Saturday, September 24, 2011

Too Many Excuses

Lately I haven't been getting enough exercise. I have many reasons for not getting out and about. They range from simply:"I'm too tired", to,"I just haven't got time when I work til 6pm", or, "It's raining again", and "I can't get myself off the couch".

I read an article today (sitting outside,in the glorious sun) that suggested sitting for long periods of time is very bad for our health. Not news, right? However, what it pointed out that might be new, is that, even if we hit the gym daily for a workout, sitting at a desk all day, being sedentary, really isn't good for our health. It is important to move about at least 11 times an hour.  Don't quote me on that, I was reading a fashion magazine.
I'm sure there is truth in it though. We really aren't meant to sit still for long periods of time.

And it got me thinking. I have done a lot of sitting about. Especially in the last three months. It hasn't been easy, it has been wet and cold, but it's mainly due to the fact that I have been grieving.

But today I thought about it - yes, grieving is a pretty good excuse for not feeling up to exercise - but on the other hand, grief isn't finite, and I have no idea how long I will grieve for my lost boys. I know it will be an ongoing process. So, I can't use it for an excuse anymore. Nor all the other excuses I've used.

My health is so important to me, and the health of my kids. I have to be a decent role model for them. So, today I have decided I must try to move more. Whether it is while I'm reading, watching telly or on the computer. I have to get up, and I have to fidget more. But most importantly I need to get outside. I should be gardening daily. Keeping the weeds at bay, and I should walk most days too. Even if I do get home at 6 after a long day working, I can still go out to the garden and pull a few weeds, or just potter around for a bit.

It isn't easy to take care of yourself when you are taking care of a family, but it's actually the most important person to keep healthy isn't it? How can you look after your family if you are unwell? I also don't want to find myself at the age of 55 (or sooner) dealing with type 2 diabetes, or worse.

So, what do you do to stay active?

I'd love to hear suggestions for incidental, everyday, fit in with a family type of exercise you do....

Friday, September 16, 2011

More Bone Broth

This time I made it from chicken bones. My chicken man at the grower's market rears real free range chickens, so I use his chicken knowing it is grass fed and free to roam. The best kind, in my opinion.I buy four carcasses for $3. What a bargain!

Anyway, this time I roasted the carcasses in a moderate oven, for 30 -40 minutes. I threw in a couple of roughly chopped onion too. Then I put the bones and meat into the slow cooker. I added the onions (the bits I didn't eat - caramelized onions are one of my favourite foods), then I deglazed the baking pan (over a flame on top of the stove) with some white wine and water so that I could  get all that chickeny goodness off the pan.

Before pouring the juicey wine and water mixture over the bones I put some roughly chopped carrots and celery into the slow cooker, along with two bay leaves. You could put any vegies and herbs you have into the pot. Add a small slurp of vinegar to the liquid(this draws out all the fabulous minerals from the bones) and fill up with water until the bones are covered.I have a large slow cooker and by stuffing the bone carcasses with the vegies I was able to squeeze the four chooks into the pot.

Then I let it cook all day.

At dinner time I poured the stock off the bones and vegetables and used it to make a beautiful chicken soup.

I made the soup by sauteing a chopped leek, an onion and some crushed garlic (a clove or two). Then I added chopped carrots and celery. Once that had softened, I added some chunks(about 500g for a family of 5) of chicken tenderloins (thigh meat would be good), then I poured over the stock and gently simmered. If your stock isn't very boldly flavoured, you might like to add some stock powder (such a massel stock). Just before serving I added some home grown spinach, which wilted and had the texture of silk when we were eating it.

Beautiful, good for you, chicken soup.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Parenting a Stubborn Three Year Old...

...Isn't always easy. In fact, lately it has been really hard.

I thought it was two years old that was supposed to be difficult. But this three year old has really found his temper, his anger, his downright stubborn naughtiness, all at once.

Phew...some days are a real challenge with this little one.

He is clever too. He knows what he wants, and doesn't care if mum and dad say "no", he's still hell bent on doing it. And then, if you try and stop him, he'll scream long and hard. He may even bite, slap or kick you!

