Friday, May 31, 2013

Foody Friday

"You decided to go home on purpose," I heard Raccoon whine as he stormed down the hallway. Hello mealtime woes. He would much rather be outside shooting arrows at a fake deer, or pretty much doing anything else, rather than sit down to eat.

Changing countries has been particularly hard on my super-taster* because every.single.thing. looks, smells, and tastes differently. Add to this the fact that he was sick his first two weeks in the U.S., and he is very allergic to corn which limits our options, and you have our recipe for disaster. He lost 3 incredibly hard-earned pounds. Just for perspective, he only gained a total of 4 pounds last year, so 3 pounds is 9 months of work for us.

There was only one thing he would eat consistently, a special homemade pizza, so I made it over and over and over again. But eventually he got tired of that too. Fortunately, he seemed to be willing to try some new things week three, but then he didn't like them or didn't feel well after eating them, so he completely shut down week four. Which brings us to now.

I open my full fridge and honestly have no idea what to serve him. Most of the items on his limited "will eat" menu are now in the "won't eat" category. The ONLY things on his current "will eat" list are: apples, watermelon, fried meat, hot dogs, chips, and tilapia. He has a few maybes: grapes, cantaloupe, mozzarella cheese, vanilla ice cream (yes, I'm that desperate), rice, and French fries.

It's a dark place to be, folks.

*  "A supertaster is someone with an extremely sensitive sense of taste and smell.  They are able to detect minute amounts of spices and flavours that others can barely detect.  What seems subtle to the average person is overwhelmingly pungent, and often offensive to a supertaster.  More than half of those with Selective Eating Disorder (SED) are thought to be supertasters." Mealtime Hostage

Foody Friday is my way of sharing the struggles and joys of having a resistant eater, the category way beyond picky.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

First World Favorites

I see posts every now and then called "First World Problems," which I can still appreciate, as a non-First World dweller, because the poster has perspective. This post is to celebrate the flipside; the little things I enjoy when I'm back in the States.

1) Seedless watermelon, grapes
2) Things that work well the first time and every time
3) Online and phone access to information and services
4) Libraries
5) Allergy-free choices
6) Playgrounds everywhere
7) Bathrooms with TP, soap, and running hot water

I've also written about some Third World advantages.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dear Library

Thank you for always being there for me with comfort, humor, and encouragement. I have been saving up lists of requests for our time together. Your online catalog and the phrase "on hold" are beautiful. Words cannot express my happiness at being reunited with you after so many years abroad.

A Joyous Reader

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Childhood Mistakes

I saw this on the MOB (Mothers of Boys) Society today:

"We will always love you, and we expect you to make mistakes. This is a learning process, but we want to help you learn from small mistakes now in order to avoid bigger mistakes later."

The post talks about Internet usage and a contract between the parents and the child. I don't really agree with the phrase "We expect you to make mistakes," because it sounds too much - to me - like a free pass. If you're learning a new skill, yes, then I expect and embrace mistakes. But if you're giving out information or visiting inappropriate websites, no.

But I love the phrase:


As a child and teen, the bad choices I made affected mostly just me. But the older I got, the wider my circle of influence became (husband, extended family, kids) and my choices began to affect many more people. It is hard to live with consequences that aren't only yours.

I want to keep this in mind as I teach Raccoon and Robin our family values. I think it's a good way to help Raccon in particular understand why the choices he makes now matter. When he is given access to the Internet at some point, I may use something like this with him.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dear Trampoline #2

I am so glad you were here for us upon our arrival in the U.S.
Raccoon's Mom

To anyone else reading this, you may wonder why I have a "trampoline" label for my blog. But the trampoline and I are BFFs, and I feel that my squeaky, round friend deserves the recognition.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Online Identity Custodians

This is a great article for every mommy blogger. At one point, I had decided to write less about my son for these very reasons, but I have drifted away from my intentions. These were my two wake-up calls:

"Does it record a negative sentiment that an adult would recognize as fleeting but an adolescent might not?"

"Let everything you share with those outside your home strengthen the bond of trust you have within it. Tell your story without compromising theirs."

I think another principle is to keep it contained. This blog or my facebook (which I don't use much), can be made private or deleted. Don't have various accounts everywhere that you may not remember later. That's my advice to myself.

The author, Jen Wilkin, recommends to "T-H-I-N-K: Is what I have to say True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, or Kind?"

I do ask myself if it's true. But none of my blog could really be considered necessary. Helpful? To me, to put things in perspective. Inspiring? Probably not ever, unless you're my mom. Kind? I could work on that for sure, on my blog and in real life. I would also recommend factual vs. overly emotional (at least when it's negative), along with pretending that someone else wrote it about you. Would I mind? Avoid labels that might stick.

Overall, if my son and daughter read this blog when they are older, will they be able to tell how much I love them?

