Monday, January 30, 2012

School Lunch Overhaul At Last

I have seen the school lunch issue from so many different angles.  I remember being an elementary school kid when Reagan had ketchup and pickles declared vegetables.  Even then it seemed like a pretty shocking concept.  Then there were the years and years of teacher site council meetings where we heard the million and one reasons why we couldn't have decent food in our cafeteria.  Now I'm a mom facing the prospect of feeding those meals to my perfect little girl for twelve years.  When it comes to American school lunches, it's not a pretty scene. It's been that way for far too long.

 For the first time in fifteen years, we have some new regulations from the government.  It seems that what is served in school cafeterias is determined almost entirely by this top level of leadership, so it is possible that these changes might mean real improvements for kids.  The guidelines call for less salt, fat, and sugar, and attempt to increase the amount of fresh produce and whole grains allowed.  Of course it's not all good news.  After heavy lobbying, the tomato sauce on pizza is still counted as  a veggie. 

Nevertheless, the news could mean some very positive changes.  It will take a while to trickle down to the cafeteria level, and it is still possible that the lunchroom realities might not be as pretty as we would like.  Will there ever be a day when a parent can send their child with lunch money and feel confident that they will be well fed?  I will be watching my nieces' lunch menus with great interest and crossed fingers.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Babies, Babies Everywhere

The new crop of babies for 2012 is turning up tops!  Thus far, three of Delphinium's friends have already gotten new little sisters, and it's not even the end of January!  Add to those the ones expected in March, April, May, July, and September, and you've got quite an impressive set of additions.  I know it is probably just my time of life and the people in my social circle, but it does seem like we're having our own little baby boom.  Welcome babies!

Note:  We are not currently expecting any new babies to come and live at OUR house. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

To Be or Not to Be: Part 2

I did it!Oh I did it!  While all that snow was falling I finally marked the box on my work form.  I said I was returning from leave, so now they are required to find me a place in the district.  Of course it could be any job (okay not bus driver or lunch lady) regardless of location, level, or subject area.  If they offer me high school at the other end of our district, I will be saying "no thank you" in a hurry.  I may say it anyway.  Then again, who knows, perhaps there will be the perfect part-time position at my preferred level.  Then I'll really be in a tough spot.  I'm just so horribly conflicted.  All I can do now is wait for the call.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter Storm '12

Heavy snows (8-10 inches?) and ice came to our area in the last few days. Sure it was beautiful outside our windows what with all the glittering ice, but it wasn't much fun to live through. First we lost the ability to go for walks or play outside because tree branches (and sometiems whole trees) were cracking and falling all over the place. Then the power went. For an hour we had that odd glow from one phase power, and then it was gone completely.

Normally when the power goes out (as it does about once or twice a year here) M and I just build a fire, cuddle up and try to appreciate the novelty of life without electricity. We went five days after one storm, and while it wasn't exactly fun, we did very well. Now, however, we have a toddler. The tought of simultaneously keeping her warm and keeping her safe from our open fireplace was just too much for me. We fled to Grandma's house. Call me a coward, but I could start to feel my lower brain twitching at the thought of not having a heat source for my child.

Luckily the lights came back on after only one night, so we were home again fairly quickly. I am doing my best to appreciate every single time the furnace come on and every single load of laundry and dishes that are washed by a machine. We really are terribly spoiled in our first world life. It's a sobering reminder of how hard it must be for parents who are trying to raise their children without the benefit of "modern conveniences."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Reading With Books for Books

I just found Delphinium sitting on the floor with a huge pile of books arranged by her side.  This is not an unusual state for her because she likes to look at the pictures and pretend to read the words.  The odd part came with the fact that she was reading the big picture book TO a small pocket-sized book which was cradled in her arm.  It seems that Madeline is fascinated by the goofy pictures in Coco All Year Round.  Go figure.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow '12

Wheeeeee!  I know, I know I say it every time, but I just can't help myself.  I LOVE the snow.   I get giddy as soon as the flakes start to fall.  I think it's because we never know for sure if we're going to get any, so when it does happen many of us get all delirious.  Now it is snowing quite hard, and I keep running over to the window to have yet another look.  The new and wonderful part is that Delphinium often joins me at the window.  She loves the snow too, and we get to go in the back yard together to crunch around and make a few angels.

