March 31, 2010


Yesterday while flipping stations in my car I came to Oprah Radio on XM and heard a phrase that really struck me. I don't know who said it, or what it was in reference to, but what I heard was something to the effect of "We tend to our homes, our gardens, our's time we tend to ourselves". I'm getting the quote wrong, I know, but that was the gist. That we spend so much time decorating our house, cleaning it, getting the car washed, finding the right shade of lipstick. I myself would never think of missing an appointment at the hair salon to cover my grays. But we don't tend to the most important parts of ourselves: diet, exercise, relaxation, fun, etc.

With that in mind, and also with my post a few days ago about being a caffeine addict, I am committed to reducing my caffeine intake! Yesterday I went to the grocery store and did not pick up my usual two 12-packs of Diet Coke. I will not have it in the house, starting yesterday. If I'm out, at a friend's house or a restaurant, and want it, then of course I will have some. But I will not ingest that stuff in my house. Of course, as I sit here typing I have a freshly brewed cup of coffee sitting next to me, but one step at a time.

I think overall I have a healthy lifestyle--been vegetarian for 8 years, am exercising more and more and in fact am training for another half-marathon---but I can certainly reduce the soda. Next will be to cut back the coffee...and the third (and final) step in my diet renovation will be to reduce the amount of junk food I eat (way too many cookies).

Thanks for all your support! I need to treat my inside (bones and heart especially) as well as I treat my outside.

March 26, 2010

Smiling in Synagogue

Tonight we went to our synagogue for Friday night services. It is Shabbat (Sabbath). We rarely go to temple.....Saturday mornings are always full from horseback therapy for A and sports for D, and Friday night services usually start too late. They have a Rockin' Shabbat once a month, which is geared toward kids (a band plays, there is dancing...much more kid-friendly than sitting through a dry, regular service) but it usually starts at 6 or 6:30, and my kids are in bed by 7. So we just don't go. Frankly, the bottom line is that it isn't important to us; if it were, we'd make the time to go, bedtime be damned.

However, these days I've been worried about the lack of Judaism in my kids' lives. Don't get me wrong...we have a very Jewish home, celebrate Shabbat every week (even with homemade challah that I make!) and do all the holidays. So "lack" is probably the wrong word to use. But D used to go to a Jewish preschool, where he got all-Judaism-all-the-time, and now he is in a public kindergarten, and is one of only 2 Jewish kids in his class. He did start Sunday school this year, which is great, and he not only gets to see his friends from preschool there, but he has continued his Jewish learning. But it's not the same as getting it on a daily basis.

However, A isn't even at the Jewish preschool! She is at an amazing preschool, which has a famous inclusion program. It is so much more geared toward her needs than our synagogue preschool ever could be---but it is based at a Presbyterian church. Our rabbis allow me to take A on Friday mornings to the preschool to sit in on the weekly "Shabbat with the Rabbi"....which is something, but not really much compared to all the Jewish learning D got.

Anyhow, our synagogue recently started a monthly service that meets on the fourth Friday of the early service, at 5:45 pm, for only 20 minutes, and it's for preschoolers. I thought it would be great to check it out tonight, for both D and A, both of whom could use more Jewish exposure. It was amazing! A woman played guitar, the rabbi led songs both for Shabbat and the upcoming holiday of Passover, and the kids got to dance up front, on the bima.

The reason I'm relaying this story in my blog is not because it was so great to go to Friday night services after many years of not going, even though it was great to go. I'm telling the story because of my miracle baby, A. She was UP on the bima tonight, "helping" to light the candles, dancing, singing, running after the other short, she was "just one of the kids". A few months ago (don't forget she has only been walking for 2 months, and standing still in one spot for about 1 month) this wouldn't have happened. She'd have crawled up there, and then crawled after the kids. But tonight, she walked, she stood, she dance, she chased. The tears I cried were happy ones.

I look forward to more of these monthly preschool was great for my entire family!

March 23, 2010

My Sweet Potato Moment

A few years ago, when A was only a few months old, and freshly home from the hospital after getting her tracheostomy, I was invited to someone's house for a sales party. You know, a party for one of those home-based businesses, like Creative Memories or Pampered Chef. The hostess of the party was a co-worker of J's, and I didn't know her very well, but I said yes because frankly I needed to get out of the house after so many stressful months.

