Friday, July 29, 2011

Some Bug Bits

{I love this picture sooooo much.  Aren't they just so beautiful?}

Yesterday I was swinging the Bug around in a circle and he told me, "Careful, mama."  I almost dropped him.  My child wants me to be careful?  Really?
Last week he fell and cut his gum away from three teeth on the top.  It was pretty gory.  Amazingly a week later it is almost impossible to tell.  Sunday he broke out in hives.  They are almost gone now.  But you know, after the first day of both things he acted like nothing was wrong.  Because he is tough like that.
Recently he started adding "y" to the end of lots of words.  Cuppy, trucky, Poppy (my favorite), sometimes even Mommy.  It is really, almost painfully, cute sometimes.  He asks us to sing, "Happy, Clappy" when he wants to hear "If your happy and you know it."  He prefers to mix the verses so he can clap, stomp and touch his nose all in one stanza.
He doesn't want to get in the shower until he is in and doesn't want to get out until he is out.  He says, "No" a whole lot.  Sometimes I try to trick him into saying no when he should be saying yes.  It never works.   But at least I get to hear a  yes amidst all the resistance. 
This morning he wanted to make a list.
Him: I make list.
Me: What is on your list?
Him: Kale chips.
His favorite foods remain apple sauce with yogurt.  But now he wants super food powder in it every time.  So funny.

I'm a Little Teapot

He demands to be held by standing in front of you, arms straight out and saying, "Carry!"  We've got him to also add "please" on the end most of the time.
When he sees a laundry basket he tells me, "I folp clothes."  Folp.  Cracks me up.  He can fold wash clothes and napkins pretty well now if he is focused.  Which, honestly, isn't that often. :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Move it!

 Gang Plank

Another area of primary food is movement.  Some people might call it exercise but I have a hard time spelling that word (the spell check gave me "excessive" and "exorcize" as options. ha!)  It is so interesting to me how all of the research I hear about "healthy" eating is always footnoted with something like, {blank} combined with moderate exercise leads to better health.  Really?  Maybe moderate movement is playing a bigger role.  But it is so hard to get people to start regular movement because just like diet overhaul it seems so overwhelming.  A gym membership, special clothes, looking like an idiot in front strangers.  Not even to mention the sore muscles.  And sweat!  Ug!

I'm here to tell you something I heard forever ago that I feel really makes a difference.  It is a big secret- are you ready?  Okay- you are already moving everyday!  You might even already be "exorcising!"  I remember hearing this amazing story about a bunch of cleaning ladies working at a hotel.  They were all overweight, all ate pretty crappy and had a pretty high rate of diabetes and heart disease.

A doctor came in and talked to them.  He told them, "You are on your feet all day.  You lift and carry, vacuum and bend down, walk and walk.  No wonder you don't want to go to the gym after working!  But you know, what you are doing for a job is working out."  He also talked about some basic food ideas.  Drink more water, eat more vegetables.  Super basic.  He gave them all pedometers.  He came back once a month for six months and had them keep logs of the pedometer readings.

They didn't increase the amount of movement they were doing.  They lost weight.  They ate a little better because they felt like taking better care of their bodies as they realized how much they asked of themselves each day.  Each month he saw progress.  They were happier and healthier at the end of the six months.

Wow.  Let's think about that for a minute.  Wow.

Realizing they were already working out was enough.

Now- not everyone has a job that is as demanding as those ladies.  My job involves running and chasing and walking and jumping and lifting and carrying.  All day.  I do not go to the gym.  I would go to yoga every week if I felt like I could swing it but it just isn't possible right now.  (read: I don't want it bad enough.)  What I do every day is a work out.  I am very in touch with that.  Many days I walk well over three miles.  (When it isn't crazy hot anyway.)

What I am trying to say is that we all do things every day that strain our muscles and burn calories.  I am not trying to say it is always enough.  When the Bug goes to school in the fall I imagine I will have to make an effort to find more movement in my days.  If you work sitting at a desk 8 to 10 hours a day you likely need to supplement.  But if we acknowledge what we are already asking of our bodies, well, it could go a long way.

And when you realize you are already working out you might feel like you should take better care of yourself by eating just a little better.  Tiny steps.  One more glass of water today.  One more vegetable.  One more time taking the stairs instead of waiting for an elevator.

You can do it!!  You are doing it!

PS- My father is nearly done with his gigantic July trip.  Please go read his blog, he put up some amazing videos of bunnies (of all things!)  And consider making a donation to Not Alone.  Thank you!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

An "E" Quilt

In August, the Bug starts "school".  I can't believe our little boy has only been with us two years and some months.  I can't imagine being with out him.  When I think about things we did before him I find myself searching those memories for him.  Surely, he has always been with me.  He must have gone rock climbing and camping and caving with us.  I'm sure he was in California that month I worked there.  And then I realize how silly it is.  He is only TWO.  You could say he was there, a tiny egg, an invisible thought, a future I had no idea would come. 


I am excited for us all to start this new phase.  In all honesty, I need to have a break from full-time parenting.  I don't have the energy to keep up every day with such a potent, fresh life.  I also know he craves the time with others his own age and loves the play that he already engages in on the playground with some of his soon to be classmates.
In preparation I have been planning lunch boxes and nap time things.  I'll share more about my solutions for lunch as it gets closer but the nap time stuff is done now. 


