Friday, January 29, 2010

Another Good Chase Moment

Catching up on some light reading before going to school yesterday:

Too Much to Do

Lately, Chase has been on the go. Like, so on the go that he doesn't feel the need to sleep (although the epic meltdowns at 5pm after a day without a nap suggest otherwise). I've started putting him in his bed with a Magnadoodle, which is one of his Most Favorite Things To Do at this moment in time. One of his other favorites is to read books.

I caught this photo of him after he sat in his room for I don't know how long, refusing to sleep. At least he was quiet. It looks like he drew and 'read' until he just couldn't keep his eyes open one more second.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Post About Veganism

I mentioned that I was going meatless in my new year's post at the beginning of this month, and now that I have my computer back (thanks, Dell! You even replaced the keys that Chase tore off!!) I have the necessary tools to get back to blogging.

It has been almost a month since I gave up meat. And with the exception of a few meals that were shared with friends, and a pan of brownies that I am not proud of eating almost entirely by myself, I have been dairy, egg, and completely meat free.

But why?

A bunch o'reasons. Here are the highlights.

1- Being vegan is healthy. "The vast majority of all cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other forms of degenerative illness can be prevented simply by adopting a plant-based diet," according to Dr T. Colin Campbell, nutritional researcher at Cornell University and director of the largest epidemiological study in history.
Vegetarians on the whole have stronger immune systems, are far less likely to be overweight, and have stronger bones than people who eat animal products. Not to mention the bacterial and chemical/added hormonal content found in most milk, eggs, chicken, pork, and beef found in your grocery stores and restaurants.

2- Being vegan is environmentally conscious. A UN study reports that the meat industry causes more emissions of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide than all cars, trucks, SUVs, planes, and ships in the world combined. A University of Chicago study found that switching to a vegan diet was 50% more effective than switching from a regular car to a hybrid in reducing your impact on the environment.

It also impacts the consumption of water- a vegan diet requires 300 gallons of water per day, a meat diet requires close to 4,000.

AND pollution from farmed animals (according to the EPA) is more than all other industrial sources combined.

3- Factory farming of animals is nasty. Nasty, nasty, nasty, on so many levels. I tried to stay away from the propaganda regarding the cruel and inhuman treatment of animals in factory farming and processing conditions, because, honestly, I knew it was there, and I didn't want to think about it. Then, I ran across stories about it in my friendly "Vegan Starter Kit" from PETA. And let me tell you: yuck.

And it isn't just the animals used for meat. It is the dairy cows, the hens that lay the eggs you eat, the fish that are both caught in the wild and farmed. I will spare you the details, but it is truly disturbing.

I absolutely understand that not all animals are treated this way. There are farms that raise animals in humane conditions. It just isn't the norm. And when you buy animal products from your local grocery store, chances are, you are not getting animals who are treated humanely. It just isn't cost effective.

So, why not become vegan? Honestly, I've been cooking vegan for a month now and have made some really yummy meals. I feel better, it is cheaper, and I feel better about the choices that I am making. I also like that my kids are exposed to new foods and a healthier lifestyle. It also forces me to get creative in the kitchen again, which is fun. (Bryan, however, is a little leery of my new creations. It doesn't help that he is allergic to most everything in the world, and that bout of stomach cramps and narrowed airway from the tofu stir-fry didn't help, either.)

I've found that I don't necessarily miss eating meat, but I do miss cheese (although that is diminishing, really). As long as I have a variety of yummy fruits, veggies, whole grains, and beans within arms reach, I am good. I am having issues with missing desserts, though. I have to look into alternatives on that aspect.

The other stumbling block I am coming across is social eating. When we eat with friends, I don't want to turn my nose up at anything put in front of goal of eating vegan is not to alienate people that I love. So, up to this point I have been eating meat at those occasions, but I may start bringing a vegan dish to share so that I have an alternative, and also so that others can give it a try. We'll see. I am still at a crossroads with this one.

Anyhoo. That is what I've been thinking about this month (well, among other things!) and I'll be sure to post more about this journey as I learn about it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chase in the closet

Remember how I told you that Chase says 'bye' like 'go away'? I caught him in the closet after our shower dressing himself in all of Bryan's boxers. When I walked in on him, he told me 'bye' and then shut the door on me!

Listen for him to tell me 'way'- (go away), and other random words as I follow him around.

