Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

This year we made Harrison’s Valentines Day cards, he whet to town drawing on each and every card – unfortunately before he got through the last few cards he came down with a nasty cold.
Fortunately the last few cards were for the girls, so he drew hearts and flower gardens which seemed to be faster and easier.
He said to me, “Don’t say that I love so-and-so!”
“What? Why would I say that?” I responded.
(Because I tease him about loving girls every day…NOT)
He held up a card for me to see and pointing to each said, “Because I drew - one, two, three, four, five, six, SEVEN hearts on her card.” 
“She is cute though.”
”And nice. But I don’t love her!”
“Okay.” he repeated and continued drawing hearts on the rest of the cards.
Sadly, he didn’t get to pass his cards out today, he stayed home - still sick.
Earlier today as he looked at a picture of the cards with the heart shaped lollipop. He asked what happened to the heart-shaped lollipops. “I threw them away because they are REALLY bad-for-you candy.
“Hey, Wait! Why do you let ME eat the bad-for-me candy!?”

good point kid.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

From Duke to Duchess | Photo Story Friday

Hard to believe that it’s been two years since we said goodbye to Duke-the-Dog. However, he is not forgotten in any way. Duke comes up in conversation fairly regularly with Harrison and he is always pining for another dog – most likely named Duke or maybe Carl.

Then last summer he had a new plan. A parrot. I suppose between all the pirate stories, pirate toys, pirate cartoons, pirate movies and even pirate Legos, he decided on a parrot. 

Why a parrot?
Because parrots can talk.

Harrison wanted a talking bird.

Now, I loved my pet parakeets when I was young, so I was able to quickly talk him into the more manageable size bird. We read about them on the internet and watched YouTube videos of talking parakeets and Harrison even picked out a name, Duke. In memory of Duke-the-Dog.

Although I was trying to hold out for Christmas or his birthday I found a great bird store that hand feeds and hand raises their parakeets and I took Harrison to see the birds. He immediately picked out a blue, male parakeet (males are more likely to talk than females) and was able to touch and hold it. He was sweet and gentle… and he was sold.

A month later, we went back to our favorite bird store ready to adopt. Harrison walked to the parakeets and picked out a sweet little yellow female. He was set, she was IT.  But Duke no longer fit. Then the G.I.D. offered up '”how about Duchess?”
Duchess it was.

She’s still a bit shy.

 But we keep working with her, like letting her watch some Disney channel with Harrison.

We give her the run of the house…

Yet she always heads back to her “safe place”.


And like Duke-the-Dog, she doesn’t always want her picture taken and has no qualms about screaming about it.

After I walk away.

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

“Great. Now I have guilt!”


I love Toy Story, don’t you? And Rex is the best… well, I love all the main characters. Although Harrison gave his Mr. Potato Head away because he said Mr. Potato Head has bad behavior and isn’t always nice.
As usual, I digress.

Back to my guilt.

Last week I started Harrison’s valentines for his class. I planned to get Trader Joe’s Organic Lollipops, but I was rushing and happened to be at Target where I spotted some heart-shaped lollipops on the cheap.

On the cheap.
Translation: filled with high fructose corn syrups and, more so, several artificial colors and preservatives that I can’t announce and would never endorse.  Plus there was my internal voice saying “WHAT?!!!”, that I was ignoring with a figurative hands-over-the-ears-saying “la-la-la-la… I can’t hear you!!” motion. (I learned that from a college boyfriend who did that to me once – literally. [WHAT?!] But that’s another story.)
Anyway, I bought them and moved on.


Then, earlier this week, I was reminded about the evils of food dyes when I posted an article about the subject on my Facebook wall. That’s when I felt it, I looked at that pile of valentine cards with a shoulder-slumping sigh of defeat. That was not what I planned, heart-shaped or not, I can’t in good conscious give a candy to another child that I wouldn’t give to my own. (Even though I let Harrison try one – DOH! Maybe that’s why he was hyper the other night.)

Food coloring dye. Maybe you have heard of Red #40 and are familiar with the studies on the effect of [petroleum based] food dyes on children’s behavior, especially children with ADHD. I first heard about the effects of red#40 from a friend while at Disneyland in 2008, she asked me, “Do you notice a difference in Harrison’s behavior when he consumes food with red#40?” “No”, I answered. She responded by telling methat it’s in everything including Kraft Mac and Cheese. I thought for a moment and realized I hadn’t bought Kraft Mac&Cheese for some time. I went home that night and looked through my cabinets and I discovered I no longer buy most name brand packaged foods.  […reason why I suck at collecting those silly Box Tops.]

