Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Hope your Halloween brings you closer to your ancestors and that you find peace in knowing that death is only the opening to a new chapter of life...

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Two Week Wait

No, not that kind of 2WW.  It's 2 weeks until the second annual Robert's Run, as part of the 2011 Alex's Lemonade Stand Lemon Run in Philadelphia! 

This year, the run has a special meaning to us.  One of our priest's, Fr. B., shared the news that his cousin's son was fighting neuroblastoma.  At Mass last weekend, he shared the news that this special, 7 year old boy had been given hours to live and that the family was preparing for his final moments.  Another family, the cusp of Halloween, buring a beloved, 7 year old boy who was taken from them by this despicable cancer that strikes children of all ages, races, and backgrounds.  Neuroblastoma (which one could argue for most cancers) doesn't descriminate.  And it's still deadly.  Just as it was almost a quarter centry ago to Robert and as it has been this year to Christopher.  And to many, countless others.

Running in 2 weeks wont stop this disease in a day.  It wont mitigate the hurt that families like ours and Alex's and Christopher's endure with the gaping hole that their loved one left by their death.  But running- and donating towards Alex's Lemonade Stand- brings awareness to this heartless killer and it makes research into a cure a possibility.

One day... One day, we will stop this monster.

One day... A child won't be sentenced to a shorter life by this diagnosis.

One day... Runs like this will be more full of "running in honor of" instead of "running in memory of" athletes.

One day... Our children's children will talk about neuroblastoma the way we talk about polio.  It WAS a disease that harmed thousands, but it's NOT any longer.

One day... Can you help make that one day just one day closer?  Lace up your shoes and run or walk with us, or make a donation to help.  2 weeks to go!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Guilt... It's a nasty, 5-letter word, and one that most (if not all) of us are quite well acquainted with.  I think that, when a child dies, a parent's guilt becomes amplified.  What could I have done differently?  It's my fault.  I should have been able to save my child. 

It's there.  It's always there.  I've had different incarnations of the guilt.  At first there was the "had I not wanted children... had I not had fertility treatments... maybe my IC was the Universe's way of saying 'you arent meant to have kids' and that's why I hadnt gotten pregnant..."  All sorts of thoughts.  Those gave way to "had I not lifted that bag of groceries... had I not worked... had I not taken prenatal yoga..."  Bobby and Maya's pregnancy changed that because I spent sixteen of the twenty five weeks they were gestating on my back, and I still had a fairly lousy pregnancy.  So then the guilt wavered between the first round of "it's my fault because I wanted to have children" to "there's something wrong with me and my body failed them".  And so on and so forth.  Guilt, guilt, guilt.  I'm pretty squared away on that particular emotion.

I've had some emails since my recent post, asking if I feel guilty for not having a TAC previously.  To be honest, after our phone consult with Dr. Haney, I had some momentary guilt, but I can say now that, no, I dont have any guilt, with regards to not having a TAC previously. 

I have accepted that Nicholas and Sophia were meant to only have a short time in my womb and arms before passing on to the Other Side.  There are no diagnostic tools available to diagnose IC before a child is born too prematurely.  From what can be seen, my cervix looks normal; there was never a reason to believe that it was problematic.

With Alexander, there is the thought of "what if".  Unfortunately, the chances of having a TAC placed prior to his pregnancy are minimal.  We would have done a Shirodkar; I wasnt a candidate for a TAC because I hadnt had a failed TVC.  Because the general diagnostic tools available can't tell if you have true IC or if your cervix failed during a first pregnancy for another reason (for example, infection) AND because a TAC as well as the required C-Section births afterwards are surgical procedures, a TAC isnt routine.  In retrospect, I can feel guilty for not demanding a TVC when Alexander's pregnancy began; perhaps that would have bought me more time, although I dont know how much.  A TVC would have given me what I know now would have been a false sense of security.  Since I still would have dilated, the chances are high that I would have delivered early.  With Bobby and Maya, it was 17 weeks and then 20 weeks, with bedrest.  Without the bedrest, I dont know what would have happened, but I can assume it would be similar, since I was a little over 16 weeks when I dilated with Alexander.  I dont know that a TVC would have saved my little cuddlebug, but it might have bought me more time with him on the inside.