So, I'm a mum of five. Yep. I've been there, done that. But not one of my other kids was like this.Perhaps I've managed to blot out the tough times with them, perhaps I simply cannot remember. I just don't think it was this hard.

I suppose it is also a mixture of things going on.

He's the youngest, and he has had constant attention and stimulation from his older siblings. He has always had someone to get him what he wants very quickly. Now, he'd like to do it for himself. He's frustrated when we don't let him make his own decisions (though I always like to give him choices) and won't let him do things for himself.

I think, where small children are concerned, there's  much that can be put down to"personality". Yes, discipline and routine are important, but sometimes it is just their personality that dictates their behaviour. At least that is what I'm telling myself!

You know, I also think that throwing a grieving mama into the mix probably makes things difficult too. Some days I just don't have it in me. It's really hard to be calm and constant with a naughty boy when you feel sad and tired, and struggling to get through the day.

This parenting caper is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

I suppose I will just have to listen to the mantra I have used for years , "this too shall pass".

Throw some suggestions my way...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Letter to Ruby and Saphire

Dear Ruby and Sapphire,

I don't  really know whether to consider you as two separate spirits or one. I'd like to think, as it says in the book, "Spirit Babies", that you are the same spirit trying to come to our family.

On the other hand, I feel I should be grieving the loss of two children.

Whatever the case, I want you to know that I miss you. Sometimes more acutely than others, but it is always there - the loss of you has left an emptiness that can't be filled.

It may make little sense to others, who see me, with a family of five children, healthy, here with me, so why would I want another child?Why should I miss someone who was never actually  here?

Because you were here, you were with me. And, I love you. You are part of my family, and you are not with us, where I feel you should be. I feel your absence. There is a place at my table for you. I believe there has been since before my first child was born. I didn't know it then, but I feel it now. I feel strongly, that I am meant to have six children.

So why did it not happen? Why have I lost you both, or lost you twice?

What am I missing in this puzzle?

I want you to know that I did what I could to clear the way, so you could come home to us, where I know you belong. But it didn't work out, and I fear it never will. Perhaps, one day, I'll come to you instead.

With love,
your mother.

P.S. Since I started this letter I have learned that "Ruby", the child I lost in December, was a little boy. I'm so sorry things went wrong with your chromosomes. There was one too many on Chromosome 13. You had trisomy 13. The condition is not compatible with life. Apparently it is a "fluke", there's a less than 1% chance of it happening. But it did, and sadly, you couldn't live. I'm so sorry.

I've decide to call you "Alfie", I always liked that name and somehow it seems fitting.

I still haven't heard what happened to our June baby. Perhaps we'll know soon.

Postscript: September 24: Our other baby was also a boy. I have named him Louie. Because the pathology testing wasn't prepared correctly we didn't get proper answers as to why he died. All I know is that he didn't have trisomy 13,18 or 21, which are the most common trisomies. It doesn't mean he was normal either, we just don't know. And it really doesn't make a lot of difference. I'm still sad and missing my boys.

For This I am Grateful

  • I have five happy, healthy children. My life has been blessed with these individuals. I am loved, and I have loved them (and continue to do so) with the core of my soul. There's nothing better than having children.
  • I have a good strong marriage to a wonderful man who has tried his damnedest to make me happy (not easy, believe me!). He has been a great dad to his children.
  • I've had a good education, provided to me by the government of this country, which in turn has led to job opportunities which work well around my family commitments. Teaching is well paid and has allowed us as a family, to live well.
  • My beautiful house, situated in an amazingly beautiful environment. I couldn't ask for a more beautiful place to live.
  • I have some lovely friends. We are all busy, so we don't see each other as often as we'd like, but I am blessed to have people I love whom are my friends. We have fun together, we laugh a lot and enjoy each other's company.
  • Every year we have a lovely week long holiday - usually at Rottnest Island. It is relaxing, fun and peaceful. So restorative. I'm grateful we have the means to do this. Our children love it too.
  • I have good health, and so do my children. We have never had to deal with much more than minor illnesses. Broken bones,  serious illness and chronic illness have stayed away. We've been very lucky in that area.
  • I live in a country and society where I am free, treated equally and can live with a high standard of living.
What are you grateful for?