Monday, December 21, 2009

Holidays and Food Allergies

are not the easiest combination.

What do most people think of when they think of the holidays? Food, of course. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Holiday specific treats and deserts. Parties and family visits and office gatherings all involve food. Neighbors stop by with "holiday treats" and strangers offer small children goodies galore. But for a person with food allergies, seemingly benign thinks like desserts can be deadly. And it is not easy to modify some of the classic holiday food to an allergy friendly version.

Thankfully my little one is still quite young, and so some of the pitfalls are easily avoided. But he is getting older. He's already started to notice when his food looks different, and he doesn't like it. And as he grows, it will get harder to have only two or three things he can eat, versus the dozen or so options that everyone else is choosing from. Although I believe that it is important for him to learn how to live in a world that is full of allergens, I also think that when he is at home he should feel comfortable and free. He might not be able to eat everything in the house, but I would like him to be able to eat most things.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's here!

We finally received the Medical ID for my son today. Yay!

On the reverse:
FirstName LastName
DOB
Allergic to eggs, peanuts,
dairy, shellfish, chicken
Carries Epi-Pen

It fits well, is clear and easy to read, difficult for him to remove, fully adjustable and doesn't irritate his skin. YIPEE!!

Here he is out shopping with his auntie, wearing his new Medical ID.

Of course, he kept trying to take it off. At one point, he was even using his teeth to try and pry it open! Thankfully he had long sleeves, so I just pulled them down and he was on to the next distraction. Out of site, out of mind.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Gearing up to travel

Traveling with a little one requires more pre-planning than when it was just me or me and my husband. We can't just wake up and decide to go to Timbuktu (Tombouctou, Mali), we have to think about the logistics beforehand. My husband travels quite often, and is the king of last minute preparations. He will wait to go shopping, pack, sometimes even purchase his tickets until hours before he is going to leave. I prefer a little more preparation than that, but as a single woman I often hoped on a plane with a moments notice. Although we both know that it we are "supposed" to do things differently now that we are parents, old habits die hard. We do put a little more thought into our journeys, but we still have nomadic spirits and wanderlust leading the way. Maybe when our children are in school we will plan trips a year in advance. Maybe not.

Although we might not plan for months to take a trip, we will give ourselves at least a week. And there is a lot to do during that week. I have packing down to a science. I have a checklist that I keep on hand, and I'm organized enough that I can pack in my mind for a few days before I physically put items in suitcases. This way when I actually pack it's pretty straightforward. We also have to make sure that passports, visas, vaccinations and exemption letters are in order and up to date. I call the airline to reserve seats and check on any relevant policies. Language refresher courses or basic phrase lessons are always on my to-do list. Additionally, if it's a long trip, then there are goodbye's to say, automatic payments to arrange, people to visit, stuff to box up and shopping to be done.

Food allergies add another layer of preparation. I also have make sure I have enough food and drinks for my son to eat on the plane and for a few days once we arrive, just in case we have any difficulty finding things for him. Drinks sometimes cause a problem and I always check the allowable liquid amounts for the duration of the trip. I triple check the epi-pens and clean and shine the medical alert bracelet. We visit the doctor and make sure that applicable letters are up to date.

And as I prepare for our next trip, I'm trying to order customized silicone allergy alert wristbands in other languages, as an added layer of protection. This is going to be our first international trip with my son post-weaning, so it is going to be a learning experience for me. No more nursing to ease the discomfort, calm him down or put him to sleep. I'm still researching and trying to figure out other ways to make traveling as simple as possible. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes, and I'll definitely share my experience.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Eczema

We have struggled with eczema for years. My mother has it. I have it. One of my sisters. Some cousins. Over the years, we have come up with our own natural remedies and dietary adjustments that help with flare-ups. Unfortunately, most of our doctors seem to think it is "no big deal".

When my son was born, I was not surprised to see dry, flaky, crusty patches on his skin. But soon they spread from his cheeks to the rest of his face, down his neck, and up to his scalp. They were painful. I took him to the pediatrician, who told me it was eczema, and told me to use a steroid cream. I balked at the idea of a steriod cream on a child not even 3 months old. As many people of color know, steroid creams wreck your complexion, creating light and dark spots that we spend years trying to correct. And they are addictive. So, he gave me another ointment. Soon after that my sons hair began to fall out in clumps, with the crusty stuff at the scalp attached to the clumps of hair. The doctor said it was "just cradle cap". I asked around, and although other mothers had experience with cradle cap, none of them had experienced balding as a result. I didn't know what to do. My infant son was going bald, his skin looked so bad that people stared when we were in public and the doctor thought it was all normal. Knowing that my diet was contributing, I eliminated the most likely offender, milk. At the next visit, his skin was a little better, but still pretty bad. I told the Dr. that I had eliminated milk, which seemed to help and that the ointment was a waste of time. He told me to apply it 10 times a day. I switched doctors.
The story gets worse before it gets better, mostly because although the new doctor was better, he was still generally unconcerned. Long story short, we later discovered his food allergies and the change in diet made a lot of difference. And yes, milk was one of them.

Now we have a new battle with his skin, what the doctor tells me is dyshidrotic eczema. Apparently uncommon in children, he gave me a cream which I am using with limited success. I'll let you all know how it goes. In my quest to find way to alleviate and lesson his flare-ups, I came across this series on Clearing Up Eczema. She has a lot of useful information, and I think it might help some of you that are struggling with eczema, in yourselves and your little ones. Hope it helps!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Food allergies again...and a medical alert bracelet

Obviously, food allergies are a major part of my life. As my son gets older and begins to spend more time away from me, my angst has increased. In many ways, I am a laid back parent. I believe in letting my child explore his world, and once it isn't dangerous he pretty much has free reign. A friend of mine came to visit once, and my son was playing outside. He picked up the dirt to put it in his mouth, and she went into hysterics. Amazed by my calm, offhand reaction she asked me why I didn't seem to care if he ate the dirt. In his case, the amount of dirt he actually gets into his mouth won't kill him. And I thought that he would most likely eat it, decide it's nasty and not eat it again. And I was correct. After a few attempts, he stopped putting dirt in his mouth. But here is the other, perhaps more important reason that I'm laid back. I have bigger fish to fry. I am vigilant about what he eats and cross contamination, the type of soap and lotion he uses, and making sure he stays safe. A little dirt won't kill him, a little milk might. I think I would have been a laid back type of parent anyway, but dealing with food allergies has heightened that personality trait. There is enough stress in his life, and mine, already, why add to that stress unnecessarily?