With Bobby and Maya... That's a hard one.  A TAC over a TVC could have bought them more womb time... It could have prevented any sort of infection that led to an early delivery.  Would there have been other problems?  I dont know...  I would prefer to not guess, if it would include an outcome different from the two bouncing, healthy babies (who are currently napping).

I miss Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander.  I miss what could have been with P, D, Z, and G.  But, a part of my guilt was displaced by peace long ago.  I believe they chose us to be their parents.  I believe that life doesnt begin or stop on this earth and that our mission (or whatever you want to call it) transcends time.  Our souls are timeless.  So time on this earth is just a drop in the bucket.  Our lives impact the lives of those around us and those we love (and those who love us).  They are still here, just not as we expected (or wanted).  But a world without all of them?  A world without raising Bobby and Maya?  Not a world I would want either.  So that guilt of what I most likely could not have prevented doesn't have a space (not when I have so many other things that inspire guilt!).

Gluten Free Gingersnaps

While I didnt initially love these (and think they need some work), Bobby and Maya disagree!!  They are still chanting cookie!  Slightly crumbly and delicately soft, they are lightly sweetened pieces of heaven with a cup of coffee or tea.  And, weighing in at only 90 calories each, you can happily indulge (and allow the youngest taste testers in your kitchen do so as well!)

Gluten Free Gingersnaps

Mix in a bowl and set aside:
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp Ginger, ground
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1/8 tsp Cloves, ground
1 3/3 cup GF flour mixture (I make my own but you can find them commercially available)

In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your electric mixer), mix until fluffy:
54 grams (or 6 tablespoons) whipped butter
4oz apple sauce (snack cup size)
1/4c Brown Sugar

Add and mix well:
1 large egg
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
2 tbsp lemon juice.

Add your dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Make 20 balls of dough and press flat in a bowl of granulated sugar (5tbsp should do the trick). 
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 for 9 minutes. 
Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute, then move to cooling area.

(20 cookies, 90 calories each)

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Steady Rock

The only rock I know that stays the family.  -Lee Iococca

Last month, I mused on the idea of sterility as a solution to my medical problems with carrying children.  A large thank you to everyone who left comments or emailed me, whether it was to vent, to offer advice, or to simply let me know that they were praying for us.  I received quite the outpouring of emails on the subject and I really am appreciative.  It wasnt my plan to 'leave you hanging' for so long; rather, Peter and I really wanted to look within and find the answer that would sit right with us.  After all, no matter what we decided upon, it would be a lifelong choice that would have repercussions for our family.

I know that some people will not understand our choices.  From the comments I received, both in favor of having a tubal ligation done as well as against it (and, honestly, the silence from some people that I really expected to way in) it was clear that this was a situation that people held strong views about.  There were those who had no clue about the Catholic Church who expressed concern about having the procedure done, and there were those "good" Catholics who I never in a million years would have guessed have done excommunicatable deeds without remorse who urged me to have the procedure and just continue forward.  It was a good exercise is realizing that, in some way, no matter who we put forth to the world, we still make the choices that fit within our consciences.  Some right.  Some wrong.  And some, who can tell (certainly not me!).  The choice that Peter and I have made, and our reasons for it, are not indictments of what people think and our choice isnt meant to disrespect the variety of opinions we received.  But, as I said before, it is the choice that works for our family.  And our family is the most important thing to us.

From my last posting on the subject, the two big things havent changed.  We arent the type of Catholics who will take a teaching such as this one and go on about our way and keep walking down to Communion.  It's just not the way we, personally, can do things.  Nor could we keep teaching Pre-Cana and continue our activities with other Ministries within the Church if we did.  Others can, but not us.  We just dont feel that is okay for us.  So, to actively go against a Church teaching like this, we would have to accept the excommunication and find a new place of worship.  The second thing that hasnt changed is our disagreement with the moral theologists' advice of abstienence.  Whether a barrier method, artifical birth control, sterilization, or NFP to prevent pregnancy, if you are contracepting, then you are contracepting in our book.  If one's a sin, they all are.  And abstinence for the purposes of contracepting adds to that list.  So, no go there either.

