Looooong week

What a long, long, LONG week.

Jody has been out of town (working at the “Googleplex” in CA) all week – left at 4 a.m. Monday morning and won’t be home until tonight. In the past this hasn’t been too much of an issue. Sure, I’d prefer he’s at home with us, but I’ve managed without him OK. This week, however, I think due to the fact that I’m getting towards the end of my pregnancy and am more tired, it was really hard being a single parent.

Caring for a toddler, coupled with the fact that I’m trying to work on a newsletter for our API group and prepare for an upcoming photoshoot for a 1-year-old, has been very draining. On Wednesday, I finally accepted that I just can’t do everything. So the dishes were getting washed every other day, the basket of clean clothes sat for 3 days before being folded and put away, and Ava and I didn’t pick up any of her toys Wednesday night. I think that deciding that world wasn’t going to end if I didn’t do everything I wanted to helped me relax a bit on Thursday, not get so overwhelmed and have a much less tiresome day.

It’s funny because I actually had these crazy notions that I’d be able to get so much done while Jody was out of the house for a week. I even had an idea that I’d do some painting in the livingroom or bedroom or cut down a bunch of branches in the front yard! ROFLMAO. I’m lucky if I can do a load of laundry and wash the dishes. Seriously, what was I thinking? I really just needed to listen to my body and take it easy instead of trying to be Super-mom.

My sister has been over to watch Ava a couple times and that has been a help (thank you, Carrie), but it just doesn’t replace having two parents.

My hat is off (way off) to all the single parents out there. πŸ™‚ Give yourselves a pat on the back.

And Jody, I really appreciate all that you do to help out with housework and taking care of Ava. We can’t wait to have you home again (and not just to do the dishes). πŸ˜‰

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In other news, Ava and I attended our local API chapter meeting this week where we had a wonderful speaker talk about “raising our children using the philosophies of Love and Logic, REAL Parenting, Parent as Coach (Diana Haskins), Non-Violent Communication (Marshall Rosenberg), How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish), Happiest Toddler on the Block (Harvey Karp), and Parenting from the Inside Out (Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell).” She has taught Love and Logic classes for the past 10 years and, a couple years ago, “developed REAL Parenting – classes that focus primarily on how parents can develop and maintain their relationship with their children, teaching specific, concrete skills that can be used to connect and stay connected with their children. The primary themes of REAL Parenting classes are respect and empathy.”

I hope to write a bit (at a later time) about some of the information I gleaned from the talk and handouts she had available. It’s pretty interesting stuff and will be useful in raising our lil punkin, er punkins. πŸ™‚

Mortality

My friend’s father was hit by a car on his way to get a newspaper in Indiana Wednesday morning. He suffered multiple injuries and passed away this (Thursday) morning. πŸ™

Thankfully, my friend was able to fly out from CO yesterday evening with her 4-month-old daughter (her almost 2-year-old son and husband stayed behind while he finished up some work) and I so hope she was able to talk to him/say goodbye before he died.

This whole mortality thing is hitting me pretty hard. We think that our parents will be around forever, and when something so sudden and unexpected happens, it certainly can rock our core. It also makes me think about my own mortality and who would take care of my child(ren) in the event that something happened to me and Jody. I know we should have a living will (or something like that), but we have yet to take care of it. Another item for the “things to do” list.

Don’t forget to share your love with your family and friends, and give them an extra hug today if you can.

Reflecting on my girl

With the birth of baby boy just 10 weeks (or so) away, I’ve been thinking about Ava a lot lately, specifically how fast she seems to be growing up. So I thought I’d take some time to reflect on my girl and where she’s at in this journey called life (and print it out for her baby book too).

Ava is 26 months old (2 years and 2 months for those of you mathematically-challenged) and fiercely independent. She loves to do or try to do things on her own, but has learned to ask for help when she needs it instead of just getting frustrated (though that still happens on occasion too). πŸ˜‰

Her vocabulary is amazing. Some of the noteworthy things she’s been saying lately are:
–“What you saying, mama/dada?” – when she doesn’t hear or understand what we’re telling her.
–“Why?” – Said for the first time a few days ago. I’m hoping I won’t hear that one again for a little while longer since I know it will soon become a favorite word. πŸ˜‰
–“I love you, mommy/dada/baby brother.” (Said unsolicited) – Melts my heart every time.
–“I need _______.” Insert pretty much anything in here, from “…to eat,” “…chocolate” – she’s her mother’s daughter, “…to watch my favorite songs” – referring to the Laurie Berkner music DVD grandma bought her, “…to go outside,” etc. The girl has “needs,” not just wants. πŸ˜‰
–She sometimes calls us *her* mama or *her* dada, like “What are you eating, my dada?” “What are you doing, my mama?”
–“I missed you, mommy/dada.” – After she’s been away from us for a little while. Sometimes she says it to me after she’s napped even. So sweet. πŸ™‚
–“Dangit.” – Her favorite expletive at present. Hey, it could be worse, right? πŸ˜‰
–She’s started using pronouns (he, she, me, you, her, him) on a regular basis.
–She also knows “Mommy’s name is Amy.” “Daddy is Jody.” and “Mommy is a woman.” “Daddy is a man.” “Ava is a little girl.”
–And she says some pretty cute things. Like the other day when we were driving around and she saw a doggy out of the car window, she said, “Get in my arms, doggy. I want to hold you.” πŸ™‚
–She’s also pretty wise. First, some background info: Whenever Ava gets particularly frustrated, we’ve encouraged her to go hit a pillow rather than throw toys, hit, etc. So the other night Jody was trying to do something and expressed some frustration and she said, “What happened, my dada?” And I told her that daddy was frustrated. And she said, “You need to go hit the pillow.” Dada went and hit the pillow and felt much better. πŸ™‚