A couple weeks ago I let the Bug pick out some fabric from my stash.  I looked at some quilt books with him to see what he might think but he seemed to love all of them (I could hardly blame him!) so I took the design into my own hands.  I wanted something simple.  You all know I love the log cabin block and this is just that really.  When trying to figure out the center rectangle to get the blanket the right size and proportions the idea to make an "E" nearly smacked me in the face.  Um- of course that was the perfect way to start it!!


He helped me cut the strips and even sat at the sewing machine and helped guide the fabric.  It was really great to work with him and see his excitement.  There were times I was working on it while he was watching Plant Earth and he would turn it off to come lay on his "bank."  Be still my heart!


Now he is ready to get "cozy" and nap at school.  And I will know he has a little bit of me right there with him.

E's school quilt

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Spirituality


There are many aspects to a healthy, happy life.  You are what you eat they say- but you also are what you think, believe and feel.  For so many people, finding a way to express their spirituality goes a long way towards health and happiness.  I, myself, am still riding high from last weekends experiences.  Hearing of people who have had lives full of hardship and still turn into beacons of light and happiness for others help you see how strong a faith can make you.
I use the word faith in the broadest sense I can imagine.  Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims all have a faith.  But there are also plenty of people who use looser categories to define themselves.  The medical community has been studying people to find the links between faith and health and while there are studies that go both ways it is obvious that having a personal faith can change our brains and our health.
The other night, after a hectic day filled with injuries and other stresses I crawled into bed much later than my usual time.  I was so tired but couldn't find a comfortable place in bed.  After fighting for an hour to get my "monkey mind" to slow down I turned to meditation to quiet the incessant chatter.  I think it took 10 minutes.  The next morning, despite the lack of sleep I was able to rise an hour earlier than usual and be productive and (more importantly) parent in a gentle way (which is not generally the case when I am tired.)

Where do you find peace?

ps- here is a great article about some simple, tiny steps to help you become more present in everyday life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Oops!


Hello everyone!  This week just didn't happen.  Between all the events of the weekend, some sewing that just can't wait, great friends and the call of the pool and water sprinkler it was just too busy.  I'll be back next Wednesday with a new post.  In the mean time- happy summering! 
PS- It is just possible I'll be back sooner with a quilting post.  But no promises. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Gifted Day

Open Field

This weekend I had the amazing chance to go to Washington DC and see the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetan Buddhist masters at the Kalachakra.  It was a magical experience.  In the morning I sat and listened to two hours of prayers and watched as the monks created the Kalachakra mandala.  Listening to the voices of the monks resonate through such a large, cavernous space was truly moving. In closing your eyes you could imagine being anywhere and the sound of the mantras poured over you like waves.

In the afternoon the Dalai Lama gave preliminary teachings.  For the day I was there he talked of the Four Noble Truths and began about the 37 Practices of the Bodhisattva.  It was amazing to have the chance to see him in person and hear some of his thoughts on these such fundamental parts of Buddhism.  It was fantastic to see so many people there in traditional Tibetan clothing who brought with them their children.  The many monks everywhere, so easy to spot in bright robes and with huge smiles for everyone.  It was interesting to be among so many people so full of loving kindness and happiness.  Even a long line for the ladies room drew not one complaint.  Can you imagine?? 

In the middle of the day, during the long break I made a friend who quickly adopted me and answered many of my questions.  She was warm and gracious.  It was really wonderful, like having a guide.

In the evening afterwards I met with another friend from school who is a student of Garchen Rinpoche.  That evening there was a screening of a documentary of Garchen Rinpoche's life.  I cannot begin to tell you how moving this was.  He was there and spoke a few moments before the film. 
It was such a magical day.  My description here doesn't begin to do it justice.

Friday, July 8, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. From Soulemama.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Primary Food

This week I want to begin to talk about a different aspect of health.  At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition we talk about something called "primary food" a whole lot.  Primary food encompasses all the things that aren't edible that nourish us.  Physical activity, relationship, spirituality, career etc.  These are things that make you feel like you can conquer any challenge when they are going well and will tear your body apart when they are going poorly.  In the coming weeks I'll be talking about some of these areas and seeing what you all think.  In the mean time what are you doing right now that energizes you?  What is draining you?
{image via Institute for Integrative Nutrition.}

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Dad

emerson week 2 054

You may have noticed my list of "inspirations" over on the side and I hope you've had the chance to click on a few.  One of them is my dad, Old Bike Rider.  My dad has been an inspiration to me as long as I can remember.  We've been lucky that we've always really clicked.  I've always thought we are very alike and I've always been proud of that.
He is the kind of person that you can depend on to help you do anything.  He can tell you how to fix your sink over the phone.  He can take great photographs.  He can wrangle farm animals or college students.  He can help you choose fabric for a sewing project and tires for your motorcycle.  Or anything for your motorcycle.  You can talk to him about life, love, catastrophes, mechanics, God, celebrations or food.
He will take care of you when you need it if you are his child, parent, spouse, friend or stranger.  He will let you believe what is true for you even when it isn't true for him.
This summer he is spending all of July riding across the country and back following a path laid out in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  He is doing it for lots of reasons but as he was planning it he realized that he could use this trip also to help others.  He wanted to raise money for families that have been effected by PTSD and found an organization called Not Alone.  Through them he is collecting money as sponsorships for his ride.  Any amount is helpful.  His goal is one dollar a mile.  That adds up to over $7000.  All to help men and women and families effected by war.  What a gift that is to give!
I am putting the sponsorship link in the sidebar for the month of July.  If you are able to donate please do!  You never know who it will help.  Let's show him that he is truly Not Alone on this journey!  You can follow his progress on his blog Old Bike Rider.

Have a fabulous Independence Day celebration!