I am slowly rereading every post that has his name in it. Thankfully, I have mostly been careful. I have deleted a few phrases here and there that might be misunderstood if he read them before he's a father himself. Of the 270 posts I have published so far, exactly 180 (2/3) mention his name, although not all of them are explicitly about him.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Our Grass Grows Pizza...

Here is the story I promised you a week ago...

We moved into a new house with all new (to us) appliances. Most of them we've figured out how to use quite easily. The fridge - very cold (are those ice chunks in my almond milk? Yes.) The microwave - thirty seconds is more than enough, fifteen seconds is perfect for rewarming Raccoon's pizza.

Ahhhh, the pizza. My first try burned to a crisp in 20 minutes flat. Our kitchen is veeeeery far away from our living room, so no one smelled the smoke until it was too late. My husband was worried that we would set off the fire alarm, so he grabbed the pizza out of the oven and chucked it through the window onto the grass. The pizza (modified for allergies) was going to be a special surprise for Raccoon, but all was lost. However, culinary disasters are not new to me and my questionable kitchen skills, so I simply set about making another one. My mom, ever the economizer, called to ask if we couldn't at least save the cheese on top. The cheese that wasn't burnt black, of course. My husband peered at the pizza, now out in our back yard, and decided that some of it was edible. So he went into the living room and told Raccoon that our amazing American grass grew pizza. Raccoon, my little scientist, needed proof:

My dad saved the day by going to his favorite pizza place and checking the ingredients thoroughly for corn. Upon securing a corn-free pizza, Grampa was declared hero for the day.
Happily, my second try the next day (cooked for 10 min), came out perfectly. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Stuffed Memories

This bear, Fuzzy, was my best friend growing up. I won her in a raffle that my Grammie and Grampie took me to, much to my parent's dismay as we were soon moving (again). But they made sure she came everywhere we went, even in a barrel to South America. She is the only one of my stuffed animals to survive until now, care of my mother. She is wearing my brother's Tigger tie.
Robin is just getting to know Mr. Turtle.
He belonged first to SB, then to Raccoon, and now to her.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Many Faces of Robin

when she sees her mommy. Awwww.

is the expression on Robin's face most frequently when she looks at her big brother.
Her eyebrows frequently go much higher when she watches him play. :)
I am not having fun at the children's museum, Mommy.
why are you always pointing that thing at my face, Mommy?
enough said.
You're beautiful, Robin, inside and out.
You have brought peace to our family, baby girl.
We love you!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I changed the picture on my blog a few days ago. My son was jumping on the trampoline and I was trying out my new camera. I caught several amazing moment of him in midair. Smiling. Happy. Carefree. Playing with his hat like it was the best thing in the world.

For a moment, it was.

Life has been hard around here lately. I haven't written about it much, but transitions are tough for our family. Little ones are like thunderstorms, but this moving countries was a flood that carried us away. We are just now finding some dry land, but the water is still rising. After days of complete turmoil, I ask myself, "Why did I think this would be a good idea?"

That is why the  moments of grace have been especially sweet this week.

"Bye, Raccon," I said with an ache in my heart. He has needed me so much lately and I haven't been able to be there for him. "Bye, Sweetie," he replied.

"She's nice, Mommy," he whispered to me in our new doctor's office. The Lord heard this momma's cry and answered it.

"Thank-you, Mommy!" And a big kiss on my leg after I told him he could have more ice cream (a special one we found).

His childhood is like that one moment I caught where he is suspended in the air. Time stopped for a moment, then rushed on. The things that are driving me crazy this week will be gone soon enough. I will not wish their childhood away, it is fleeting enough already.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hosting an Orphan

When I was in high school (not in the US), a local orphanage allowed families to take a baby or toddler home for Christmas. I only recently heard of a family that regularly hosted older boys from Ukraine for the summer.

Go read this. Please? I especially feel drawn to the stories that Adeye posted about Russell and Janet, two high schoolers who are working so hard in school and want to study in the U.S. I hope each of these children gets a chance to be loved for 5 weeks this summer. And it greatly increases their chances of being adopted, by 80%!!! I can see why. With young children at home, I would worry about adopting an older child, unless I knew them specifically. So having 5 weeks to become well-known by a family or community is a great idea.

Maybe some day... until then I pray for this dream to come true for them.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

To all the "other" moms

I just wanted to say thank-you to my mom on Mother's Day, along with a special thanks to all of the woman who have also shaped my life in some way. I wouldn't be here today without all of you.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Special Needs Parents

have special needs too.

A friend of mine (who also has young children) posted on facebook about an upcoming trip to celebrate her tenth wedding anniversary, just her and her husband. I must confess that I felt envious. The last time my husband and I even went out to dinner together (alone!) was the night before SB died, almost 6 years ago. Two years ago on our ten year anniversary, Raccoon was one and a half. We couldn't leave him with anyone for an hour, let alone 5 days.

"F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas at the same time, yet still retain the ability to function. To be able to see, for example, that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.