We seem to be in the initial stages of potty learning. She woke up with a dry diaper two weekends ago so I encouraged her to sit on the potty. She sat on it until a little pee came out, then stood up excitedly and stopped peeing, saying “Yay, Ava!” So after we made a big deal out of that (and I was quite sure her bladder was still full), I asked if she wanted to try sitting on the potty again, which she did and promptly filled up with the remaining pee. Again, we praised her a lot. Since then she’s also pooped (on about 10 separate occasions) and peed several other times on the potty. After the first poop, she praised herself by saying “Yay Ava,” and then asked me “What happened to my butt?” Hehe. So I explained that the poop came out, etc. Anyway, I’m hoping to give her more opportunities to sit on the potty (i.e. let her run around with a naked butt during the day) and if it happens and she stays interested, great! We’ll continue to praise her like crazy. πŸ™‚ If not, we’ll try again when she’s ready. I admit the idea of having her out of diapers by the time baby brother comes is wonderful, but I’m not going to push her if she’s not ready. So far though, whenever she’s having naked time, she knows when she has to go potty and runs over and goes all on her own!

She’s definitely a caretaker and loves her many babies (all of whom she lovingly calls “Baby Trajan” after our friend’s baby of the same name). She can be very attentive to our needs, and always asks “What happened, mama/dada?” when she knows something is bothering us. She has also started rubbing my back lately when it is sore, then asks, “Is it all better now?” πŸ™‚

She has a great imagination and it’s such fun just to observe her playing. She has even pretended a clothes hanger was a mommy and the pants part of it that hung on it was the baby.

Ava loves to read – both on her own, flipping through the pages alone or having someone read to her. She will often pull out all of her books in a particular room and sit on the floor with them surrounding her as she “reads.” She’s always asking daddy for “one more book” at bedtime.

Waking up beside Ava in the morning is a wonderful way to start my day. She rolls over, puts her arm around my neck and says “Hi, mommy. I love you.” Then we generally cuddle, give hugs and kisses, and talk for 10-15 minutes before getting up to start our day. I’m going to miss that special time with her in a few more months (although, who knows, maybe it will still work out like that). We are in the process of trying to find an inexpensive twin bed to put next to ours so that Ava can sleep there and we can have room for baby brother in the big bed. We had a lead on a great one last weekend, but the lady sold it out from under us. **grumble, grumble**

My nursing relationship with Ava continues. It has it’s ups and downs (as you can imagine nursing while pregnant), but so far the positives have outweighed the negatives. I will write more about nursing while pregnant (the good and the bad) another time. I’m thankful I’ve been able to give Ava this gift of mama’s milk for this long (even though my milk dried up earlier in my pregnancy). I know she and I have both received tremendous benefits from it.

The picture above was taken at Aunt Carrie’s house a couple weeks ago after Ava discovered Aunt Carrie’s dress-up garb. LOL

Sept. 11, 1906

In addition to today marking the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, it is also the anniversary of another very significant (though perhaps lesser known) day in the history of the world. Sept. 11, 2006, marks 100 years to the day that Mahatma Gandhi launched the modern nonviolent resistance movement, called Ò€œsatyagraha.Ò€

“Basic Principles

Satyagraha can take different forms in different situations — indeed, many nonviolent practitioners believe, with Gandhi, that there is no situation, however extreme, in which it cannot work. There are certain basic principles, or enabling conditions, that most activists and scholars agree make up the core of Satyagraha:

* Means determine ends: we can never use destructive means like violence to bring about constructive ends like democracy and peace.

* Evil is the enemy, not the person committing it. In Christian terms, ‘hate the sin, but not the sinner.’ The clearest sign that ‘truth power’ is at work is when your opponent ends up becoming your ally, even your friend. Indeed, activists often discover that the more they can bring themselves to accept the person opposing them, the more effectively they can reach common ground.

* Our actions have far more consequence than the immediate, visible results. In fact, it is perfectly possible that our efforts may ‘fail’ to deliver the immediate result we want but succeed in doing more than we may have dreamed of.”

Learn more here and/or here.

