I read somewhere that a mom can pick out her newborn’s smell from a hundred other newborns. That’s impressive. But you know what would reeeealllly impress me?? Take that same newborn, fast forward about sixteen years, and then ask that child to pick out her mom’s blog. You know, like a blind taste test. No photos or telltale monikers, just a group of blogs. All your kid has to do is find YOU in the lineup.
I’m pretty sure mine wouldn’t be able to. They’d probably come across the post where I said I’m “raising my daughter to shine” and say “Oh! Oh! I want THAT mom!“And then they’ll take off their blindfolds and look in disbelief as I stand in front of them like a disgraced Pepsi can.
I wish parenting were as easy as blogging about parenting.
One of the reasons I love showing up here every morning is that no one knows the love of a mother better than other mothers. And on days that Katie thinks I am a grinch because I won’t let her eat her weight in raisins, you guys know I made that call because I love her. It’s nice to be affirmed that way.
But sadly, that is not the test. We know we love our kids, but do they?
Children do not experience our intentions, no matter how heartfelt. They experience what we manifest in tone and behavior. We cannot assume that children will know what our priorities are: we must live our priorities.
If it were just about me making “hard” choices “for their good,” I think I could live with them being annoyed with me sometimes. But that’s only half the story.
The truth is, I have given them the things I hold most dear: time, energy & sleep.
Unfortunately, I have learned that it is possible to give all three of those things without giving them what they really want: ME. When I am tired (which right now I really am. I fantasize about the day when our family will sleep in past 5am) it is so much easier to be on automatic and “do stuff” rather than be present with my little ones.
Right now their needs are so great it’s tempting to think we are connecting all the time. Mama feeds. Mama soothes. Mama sews JC Penny the bear (not the duck) back together. But slowly things are changing. I’m needed less. My involvement is optional, but Katie still wants me. If I keep meeting her heart’s desire (as I have been) with a glazed expression and a “I just need to do one more thing before we play” how long will it be before she stops asking . . . and caring?
I’m determined not to find out.Read More »
Daddypotamus here. We all have that point. You know . . . the one where being healthy, organic, or green is more hassle than it’s worth. And we make choices. For convenience. Maybe pleasure. Where even though we agree with the principle of what is best, something else is ultimately more important to us.Read More »
A family friend, Paul, nonchalantly mentioned that leaving a film of Ivory soap under ones arms would result in a fever by morning.
For YEARS my sister and I tried in vain to get it to work. We hoped and prayed and (most of all) scrubbed in hopes of a sick day at home with mom, but all we got for our efforts were very clean armpits. Thank you, Paul, for understanding the magic of home in the heart of a child and using it to get us clean. I’m sure my mom loved you for that.
I’d like you to know home is still just as magical to me. There is more laundry than I remember but it is sweeter, too. When all Katie wants to do is play in the snow . . .
. . and sweet Micah scooches himself up to watch her . . .
I make myself a bowl of old-fashioned bread pudding and rub dirt on my armpits. Because seriously, every day is a day at home with mom now . . . only I am the mom and you’re a liar. So there.
If you’re not Paul, I’d like to share this rustic dessert recipe with you. I hope it fills you with warmth and reminds you of the comforts of home.
1. Melt butter in a saucepan, then add milk/coconut milk/half & half.
2. In a separate bowl combine sucanat, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Whisk until well mixed, then slowly add milk mixture.
3. Place bread in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
4. Sprinkle with raisins, then pour batter on top of bread.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set in center. Serve warm.
Bread Pudding Sauce (Optional)
Place ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes, then pour on warm bread pudding.Read More »
But there were no food stores in the town of Chewandswallow. They didn’t need any . . . The only thing that was really different about Chewandswallow was it’s weather. It came three times a day at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything that everyone ate came from the sky.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Gigi – What are you reading to her!?!?!
Me – What?
Gigi – Is that Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs? I LOVE that book! Haven’t seen it since you were little.
And then she promptly sat down beside us for storytime. That’s when I realized that EVERY mom (including my own) has probably fantasized about meals falling from the sky at one point or another. Even the most avid food enthusiast can just. get. tired. of. it.
For me, those slumps are usually due to stress. Like, ahem, waking up to assist my son every couple of hours because he keeps rolling over and getting stranded on his back like a turtle.
Busy schedules, illness and other interruptions make it really tempting to forego cooking, but those are the times when our bodies need a little homemade TLC the most! If you are in this season (I am!) here are some ideas for filling your belly without draining your wallet or your time.
