Monday, January 28, 2008

Hot Sauce

Remember back before you were a parent, when you thought you knew it all? Boy those were simple days. So easy to judge. So easy to know EXACTLY what the right thing to do would be.

Well, Jack has learned an unfortunate word that rhymes with duck. Luckily, it starts with an "s" and not an "f," although I am sure that one is coming soon. I heard him say it once today. "The Cowboys suck." Now Jack is the kind of kid you cannot give an inch to. So I told him firmly, clearly, and directly that we do not use that word. I gave him alternative words that might express the same thing. I also gave him the benefit of the doubt since it is the first time I've heard him use the word. But I told him very clearly that if he said that word again, I was going to put hot sauce on his tongue.

Apparently hot sauce is the modern day equivalent of soap, which is now looked at as cruel in parenting books. Before I had children if you told me that I would ever consider putting hot sauce on my son's tongue, I would have been horrified. HORRIFIED. What kind of parent would do that? Certainly a lazy parent who would prefer to inflict pain on her child than teach them properly.

Not 10 minutes later, he looked right at me with that Jack grin that is such trouble and so adorable and said, "The Cowboys suck." Before the words were even out of his mouth, he was running down the hall with glee to find Sam to tell him he was about to get hot sauce.

Now I must confess that I really never had the intention of putting hot sauce on his tongue. I was sure that the threat of it would be enough. And, as I learned a few minutes later, we don't even own hot sauce. But I knew that Jack was taunting me and I only had one choice.

As I am looking through my kitchen for something hot (with my neighbor Janet watching in amusement), Jack and Sam are standing in the kitchen literally jumping up and down with excitement. "Hot sauce, hot sauce, hot sauce!" they cry.

I finally settled on cayenne pepper. I licked my pinky, stuck it in the jar so that the pepper would stick to it and then stuck it in Jack's mouth.

The kid didn't even flinch, people. Didn't. Even. Flinch.

My white flag is raised.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day One

I am a big fan of American's Funniest Videos because physical humor absolutely cracks me up. Show me a video of someone falling flat on their face while on water skis or sitting down on a chair which breaks and I bust out laughing every time.

In that same genre, have you ever seen a video of a high school pep rally where the cheerleaders hold a big paper banner and the football players come charging through it to much fanfare? And then, the America's Funniest Video version where they come running through but the paper doesn't rip, so the lead guy falls and then all of the other players, running behind him, fall on top of him so they are all in a big heap?

That is what it was like for me with getting back to healthy eating today. It started out great. I got up, had a healthy breakfast, went to the gym with Mother Suburbia (who is in kick ass shape, by the way!), had a healthy salad for lunch and then - BAM! - just like the football players running into the banner - I stumbled. It was mid afternoon. I was hungry. The boys were arguing. Cut up apple slices were not what I was after. I remembered the chocolate chip cookies in the freezer. Let's just say I had more than one.

I used to work for the American Cancer Society. One of the things I learned was that the best predictor of whether or not you are going to quit smoking was how many times you had tried to quit in the past. The more times you had tried to quit in the past, the more likely you were to be successful THIS time. Hopefully it is the same with getting back on track with eating.

Try. Mess up. Get up. Try Again.

I'm trying again....

Monday, January 21, 2008

This time it's personal

Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.
- James Wright, from "A Blessing"


Let's start with a moment of silence for my boys' Green Bay Packers. Sam has taken the loss very personally. Jack has moved on to Patriots v Giants. Aaron refuses to speak of the game.

Begin moment of silence.... End moment of silence.

To begin -

When I first started this blog, I wrote about New Years Experiments. I still haven't officially declared One experiment as the winner, although I have made some strides in living in a more environmentally friendly way. But, like millions of other Americans on January 1, my thoughts have turned to losing weight.

It's hard for me to write about this because weight has always been very personal to me. But I'm going to share a bit of my journey with hopes that telling the truth will help free myself from what hasn't been a very consistent healthy relationship.

I am very, very lucky because for the first 24 years of my life, food and I happily co-existed together. Of course, I did the silly diets in high school (a snickers bar for breakfast and nothing else until dinner) and enjoyed the occasional "pig-out" with friends in high school and college. The liquid calories that I consumed in college melted off with no effort (unless you call dancing at frat parties until 2 in the morning "effort.") When I graduated, I was thrilled with my job and my personal life. All was well.

But ages 24-27 were pretty tumultuous years for me. I had my heart broken, I struggled to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and I moved temporarily to a place that stifled my soul. It was during this time that my relationship with food turned sour. For much of those 3 years I felt lonely and sad. So, I did what many women do. I turned to food. And I became an expert yo-yo dieter. I'd gain weight and then diet it off. Gain weight and diet it off.

