Sunday, December 23, 2007

Parenting Curriculum: In the Beginning

well, i know that all of you out there have been eagerly awaiting the result of my meeting with the pastor at my church about our parenting curriculum. that is, those of you who didn't think that the whole topic was a Big Yawn from the beginning. apparently, i even ended up on the radar of a few ezzo supporters/detractors, as i got some comments from a few new folks--didn't i tell ya this was exciting?

anyway, the process has been slown (slowed? slowen?) by the holidays, first thanksgiving and now christmas, but i do have a few things to report. first of all, i was able to find a few essays by people who were really looking for more structure with a small baby, but not necessarily The Structure put forth in babywise. if you're interested, you can check them out here and here. heck, even if you're not interested, i could use some other eyes to look at them and see if they are overly slanted in one direction or another.

another thing we are thinking about including is a meyers-briggs sort of analysis specifically aimed at parents. i came across the book Motherstyles, which seems to be exactly that, taking the different personality styles and pointing out strengths and challenges for each. i think that opening the class with this could be a good way to help each person navigate which style of parenting may be better suited to them, and why. it also may encourage more understanding among different mothers (this is what i was struck by in reading it), and help to "translate" the intentions (usually good ones) that can be misconstrued between types.

beyond that, we are still on the lookout for a good overarching curriculum if we can find one. we really want it to be focused on themes of parenting like the importance of discipline, grace, spiritual development, and being intentional vs. reactionary. one possibility is a partner to this book, Raising Great Kids, which has several different workbooks for different ages....but i still need to look through it first to see if it fits. still looking for more, if there are other suggestions out there.

one thing that has been a theme among some people i've talked to and/or read online is that they did use the babywise books as a resource or jumping off point for their parenting in the beginning, but then as they were more confident they tended to modify the advice or "do their own thing" entirely. i think this is a very healthy attitude when approaching any so-called expert advice regardless of what book they wrote, because ultimately no one thing will work the best for all people. but, i am also interested to know what ways that parents who used babywise specifically modified it to fit...since this is the one we're replacing, it could help me to understand what topics were helpful from this method and what needed a filter or a modification, or can be left out entirely.

so, ye 2 faithful readers, do you have any advice for me?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fall's Last Hurrah

chris made this video of jonathan a while back, but it's taken me this long to figure out the video feature. i'm pretty sure that poaching a neighbor's wireless connection helps, since this weekend i learned that the same program that downloaded for over 4 hours on our dialup connection (and was still unsuccessful) took all of 2 minutes with my parents' highspeed. oh, how we love the dark ages...

anyway, enjoy:

video

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

To Light, or Not to Light

in the spirit of raising issues with high emotional value, i thought i'd throw another one into the ring: when to turn on the christmas lights. knowing how deep this issue goes, it may be the most controversial one yet.

my husband loves to hang christmas lights, and he is great at it. our usual rule is that christmas things don't come out until *after* thanksgiving, unlike most major retailers and just about everyone in the world, apparently. last weekend (at my request, mind you) he hung out our outside lights because we knew we would be travelling, and we wanted to turn them on right after thanksgiving. however, now that the lights were up, the temptation was too great--hangs head in shame--we turned the lights on this week.

so, i ask you, where do you fall on the great christmas light debate?
a.) never before thanksgiving! never! never!
b.) i like to put them up whenever the mood strikes, although i save most things til after.
c.) the sooner the better! i'm a christmas maniac!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stirrin' Up a Little Controversy

so, can we talk parenting books for a sec? i know that many of you parents out there have books that you love, and books that you love to hate. at least, those of you who approach life like i do, which is to read any and all material i can get on a subject before making the "big dive in". i did this before getting married, when thinking about starting a family, and of course, once the babies came there were all manner of things to research and think about. i affectionately refer to it as my "obsession phase", the phase directly before i make major life decisions.

anyway, in the process of doing this in the parenting realm, i came to realize just how controversial some of these books can be. who knew, right? i mean, before i got pregnant, i had *no idea* that there was this world of polarized opinions, and every parent has them. i guess it makes sense....parenthood is such a high-stakes endeavor, and everyone is just trying to do their best...but critiquing one book's message can very well offend those who thought those ideas were just right for their family.

all this to say, that no offense is meant to anyone reading who happens to think that the books i'm about to talk about are either a) the best thing that ever happened to their family, a lifesaver, something that should be read by every man, woman and child, or b) the worst, most dangerous batch of misinformed rubbish to ever be hoodwinked over the unsuspecting populace. apparently, there is no middle ground.

i have embroiled myself in the midst of this maelstrom once again, and willingly. our church offers a parenting sunday school class, and like many churches, the curriculum they chose was written by Gary Ezzo. many of the parents out there are familiar with him on some level, as he wrote the wildly popular book "Babywise." (and its many incarnations....seriously, there are about three hundred.) the books are very user friendly, so it's very easy to plug them in to a sunday school curriculum.

however, the books outline a parenting style fairly diametrically opposed to mine, as well as carrying a fair bit of hyperbole about any style that contradicts theirs. there is actually quite a cloud of controversy which i won't bore you with, (if you are interested, you can look here for one side of the debate). but more than that, i wanted to have our church be able to help parents dialogue about this and the many options available, rather than just present one side through this curriculum. as a young mom, i always felt like these books were some kind of moral imperative, but they were *so* far from my understanding of God and my role as a parent that i felt really discouraged and alone. i don't want other young families to feel this way because our church only offers one side of things.

so, i am in the midst of creating an alternative for our church. ideally, this would be a packet of discussion materials that present excerpts from at least two styles of parenting, and possibly more if i can find them. they would be grouped by subject (i.e. sleep, feeding, discipline, etc) and give a starting point for group discussion as well as resources for future research, should the parents want to pursue more information. i don't know if we will keep the ezzo materials because of their inflammatory style, but i would like to find other options that may present a similar parenting style to his so that it is still represtented in the discussion.

which is where you come in. i'm sure there are some reading who really love ezzo's books, and i respect that--in fact, i need your help. do you have any other resources that have helped you, that are similar but not "his"? or, if not, what are the most compelling parts of his system, and the ones that really "clicked"? for those who don't love them, what alternates did you find helpful? and for all...what subjects would be most important to you as far as an overview goes? also, is anyone aware of a meyers-briggs type test that could help parents discern their own parenting style?

and for those of you who aren't parents, feel free to weigh in. we are an equal-opportunity blog. thank you.

The Friendly Cudgel

well, it has been a while, hasn't it. a big thank you to my loyal readers (all 2 of them), who have mocked me back to the drawing board. apparently, i needed a little kick in the bootay....don't we all. :)

what have i been doing? well, who can say, really. its all the little things of life i suppose... driving back and forth (and back and forth) to kinder and preschool, making halloween happen (the costumes! the pumpkins!), and plotting christmas craftiness. nothing too exciting, and yet they are all the stuff of life, aren't they?

lets see if i can come up with something more interesting....