So, with allergies being important and life threatening and my angst ever increasing, I've decided to get my son a medical alert bracelet. It is a potentially life saving measure, and one that will help me to be a little calmer when he is away from me. I spent many hours scouring the web, trying to find a bracelet that is suitable for a toddler and within my price range. What I thought would be an easy task was actually quite frustrating. The ones I like seemed to be in other countries, and the cost of international shipping equal to or more than the cost of the actual bracelet. Or the ones in my price range were too ugly, too girly or simply inappropriate for a toddler. I think I've finally decided on a sportsband, and I will post pictures and a review once we receive it. I do like those rubber/silicone wristbands that state "Food Allergies" in bold letters. They might help keep all of the well meaning strangers that are continually trying to feed my son at bay. And I also think they would be good when he is in a new environment, to remind people of his allergies. But, they would not be helpful in an emergency, so for now I'll stick to my neon orange sign and get a more traditional bracelet. I might still get one of those wristbands though, as an additional protection. That or a T-shirt that says "Don't Feed Me! You could kill me!" Okay, maybe that's a bit much. I guess "Don't Feed Me! I have food allergies" would suffice. If you see one in a 2T feel free to send it my way!

Friday, November 20, 2009

How are food allergies diagnosed in children?

As I have blogged and spoken and status updated about my son's food allergies, I often hear the same questions over and over again. Aside from "what is he allergic to" and "how did you find out", a few parents wonder if maybe their child has food allergies, and want to know what they should do.

In adults and older children, food allergy is usually diagnosed by a combination of skin testing and food challenge. In younger children and babies, often the symptoms are different and the testing unreliable. Instead of the typical facial swelling, for example, a child is more likely to develop eczema, vomiting, diarrhea, fussiness, difficulty sleeping, or failure to grow properly. All of these symptoms, however, can also be indicators of other illness, so it can be difficult to make a diagnosis. In addition, it is possible to test positive for something which you can eat without a problem, hence the food challenge. A food challenge is difficult to perform on a small child as they can not express themsleves. So where does that leave you?

Well, you have a few options. First you can do elimination testing at home. If you suspect that your child has a food allergy, try eliminating the offending food from his diet. Have no idea what the offending food is? Start with the top allergens and be systematic. If you are breastfeeding, this means that you will also have to eliminate the offending food from your diet. Please ensure that you are replacing the eliminated foods with other foods to ensure adequate nutrition. There is more information about how to do an elimination diet on WebMD. You can also request allergy testing from your pediatrician. The results of the testing and patient history will determine their recommendations about avoidance, elimination, and reintroduction of the suspect foods. Unfortunately, allergy tests can also be wrong the other way, and this can be life threatening. Sometimes, the test results are negative, but the the person has a reaction. If your child breaks out in hives or has an itchy mouth or throat (babies will grab at their faces) after eating, call your Dr. immediately, this could be a serious reaction and may require immediate medical attention. If in doubt call 911. If at any point your child has difficulty breathing, is gasping for air, coughing uncontrollably or you notice swelling of the face or neck, CALL 911.

Please note: The information in this post is not meant to be a substitute for the advice and recommendation of your physician. It is intended for informational purposes only.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

More on food allergies



After watching this video, my mother contacted the Media Specialist at FAI USA and requested some information to share with her coworkers and others. She received an immediate reply, and the DVD's are on their way. We are so excited! Education is essential, because in this case ignorance is not bliss, it is life threatening. And these videos present the information in a manner that is easy to comprehend as well as personal. Although I believe that it is important for our children to learn how to live and take care of themselves in a world that is full of danger, which for some children includes certain foods, I also believe that it is important for us to do everything we can to keep all children safe. I'm just beginning this journey in the world of food allergies, and although it is likely that my son will outgrown some, if not all, of his allergies, there are still precautions that I must take, and might have to take for years to come. The thought of day care or school truly strikes terror in my heart, but I've realized that educating others is my best weapon. Once I dispel the myths and emphasize the seriousness, my baby is safe and everyone is operating from a place of knowledge instead of a place of fear. I'll take knowledge over fear any day.

Here's a little food allergies story for you. Don't worry, no anaphylactic shock or death in this one, just a little comic relief. My son goes to a nursery class twice a week for about 2 hours. He's only been going for two weeks, and I send a bright orange paper with him that I take out and show all of the adults at the beginning of every class. I'm in the building, and the adults rotate, so I keep the epi-pen with me and take one of their pagers just in case. The paper that I show everyone looks like this:




Of course, his name is substituted for FIRST NAME, and a picture of his smiling face is beneath. The teachers and volunteers really appreciate the paper, and the other parents have also started to take note and inform the staff when their children have any of the major allergens for snack (in this age group, that includes peanuts, eggs, and milk, all of which my son is allergic to). This, in addition to his demeanor and other notable characteristics, have caused him to become quite well known. When we went this Wednesday, which was his fourth time, there was a lot of buzz as we walked into the room. "Here he is!" exclaimed one lady. "This is him," remarked a few people. "That's the boy with all the allergies, poor baby," said another. And then woman who was meeting us for the first time looked up to see the poor baby with all the food allergies. "But he's BIG!" she exclaimed. I looked in her eyes and saw the surprise there; she was expecting a frail child, which my child definitely is not. Then she looked at me, took a breath to regain her composer, and said "good job" while nodding her head and smiling. I said thank you and had a little chuckle as I thought about what a surprise it must have been for her to expect a frail child and get a robust one year old. "Poor baby" is far from an accurate description!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Food Allergies Video

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mary Mary - Get Up

This is my anthem this week. I need some motivation to GET UP and get things done. I keep waiting for this thing or the next, one person or another, the right time, for everything to fall into place, and it is past the point of being acceptable. I struggle with fear, fear of failure. But honestly, to quote Marianne Williamson, like most of us I am afraid that I am powerful beyond measure. It might not be eradicated overnight, but I'm not going to conquer anything without effort. So here it is. Hopefully some of you will be inspired to get started, or keep going.

It's your dreams, your choice, your time, your life, so don't you miss it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Postpartum Depression, Bottle Feeding and Infant and Mother Separation at Birth

I read this article today and decided to share. It is not conclusive evidence, but it is an interesting beginning to what, I hope, will be more research.

Postpartum Depression, Bottle Feeding and Infant and Mother Separation at Birth

Posted using ShareThis

Let's Start at the Beginning

When I think about the importance of family, one of the first things that comes to mind is maternity leave. In China, women under 30 are given 3 months paid leave, women 30 and over, 4 months. Women in Mexico get 12 weeks, and Cameroon, 14. Both paid. And most of Europe is even better. England is more than 6 months. Polish women get 4-5 months and French women 16 weeks for the first baby, and more for subsequent children. Paid. The United States? Nothing. If your company is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, then you are entitled to 12 weeks. Unpaid.