Which left us wondering just what the hell to do.

We prayed a lot.  We meditating.  We talked about the options out there.  And we decided to investigate Dr. Haney and his research at the University of Chicago with transabdominal cerclage (TAC).  With my history of PTL as well as IC, I'd been told that I wouldnt be a good candidate for a TAC.  But, since Dr. Haney is the foremost expert on the matter, we decided that all we had to lose was some time.  So, I sent him an email and, by that evening, had a response in my inbox that gave me chills along with a request to call him and chat by phone.  An appointment was made, and Peter and I had a 3-way conversation with the doctor.  After over an hour of discussion, and a lot of tears (thank goodness for a mute button), Peter and I walked away with a feeling that our decision was made and that it was a decision we could make with a clear conscience.

That being said, I'll be traveling to Chicago in early December to have a TAC placed.

Dr. Haney agreed that Nicholas and Alexander were lost to IC, and that Sophia was lost due to an infection caused by IC that resulted in her premature labor and delivery.  With Bobby and Maya, he also believes IC is the underlying cause of my PTL and argued that they should have delivered me and not even attempted the tocolytics.  His feeling is that, since my cervix had funneled by 17w, I was ripe for infection and that, ultimately, an infection caused the PTL that led to our 27 week delivery.  After talking to him and hearing his reasoning, it was hard to not agree.

He has an excellent track record.  In over 20 years, he's lost 3 babies: 2 were due to chromosonal issues that were incompatible with life and had nothing to do with the TAC; the mother of the third loss had such a damaged cervix due to a previous surgery that he had nothing to work with.  But, as it relates to a TAC, he has never lost a child.  Success is viewed as a 38-39 week delivery without bedrest and, short of a few cases where a problem with the baby (or babies) caused an earlier delivery, the man has a damn near perfect full term delivery rate.

I cant say that TAC solves all the problems.  First trimester losses due to inherent sperm or egg problems or due to a chromosonal issue with the developing baby are things that I have no control over and that my faulty cervix isn't to blame for.  It's a statistical odds game that every woman who is capable of bearing a child takes.  It doesnt make it easier to handle, but it is a risk that I feel like, in general, I can accept if I know that my cervix is "normal".  (Again, not something that I want to accept, but in the vein of being "normal" it is something I know that I have to accept.)  And I'm not going to rush out and try to get pregnant.  But Peter and I don't believe in NFP as it relates to "spacing" children or outright contracepting.  We believe in expressing our love in a physical manifestation when we feel called to do so, be that on CD8 or CD28.  Having the TAC in place mitigates that concern that I will get pregnant and lose the child due to my incompetent cervix.

For those who are curious about a TAC, I will try to do Dr. Haney justice in this explaination.  For most women, the cervix can be thought of a spool of thread.  Keeping that image in your head, imagine a woman like me without the top of that spool.  There is nothing to keep my cervix from staying strong when gravity and a developing baby begins to push down.  The TAC will basically recreate the part of my anatomy that I'm missing.  Because I will never be able to dilate, should I get pregnant, I would have to schedule a C-section.  While that part of the deal doesn't make me happy, the fact that I could fully gestate a child is more than a fair trade off.  Dr. Haney also believes that, given a full term delivery, I'd be likely to have a positive nursing experience. 

One of the emails I received about the tubal said something along the lines of the one thing that was clear from my post is that Peter and I were short on hope.  They were right.  We were hopeless.  We were driven my our fear to a place that we never wanted to go in the first place... To a place that we knew we'd always regret but where we were because we believed we had no where else to go.  Dr. Haney gave us back some hope.  Not the hope of that big, school bus worthy family that we had when we first got together (although he seems to think that's more than possible!), but the hope that we can make a choice that doesnt have to weigh us down with guilt forever.  A choice that fits into our moral plane... That doesnt hurt our idea of family.  And, for the first time since the miscarriage last year, I can breathe a little easier about that.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Eating and Cooking And Eating And...

