Saturday, July 31, 2010

where does your food come from?

(cage free hens, courtesy of Food,Inc Blog)

This has been on my mind tremendously in the last 10 months. Since E came home. And recently, I saw the documentary Food, INC which was (in no small words) eye opening. Gradually we have been making slow changes to organic, whole foods in this house (organic milk, cage free eggs, etc). And even though I understood there was massive corruption (exploitation of workers, cruelty to animals, hormone injections, pesticides, etc)-until watching this documentary, I'm certain I didn't realize the extent of those truths. This film is very well done, and doesn't shove the cruelty in your face (though it gave me a taste that has lingered and is horrifying). I can't imagine companies that treat animals this way caring at all about what goes in MY body, or in my community, or the global community at large.

So. I emailed a good friend who is the dean of environmental engineering at our local college. And I found out that our little town has a local food co-op with amazing vision and this gives me tremendous hope. After reading their website for an hour, I promptly submitted my one time fee for lifetime membership. And I look forward to the day that our local food store opens, as I am finished with aisle upon aisle of junk at our grocery store and the poor choices in produce/meats (no organic selections for meat).

This isn't just about protecting the rights of workers and animals. This is about our health as well. Americans have the highest obesity rates than any other country (and I think we can thank convenient, processed, and fast foods for that). I'd rather pay now, than pay later in health care costs. And I can't help but wonder how many of my own (rather minor) health problems are in fact related to the poor fuel I've put into my body over the years. I catch everything in terms of colds/flues, etc in spite of vaccines for the latter (currently battling a nasty summer cold or bronchitis, not sure which).

Every single time you choose organic foods/milks/etc you are casting your vote. And the more we vote, the louder voice we have. I will pay the additional costs until those prices come down as we all start to make smarter choices for ourselves and for our children, and yes, for the workers that are exploited and the animals that are (literally) abused right along side them.

So, we've decided to chuck inching along and making small changes for the mass overhaul approach in how we eat in this house. Which will include, of course, packed lunches for everyone, especially E- apparently inmates eat better than what she has been served at her public school. (see this Article)- (and sign the petition for change at the end of it!).

"The average food item travels 1500 miles from farm to fork.
The use of local produce in school meals not only mitigates
environmental impacts, it also instills healthy eating habits,
connects kids with local farmers to teach them about
food and agriculture, and provides farmers
with a new direct market"

~(from website, Hungry For Change)~

Knowledge empowers. Know what fuel you are putting into your body, into your children's growing bodies. And know how even the smallest choice has the power to cause harm, whether you see that in action or not.

Friday, July 30, 2010

i am certain this is the face of which poets write

egm, july 27-10

I circle around God, around the primordial tower
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

i knew the kid was smart, but maybe i underestimated HOW smart.

so we have this thing about drinking lots of fluids in this house- especially water. thankfully, E really likes water. and if you are questioning why we make such a fuss: well, it all comes down to keeping her kidneys and bladder "flushed" to prevent those pesky infections. anyway. she didn't have the best output this afternoon, so i handed her a glass of water and said the usual, "you need to drink this one all gone, okay?" and she obliged. or so i thought. i came to fetch her for bath, and she volunteers (this is a first) to climb the stairs herself. she will always opt for mom to carry her. i am flabbergasted and thrilled and say, "okay, sure". as she begins ascending, i'm picking up her cup off of the coffee table. i feel some moisture under my feet. i ask: "hey E, did you spill your water?" to which she replies, "no, i didn't". so i figure it's dog slobber after a visit to the water bowl. it happens. he's a bulldog.

i follow her upstairs and then pick her up to put her on her bed to begin undressing. her pants are soaked. i am befuddled, since we just emptied her bladder a couple of hours ago and it's not time to do it again. i rattle on:

"wow sweetie, i didn't know you had to go again. you can tell me when you get wet, okay?"

e: "okay mama".

i proceed to empty her bladder again. uhm. hmmm. isn't that interesting that there is almost no output?

i tilt my head, and say again... "E. did you spill the water?"

she sheepishly puts her head down and says, "yes, i did". clear as day.

mom: "sweetie, just tell me next time, it's okay. spills happen".

i'm still in awe that she knew i'd feel her clothes if she opted for the RIDE up the stairs. stinker.

