Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hope Is Rolling Over

She sometimes rolls over in the night and gets scared. I have to go roll her back onto her tummy before she'll fall asleep again.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Baby Hope

With Gabriel around, it's easy to change someone's name to whatever he calls them. Right now Hope is "Baby Hope". Here are some pictures of Baby Hope. She is 3 months old already!

...And she may hate me one day for posting this, but it's too funny. Here is proof that Hope is not a morning person.

Photography and Easter Bunnies

We had a good time with Sarah during our long weekend together, right before Easter. Activities included touring DC, shopping, cake decorating, and an Easter egg hunt.

I enjoyed waking Sarah up in the morning by throwing a two year old on top of her. :)

In DC, Sarah took some pictures of Gabriel and I, and they turned out so cute! Here we are getting some energy out between museums.

 Sarah snapped some shots of Gabriel playing in the dirt, but when he found out he was being photographed, he ran up to the camera. Sarah did a pretty good job capturing him so close, and moving so quickly.

He's such a cutie.

Oh yeah, and the cherry blossoms were just starting to pop.

The long day wore out both kids. Here they are, sleeping on the go.

Notice the squished face on Richard's chest. Sound asleep.

There was an egg hunt at a nearby park. When Gabriel went to see the Easter bunny, he was petting his back like he would a dog.

I don't think he expected to get a high five from a giant rabbit.

Thanks for being our photographer, Sarah! Looks like you suffered what all photographers suffer from... you're in hardly any pictures!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Crazy Chicken Lady

A friend of mine recently titled me The Crazy Chicken Lady. I would actually be happy to have that title, but I need some chickens first...

For the past few weeks I have been doing some heavy research on food. Organics vs conventional, local and in season foods, whole grains, etc. I'm still doing my research, but what I have discovered so far has begun to change our family's eating habits. I am slowly getting rid of all the refined and processed foods in our house. I have been making all our bread, muffins, etc from scratch with whole wheat, and I am thinking of getting a mill and grinding my grains, too. I have started seeking out organic, free-range meats and eggs, and organic whole milk too. I feel like the entire rational behind all this would be too much to explain in a blog post, but here are a few interesting things I've learned.

1. Conventional foods are grown with pesticides, herbicides, etc that make their way into the food, and then into our bodies. If farmers have to wear masks when they spray their plants, then I don't know about you, but I don't think I want that chemical in my food. Even a conventionally grown corn, eaten by a cow (even though cows should probably be eating grass) makes the cows milk/meat not as healthy and nutrient-rich.
2. Local foods are picked at peak ripeness. The food that comes from Mexico/Peru/Guatemala has to be picked in time to travel thousands of miles. After many bitter and/or mushy berries this winter, Richard made me stop buying them.
3. Some vitamins are absorbed better into the body if they are eaten along with fats. And natural fats are broken down easier than processed fats. So bring on the butter!
4. Grains start losing their nutrients immediately after grinding and being exposed to the air. Plus, freshly ground whole-grain breads are the tastiest. MMmmmmm.
5. Most of the chicken meat in our grocery stores come from chickens that have been pumped with hormones and grow up in a cage where they don't even have room to move. That is, if they could move. You see, many of the chickens can't even carry themselves on their own feet, because they've been engineered to have the highest amount of breast meat (Americans prefer white meat) possible, making their bodies too heavy to support. Now, I am typically not a bleeding heart for animals that are raised to be consumed. I have no problem seeing an animal at the butcher shop. I know where meat comes from, unlike some people who can't bear to watch an animal die, but they will still eat meat from the grocery store. I mean, really? Come on people. Get out of the city once in a while... But that doesn't mean we should abuse the poor things. God gave us the animals to take care of, and eat for nourishment. We need to be good stewards of what God has given us. OK, enough said on that one.
6. I did a test comparing the regular grocery store eggs with local organic eggs from the farmer's market. First off, although the color of the egg doesn't matter (I don't think?) these local eggs were beautiful! In my carton I had white, brown, green, and blue. Very cool. I took a picture of the local egg and the grocery store egg side by side. The local egg was much richer in color, the shell was thicker, and it tasted very fresh. I was surprised at the difference!

In my quest for locally grown food, I decided to seek out a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). A CSA is where you sign up for a share of produce each week from a local farm. Each week, you go pick up your box of fresh produce at the designated pick-up location. Easy peasy. Well, I couldn't find a convenient pick-up location for me, so I set one up at my own home! It can't get easier than that, right? Each week, the farm will deliver amazing yumminess to my home. My neighbors will stop by and pick up their share during the two-hour window I set, and I get my share for half the price! Oh how I love a good deal. :)

OK, so why does all this make me The Crazy Chicken Lady? Well, I have decided (although I haven't gotten official approval from the Hubster) that I want to have my own chickens when we move to Texas. I have already done some research. The area we're moving to has no zoning law, which means there are no rules saying I can't have chickens. I plan to have 3-5 hens, and let them help me in the garden too. So on top of fresh eggs, they will also keep the bugs away from my garden, keep the weeds and grass down, and their poo can be used as compost! That might even be a better deal than getting a CSA for 50% off! I am SOOOO excited. I've started browsing chicken coop designs, and looking at different breeds. Maybe I am crazy after all, but I don't think my neighbors will mind when they get fresh eggs in return.

So, if anyone is interested, here are the resources I recommend. I have read more than this, but these are just the ones I recommend.
In Defense Of Food by Michael Pollan
Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food by Christine Avanti
Food, Inc - they will send you a FREE CD explaining the benefits of freshly milled grains.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

No, Sir & Yes, Ma'am

We have been trying to teach Gabriel to say "sir" and "ma'am", and he just caught on this week. I think it's so cute hearing a "Yes, Ma'am" from such a little voice. However, he seems to prefer adding a "sir" after every "no". So I am often called a sir. To help him understand when to say sir and ma'am, I have tried to teach him who boys and girls are. Daddy is a boy, Mommy is a girl, Gabriel is a boy, Baby Hope is a girl... You get the idea. So today our conversation went like this:
"Gabriel, do you want more apple?"
"No, Sir"
"Gabriel, thank you for saying 'sir', but mommy is a "ma'am"
"Yes, Ma'am"
"Very good! You say ma'am to girls. Do you remember who is a boy and who is a girl?"
{with a big proud smile on his face} "Daddy boy! Gabriel boy! Baby Hope girl!"
"Very good! And what is Mommy?"
"Mommy Boy!"

... We're still working on it.