I know that people argue, especially for smaller companies, that it will cost too much money to pay women to stay home with their children, even at a flat rate. But if other countires can afford to do it, why can't we? Each county has different laws, different taxation rates, different health care systems and governments, yet most of them manage to give mothers at least three months of paid leave, so I'm sure that we can find a way to make it work.

The US is one of only 5 countries in the world that don't offer paid maternity leave. I know a lot of women in the US, women that work at small companies, women that work at blue-collar jobs, women that had difficult pregnancies and had to take a lot of leave before the baby was born, that had to go back to work the day after their 6 week checkup. Some even before their 6 week checkup. Even if women are covered by the FMLA, most are required to use all of their sick and vacation time first. Yes, it helps with getting paid for as many weeks as they had time, but it also means that they have to return to work with a small child at home, and no time off available. This is not a good situation for the mothers or the babies. If there are other children or a spouse at home, it is not good for them either. And the family suffers.

Unrealistic and often unobtainable expectations prevail...like putting in full day at work and getting home to a baby that ooohhs and coos for a few minutes then promptly sleeps through the night. The reality is often harsher, and more difficult. Everyone is sleep deprived. The baby knows that mom has not been there all day and needs her attention, love and affection. And everyone still has to eat, and bathe, and occasionaly wear clean clothes. We have mothers that are stretched too thin too fast. As most people know, if mom is ok, everyone is ok. Let's take care of our moms.

Here are a few websites to check my facts about maternity leave:
http://www.childpolicyintl.org/issuebrief/issuebrief5table1.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave
http://www.ethiopianreview.com/business/274

Unfortunately, the fight to change the maternity leave laws is often waged on the state level. To learn more about the efforts to change the laws:
http://www.momsrising.org/maternity
http://www.progressivestates.org/content/369/maternity-and-paternity-leave

And if you are trying to figure out how to pay the bills and stay home with your baby, here are a few ideas from other moms that made it work.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It Takes a Village

When I was 15, I went to Mexico as an exchange student with a small group from my high school. On the way there, our 1st flight was delayed and we missed our connection. This was before the days of cell phones and widespread internet. The airport staff, dealing with a lot of irate passengers, continually brushed us off. We called our school, and the head of the exchange program was not helpful. Lacking enough change, we couldn't all call our parents. Having run out of options, we prepared to sleep in the airport.

Suddenly, I heard my name being paged. Surprised, I listed to see if I would hear it again. There it was, I was being instructed to pick up a red courtesy phone. I picked one up, told the person my name, and was instructed to come to the ticket counter, and make sure my classmates were with me. So we gathered our stuff and found our way to the ticket counter, all the while wondering what was going on. We got to the counter and were lead to a back room. We crowded into the room, and a woman sitting behind a desk looked up. She surveyed the group of teenagers, and then looked at me and said "You need to call your mother. Now." and handed me a phone. As it turns out, my mother had gotten a call from the teacher at our school informing her that he knew we were stuck in Texas. That's it. They are stuck, and I know. Well, that was NOT acceptable. Armed with a phone book (yes a yellow pages) she tracked down the number for Continental's unaccompanied minor department in Houston. She appraised the staff of our situation, and the staff quickly stepped into action. We had a chaperon, a hotel and food within 30 minutes of that phone call. The airline did not know we were unaccompanied minors (that was the fault of our teacher and the agents that booked our fights and checked us in) and none of the other parents thought to call the airline. Thankfully my mother did, and she didn't call and say my daughter is stranded, she said my daughter and her classmates are stranded, and gave the airline personnel our names, genders, and approximate ages. In fact, when we arrived the woman behind the desk checked us against what my mother said, first, and then against the computer. Thanks to my mom, none of us slept in the airport. And all of the other kids excitedly told their parents how "[my] mom got us a room in a NICE hotel! And free FOOD!"

When we returned from Mexico we all waited together for our bags. Slowly, parents began to arrive and stand with their children. My parents were nowhere to be found. The other parents noticed that I was still alone, and asked if my parents were there. I said no. Once their child had all their bags, they said goodnight, and left. One by one, all of the parents started to leave, without a second thought or backward glance. It was late, the airport was fairly empty, and I was a teenage girl, alone, in an airport in a city about 2 hours from my home. I went to look around for my parents, and did not see them. Aside from being scared, I was nervous, worried...all I could do was wait, and everyone was leaving. When I returned to the baggage carousel, I saw my classmate and his parents, who happened to be elderly, the last people still there. Maybe it's because they grew up in a different era, but they did not leave me alone. They waited with me until my parents came because it was the right thing to do. And I am grateful for them, may God rest their souls.

I know that I was not the responsibility of any of the other parents, but what about doing what's right? They all came, knew I was the only child whose parents hadn't arrived yet, and in some cases knew they lived within 30 minutes of me, and said goodbye without a second thought. Not a single backward glance. No concern for my safety or well being. I, simply put, was not their problem. What if my mother felt the same about their children? What if she had told the airline employees that her daughter, who was the youngest in the group, was an unaccompanied minor, but not mentioned the other kids? Would they have felt slighted, offended, would they have called her selfish or uncaring when they discovered that I had slept in a 5 star hotel and eaten two free meals at a nice restaurant, while their children were left to fend for themselves? I was 15, and a few of them were 17 and 18, technically not unaccompanied minors. But because my mom told the airline employees that we were together, they kept us together. My classmates were not my mother's responsibility, but she did what was right, because we were all children.

In the years since then, I have had numerous other scenarios like this. My family will drive other children home or wait with them until their parents pick them up. But when the shoe is on the other foot, when we are late or stuck in traffic, we arrive to a child standing alone, the parents of the children that we wait with and drive home saying "bye sweetie, tell your mom I said hi" as they pull off.

