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December 26th. My Favorite Day Of The Year.

30 Dec

 

 

Apparently I came flying out of the Christmas closet this year as a raging Grinch. Both barrels ba-lazing with cynicism and grumpiness. For most of my adult life the Christmas holiday season has brought with it stress. I know I’m not alone in that. Everybody feels it. I’ve had Christmases in the past that I have fond memories, when we had only two kids and they were really little. No trying to keep up with school events. Grandparents were still working, thus too busy too obsess about ridiculous shit.

It always seems the same each year; not enough time to get everything done and worries about money. One finds themselves rushing around to holiday functions (business holiday parties, their kids’ Christmas performances, etc) all the way up till “break time” which offers no break once you have kids because that’s when you can finally get stuff done for your own family. I have a handful of friends in college right now and I really felt for them having to wrangle their kids and finals!

I was lamenting to a friend a month or so ago that it seems ridiculous to me that we all get wrapped up into an event only once a year that embraces the concept of loving your fellow man and spreading reverence and good cheer when really those should be aspects of our everyday lives. Instead of going bat-shit crazy with all the planning for a one or two day event, pretending to just love the reason for the season while dreading the thought of being forced to spend time with people that you try really hard to avoid the rest of the year. I know this isn’t everyone’s predicament, but I also know that it is so for many. Good cheer, good will towards man should be part of our everyday lives and not just dragged out during the same part of the year that we mentally strategize how to avoid starting that one special relative on a bigoted triad.

I’m sure my attitude will change once I have grandchildren of my own, or my own children start moving out. I hope my attitude does change. I also hope that I remember all the things that relatives do that really drive me berzerk and that I make better choices myself.

The only thing I dislike more than all the commercialism and chasing of one’s tail at Christmas is complaining about it without coming up with ideas to counter all the bullshit.

So, I’ve put together an inventory of  things that I do like and some ideas to have good cheer all year.

I love getting Christmas cards and letters. Mine are usually thrown together in a haphazard collage form as I desperately try to pull together something representing our family’s year. This year I didn’t even get it started till after the “big day”, and instead am opting for a Happy New Year’s version. But I am always excited to get them in the mail from others. Hell, I like them from people I don’t even know (usually business associates of my husband). I enjoy reading the Christmas letters that they have constructed, updating everyone on their family’s goings on. I save them. Year to year.

Sappy and/or silly Christmas movies. We stumbled upon this little gem; Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger. I love how Brits beautifully balance tradition and irreverence.

In trying to make sure that I got the right amount of stocking stuffers for the kids and grandparents I completely shorted my wonderful hubby. My lover, my friend and co-parent for the last twenty years, and he got just a bag of beef jerky from me. Mainly because it was convenient to grab one for him when grabbing some for other male folk in our family. I felt like shit. Aside from pointing out that I had taken care of food and organizing a lot of the stuff for the kids, he also pointed out that its been like that for the last two decades. He gets me all kinds of goodies and I get him…some. I couldn’t tell if that fact bothered him or having to point it out while I was having a mini-hissy fit at midnight on Christmas Eve. So do I fix it by making sure to knock his socks off with a stocking full of new socks next Christmas morning? No. Remember, I’m sort of done with the crazy hustle bustle of the 12 days of insanity. No, I am going to go with the good cheer all year. Once a week I’m going to try and treat him to something that will just make him smile and feel a little giddy. Maybe a couple of Charleston Chews or a bottle of top shelf tequila. Perhaps even a late night strip tease now and again (Ladies, if you haven’t gone on that adventure with your husband I highly recommend you do. It’s awesome for both parties!).

Over the years we have hosted many events at our house. BBQs, holiday feasts. pool parties. Mostly family events. I want to have more parties and get togethers with those that I don’t always get to spend time with, but would love to do so. I’m thinking a “Good Cheer, All Year” get together cocktail party. We will be moving into a rental house in the near future, but my ass needs to cash the check that my mouth is making on this one. I want to pick a time of year that not much in the way of obligatory holidays are going on.

