What’s Up Wednesday: February 2017

What We’re Eating This Week

I got some inspiration from two of my favorite Food Network cooks this week: Ina Garten and Ree Drummond. Plus, we’ll be out-of-town this weekend, which means fewer nights of cooking for me – woo hoo! You can read this week’s full meal plan here.

What I’m Reminiscing About

I recently went through a bunch of old photos with my husband, and there were a number of ones of my sweet, old kitty, Tony. He died a little over a year ago, and I still miss him. With apologies to his (living) sister, Sophie, Tony was indisputably the best cat ever. I adopted the two of them when they were kittens, and I was only 25, and had just moved to California for work. I don’t miss those lonely days of being across the country from my friends and family, and finding my way in a new place, but those two made my time there more bearable.

What I’m Loving

We’ve been enjoying some unseasonably warm weather lately, and it’s got me believing that spring is almost here. Seriously, highs in the 50s in upstate New York in February?? I love it!

What We’ve Been Up To

It’s school vacation week here, so I’m home with my daughter all week. We had a ladies’ “day of beauty” yesterday, with hair cuts and manicures. (The “day of beauty” concept was my way of bribing her to get a hair cut, which she hates. It took years for her hair to grow long, and now she never wants to lose a centimeter of it.) Today we have a Girls Scouts ice-skating event, then a visit to a friend’s house, and Thursday her Brownie troop is going on a tour of a local grocery store. Friday we’re packing and heading to Massachusetts for my nephew’s first birthday party.

 What I’m Dreading

Next month, I’m going to cut added sugar out of my diet, and, while I’m very excited to try it, I’m definitely concerned about having a more limited diet. For me, one of the most intriguing things about cutting out added sugar is going to be realizing just how ubiquitous it is. I’ve started reading the labels of some of my favorite foods, and have been distressed to find added sugar in many of them.

What I’m Working On

What – me procrastinate?? Yep, I’m still dragging my feet on our taxes. Actually, I have everything we need, with the exception of a letter about a donation. I still need to fill out the questionnaire from our accountant, though, and I haven’t forced myself to sit down and do it, yet.

What I’m Excited About

Even though I’ve embraced winter this year, I’m excited that it seems to be loosening its grip. Spring’s arrival seems almost imminent, and I’m excited to welcome pansies, daffodils, and leaves back to our yard!

What I’m Watching/Reading

I’m watching absolutely nothing these days. Nothing. Seriously, with the exception of watching some news coverage when I make dinner, I’m just not switching on the TV these days.

I’m struggling to get through the book, The Case Against Sugar. It’s not exactly what I expected, and it’s fairly dry. I’m definitely going to need to read some fiction after I finish this one. (You can see all of the books I’m reading, have read, and plan to read in 2017 here.) I’m also always slowly working through my huge pile of magazines – The New Yorker, O, Money, Real Simple, The New York Times Magazine, and Kiplinger Personal Finance.

What I’m Listening To

Podcasts, of course! However, I’m completely caught up on binge-listening to all episodes of my favorites, so I’m in need of some new options. Recommendations??

What I’m Wearing

My school (and work) vacation week uniform consists of yoga pants and a fleece at home, and jeans and sweaters when I leave the house.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

We’re heading to Massachusetts for my nephew’s first birthday party. I don’t see my sister often enough, so it’ll be fun to catch up with her this weekend. My parents will also be there, and my daughter is beyond excited about spending time with my sister’s older son. (Sadly, she’s a lot less interested in her “baby cousin”…)

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

Seeing if I feel any differently “off of” sugar, gaining an hour of daylight, and maybe, just maybe, seeing the first signs of spring bulbs.

What’s up with you??

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What’s Up Wednesday: November, 2016

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It’s time for November’s “What’s Up Wednesday” post… on a Friday… in December!

What We’re Eating This Week

At my daughter’s request, I made her favorite macaroni and cheese recipe for dinner one night, and the tray has lasted for days! I enjoy it, but after eating it for dinner twice, I’m ready to move on. We’re also having one of my favorite easy and tasty meals this week, taco salads. And I’m planning to try a new-to-me soup recipe, too. You can read my full, weekly meal plan here.

