Thursday, July 30, 2009

Long overdue post

No blogging about food - just family stuff in this one!

This whole blog can be focused on water.Mercer took his first dip in a big pool at "Aunt" Renee's house up the street a couple of weekends ago. He liked it -- but we found out that he wanted to be very independent. A neighbor loaned us a baby float. He was fine in it for about 10 minutes, then tried to climb out. I held him for about 10 minutes, then he wanted down. Down where? In the water? He just wanted to get away from anything that was constraining him. I was almost tempted to let go and see what he'd do, but thought better of it!

We also took a boat ride on "Uncle" Orie's boat. He had fun driving the boat - or, while we were parked in a cove - rather - he got to play with the wheel. He did well on he boat - not afraid at all. He went last year around the same time, but he was just a baby then & probably doesn't remember that trip. The evening we went out was the weekend after the 4th of July and someone in the distance was shooting off fireworks. That was a nice addition to the pontoon boating trip. (Notice the most "nautical" shirt that Mercer is wearing?) : - )

We have a little blow-up pool for Mercer (in the shape of what else.... but a frog!) The water is only 6" deep but it's fun for him to get in and splash around in. Mostly, he enjoys the spout on the front. (He's been in it several times, but we finally got some recent pictures because Todd and I were both home at the same time while he was playing in it. Usually, we put him in the pool - but we're alone with him and can't snap any shots.) Here are some pics -- and you may notice these were taken after I cut about 2" of his hair off. No worries.... he still has plenty of hair, as you can see.

Last Friday, I took him to a play date down the street and they had a pool that was about 1 1/2' tall. He could walk around in the pool and it was up to his chest. He was in the pool for about 10 - 15 minutes.... the whole time I was holding onto one of him arms. Several times, he would try to look down / bend over to pick something up in the bottom of the pool. I was able to pull him up before he would go under water. But, there were a couple of times where he wriggled his way out of my grasp and he went under. He looked scared -- maybe more startled? But he was ok. I don't think he loved it, but he didn't want to get out of the pool when I took him out, so I thought he was ok with it overall. Hmmm....maybe not?

The final water-related activity we participated in was to take him to a swim lesson the next day. As much as he loved the water in the other pools, he really didn't like this experience. He clung to either Todd or myself in the pool for the first 20 minutes of the 30 minute lesson. We went for a free 1/2 hour trial at a place called Aqua-Tots. It was an indoor pool and there were tons of kids in there. We were thinking that the acoustics must have really freaked him out? The kids there were laughing and screaming and playing. But, it may have sounded like a frightful type of screaming as it was bouncing off of the ceiling, walls, and water. Who knows?

We did sign him up for a 10 week session, however, because we do want him to learn some techniques in the water and grow comfortable with it (because of the pond in the back yard).
We had a low-key weekend last weekend and have the same in store for this weekend... which is good. Todd's been doing a lot of work on the house wrapping up some unfinished projects.

One final water-related pic up at the square. He's trying to figure out how to scale the wall and hop into the fountain... right? Mercer has done some GREAT things the past week. I'll report about those on the next blog. (cliff hanger)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

One more post about food.

I know... people want to see things about Mercer... but in some way this is about him (and about our friends / family / those we care about). I went and saw a film last night called Food, Inc. that talks a lot about food production, corporations, conventional farming and processing. I was SOOOO on the fence about seeing it even though I've already seen / heard about some of the stuff in it.

  • We've seen the movie Super Size Me which is about the effects (and a little bit about the production) of fast-food. That didn't bother us because we don't eat fast food (except for the occasional Chick-fil-a grilled chicken sandwich). They talk about the "commodity" of the animal (and the farmer).
  • I've heard things through the years about corn production, but learned about it's affects on cattle and the link to ecoli / cheap subsidized food / etc.
  • I've seen first-hand chicken houses - as my mom's side of the family in NC used to raise chickens in the 70's... maybe into the 80's?
  • I've experienced first-hand the effects of improperly cooked meat from a fast-food chain about a dozen years ago (long story - i was instantly sick after eating it, had months of intestinal pain and eventually lost part of my intestine).... that's why we don't eat fast food now! [there was a segment in the movie about a woman who's 2 1/2 year old son died of ecoli from a fast-food burger... and how 6 years later, she's still fighting in DC to pass a bill that shuts down plants that continuously produce tainted meats]