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pig Roast

addendum to the previous post on reasons to eat local:

for us, eating locally has meant being a part of our local community supported agriculture (CSA) farm. all summer we have gotten fresh, organic fruits and veggies, and the kids have been able to visit the farm, see chickens, climb trees, and maybe begin to realize where food comes from. (although, the other day nicholas asked what sort of a plant sausage grows on, and i had to break it to him that there's no such thing as a sausage tree.)

as a side benefit, this week the farm hosted their annual pig roast (hence, the sausages), complete with bonfire and tractors for the kids to play on. it was a perfect autumn day, and really exciting to see how many people are connected and fed through this one little farm.

i've posted this link before, but if you are interested in pursuing a CSA in your own community, a great place to start is the website Local Harvest. not only will you connect more deeply with your community and preserve a piece of food security in your region, but you just might start eating better, too.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Eating Local

our local farmers market sends out an email newsletter each week, and this week had a section that seemed quite timely, given the harvest season and all (hey dad, #8's for you):

Ten Reasons To Buy Local

1. Locally grown food tastes better. Food grown and sold locally is crisp, sweet, and loaded with flavor because it is picked less than 2 days before it reaches your hands. Produce flown or trucked in from California or Chile spends a week or longer in transition from field to plate, enough time for sugars to turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce to lose vitality.

2. Local produce is better for you. Studies show that fresh produce loses nutrients quickly once harvested. Food that is frozen or canned soon after harvest is more nutritious than "fresh" produce that spends a week on a truck or supermarket shelf. Locally grown food, purchased soon after harvest, retains its nutrients.

3. Local food preserves genetic diversity. Local farms tend to grow a large variety of plants, instead of only a limited number of varieties that can withstand the harvest and marketing process. This variety provides a harvest all season long, an array of brilliant colors and flavors, as well as preserves the genetic material from hundreds of years of human selection.

4. Local food is GMO-free. Since biotechnology companies currently only license to large factory-style farms, local farmers don't have access to genetically modified seed, and most of them wouldn't use it.

5. Local food supports local farm families. Direct markets, selling directly to consumers, cut out the middleman allowing local farmers to receive the full retail price for their food. With commodity prices at historic lows and farmers getting less than 10 cents of the retail food dollar, supporting local farms mean that farm families can afford to stay on the farm, doing the work they love.

6. Local food builds community. When you buy direct from the farmer, you are re-establishing a time-honored connection between the eater and the grower. Knowing the farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the weather, and the miracle of raising food. Relationships built on understanding and trust can thrive.

7. Local food preserves open space. As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. Lush fields of crops, meadows of wildflowers, and wild open landscapes will survive only as long as farms are financially viable. When you buy locally grown food, you are doing something proactive about preserving the agricultural landscape.

8. Local food keeps your taxes in check. Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, as opposed to suburban development. On average, for every $1 in revenue raised by residential development, governments must spend $1.17 on services, requiring higher taxes of all taxpayers. For each dollar of revenue raised by farm, forest, or open space, governments spend 34 cents on services.

9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife. A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued and diversity is welcomed. The habitat of a farm, with fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings, is the perfect environment for many species of wildlife, including bluebirds, killdeer, herons, bats, and rabbits.

10. Local food is about the future. By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, abundant, farm fresh food

taken from the Sustainable Food Center's website.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Temporary Singledom

just a little shout out to all you single parents and occasional "business trip widows". chris has been gone since early sunday, and lets just say this week has helped me to not take him for granted. being home with 3 little ones is hard--being home with 3 little ones alone is even harder. and, i don't even have to do it that often! so, kudos to all you uncomplaining masses who deal with this all the time--you have my respect.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Doing the Can Can

so the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of canning--pots boiling, knives flying, steamy kitchen madness. so far i have processed about 40 pounds of peaches, and probably half that much of apples, with the other half still to go. the apples are not so precise, because they are windfall apples we found along the bike trail, and a few from a willing neighbor. what does that translate into, you ask? well, that would approximately be:

*7 jelly jars of apple butter (+ 1 that broke in the canner)
*8 pint jars of apple sauce
*6 quarts of sliced peaches
*22 jelly jars of peach jam

plus:
3 peach pies, and one for the freezer.
the rest of the apples will likely become more apple butter and maybe some apple pie filling. watch out, martha stewart! (or should that be, laura ingalls?)

ever wondered how to can? it's as easy as boiling water and cutting up fruit, with a few little tricks thrown in. here's a little overview if you're interested...you can always start small and dazzle yourself with homemade goodies along the way.

however, in the interest of full disclosure, i must say that the above amounts do *not* include the 4 quarts of peach jam that i burned late one night during the first round of peaches. chris was very gracious to me and did not remind me that when the recipe says "do not double", that generally it is a good idea not to double it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

He's a Kindergarten Boy

so, nicholas had his first day of kindergarten yesterday. surprisingly enough, i did not do much bawling, probably because i had gotten it all out of my system the week before when i took him in for his orientation. it helps to get the separation anxiety out of the way early (for mama, that is.) personally, i'm fairly certain that he is the smartest and most well behaved boy in his whole class. probably the cutest, too. :)




we had a good morning, even though the early rising will take us a little getting used to. school starts at 8am, and we pick him back up at 10:55. i made him special "first day of school muffins" (check one for martha), which he had to eat in the car because we were running late (check one for procrastination.) we parked the car about 6 blocks away and walked in, since it was a beautiful sunny morning. such a big boy, carrying his backpack, with new shoes that he tied all by himself (a new skill learned the last week or two.) here's a shot of him walking along--notice the cellphone? (just a foretaste of his teenaged years, perhaps.) grandmom called along the way to say happy first day of school.



and so, we begin a new era with nicholas....hard to believe that he is the very same little boy who taught us how to be a mama and a daddy almost 5 years ago. good job, buddy, we are so proud of the way you are growing up.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Slacktitude

so, i have been neglecting the blogginess over here...i don't really have an excuse other than it's summertime, and i'm a slacker. this last month has been exciting:

* the end of swimming lessons. the boys had a great time this summer and really learned some swimming skills. neither one can go in the water completely alone yet, but i think with a few more lessons over the winter, by next summer nicholas may be ready to go out on his own. it would be nice to have one independent swimmer--i can't really take them my myself to the pool until i have at least one boy who can survive without my help!

* our 10 year wedding anniversary. it's hard to believe it's been so long! we celebrated with dinner and a movie...and big plans for maybe a weekend away sometime this fall. we've had a good run of it together....