What I’m Reminiscing About

The memories that Facebook shares have been killing me lately! They make me think about all of the fun, holiday events and activities we’ve done with our daughter over the years: breakfasts and sundaes with Santa(s), caroling, and making gingerbread houses.

What I’m Loving

I’m not going to lie: I’m loving having time off from work during the holiday season. It makes it a lot easier to get things done, including progress toward completing my winter break goals.

Also, I’m really loving seeing holiday decorations everywhere I go. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved looking at them. My tastes have certainly evolved over the years, but beautiful lights, trees and garland make me very happy at this time of year.

What We’ve Been Up To

The past couple of weeks have been full of holiday preparations. I made several desserts for Thanksgiving, and then we traveled to Massachusetts to spend the holiday with my sister and her family. When we returned home, we got our Christmas tree and all of the decorations went up in our house. I also tackled much of my holiday shopping online during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday events.

 What I’m Dreading

We’re taking on a very expensive home project this month: replacing our water heater. When our heating system was serviced in October, the repairman showed me a very  small area of corrosion on our water heater. This led my husband to research the exact age of our tank, and what its normal lifespan should be. It turns out that our tank is 12.5 years old, and its average lifespan is 12-15 years. Rather than wait until it fails and our basement is full of water, we decided to replace it now. And while it’s a bit more costly than getting another conventional water heater, we’re switching to a more energy-efficient tankless hot water heater. I’m very happy that we’ve made this decision, but I’m not looking forward to writing that check.

What I’m Working On

I’m in the early stages of planning my Christmas cookie baking. I like to make a couple of kinds for our family, and then large batches of four or five kinds to leave in the main office at my daughter’s school, as a thank you for the staff.

One nightly project my husband and I have been working on is our elf on a shelf. We alternate nights, so neither one of us is called on to come up with creative ideas two nights in a row. While it can feel like a chore at times, our daughter’s delight in finding the elf every morning more than makes up for it.

What I’m Excited About

Later in the month, we’re taking our daughter to New York City for a weekend. It’ll be her first trip there during the holiday season, and she’s going to love all of the lights and decorations. We’re going to see Cirque du Soleil’s NYC show, Paramour, eat dinner at a restaurant overlooking Rockefeller Plaza and the tree, and spend a night in a hotel. I’m really looking forward to it!

What I’m Watching/Reading

Post-election, I’ve cut my television news consumption dramatically. I’ve dabbled a bit in some History Channel shows lately, including American Pickers, and a  show about the history behind the channel’s drama about the Vikings. The latter made me realize I want to read more books about history.

Speaking of reading, I’ve been neglecting my fall reading list, and instead have been reading a lot of magazines and blogs. Also, my husband got me a Sunday New York Times subscription, and I’ve been reading as much of that paper as possible, every week. There’s so much good stuff in it!!

I’ve also read close to half of The Power of Habit. I really enjoyed the first section, but the second section has been less interesting to me.

What I’m Listening To

I finally caught up on all past episodes of Jean Chatzky’s, HerMoney podcast, and while I still regularly listen to my other favorites, I’m also looking for some new podcasts to add to my list. (Any recommendations??)

What I’m Wearing

All warm and cozy clothes, all of the time. I think I’ve pulled out my entire inventory of winter layers now, and they’re all that I wear these days.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

We don’t have very many plans for this weekend. Saturday afternoon, my daughter has a masquerade party with her Brownies troop. Another mom and I are grabbing lunch and catching up, while our daughters are at the party. Also, my mother is coming up for a few days next week, so I’ll be prepping the guest room and doing some general house cleaning on Sunday, in anticipation of her arrival. And I’ll be doing more reading, of course.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

Christmas, of course!!

Monday Meal Plan #14

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday!! Has your turkey coma worn off, yet?