Perhaps in embracing my year round ideas and remembering about the things I do love about the yuletide season will get me off the Grinch track.

December 26th is still my favorite day of the season, if not the year. It ensures that I have over 300 days to not give a crap about Christmas. Now I can focus on the glory of everyday.

Cross-Blogenating Monday!

18 Mar

IMG_2685  IMG_2652  IMG_2645  IMG_2701

 

Here’s what been going on over at my other blog Miss Erin’s DanceFit (misserindancefit.blogspot.com).

 

I’ve started a thing called Technique Tuesdays, where I give a short tutorial on one aspect or layer of ballet technique and alignment.

Technique Tuesday; Pelvic Alignment In 1st Position Plie.

This tutorial focuses on how the pelvis should be aligned throughout a plié in first position.

Technique Tuesday; Opening Up The Collarbone…

I was inspired to do this one because I have a pretty packed Beginning Teen/Adult Ballet class right now (super stoked about it too! They are a great group). Finding the proper alignment for the shoulder girdle and the ribcage, as well as the neck, can take a long time to settle into. And it can be somewhat frustrating as well for new students. So I wanted to create a preparatory exercise that was gentle, but also enlightening to how the shoulder complex can be held for ballet technique. I like doing the exercise myself.

While I don’t like to talk overmuch about my eating disordered past and my journey to overcome it, I think it is important to share wisdoms if ya got em. Especially since I work with young girls in a field sort of known for body image issues. And a great deal of time is spent in front of a mirror.

Who Is That In The Mirror?

 

More tutorials! And my Zumba wear affiliate code. Save 10% off Zumba wear by using it!

New Zumba Wear! Save With My Affiliate Code! And A Step Tutorial.

Savings and a fun dance step!

Look’in for some sexy moves? This post has some tutorials that I found. Booty popping galore!

Oh Yeah! We Be Twerk’in…

 

Currently I am busy choreographing a bunch of solos for some of the ballet students that I teach. They have a performance coming up in June. I can’t remember my choreography from day to day until I’ve worked with it for awhile. So I pretty much film everything I do. The storage on my Iphone can’t keep up! So I have started putting the videos up on Miss Erin’s. I’m looking forward to watching the progression of the dancers as we get closer and closer to performance time!

The first batches are here and here.

 

That’s all for now. Hope you have found something useful or at least entertaining!

~Erin.

Cross-Blogenating Monday.

18 Feb

Here’s some of what I’ve been doing over at misserindancefit.blogspot.com.

 

Stay Safe! Some safety tips for women.

A friend on FB had sent out a post filled with tips and information about what rapists tend to look for in a potential victim. An unpleasant subject, yes, but seriously important info to know!

 

Quadratus Lumborum {Do A Little Stretch/Say A Little Om/Get down Tonight…}

A stretch for the quadratus lumborum (part of the network of back muscles). Also, a bit about yoga concepts and a video I found, for your viewing pleasure.

Mondays are great for a laugh!

 

Thanks for hanging out and reading!

~Erin

Do you have safety tips to share? It’s true- A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle.

 

 

Changing A Family’s Chow; And Learning About The Evolution Of My Own Relationship With Food..

11 Feb

 

The inside of my fridge, freezer and pantry look very different from two years ago. Okay, they are still disorganized and terrifying to the uninitiated as to how I run my kitchen. It’s the foods stuff I’m talking about. Gone are the bags of pasta, regular and whole wheat. No more half eaten boxes of cereal (except the occasional Gorilla Munch). Most notably, gone are the boxes upon boxes of wheat crackers and golden yellow aquatic shaped creatures. Oh I still have snacks. Root veggie chips, like the kind you can find at Trader Joe’s, are my kryptonite for self-control. I am slightly more behaved with things like plantain chips or a bag of mixed nuts.

Coconut oil has replaced canola oil. In the fridge, margarine is no more. In it’s place is grass-fed butter. I can’t believe I went so long without out you, butter.