* our first family camping trip with just ourselves. this was super fun--we took the boys up to brainard lake, about an hour up in the mountains from here. it was very beautiful, and we all had a lot of fun. that is, until it rained buckets for over an hour and all our tents and sleeping bags and chairs and warm clothes got soaking wet. fortunately, this happened in the middle of the afternoon, so we had time to evaluate and make a plan. we decided to go home early, and to try to procure more waterproof supplies before the next trip. (we realized after we got home that the tent we borrowed specifically said water *resistant*--not water*proof*, like you'd hope. apparently, this is a tent that one would use only when one doesn't really need a tent.) but, we will definitely go back. i would also have had pictures for you, except our camera broke the week before, and all i could do is take pictures on the camera phone, which i don't have a cord for. so, we'll see if we get that figured out.

* the washing machine broke. (what is it with appliances this week?) if you have seen my previous laundry post, you know that this is no small situation. the guy comes tuesday--wish us luck.

*nicholas had orientation for kindergarten, which starts monday. more on that later.

whew! so, there you have it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

End of an Era

well, it's official. for the first time in 5.5 years, i am not pregnant, breastfeeding, or pregnant and breastfeeding. that's right, jonathan is officially weaned. he's not too happy, but not sure he remembers exactly what it was he's not happy about....it's the blessing and curse of the 1 year old attention span.

me, on the other hand, i'm ambivalent. as i usually am at big crossroads like this. on one hand, it is really nice to have more freedom and to let someone else take over the nighttime waking, putting-the-baby-to-bed routine. on the other, i am going to miss that sweetness of time together, the way he would look at me while we were nursing, the easy comfort that nursing brings. the funny way he would throw one arm over his eyes. the oh-thank-goodness-i-finally-got-some-milk eyes rolling back in the head.

he's got things to do now, places to go. he can't be stopped for nostalgia.... bye bye, baby. hello, toddler-on-the-road!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

He has Wheels!

so, jonathan has been walking up a storm these days, in the walk walk walk walk BOOM! sense. he took his very first steps on my birthday (happy birthday to me!) and he has been practicing ever since. he is very proud of himself...and i have to say that i had forgotten the cuteness of the little leg-flailing, arms-held-outward gait. when there is a need for speed he will still resort to crawling, but that is getting fewer and farther between. i bet by the end of the month he will be walking full time. it's amazing how fast they learn!

i am going to try to post a video here later, if i can figure it out. stay tuned!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Beware the Kidney Stone

something you may not want to do for your next saturday: go to the e.r. to pass a kidney stone. that's right, no longer the domain of old men or sedentary meat-eaters, ye olde kidney stone came to visit me this weekend while i was minding my own business. let me tell you, not such a fun time.

side note to the young woman who was working the front desk at the urgent care: maybe it would be best to confine your personal phone calls to times when there isn't someone in your waiting room writhing in pain and vomiting.

off to drink more water....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Seasonal Food by State

just thought i'd share this link as a corollary to the post from yesterday: Sustainable Table has a listing of the food that each state produces and shows when each item is in season. this way, you can tell if those groceries you are buying are actually fresh, and not shipped from halfway around the world. the site also has a summary of reasons why local and sustainable agriculture and meat farming is so important, as well as shopping guides to help you find these things in your own neighborhood or state. i haven't looked through the whole thing yet...maybe there are even more treasures there i don't know about!

additionally, this website gives an eye opening and thoroughly disenheartening list of grocery store brands that contain genetically modified ingredients. i had *no idea* how widespread this was.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Local Food

this has been an exciting month in the estoll household for food. as i mentioned before, we have made a commitment for our family to refrain from buying factory-produced meat, which for us has meant a vegetarian diet for the most part (grass fed or wild meat is out of our price range for now.) what i haven't talked much about, though, is our foray back into the world of csa membership.

for those of you who don't know, csa stands for "community supported agriculture." essentially, people buy a share in a farm in the early spring, providing the farmer with start up funds for planting. then, as the growing season progresses, each person receives a share of the harvest. the beauty of this system is that the small, local farmer has a stable source of income, rain or shine, and the shareholder gets not only fresher, more flavorful and varied produce, but also the chance to see first hand who it is growing the food they are eating. and, for my kids, a chance to chase chickens and play with the kid-sized tractor every week when we pick up the share.

this summer, we somehow stumbled into having 2 shares at 2 different farms. the first one we planned on--its the same farm we had a fruit share with 2 summers ago before the whole Greeley Debacle. this year, we wanted to get a veggie share in addition to the fruit, but it was sold out...so we decided to go with just the fruit again. but then, my friend joanna, who had gotten a veggie share at a different farm, asked me if we wanted to split hers, because she was getting way more food than her family could eat. yeehaw! so, now we get to go on a field trip to the farm for the fruit share each week, plus every thursday i have an excuse to have a coffee date while we split up the goods from joanna's share.

it's also exciting because i have been learning how much of a negative impact eating food that has been trucked, flown, or otherwise shipped has on the environment, not to mention the quality of the food. eating produce grown by anne the farmer down the street allows me to not only support her business, thus keeping local economies thriving, but also blesses my family with healthier, tastier, and ultimately safer food. check out this link for 10 Reasons to Eat Local Food.

in case you were wondering, csa's are in just about every community across the nation, and many who don't will at least have a farmer's market nearby. for a look into how many farms and farmers markets are near you , check out localharvest.org. happy eating!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Preschool is Over, and other summer adventures


nicholas' last day of preschool was last week, and summer has officially begun. i didn't really think about it much until the last day, but that also means that by the end of the summer, he will be A Kindergartener. that sounds really big. but, for now, it's summer vacation, and so far it's been great.



we also went berry picking last week with friends laura and hayden, and made jam with our haul. nicholas was very cute with his apron on, standing on a stool to stir the jam over the stove. jonathan did his best to eat all the strawberries in sight, and daniel was very concerned to know, 'is this one red? is this one red?' little did i know how worrisome it would be when i told him to make sure he only picked the red ones.



the wednesday night bible study that i have been a part of for the last few years is studying a book by larry crabb (The Pressure's Off), and while i'm not too crazy about the book itself, i feel like i am learning some lessons through what he's writing--the most important of which, that just because something is hard, painful, or suffering is coming as a result, doesn't mean that you are not following God's will. and, sometimes surrendering to the feeling of being out of control or suffering or discontent, and not trying to 'feel better' right away, creates enough space for God to do the work that the heart needs.


i feel like God has given me a reprieve from the distress i was feeling a few weeks ago. i feel so much more peace with where i am in life, and my role in my kids' lives. maybe i am just the kind who needs a 'nervous breakdown' to reset my internal priorities. whatever it is, i feel like God is honoring my decision to 'hang in there' with this season at home with my kids, and giving me an extra dose of precious, memory moments with my kids. thanks for that.

long live summer!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Jonathan Turns One










today is jonathan's birthday--our baby is now one! it seems hard to believe that a year has passed already. jonathan is such a ray of sunshine in our family. he brightens up any room he comes in to with his huge smile and his outgoing personality. he knows no stranger, and makes everyone his friend. what a blessing he is to us!