Yesterday.. Not my finest moment when it comes to eating.  I'm not ready to talk about what led me to consume 3500 calories (most of those before noon), but suffice it to say, not my greatest day yesterday.  Did I mention I didnt run or work out?  That doesnt bode well, either.

Today, different story.  After an hour on the elliptical (which I love to do when it's raining and I dont want to get soaked running) while the world was still dark, I spent the morning getting loved on before we went to the supermarket to pick up some odds and ends that I needed to go with my farmer's market dinner for tonight.  We've been living at the local farmer's market on Saturday mornings and our week is full of delicious, local foods. I LOVE IT.  I'm sad that it is soon coming to an end.  Tonight's masterpiece?  Duck.  Cranberry glazed duck to be precise.  My house smells delicious.

In between homeschooling, playing, snuggling, and everything else in the day, I've been cooking all day.  I find I actually eat less (and am less inclined to eat regardless of my emotions) when I'm busy cooking in the kitchen.  When the adoption failed over the summer, I cooked all day for several days. (Peter's coworkers REALLY liked me).  It helped.  It's therapy (although, depending on what I'm making, it isn't altogether inexpensive... better to keep it to making family meals!).

The day has flown by today.  The cooking is to blame, I think...  Love it.  It's wonderful!  (What's kind of sad? We're down to one apple...  Farmer's Market is Saturday... Maya wants that apple...  Guess I'd better wash it and hand it over, and realize that while she may share with her brother, she wont let me come near the apple she's noshing... Not sure how that happened!)

Speaking of the drama queen, this afternoon, while Bobby was nestled in his bed and gently napping, Maya punked me.  I kissed her, she snuggled with her stuff, all was well...  I hear her sleep sheep click on and think nothing of it.   She does this all the time.  I'm in the living room writing out monthly bills and all is quiet.  Oops!  Forgot stamps!  Need to go to our bedroom... And what do I find?  Maya.  She has pulled EVERYTHING out of Peter's nightstand, stacking it all in neat little piles on his side of the bed.  Did I mention our bedroom has a gate on it?  She got out of her bed and into our room without making a sound, with only her sleep sheep (and the music I play during naptime) to cover her sounds. 

That child is SNEAKY!  (In addition to being annoyed, I do have to admit that I was quiet proud...) ;)

Not to leave him out, Bobby likes to 'meditate' with me.  I sit in lotus and chant, he climbs into my lap, plants a big (wet) kiss, and hugs me like he's never going to see me again.  I meditate A LOT more often than I used to!!! :)  That kid is snuggles on 2 legs.  LOVE IT!

Monday, October 17, 2011

What I'm Eating Today...

Today has found me sifting through old Yoga Journal magazines that a friend of mine brought me after they'd been discarded from the library.  Good stuff...  But what's even better than reading up on yogic philosophy?  The Vegan Chocolate Bundt Cake found on page 37 of the December 2009 edition.  The cake was adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (which I'm now going to have to buy) and, in addition to being fun to make with a lot of things I had lying around, it is FREAKING DELICIOUS!  I cut it into small slices (24 per cake) and they come in at around 135 calories per piece.  Yummy Yummy Yummy!!!  This may very well be my new "standard" chocolate cake recipe!

Vegan Chocolate Bundt Cake (24 svgs=135c each)
1.75c freshly brewed coffee
2/3c Dutch cocoa
1.5c granulated sugar
1/3c oil (I used corn)
1/3c applesauce (I used a 4oz snack cup of unsweetened)
.25c cornstarch
2tsp vanilla extract & 1tsp almond extract (I used 1tbsp vanilla)
2c whole wheat or white A.P. flour (I used 1c each of WW and white)
1tsp baking soda
1.5tsp baking powder
.5tsp salt
2tsp confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 325 and grease a bundt pan.
Melt the chocolate into the hot coffee and whisk to combine well.
Whisk together the sugar, oil, applesauce, cornstarch, and vanilla (or vanilla/almond).  When combined well, add the chocolate coffee and whisk well to combine.
(This is where my recipe will differ from the original).  Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add the wet ingredients and blend on medium low until well combined, about 2 minutes.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55min. (I cooked for 55min.) 
Cool for 20min in the pan, then flip and sprinkle the powdered sugar over the top.
If you can wait to eat it, great.  If not, slice a piece and eat that bad boy while it is still warm!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Everything Touched Is Changed