We had some good times, tofu and I. But with my time as a vegetarian far behind me, my meat drawer is filled with just that, meat. Chicken and seafood as well. What started out as a go at the Paleo diet has settled into the way that I feed my family. Which is not necessarily “paleo”. We consume dairy, cultured yogurt, sour cream, cheese, heavy whipping cream in coffee (Heaven!). Nachos are not an unwelcome guest and taco night usually comes with an option for corn tortillas. Rice is nice, but not every night. So we have it a couple times a week. I keep animal based protein, vegetables, healthy fats (coconut oil, avocados, EVOO), fruits and nuts as the priorities, and slip in rice, some corn and gluten-free treats to keep things exciting.

Our garage fridge used to house cases of soda. Not any more. We drink more water or flavored sparkling water. The lord and lady of the house stick with tequila and red wine, keeping a small arsenal of beer for visiting uncles.

For this big change I had a collection of websites, blogs and books. But the source that guided me the most were memories from my own upbringing.

The parents that bonded over a shared interest in exploring the science and joys of healthy eating and family unity. Yeah…I didn’t know those people.

I was the only child in my household. Cooking wasn’t something my mom was particularly interested in. It wasn’t that she was bad at it. Some of the meals I still pine for are ones she made when I was in early grade school (my parents divorced when I was around ten, which would’ve been in the late 70′s, early 80′s). Shopping and keeping a well stocked kitchen was not a strong suit for her. She later told me, when I was in my teen years, that in a strange way ignoring the state of the household’s larder bonded her with her own mother, who passed away from cancer when my mom was a young woman in college. The combination of being a somewhat high functioning alcoholic and agoraphobe sufferer gave way to such quirks as my grandmother ordering grilled cheese sandwiches from the local drugstore for her 3 children.

My dad, the athlete. A handsome and strapping young man with a powerful upper body, made even more so by his time in the Navy stationed on a refueling ship in the Pacific Ocean during the Vietnam War. Forever fascinated by anything with two wheels, he was either going upwards of a 100 mph on the highways of the California central valley on a motorcycle or he was training on a racing bicycle.

During a very dedicated patch of his love of bicycle racing he discovered the Pritikin Diet. What the diet basically entailed, was minimally-processed or unprocessed foods (not a bad idea), lean meats, vegetables, fruits, legumes (lots and lots of legumes!), starches like potatoes, brown rice and whole wheat. I don’t remember there being much dairy at all. I’m pretty sure low-fat was a big tenet of the diet as well, with dishes like “The One Olive Tamale Pie”. Basically, I remember a lot of meals consisting of bland chicken breast, steamed vegetables and potatoes, or a big pot of cooked beans in desperate need of some salt.

Even though I was young I registered the writing on the wall, “Don’t go against the low-fat, high-fiber grain.” What was most telling about my parents version of marital unity and dietary uniformity was what would happen when my dad would go away for the weekend on long rides or camping adventures with friends. There would immediately be a trip to the grocery store, my mom and I. The cart would brim with T.V. dinners, chips, ingredients to make fudge and the newest cardinal sin unleashed on the west coast; Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

I don’t recall my parents openly arguing about the occasional partaking of forbidden foods. So how did I know that these foods were on the “do not fly” list? The first night of one of my dad’s weekend trips would forever change my relationship with food. My mom and I had completed our cursory trip to the market. Freshly baked fudge was cooling on the counter, obediently waiting to be cut into generous sized rectangles. A limited time frame demanded large portions. The as of yet most chocolatey of chocolate mass-produced ice creams known to man-kind holed up in the freezer. Two T.V. dinners, their foil coverings vented just right, were ready to be devoured on, what else, T.V. trays in the family room. Then the most dreaded and unexpected sound instantly changed our strangely Rockwell-ian evening. The e-brake on my dad’s ’75 Toyota pick-up. Damn that one component was so loud. I felt rather than saw my mom’s instant anxiety. She quickly gathered up the trays containing our compartmentalized dining experience and shoved them under the trundle bed we used as an additional sofa and occasional guest bed. Then with magnificent speed and precision set about concealing the rest of the debauchery littering the kitchen. The ice cream would need to be deeply hidden in the freezer, with the same cunning needed to hide a favorite cousin accused of a crime you knew he would never commit. I must have hustled to my room, because I don’t recall any big fallout. I never found out how, or if my mom explained away the smell of factory produced deliciousness. Or even the palpable scent of freshly baked fudge. But if I had had any doubts that my mom was not on board with my dad’s view on nutrition for our family, well they got tossed with the Salisbury steak and apple crisp dessert.