for the celebration, we had grame, grandpa, and grandmom with us (grandad was in mexico for a mission trip.) we had popcorn and smoothies (some of jonathan's faves), and then baskin robbins clown cones for dessert. (anyone remember those when you were a kid?) what a big hit!



nicholas and daniel helped pick out presents for the birthday boy, and they were super excited to have him open them. i managed to finish a hoody towel just in the nick of time....alligator flavor, so now all the brothers have one.

brothers are great! happy birthday, brother #3!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Capitalism

my dad and i were having a discussion about capitalism a while back, and i was trying to explain why i thought that capitalism was a harmful and exploitive force to many people, especially in developing countries. not that i want to be communist, just that i don't think that capitalism is necessarily "christian" or more virtuous than other forms of commerce. and, in fact, many times it harms one person in order to bring cheap goods to another person. (i.e. sweatshops in china so that walmart can sell me cheap stuff.)

however, i am not all that eloquent, and so i found a post on No Impact Man's blog about this very subject, and he talks about how capitalism in it's purest form allowed one person's altruistic idea to benefit himself and others buy selling a needed item (benefitting those who buy it) at a profit (benefitting him.) this is what i think that my dad was trying to say, that capitalism is positive when used this way. right now in our country, however, much of our consumerism is a negative form of capitalism, where most of our needs are already met, so the market tries to create artificial "needs" in order to sell us stuff. the newest cellphone. the fastest computer. the biggest house. benjamin barber wrote an article for the l.a. times that says it much more eloquently than i can.

a way forward from this gluttonous cycle could be to turn our capitalistic market towards fulfilling some real global needs. instead of marketing botox, market malaria medicine. instead of selling a bigger gas grill for the yard, create clean water systems for a third world market. creating inexpensive, useable items for developing countries benefits those with little money, and using those same resource-conserving items could benefit wealthier nations who are beginning to realize that they need to make changes in the amount of energy they consume. read no impact man's post here.

so, dad, this one's for you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fair Weather Vegetarian


so, i am just about done with john robbins' book "the food revolution". in it, he gives a lot of compelling arguments for why a vegetarian diet makes sense not only from a health standpoint, but also from the perspective of environmental sustainability.


most people know that eating more vegetables is good for you, but i had never really stopped to think about the effect that factory farming has on the environment. i sent chris a link to the article, "vegetarian is the new prius", and after reading that and watching a link to meat.org (which he said that i shouldn't watch, because it would make me cry), he is on board as well. what we have decided for our family is that we will eat vegetarian at home, and when we are at restaurants, and if possible, at other's homes as well. but, if we are at someone's home where there isn't a vegetarian option, we will eat what is available. and, i still have a few things in the freezer that we will use up, rather than waste. mostly, we are deciding that as far as our food dollars go, we are no longer going to support the factory farm system. thus, the 'fair weather vegetarian.'


now, before you get all worried that i've gone completely ga ga here, let me just say that i am not saying that i think it's somehow morally wrong to eat meat. i think that God gave us many good things to eat, meat being one of them. if i could afford to buy locally produced, small farmed meat, or if i had access to meat that was hunted in the wild, i would eat that without qualms. and, there are times when i will be able to afford sustainably harvested seafood, and we will probably buy that occasionally. the monterey bay aquarium has a seafood watch program, which monitors the status of fishing and helps decipher what fish is a good choice and which ones are overfished or farmed in harmful ways. they also have a little wallet card that makes knowing what to buy much easier.


however, that said, i do think that our typical diet in america is pretty meat-heavy, and i am beginning to realize that there are many ramifications of that, not only on a personal level, but also collectively as a nation. from a peace-and-justice standpoint, there is a lot to link our (and other wealthy nations') consumption of meat with some of the ways that poorer nations suffer. meat is cheap in our country, so we eat a lot of it. but, there was a time not too long ago when meat was a luxury--probably a good way to approach it even now.


on a positive note, this exploration has caused me to find some fun resources for vegetarian cooking. i already have the blog "vegan lunchbox" linked to the left of my blog, which is a website full of super fun lunch food. and unless you are worried that veg food is all hippy and health foody, i have also come across the cookbook "vegan with a vengeance" and the accompanying website the post punk kitchen, essentially full of vegetarian junk food, like lots of cupcakes.

so, what do you think? are you willing to make changes to what you are eating for the good of others, the environment, your own health? do you think it makes a difference?

Monday, May 14, 2007

New Beginnings


well, the lilacs are blooming all around our yard, the first spring that we have spent in our new house. spring is my favorite season, and lilacs are my favorite flower. they last for just an instant it seems, but while they are here you can't help but notice them. i have to say, there are times when i identify with that sort of drama.

we spent a lot of this weekend in the car, driving through wyoming to my cousin jennifer's wedding. it was nice to have a change of scenery, and this has got to be the prettiest time of year to drive through wyoming. just miles and miles of green, rolling grassland. the children slept, and the grownups got a chance to talk to each other. just what the doctor ordered.

also this weekend, grandpa and great-grandpa estoll spent some time working on putting up a playset in our backyard. chris found it on craigslist for free--someone had just moved in and the previous owners left the set in their backyard. gotta love that. when we got back, the kids were so excited to climb and slide (and spy over the neighbors fence).

jonathan, not to be outdone, has taken to standing unassisted, sometimes for up to 30 seconds at a time. he put on quite a show for the family, many of whom were meeting him for the first time at the wedding. i wouldn't be too surprised if he started walking before his birthday...a boy has to keep up with his brothers somehow.

and so, life goes on. we have a good life.


Photo credit: Flickr/ladyLara

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ugly

**warning**do not read this if you wish to think that motherhood is always rosy and gay***

i can't fall asleep, which is a rare occurrence these days. normally, i crash into bed and steal as many hours (minutes) as i can before i am awakened by someone who needs me. but tonight i think there are just too many thoughts for my mind to shut off yet.

motherhood does not come naturally to me. don't get me wrong, i love my kids, i am grateful for the chance to be home with them when they are young, i think that it is valuable to have a parent be a primary caretaker for these early years and our family has made sacrifices to have that happen. however, i am not one who dreamed of being a mom from the time i was young, or thought that i would be perfectly suited for staying home...it kind of just happened.

and so i go through these phases. i've mentioned before about the momentary panic i feel after the birth of each child, that feeling of "i've got to get out of here!" that strikes and motivates me to look into all sorts of (unfinished) grand schemes for other diversions. grad school. spanish language. this blog, even.