So... I feel like I know some of this stuff already... and I wasn't sure that I wanted to see more. But, I'm glad I did. The really eye-opening part of it all was the large-scale production of beef, poultry, pork, corn and soybeans. How large corporations are making decisions about farming techniques from their board-rooms... "engineered" chickens in the past decade that can grow twice as big in half of the time... how there is production of a meat product mixed with ammonia to kill ecoli which is sold to meat producers to mix with their meat (which means that people are eating ammonia?!)... and also learned how "engineered" seeds have chemicals in them that are strong enough to resist round-up. It is a little scary when you think about this on a large-scale... and even if we don't eat at fast food restaurants... how our meats and some veggies in the grocery store are produced to these standards b/c of the large-scale production methods are catered to fast food industry (they have that much of a demand to affect even products in grocery stores).

I'm not one to "preach." In my job -- there are people there who are preachy and sort of "shove" environmental building stuff down people's throats.... That's not my style. I would rather educate myself and others... and let people make their own informed decisions. I've found that works well. Once someone learns something about energy-efficiency, for instance, it's hard for them not to incorporate it. I only put this movie stuff in here to try to do the same regarding the food. It's "interesting." we eat 3 times (or more) a day and I would hate for what I've learned to only be kept within the walls of our home if it could help others.

I'm glad that I saw the movie. I can now make more informed decisions about our food purchases. I will. It's for my health. Todd's health. Mercer's health.

(Hmmm... I wonder if I can get his day-care owners to watch the film? In about 4 or 5 months, Mercer will move to the next classroom & I think they provide lunches in that room.)

We eat more healthful foods than many people. Mercer eats better than we do -- which we want to keep up as long as we can! (There was info in the movie about those who can afford to eat fresh fruits and veggies / those who can't. There is a disparity, for sure, regarding income level and health.) It made me think a lot about Mercer, actually. It makes us feel good that we can offer him good foods, and potentially a more healthful life.

As mentioned - it was informative, eye-opening, good for our household. Check it out if you're interested. That's all I'll post about it. : - )

- Candice

PS - I also posted a short update to the local-food-challenge blog about one issue that kept coming up... that we couldn't figure out... why couldn't we find locally-produced sustainable poultry. If you're in Georgia, you may want to read it. It may be true of other states too?

PSS - a couple of other things I thought were cool in the movie... Stonyfield farms (that's the yogurt company whose products we eat) is now owned by Dannone. The guy who started it was talking about "selling his soul" and going into large-scale production... even selling their product to wal-mart. But -- he says that when that million-dollar order is placed by the mart, that he knows that there are that much less pesticides going into the soils, that much less antibiotics going into the milk that produces it. Kinda cool way of looking at it.

And the last take-away... is that we all have a choice. We vote 3 x a day when we make our purchases. That's why the organics industry has grown 20% each year for a number of years. People are demanding it. They encourage viewers to support local farms, CSAs, sustainable production. That's power! We're not "helpless" in this battle that's much larger than we are. Kinda cool, right?

over and out!
next post... PROMISE... stuff about Mercer! : -)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Check out this blog -

Don't worry. I'm still working on the current blog that you're reading...
but, I decided to make a quick (1 week) blog documenting our interactions with local food for a contest.

I'm going to turn it into the person at our Whole Foods -- hoping to win a gift card -- but I didn't want to give them this blog address.

There's an interesting twist on the local food blog. I'm not the author (at least in name-sake). Check it out... it's cute.
Day 1:
Day 2:
Day 3:

Feel free to add comments to the blog. Also - if you see something out-of-whack, please let me know. I'd like to hear what you think!


Friday, July 10, 2009

We had a bottle-free day today!


Well, for us, that's big. His bottles are of a style that helps reduce colic & air ingestion (great for when he was a baby), but they contain 6 pieces that have to be separated to be washed, then put back together. The straw cups and/or sippy cups he uses have 2 - 3 pieces each... much easier to clean... MUCH LESS clutter (once we clear out the bottles) in the kitchen. We've been weaning him off, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Let's hope for more bottle-free days ahead~

Heard from the birth mother (via text) today. It's been a month & a half (?) since we've heard from her. As usual, she's curious how Mercer's doing.

We picked our first tomatoes off of the vine this week from the raised bed garden in the back yard. We are going to have gobs and gobs of tomatoes as long as all of the ones that are starting to develop continue to grow. Please email your favorite tomato recipe to us. We'll have enough tomatoes to try out all the recipes we can get our hands on!