Something much worse was taking place with my parents; their relationship with food and their relationship with each other. There was no communication. No one was saying, “I understand your desire to explore a healthy, or even specialized diet. I will try to be supportive, but I need my wishes and desires respected as well”, or ” I understand you don’t want to follow this diet as closely as I do, but maybe we can find a workable common ground.” The topic of nutrition wasn’t one that I remember being discussed in my childhood household. What I did get a sense of was that one didn’t stand up for their feelings or opinions, but rather suppressed their anger and resentments, and that food was a powerful weapon. Those were things that would later fuel an eating disorder in my teen years.

If I felt powerless in the “what’s for dinner” department, I soon found out I wasn’t alone. A couple of houses down from us lived a family of Seventh-day Adventists. For many Seventh-day Adventists, the doctrine of strict vegetarianism is held as an important part of their faith. The 3 children of the family didn’t go to the same public school as I did, but we were free to play together as neighborhood children. The two daughters were a bit older than me and the son was a bit younger. Together, we made a perfect group of nesting doll playmates. I remember them being nothing short of delightful to spend time with. Their cupboards were as liberated from factory produced snacks as mine were. They were definitely more sheltered than I was. I think I almost gave their elderly grandmother a stroke when I tried to pawn myself off as the Avon Lady, having gotten into my mom’s dresses, high heels and entire collection of make-up.

I soon recognized some of the same power struggles with food going on in their home as were going on in my own. Walking home from school one day, as I approached my driveway I was quickly waved over to this neighboring family’s station wagon. Upon my arrival, beckoned by the mom and her two long haired daughters, it was quickly, albeit covertly brought to my attention that in the foot compartment of the backseat  was a decadent store bought cake. The plastic dome of protection upended at its side. No organized slices to determine serving portions. No, this was not a planned celebration. This was a moment, that if not aggressively seized, would be gone forever. We were giddy with the empowerment of eating a forbidden food, but mindful of the ever present dangers of getting caught, in the act of dietary sedition. We shoved handfuls of moist yellow cake and whipped cream frosting decorated with confetti shaped sugar bits into our joyful mouths. Crumbs tumbling shamelessly into the gutter. So great was the danger of  discovery of our weakness in character that the little brother was not invited in on the travesty. Security risk. He was a known squealer, and a loyalist to dad, who everyone knew was the rule maker. Whenever I look back on this memory I regret that my mom was not a part of it. I think she would have somehow benefited  from the knowledge that she wasn’t alone in her marital stuggles.

Neither my parents or the parents of the neighboring family stayed married for long after that time. The hidden T.V. dinners, the refugee cake, those were all symptoms of parents not communicating. Not finding a common ground and showing respect for one another. Of course it’s never just about the food. Even with eating disorders it’s never about the food. Food becomes a mere medium. It’s the inability or lack of desire to communicate about what, as the leaders of a household, you want for your family. Being clear about one’s limits and being respectful of the other’s. But food is what fuels and sustains us, and if it is tainted with spite and resentment…Well, you are what you eat.

Ironically, just as my parents were preparing for the next chapter in their relationship, that of a divorced couple sharing the responsibility of parenting a child, I received a letter from my mom while I was away visiting relatives. Apparently sizeable scoops were missing from the ice cream carton that was oh so carefully hidden in the back of the freezer.