today, i wish that i could go to work. to do what? i don't know. i don't have a career or a path that is laid out to follow, i just wish that i did. not all the time, just a little, a few hours a day, a few days a week. something to ease the constant pressure of being the only fulcrum in the spinning world of my children's chaos. is it really so terrible to have other people be involved with my children's lives, to watch them occasionally while we parents pursue other things? is the nuclear family, one parent home, one parent working, really the only way to turn out well adjusted, respectful, thoughtful children?

i worry that by the time i finally get to the point of viably being able to follow any dreams beyond the four walls of my house, that i will be unable to remember what they were, or who the person was who did the dreaming. that i will be so consumed by this all-consuming job that there will be nothing left of me outside of it.

i used to be smart. i used to be good at what i did, with fresh ideas and a passion for learning. is it petty and selfish to want to be that again? probably. but i miss that girl. i miss the "me" outside of anyone else's needs or wants, the me who was my own person and not constantly someone elses someone. i'm tired. i'm so tired. i need to breathe. i need to breathe without feeling like i am clawing for every breath that i take.

everyone says that being a mom is the best, most important job out there. and then, they move on to the next thing. everyone says it, but not many people want to do it, i mean really do it. everyone gives it lip service because that is the "correct" thing to say, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty of the ugly, hard days, no one really wants to know about that. there are not many people who can honestly say they will roll up their sleeves and jump in when someone needs saving. it's the most important job out there. now lets talk about something *interesting.*

so, do i just suck it up and wait for the phase to pass? or do i look to see what is coming next? and if so, how do i know what the next thing is? is looking for something that will benefit me the act of a completely selfish and self-absorbed person, or will the effects of more room for me to breathe have benefits for the rest of my family, too?

do i pray for more contentment where i am, or do i pray for the courage to make a change?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Forgiveness

sometimes, God really uses my kids to illustrate to me why He says that the faith of a child is something for all us grown ups to strive for.

the other day, i was feeling rushed and nicholas was not listening *quite* as fast as i wanted him to, so i was harsh with him on the way out the door. after we got where we were going, (and i'd had a chance to think a minute), i realized that i had been wrong to be so harsh to him. so, before getting out i pulled him aside and told him i'd been wrong, and asked if he would forgive me. without a second thought, he gave me a hug and said "i love you, mama." and that was that. no grudges, no making sure i really *knew* how wrong i had been, just instant forgiveness.

i have so much to learn.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Blue Sock in Aisle 9

can any of you mothers out there relate to this?

last summer, when jonathan was a few months old, i was out running errands with him and trying to get to the bank before it closed. it was a hot day, and i had put him in the sling so my hands would be free, but realized as i got him out that i had left his hat at home. those of you who hang out with me at parks know that i am a bit of a hat-nazi (i get it from my mother), and the children are very rarely outside our front door without a hat of some kind on their head, rain, snow, sleet, or dead of night. however, on this day in my rush, i had left the hat at home, and so i shielded the baby's eyes from the bright sun with my hand as i walked in.

on the way out, i am crossing the parking lot to the car when an older woman in a large SUV slows down and rolls down the window. thinking that she is stopping to make a comment about my Adorable Baby, i slow down and smile at her. however, instead of saying something along the lines of "what a beautiful child you have, you must be so lucky", she yells out her window "Put a hat on that baby!" and drives away. i am so flabbergasted i can barely move.

now, this is not an indictment on anyone who thinks that babies should have hats on, because i do too. really what got me was this stranger's audacity to throw that comment at me and run--a comment that i can only assume was meant to shame me into changing my behavior. and the irony of it all was that if she knew me even a *little* bit, she would know that the comment was unnecessary. since when is rudeness and shame an acceptable way to relate to anyone, let alone a stranger, a new mom, someone who could maybe just use a break now and then? i mean, obviously it worked, because months later i still remember it, but really, at what cost to human decency?

now, flash to the other day, at the supermarket with the kids. we are all in the checkout line after managing to get everything on the list (i think), when i looked down to realize that jonathan had taken his sock off. Again. this child is obsessed with his sock. i quickly scan the 3 aisles i can see from where i'm standing--no sock. i am unwilling to leave the line to go look for it...the older children are already riding the horse in the waiting area and the baby's on his last hunger pang before letting the world know how i starve him to death--a 3 time hand-me-down sock is not worth the trouble. so, i take off the other one to avoid losing it too and try to finish up as quickly as possible.

but, i can't help thinking on the way out...what if someone sees the baby's naked toes, will they think i am a terrible, neglectful mother? is there another woman lurking around the corner, ready to send a zinger of shame my way?

so, maybe all this to say, wouldn't it be nice if we could cut each other a little slack now and then (and maybe even ourselves)? i mean, if we as mothers can't support one another in this all-consuming endeavor, pray tell me, who can?

and, if you happen to see a sock in aisle 9, it's probably mine.

Monday, April 09, 2007

No Impact Man

so, i have been seeing this guy around the internet, and apparently he is getting a lot of press in other areas, too. its a guy and his family in NYC who are trying a year long experiment to lower their net environmental impact to zero, doing such crazy things as composting their waste, creating no garbage, and eating only locally produced foods. all from their tiny new york apartment. check it out, it's an interesting read, often funny, too... No Impact Man. makes me wonder what other things i could be doing in my relatively spacious situation.....

Monday, April 02, 2007

Cloth Diaper Madness

a couple of days ago, i sent a massive email to my friend kim (hi kim!), who was asking questions about using cloth diapers. as most of you know, we have used cloth diapers since nicholas was born 4.5 years ago, and with a few exceptions (such as the weeks following the birth of a new baby, etc), have used them for the vast majority of our diapering. since it was such a massive email, (and i felt alternately cool that i actually wrote it all down, and lame to think that i spent the time to write it all down), i though i would post it here in case anyone ever asked me again. that way, i wouldn't have to face the cool/lame continuum again, at least about this. so, here it is, for your viewing pleasure:

"this is our system:

3 dozen chinese prefolds (this is enough for 2 kids if you wash every couple days)
6-8 breathable covers (i like the motherease brand with the snaps--called "airflow" i think)
a dozen or so pins
any old bin with a snapping cover, i am using some random storage ones i got at target because they were cheap and small, with a handle.
our system is pretty low-tech, as far as diapers go. if you spend any time looking at cloth diapers online, you will soon be inundated with all the choices and levels of fanciness that are available to you. since we started doing this mainly for the cheapness factor, ours is a pretty plain system.

*the diapers* --if you decide to go a similar route to us, the important thing to look for in prefolds is that they say "diaper service quality (dsq)" or "chinese prefolds". this means that they are thicker and more absorbent, as opposed to the more flimsy ones you sometimes see in walmart or babies r us, etc. here is where we bought ours, a dozen unbleached is $25.95: Choosey Diapers.
our boys never graduated to toddler size, and the infant size is only useful for about the first 3 months, and then later as a doubler for nighttime. the vast majority of the time is spent in the middle size.

this site also has lots of other options and info on cloth diapers, so feel free to look around. the other thing about the diapers, and this is true regardless of what kind you get, is that before you use them you have to wash them several times in Scalding Hot Water. seriously. boiling would be even better. there are oils in the cotton that will shed water (not good in a diaper), so you have to wash these out before you can use them. most of the time, whatever company you buy from will send instructions for the first washing. if you follow them and they still don't absorb, just stick them in a big pot and boil them on the stove before using. you'll be able to tell, because once they are dry again, you will either see water soak in (try it at the sink), or you will see it run off.