I know that we are "different", but wish we weren't. I wish that when people stepped in to help, parents didn't automatically get defensive, so that they could accept constructive criticism. We can't separate the good from the bad if we don't listen. I wish people thought about other children the way they think about their own. Your children are amazing, and unique, and wonderful, and special to you, and other children are exactly the same to their loved ones. Maybe if we applied the golden rule, ALL of our children would lead happier, safer lives. Just a thought.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

STUFF

I have a lot of stuff. Just stuff. Things for my future home, souvenirs from various trips, books, lots of books, baby clothes, photo albums, pictures in boxes, yearbooks and autograph books, and a random assortment of items that I keep "for sentimental value". I have stuff in Shanghai, stuff in NYC and stuff in FL. This summer I had the opportunity to go through my collection of NYC crap, and got rid of the bulk of it, but I still have a few bins and an attic storage closet of things with my name on them. I said that I would only keep things that I'm willing to take around the world with me, which helped me get rid of a lot, but some things are difficult to let go of. I might not take them with me, but it would be nice to know they are in my mother's garage. I know this is a slightly flawed philosophy, so I decided to look for some tips on how to de-clutter my items of sentimental value.

Here's a sample of what I found (taken from here):

Here are eight ways to break free from the sentimental clutter:

1. Photos: We all have boxes of pictures waiting to be organized into albums. Luckily, the Digital Age has made this easier to tackle. DigMyPics.com, a Gilbert-based photo-scanning company, scans photos for as little as 16 cents per image. The company also digitizes videotape and negatives.

When photos are digital, they're preserved for the ages on a DVD. Plus, you can create photo books in minutes. Sites such as mypublisher.com, blurb.com, shutterfly.com and snapfish.com walk you through every step of creating a photo book, from uploading and organizing photos to adding captions. (And they're affordable - for example, a 40-page notebook-size photo book is $19.95 at blurb.com, and smaller flipbooks are just $4.99 at snap fish.com.) That way, you can ditch the clunky, mismatched albums.

If you're willing to ship photos out of the state, California-based ScanMyPhotos.com charges $50 to scan 1,000 photos onto a DVD. Arizona Scanning (arizonascanning.com), which started in Arizona and moved to Virginia, charges 20 cents per image for higher-resolution scans.

2. Children's artwork: McGivney suggests buying an artists' portfolio case at an art-supply store such as Aaron Brothers to store kids' artwork by date, then periodically sorting it and keeping the best. Steill helps clients make memory boxes for kids' treasures.

For her own household, Steill takes photos of her daughter holding her artwork and school presentations, and prints them in a photo book. She said the photo is a better memory of her daughter's age and lasts much longer than glitter glue on poster board. (I love this idea!)

You also should take a digital photo of the artwork itself. Digitizing your child's artwork allows you to showcase his or her creativity in clever ways. Turn it into greeting cards and stickers at snapfish.com or moo.com, where you can print 10 personalized photo greeting cards with a different image on each one for $24.99.

3. Kids' rooms: The dolls and the trophies don't have to live with you forever. McGivney has a perfect antidote for empty nesters dealing with a child's room: Buy an appliance box at a moving-supplies store. Then make an agreement with your college-bound kid to store everything he or she wants to keep that fits in the box until after college. In four years, most of that memorabilia won't seem important.

Haber hopes to edit her children's stuff as they age to a few key objects and present them with one special box or trunk. "I really want them to have their history accessible to them in a fashion that isn't overwhelming," she said.

4. Souvenirs: Steill said a lot of clients have trouble getting rid of travel tchotchkes - the majority of which end up in boxes rather than on display. Again, she suggests taking photos of the objects and adding them to the trip's photo album. (Um, why buy it? Just take a pic of it in the store and then you can put a caption: Another thing I wanted to buy, but didn't.)

"You have the memory but without having the three-dimensional object that is taking up space," she said. For special items, place them in a shadow box along with a few favorite photos from the trip.

5. Books: "I find a lot of people hold on to books for sentimental reasons," Steill said. One client purged his beloved law-school books after making shadow boxes from his favorite textbook covers. The rest of the textbooks were recycled.

McGivney helped another book lover sell the collection on amazon.com, leading to a part-time business. You may feel better about giving up treasured books by donating them to a library. (I tried that in NYC, and the library wouldn't take them, they didn't even see them). Blanke also encourages people to visit booksforsoldiers.com to send paperback books to those in the service.

6. Parents' belongings: Baby Boomers are grappling with the belongings of parents who have downsized, moved into an assisted- living home or passed away. (We just downsized with my grandmother. Again.)

Julie Hall, an estate expert and author of "The Boomer Burden" (Thomas Nelson, $14.99), urges people to pare before burdening loved ones. She also said aging parents should talk to their children about what items they want and leave detailed documents about their final wishes.

"My goal is to make both generations aware the burden is not our parents, the burden is their stuff, because their children don't know what their things are worth or what to keep and what to sell," she said.

Have an appraiser evaluate items before anything is distributed or sold. Capture the home and contents with still and/or video cameras, making for warm memories while helping loved ones let go of all but a few cherished heirlooms.

"Keep the stuff that really, really means something to you, and let the rest go," Hall said. "Let people make new memories."

7. Family heirlooms: One of Blanke's clients inherited her mother's collection of china figurines. "They just weren't her thing at all, but her mother had loved them," she said.

Blanke encouraged her to set them out at an estate sale and take solace when buyers fell in love with them.

Blanke has this test for keeping heirlooms: "If having it around me makes me feel really happy, I'll keep it. But if it's up in the attic and someone else can use it, then I'll give it away."

8. Correspondence and documents: There's no way you can hang on to every Christmas card or letter. McGivney suggests treating holiday cards like kids' art. Keep only the best. Then make a holiday album you store with the seasonal decor to remember great holidays past.

If you're cleaning years of paperwork out of a den, a shredding service can be a godsend. Remember that almost any bill or statement can be retrieved online, so there are few essential documents you must keep.

What do you think? What are your time tested secrets to staying clutter-free?

Monday, October 05, 2009

A New Theme

I'm trying to get more organized. The past two weeks have been difficult for me, I've been disorganized, lacking focus and generally unproductive. My to-do list was a mile long, and I didn't get past the first 10 feet.

So I've decided to get organized. I finally made a daily schedule, and I already see the difference. I know, one child is not that much work, why would I need a schedule? Well, the schedule helps both of us. My son is a very active child, which I love, and that means that he doesn't like to sit and chill while I do other things. A few weeks ago, I started taking him outside in the backyard every morning. We have a fun backyard, with a play house, car, slide, balls, and other small toys. He loves his outside time, but after a while it gets too hot and we have to come in. And I spend most of the rest of the day trying to figure out what we are going to do next, thinking about all of the non-parenting things I have to do, and wishing I was an X-woman with mutation that would allow me to do multiple things at once, like play with my son, write a grant proposal letter, and crochet some fingerless gloves. Unfortunately, I don't have a mutant X gene that allows me to be in 6 places at once, or use the computer just by thinking about it, so I had to come up with a better system. Hence, the schedule.