At the party, there were several women, most of whom knew each other. I knew no one, except for the hostess, and as I said, I barely knew her. Anyhow, a few of the women were apparently new moms. They were complaining about food stains on their babies' clothing. "Sweet potatoes are the worst!" one mom exclaimed. "The stain just never comes out no matter how you pre-treat or wash it". The other moms agreed, and thus began a long discussion among them of the worst foods to feed your baby, in terms of how bad it would stain their child's onesies.

Of course, they didn't know me, or my situation, but internally I was aghast. "Excuse me, ladies", I wanted to shout, "don't you know how lucky you are that your babies EAT!?!? My baby has a feeding tube, and doesn't eat, or drink at all! I am pumping my breastmilk 5 times a day in order to feed my baby. I would give anything---ANYTHING--for her to be eating like a typical 5 month old should, and would be eternally grateful for sweet potato stains on her onesies because that would mean that she was EATING LIKE SHE SHOULD BE!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it's just clothes, anyway...wash it, bleach it, or forget about it, because your child will outgrow it soon enough anyway!"

Of course, I didn't say any of wasn't the time or the place. But that moment stuck with me. How many things do we take for granted until it's taken away? Now, at the age of 3 1/2, A is eating and drinking just fine, and in fact will be getting her feeding tube removed this summer. But to this day I relish stains on her means she is eating, and eating messily, like the toddler she is and is supposed to be.

March 20, 2010

Hi. I'm an addict.

I am an addict.

No, I'm not addicted to alcohol. I rarely drink, maybe 1-2 drinks a month maximum. And I don't do drugs, smoke cigarettes, or gamble.

I'm addicted to caffeine. And I hate it.

It never used to be like this. I can remember a time, not that long ago, that I would go to Starbucks and order a Spiced Apple Cider, which is a non-caffeinated drink. I would certainly drink caffeine, of course...a soda a few days a week...but it was nothing serious.

Then I discovered coffee. The gateway.

Now, I need a cup of coffee every morning. I usually brew it myself at home, in order to save money, but if I feel like treating myself I go to Starbucks. A Tall or Grande size won't do it for me...I need the Venti. Once in a while, if I've had a long night being up with A, I'll even order a double-shot.

And don't even get me started on my soda intake! Those of you health nuts who are reading this will cringe, but I need about 2 Diet Cokes a day (in addition to my morning coffee) to get me through. These days I buy the kind with vitamins and minerals, to fool myself into thinking it's healthier. Ha ha.

If I don't get my daily caffeine, I am grouchy, tired, and worst of all get a withdrawal headache. That's how I know I'm's the withdrawal symptoms.

I don't like being addicted to caffeine...but don't know how to stop. As a busy mom, especially being a mother to a daughter with so many needs, I don't have time to spend a few days nursing a terrible headache. I get unsolicited migraines as it is; I don't want to volunteer for killer headaches. I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place....wanting to quit but not having the strength too.

Maybe I should look into ways of weaning myself off. I'm not against caffeine per has it's time and place. It's the needing I can do without...I don't have a choice in the matter anymore, and I want my choice back.

March 19, 2010

I've Become One of "Them"

Many years ago, when D was about 18 months old (I think I was pregnant with A at the time) we went back east to visit my in-laws. My mother-in-law took us to a local park for D to play in, and we had a great time. I remember that across from the playground was soccer field, and there was a game, or perhaps a practice, going on.

What struck me (and it must have really made an impression on me, since I remember it 4-5 years later!) were the mothers at the game. They were all spread out on blankets on the sidelines, chatting with each other. No one even appeared to be watching the game/practice; they were all involved in talking. Soon there was a break in the game, and the kids swarmed the moms. The mothers, in unison, handed their kids water bottles. Seriously, it was like it was choreographed! The kids then went back on the field. The mothers went back to their chatting.

I remember this making such an impression on me because at that time, my whole life, my whole being, revolved around D. I was not just aware of, but PRESENT, for every thing he did. We did tons of mommy-and-me activities together (music, gymnastics, soccer) and he was my world. I never left him with a sitter (save for maybe a few nights a year for a date night with J). In the daytime, we were joined at the hip. I could not have imagined being at a soccer game of his, and not watching his every move. I would want to bear witness to every kick, every block, every goal. How could these moms ignore their children, who were right in front of them?

Well, a few years later, I am just like those moms. I go to his games (these days it's t-ball) and I get involved talking to my friends. It's not like I'm ignoring D...I know where he is, and do watch him. I love to cheer for him when he's up to bat, or attempts to field a ball. But I don't watch him play 100% of the time. I just don't.

