Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summers on the Gulf

Each summer we would travel to the same plot of sand on the Gulf of Mexico. At one point the beach was named to the Top 10 Beaches of the World list because of the impeccable sand and gentle surf. The white sand was soft and would never get hot or too sharp with shells like the beaches to the north. We would walk for miles (or what seemed like miles to a little girl) collecting swirly shells as we went and letting the soft waves tickle our feet. Large sand castles were built with a wet drizzle of sand providing the fancy facade. Feet were buried and tans were perfected on lounge chairs. With the help of only a flimsy raft we would swim out to sand bars and collect sand dollars. Swimming to the sand bar was at once scary and exhilarating - as soon as I didn't think I could swim any longer in deep water, the sand bar materialised with reassuring shallow, clear water where I could see my feet. Almost every evening, sunburned and tired, we would feast on platters of oysters and baskets of peel and eat shrimp.

I remember crying one year when our week long vacation ended: Ohio is a lot of things, but the beach it's not. Now I tear up for the fisherman who are watching their livelihood disappear and for the sea animals who are contending with a confusing slick of oil where they are used to open water and perfect white sand beaches.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Because I Only Used the Tag Once

I started watching from the very first episode. Looking back, it wasn't a television show it seemed I would be interested in and I never got involved in any of the Lost wannabes that quickly flooded the airwaves. There was just something about the Island that drew me and kept me watching through good times and bad for six years.

I had long ago accepted Lost was just a show and wasn't going to provide all the answers. Instead I was drawn to the story and characters. The show was smart in a way that asked viewers to draw upon their knowledge of world religions, literary techniques and literature. I appreciated that and enjoyed the trivia and Easter eggs.

I was single when the series started and the first several episodes were so fast paced and a little scary (polar bears and smoke monsters - oh my!) that I wound up watching the rest of the first two seasons with my brother at his place. When I met Chris he wasn't watching and I sternly let him know there would be no talking during Lost. After we were married and in the middle of one of the very long Lost breaks, we borrowed the DVDs of the first three seasons and Lost had claimed another a fan. We watched an episode of season 5 in the hospital the day after Milo was born. And last night we watched the series finale and we're still talking about it today.

To me, Lost has been an enjoyable ride and something to keep my mind occupied for the last six years. Was it great? Maybe. Am I happy with the way it ended? In some ways, yes and in other ways, no. But the ending was never for me to decide, I was just along for the ride and I'm still glad I've been a Lostie for the last six years.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How My Garden Grows

We are in the middle of a wet spell here in Columbus. The garden is either going to love us this rain, or totally turn into a swamp. It could go either way.

The veggies we planted early on are doing well (except the peas which never came up). We have had our first micro-greens salad and have been enjoying our fresh herbs, especially parsley, on many dishes. I'm giving the radishes another couple of days, but some are about ready to nosh on for pre-dinner nibbles.

This year we bought tomato starts from a farmer at the Clintonville Farmer's Market. He had packaged heirloom seeds into three packs and was selling a variety. So we have six different varieties of tomatoes. I know one is chocolate colored one and one is zebra green, but it will be a surprise what the others are as I can't remember. There are also several volunteer plants shooting up from last year. I've pulled some up, but are letting others survive if they happen to be in a good spot.

The potatoes are doing really well. I've never seen a potato plant, so it has been very interesting to see them grow. I hope these turn out well.
We also have banana peppers and a jalapeno plant in the ground. I've planted yellow beans and green peppers from seed. We have a cool blue pumpkin start from my Mom in the front yard. I've yet to plant butternut squash and zucchini, both of which will be from seed.

The first casualty of the season was a Swiss chard plant nibbled down to the quick by a local bunny. I still have high hopes for it, but it doesn't look good. On top of the rabbits, the slugs are back for another year and loving the wet weather. As soon as things dry off, the beer traps will be set. And if the pests keep up, I'll be having a beer with them.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

14 Months

We've been so busy keeping up with our 14 month old. While not walking, he is a super fast crawler and is constantly on the move. He's standing more on his own now and can even hold toys while standing. He takes unsupported steps in between objects and is much more willing to walk while holding my hands now. Many people tell me that he'll speed up even more when he learns to walk, but I think there will be a (brief) period of slowing down as he perfects his walking abilities. That will be nice.

Milo's favorite thing to do is eat and he now has the eat sign to go along with the activity. He asks for pretzels (a favorite treat) by making the eat sign. I think it is really interesting how the all done sign has evolved with him. First, we would do it when he was done with a meal and I would unstrap him and get him out of this high chair. Now he does the all done sign when he wants out of something - the stroller, a swing or off the couch. I appreciate the signs as useful vehicles of communication. Milo is still repeating words after me and has picked up a few other common words.