Speaking of recipes, we had something new for dinner - a zucchini and squash torta (a traditional Mexican side-dish according to the cookbook we used) and a one-pot main dish of cabbage braised with tomatoes, potatoes, and chorzio (a spicy sausage typically made with pork, but we had a veggie chorzio). We liked it / would make it again... if anyone wants that recipe, let us know.

Our meal was 80-90% locally-grown (because we used mostly vegetables from our CSA). I may go sign up for the Local Food challenge at our Whole Foods tomorrow. Unfortunately, I just stocked up on a bunch of fruit and I know that some are local, but not all. I don't know the details of the challenge, but it would be a good thing to try and incorporate more of! Looking forward to it~

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A little behind on the 4th of July post

Hope everyone had a good holiday. We did. We kept things pretty low key. Ran errands. Cleaned house some. Did some pond & yard work. Saturday, however, we did do some celebratory things. We rode our bikes to the square to watch the parade. It's a small-town parade with little Miss Marietta, little Toddler Miss Marietta, etc. There are "twilight twirlers" - a baton twirling club for women in their "twilight." Imagine sparkly short dresses and lots of lycra tights. There are a lot of politicians at the parade too. The float that Mercer is pointing out is the Marietta landmark - the big chicken. Next year, the woman who runs Keep Marietta Beautiful says that she's putting Mercer on that float. He's so squirmy now... I wonder if he'll sit still long enough for that? (The past two years, Mercer and I have visited the crew building the floats - for moral support, of course.... the little guy can't really help with the staple-gun just yet.) The parade is a little hokey, but fun. Mercer seemed to enjoy himself.

We ran into some neighbors and picnic-ed on their blanket for lunch.
Mercer took a good long nap when we got home. That evening, we walked to a friend's house for a bbq, then onto the square again for the fireworks show. We avoided the crowds at the square by hanging out in the courtyard of a building about a block away because it had a wrought-iron fence around it. Mercer could run around. He found a 2 year old girl to play peek-a-boo with. He seemed to have liked the fireworks (said "ooohh" a few times and pointed, but for the most part, was pretty laid back about the show). On our walk back home, we ran into more neighbors who were conducting a fireworks show of their own. I actually got tagged by one firework and it burned a small hole in the shirt I was wearing. It was probably the most "exciting" thing that happened all weekend. Unfortunately, all 3 of us have been fighting colds most of the week. I'm hoping for a healthy weekend ahead! Hope it's good for everyone else too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

home sweet home... for real this time!

We went to the mountains this past weekend. Our friends, Mike & Sara, had use of a mountain house, however, there weren't enough bedrooms. We offered to sleep in a tent and gave it a shot with Mercer. He did a pretty good job.... but he thought that we were in the tent to play. He kept looking around and wanted to jump on us. It took him awhile to fall asleep. He did sleep through the night and woke up promptly at 6 am. There was a loud bird outside that had a rather unique chirp that none of us have ever heard before. Maybe that woke Mercer? He started giggling and talking.

Mike and his 5 year old son, Aaron, pitched a tent next to ours. Since the walls are paper thin, Mercer obviously woke them up. Aaron started talking. "Where are they?" "I hear him." The second night, we kept Mercer indoors -- he slept in his pack-and-play. The baby monitor has a battery handset and worked all the way outdoors!

Mostly we all just hung out at the house catching up with a 3rd couple and their kids. Including Mercer, there were a total of 5 kids, so he was thrilled. He really took to the 7 year old girl who was there. Maybe Mercer needs a big sister?! We did take a trip to a waterfall which was only a short hike away. The kids splashed around in the ice-cold water. On the way home, we stopped off at another waterfall, Glen Falls. Mercer and I stopped at the "pool" at the top of the falls. He got his feet wet, threw leaves in the water and waved bye-bye as they floated away. He definitely likes the water.

Ahhhh.... it was such a beautiful spot. It had the best of both worlds: the view of the mountains and the rushing sound of water. Years ago, we looked at property in the mountains. We wanted property on a river so we could have the relaxing white noise that the water makes. But, you don't get a view of the mountains -- you're at the bottom. I figured it out last weekend... when -- if -- we ever look at property again, we need it to be at the TOP of a waterfall! ha!

Todd hiked down to the bottom of the falls. One thing that was cool -- the rock was striated with black and white deposits. If any one's in north Georgia near the NC border -- I'd highly recommend going! We had a very nice time, but honestly, there's "no place like home." We were glad we went, but we're glad we're home this coming weekend! - c