Now, I know that after we come inside we are going to have "music and movement", and then a snack. I am no longer trying to figure out what to do, I already have an idea. Sometimes it is specific (storytime) and other times it is more general (free play). I even included "quiet time" in the schedule, so that he ca learn to sit still and entertain himself while I do other things (like clean). And we are both happier, because he knows what to expect, and I am less exasperated. The schedule has worked wonderfully, but along with the schedule, I had to change my mindset.

I have a limited time frame during which I can do "other" tasks on a daily basis. If I have a deadline, or something comes up, my schedule can change. But most days, I have two hours during nap and two hours after bedtime to myself. No more staying up until 2 and 3 in morning, as I usually accomplish little and am sleep deprived. This meant that I had to readjust my idea of how much I can get done in a day, or a week, and that is okay. Maybe I will work smarter, or faster, but I will also have to be more realistic with my deadlines and expectations. And that is a good thing. I think that with the schedule and change in mindset, I will be a better parent, and a more productive employee and entrepreneur.

While I'm on a getting organized kick, I like the idea of weekly themes on my blog. I know that there will be postings that are off topic, but having a weekly theme helps to keep the blog organized, and more regularly updated. Don't worry, I have a LOT of themes in my mind. And if you have any suggestions, let me know.

Until next time, here's something to think about:

"We can no more enjoy life by hoping for a future result,
than we can enjoy music by waiting for the final note."
Vernon Howard


Enjoy your life!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Trend Continues

This week is all about building green.

What is building green? Well, to me it is building in an environmentally friendly, environmentally conscious way, with little waste, the three R's (reduce, reuse, recycle), and making sure that what goes into the house, materials, paint, appliances, etc, is also sustainable, and earth conscious. For me, building green would also mean building off the grid (yay!), but definitely selling my unused power to the grid. Using non-conventional building materials, like bamboo, recycled wood, no- or low-VOC paints, radiant heating, and eco-friendly appliances, are all included in my idea of building, and living, green. I might also consider a green roof. When this is going to happen, I have no idea, but the idea is definitely percolating in my mind. I still have a lot to learn, but by the time I'm ready I'm confident that I will be prepared.

Some of the aspects of going green are really not that much of a shift for me, like life without dryers. I grew up with a washing machine, but not a dryer, and although I do love the way a warm, fresh out of the dryer towel feels against warm, wet skin, it is something I only experienced later in life, and that I don't really miss. In most of the countries I visit (and live), dryers are quite a rarity, and I am quite accustomed to life without them. Other aspects of going green are unaccustomed treasures, like radiant heat. I first discovered radiant heating in China, where many of my friends and coworkers had these wonderful warm floors. In Shanghai, where I spent most of the winter wearing a coat indoors, stepping into those homes was truly a treat, for the feet as well as the rest of the bdy. After one winter in Shanghai, I knew that if I lived in a cold place, I would want heated floors (and walls). It is a wonderful plus that something as luxurious, to me, as radiant heat is also green.

As of right now, the only major challenge to building green, is well, getting the green. Building green, although it saves money in the long run, is considerably more expensive up front. For now.

And for those of you that think building green means living in the woods (if that's your thing, go for it), or building ugly, here are some pictures of green homes to give you a few different perspectives. Enjoy!

From veranda.com:



From jetsongreen.com:



From cnet uk:




From Alys Beach (you can buy one of these if you're interested):




That is just a small sample. If you see one you like, send me the link and I'll add a picture.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Green Pre-fab

Okay, so I watch World's Greenest Homes whenever I get the chance. Most of the houses are distinctive, and it's interesting to see how many different ways people can achieve the same basic goal. So here is a house that I think is worth another look (and not as expensive as the majority of the homes on that show).


It's a pre-fab, a manufactured home. I'm not a big fan of manufactured homes, although I've seen some nice ones. But if I had a piece of land, I would put this on it. Definitely not traditional, and I'm not sure how my husband would feel about the design, but hey this is 2009! Aside from the fact that it is a green home, I love how it doesn't really look pre-fab. Modern yes, manufactured, no. Check it out at http://www.mkd-arc.com/homes/mkbreeze/

Building Green

I would love to build a green home.

The other day, I was driving down the street, and saw an ad outside of a model come. We Build Green. Intrigued, I went back the next day to see what they had to offer, and how much it costs to build an average green home. Boy, was I disappointed. The saleswoman basically told me that they have a few green elements in all of their homes, which means that they have energy saving appliances, windows, bulbs, and a few other features. Everything else is extra. I tried to get ballparks, but it was next to impossible. When I asked about using recycled materials, she looked at me like I was crazy. She kept referring to truly green homes as "extreme". Yes, they can build an environmentally friendly home, and they have (she showed me the newspaper article of the eco-warriors that built their home with this company) with success. However, it seems that the owners ideals have not reached his salespeople. Why advertise "we build green" if you think that recycled materials, solar panels for more than heating the pool, earth/eco friendly building materials, etc. is "extreme"? Argh.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I was watching Planet Green (a television channel in the US) today, "World's Greenest Homes". Today's show featured a house in Colorado, 7,000 square feet...they get so much energy from their solar panels that they sell the extra to the grid. WHAT! My first thought was "this is how the rich stay rich". Build a 7,000 sq. foot green home is not CHEAP, and then to be able to sell the extra, solar powered energy. Nice for your pocket. Oh, and the environment too.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I worked there!

As I browsed through news articles from Yahoo!'s home page, I ran across a familiar name. "Hey, I used to work for that guy!" Although Burt Flickinger was an oft quoted man long before I worked for him, I did not often come across his name. And I can not recall seeing it in the years since. It was an interesting thing, seeing the name of your former boss in print, recalling what it was like to work for him, remembering all of the things I saw and read and learned during my time with SRG.

And it reminded me of another news worthy former employer of mine, the Early Emotional Development Program. While I was there we were working on a preschool depression study, which has recently become MAJOR news. I'm still in touch with my former colleagues, and was quite excited to see of all the press about the study. And it was a little surreal, to read about something about which I have first hand knowledge.

I wonder what (or who) I'll read about tomorrow...

Walmart article (Burt Flickinger III)

One (of many) about Preschool Depression (Dr. Joan Luby, EEDP)

Friday, September 04, 2009

I'm going to France to get some dancing lessons from Elvyna. Trop forte! FRANCHEMENT RESPECT!