*the covers*--when we started, we were going mega-cheap so i used the oldfashioned plastic pants that you can get at walmart and places like that. i soon hated them quite a bit. the ones that i have liked are from a company called motherease. they are waterproof and breathable, and they are much easier to take on and off without getting poop everywhere (bonus!) here's the covers we use: Motherease Airflow Covers
these are quite a bit more than the plastic pants, but worth it to me. they have lasted for all 3 children, but you do need to get a few different sizes. i think we got the small (infant), medium (jonathan has almost outgrown these, probably would have if daniel weren't using the next size up still) and med-large (daniel is still in these). this will all depend on the sizes of your kids, of course. daniel is on the small side, and jonathan is ginormous. :) you don't need to get all the sizes upfront, just get whatever you need and add on. how many you get depends on how much you wash (more on that later).

*pins*--we use them. i will tell you, they seem scary at first, but you get the hang of them very quickly. there are other options besides pins, but they are often going along with more expensive diapers, or else i couldn't get them to stay put as well.

*pail*--we use a very simple pail, that's pretty small. some of this is because of my washing system...i don't use a wet pail, and so i don't need to be as worried about a child knocking it over. also, we've never really had a problem with them playing with it, we just teach them early on not to touch. also, i wash every couple of days, so i don't need as many diapers. this helps with the smell issue too...if they start to smell, it's probably time to wash. now, i don't think that cloth will ever be as smell-free as those hermetically sealed diaper genie things, but then again, those things won't biodegrade. ever. if you notice a problem, you could always go for one of those real live Diaper Pails that are sold on the diapering websites, some even have deodorizing tablets and such. but, i haven't found a need for them.

*washing*--there are probably as many systems for washing as there are people doing the wash, but here is an outline of what i do. keep in mind my lackadaisical attitude toward some of the more "official" ways of doing things, as above.

first, i don't dunk diapers in the toilet. ever. my position is that if i have to touch the poop, i am not going to do it. also, i figure that the washing machine is a miracle tool, so i might as well use it. so, i have come to this system: if the baby is entirely breastfed, the diaper can go into the pail as-is, because the poop is not very solid and will soak out later in my process. if the baby has some solids, or is a toddler, the poop is more solid and so i shake off whatever will come off into the toilet, and put the diaper in the pail. also, i generally re-use one cover throughout the day if it's just wet, and if it gets poop on it, then it goes into the pail too and i get a new one. usually, they get a new cover first thing in the morning because the overnight one is so wet and stinky.

with nicholas, this shaking policy worked just fine because he always had solid ones. daniel threw us for a loop because his are less solid, so then i was faced with the dilemma of having to deal too intimately with the poop by scraping with t.p. or something, or just putting it in the pail and trying to soak more. this varied based on my mood. lets hope you are never faced with this choice! :) that said, there are many contraptions out there for scraping/spraying/dunking the poop off...so if you are interested, look around.

because of my no-dunking policy, i do a longer soak. i figure that the machine is up to the challenge, but may need my help now and then. so, once the pail is full, i throw everything in the wash and fill it to the top on cold. don't overfill the washer, no more than 2 dozen or so at a time. i rinse and drain it once (twice if there is some gnarly poop, see above). then, i fill it again with warm water and 2 scoops of oxyclean. i usually leave this to soak overnight. in the morning, i drain the water again (so they don't wash in dirty water) and then i do a long wash cycle on hot water with some tide detergent and more oxyclean. then, into the dryer, or on better days, onto the clothesline. which leads to my next point....

cloth diapers will stain. this is a fact of life, and if you washed them well and they smell fresh, does not mean that they are still dirty. if you are worried about it, you can bleach them white again, but this shortens the life of the diaper (not to mention the scariness of bleach on the environment). another option is to hang them in the sun, which gets just about all of the stains out. that said, i do occaisionally bleach the diapers if they are still stinky after washing, like less than 2x per year, or if someone has been particularly sick. sometimes, they just need a little touch up.

i use cloth when i'm out and about (church, cbs, shopping, etc.), and just use plastic grocery sacks to store the wet ones in until i can get them home. however, if i'm going to be gone on a trip, or out all day, then i use disposables as a backup. also, when we were having so much trouble with daniel's digestion last summer and he was having diahrea constantly. but, for the most part, the system i described can do just about all situations.

*overnight*--i find that cloth diapers leak much less often than disposables. i can usually get them on more snugly with the pins than i can disposables, and i usually tuck the extra fabric in around their legs when i put them on, which helps hold things in more. that said, there comes a point with each child when i have needed to "double up". for nicholas, he was close to 2yrs, with jonathan it was about 5 months, and with daniel, i still haven't had to. all doubling means is that i lay an infant sized diaper inside the regular one, and fold it all together when i pin. then they have a really mondo-diaper-butt! :) if i didn't have the infant size, i would use another diaper, or if that was too big, even a washcloth would work. using this, i have never had them leak through, unless some of the diaper was poking out of the cover somewhere. (i forgot to tell you that...make sure to tuck everything in, because any little spot poking out will cause the water to wick onto the clothes.)

i have used the same 3 dozen diapers for all 3 kids. i am just now looking to replace them, because they are disintegrating (i keep pulling handfulls of lint out of the linttrap in the dryer). however, this is not bad for the initial $75! and, while i do end up doing more laundry, it's really only 2 or 3 loads in a week, not outrageous, and this is with 2 in diapers. with one, your work will be less."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

World Water Day


i was reading on some other blogs, and one came up saying that this thursday (march 22) is world water day. never heard of it. but, apparently, it's been around a while. it was started back in the 90's as a vehicle to raise awareness for the over *1 billion* people who live with unsafe water supplies. that's over 20% of the world's population. and a vast majority of those who die from the lack of safe drinking water are under the age of 5.

so, this gives me pause as i turn on the tap in my home to get my children a drink of water. municipally treated, sanitary water from the mountains in my backyard, which i then extra-added-bonus filter before giving to them. wow.

photo credit: flickr/Michael_N

Monday, March 12, 2007

All Hail the Tooth!

well, it's been a while since i've posted, mainly because this is week 3 of the continuing Sick Children Saga. it started 2 weeks ago with daniel running a high fever, followed by nicholas in "the fever, part two" (and not to be outdone by his brother, a hefty cold to go with it) and seems to be petering out this week with jonathan sporting the same fever, and a wicked cough to boot.

however, we realized one other reason for jonathan's miserable and pitiful demeanor, and that is that he has finally cut his first tooth! which, as anyone who remembers (or has children who do), this is a very painful process. hence the constant crying and need to be held. he seems to be much better today, almost back to his smiley self. now, if he would just choose to have his fever spike at some time other than the middle of the night, maybe we could all get some sleep....

hopefully, pictures to follow soon...