Part of me feels guilty. I am just like those moms I saw, and internally criticized, all those years ago. But the other part of me feels justified...I am allowed to talk to the friends I've made (all through being his mom, by the way!), and it's healthy for my life not to revolve solely around his, or A's, life. Yet the guilt somehow always seems to prevail. However, I'm sure that D wouldn't even care....he just wants me to show up. But I want to do more than just show up...I want to be supermom, and often find myself failing miserably. Maybe I should cut myself, and other mothers that I find myself judging, a little slack.

March 18, 2010

The Magic of Childhood

Yesterday Liam the Leprechaun visited our home.

This was the first time my kids had anything to do with St. Patrick's Day. It's never been a big deal to me (except I do always try to wear green), and since D was always in a Jewish preschool, it was never taught (St. Patrick's Day is definitely NOT a Jewish holiday!) This year, with D in public kindergarten, was the first year he'd even heard of the holiday. His class did a whole unit on it, and talked about Ireland, leprechauns, shamrocks, etc. Very cute.

Yesterday we had his class Green Feast at school (I organized it, being the new co-room-mom). Before the party, and while the kids were at lunch, Liam the Leprechaun, whom they had been learning about, came to the class and paid a visit. There was gold glitter all over the room, the chairs were messed up; all in all it was a mess (leprechauns are known to be mischievous!) The kids totally believed it.

Later in the afternoon, we had a playdate with the kids a few doors down. Apparently, Liam had paid them a visit, too, as their toilet water had turned green! I quickly got on the ball and borrowed the mom's food coloring, ran home, and colored our toilet water green as well. When we got home, D was enthralled, and soooo excited that the leprechaun had come to our home too! Next year I will be more on top of it....I will definitely have more fun things that Liam the Leprechaun will have done to our home.

Since we aren't Christian, and don't do Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, it has been really fun for me to engage in these make-believe things for the kids, such as the Tooth Fairy and now Liam the Leprechaun. Childhood is such a magic time, and I'm thrilled that for one year, at least, my son believes. Hopefully we can get through more time of him believing (although he already questioned if I was the tooth fairy when he lost his second tooth a few weeks ago!) It's so much fun to be a parent, especially for time like this.

March 14, 2010

Shoe Fetish

I am obsessed with buying my daughter shoes.

Or, more accurately, my daughter is obsessed with shoes and I enjoy fulfilling her desires.

Before A started walking (a mere two months ago) I would wistfully eye the adorable shoes at Stride Rite, Target, and other children's shoe places. I always bought A one pair of shoes at a time---sturdy walking shoes from Stride Rite. The kind that our physical therapist recommended to help give her walking support. While the shoes were cute, I always had my eye on the fancy shoes in the display: the black patent leather Mary Janes, the retro saddle shoes, the sparkly sneakers. I guess I could have bought them for her, but I kind of figured "what's the point"...she was crawling and those shoes were made for walking! I made a deal with myself that as soon as she was walking I would buy her a pair. Or two.

Well, a Pandora's box has been opened, and A now has about 7 or 8 pairs of shoes. All bought in the last two months. Mostly inexpensive shoes I find at Target (a bargain at around $15 a pop!). She has white sparkly shoes, black sparkly shoes, and red sparkly shoes that look exactly like Dorothy's ruby slippers. She has cotton shoes with jewels on them, pink shoes with flowers on them. And of course, black patent leather Mary Janes.

And as much as I love the shoes, A loves them more! Every morning she insists not only on picking out her own shoes, but also her own socks (she loves socks too and has them in many colors). Most mornings she matches, sometimes she doesn't (she LOVES the yellow socks and they just don't go with many outfits!) but I don't care, I let her wear what she wants.

I myself used to have a shoe fetish, back in my 20s, but that has long passed. Oh, I still like shoes, and have many pair, but these days I can be found in one of 5 shoes: in the winter my black Sketchers or Uggs, in the summer one of my many pairs of Birkenstocks or Crocs, and year round my running shoes. Sure, if I go out with J, or with my girlfriends, I might slip on a cute pair of black boots, or sandals, but by and large I live in the shoes I just described. As much as I like shoes, these days I am all about budget and comfort.

But now that A is walking, I can't help but indulge her, and decorate her feet. It took her 3 1/2 years to walk, and those magic feet have to be decked out in style.

March 10, 2010

My Little Competitors

My son, D, has been begging me to sign him up for a running race. It's been hard to find one; kids' races (usually held the day before a big race like a marathon) are few and far between. I did find a few recently, but they have been on days where he had soccer, or t-ball, and I don't want him to miss a team-related event if he could help it.