By that definition, I must be a genius.

We parents of special needs kids face overwhelming joy and sadness, intense love and frustration, breathtaking wonder and fear—often in the course of a single day. We work tirelessly to help our kids succeed in the world, even when we have no idea what that success will look like. We are given so much reason to be hopeless, and yet, sometimes hope alone propels us forward."
From an essay called Lost.
I do hope that one day Raccoon and Robin will be happy, functioning adults. Then my husband and I will have all the time in the world to travel together. But for now, we'll stick to manageable outings, like to the grocery store and back.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Winning Me Over

I frequently browse through blogs that a friend has shared or that I stumble across. I honestly don't become a faithful reader of many, but the ones I like the most have three things in common: honesty, frequent posts, and a story. This is why I especially like "trying to get pregnant" and adoption blogs, because they are working towards a goal. The fastest way to lose me as a reader is to not post anything for weeks. The posts don't all have to be exciting, I like reading about almost anything once I'm invested.

When I think of my own blog, I have the first two things, but no goal or overall unifying theme. I don't even fit into a blogging category besides "life." I just write about whatever pops into my head, or my current worries. Could I change this? Perhaps. Am I writing this looking for readers? Nope. So I shall muddle along doing what I like. If you are stopping by, I hope you'll stick around.

Coming soon... How my grass grows pizza. (See? I'm adding in a little suspense for good measure.)


Tuesday, May 7, 2013


"A problem well stated is a problem half-solved."    -- Charles F. Kettering

I am not playful enough with Raccoon. It's something I've been thinking about a lot the last few months as I see Raccoon drawn more and more to my husband and wanting to spend less time with me. Raccoon has always been very strong in his parental preferences, switching back and forth between us over the years, but lately it's been more pronounced. If he's playing with my husband and I show up, he tells me to leave, or shuts the door to keep me out. Because I spend our time enforcing limits and routine tasks that he dislikes, I've become the rain-on-his-parade.

Robin is just starting to laugh. Raccoon earned her first three laughs the week before we came to the States. Her face lights up whenever she sees him, and he loves her right back.

"For young children, laughter — particularly the kind
that starts with a gurgle, rises to a giggle, and ends in
near spasms of joy — is a built-in tension-release
mechanism, taking the edge off all that hard work of
being a baby.

You're also teaching them by example. They're learning
that playfulness can transform distress, a powerful way
to help children develop tension regulation.

Need yet one more reason to yuk it up in the first year?
It seems good-humored moms have elevated levels of
melatonin in their breast milk, so their baby sleeps more
soundly. For a sleep-deprived parent, that's nothing to laugh at."

From How to Raise a Fun and Funny Child

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Choices? Loving It!!!

We have arrived in Washington State. Woohoo! The flight was atrocious (an overnight, bad idea) and both my children have been sick (finding a doctor in a new town, not fun). But now, on our fifth day, we are finally feeling better and ready to begin our U.S. adventures.

I wrote a post about choice fatigue, but surprisingly, I am loving all the options so far, at least when it comes to food. It is awesome to see my son eating and drinking new things that I know won't hurt him! He didn't want to eat anything the first few days, to the point where I was very worried, but things are okay now. His new favorites? All-natural popsicles, organic chicken hot dogs (no nitrates), and cereal (a generic honey o kind). Thank-you USA.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Biggest Loser

Okay, okay, I confess. During the month of April, I spent any free time I had (mostly when I should have been sleeping), watching several seasons of The Biggest Loser. I know that the show has many critics (risky weight-loss, yelling trainers, etc), but I still felt myself drawn to the stories. It resonates with me that each of the contestants wants a fresh start.

Today I am beginning my new life. If all goes as planned, we arrived in WA at 10:30 am and are now driving to our fully furnished home with my parents. Since I don't know when I will post next, I leave you with these:

Some weight-loss tips that I'm accumulating for myself (in random order):

1) Find my wake up call, then implement a skill set - based on Jillian. Photos of myself are usually what motivate me to lose those extra pounds.

2) I am responsible for giving the gift of health and fitness to my child - based on Bob

3) Plan ahead and work out before you eat extra calories - Shay, Season 8

4) Go to bed hungry - One of Bob's Skinny Rules

5) Much can be done in one week - Me

6) It's easier to keep it off than to try to lose it all again - Me

7) It's not just diet, but a lifestyle, finding the balance that works for me - Me

8) It's not about how quickly the weight comes off, it's about keeping the scale going in the right direction, because then you will get there, eventually - based on Courtney, Season 11

9) My weight is like a happy-o-meter. When life is good, I take care of myself and naturally weigh less, but when I am unhappy or lonely, I gain weight. (With the exception of being happily pregnant, but there is no more of that in my future). I plan to be deliriously happy in the States. Spring, long summer days, being close to my family, having a house all my own, watching my babies grow, renewing my marriage... these are the flowers in my happy bouquet.