A simple “set and forget ” crockpot recipe, this hearty stew is a protein powerhouse. Fatigue and stress often induce sugar cravings which tax the immune system and create more fatigue. Eating protein instead will help prevent that vicious cycle. In addition to the chicken, quinoa is a complete protein (meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids), so you can get away with using less chicken if needed.
Another fatigue fighting benefit is that kitchen cleanup is quick and easy, too.
Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this recipe is more like a list of suggestions than a step-by-step guide. Do you have leftover chicken, a dollop of sour cream or chives fresh from the garden? Throw them in! At just $.74 – $1.04 per serving (per Kimi), this recipe is already super cheap, but if you’re feeling creative this is a great way to get rid of leftovers, too!
Check out the recipe here
“This recipe for Kale and White Bean Soup saves me in every way it can: when I’m tired and can’t cook, when we have even less money to spend on food, when I want something warming and nourishing.” ~ Jenny at Nourished Kitchen
We double (or triple!!) the butter, but other than that this is a perfectly satisfying meal for next to nothing.
Check out the recipe at Nourished Kitchen
A short stack of these almond flour pancakes will load you up with protein, vitamin A, folate, magnesium, vitamin E and more. Though there are fancier recipes out there (like, um, banana chocolate chip pancakes), this basic version one of my favorites. We love them on busy weekday morning’s or piled up high at a leisurely Saturday brunch.
Serve with the traditional butter and maple syrup, or if you want to mix things up give these a try:
There are tons of possibilities, so have fun and get creative!
If you want to ditch your non-stick cookware but don’t want to give up perfect pancakes, hop over and check out this tutorial on breaking in a new cast iron pan. When properly seasoned, cast iron skillets work beautifully as an alternative to Teflon, and they don’t release the six toxic gases that have been documented with synthetic non-stick coatings, some of which are potent enough to kill pet birds. (source)
I love my trusty cast iron skillet, and I’m so happy I made the switch.
Makes 5 small pancakes
This easy paleo falafel, which tastes like a hush puppy with the added flavor cumin and parsley, is a favorite of both kids and adults.
You can’t get much better then a warm, ooey-gooey, chocolate chip cookie! This version made with almond flour is sure to be a favorite.
Everyone knows that the best part of making cookies is sneaking a little of the dough before it gets popped into the oven. Inspired by that moment of joy from childhood, this almond flour-based recipe pairs browned butter cookie dough with the creamy goodness of vanilla ice cream.
Savoury sage & sweet apples make this homestyle stuffing a delicious, grain-free alternative to traditional bread-based dishes.
Ruby red strawberries folded into cakey batter and topped with a crunchy, crumbly streusel. Get the recipe here.Read More »
Last night I sat down and read your comments and cried. Thank you for taking up the cause of these children. It’s no feat of strength to type words out on a keyboard, but after yesterday I am going to step back for a day and rest. Tomorrow things will be back to normal, and because every child should have a childhood (including mine) I will continue to spend my days playing Go Fish and summarizing my kids lives in silly facebook updates.
But choosing to live my life does not mean I will “move on” from this.
It doesn’t matter that I didn’t carry them. My heart aches for their rescue all the same, and I will continue to find ways to be a part of that.
My sister-in-law left a great tip in the comments, but in case you missed it I’ve copied it below.
The child trafficking hotline number is 1-888-373-7888. Please add this number to your phone and call this number if you spot a questionable situation or a child in danger. Some children in this situation have already been spotted in DFW within the last week.
I did it. Have you?Read More »
Much of this blog is dedicated to the beauty and innocence of my children’s lives . . . the way Katie tells me “not to look” when she’s about to sneak a pancake or how Micah opens his mouth like a seagull when I walk in the room. I don’t want to mar that by talking about ugly topics and I have agonized over how to present this information, what to ask of you, and, more importantly, what to require of myself.
I’m talking about human trafficking.
It’s Superbowl week here in Dallas/Fort Worth. ESPN radio is setting up its broadcast in my favorite town square and Daniel is about to jump in the car and try to beat 300,000 or so extra drivers to downtown. The excitement is palpable. But if you know what to listen for there is also a disturbing silence surrounding this event . . . the silence of children who have been brought in to be bought and sold for pleasure and profit.
I grew up thinking that slavery ended in 1865. I was so, so very wrong. In the United States there are more slaves today than in Colonial times. And while some of these individuals are brought over from foreign countries, the majority are U.S. citizens kidnapped and held hostage against their will.
Most of them are children.