I finally found a race--the Carlsbad Junior, in April. It's the day before the big Carlsbad 5000 (5K), which is an extremely popular race here in San Diego. It happens to be on a day when he has no t-ball, so we are completely free that day. I signed him up for the 1/2 mile run (for kids ages 4-6). He is very excited.

But the best part is that I signed A up too! For kids under age 4, there is a Toddler Trot (50 yards) and a Diaper Dash (25 yards). Miss Thang is going to walk the Toddler Trot! It's the length of half a football field...TOTALLY doable for her. Of course, when I registered her for it, she had only been really walking for 6 weeks! I have laugh....who knew that when this year started that my daughter would not only be walking within a couple of weeks, but a few months later would be "competing" in her first "race"!?!?!?! I am thrilled, and plan on walking every step alongside her.

Both kids will get a goody bag, t-shirt, and finishers' medal. I cannot wait---this should be a great morning for both kids, and perhaps the start of a love of running like their mama!

March 2, 2010

Chelsea King

Today Chelsea King's body was found. Dead.

I cannot tell you how devastated I am about this. No, I did not know her. But for some reason I connected more closely to this case than to any other missing person...even Amber Dubois, a missing teen (who is STILL missing) from Escondido, a town, soooo very close to me.


First of all, Chelsea went to Poway High School. A few miles away from me. Poway High School will be D and A's rival high school when they go to high school. This community, not just San Diego, but MY COMMUNITY, is torn up. Just today I was driving the local streets and the trees were adorned with blue ribbons, for Cheslea. It's RIGHT HERE.

Next, she was attacked (and raped? and killed) while running. In broad daylight. I run. I can't imagine going out for a jog and being attacked like that.

From everything I've read about her, she was a superstar....on the track team, in the band, straight A student, honor roll. A rising star that will never get to shine.

Finally, as a mom, I just cannot imagine what her parents must feel. Two months ago, my cousins' beautiful 16 year old daughter was killed in a car accident. Just imagining the anguish of these's unfathomable. My children are the loves of my life. Not that I don't love my husband...I do. Very much. He is my soul mate and if something happened to him it would be absolutely devastating to me. But my son and daughter? They are my life. An extension of me. And to have a child killed so senselessly (whether by random car accident or by psycho killer) is something I pray to God I never have to go through.

No, I never knew Chelsea. But I know my children. And for that, I mourn her loss to her family and this community.

March 1, 2010

The best $3.99 I ever spent

Today, after speech therapy and adapted P.E. I took A to the supermarket for our weekly shopping. We passed a display of balls (the typical plastic kickball-type) and I saw one with Dora the Explorer on it. I couldn't pass it up; A LOVES Dora, and she has been working on kicking a ball in P.E.

When we got home, we went outside in the backyard (I didn't have to ask twice; A just loves going outside). She had a blast throwing the ball, chasing it, picking it up, kicking it, and doing the whole thing all over again. Keep in mind that she JUST STARTED TRULY WALKING ABOUT SIX WEEKS AGO; the fact that she is doing this is amazing. I never dared to dream that she would one day be able to stand still and kick a ball. Stand still unassisted? Balance on one leg while kicking with the other? Quickly walk around the patio? Bend over and pick up a ball? Sweet dreams are made of this!

Soon, I directed her to the little basketball hoop we have outside. We had gotten the hoop for D almost 5 years ago, for his first birthday. It's been largely unused for several years (D is too big for it now) and many times I had toyed with the idea of donating it. After all, I reasoned, A would never use it. Well, boy did that little girl prove me wrong! She loved it! I lowered the hoop down to her level, where she had to reach up only a little. She had a blast putting the ball in again and again. I am looking forward to raising the bar and having her really have to throw it in!

With A walking, my whole vision for what she can do has changed. J and I talked tonight, and we think that in the fall we will sign her up for mommy-and-me soccer! She will LOVE it. I would sign her up today, except that there is literally no time in our schedule for it. In the fall, she will go to school 3 days a week, all in the afternoon, leaving every morning and two afternoons a week free. I know we have lots of therapies to squeeze in (which is why I signed her up for afternoons vs. mornings) but we should have time for soccer. And maybe gymnastics. And ballet. I am looking forward to doing an extra-curricular activity with her that is active; so far, all we have done is music, because that mainly involves sitting!

I am so glad I bought her the ball. For less than $4, I was able to re-frame my plan for A. She will be an active little athlete...she wants to so badly, and therefore she will be.