Monday, July 26, 2010




i think this takes Nik*s "Just Do It" to a whole new fashionable level.

Friday, July 23, 2010

language of the heart

it's been 10 months since we arrived home from china. not to the day. but 10 months, nonetheless. i am a shadow of who i was 10 months ago. the paralyzed with anxiety "mom" is gone. (mom in quotes because though i can't name when it happened, i didn't feel like a mom instantaneously). i have been thinking a lot about our beginning- particularly those first 2 weeks. a couple of friends are in china now, struggling, living what is now a vivid memory for me. the chaos of those first days. the stress of being piloted from one place to the next for paperwork, meetings, appointments. long drives to orphanages and civil affairs offices and consulates. sick kids. sleep deprivation. and that yearning, no matter how much you love the country of your child's birth, to be home. to be finished with this part of the journey. not because you haven't cherished it underneath the maelstrom of tension. but because your mind, your heart, long to be in a place that is familiar. it's an innate desire for for the ordinary and the mundane after endless hours of... intense and intensive transitions.

i think those waiting (including myself) have a tendency to romanticize the adoption trip,or what that trip will look like. it almost never resembles or feels remotely the way you expect(ed). just today, a note from a friend who is now in Guangzhou said: "all the reading in the world could not have prepared me for the reality of this". (insert the sound of hammer on nail head). for some, the worst case scenario is imagined, and the trip is a dream. for others, they imagine the dream and live the worst case scenario. i think most of us who have been down this complicated road fall somewhere in the middle. and this is just my experience, one in how many thousands? and i know in our case, it was compounded by and made unique by her age and her multiple medical needs.

it is or was surreal at best. i felt not just transported to a new culture and time zone, but relegated out of myself. displaced regionally and personally. dissociated. was this some subconscious defense mechanism allowing us to survive those first 2 weeks? (yes- us- not just me). i believe that theory holds weight. because had i for a minute allowed myself to tap into what i was feeling while we tried to parent a frightened, grieving, distressed child- i undoubtedly would have crumbled under the weight of my own fear, my own grief, my own confusion. and an adoption trip is not a time to focus on yourself. that doesn't equal the negation of taking care of yourself through the process. it would be absurd to think you have to chuck aside the entirety of who you are (in my case, in large part, i was terrified and anxiety ridden). in retrospect, i see that it was necessary to bring some of those emotions to this new relationship. bonds are created when two people share kindred feelings. E and i were in it. we were in it. together. because underneath my inability to recognize what was happening as i numbly (but firmly) held her in my arms- whispering about her bravery while she wailed, telling her how much i loved her when i'd yet to feel any real emotion- the seeds of attachment, the seeds of that very love, were being planted and taking root. this was, i am certain, the most meaningful (and most painful) component of our first weeks together as mother and daughter.

we have a long way to go and instinct tells me there is no end to this path we are walking together. some roots are thin and shallow, others are thick and sturdy, running deep. we will face her grief in cycles, as she comes to comprehend the magnitude of what took place during our induction into the role of parent(s) and child.

and much like i did when i fantasized about the long awaited voyage to a country that has held my attention since i was a tween, it is easy to get trapped romanticizing how i might navigate her losses with her. it's easy to see her adoration of me, her need for me, and think that i will somehow be enough. i'm not saying that i won't. i'm not saying she won't soar or that she won't integrate these losses in a way that allows her to thrive. i'm just saying that it might be messier, and harder, and scarier than i might imagine. and that while i will be enough, i also won't be enough. my gut tells me both are true.

tonight, because she's my girl, because i know her now as every mom comes to know their child- biological, adopted, or step- i sensed her discord as we lay her down in her toddler bed. but because i am human and selfish and make mistakes and wanted my evening time with G, i chalked it up to exhaustion after a long day. as i sat down to sink into a little TV reprieve in the from of a fave sitcom, something- that same gut instinct- urged me to get up. to climb those stairs. to check on her.

i found her laying with her eyes open, one leg swaying back and forth by the force of her hand. i came to her bedside, and this is how we met each other.