Five years ago, October 15th was just another day.  It didnt hold any significance to me, or at least, none that I recognized.  I had lost a pregnancy many years before, but it was a private grief.  Something I held close to my chest.  I knew people miscarried babies, that babies were stillborn or died soon after birth, but I didnt know.  Not really.  October 15th?  What's so special?  Middle of my favorite month of the year- yay!  Halloween is around the corner!

Four years ago, October 15th was around the starting time of my ovulation induction schedule.  Ah... the memories of those FSH injections... The every-other-day follicle ultrasounds.... The hope that I would be able to have a baby at the end of the cycle, assuming my body actually ovulated and things went as planned...  Turns out, things did go as planned and October 27th saw us conceiving Nicholas and Sophia...  It was a good year.

Three years ago, I was blogging (although I didnt blog on the 15th).  I was mourning Nicholas and Sophia.  I was pregnant with Alexander.  And I knew the significance of October 15th- and on several levels.  I had had a second miscarriage earlier in the year.  I had come to know my grandmother's story of loss on a deeper level.  I was hopeful that my pregnancy with Alexander would go well, heartbroken that 8 months had passed since Nicholas and Sophia's births and deaths, and in a place of flux.  I knew I wasn't alone in orphaned parenthood, but I still felt so empty... so lost... so, well, alone.  I'd been blogging only a short time, but the community was opening up to me and, in that, I began to see just what hidden epidemics the loss of children and infertility are.

Two years ago, I blogged about the day and lit candles.  I was busy "NICU raising" Bobby and Maya who were a month old (and only gestationally 32 weeksish). 

In my heart, I knew this date.  I knew the hurt...  The fact that my children who were gone weren't coming back... That one day I would have to tell Bobby and Maya that...  The feelings of hurt mixed with failure and anguish.  I knew that I wasnt alone.  But I was tired.  Tired of the grief.  Tired of not feeling like it would ever be good enough. Tired of everything and wishing, so badly, that I could have them all with me and just bypass the loss.  But realizing, even then, that that dream was impossible... and always had been.

Candles lit... Prayers said... Hearts still broken...

Last year, we were getting ready to move.  It was a busy time as we were 2 weeks from settlement on our house and trying to get everything together.  Reading back over my post, I can still remember writing the words.  The realization of what life meant... Of what being happy in my life for all that it was (and is) meant (and still means)...  The ache and the joy, forever intertwined.  The knowledge that I would trade my very soul for the ability to look into those smiles for just one second...
I'd turned over a new leaf in my own rebirth by that time, too.  The changes that had taken place in me physically- and by my own accord for the most part- had taken me to the brink of self destruction weight-wise and I'd decided to make a change for the good of my children- those who want me around to take care of them for decades to come and those who dont want our souls to mingle in the Otherland for those same decades!  It was also around the time that the impact of knowing each of us who has been touched by loss is forever changed and that we have the choice to make that change a positive one or a negative one at the end of the day.  I cant bring my children back... I cant change the fact that they were miscarried or born too soon to survive and that they died.  I cant change the fact that Bobby and Maya got jipped on their wombtime.  But I was beginning to see that I could change me.  I could make their lives mean something.  I could make their impact as positive as I could.  Lighting their candles that year, made a difference... 

And so, here we are.  October 15, 2011.  A new year... A new place...  Since last year, we've had another miscarriage, bringing that total to 4.  We had a failed adoption.  We've watched the calendar turn on 3 and a half years since Nick and Sophie were born, and almost 3 years since Alex was born.  Bobby and Maya have turned (gulp) 2...  Life is sweet in so many ways.  Mending Heart Bellies became my way of putting my life into focus.  I've completed my coursework to become a certified doula and am just working on my births, and I've almost completed my CBE coursework.  My lifestyle is so different from where it has been for most of my adult life.  I've gone from a size 20 to a size 8.  (I cant believe I'm actually writing that I was a size 20... It's true, but still...)  Life is...honestly, pretty darn good. 