My journey into having an unhealthy relationship with food really picked up momentum once I had to navigate two confusing households instead of just one. Feast or famine dictated what we ate at my mom’s. Payday, feast. Day before payday, famine. No plan, no budget, no dietary guidelines. Except if my mom was trying a crash diet (Scarsdale and others). Which she would let me join in. Just for the record, a horrible idea. Crash diets are not meant for tweens. Perhaps not for anyone. I internalized other poor habits. I thought that when one opened a bag of chips you ate the whole bag in that one sitting. Then spend the rest of the day feeling horrible about yourself and start making plans to starve it off to reduce the damage. It wasn’t until I was rooming with other teens at a summer dance intensive camp that it hit me. You can open a bag of snacks, eat just a handful or two, and then fasten it closed, to retain freshness, and reopen to enjoy later. But by that time I was so confused about food and my relationship with it, that it wasn’t till years later I could go through the same save-for-later process. I only ate certain things, never straying. Just like when training tigers, always let them know who is boss. Lest they try to usurp your control of the situation. Can you guess who, or rather what, played the role of the tigers?

By the time I was sixteen I was an expert at finding the calorie and fat content of every food from carrots to foie gras. Carbs just weren’t viewed the same way as they are today. The 80’s were all about low-fat/high carb, leg warmers and thong leotards. I also specialized in the twin arts of lying and denial. To my parents, my dance teachers and myself.

So what changed? How did I go from someone who would damn near have a panic attack at mall food court to a mom who spends everyday attempting to guide her family, a hubby and four offspring, in the ways of balancing healthy eating, while not going overboard into crazy “strict-ville”? How did I make peace with my relationship with food? How did I learn to keep the peace in my own home and marriage?

I had to visit the other side of the coin. The side that has dinner planned for the evening before getting out of bed. The side that will discuss places to eat along the way weeks in advance of a trip. The side that always has stuff on hand, because it stocks up, all the time. The Foodie side. This was where my mother-in-law stepped into my evolving relationship with food.

By no means a health nut, my mother-in-law came knew how to stock a kitchen and plan a menu. Days of menus. She can look at a hunk of meat and see its future unfold. Slow-cook roast first night, sliced for sandwiches the next day, and as its swan song, shredded taco meat for the next dinner. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t her own mother that guided her, but her grandparents that taught her much of what she learned. Her own mother had better things to do than to cook dinner. Like find a new husband or be the handler for which ever one she had at the time. My mother-in-law’s  process of learning about food was also part of her salvation from difficult and frightening times.

When my husband, early on in our marriage, would ask me in the morning what I had planned for dinner later that day, I thought he was just being silly. Who the hell looks that far ahead? I haven’t even finished my coffee, for Christ’s sake! Who cares what’s for dinner. Oh, I’ll make sure it’s something edible, okay.

My husband grew up in a household where you asked what was for dinner with the same level of interest as one would ask what movies were coming to town. Dinner was something to look forward to. A reason to slog through the rest of your miserable day. The sustenance that would wash away the day. It seemed like an impossible task to me. Think about dinner so far in advance? Why would I want to do that? Think about food, all day. Like an obsession? Oh, wait. I’d already been doing that for years. Just because I finally tipped the scales past 100lbs., had started menstruating again, and even birthed a beautiful baby girl, didn’t mean I was out of the woods for having an unhealthy relationship with food. For so long I had been obsessed with denying my obsessive behavior of controlling my relationship with food. Inception obsession, if you will. Well, those well honed thought patterns and behaviors were getting in the way of what I really wanted. A home different from what I grew up in.

I had to learn to see food as a friend not a foe. That one could think about food and still be in control of one’s self. While it took me many years to finally and forever realize that losing 5 lbs. will solve very few, if any problems, I did start to learn to see food in a different way.

I learned to see food as a key piece that makes up the bond that binds my family together. I learned that it is possible to combine healthy guidelines for eating and show my love and appreciation to my family. I have the power to provide health and happiness. I’ve also learned how to be compassionate with myself. If I can’t demonstrate compassion for myself, how can I expect my children to develop a healthy sense of compassion for themselves? How can I provide it for my spouse?