By my late 20s, I seemed to have things together, food-wise. I took some time away from the world as I knew it and came back stronger, happier, wiser, and yes, thinner, than ever. I met my husband, we married, I enjoyed my work, I made deep friendships, my heart was full.

And now, here I am, several years later. I have a husband who adores me who I in-turn adore, wonderful friends, a gorgeous, healthy family. And yet, all I have to do is look at the scale to know that deep inside, perhaps all is not as well as it seems.

Often, in quiet moments, I still feel lonely and sad. My children are the great loves of my life and yet the truth is that they exhaust me. It often feels as if my every waking moment is spent tending to someone else's needs. And so, I should not be surprised that my old ways with food are popping back into my life.

Only now, as I bang on 40's door, weight isn't just about a number on a scale anymore. It's about health. I feel like in some ways, I am way ahead of the curve in terms of healthy eating. My family is fed whole, real foods. I don't do fake foods, artificial sweeteners, etc. They may be good for diets but they are not good for health. I do a great job with fruits and vegetables. And meat has really taken a back seat in my family's meals. But the fact remains that I carry any extra weight I have in my belly, the worst possible place a person can carry it. Cancer and heart disease run in my family and if I want to do what I can to avoid them, I need to work even harder at healthy habits.

So I am considering this blog entry my official starting point of a journey back to health. (If I had trumpets, I would herald them here. If I had confetti, I would drop it. If I had balloons, I would let them take flight.) I have learned through the years that a true healthy relationship with food, for me, is not just about food. It's about food and exercise and writing and reading and learning and talking and, perhaps most important of all, listening and being still.

Thanks for listening. I will keep you posted.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jack Post #1

I am putting it very politely when I say that Jack has been bit lively lately. Aaron and I chatted with him about it last night and asked if he had any ideas how we might be able to help him behave more appropriately. Without missing a beat, here is his verbatim response:

"I have three ideas.
1) You can let me watch more TV.
2) You can let me play computer games.
3) You can let me eat more ice cream."

Seriously, he said it as though we had given him days to come up with a response.

This kid is either going to end up at Harvard or in jail. ;)

A Stranger in a Foreign Land

I believe I have lost all control of my home. It is very clear that the 4:1 male to female ratio is alive and strong.

Let me say up front that I enjoy football. I understand the game, I love to watch it, and I have distinct preferences fore teams and players. I also love a good SuperBowl Party and all of the accoutrements. But the football insanity that is happening in my home right now is something of a new breed to me.

Let me describe some of the craziness:
1) Jack has colored a picture of Brett Farve and it is hanging on our front door where normal people would hang a wreath.
2) There are signs scattered throughout the house written in Sam's 1st grade phonetic spelling saying things like "Breet for Prasadinte" (Brett for President), "All Abord the Green Bay Icspras" (All Aboard the Green Bay Express), and my personal favorite, "Green Bay Pacrs, smash the othr tems lic cracrs" (Green Bay Packers, smash the other teams like crackers.)
3) We are eating green and gold popcorn.
4) I have to fight to get on the computer since someone is always watching game day highlights on
5) I set out a red shirt for Jack to do today but he refused since it is one of the Giants' colors.
6) If we are outside, neighbors drive by yelling "Go Packers!" I am sure our neighborhood is already planning some sort of intervention for how to handle Aaron if his beloved Packers are not victorious.

Do you realize that if the Packers win tomorrow (I would be shunned from this house just for saying the word "if" instead of "when" when referring to their win tomorrow), I will have two more weeks of the insanity?


Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Barackos Rally

Our family tore ourselves away from the football playoffs for a few hours today to go to the Silicon Valley Obama campaign headquarters for a rally.

Jack loved it because there was cake ("Look Mom, red, white and blue, the colors of the Patriots!") and he still thinks the Barack Obamas are a football team.

Ben loved it because he got out of taking a nap and he has decided that he doesn't need naps anymore. His mother, on the other hand, categorically disagrees.

And Sam was just plain mesmerized. He stood at the front of the crowd and watched the speakers (there were 6 and they spoke for over an hour, but who is counting?). He clapped when it was appropriate to clap, he cheered when it was appropriate to cheer. His other friends were all running around and playing tag, but Sam stood attentively. It appeared that he totally got it. That's my boy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Conversation with J this morning at mini-golf:

J: Mommy, when is the baby coming out of your belly?
SPT: I don't have a baby in my belly, J.
J: Then why is it big?

Hitting the gym again tomorrow. Need I say more?

Friday, January 11, 2008


Sometimes, motherhood just f-ing sucks.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


So, our sweet little B is a delayed talker. But in the last two or three weeks, his language has started to EXPLODE. He's coming up with new words, two word strings, even a three syllable word ("hah-pah-tah", aka helicopter). Most of his words are preceeded by the words either "no" or "mine." So if he sees a dog, it would be "Mine dah-dat." I have enjoyed the process of all of my boys' language developing, but there is a sweetness to Ben's that cannot be compared.