You should watch. He is way cute. Of course, I am biased, but really, he is.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Photo Dump- I've been collecting...

Look who is into everything...

Gavin makes this face when he pops his lips (a favorite pasttime).
Eyes still blue at 7 mos :)
An awesome buy at the consignment store- this tunnel is a hit with ALL the boys!
Bryan and Ian sling our first honey harvest. We had just about 2 gallons!
The Roots and Shoots group hosted an event at the Little Gym. Chase loved swinging on the rings.
Our group (check out Ryan n the red shirt. He is 6 weeks younger than Chase and looks exactly like him! ...Chase is in the striped turtleneck)
Chase shut himself in our closet and came out wearing about 20 pairs of Bryan's boxers around his neck...
Someone can pull up to his knees now....!
Storytime after a bath. Gavin sure is getting grabby.
I like pizza, Steve. I LIKE it!
We had a 60 degree day! We broke out the bouncehouse and jumped sideways in it.
Gavin crawls! And like all Maddex boys, a piece of electronic equipment was good motivation.

We is so proud of himself when he gets what he wants. Notice he even bypassed the pacifier to get the mouse.

Chase learns how to play Wii like everyone else in this house. Wearing a funny hat with his pants off.
Bubble mania in our backyard. My mom and dad helped turn our patio slab into a kid-friendly play zone. My dad and my brother put up a rabbit fence around it, and my mom got a giant green outdoor carpet. It is so nice to be outside and not have to worry about Chase running away (or disturbing the bees!).
Has anyone used the Gymboree bubbles? They truly rock.
Bubble nose.
Bryan's project for the last 3 months has been replacing our carpet with this awesome laminate. Chase knows how to help.
Guy and Ian play ball. Ian makes a funny face.
Chase decided he likes pasta with red sauce. Good enough to smear all over his face.
I was trying to prove that Gavin has curls. They are still all over when his hair is wet, but straighten out as it dries.
Chasey camera hog.
Who doesn't love a bubble-headed baby?
Quick! Find the special one!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Unintentional Neglect

My sweet little laptop is in the shop. Again. Hence the sparse posts this month. We have been doing so many things, and I have so little documentation of it all because of that *%#** hard drive issue. It kills me.

I am on borrowed time on Bryan's computer, so just a few random thoughts:

*Gavin crawls. Full on, all fours, gets-where-he-wants-to-go crawling. It is pretty adorable. He is by far the earliest crawler that I have had (Ian was too fat to go anywhere and Chase was, well, Chase :) so that makes it doubly exciting. It is awesome to see him begin to get into his brothers' stuff.

*Chase says all sorts of words. My favorite so far is "Peep-eesh" which is, of course, "Sheepie", this big round stuffed animal that my mom gave him last Christmas. He has really grasped the concept of a verbal language, finally understanding that he can get things- anything!- just by saying the word. His favorite word: "bye." He uses it traditionally (saying goodbye as someone leaves or as he does) or to tell you to go away. When he wants to be by himself, he will look up at me, wave, and tell me "Bye"...then wait for me to leave. Sometimes he repeats himself if I stay longer. The best part is that he says it with a southern accent, so he kind of sounds like Paula Dean.

*Ian turns 5 in like 2 weeks. 5. FIVE! Holy schniekies I have a five-year-old! It is unreal. And he is so cool. He is so independent but loving at the same time. Sometimes I feel like he is transitioning from a little boy who needs hugs and kisses from me, into one who gives me hugs and kisses because he knows I need them. Oy. I love it, though. I love watching him grow up.

Side note about Ian...Leah hurt his feelings today by running ahead of him or doing some other such dastardly deed. He walked for a moment with his head hanging down, then yelled after her, "Leah! If you don't start being nicer to me, then I might have to go out and find someone else to marry!"

*Bryan is almost done laying our new floors. They are beautiful and don't have a thin film of dirt and/or vomit on them. Love them!

*I am down to the last week or so of procrastinating on rewriting my resume. I want to have it done by January so that I can get out there before the job fair in the spring. I am super excited about returning to the school system and being at school with Ian and Chase, but at the same time completely guilt ridden about leaving Gavin. Ah, well. It is all about balance, right? Plus, I get a new wardrobe if I go back. And as much as I love hoodies and jeans, it is time for a change.