That being said: it still hurts.  All of this, it hurts.  Knowing Bobby and Maya are our only living children out of the nine children who have been in my womb.  Knowing that I may never enjoy an "infancy" period again or that Bobby and Maya may never know what it is like to be a "big" sibling.  It hurts... It hurts to know, time and time again, that happy endings aren't guaranteed (and, apparently, arent statistically probable in this lifetime).

But.  (And it's a big but).  I'm happy.  I'm happy that, in the loss and grief, I've met so many other parents on this journey and that we've found friendship and compassion.  I'm happy that I've been able to have MHB come out of this.  I'm happy that my doula and CBE training helped me support my sister (who delivered her first child, a sweet baby girl named in memory of our sweet Sophia) yesterday.  I'm happy that I'm their mother- every single one of them.  I'm happy that Peter and I are able to remember our children and share in those memories (and in holding one another up). 

I'm so happy that each of them- Nicholas, Sophia, Alexander... Peter, Dimitri, Zoe, Grace...- lived, even if it was only in my womb.   I'm happy that I had the priviledge of carrying Bobby and Maya, even if they only had 2 trimesters inside instead of 3.  I'm happy that we've had the opportunities to look into adopting Patricia and Annie, and sweet little Zaire of recent memory, even if their adoptions didnt work out. 

Today, I'm remember all that was... What might of been... And what is.  Your babies and mine.  You and I... All of us, and all that we will see together on this journey.  And, before I cantor the Mass this evening, I'll be lighting a candle for all the sweet little ones for whom we have the distinction of being their parents.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our Hero

As we rapidly approach the 24th anniversary of Robert's death, it seems fitting that his story has gone live on Alex's Lemonade Stand's Hero network this week.

I think back on the last 24 years of my life, over half of them with Peter by my side, and it seems amazing to me that so much time passes by so quickly.  Looking at 1/12 of that- the lives of Bobby and Maya, or 1/6 of it, nearly the time since Nicholas and Sophia were born  (or the 1/8 of that since Alexander was born- I am toppled over by the weight of how those years pass in a mere breath.

And yet... So much changes and so much stays the same.  For those of us touched by the miracles of lives lived and lost, a piece of us is different.  Irrevocably so.  Forever.

Can you donate to the 2011 Robert's Run or join us by lacing up your shoes? Click here for more information.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Musing on the Muse

The fall is my favorite time of year...  There's nothing like the crisp breeze or the sound of leaves crunching underfoot during a run.... The trees as they change color in the later rising (and earlier setting) sun.  Perfection, seasonally speaking.

Days like today...  I got up while the sun was still sleeping for a short, two mile run.  After we had breakfast as a family and Peter went to work, we spent the morning playing outside in the cool October morning (interupted by Super Why! and homeschooling, of course) before the kids had their lunch and (are now) napping.  As we were noshing in the afternoon, my eyes kept drifting to the apple bowl that I'd taken our lunch apple from.  My muse for the day...

We are fortunate that our town does a Farmer's Market on Saturdays, late spring through early autumn.  Local vendors with local produce and organic, free range meats.  People who are excited about food and who love growing it and taking care of it as much of it as I do (not to mention as much as I love eating it!).  My current fave of the day: locally made granola topped with raw goat's milk yogurt.  But there's apples galore in this area (and some of them are at the Farmer's Market!)  This week, our house has had about 8 pounds of apples in it (we're down to about 2 pounds).  I've made french toast topped with fried apples, whole wheat apple cake (with baked apples topping) Irish oatmeal with apples and currants (which leftovers made for a delicious apple oatmeal cake!), not to mention we just enjoy eating apples!  Apple cider makes for a great glaze for my pumpkin cake (or a great beverage to sip on the porch!). 