The table at mealtimes in my household, have at times been like a Heaven On Earth to my troubled past. Memories of my unhappy childhood and troubled teen years seem like a necessary trail of trials to get to the magical place that is my home. A home filled with amazing people I get to claim as my own.

My newest relationship with food has helped me weather bouts of depression, seasonal allergies and the ever shifting sands of time, which in the case of my butt and gravity is definitely at a downward angle. But that’s okay. There is so much more to live for than the size or shape of my derriere. Like trying to convince my daughters that they, at 19 and 16, should get into the regular habit of worshipping their own beautiful bodies. Hail them with gratitude for the achievements they will make; comforting loved ones in need, bringing new life into the world. Whether that new life be an actual person or an idea or creation, or even just smile on someone else’s face and heart.

For about the last two years I have run a gluten-free kitchen. Having noticed such amazing results shortly after removing gluten from my diet (no more constant bloating, gas and intestinal distress, and a disappearance of low grade chronic joint pain) I quickly encouraged the rest of my family to live a “bagel-free life”. Yes, I know there are gluten-free bagels. Hella expensive, so they have become a rare treat.

At first our oldest daughter, Deirdre who at the time was 17, thought we were nuts. Well mainly me, since I was the biggest advocate of making this change. But since no other options were available at meal time, including “brown-bagging” options when packing her lunch for high-school, she inadvertently adopted gluten-free as well. Not too long after, she started noticing some interesting results. She wasn’t falling asleep in the middle of afternoon classes, no belly bloating, and she had way more energy. One afternoon had her practically skipping around the house asking, “Am I supposed to feel this healthy? I mean, is this normal?”. The occasional pizza slice at a friend’s house would have her vomiting throughout the night. Aside from myself, she is the most strict with gluten-free. My husband will have the occasional gluten exposure. At first he will not notice anything, but the next day brings with it a general sense of malaise. My younger daughter and my oldest son fair the best after eating gluten, but everyone knows when the youngest of my brood has ingested the stuff. Cranky doesn’t even begin to describe the aftermath. While I am not militant about their avoidance of gluten products when they are at friend’s houses, birthday parties or what have you, preparations for the fall out are usually in order.

It was a little rough at first making such a dramatic switch as to take the “staff of life” out of my family’s diet. Some days definitely had me wanting to yell, “Okay, screw it! Eat what you want, ya big whiny baby!” That line was usually in my own head, in reference to myself, my emotional parts fighting with my logical Mr. Spock parts. For everyone else I tried to be a little more diplomatic. “Well, there is some strong evidence that the proteins in gluten are like poison to the digestive tract. Our bodies just can’t make the same copasetic agreement with a wheat grain as it can with, say, a blueberry.” Yada yada. But the one thing I wanted to avoid was making food a battleground issue. A weapon to be wielded in future battles, that most likely wouldn’t even be about food. I didn’t want my sons to feel like they were betraying me every time they went to a birthday party or a friend’s house and were offered cake or pizza (I should note here that no one in my family suffers from Celiac disease. There are sensitivities that make a clear path to the nearest bathroom of the upmost importance. But nothing that will land us in the hospital). For my daughters, I really wanted the changes to be about feeling better and having a more positive relationship with food. Having what you put in your body be more about fuel and restoration so that one can be free to enjoy all that life has to offer. Whether those things be planned or unplanned. Even if it’s navigating the joys and or miseries of treats and occasional overindulgences.

I don’t want them to view certain food choices as “bad”. Rather, I want them to take stock of all the possible “good” and “great” choices available to them. They have the power. Okay, I still retain some of the power in that I decide, for the most part, what comes into the house. Mostly. Someday, though, they will have to make these choices for themselves and their families. I want them to feel empowered and educated, but balanced and compassionate as well.

I have a plan!

 

 

Weekend Wind Tunnel.

