Thursday, February 25, 2010


On my to-do list for, oh, the last two years has been to update the visual appeal of my blog. Starting with my first post here in March of 2007, I've tried to keep the content fresh, but the layout has never conveyed the feel I am aiming for here. This, while not perfect, is much more in line with what I want this space to be: fresh, but comfortable /exciting, but familiar.

So if you are reading me on a reader, click on over to see the new layout and let me know what you think.

Allergy Talk and More Reading

In my stack of books to get through (which is going pretty well, actually), there lurked a book I never would have read a year ago. The Unhealthy Truth:How Our Food is Making Us Sick and What We Can do About It is a book about the food supply and the increase in food allergies among children. I wouldn't have read this book a few years back because, honestly I didn't really buy into the whole food allergy thing. This is certainly a bias I have picked up from my family where we believe you prepare a balanced and nourishing meal and then you enjoy it. End of story. Reading labels and wondering how individual ingredients might affect certain family members doesn't enter the picture, it never needed to.

Then I had a baby who would spit up after every feeding. The weekend of his baptism, he had suspiciously red cheeks and a rash that didn't really improve over the next several months. Eventually we found out that Milo is allergic to dairy, eggs and most likely sesame. We're probably missing something else, too, because while the spitting up has stopped, the rashiness continues.

Now I read labels and I refuse some of my favorite foods. I've started to eat pizza without the cheese, which is surprisingly good. My Dad is learning to make fresh pasta without the egg. We're all slowly learning to deal with the food allergy, while hoping that Milo will be one of the majority of children who grow out of their early allergies.

This is all background to the perspective I went into when reading The Unhealthy Truth. The book is told in the first person of a stay at home who discovers her daughter has an egg allergy. She then goes on a research journey and ends up at her own theory of what is causing the increase in allergy (in her view GMO foods). Keep in mind I read the Michael Pollan books a few years back, so I already know our food supply is beyond messed up. This was the first thing that really irritated me about the book, the author seemed to have no clue about the current food supply issues. So she spends a lot of the book revealing some of the problems with the food supply using an excessive amount of exclamation points. I just didn't buy she really had no idea that feeding her kids blue yogurt was somehow not a natural thing to do.

The other thing I didn't like about the book is that the author is all over the place in terms of what the problems might be: she starts with a thorough investigation of the research concerning soy (this was the best part of the book in my opinion) and then moves on to what happens in the GMO process and why there could be problems with it (another strong point of the book). From there, though, she moves on to artificial colorings. Which I agree, best to stay away from, but she didn't really clearly connect this to the allergy topic.

If you read the book (and in spite of how negative this review seems, I do hope you read it), do yourself a favor and stop before you get to the section about putting her suggestions to use in your kitchen. Her suggestions focus on swapping out the colored goldfish crackers for the white cheddar ones. Probably not going to make a big enough difference. I do like her suggestion of crafting a family's diet to include 80% "good" and 20% "bad" foods, but I still bristle against labeling food good or bad.

All in all, this was a good read and it certainly does bring up some good points. I do believe we're in the midst of an allergy epidemic, I just don't know what is causing it or what I can do about it. To begin with, I'll be ordering Milo a vegan cake for his birthday next week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


For those of you (most of you) who are also friends with me on Facebook, you may have noticed my status update about the all books I have requested from the library coming in at once. This means I have five books to get through in the next month or so and one is so new it is on a 14 day loan. Eeek! I requested the books at different times and didn't think they would all come in at the same time. I also have a high interest in all of them and don't want to send them back to the library and get on the waiting list reading, reading, reading.

I am taking a quick break from the reading though to mention one book I just finished. I found it fascinating, engaging and very timely to me as our little guy turns one. It seems the first year of parenthood is all about getting to know the baby and making sure the basics are covered: eating, sleeping and attachment. Now I realize we are also responsible for helping our baby to become a happy and well rounded child and later a fully functioning adult.

NurtureShock takes into account some of these issues and examines the recent research to help reexamine our thinking of common parenting issues. From sleep (kids are not getting enough which could be leading to low testing scores and obesity) to race relations (kids need explicit conversations about race), the authors touch on some really interesting insights into our kids. I was really intrigued on the chapter on praise. Research is showing that our constant praising of children is not creating the self-assured kids we hope it to, but children who are so in need of more and more praise they are afraid to take chances.

Chris is reading this book right now too and we are having lots of conversations about the topics it brings up and how we want to raise Milo. Clearly the book doesn't have all the answers, but it does bring up some really interesting questions. The book also isn't a how to guide for parenting, but rather it highlights the current research and lets the reader draw their conclusions.

The book is award winning and is a hot topic right now. It looks like you can read some of the individual articles / chapters on the web site. Checking those out would be a good starting point if you are interested.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

11 Months

Although this past month has been busy and Milo continues to develop at an amazing rate, all I can think is next month my baby will be one! Goodness one whole year of living with a Milo. Trying to stay in the present for the moment though, let's talk about my 11 month old because he sure is a lot of fun.