Thursday, September 03, 2009

I'm a hustler baby

I realized this evening that I have a few things I'm trying to get going. In addition to being a stay-at-home mom, I recently got a part-time tutoring job, am setting up my etsy shop and selling my stuff locally, and advertising my services as a virtual assistant. I'm also looking into getting one more out of the house part-time job, at least for the time being. I'm here for now, so I could as well, right? And thankfully, except for the tutoring job, I can continue my various jobs no matter where in the world we decide to go, which is important and essential, given our lifestyle.

I'm also trying to make a very big decision. Do I go back to school for a year and do something I'm good at but don't love, or go back for 5 years and risk failure to do something I am passionate about? Or do neither and focus all of my energy on being an entepenuer? I feel like the clock is ticking, and I still have so much I want to get done, but time is running out.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bleeping Food Allergies

In case you were wondering, food allergies suck. I went to the store to find some easy meals for my son, some of those toddler microwaveable meals, to have in the house or the diaper bag (I carry food for him EVERYWHERE). After checking labels, I discovered that of the 20+ varieties on the shelf, my son can not eat a single one. NOT ONE. I was quite frustrated. Seemingly vegetarian meals made with chicken stock, almost everything with eggs and milk. Argh! I know that I can go to the local health food store and get him some organic, vegan/vegetarian meals that he can eat, but they are considerably more expensive and I am on a budget. My sister took one look at me in the store and said "You need a support group."

Then today after dinner, which my son refused to eat, I noticed he had hives on his torso. There were none in the area around his mouth, and he didn't have any of the other telltale signs, like trying to scratch his tongue, pulling and scratching his ears, coughing, gasping or clawing at his face, so I didn't think he had ingested any of his allergens. Turns out that some of my sister's gravy, which contained a little milk, got on his chest (his food was gravy-less, and I didn't know the gravy had milk). She tried to give him some of her food when he wouldn't eat his own, but he refused to eat it (smart boy!). No trip to the emergency room, thankfully. But if that is what happened after coming into contact with a trace amount of milk in a sauce, then I think even a non-ingested reaction could be pretty severe. If there was anything I could to do to guarantee that he would grow out of his allergies, I would do it. Then I would become a millionaire, because so would thousands of other people around the world.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mocha Dai

Another teaser. I made a few of these belts ("dai" is "belt"). I love them! They have a really fun texture and are one size fits many. They seem to be a hit with the teenage crowd, which is pretty cool. I'm going to make a few variations, different colors and textures, maybe you'll find one you love.

Setting up this shop is a bit of work. I had to push back my deadline a week, but I'm still crocheting, and experimenting with different techniques and styles. Everything I sell has to be my original design (or something in common use, like a granny square) so that is also challenging. It is a great feeling though, when something I've been working on (and frogging, yarn speak for taking out and starting over) finally comes out nice! I've tried a lot of new things in the past few weeks: wire, beads, thread, fishing wire, and hemp, to name a few. Even after I get the shop set up, I will be adding new styles as I become more comfortable with different materials and techniques. A little scary, but exciting too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Online Store

I finally started to set up my Etsy shop! I'm still taking pictures, so the shop is empty. But here is a teaser for all of my faithful blog readers:

The Citrus Collection


The Newspaper Collection


And here is my first custom order. She wanted a pair to match her work uniform.

That is just the jewelry. I also have belts, hats, scarves, and a baby blanket or two. So, get those bank accounts in order, my etsy store is coming soon!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's been a long time

I've had a busy summer. Lots of traveling...by plane, train, automobile, and even coach (bus). I attended the long awaited for union of my oldest friend and her husband (CONGRATS Mrs. H! And Mr. H too.) I've packed and unpacked, moved lots of furniture, had a yard sale or two and spent time with the family. I went to look at schools with my sister, spent some time with my goddaughters, saw my friends, and reconnected with a person or two. And that's not all. My baby celebrated his first birthday, and he is running around, calling me by my nickname (instead of mama) and generally giving orders. He's a blast! I've contemplated where in the world we are going to live, applied for about 50 jobs on three continents, and made a few decisions.

One of the most exciting decisions is that I'm going to sell crochet accessories. Yay! I know some of you have been waiting a LONG time for me to come to that decision. Thank you for your patience. I hope that I can have your continued support (and purchasing power). For now, I'm going to stick with women's accessories, and I will definitely have some organic and natural stuff for the "crunchy" crowd, like myself. There might be a few baby blankets and other items, for those of you that really want one of my lovely handmade items for your little one. I do have a deadline, which is fast approaching, so keep your eyes open for the launch of my etsy store.

So far, I've made some belts, a few hat and scarf sets, and earrings (thanks for the suggestion AT, they are not easy to do but they are cute!). Is there anything else you all would like to me to make? Those of you that know me personally have an idea of the kind of stuff I make, feel free to make suggestions (or requests). And for those of you that don't know me personally, I will post some pictures in the next day or two.

I'm going to pick up a hook and some thread, and get to work. Until the next posting, be well.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Color of Change

Dear friends,

Two weeks ago outside Philadelphia, sixty-five children from a summer camp tried to go swimming at a club their camp had a contract to use. Evidently, the club didn't know the kids were largely Black.

When the campers entered the pool, White parents took their kids out of the water, and the swimming club's staff asked the campers to leave. The next day, the club told the summer camp that their membership would be canceled and that they would refund their money. When asked why, the club's leader said the "kids would change the complexion ... and the atmosphere of the club."

A "Whites only" pool in 2009 should not be tolerated. The club's actions appear to be a violation of section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act. Whether or not any laws were violated, a "Whites only" pool should be something every American condemns.

I've just joined ColorOfChange.org in doing exactly that -- will you join me, and email your friends and family asking them to do the same? We're also calling on the Department of Justice to evaluate suing the facility under federal law. It takes just a moment to do both, here:

http://www.colorofchange.org/swim/?id=1550-910789

Obama is President but that doesn't mean that suddenly all is fine when it comes to race in America. This is a vivid reminder of what we know still lies beneath the surface.

We all know stories like this one -- similar incidents play out quietly every day in different communities across the country. The difference in this case is that folks got caught and there was a contract in place that makes for a potentially illegal act.

Standing up now isn't just about making things right for these kids in Philadelphia or bringing consequences to this swim club (called the Valley Swim Club). It's about creating a climate of accountability everywhere. If we can publicly shame the Valley Swim Club and hold them accountable for this incident, it will make others think twice before engaging in this kind of discrimination.

Please join me in condemning the Valley Swim Club's blatant discrimination and calling on the Justice Department to investigate whether they violated civil rights laws. And please ask your friends and family to do the same.

http://www.colorofchange.org/swim/?id=1550-910789

Thanks.