Monday, January 16, 2012

To Be or Not to Be (A Stay-At-Home Mom)

Finally the day has come.  I've recieved my paper from the school district.  It is yellow, and it sits on the counter and glares at me.  I glare back.  Next to the top box it says "return" and next to the bottom box it says "resign."  It just sits there and looks at me because I can't seem to just check on of those boxes and be done.  Some mornings I wake up and feel all prepared to vote one way, but then when I actually get down to marking my choice I just can't seem to do it.  I've talked to everyone and there brother about what I should do, but no conclusion comes.  You know that old Frost poem about the two roads in the yellow wood?  I have 14 days left.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I Heart Tom Douglas

I hate to be too much of a fangirl, but it's just that he hardly ever misses.  Lola looms large on my food landscape due to it's comfortable setting and creative use of flavor.  I sometimes dream about date and haloumi skewers and tagines with green tomato pickle.  Of course there have been misses, but that's usually when there's nothing vegetarian on offer (I'm looking at you Palace Kitchen!).  Now I have a new passion.  We had the chance to visit Cuocu the other night, and it did not disappoint.

Once again we have a very elegant, but  not stuffy ambiance.  We brought our toddler to an early reservation, and the staff were incredibly nice to us offering crayons and special sides of beets (one of her favorites).  Then there was the food.  Bread from Dalia was delicious as was the vegetarian misti they made up for us on the spot.  Then came the cappelletti.   Oh the cappelletti!  Little pockets made of perfectly delicate pasta filled with some sort of rich cheesy goodness.  When the plates came to the table, they were not exactly impressive to look at, yet a hundred plates of "modern" mac and cheese could never compete with this.  Now every time I go to dinner in Seattle I'll have a terrible time choosing the venue.  Perhaps I'll have to carry an emergency coin to help me decide.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Really Old

It has finally happened! My baby brother has turned thirty! thirty! Can you believe? I think this is a much greater shock than when it happened to me. Now all of us kids are officially not kids anymore. Of course there are all sorts of "marks of adulthood" on us already what with the real jobs and cars and bank accounts and such, but him turning thirty tilts my perspective of our place in the whole line-up. Suddenly we are not the "kids" but the parents (some of us anyway)! Suddenly they are not the "parents" but the grandparents. Everybody moves up one space. Insert many aging clich├ęs here. Oh yeah and happy birthday to The Professor!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


Delphinium is big on organizing her toys. She likes to put the animals with the animals, the balls with the balls, and so on. She also believes that all people and animals can be categorized as either a "mimi" or a "dada" or a "baby". The other day she was playing with her little plastic farm animals, and she pulled out a mother sheep and her baby. She tapped the larger sheep on the head and said "mimi" with great confidence. Next was the tiny lamb who got the unsurprising title of "baby."

Here's where the trouble started. You see we don't actually own a "daddy" sheep. She looked all through her pile of animals saying "dada?" and shrugging her shoulders. I was wondering if this would end in tears, but she is a very resourceful little person. She pulled a large horse out of the pile, set it to watch over the sheep, and announced "dada!" with great satisfaction. My daughter is a very open-minded sort of person.

Monday, January 02, 2012

New Year's Resolutions '12

Amazingly, I seem to have actually completed most of the resolutions I wrote for 2011.  Okay maybe not the exercise part, but that one seems to be perennial.  I think it's because I had a tiny baby, so I felt safe in keeping things small.  M made a resolution last night that he would floss at least once in 2012, so that maybe carrying the low bar thing a bit far.  Anyway, here's my list:

1. Exercise at least 3 to 4 times per week
2. Send cards or letters every month
3. Judge less
4. Garden more
5. Read "serious" books
6. Organize house and get rid of stuff
7. Eat less sugar and fat
8. Be more grateful
9. Go on at least one date with M per month
10.Play Nicely wit the other children