Apples are interesting... We have them out our fingertips locally (and, even if we didnt, we could easily get them from NY State (way more local than Washington State!) where apples are a huge agricultural staple).  Yet, as Michael Pollan states in several of his books, apples are one of those things that we import from all over the world.  It's a shame... Not to mention, because of transportation and non-organic farming practices, we're depleting their natural goodness of vitamins and minerals.  But I digress... apples... local... great thing...

These apples... They're different than the ones I've had from the markets.  The skin on these is so thin that it's like part of the apple itself.  It peels away like a delicate tissue paper.  And not just on one variety or from one orchard1  I've noticed that characteristic about all our local apples.  And it melts in your mouth!  The apples are so sweet or tart, and the flesh is the perfect mesh of soft and firm.  LOVE THESE APPLES. 

It's a shame fall doesnt last forever...  We'd better get our fill of these delicious gems now since we wont have any that are nearly as good once autumn is over... Until next year!

For those who love apples as much as we do, might I suggest an ancient recipe for Apple Muse?  It's a fun treat!  (and relatively healthy too!)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Just Another Type of Good Weather

Even though I'm not actively training for anything, I'm still running and the easiest time to do it is in the early morning. 

Of course, early mornings now are special... It's still dark... There are stars and the moon instead of a rising sun... And it's cold (ish).

And today, it was not only cold but raining!

So, I'm up and dressed in layers... in the cold... in the rain.  I admit; I turned around right after leaving the driveway, but ultimately decided to keep going.  I only ran 2miles (and in 18 minutes... freezing and wet will do that!), then came home to a piping hot cup of black coffee...  Mmmm.... Good to be home...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Third Time's A...

I think the old adage might say something like "third time's a charm", as though we get what we want if we keep it up through the third attempt.  That's true for the kids, sure enough!

You may remember that we attempted going to a local church for a play time/Bible study.  The first attempt was a giant F-A-I-L.  The second try was better but still a struggle.  Last Tuesday was our third attempt.  While I could call it a complete fail, since we didnt make it in the doorway of the kids' classroom, I cant say that because it wasnt.  Not for them, anyway.

From the start, we've tried to give the kids choices.  What do you want to wear?  What do you want to eat?  Would you like to wash your hands?  Would you like to go to the playground.  It doesnt always work; there are some things (like nightly bath, nap time, bedtime, etc) that are non-negotiable.  But, where we can, we try to give the kids choices, and to reinforce that they have a voice.  In fact, one of the things I fell in love with about Peter was his view that children are people (just small ones) and that, just as we adults want to be respected, they, too, should be.  So, we try.  We dont always succeed, but we do try.

But, back to Tuesday.  We had breakfast, got dressed, and off we went, positive stories in tow, to the church.  We arrived in that familiar hallway and, as I pushed their stroller towards the brightly colored room, Maya looked back over her shoulder and gave me her "Maya look" and said, "Mama, No."  Prepared for dissention in the ranks, I smiled and gave my cheeriest, "Look at all the fun you're going to have with your new friends," while I stopped the stroller and prepared to get the kids out.  Taking Maya first, I sat her down and went to unclip Bobby.  She repeated, "Mama, NO."  The look on Bobby's face seemd to say "I agree  with her, lady."  But still, I picked up Maya when she asked and held Bobby by the hand.  As I waited to sign them in, he and I played peekaboo.  And then...  He was off!

Like one of those huge football players who accidentally catches a fumble at the wrong side of the field and has to do the heart attack run to the otherside, Bobby was as quick as lightening and was to the door before I was halfway down the hall!  (It's a good thing he responds to his full name and the word STOP! or he would have been outside!)  We walked back to the classroom, but they both had me in kungfu deathgrips and were repeating "No, Mama, No." 

What value is it in telling them they have a choice if I'm not listening?  So, I listened.  I apologized to the well meaning staff, and explained that we appreciated the opportunity but that this set-up wasnt currently the right one for us.  The kids waited patiently as I put them back in the stroller and we left.  Since the weather was iffy for playing outside, we went to the indoor playyard and the kids ran off some energy before snacktime and our ride back home.

I was rewarded for listening with a perfect naptime.  It was well worth it :)

And who knows, maybe we'll try again later.  But not this week (or next... Mama needs a break from the drama!)