Mom: Hey sweet pea, you can't get to sleep?

E: (silence, eyes begin to water)

Mom: What's up buttercup? Come here. (lifting her out of bed to sit in my lap, snuggling her to me).

E: (crying)

Mom: I'm right here sweet pea. Mama is right here. You know you can talk to me, okay? Whenever you need to. Whenever you are ready.

(holding her for several minutes, rocking her).

Mom: I love you so much E. You are such a brave and beautiful girl. Can you tell me what's upsetting you?

E: (looking into my eyes, speechless, tears streaming down her face).

Mom: Did something happen at school today?

E: (shakes her head no).

Mom: Are you feeling sick?

E: (shakes her head no)

Mom: are you missing someone?

E: shakes her head yes.

Mom: are you missing China?

E: shakes her head yes.

Mom: do you miss GeGe (her best friend, she called him big brother)

E: (shakes her head no)

Mom: Tai Tai? (the name she called Joyce, the director of Hope)

E: (shakes her head no)

Mom: Are you missing your China mom?

E: (tears welling up again. chin shaking. a sob. she shakes her head yes).

and I knew immediately who she spoke of... her favorite nanny. i gathered her closer to me and told her i understood how hard it was to miss someone you love, and that someday she will see her china mom again. i asked if she wanted to look at her china pictures, her grin and nod an affirmative. so, instead of a mindless 30 minutes in front of the TV, i spent it snuggled close to my girl- examining photo after photo with her. watching as she pulled her favorites from their sheaths for closer inspection. some she'd hold up to my face (ones she liked of herself), imploring me to plant a kiss on the image. i happily obliged.

and not once did she speak a word, or use language to convey what was in her little heart. but i heard, somehow. listening being so much more about being present than hearing.

now, she is tucked in and sleeps soundly. she will wake tomorrow with her same smile, one that almost never leaves her face. i pray she will come to learn that no subject in this house is taboo. that there is never a time, if she chooses, that she can't come to me. to us.

and until she knows how to make that choice, i will go to her and offer myself. and if she'll have me, i'll be in it with her. we will be in it together.

wanna win? a great give-away!

You might remember my post about a certain designer of amazing dresses (skirts and headbands are in the works, I am told). Well, if you'd like a chance to win one of these pictured above or any in her shop: Growing Snowflowers, then you must go HERE to learn all about your chances to win. It will so be worth your time. I know this because I own 2 of her items! And ordered a 3rd as a gift :) (and I did not obtain permission to heist a pic of the designer's adorable daughter Paisley in one of her creations. but she's a friend, so I think she'll let it slide).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

playdate indoors since it's 190 degrees and was willing to soak ourselves in sweaty

street ride
okay well this was monday evening, day one home with Chicky.
happy girl.
bye bye e

and this is today at our local mall.
playdate with my good friend's girls,
Lindsi and Jami

help up the bridge
e gets by with a little help from her friends
(up a bridge)
the sisters
e in the boat
e in the boat
i can do it myself
e out of the boat
(she never ceases to amaze me. nothing gets in her way)
come with me
follow the leader?
holding hands
holding hands
the 3 girls

3 fast friends

Monday, July 19, 2010

meet Chicky

1st time sitting on the bike

more adjustments

and off she goes~!

getting the hang of it

biker chicks

heaven. pure heaven.