Tonight was one of those sweet moments with Ben that I hope, hope, hope I will remember forever. Our bedtime routine is pretty consistent - three books, then lights out and I sing a few songs while I rock him in the rocker. He twirls my hair while I rock him which makes my heart a big puddle every single night.

One of the songs I frequently sing to him is a variation on Twinkle Twinkle. It goes like this:

Twinkle, twinkle little star
What a special Ben you are.
Bright blond hair and soft, sweet cheeks
Bright brown eyes from which to peek.
Twinkle, twinkle little star
What a special Ben you are.

For some reason tonight, that song didn't make it into my repertoire tonight and as I was closing up shop with one last round of the ABCs, Ben peeked his fuzzy little head up from my shoulder, looked me in the eyes and said, "Yar?"

It took me a while to figure it out but we were both persistent and I finally realized that he was asking me to sing him the Little Star song. As soon as I started to sing it he put his head back on my shoulder and said, in his quiet little voice, "Yescht."

Yescht, Ben, you are my little yar.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chickens are the new black

I don't know what the deal is, but I swear to you that chickens are the new status symbol out here. The big thing is to have enough money to own enough land that you can build a chicken coup. That way, you can have your own chickens and they can lay eggs for your family's consumption.

Most of the chicken owners will tell you that they feel good about this because they know their chickens are treated humanely, not fed antibiotics, are free range, etc. They will tell you this, straight faced, while eating their beef tenderloin.

It's a strange, strange world and it sure is entertaining.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Morning after commentary: "The Barackos"

The scene unfolds in the T family dining room at 6:45am over cheerios - A explaining to J why it is historic that Barack Obama has won the Iowa caucus.

Jack: Right. So, the Barackos won.

A: Yes, Barack won, but he's not a team, he's just one person. His name is Barack Obama.

J: Yeah. The Barack Obamas. What was the score?

A: There wasn't a score. One man beat other people in a presidential election - to see who will be the next President of the United States.

J (thinking hard, then a lightbulb goes off): Ohhhhhh, I get it. So the Barackos aren't going to the SuperBowl.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Baracks

I have had two bad days in a row. The holidays are behind us, A is back to work with vengence, it's raining, the boys are still on winter break and they are being, well, the boys.

All I wanted to do tonight was sit home, curl up, and go to bed early. But given that I have just recently joined a gym and I know my husband is carefully calculating what this membership will cost us per workout, I called Meegs and she agreed to go with me to workout.

Well what do you know, people, but I am feeling great now. It was one of my best workouts ever because the entire time I was pedaling away, I was watching Barack Obama give his victory speech in Iowa. I had such energy and was so inspired. I truly believe that this man is the hope of America.

(As an aside, when going to bed tonight, Jack asked if "The Baracks" won? And then he asked what the score was. That's our boy.)


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

- Marianne Williamson (quoted by Nelson Mandela at his 1994 Inauguration Speech and by SPT at S's 2001 baptism)

I kind of like this

Perhaps you are just trying to help me save face, but it seems that there are, in fact, some kind people out there in internet-land who are actually interested in hearing about the minutia of my life. So thanks for the encouragement. I think I'll give this blogging thing another try.

B is moments away from waking up from his nap. But there is enough time for me to reveal the new year's "experiments" I am thinking about. If I call it a new year's resolution, then when I inevitably drop it, it will seem like a failure. So instead I am thinking about experiments.

What would happen in 2008 if I:
  • ate only food produced locally?
  • ate only whole foods, nothing processed?
  • gave up white flour and white sugar?
  • prayed or meditated every day?
  • gave up my daily cup of starbucks?
  • made a commitment to live greener?
  • washed my face every night before bed?
  • spent one hour of solid, uninterrupted playtime each day with my kids?

I am seriously considering each one, well, except for my daily trip to Starbucks. (When S was a baby and I was home with him all day without a car, I would literally count the minutes until Aaron came home. One of my friends counts the minutes until 5pm so she can have her daily glass of wine. I however, watch the clock for 2:30 when I allow myself an afternoon walk to Starbucks for my latte [non fat milk and hold the foam, if you're interested]. Yes, I know that if I added up what I spent each year on coffee, I would be surprised. But I'm not going to add it up because I don't want to know. Unless maybe I actually put the money in a jar every day and accumulated enough to buy an iPhone. Hmmmm, that could be interesting. But, I digress.)

B is up now, standing behind me on the chair, arms around my neck jumping up and down. So here goes my 2nd blog… submitted without spellcheck or editing. Ahh, the height of living dangerously.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on a 2008 experiment…