One of Milo's very favorite words that he uses often is dirt. Oh, how he loves dirt. He likes to play in it and when I have my back turned he also likes to eat it. We work in the garden quite often in the afternoons and he thoroughly enjoys helping me pull weeds and dig holes. On particularly muddy days he earns a bonus bath in the afternoon.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Milo is totally weaned from nursing. He did such a great job transitioning to his sippy cup, and I am very proud of him. He seems taller to me now and much less baby like. He is using eating utensils and is an active participant in family dinners. My little guy is growing right up.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Flair for the Dramatic

In high school, I was quite the little thespian with a flair for the dramatic. I like to think I have toned it down it over the years, but it seems Milo has picked up on the trait. As his communication skills increase, his personality becomes more evident.

On Sunday (Mother's Day), he was busy making the mamamamama sound all day and seemed to connect it to me. This was a first and his timing couldn't have been more impeccable.

Also on Sunday, Milo took a tumble and split open his lip earning himself his first bad boo boo. As we were putting him to bed that night, he pointed to ouchy lip and clearly said poor buddy. I often use the phrase poor buddy when he falls or isn't feeling well. His first phrase being poor buddy in relation to his swollen lip just pulled at my heart strings, but seriously the whole thing was rather dramatic. Chip off the old block that one is.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What to Eat

Does anyone else find it really confusing to figure out what type of fuel to put in your body? I know some of you do, because I've been talking with you about it lately. For a long time I went with the whole everything in moderation theory, but even that simple stance is starting to not work with me. I want to feel good about the things I am feeding my family, but I also want those foods to taste good. I want to know what is in the food and if at all possible, I would like to know where the food comes from. Sometimes this seems like too much to ask and sometimes it seems this isn't going far enough.

I have come to recognize our food supply in this country is broken and this really bothers me. We strive to eat closer to the source by eating whole foods rather than processed foods, but even the origin of simple ingredients are murky when you start looking at them. The other day I was flipping through the coupons (of which I am using fewer and fewer of because they are all for processed food) and noticed one popular yogurt company just came out with a simply version. They took out the high fructose corn syrup, the artificial colorings and flavors and left (presumably) the yogurt. This made me so mad! Why didn't they just change the whole line of "foods" to be simply? Why even keep making all the other neon flavors and calling it a good idea for lunch boxes?

I feel there is so much information out there now about nutrition and processed foods (the Pollan books, Food Inc, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution) and how as a nation we are seriously going down the wrong path. Unfortunately, I still have the sneaking suspicion the majority of the food companies are not on board with recognizing there is a problem or probably more accurately wanting to change the status quo. I'll keep on aiming to eat whole foods, reading labels (in order to buy the products with the fewest ingredients) and also buying local when possible. I just wonder if that is enough?

Friday, May 7, 2010

So Long Boppy

Today I noticed our much-loved and much-used Boppy pillow in the corner of Milo's room. The pillow was with us in the hospital when Milo arrived and has been used several times per day (and night) since then. I remember early on when I was still recovering from the c-section, I would sleep with the pillow wrapped around my stomach. The soft, but firm pressure felt good on the healing incision. At each nursing session, Milo would cuddle into me and the Boppy. Even when he got bigger and we didn't so much need the support of the pillow, I found it much more comfortable for both of us to have it. We last used the Boppy sometime around 1 a.m. one night last week. That middle of the night waking turned out to be our final nursing session. Since that time, Milo has been on sippy cups of hemp milk and seems fine with it.

My original breastfeeding goal was 6 months and when that came and went, it seemed silly to not keep going to a year. Starting in the fall, Milo would occasionally get a bottle of formula if I was out of the house, but otherwise he was primarily a breastfed baby. We started off the breastfeeding relationship a bit rocky because it took several days for my milk to come. After that, we both a had a learning curve to figure out what we were doing and how to make the situation work. Milo was a cluster feeder early on and wanted to eat constantly, so that was tough. Otherwise, though, we had a very easy and natural time breastfeeding. I'm so glad (and proud) we made it to a year. I'm also proud (and glad) of how naturally the weaning happened. There were virtually no struggles once we established food was not coming from Mommy. For something Milo enjoyed so much, he did a wonderful job of transitioning away from the breast.

The first few days of eliminating feedings, Milo would go and hug the Boppy. Now, though, the Boppy is all but forgotten by both of us as share new adventures together.