. Not the kind that nags her to practice so much that the game loses it’s appeal. The kind that embarrasses her with my clapping and cheering at her games. Not the kind that embarrasses her with my yelling at the coaches.

It’s already a fine line with Kiki between encouragement and pressure. I compliment her swimming strokes at the lake as she swims between Hubby and I and she lights up. But I remind her to hold her breath if she goes under and she decides she’s done swimming and wants to play in the sand. I’m sure I’ll have a hard time figuring out where that line is as she gets more into sports. I’m sure I’ll get it wrong a few times and make her mad.

I think it’s clear though that the first thing I need to do is get a really huge trophy case to put in the family room. I can put her blue ribbon right on the center shelf and just wait for all the other ribbons and trophies to come. Or is that too much?