Sunday, September 26

Cow's milk vs. soy milk.

I've heard so much hoopla lately about soy making little boys into little sissy-boys because of the levels of phytoestrogens involved.
Let me tell you something: cow's milk comes from a mammal. A female, generally pregnant, mammal. Do you have any idea how many estrogens are involved in THAT process? Growth hormones that are actually absorb by our own mammal bodies can have a devastating effect on both boys and girls.
I started learning about all this when I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I also learned that yes, synthetic estrogens (made as your body breaks down pesticides) can also wreak havoc on your body. These come from pesticides, which are used on apples, oranges, strawberries, potatoes, rice, corn, trees, grass, pansies and SOY BEANS to name a few. Don't you imagine that pesticides would be more of a concern than phytoestrogens?
So why all the hype over just soy as a food? The protein is unmatched, especially when compared to how other  sources of protein are raised. Organic soy beans are a great dietary choice...

Here, on the joys of soy: Are Phytoestrogens Harmful?

And on the dangers of cow milk: MOO.

Too much of anything is bad for you. You can die from over-consuming water. Too much soy is probably not good. But neither would too much beef, pork, milk or apple seeds be good for you.

The older my son gets and the more I read, the more I decide this world is just crazy.

Thursday, September 23


~First day of Autumn! 
This is my favorite time of year- the blue skies, fresh, clean air, rustling leaves. It's also very sentimental as it reminds me of New England, Chris and I were married in fall and our son was born in fall. We also tend to move in the fall, so it feels like a new beginning every year as the breeze blows through.
(this is my Fall image, since I haven't gotten around to taking any leaf pictures yet- but the flowers are still in full bloom!).

Meagan P., these are from the seeds you saved for me. I planted a few and they TOOK OVER!

~First (unexpected) day at my new JOB.
There is an alteration shop on base and they have been looking for a seamstress. I took the plunge. I hate alterations, but it'll be some of the best sewing experience I've acquired as of yet. And I get to play with all sorts of cool machines. Did you know there is such thing as a hemming machine?? I sewed on like 20 pairs of stripes, but it'll progress to the real thing as I get faster.

I went crazy last night going back and forth between leaving Johnny or continuing to stay home. It came down to money and the opportunity to work in a professional sewing atmosphere. It's only a couple days a week but that really is perfect because I really can't leave that kid for very long without feeling overly guilty. He is just going to be hanging out with his dad and auntie tho, so no big deal :) It will definitely be good for Chris!

~First night of Johnny in his toddler bed!
He went into his crib for real at 6-7 months. He's hated it since day one and cries every single time we put him in it. He sleeps great in it, but has the run of his room and now the upstairs almost completely so I've never put him in it to play or anything, so if he's awake he's crying to get out. Now he climbs (carefully) on and off the couch so we went ahead and put the little rails on the side of the crib to make it a bed. Tonight I bathed him, got him dressed, tickled him and laid him in the bed- and left the room. He fussed for about 15 seconds then just started talking and now, only a few minutes later, I can hear him snoring! No pacing, rocking, cooing, singing. He was very content to lie down and go to sleep in his new big-boy bed. He's just like his mom and hates feeling caged in!

Now for the big news (and this would of course happen the first day I leave the house for hours with the worry that I'll miss something awesome fresh in my mind):

~First STEPS! 
11 months and five days, Johnny started walking on his own. Soooo cute! I missed the very first go-round but got to see him do it all evening, which was great. Chris got him going this afternoon, he said it was a tiny little shuffle, but by the time I was here it was a bona-fide walk. *tear* I know some people who get very choked up as their kiddos hit milestones and grow up. I think I'm the opposite, I'm so flippin' excited to see him grow and learn!!