Here are some links to more info:

"Pool Boots Kids Who Might 'Change the Complexion,'" NBC Philadelphia, 07-08-09
http://bit.ly/90Zyr

"60 Black Kids Booted from Philly Pool For Being Black -- Speak Out," Jill Tubman at Jack and Jill Politics, 07-08-09
http://bit.ly/GkJTs

"Valley Swim Club: Day Two," Adam B at Daily Kos, 07-08-09
http://bit.ly/qbpSA

"Section 1981 Summary," Employment Law Information Network
http://www.elinfonet.com/1981sum.php

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A little bit of China


I read this today on the New York times website. Figured I would share.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/06/04/world/04twitter.full.jpg

Friday, May 29, 2009

The two-nine's have it!

Birthdays are for me what new years are for most people. A time during which I reflect on the past year, and think about my future. I don't make new years resolutions, or birthday ones, but I do take the time to think about what a blessing it is to celebrate another year of life.
This time last year, I was focused on the life growing inside of me. I had just returned to the States from China, so that I could give birth at home. I was still adjusting to the time change, the attention and support of my family, and was making post-baby plans. This year, my son is almost one, and I am amazed and awed by how much has changed in the last year of my life. Not only motherhood, but I have changed and grown a lot in the past year. I did not think I would be in the US this long, but hindsight is 20/20 and I am grateful that I've been able to develop my skills as a lady of leisure...and earthy mummy.
It has been an interesting, and in many ways, challenging, year for me. There have been some moments that I would rather forget, and others I will remember for the rest of my life. All told, it has been a good year, as all of my years have been, and for that I am truly grateful.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On the road again

We are on the road again. So, this is a quick update.
I love the play areas at Tampa Airport! The next time I'm there, I will take a picture and post it. I took my son there and let him run around until he practically fell asleep mid stride. It was hilarious. He recently learned how to walk, and still trips on his own feet sometimes. He was so tired that he tripped, and just stayed down. I got him up, kept him up for a few minutes, and then we boarded the plane. He slept for most of the flight. It was great. Business class seat, sleeping child. One of my best flights in years (second to International First/Business Class which we used to do when my mother worked for the airlines). The only good thing about all these stupid fees for bags and such, is that a business class seat (when you don't have to pay additional to check bags) is sometimes only a little more expensive than a coach fare plus all of the fees. So, because I check bags, it is worth it for me to give the extra money ($30 this time) to upgrade to business. A wider seat for me and the little one, better drinks and snacks (hey, it's all we get these days) and an easier experience overall. Bon voyage!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Pictures



Four dozen vegan cupcakes.
I made plain chocolate, chocolate chip, Oreo®, double chocolate chip, strawberry swirl and double chocolate chip Oreo®. I'm moving on to cookies next...




My newphew's "rastaman" cap. My SIL wants to learn how to crochet so she can make more of these for her son. So I made this one as the test run, so that I can teach her how to do it. Not bad considering how long it has been since I last crocheted. I used to be pretty good, good enough to make money from it...I made this while watching CSI, so maybe I can pick it up again.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ichthyosis

After many years, numerous doctors offices, medicated bandages, intense itching, occasional raw and bleeding skin, and the stigma attached with a skin disorder, we finally have an accurate diagnosis. For over 20 years, what WE knew could not be "just a bad case of eczema", as numerous doctors continually informed us, has finally been diagnosed, by my sons allergist nonetheless. "I'm not a dermatologist", he said "but this looks like...ICHTHYOSIS." It doesn't have a cure, but to finally have some answers makes a huge difference. My mother, after more than 20 years of suffering, finally feels "empowered". My son's allergist is her new hero. He did in less than 5 minutes what no other doctor, including many dermatologists, has been able to do. He gave her a new lease on life.

When she mentioned that she had bad eczema, he, knowing that allergies and eczema are often connected, asked her to describe it. At a loss for words, she lifted the hem of her skirt slightly to reveal the skin on her legs. He asked her permission to touch her, and he rubbed her legs to see if the skin was smooth, bumpy, scaly, etc. Then he asked her what made her think it was eczema. She informed him that is what she had always been told by other doctors. He made the classic "Oh, really, let me not say anything" face. He recommended that she see a dermatologist for confirmation, but he was pretty sure.

We, of course, went home and googled "ichthyosis". What was amazing was the pictures. We saw some that we could have taken ourselves over the years. We read the symptoms, which extend beyond just the appearance of the skin, and she was checking them off, one by one. I can not recall ever seeing my mother so excited. She really and truly felt like a burden had been lifted off of her shoulders. She was not crazy, or wrong, or a hypochondriac. All of these years, all of the creams and lotions that never worked, all of the intense itching and discomfort, all of the suffering, and now, thanks to her grandson's serious food allergies, and her daughters persistence that she go to the allergist with them, now there is an opportunity for her to bring all of it to end. To finally be able to control her skin disorder.

Isn't it amazing how things work out?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Takeover


Vegan Double Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I took some over to my neighbor, and she loved them. "Mm," she said "these taste like cupcakes." Of course! "You'd never guess. They are so moist." Yipee! Her one year old daughter enjoyed hers too (she got a mini heart cupcake). My three year old niece liked hers so much she nearly ate the paper in her attempt to get every last drop of cupcake. My mother wants me to make some to take to her job. Vegan cupcakes are taking over my world!

I used the recipe for Basic Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes from chow.com (which they got from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World). I threw in some chocolate chips (allergy friendly, from enjoylife) and made one or two minor tweaks. If you are a recipe person, the recipe will yield great results, I just don't like to follow directions and always have to add my own little flair. These do have wheat and soy, but could be made with rice milk and a different flour and then they would be free of the big eight. As they are, they are free of 6 of the big eight, totally safe for vegans, and absolutely tasty. Seriously, there are only 4 left and I'm already eyeing them...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Back in the Kitchen

I like to read (and see) what other people are whipping up in their kitchens, so I'm sure you'll enjoy reading about what I'm fixing. Today I made fragrant jasmine rice (with cilantro, coconut milk and a little onion), orange glazed carrots, string beans, baked tilapia, and sweet potato biscuits (made with soy milk and vegan margarine). It was delicious. A good mix of sweet and savory IMO. And completely dairy free! I was going to use bread crumbs on the fish, but bread crumbs contain milk and eggs, so that was out. I have never baked fish fillets with nothing but the seasoning before, if we are going to do that then we use the whole fish and braise it. So, I was a little nervous, but it turned out fine. So, for your viewing pleasure, here's a plate of food:
I'm going to make some more vegan cupcakes. When I do I'll try to remember to post a picture or two of those also. Bon appetit!