Holiday Weekend Recap

We had a very nice Thanksgiving at my sister’s house in Massachusetts. We got to see my sister, brother-in-law and their kids, my parents, and some of my brother-in-law’s family members. My daughter played almost constantly with my nephew, which is so sweet to see. She’s seven and he’s four, but the age difference is rarely an issue for them. Since my daughter is an only child, I love seeing her building a relationship with her cousin. (At nine months, my other nephew held absolutely no interest for her, but I’m sure that will change some day.) In addition to catching up with family and enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, we were fortunate that there was barely any traffic when we made the four-hour drive early Thursday morning, and again on Friday afternoon.

On Saturday, we said goodbye to our autumn decorations, and my husband hauled all of the Christmas decorations out of the basement. He spent most of that day setting up lights, unpacking ornaments, and otherwise enveloping our house in Christmas spirit.

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Searching for the perfect tree

We also cut down our Christmas tree for the first time. We like to put our tree up the weekend following Thanksgiving, and in recent years, there have been more needles on the floor under the tree, than on it, by the time December 26th rolled around. To try to extend the life of our tree, we decided to cut it ourselves this year. (I use the term “ourselves” loosely, since my husband did all of the sawing and most of the dragging.)

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Photo credit: My seven year-old

The Week Ahead

It’s back to work and school for my husband and daughter this week, and I have a number of appointments on multiple days (doctor, exterminator, consignment, etc.). My daughter had a Brownies meeting until 5:30 on Monday, and there’s a big event in Saratoga Springs on Thursday evening, the Victorian Streetwalk. Other than that, it should be a relatively quiet week.

This Week’s Meal Plan

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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October By The Numbers

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It’s the start of a new month, which means it’s also time to look back on the last one. There are lots of different ways to review, summarize, and evaluate a month, but I like taking a snapshot of some of the numbers.

Times I exercised (30+ minutes): 8

I started out the month strong, but with my busier than usual work schedule, birthday parties, family visits, and other commitments, I just didn’t exercise as much as I should have. Since many of my clothes mysteriously shrank over the summer, this is an area where I really need to improve.

Days worked: 12

I worked three days per week in October, rather than my typical two. It made the weeks a bit more hectic, but it was also very nice to earn some additional cash!

Books read: 1 (and a half)

I read – and loved! – The Bucolic Plague, after setting aside I Know How She Does It. (Read why I gave up on it here.) I also started reading (just barely) The Power of Habit.

Blog posts published: 10

I crave consistency, so I’d really like to publish three posts per week. I missed that mark twice in October.

Pumpkin spice anything consumed: 1

I find that a lot of pumpkin spice-flavored things taste kind of artificial, so I steer clear of most of them. The one thing that I consumed throughout the month was Tazo Chai Pumpkin Spice tea. I love that stuff!

Pieces of Halloween candy consumed: 2

I certainly had my share of treats in October, but only two of them qualified as Halloween candy.

Times meditated (5+ minutes): 1

This is something I really want to make a habit of, but it’s a struggle for me. I have a hard time quieting my mind, which makes me resist even attempting to meditate. However, the physical and mental benefits are countless, so I’m going to keep plugging away at it.

Birthday parties attended: 2

My daughter turned seven in October, and we had two parties for her. One was a family party at my parents’ house, and the other was a pedicure party with a few of her friends. She had a great time at both of them.

Illnesses in our house: 1

I fully expect one or more of us to be blowing our nose constantly from now until some time in April. Our daughter came down with a cold on 10/23, and her nose is still running! Fortunately, neither my husband nor I caught this one.

Times it snowed: 1

ACK- it actually snowed in October!! This never happens, but Mother Nature lost her mind, and we got a couple of inches of wet snow on October 27th.

How was October for you??

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Monday Meal Plan #10

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Halloween! I hope you had a wonderful pre-Halloween weekend!

Weekend Recap

The first part of our weekend felt like a blur. Friday was my daughter’s 7th birthday, so my husband came home from work early. He joined me at her school to pick her up, along with our weekend visitor: her classroom guinea pig, Zippy Chippy. The kids take turns bringing him/her home over the weekends and school breaks (assuming their parents are cool with it), and they get dibs over the birthday weekend.