 A few other cute baby things:
If you say "Doh!" J will hit his forehead/face with his open hand and giggle.
He kisses me often with a wide open mouth, tongue out, on my chin/cheek/mouth/eye... Which usually ends with me trying to keep him from biting me.
He throws the ball to Luckie and claps when he brings it back.
He makes 'car' noises (which consists of a various array of raspberry/slobber noises) as he slides the computer mouse across the floor. Adorable. He does the same thing with a mouth full of food he doesn't appear to like. Not so adorable.
He likes to put things down my shirt for safekeeping. Today it was his ball, yesterday it was his sippy-cup.

Anyway, don't want to overload you with cute! I'll save some for his first birthday post :)

P.s. Guess who is coming around again? Our midwife! (No, I'm not pregnant- my sister is! And she is having Elisabeth deliver her little one in April). It occurred to me that we never got a photo of J with her after he was born- so here it is, 11 months later :)

We love her!! It was so good to see her and I'm really looking forward to her monthly visits! *warm fuzzies*

A boy and his dog.

Sunday, September 19


Happy Birthday Weekend to my darling sister!! (it's on the 20th, but the way I get things done I'll never get this posted if I don't do it NOW!)...

Tricia is awesome x's 8 billion.

I made her the traditional Black Bottom Cupcakes, which I believe she's had nearly every year of her life... They are basically little chocolate cakes filled with cheese cake and chocolate chips. And they make her soooo happy...

And I busted butt tonight and got her presents made, three knit skirts and a pair of fingerless gloves made from wool scraps...

I love my sister!


Tomorrow we are going to little Ali's first birthday party. We are giving her a handmade growth chart. I got to sit and hand embroider each bit so I was very happy to make it!

Last month we gave a book sling like Johnny's to Anton on his first birthday, and a few months earlier a play dress-up set to Gianna. I'm really committed to making all the birthday presents we will need in the future. It's more fun for me that way anyway, to come up with an idea about what someone would like and creating it- as opposed to shopping for something, especially here, where everyone shops at the base! Someday Johnny can get involved as well and that will be a great lesson in how gratifying gift-giving can be :)

Saturday, September 18

Nursemaid's Elbow

Monday evening after Baby J's nap, his dad lifted him out of the crib by his hands... and all evening we thought he had gas because he wouldn't crawl and cried if he was moved around too much. The next morning when he was in better spirits and wanted to play, we realized he wasn't using his left arm. So off to the emergency room!

They took x-rays and were very sweet to him and, although they couldn't explain much in English, I did understand that his elbow was twisted and partially dislocated. They did a twist and pop thing and Johnny screamed bloody murder, but he was fine by the time we left and was playing with it all afternoon at home.

At our follow-up with the American doctor he explained it more. With all my learning and reading I've never come across "Nursemaid's Elbow". It's apparently very common. I'm glad it was nothing too serious, but he said that it's likely to reoccur after it happens once and showed us how to slip it back into place (eep!). Needless to say, we'll be very careful with Johnny's little elbows! Today he's crawling on it as if nothing happened :)

Thursday, September 9

Piling up.

I am terrible at keeping on top of tasks!!

I think I'm going devise a system of rotation until I'm through the massive amounts of unfinished business.

It will require me to finish ONE thing at a time, in this order:

1. Projects on the way-side.
2. New projects for family/ gifts.
3. Projects to sell.

Repeat 1,2,3.

I feel compelled to make a list of things while it's early and my brain is actually clear. I hear the baby waking up, but Dad is upstairs with him so I can buy a few more minutes!

These are in no particular order:

  • purse for mom
  • purses for mary 
  • purse for trade
  • two giant over-night bags (one for me, one for my sister)
  • bed spread for me
  • baby quilt for gift
  • growth chart for gift
  • car organizer, one for gift and one for me
  • car blanket and pillow for the Rabbit
  • Picnic dress for me
  • winter hats for Johnny
  • fall coat for Johnny's birthday
  • two crocheted baby blankets for gifts
  • mushroom pillow for gift
  • dress-up sets to sell
  • pillows for the couch
  • stretched fabric for the living room walls
  • family of wooden spoon puppets for J's b-day
That's NOT all, but here is the babe, ready for morning! You get the idea! ;-P

Coupons and Frustration.