26 Jan

Here are some topics that have hit my radar this week, caused me pause to think about or gave me food for thought (which is just another way of saying “gave me pause to think about”).

The Eternal Struggle For A Good Night’s Sleep.

The Great Fitness Experiment, authored by Charlotte Hilton Andersen. It’s one of my favorite things to read. One of her posts from this week had to do with nighttime issues. The post had to do with eating carbs at night, nighttime wakefulness and night fasting.

The issue of nighttime wakefulness interested me the most. Over the last couple of years my husband and I have noticed that we just don’t keep the same sleep patterns that we used to. He has always struggled with regular sleep patterns. He wakes up in the middle of the night, lays there with ever increasing anxiety about not getting enough sleep until he just says screw it and gets up. Once he has been up for an hour or two he is able to go back to bed. From there he either sleeps in late, if his schedule permits (he doesn’t have a regular schedule), or takes a long nap sometime during the day. According to one study, this kind of sleep pattern might be more in tune with the natural human sleep cycle. There is some evidence of this in the traditions of many cultures around the world; afternoon naps are common, or at least in the past have been, from India to Spain.

According to the article;

It seemed that, given a chance to be free of modern life, the body would naturally settle into a split sleep schedule. Subjects grew to like experiencing nighttime in a new way. Once they broke their conception of what form sleep should come in, they looked forward to the time in the middle of the night as a chance for deep thinking of all kinds, whether in the form of self-reflection, getting a jump on the next day or amorous activity. Most of us, however, do not treat middle-of-the-night awakenings as a sign of a normal, functioning brain.

Its worth a read and some brain space as I’m sure I’m not alone in worrying about everything from not getting enough sleep to the “pressures of getting to bed on time”. I’m not advocating one adopt a segmented sleep pattern per say. I dislike waking up in the middle of the night (amorous pursuits aside) and find I prefer the type of day planning that a good nights sleep affords me. I definitely don’t like the idea of my kids roaming around in the middle of the night. But sleep issues in our modern world are an important part of the puzzle for overall health and wellness. Everything from the mental, emotional and physical health of children and teens to the link between obesity and sleep deprivation. So while I am no expert on the overall roles of sleep and health it is my opinion that knowledge is power. More knowledge=more power, or rather empowerment.  I will point out that segmented sleep should not be confused with the issues of sleep apnea. The post from The Great Fitness Experiment and the sleep study are worth a read.

Co-Sleeping.

 

 

Another sleep related issue; co-sleeping. Mark Sission  of Mark’s Daily Apple did a post on co-sleeping. Co-sleeping is when a parent or parents, or primary caregiver for that matter, sleeps with their infants in the bed with them. My husband and I always co-slept with our infants (four little cuddle-bug poo-spreaders). Especially when they were brand spankin’ new. It just seemed easier what with all the nighttime feeding and insane cocktail of hormones coursing through me that made solid blocks of sleep elusive even on my most exhausted of days. We had different variations; the football hold- me slightly propped up on pillows with my newborn tucked snuggly under on arm.

The Boppy Pillow set between two exhausted parents (for once my hubby would get a break from me encroaching on his slumber real estate).

We had triangular foam blocks that were about a foot long each and designed to be adjustable with Velcro attachments. Baby would be placed in the middle of the blocks and could be snuggly positioned to sleep on their sides.

 

 

With one of the kids we even had something like this. Where the hell these fancy contraptions went in between newborns I’ll never know. It seemed we never used the same method twice. Except for the trusty bassinette, which is really only useful till they can sit up. Random Tip; too busy and exhausted with the demands of a newborn to vacuum? Get the look of freshly vacuumed carpets by pushing the bassinette through the house!

