Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book Recommendation: First Light

I've been reading more about climate change lately (which is definitely contributing to my anxiety about the state of the world). In my search for materials, I came across a great YA fiction book called First Light by Rebecca Stead. If you're looking for something quick and easy, I highly recommend it! (It's not nearly as depressing as reading about climate change...)

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fall is Here!

We are saying goodbye to summer (slowly but surely in Austin, TX). Even if it's takes a while for things to cool down, the season forges ahead in other ways: Halloween, Matt's Birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! 

We are going to pull out our Fall books, then our Halloween books, then our Thanksgiving books, and then our Christmas (and other religious holidays) books. We are hosting our annual pizza and trick-or-treating party in our driveway. We are starting to plan our Christmas presents for everyone so we can get ahead and not feel stressed about it. 

We are heading to Australia for Christmas this year, so we'll need to cram in as many Christmas-y things as possible before we arrive in a country where it's the middle of summer! 

Spending a few minutes laying out the land of the upcoming season helps put my mind at ease. It's going to be a great rest of the year! 

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Containing the Clutter: Children's Artwork

You all know I'm pretty crazy about containing clutter. My physical space impacts my psychological space so much. That's why I loved reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Even though I didn't agree with All.The.Things in that book, I did love the idea of everything having a place and making it a habit to regularly purge the things you don't love. 

Enter children's artwork. I love that my children want to produce and display art, and yet it's hard to find space for it in a place that still contributes to an overall feeling of calm around the house. 

My solution was to make a space of our home that could solely be devoted to their art. I wanted it to be someplace that they regularly see and could easily access. That's where the idea for this magnetic chalkboard came from. 

I bought a piece of sheet metal from Home Depot and painted it with chalkboard paint. Then we had it framed with with more wood from Home Depot. I bought a chalk pen to write their names on it. 

So far it's working out great! They can pile as much onto it as will fit. Once it gets full, they have to take something down in order to add the new thing. Then we generally say a little goodbye ritual to the thing they are taking down and we recycle it. It's good practice in letting go of things that we no longer need (such an important lesson learned from Marie Kondo!). 

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

B-12 Deficiency

I've been continuing down my health and wellness journey. It's a slow journey but a steady one! 

After visiting with a functional medicine doctor (I am in love with functional medicine, which focuses on the whole human and tries to incorporate research way more quickly than mainstream medicine), I decided to get some baseline blood work done. My functional medicine doctor wanted me to start a whole host of supplements and dietary changes (like no gluten), so I wanted to get baseline data to see if her recommendations actually had any impact. 

It was way more difficult than I thought to order blood work from my general physician. My general physician thinks my functional medicine doctor is a quack. 

I ordered as much as I could from my general practitioner, such as B-12, lipids, and some hormone stuff. 

My general practitioner reported everything back to me as "Normal." I found it odd that the normal range for B-12 was anything from 193-986. Honestly, it's counterintuitive that a range that large could all be normal. I did some quick research that seemed to indicate that the normal range for B-12 in Europe and Japan is much smaller than the range in the U.S. and that those countries/continents treat B-12 deficiency very seriously. 

My own level is 288, which is uncomfortably close to the bottom end of the range. So I am definitely going to start a B-12 supplement. Honestly, it made me very glad that Matt and I decided to let our sons eat meat from a young age (since they really wanted to), even though we are both vegetarians. 

I remember that one of you mentioned B-12 a very long time ago. I'm sorry I wasn't ready to hear you at the time! 

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Halloween: 2017

Those of you who have been following Feeding the Soil for a while know that Halloween planning starts early around here. I let my boys keep a running list of what they might like to dress up as this year. They know they can add whatever they want to the list all the way up until the cut-off date. After that date, they have to stick with the costume they chose! 

Since we don't buy Henry and Tate a lot of weapons for toys, Henry has gotten the idea to pick a costume that comes with a weapon (smart guy). This year he decided to be a devil so that he could get a pitchfork. I tried to talk him into being a farmer with a pitchfork, but I wasn't persuasive (I didn't try too hard; I really do want to honor who my children are and what they want in their lives). 

So two devils it is! 

We are going to move forward with our annual Halloween party (it's our 5th one!). We post a general invitation on our neighborhood list-serv. We start at 5pm with pizza in the driveway. We set up sidewalk chalk, train tracks, etc. and just hang out for a little while. Then we go trick-or-treating as a group through the neighborhood. It's fun to have these kinds of rituals in our lives. The boys are looking forward to it. 

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Hello, Friends!

How have you been, dear Friends? 

Frankly, I've been overwhelmed by the weight of injustice in the world with the ascendance of Trump to power plus the resurgence of explicit, public white supremacy advocacy plus the spiraling threat of climate change plus the threat to immigrant rights and the rights of multiple other groups along various lines of difference. The worse part is that I know that my friends, colleagues, and neighbors who have less privilege than I do (as a white, cis-gender heterosexual with economic advantage) have to shoulder the weight of the injustice even more than I do.

I continue to fight against injustice by focusing on a liberation-based educational approach (i.e., Montessori) and continuing to support the evolution of the Montessori approach through anti-bias and anti-racist thinking, but it's been hard to shake the general pall that clouds my world. 

It has felt impossible to write about things as trivial as Halloween costumes or home-cooked meals on this blog, but I finally came to realize that this space is like a gratitude journal for me. It gives me respite from the storm and enables me to elevate the things about life that I want to be true for all people. I want all people to have the time, space, resources, and opportunity to live a purposeful and joyful life (while continuing to advocate for others to be able to do the same). When I write in this space, I'm carving out space to think about the kind of family and community I want to foster. I'm taking a break from the 11 hours I spend working to eliminate injustice every day and focusing on the things that are right in my world, even when I'm overwhelmed by what's wrong. 

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