CNN - Urban Homesteaders

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Going Green


It's official, I am not a yummy mummy. I am an earthy mummy (and still a bit yummy, if I may say so myself).

I have started composting. Yipee! My mother is trying to grow a lemon tree, and I figured that with the horrible sandy soil down here, it could use a lot of help. I actually started composting a while back, but the rest of the family is getting into it now, saving our kitchen scraps and other bio-degradable stuff. Spending my early years in NYC meant that there were not a lot of gardens, trees and general greenery, so all of this is new to me. I am so glad I can google "composting" and get some informative videos. We are low tech for now, we put the kitchen scraps in an old butter containter, but better low tech than nothing at all. So, we'll see how it goes, and how the lemon tree grows. I'm hoping that eventually I will be the proud owner of a green thumb.

For years, I have preferred to buy natural and organic produce, but haven't always had the income or opportunity. The little one's food allergies has definitely helped in that area, as most allergy free foods are also organic. More expensive? Yes. But now I don't have a choice, so I have to find other ways to save. I can't really eat less, being that I'm already hungry ALL the time (or so it seems)...but I do try and find good coupons and shop sales. Buying organic foods makes me feel good. Good about what I'm feeding myself and my family. I took my sister shopping with me, and pointed out that the organic foods had ingredients that we could - drum roll please - pronounce. Tri-color pasta was made of wheat, and beets, spinach and tomato to get the red, green, and orange coloring. Although she, like many of my family members, has her reservations about "health" food (mostly concern that it tastes bad) she will admit that it is nice to know exactly what is in your food.

And it's not just with food that I'm going green. I've started to research ways to build a "green" house, or convert an existing home to make it more green. Solar power, harvesting rain water, all of it. I might be starting small, but I'm thinking big. Big and green!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Meanings

My mother calls her grandchildren "bubala". It is interesting, because I just found out that bubalah is a Yiddish term of endearment, often used by grandmothers to refer to their grandchildren. It is usually translated as "sweetheart". It is amazing how words can find their way around the world. My mother does not speak Yiddish, and yet this word, meaning intact, has found its way into her vernacular. It's a small world after all...

And speaking of words, I recently re-read a few of my previous posts. I need to proofread. Please forgive my plethora of errors, I will try to be a better editor and poster in the future.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The woman should wear the clothes

Not the clothes wear the woman. My mother drilled this into my head as a young woman. "You wear clothes, the clothes don't wear you".

Over the years, I have gone from being a conservative dresser, to short skirts and form fitting clothes, and back again. I have noticed the differences in the way that I am perceived, and treated, and the way I feel about myself depending on the way I dress.

In the past few months, I have returned to a more conservative form of dress. My clothes fit well, but are not tight, and most people notice that the majority of my body is covered with clothing (as opposed to a bikini top and mini skirt which is commonly worn in this part of the country). I'm not talking about post-baby frumpy mummy style, with sweat pants every day. I look put together...wouldn't want my style savvy siblings to be embarrassed to be seen with me. But there is an absence of skin and form fitting clothing. In addition to my conservative attire, most days when I leave the house, my hair is covered. The type of covering changes, depending on my mood, but there is usually some sort of fabric covering my hair.

And I have discovered that there is a degree of freedom when I am dressed more modestly. I'm not sure how to explain it, but it is there. I know that women should be free to wear whatever they want, and I support individual choice about how to dress. But in my personal experience, how I am dressed has a direct correlation to the way in which I am perceived and treated by others. And that changes how I interact with those around me. Not everyone, of course, some people are always nice or polite or respectful, and other are mean or nasty or rude to everyone they meet. But I have noticed that as my clothing became more conservative, and especially after I started covering my hair more often, I navigated my way through life a little differently. I've gotten some rude stars and comments, but overall people are more respectful and polite. Especially men. I noticed this when I was a teenager in NYC, how differently men interacted with me when I had on tight jeans versus a summer dress, and the difference is even more pronounced now. It might not be right, or fair, but that is life.

However, it is not only about other people, it is about me. I change also. It takes a different type of confidence to dress modestly. Dressing modestly is not about shame, like many think. I am not ashamed of my body or my sexuality, the opposite is actually true. I think I look pretty good! I spent a few years try to overcome low self esteem and poor body image, and during that time I wore certain things just because I had something to prove. I no longer have anything to prove, and so now I wear clothes because I like them, I feel and look good in them. And for me, that means that my clothing has a little more material than other women of similar stature usually wear.

The thing that has been most interesting to me is the compliments. I get more compliments on my outfits (from women) and my beauty (from men) than I think I've ever gotten in my life. Many people notice that I look nice first, and then that my hair is covered, and then they do a double take and realize that most of my body is "covered" also. And, I think, that is the way it should be.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Superhuman

I know that Chris Brown has fallen out of favor at the moment, but I'm going to quote him (and Keri Hilson, and the actual songwriter) anyway...

I don't know what your love has done to me
Think I'm invincible I see
Through the me
I used to be

You changed my whole life
Don't know what your doing to me with your love
I'm feeling all Super human
You did that to me
Super human heart beats in me
Nothing can stop me here with you, superhuman
Super human

Strong
Since I've been flying and righting the wrongs
Feels almost like I had it all along
I can see tomorrow
But every problem is gone because
I flew everywhere with love inside of me
It's unbelievable to see
How love could set me free

You changed my whole life
Don't know what your doing to me with your love
I'm feeling all Super human
You did that to me
Super human heart beats in me
Nothing can stop me here with you, superhuman
Super human


As corny and cheesy and mushy as it might sound, this is how I feel about my husband. Even typing that makes me feel a little funny, a little nervous. Nervous about the responses. You see, so many people don't believe in love, don't believe in marriage, don't believe in love songs like this one. Not just general people, some of you, reading this right now, read those lyrics and scoffed. Maybe you scoffed at me, perhaps yourself, or even the very concept. There are times when the naysayers or the lack of support or enthusiasm get to me. And sometimes, I wonder if maybe I am wrong, maybe it is a fleeting illusion, maybe the other shoe will drop.

But the reality is that I do feel superhuman. Even the sound of his voice brings peace to my spirit, clarity to my thoughts, and a smile to my lips. He knows how to make me laugh. He is my fellow adventure seeking, wanderlust loving, on the go liver of life. He might not be perfect, but he is definitely perfect for me. He is my tall, dark and handsome. And if the other shoe is anything like the first, then it can drop.