“The events that began September 11th, 2001, present us with a choice and a challenge: to respond with more destruction and hate, or to resolve to take our inspiration from that same date in 1906, when a different weapon to fight for good was conceived, and turned history in a new direction.”

On this day, I wish you all PEACE.

Food for thought

This thought-provoking article about the state of the food system, Slow Food Nation, is definitely worth a read. In it, “…experts discuss the politics of food, and how it may be poisoning our bodies and our planet.”

By now it is generally conceded that the food we eat could actually be making us sick, but we still haven’t acknowledged the full consequences — environmental, political, cultural, social and ethical — of our national diet.

If you are concerned with your health, the health of your family (especially with regard to school cafeteria food), the environment or animal rights, I urge you to take some time to read and seriously consider this article. It’s an eye-opener.

Just not feeling it

I’m just not feeling the desire to blog the past few days. Not sure why exactly (could be things going on in my personal life, could be I’m feeling more introverted these days, could be cuz I’ve been busy nesting, or it could be a combo of things), but I’m sure it will pass.
Anyway, I just wanted to pop on briefly to say “I ain’t writin’ today.” :oP

Groovy Granola Bars!! (recipe)

A friend gave me this recipe that she found on the ‘net for granola bars. I made them today and they are awesome! Ava likes them, I like them, Jody likes them. πŸ™‚ They are delicious! I have a feeling I’ll be making them often (especially now that I have a bunch of buckwheat and rice flour in my fridge.) πŸ˜‰

Granola Bars sans Allergies

*Egg Substitute:

1 Rounded Tbsp of Flax Seed Meal (or grind flax seeds in food proc.)

scant 1/3 c Boiling Water

Dry Ingredients:

2 Β½ C. Rolled Oats

ΒΌ C. Flax Seeds

ΒΌ C. Buckwheat Flour

ΒΌ C. Rice Flour (white or brown)

Β½ C. Oat Flour (can grind rolled oats in food processor if you can not find in stores)

2 T. Wheat Germ

1 t. Ground Cinnamon

ΒΌ t. Ground Nutmeg (optional)

ΒΌ t. Ground Ginger (optional)

ΒΌ t. Ground Cloves (optional)

ΒΌ t. Salt

Wet Ingredients:

ΒΌ C. + 2 T. honey

Β½ C. Agave nectar (you can use white refined sugar in the same amount)

Β½ C. Canola, vegetable or light olive oil

2 T. Blackstrap molasses

1 T. Vanilla

*1 egg (or use egg substitute at the beginning of the recipe)

Optional: May add ΒΎ C. of dried fruit and/or ΒΌ – Β½ C. nuts if not allergic.
(I used Β½ C. of dried cranberries and Β½ C. of chopped almonds.)

Instructions:

– Preheat oven to 350F/175C.

– Thoroughly grease either 3 bread pans or one 9″x13″ large cake pan (I use glass, you may need to adjust temperature up a little if you use metal).

– Prepare Egg Substitute: Boil water. Place flaxseed meal in Pyrex measuring cup, and add boiling water until the mixture measures 1/3 c. Whip with fork or small whisk and set aside. (Can sub one egg if not allergic.)

– In a *large* bowl (this stuff can be messy), mix together the dry ingredients.

– Add wet ingredients and egg substitute (or egg). Mix thoroughly with wooden spoon, fork or hands.

– Divide into three bread pans or place in one large cake pan, and press the bar mixture as flat as possible with rubber spatula or oiled hands.

– Bake 25 minutes for bread pans or 35 minutes for large cake pan (should start to look lightly browned on edges). Cool for 5-10 minutes and cut into 12-14 bars before they are totally cooled to room temperature.

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If you are looking for a great granola recipe (no bars), try this one.

Fall is here

It’s Sept. 2 (how did it get to be September already???) and I think fall has officially arrived to CO (though the aspen have not changed color yet). It’s currently 54 degrees and cloudy, with an expected high of 71 (though I’m not seeing how we’ll reach it).

We plan to go to a neighboring city’s “hometown fair” today for a bit, then have dinner over at my sister’s house tonight. Tomorrow, Carrie is going to watch Ava so Jody and I can go to a movie (Little Miss Sunshine). I can’t even remember the last movie we saw in the theater, though after looking at ticket prices today ($9 each!), I don’t imagine we’d go very often even if we had someone to watch Ava. Sheesh, that’s expensive.

Sometime during the weekend I need to finish proofing my photo session from last weekend and get that ready to present to my client. I also want to do some more kids’ clothes organizing. Time to bring out the fall stuff and see what still fits this year.

So, all in all, a rather relaxing weekend planned.

My cold is doing a bit better each day, and although Jody’s caught it too, he’s not doing bad either. I appreciate the get well wishes. πŸ™‚

For those of you who have a three-day (Labor Day) weekend, enjoy! πŸ™‚

P.S. I didn’t take the picture, but it’s a peak that’s visible from our house.