Off to bed with me. Midnight, 4am, and 6am come early.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Resolutions

I will forget them if I don't write them down. (Who am I kidding? I will forget them even IF I write them down, but I like to think that they will stay through the year!)

1. I will slow down and enjoy my family. So many times I feel like I am consumed with taking care of everyone instead of enjoying them. I want to try and find a balance. I know- the impossible dream.

2. I will simplify and organize. We have too much stuff. Too much. It is overflowing every cabinet and closet. I want to take truckloads of things to Goodwill.

3. I will eat better. I am a sugar addict. I eat terribly. I finish off the kids' leftovers and call it a meal. Not acceptable!! I feel crappy, and I know that is why. I also have the urge to eat vegan. Jonathan Foers was on Ellen the other day and made some very valid points about not only the treatment of animals in factory farming (where most of our meat comes from) but also the detrimental environmental effects of factory farming. I investigated a little further and found out lots of things that really made me want to lessen my impact on that industry. Not to mention, eating less meat and more veggies is healthier. I'm not saying that I will never have a piece of chocolate or a bowl of ice cream again...or even one of my Dad's steaks...I'm just saying that I want to make animal products very much sometimes foods, and I will probably in the future look to local farms for animal products (Bryan and the kids are not quite on board with the total vegan lifestyle yet). More to come about this subject.

I have other things that I want to do this year, but I feel like if I list them, then I will be inherently canceling out #1. I will just put a list of maybes, if I have time:
*knit stuff (and finish them!)
*work out a little (if I can only find the weight bench that is buried out in the garage...)
*get a job and find a balance between being a mom and being a teacher
*plan my weekly dinner menus ahead of time instead of standing in front of the fridge at 5PM wondering what I can throw together to make a meal in 30 minutes (it's like my own Rachel Ray show here every night!)
*get my Bible groove back on (I did finish the B90X challenge...but now I miss the daily reading. I would like to find a daily devotional that I like. It is calming and inspirational.) I guess I should move this one to the official list of resolutions. I just reread this post and feel badly that I put "reading the Bible" on my list of things to do if I have time.

Alright. I feel better having those on paper. I am off to begin purging my house while Gavin naps and the big guys are at school.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happiness Project- Love Where You're At

My neighbor and friend, Angelle, is doing this Happiness Project thing. I thought, since one of my resolutions this year is to appreciate my blessings and slow down enough to enjoy this life...that it would be a good one for me to jump in on, too.

So, there will be a weekly post on some aspect of happiness (you can read more about the project and the official-ness of it on Angelle's blog). This week it is about loving your location.

So, here goes- 5 Reasons Why I Love Where I Live

1. Space. I love that we are able to afford a house here that has enough space for us all to spread out our stuff, make a general mess, and not bother anyone else (too much) while we do it. Sure, when Bryan puts a big pile of mail on my countertop while I am cooking dinner, it makes me do that big *sigh* thing, but in general, we have enough room to do our thing without bumping elbows for the most part.

2. The Seasons. Charlotte has 4 of them! And all are different! This was a big change coming from Florida. I love the anticipation of the next change in weather. I also love the winter here--- cold enough to know it is January, but not cold enough to have to shovel it.

3. My Culdesac Crew. We live on a culdesac with our best friends. That rocks. I love that our kids can go outside and play together in a safe place. I love that my neighbors always have that one ingredient that I am missing. I also love that we are close enough so that the grown-ups can play games together while the kids are in bed with their monitors on.

4. Chase's Network. The Down Syndrome Association of Charlotte is awesome, and I am happy that Bryan and I can be a part of it and build a network of friends and support for Chase (and Ian and Gavin, too).

5. My Parents. They live close by, and I love that my kids are growing up with such a close bond with them. My dad is always there to help with a fix-it problem, and my mom makes great apple pies. The free babysitting is nice, too. :)

Anyone else up to doing this? Come on. You know you want to.

Fillings from Ian's POV

Here is what happened at the dentist this morning from a 4 and a 1/2 almost 5 year old's point of view (that is how he tells people how old he is now):

The dentist (Dr. Long) put a whistler in my mouth next to the cavities. They don't like that sound, so that's how he gets the cavities out of my teeth.

Me: Did he put a mask on you? Did you have to breathe in some gas?

No, I just breathed some air.
Me: Did it make you feel funny?

Nope. It just made it so I couldn't scratch my nose.