Fast forward to today and the ongoing war against food dye, while the FDA has recently concluded that there is not enough evidence to link food dye with hyperactivity and voted not to add warning labels to ingredients, others beg to differ including the CSPI.  Even the UK removed artificial dyes from the food beginning as early as 2008.

Consider this from the CSPI:

On my Facebook page alone, a friend brought up that her son is allergic to all synthetic food dyes, which is in EVERYTHING from our food (including fresh fruit) to our clothing. I’ve heard stories from friends about the change in behavior they observed when they cut out the artificial colors and preservatives from their child’s diet.  But my other concern is that most of these dyes are more carcinogenic than once thought to be.  Why do we continue to fill our bodies with petroleum based preservatives? It doesn’t even sound appealing! 

And I’m not even going to start on High Fructose Corn Syrup, that’s another entire can of worms.
But think about this – HFCS and food coloring started to be used in mass in the 1970’s, less than two decades we began to see a shift in the health and weight of our children and now we are in an obesity epidemic.

Just to keep it real, I am not perfect and I’m not a food Nazi either. We do consume HTCS and food colors when were out and about it can’t always be avoided, but I don’t buy products with those ingredients. It’s one of my baby steps to better eating along with better planning and fresh ingredients.

So when Harrison takes his completed Valentines cards with a little treat attached to school next week, I will  have no guilt
Next to a home baked goodie, it’s a treat that a mom can be proud of giving.
Okay, I’m pushing now.

valentine card-6944valentine card

But even a 1st Grader can pronounce every ingredient on this lollipop label.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Next Best Thing

Yes, some days I hate living in a condo.
Because honestly, some days I just don’t feel like going down to the nearest park for outside time.

Some days Harrison hates living in a condo.
Not because I won’t go down to the park for outside time.


Because he wants a tree house.
And why not, he’s a boy.

Heck, I wanted a tree house when I was a kid… and I’m a girl.

Anyway, this summer I did the next best thing I could do, I went to Home Depot, picked up some wood and put together a portable tent, all for less than $10. I’m so handy - I even drilled the holes in the wood for bolts so I could fold it and move it when need be (I guess those Theater set building classes in college finally paid off)!

It’s a little big for inside this home, however we had to give it a test run.


Then we set it up outside on the deck.  Yup. I used a curtain rod to hold up the fabric (which I already had).


After some select toys, pillows, blanket and twinkle lights, he was set.


He spent hours out there… until the rain set in a couple months later and we had to take it down for the season.


Back yards and tree houses are highly overrated anyway.

Not Really.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Linked | Sleep and the Big Blue Blanket


What is it with us moms and our sleeping babies? No, he’s not a baby any longer; but like so many other moms feel, he’ll always be my ‘baby boy’. So how could I deny the  rare opportunity capture the sleeping boy one afternoon.

I love these quiet moments when all is well with the world. When I just look at him and sigh.

He came home from school this day, asked for a snack and announced he was going to take a nap. A nap that lasted almost 3 hours. A nap that doesn’t happen often.

A nap cocooned in his Big Blue Blanket.


I bought the blanket on clearance at Target ( I love Target) to use as a throw blanket for our old, beloved blue sofa right before Harrison was born.
I think we love that sofa almost as much as our blue rocking chair. Maybe because it’s one of the first pieces of furniture we purchased as a married couple. You would start to think we’re hoarders or have a thing about the color blue. No, not really… on either count.

Harrison didn’t have a comfort item when he was tiny which was quite challenging. Until he discovered the Big Blue Blanket. (as it is now called) around two-years-old. The blanket has not been very far from him ever since. It’s even made several appearances on the blog and flown half way across the nation multiple times over the last couple years.

I know the days are numbered for both the ‘boy’ as he is now and the blanket… which is starting to show it’s wear - not unlike an much-loved stuffed animal.

In the mean time, there he lay, on the sofa, sound asleep, happily wrapped in his Big Blue Blanket.  Perfect, beautiful, peaceful.


I love these sweet quiet moments…


I still remember the day I noticed those freckles appear and I LOVE those little eyelashes. Sigh.


Such a peace to this sleeping boy.

Of course then he wakes up and it’s ‘Game On!’ once again.

Never a Dull Moment.


Get linked each week this year with: Tracey, Stacey, Michelle, Heather, Andrea, Jenn, Jessica, Kristin, Sara, Janet, Lesli, Amanda, Amanda, Naomi, Tracey, Rhonda, Carla, Lena, HeatherA