With our first baby we wedged the crib between the wall and my side of the bed and removed one side of the slats enabling me to just roll Dd-Bug over for a middle of the night feeding or comforting and if I happened to still be awake when she finished, roll her back. Or not and opt to just snuggle. Once she was able to crawl I became a self-service station. That didn’t last for long since it coincided with other milestones that made us decide to move her crib to her room. Which in retrospect was somewhat unnecessary since we had little ones sleeping on our bedroom floor for the first 5 years of our parenting adventures. I guess they got to exercise their slumber-autonomy during the daytime napping hours.

Anyhow, throughout the span of modern parenting co-sleeping has been and still is a controversial issue (I think many parents do it but claim they don’t in the glaring light of scrutiny. I personally don’t have problem with that since its their baby and their ride on the rollercoaster, Dammit!). The post from MDA has a good list of “do’s” and “don’ts”.

 

 

 

Eggs!

 

I am always trying to straddle (among other things 😉 Oh yeah, it’s definitely the weekend!) quality of food vs. cost of food. I’m no expert at it and I would very much like to hone my skills at it. In my household we eat a lot of eggs. Not because we are just crazy about eggs, but rather they are quick, versatile and fairly inexpensive for the nutrients one gets from them.

Been in the egg section lately? The variety of choices combined with the differences in price usually makes the liquor aisle the next logical choice for me to visit. Cheap-ass carton of eggs all the way to organic-free-range-kissed by an angel-blessed by a Tibetan monk eggs makes me want to scream. What’s a budget conscience mom (or anyone for that matter) to do? Does the most expensive choice equal the best choice or in the words of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” song, “That’s what I call getting tricked by a business”.

I don’t have a conclusive answer, but in my adventures in Googling this week I came across this post that lead me to this list. I was trying to get the skinny on “fertilized eggs”. What did I find out? I guess something along the lines of a hen that produces eggs that can be categorized as “fertilized”  probably means that she had access to a rooster and more importantly, “free-range” access. Hmmm…this now makes me wonder about the virtues of  sending our second daughter to an all-girls college vs. a co-ed one. I kid. There is no effing way we could afford to send her to an all-girls college. She will have to roam among the coc….Nevermind.

 

Raising boys and girls differently. ?

And finally…

“Why do I have to be raised differently just because I have boobies?” Speaking of our second daughter, this is something she recently exclaimed at the dinner table not too long ago. I can’t even remember what it was in reference to. Most likely something having to do with her almost 12 year old brother watching a movie with a rating that she wasn’t able to view till she was 13. The indignities of inequality!

All kidding aside. Do I and will I raise my daughters differently than my sons? I don’t have an answer right now, but it is worth thinking about. I, we, have two daughters, 19 & 16, as well as two sons, 11 & 8. It is impossible to treat them the same. But what about how, we as parents, view what is or is not appropriate and at what age? I can already say that I have a biased view of going to college. Damn straight my daughters are going to college (yeah, big talk considering that they have to partially pay their own way). My sons and the importance of college? Meh. Of course I want all of my children to have opportunities for happiness and success in their lives, as children and as adults. What is packed into my psychological  baggage that makes the thought of my daughters starting off their adult lives sans some college degree an invitation for possible woe and misery? While my expectation of my sons are to go to college only if you have a plan, otherwise get to making something of yourself in the world. And get the hell off my couch! I do know that I have regrets about not completing a college education. But on the other hand, I have a great life. I have a marriage that is like a day at the best of amusement parks; fun, exciting, action-packed, predictable and unpredictable in turns. With just enough challenges to make the good stuff all the sweeter. I am blessed with four amazing people in my life that I get to claim maternal rights to. I work at something I love doing, the field of dance (although the ups and downs of that love story are, well, another story). Why couldn’t the possibilities hold true for my girls? And why shouldn’t they be granted the same freedom of choice, free of my critical judgments as is granted to their brothers? Perhaps this quandary will resolve itself as my sons become older and the demands of paving their ways through the world come ever closer.

That’s it for now.

 

 

Thanks for hanging out!

~Erin~

 

Have something to say about any of these subjects? Sleep patterns, co-sleeping, eggs, the difference between raising boys and girls? Good stories or tips and ideas? Leave a comment!

 

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