Monday, April 28, 2008

I'm Moving!

Well, okay, not to a new house. For a while now, as my posts have increased, I have been wanting to find a way to make it easier to find the recipes you want. Blogspot did not have any such feature. My friend Jason just moved his blog over to Wordpress and it has a tag feature which will make it easier to find stuff. So, if you would, click on the link below and come visit me at my new home!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This isn't going to be a recipe post. Sorry. But I have something on my mind that I thought I'd share with you. Some friends are going through the process of adopting and they have been on my heart for a few days. I don't know all the details of how it all works but after filling out enough paperwork to make your head spin and waiting for umpteen people to do their job their packet has finally arrived in Thaiwan. One would think, oh, it won't be long now. But, no. It will be another 18-24 months. They started this a year ago.

It used to be that the only time anyone even considered adoption was after many years of infertility problems. In the past five or six years I have had close friends who chose adoption not because they could not give birth but because God had called them to increase their family in that way. In fact many of them already had given birth to one or more kids.

Ron and I have given birth three times. (Well, I did all the work.) It was not easy. I went through four months of horrible all day sickness, pulled muscles, gestational diabetes, late term deliveries, large babies, the whole nine yards. It was hard. But I am convinced there is nothing in this world harder than going through the ups and downs of adoption. I did not have to fill out hardly any paper work, other than insurance and medical forms. No stranger came to my house to go over it with a fine tooth comb and ask us extremely detailed and very personal questions about our lives, past present, and future, all the while being terrified I might say the wrong thing or forget to clean a toilet. I didn't have to ask several of my friends to write a letter and say nice things about me and my parenting skills. I didn't have to wait for months for someone to stop sitting on their hands and get me a baby! I didn't have to fly to Russia like one family did, meet my child and then be told, "Go home and come back in two months to get him." I didn't have to be on pins and needles for 14 days after my child was born knowing if his birth mom changed her mind I would have to give him back. I didn't have to fly to a foreign country where they require a three to four week stay, bribe many officials and at any moment could change their adoption policies which could ruin everything. I don't think anything could be so painful, but oh so worth it. I am convinced that God created me to give birth, but he has called my friends to adopt. The adoption papers read that a child belongs to his adoptive parents "as if he were born to them." Isn't that so true?

So, pray for my friends, please. Pray that things move faster than they expected in Taiwan. Pray for my friends in Florida who are starting the process to adopt again from Russia who now has the law that you have to come three times before you can take your child home. Pray for my friends who have open adoptions as they go through the heartbreaks of watching these young women who gave birth to their children continue in the harmful life cycle they are in. Pray that those of us who surround them can support them, cry with them, cheer with them, and partner with them as they follow God's will in their lives.

Thank you for letting me share this. If you are one of my friends I mentioned above, thank you for adopting.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Feeding the Younguns

Angela asked for some ideas for feeding the little ones, so I thought I'd start a discussion. I'm not an expert, but after thirteen years of parenting and a lot of mistakes here is some of my advice.

1. Don't completely change your meal planning for the sake of the toddler. Eventually she will grow up and will be more likely to try different foods if she's at least seen you eat them and enjoy them. But don't wear yourself out making two different meals. I often say, "Mommy is not a short order cook." Follow Rule #2 as much as possible. I only make exceptions if I'm making a special dish with shrimp, something really spicy, or a food that is prone to food allergies or not safe for younger kids, i.e. choking hazards and such. I just make sure the foods match. When we have shrimp, I make fish for the kids.

2. Make sure for each meal you have at least one item on their plate they will eat. This is advice I read in a magazine somewhere. I have also learned it is best to introduce only one new food at a time.

3. Don't underestimate your kids tastes. One night when Aiden was a toddler I had not been to the grocery that week and the only green vegetable I had was a bag of frozen broccoli. I had never pushed much broccoli because baby food broccoli stinks and gives them gas, plus none of the kids ever liked it. But, I was desperate so I tried it. I didn't think any of the three would eat more than the requisite one bite so I only made half the bag. I stir fried it in olive oil and garlic and then added some butter. To my shock Aiden kept asking for more and Cameron was not far behind! (Emily ate her required amount.) I ended up making the rest of the bag because they ate it all!

4. It can take up to 15 times of trying a new flavor to learn to like it. That's why my kids are always required to eat one bite of each item on the table. It doesn't always work, Ron is 38 and still hates carrots. But Emily now loves broccoli cheese casserole and broccoli cheese soup. Broccoli is also acceptable if mixed into macaroni and cheese.

5. Don't panic if it seems your toddler will only eat one or two things. EVERY meal. My pediatrician said it is not unusual for a toddler or young preschooler to only eat one meal a day. They also find comfort in repetition and familiarity. So, let them eat yogurt every meal. Just let them know they need to try the other items, too.

6. The Clean Your Plate Club is Dead! This is a very hard concept. Think about it, it's the way you were raised, too, probably. Sometimes your kids really are full. Their little stomachs are really not much bigger than their fists and a clean plate by force can equal over eating which can turn into childhood obesity. If the wasted food really bothers you, make sure you give them very small portions. They can always ask for more.

7. Not every food trick given by the experts will work for your family. I'm sure you already know this, but it bears repeating. Use what you think will work and don't beat yourself up if it doesn't. Believe me, if they get hungry they will eat. And then there will come a time when it seems like they want to eat ALL THE TIME!

I hope this helps you some. Everyone feel free to chime in. I'm working on creating a Word file of all the recipes on the blog. If you would like me to email it to you send me an email at meriam(atsign)followjesus(dot)org and I will return it to you.