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Laundry Monster


a few weeks back, i counted the amount of laundry i do in a week. this includes everything--clothes, towels, sheets, diapers, the works. the total was 12 loads...and i mean Full Loads. no wimpy "extra small cycle" here. we're talking Heavy Duty Extra Large Cycle.

now, granted, we do wash our own cloth diapers, but those only account for 2 of the loads per week. not that much. the rest is just normal, household laundry. i ask you, do we just have an insane amount of clothing? are we some kind of crazy laundry hedonists? how in the world do we make all this stuff? and how, pray tell, do i keep up with it??

so, i want to know about laundry. your system, your philosophy, your advice. thank goodness summer is coming...i can just throw the boys out back and hose them off. (just kidding.) (mostly.)

Photo credit: Flickr/Rigmarole

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Book Mooch

so i came across this website in my internet travels, and it looks pretty cool. it's called Book Mooch, and from the looks of it, it is a site where people list their books for trade and post wish lists for books they are looking for. when you add your books to the list, you get certain points which you can then redeem for another book that someone else has listed. i haven't tried it yet, but it looks like a neat alternative to buying books or checking them out from the library. since, as you learned in my previous post, i am not always good at avoiding library fines. guess i oughta check this site out.

anyone ever used it? have any other nifty sites to share?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Jumpstart My Car

so, it's 16 degrees outside and i have just managed to get all 3 kids dressed, in coats, and out the door. not to mention the 2 diaper bags, my CBS lesson (actually finished!) and lunch for all of us, since we have to go straight from CBS to preschool with a little lunch in between. as soon as they are all in the car, i try to turn on the engine and realize It. Won't. Start. not even the little rrrr-rrrr-rrrrr sound when it is trying to turn over. just a pathetic little *click*. after calling everyone i think could be around and coming up empty, i manage to con a neighbor into coming over and giving me a jump, and 30 minutes later we are finally on our way. did i mention that it is 16 degrees?

not only that, but the baby is sick, i am sick, and i just don't have much in the way of humor to face this situation. which leads me to what i now want to put on my birthday list: the portable jump start device.

if i wasn't so tired and cranky, i might be able to formulate some philisophical reason why this would not be a good idea, something about relying more on God to provide what i need (like a neighbor with a car) or being too caught up with needing to feel self-sufficient rather than going more with the flow. however, i am tired and cranky, so i just *want one.*
the end.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

When Was Your Last Tetanus Shot?

so, we made it though day 2 of the basement caper (relatively) unscathed, and if it weren't for the pesky nailgun shooting a hole in the waterpipe at 8pm, a fairly uneventful day. my right hand was feeling a little left out last week apparently, (when i got a black fingernail on the left ring finger in the first 30 minutes of working), so it decided to add to the drama by impaling itself on a nail. minor flesh wound, as far as i can tell. this home-improvement stuff isn't for sissies.

now all we need is for a benign inspector-type to sign off on the work, and we are on to chapter 3: Drywall Waits for No (Wo)Man.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Grocery Exile


in my previous post, i detailed the ways in which money does not grow on trees on the estoll property. as a result of this, i have been looking at cutting discretionary spending, the biggest category of which is the grocery budget. at times like this, i have done this little game i call 'grocery exile'. basically, i plan meals as much as possible around the staples we already have in the house, instead of what i usually do--which is, what sounds good to eat? (not that the things i make this way don't sound good to eat, just that it isn't the first consideration.)

so, we have 3 lbs of brown rice and no noodles? then, stir fry extravaganza. have a bunch of orphaned veggies left over from previous meal plans? veggie soup. feel like grilling pork chops, but the only meat in the freezer is cooked turkey? ok, turkey rice casserole it is. also, it helps to get things used up and cleaned out...for example, it seems like the tail end of the cereal boxes seem to linger on forever, once a new (and thus, more exciting) flavor has made its appearance. during grocery exile, new things don't make appearances, so the old stuff has to be used up (or, face a cereal-less breakfast existence....sad, sad day.)

this has also led me to thinking a lot about the freedom i normally have to buy whatever food i want, whenever want it. within reason, of course, since i don't get to have sushi once a week, but you get the picture. i am easily able to cook a balanced and filling meal for my family, as often as i want to (and sometimes, more often than i want to.) having a month or 2 of grocery exile can be good for the gratitude meter, if i allow myself to think in those terms, rather than, "poor me, i can't buy any new meat this month." even during exile, we still have plenty to fill our plates.

the usda puts out a report each month on the cost of food and how much it takes to feed different family sizes. the most recent one for december 2006 is posted here. according to their calculations, in order to feed a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids under 5) on the 'thrifty plan', it takes about $505 per month, which averages out to be a little under $120 a week. which on paper seems like a lot, but even when i'm on grocery exile, it is a struggle to come in under $100.

so, where do you fall? anyone have any good, frugal tips for those times in the wilderness?
Photo credit: Flickr/Camo's pics

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

15 Words or Less


well, hello again, my woefully neglected blog. it has been a more-insane-than-usual few weeks, and so, it has been awhile. thanks to christy (not me!), for giving me a little kick in the boo-tay. thanks for noticing, christy. ;)


so, last we heard from the intrepid little band of estolls, we were transitioning back into the world of gluten. so far, so good. there was a while there that i was getting paranoid about the diapers again, but chris suggested that we keep a food-and-poop-log, and since then things have seemed pretty normal. so, probably he just had a little stomach ick for a couple of days when i was feeling worried. this makes a good 3 weeks that we've been back with gluten, and it seems to be fine. which is a relief, for sure. hopefully the f.a.p. log will continue to work its magic.


thomas the tank engine made his debut this week as a home-wrecker, when he decided to fly through the air and straight into the picture window in the living room. this, of course, had nothing to do with the children who at the time were running circles around the couch ottoman. this left a large star-shaped crack in the bottom of the pane, which has since then snaked all the way up and across the window to the opposite corner, and is now covered in duct tape because i am convinced with every gust of wind that the whole thing is going to come shooting into the living room and impale the nearest man, woman, or child. never mind that the temperatures last week had highs in the single digits. so, our neighbors love the new ghetto look, but we are still looking for options to replace or repair the window.