I wish I could say that as adults many of these children find a way to heal and recover from what what was done to them in their most vulnerable years, but statistically speaking these children lead short, tragic lives that never reach adulthood. The average life expectancy for a child forced into sexual slavery is 7 years¹. “Death comes through homicide, suicide, botched abortions, sexually transmitted and other diseases or through trauma to their underdeveloped bodies,” Alisa Jorheim of Traffick 911 recently told me.
We most often think of big, ugly issues being in far off corners of the world – in countries we can’t really find on maps. Major issues like trafficking, sexual slavery, and brothels filled with unwilling captives…that happens over there, right? We don’t have those issues here….
The big, ugly issues are not far away…they pass mostly unnoticed in our cities and neighborhoods throughout the United States.
In the U.S., 1 out of every 3 children are lured, tricked, and forced into prostitution with 48 hours of running away. National Center For Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 100,000 American children are victims of sex trafficking and exploitation every year.
I was pregnant with Micah when I first became aware of what’s happening in my city (and yours). As I muddled my way through potty training Katie, I couldn’t help but think this: While she is learning to control her body others her age are having their sacred little forms violated in ways they don’t even have the capacity to comprehend yet.
I am not a violent person, but that thought is enough to unleash things in me I never imagined possible. If you’re a mom you know what I mean. Even if these are not our children in the strictest sense, THEY ARE CHILDREN that need to be found, rescued and restored.
Although the method and means of exploitation are slightly different in this ABC report it is reveals a lot about how criminals get away with stuff here in the United States. I hope you have a few minutes to watch . . . it is sooooo inspiring.
I am not flattering you when I say that I believe you would have intervened. Through emails, real-life meetings and comments I have learned a few things: You are passionate, protective, courageous women. You are the advocate these children need.
When I was in the fifth grade we read about Harriet Tubman and all the heroic people that risked their lives in the underground railroad. I remember regretting that I’d missed my opportunity to be a hero.
I don’t want to be a hero anymore. I just want a solution to looking at my children and thinking that there are innocents out there being victimized on our watch. They may be powerless, but we are not. Mothers just like us are raising awareness via blogs, Facebook posts, whatever.
Rescue organizations are popping up all around the country. There are several right here where I live, because Dallas/Fort Worth Airport is becoming a major hub for human trafficking. Alisa Jordheim, whom I mentioned earlier, works to develop safe housing options for those rescued from slavery. She helped me put some facts together in preparation for this post. At the end of our exchange I laid it on the line.
“I’m a stay-at-home mom on a budget, ” I told her. “I am heartbroken for these kids but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do. It’s not like I can hit the streets and search for these children block by block. How can I make a difference?”
This is what she told me. “First and foremost, bring awareness about this horrific issue. Most of us in America believe this is just an international issue – it’s not! The number one destination for Americans seeking sex with children is the United States. Speak with friends, neighbors or anyone who will listen, if we all share within our own spheres of influence soon all will know of this crime against our own children.”
So that’s what I’m doing. I consider you all friends. It wasn’t fun having this conversation, but I’m really glad you listened and I hope you’ll speak up in your circles. That’s all I’m asking. I don’t have 10 step plan or a charity I’m going to launch next month. If this issue really moves you and you want to do more, here are a some ideas. Or for more information and a list of reputable anti-trafficking organizations throughout the U.S. visit Traffick 911’s resource page.
To be silent is to be complicit.²
**If you feel the urge to grab your little ones and hug them with all your strength I won’t blame you, cause that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Resources & Information
This is the trailer for “Playground,” an independent film about trafficking. It’s pretty gritty, so be prepared.
¹According to the Dallas Police Department
Photo credit: Pernell GoodyearRead More »
Remember how I said there are so few real surprises in life? I was wrong. Last night while I was sipping a local shiraz with Daddypotamus a purple dinosaur showed up at my front door. Actually, it was a massage therapist but I would have found the purple dinosaur more plausible. Then . . . . and I promise I didn’t rig this . . . I drew the winner for the contest. Have I have been kidnapped in my sleep and taken to an alternate universe?? Because I have no other way to explain this:
Cindy welcomed her second child, Ellington Grace, on Christmas Day. Ellie’s gender was a surprise so this is the perfect prize! I’ll wait until the next birth story bash to let Cindy share her story, but her slideshow is here. I have never seen images like the ones where Ellington is crowning. Absolutely captivating.
If you didn’t win I have good news! Not Finding Out gives away tons of stuff on Facebook all the time . . . in fact they are giving away this Barefoot Dreams Chic Cardigan and Hat in pink, blue or cream ($55) right now. Go “Like” them so you can keep up with all their giveaways and promotions!!