Milo loves to laugh and we both spend a good portion of the day dissolving into giggles. We laugh when I kiss his belly, when he starts climbing on me as I am trying to salute the sun, and we even just laugh when I say hi to him. Clapping is still is go to for communication and showing emotion. He claps to ask for more food, he claps to show excitement and he will even clap to try to calm himself down. Clapping to say hello or goodbye, though, has been replaced with the more traditional wave (mostly backward and pointed at himself).

At the end of last month he was just barely pulling himself to stand, now he is popping up at will and whenever the chance presents itself. He has also started to cruise along the furniture. The cruising mainly takes place trying to get the remote, because Milo has a deep love for all things with buttons - cell phones, remotes, the digital monitor over his bed.

After our trip to the allergist last month, Milo is not eating dairy or eggs. This has limited us a little bit in our foods, but not too badly. He will eat pretty much whatever we give him, unless we try to sneak in salmon. He has a very hearty appetite and I often need to remind him to eat one piece at a time rather than items by the fistful. There are times when I feel like I throw food on his tray and then cower in the corner so as not to get a finger bitten off. With the increase in table food, he has cut back on nursing to about four times per day.

Sleeping is also starting to go well. Milo does better about putting himself to sleep for a nap (he talks to the animal quilt on the wall for about 10 minutes before conking out). He has even slept through the night several times in the past couple of weeks. It is amazing.

Milo is my constant companion during the day. We try to get out and about a lot during the day. Walks when it is nice, story time, mom's groups, running errands and we even went to see a movie together. He's a pretty good little buddy to have.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Mood

I woke up this morning in a bad mood. I stomped down the hall to a crying Milo thinking cranky thoughts and wondering why he was even awake since he had been up three times in the night. I attribute this bad mood to the ever falling snow outside and consequently being cooped up in the house with a busy almost-toddler who does not understand that snow days are meant to be spent drinking wine, playing board games and watching movies from the warmth of the couch. Chris tends to think the bad mood I am inflicting on the family is from the entire package of Oreos I have poured down my gullet in the past three days. I say it is really the same issue here, isn't it?

My bad mood lasted through getting Milo out of his crib, him using my shoulder as a Kleenex, him screaming through a diaper change and us looking out the window to see yet more snow falling. Then over breakfast of Cheerios and kiwi, the mood started to lighten as Milo would giggle between each bite. The giggling turned to laughing hysterically when I would wave to him and say hi Milo and the bad mood all but disappeared.

The snow is still falling and Milo is refusing his much needed - by both of us - morning nap. The bad mood is starting to descend again, but I am trying to remember the song we sang before morning nap.

Rise up this mornin', Smiled with the risin' sun, Three little birds Pitch by my doorstep Singin' sweet songs Of melodies pure and true, Sayin', ("This is my message to you-ou-ou:") Singin': "Don't worry 'bout a thing, 'Cause every little thing gonna be all right." Singin': "Don't worry (don't worry) 'bout a thing, 'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"

Of course here, the three little birds are frozen and only have Oreos to eat.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


The idea of crafting really appeals to me. I like the thought of making things myself and having a creative outlet. Unfortunately, the ideas in my head rarely come out the way I planned. Because of this and that after several moves I can no longer locate my hot glue gun, my crafting days are few and far between.

I do want Milo to have plenty of artistic / crafty outlets though and so we started his art education tonight: finger painting with cherry jello! Being 10.5 months old, he didn't quite get the concept of "painting" on the paper, but he did manage to "decorate" several Valentine's day cards which was the point of the whole project (that and we have several inches of snow and Mommy has cabin fever).

Making paint out of jello is easy - just add a small amount (about 1/4 cup) of boiling water to the powdered gelatin, enough that it is a smearable consistency. It is safe for any curious mouths to lick, but it is sticky. Take it from me and do this right before bath time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Boy oh Boy

The woman cutting my hair yesterday told me she is 10 weeks pregnant with what she is hoping is a sweet baby girl. Perhaps being aware she is also statistically likely to have a boy, she asked what being a mother to a boy is like. I paused to blink back a tear and then told her how much I love my little boy.

Before being pregnant, I assumed I would have a girl because I am a girl and I am very good at picking out sweet, but not saccharine girls clothes. I also adored the girl name we had picked out and really wanted to use it.

However, after having a dream early on in pregnancy, I was pretty positive our little Olive was a boy. It turned out I was correct and I have come to treasure my life with Milo. He is in fact all boy. Since he is cruising around the furniture he has plenty of bruises to show for his adventurous streak. He likes to explore. He gets very excited to play with balls and points happily at the big red concrete balls outside of Targets.

He also has a sweet side to offset his constant action. In the midst of playing, he will often come over to give me a hug. When he sees a favorite stuffed animal he has not played with recently, he will tackle it with hugs and kisses. He pats Chris on the back as if burping him. And, of course, he has a smile for everyone.

I imagine having a girl at this age wouldn't be too much different. The differences would probably be more in personality than in gender, but since Milo is a boy, I attribute his whirl-dervish-action and his get-up-again-perseverance to his maleness. Whatever it is, I just hope my hair stylist has a baby who is delightful as my sweet little Milo.