This has nothing to do with the economy, more with the fact that we have bad spending habits (and bad luck) in this house, but we've been trying to cut back on some things. 

Everyone has been raving about how much money they save at the grocery store using coupons, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
It's kind of time consuming because overseas here we don't get newspapers full of coupons, but we can go to the base and pick up neatly packed little baggies of precut coupons and sort through them to our hearts' content. And sort. And sort. And sort. And I did so, optimistically at first... It was all down hill from there.
So, I admit we've lived out of the loop of American consumerism for quite a long time and was very overwhelmed by all the products available.
I just have one question. WHO BUYS THIS CRAP!? On the long list of unbelievable products were:

- Liquid portion control 'shots' (I'm sorry, but if you need an artificial fluid to keep you from eating a second helping of pasta, you have bigger fish to fry than your appetite). And oh, look! I found it at Walmart. :-\ 

- Chef Michael's dog food. Really? REALLY?! Your dog is so special that you must pamper him with a mix of soy flours, factory farmed chickens and "poultry by-product meal, animal digest, [and] salt" SALT? Oh, but don't forget the fresh veggie garnish! Really, nothing is as it seams and shiny commercials and good graphic designers don't make something good for your beloved pet. 

- Every. Single. Beauty. Product known to man. And there are A LOT. There is a lotion, a cream, a serum, a color for everything. I buy makeup, and facial soap, ect., but I guess it just bugs me how almost all the coupons I found were from companies that test on animals. Please, please, PLEASE have a look at what you buy and see if it's affecting other living beings negatively. 

- Junk food, "juice", soda and candy. ANY overly processed food. Don't get me started

- Cleaning products. Over 300 coupons and not one natural cleaning product, or one for vinegar for that matter. Toxins in cleaners such as the ol' reliable 409 and those cute scrubbing bubbles can cause a fairly wide range of issues in your home and family members. P.s. Also have an issue with animal testing. 

No coupons for veggies. Very, very few for organic anything. Certainly none for plain old wheat flour, cold pressed olive oil, or, like I said, vinegar. We did get $1 off Marcel TP, yay! And some Newman's Own Spaghetti sauce. Did you know they make pizza as well? Crazy. 

I guess what I'm getting at is that they don't make coupons for the things we buy. So I'm not saving money in that aspect, but I am saving a hell of a lot by not buying into the crap that is shoved down the throats of Americans day after day in the paper and on T.v. All this stuff is out there and millions of people are buying it and it's really hard to fathom that our family, doing the hippy things we do (like preaching to you) can ever make a difference.


So, coupon cutting is a bust...
But at least I'm saving trees :)

And look, my son is happy even without a pre-made, sugar-filled, frozen PB&J! 

* The Europeans have just as many (useless) products, although they are slightly more environmentally aware when it comes to cleaners, paper products and food. 

Wednesday, September 8

Catching up..

I can't believe it's already a week into September! I finally finished cleaning my house, so here's a little updating... before I move on to sewing some more! 

We are trying to go a couple times a month down to Bernkastle for ice cream night. Uhhh, yum.

Last week, Tuesday, it was Be-A-Utiful! 
I'm so glad we still live here, I'm newly amazed every sunny day how lovely it is. 

These guys are mean but curious.

And these guys make me think of eating ice cream on the lake in New Hampshire :)

Friday we went to Köln with Tricia and her guy. It was also lovely and a long fun day!

Then Sunday a friend and I checked out a market and had pizza in Urzig, just down the road a little ways... Look at this view! 

And lastly, check out my happy baby! He cut two new teeth last week and I've cut out almost all dairy and caffeine (I had one cup today during a long day of running errands) and he is all smiles! I don't know what does it or if it's just a good week, but I'm enjoying it :)