my guess is that the first time riding a bike is sort of a big deal. and that was certainly the case for E today when we arrived at P.T. to find this waiting for her. and yes, through the generosity of children before her, the family donated it to her clinic and they are passing it along to us.

i am perpetually overwhelmed by my daughter's strength. her quirky sense of humor. her love for life, and for us. she is daily an inspiration to me, and that has less to do with her alternative abilities than it does with who she is- put simply, she is extraordinary. extra ordinary. you know what i mean? she's got that "extra" something that is so hard to name.

imagine the delight for her, and for me, watching her hand peddle like a pro within minutes of getting on this, her first bicycle. she was animated in a way we hadn't seen before, and both her therapist and i were certain it wouldn't be long before i'd be running to keep up with her.

tonight, when the hot sun is setting a bit, we'll take the bike out for a spin (which she's decided to name "Chicky"), and i will chase after my girl, all the while thanking those who came before us to make this day possible.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

growing snowflowers (a new etsy shop)

charming, classy, contemporary.
fashionable, fun and funky.
smashingly stunning.

these are the words that describe her mad skillz.

if you are looking for supreme quality and exquisite designs/fabrics
for your daughter(s), this is the place to go:

her craftsmanship is first-class, and it's tough to pass up these
modish and whimsical prints!

so. go. check her out.
you won't regret at least a peek.

Friday, July 16, 2010

retrospective: Beijing, September 2009, Forbidden City

mother and son
(photo by Kitchu)

forbidden city bridge
forbidden city
(photo by Freedom Master)

forbidden city
forbidden city
(photo by Kitchu)

forbidden city
forbidden city
(photo by Freedom Master)

forbidden city
forbidden city
(photo by Kitchu)

rooftop forbidden city
rooftop, forbidden city
(photo by Freedom Master)

umbrellas, forbidden city
umbrellas, forbidden city
(photo by Kitchu)

rooftop, forbidden city
forbidden city
(photo by Freedom Master)

forbidden city, travel group
travel group, forbidden city
(photo by Kitchu)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

conversation with E.

E, "big bed" her favorite place

E: this one, which one? (holding photograph of my mom)

Me: that is my mama. she would be your "Tata", like your grandma in Texas. you have 2 grandmas.

E: really? 2?

Me: yep, but my mama, your Tata, she is all gone. she is in heaven so we can't see her right now.

E: mama, i think you should hug her

Me: (fighting tears) i would like that so much and the next time i see her, that's the first thing i am going to do

E: you see her which one?

Me: when I go to heaven, like we all will, someday

E: sunday??

Me: no, sweet pea, probably not suNday... but soMeday... much later

E: well, i want to come heaven with you

Sunday, July 11, 2010

retrospective: Beijing, September 2009 (day 1)

sunrise, first flight on our way to chicago
first flight of our trip, sunrise
(photo by K)

sunrise from hotel, beijing

first full day in Beijing, sunrise from hotel
(photo by G)

sunrise, first full day-beijing
same sunrise, Beijing
(photo by K)

Tiananmen Sq
Tiananmen Square, Beijing
(photo by G)

tiananmen square
Tiananmen Square, Beijing
(photo by K)

Friday, July 9, 2010

retrospective: chicago airport (layover)

chicago airport, layover

one more flight until beijing
september 2009

(photo by K)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

retrospective: mei mei

HK airport

hong kong airport, september, 2009
last day in china

(photo by G)

Monday, July 5, 2010

someboob is hiding...

cuz he doesn't like fireworks either.

(E had a bit of a rough night last night.
and no, we didn't venture outside of the house).

Sunday, July 4, 2010

happy independence day USA

obviously not MY photo :)

Home of the brave.
Land of the free.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

a make-believe chat with baba

pardon the boxes. we are in the midst of getting some goodies packed to send to New Hope where M-n-M lived for 3.5 years :O)

mobile upload 1: E's chair

her wheel-a-chair (negative setting)