this weekend also marked the beginning of The Basement Room Caper--my dad and i are donning our toolbelts once again to finish the 3rd bedroom downstairs. (the picture to the right is from our previous escapade in the basement of our last house, but you get the idea.) this will allow us to move the 2 older boys into that room and free up the 2nd bedroom upstairs for jonathan, which in turn will allow us to have more than a 12 inch walkway around the furniture in the master bedroom. oh, and to move the diaper station out of the living room. however, the weekend began with the disadvantage of being decidedly NOT underbudget nor ahead of schedule. which led to some less-than-loving days with the hubby. but, we have put that all behind us now, and we are plunging valiantly onward. you can even ask chris.

on another front, i have been putting in more hours at the DAPP office where i work, in an attempt to stem the flow of money-hemmorrage that has been happening of late. (see thomas, and caper, above.) which is why i have not been keeping up here too well. anyway, wish me luck.

the good news is that on friday the groundhog saw his shadow, so spring should be just around the corner.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Gluten Love

well, daniel is adjusting just fine to his new gluteny-status. he announces to everyone at mealtime that "doctor said i can eat glu-ten!" we are all glad to have the gluten box come up from the basement (full of food that i couldn't bear to just throw away when we started this 4 months ago.) our pantry has about doubled. and so far, no ill effects....

Monday, January 22, 2007

Good News! So, why do I feel like crying?

well, we all went back to the specialist doctor today to get the results of the labs. daniel was negative for the genetic marker for celiac, and had no gluten antibodies (which could have been because he hasn't eaten gluten since september, but it was still a good thing) and so was i. chris had one of the two genetic markers, but since his antibodies were also negative, she wasn't concerned with that. so, apparently there is only a 1% chance that daniel could still have celiac in the absence of those markers. good news! she told us to go ahead and put him back on a regular diet, and to watch him for signs that he is having trouble, but chances are very good that whatever the problem was last summer, it is not celiac disease.

so, why am i not dancing in the streets? of course i was relieved that daniel will not have to live with such a restrictive diet his whole life, and that none of the rest of us will either. as long as he continues to do fine, the problem seems to have solved itself. but, i also didn't feel as happy as i expected to. i don't know if i had just been preparing myself for the news to be different for so long, or what, but i feel confused and let down, and worried that there may be something else entirely going on that we don't know what it is. not that he is sick right now, just that he could be if we go back to how things were--but this time, without the celiac diagnosis to pin it on. i know, tomorrow has enough worries of its own, without me worrying them all up front.

but also feeling like all this time, energy and effort that i have been putting in these last 4 months, not to mention the expense and extra planning, was all just a big waste. did i just colossally overreact? is it possible that the sickness went away when we took out gluten just because of a coincidence? that makes me feel kind of stupid or crazy, like "those moms" who are convinced that every little thing that happens to their kid is some big emergency.

this is apparently the hardest good news that i've ever had to hear.

tonight for dinner we are having homemade whole wheat bread, and cake. with lots of gluten.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gluten-free resources

on sunday all of us went out to eat with chris' parents (colorado natives now), and we went to our favorite restaurant in louisville, The Huckleberry. think breakfast restaraunt meets high tea, if you can. it is always an interesting experience these days, since living glutenless, because usually most everything in a restaurant is either made with gluten or has touched something that is. however, there are always pleasant surprises, and this time our waitress had a relative with celiac, so i didn't have to go through any descriptive demands for how daniel's meal needed to be prepared. not that i am very good at that yet, but i am practicing. then, there's always the possibility that the tests will come back negative next week.

anywhoo, in the meantime, i am still in the process of gathering info (of course i am), and recently came across a post in a blog called [gluten free] goddess (see link on the left) where she writes out in a very comprehensive way all the different ways she substitutes for gluten when she cooks--seemed like a lot of good info, so i thought i'd share it here.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

Blood Test Number One

....and hopefully the last. today we (and by "we" i mean the whole family...) went to see a specialist about daniel's possible celiac disease, to ask questions and to begin the process of formal diagnosis. for the last 3.5 months that we have been feeding him a gluten-free diet, we have suspected that celiac could be the answer, but haven't pursued the testing necessary to make sure. as to why we waited so long, well, for that you will have to ask the insurance companies.

anyway, in many ways it was a relief to finally be on the road to knowing for sure what is going on and the details of what his treatment will be. we began this after getting some half-information from our family doctor and filling in the gaps with my own research (and realizing that in many ways we have done this backwards--and may pay for that later....our family doc recommended taking gluten out of his diet *before* we did any testing, and we now know that if someone has been on a gluten-free diet, the tests can come back falsely negative, so we may have to re-introduce gluten for a while to get an accurate result.)

however, for the record, spending the morning with all 3 boys in the doctors office, followed by a trip to the lab for a blood draw is a very exhausting propostition. if chris hadn't been there, i don't think we would have made it. they all did very well, considering, but having to be quiet and still for 3 hours is a lot to ask of 3 active boys. and daniel, bless his heart, was very brave for the blood draw, but taking 3 vials of blood from a 2.5 year old is just pretty traumatic no matter what you do.

so, we'll see. if the tests come back negative (daniel, chris and i all had them) for the genetic marker, then we are pretty sure that it isn't celiac. if it comes back positive, then we go back for more testing. we are praying for clarity.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

well, we here in the estoll household did Not stay up until midnight to ring in the new year...a fact that is terribly sad, but true. new year's eve in my young and carefree days used to be marked by a big party, sometimes even with masks. (ask betty, if you want to know.) this year, however, i am old and i spent the evening watching tlc with my parents (complete with commercials for retirement accounts and i've-fallen-and-i-can't-get-up buttons) and going to bed at 10:15. such is reality when the babe is guaranteed to wake you at least 3 times before dawn. maybe next year.

however, i did think i would try for some new years resolutions, since one can make those regardless of how much sleep one has had...and may even be more fun with less. i don't normally do formal resolutions, but as was mentioned above, i am old now, and so must face up to the music so to speak.

so, here are a few resolutions, in no particular order:

1. lose weight--the classic resolution. this one is actually a possibility for me, though, since i have already lost 45 lbs since jonathan was born. before you get too congratulatory, i gained 55lbs while pregnant, so you do the math. ideally, i would like to get back to where i was before i was constantly pregnant and nursing, which would be an additional 10.

2. strive to say "yes" to the boys more. i think that particularly with all the chaos of the last 6months, much of my time has been spent in some level of crisis mode, and my reflex for the boys has become more often "just a minute", or "we'll do that later" than "let's play." and really, how hard is it to just take 10 minutes to play before going on to the next thing. so now that we are not so wild-eyed and white-knuckled, i want to put them first whenever possible, and let the Next Thing wait for a little while.

3. settle in. because of the wildness of our days, as we moved in to our new home many things in our house were thrown in the closest corner or have been languishing in random boxes instead of thoughtfully organized into a new, logical place. so i'd like to work on regaining a sense of order in our house. should only take about 365 days or so (if i'm lucky).

so, what are your resolutions?

happy new year!