 

After getting Zippy settled in next to our betta fish, we took our daughter to her dance class, then out for her birthday dinner of choice, Chipotle. I happened to have a BOGO burrito coupon, so it ended up being a very affordable birthday dinner! We had ice cream cake and she opened her presents at home, afterwards.

On Saturday, my daughter had gymnastics class, and that afternoon we met friends for Saratoga’s Fall Festival. There are activities like face painting, pumpkin rolling, and pony rides, but the main attraction is trick-or-treating at the business along Broadway. After the festival, we ducked into Glitter Nail Bar, for a small pedicure party with a few of friends. There was more cake and more presents, and the girls seemed to have a great time.

Pedicures after picture
Pedicures after picture

Yesterday was a much more relaxed day. We went trick-or-treating at the Spa City Farmers’ Market, then spent the rest of the day at home. I wish I could share a long list of thing I accomplished at home, but it’s pretty brief. I composed this blog post (score!), cleaned the fish bowl, changed sheets, and cleaned my daughter’s bathroom. Other than that, I spent a lot of time in a seated position.

The Week Ahead

Tonight we’ll be taking our daughter out for the trick-or-treating main event. Given the late hour we’ll get home and that Tuesday is a work/school day for all of us, dinner will be some form of take-out. I’m working Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and Thursday is (yet another) half-day for my daughter. We have our parent-teacher conference that afternoon, and I’m really looking forward to it. (In previous years, I’ve volunteered in her classroom and felt much more comfortable with her teachers and classmates. Her teacher this year doesn’t have parent volunteers in the classroom, so I’m feeling kind of out-of-the-loop.) On Saturday, my in-laws are visiting, so we’ll probably be having dinner out with them. With that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan this week:

What’s for dinner at your house this week??
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What’s Up Wednesday: October, 2016

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It’s the last Wednesday of the month, which means it’s “What’s Up Wednesday”!

What We’re Eating This Week

This is not my best week for cooking. We were away last weekend, and I worked Monday and yesterday, leaving no time to hit the grocery store. As a result, we had mostly pre-made dinners – ravioli and a yummy Quiche –  to start the week. I’m picking up my game a little bit for the rest of the week, and I get to take Friday off from cooking, since it’s my daughter’s birthday. She requested Chipotle for her birthday dinner, and I’m happy to oblige. (Especially since I have a buy-one-get-one burrito coupon that my husband and I can use!)

What I’m Reminiscing About

My daughter’s past Halloween costumes. In order, they were: ladybug, jockey, Rapunzel, Elsa, and witch. The jockey was definitely my favorite, and while the costume itself was beautiful, at least 65% of girls were Elsa two years ago, which was kind of a drag.

What I’m Loving

Selling my used clothing at a local consignment store. I’ve been selling my daughter’s outgrown clothing at consignment sales and stores since she was a baby, but options for selling used women’s clothing in my area are very limited. A couple of weeks ago I visited a new-ish consignment store that sells women’s clothing, and I’m hooked! I’ve already made two trips there to drop-off items for sale.

What We’ve Been Up To

This month has really been a blur. I’ve been working three days a week, which leaves less time than I’m used to for keeping our house and family running, blogging, and life, in general. We were away last weekend, had guests the one before that, and will be busy again this weekend. Everything we’ve been up to has been good – working, celebrating, visiting with family – but I’d love to have some unstructured and unscheduled days to catch up.

What I’m Dreading

My annual physical. I like my doctor. She’s very knowledgeable, a great communicator, and never makes me feel rushed. But, she always discusses weight and BMI. Always. I haven’t been on the receiving end of scolding from her, but my husband has, and that woman doesn’t mess around. At my physical last year, she said that my weight was in a healthy place, but that I shouldn’t gain more than a pound or two. We don’t own a scale, but since all of my fall/winter clothes are a bit snug, I’m confident that I’ve gained more than my alloted pounds. And I know I’m going to hear about it… Oh, and did I mention that I stupidly scheduled my physical for the Monday after Thanksgiving?? #whatwasIthinking

What I’m Working On

Decluttering my daughter’s room. It’s already packed with dolls, stuffed animals, books, and who-knows-what-else, and she’s got birthday and Christmas presents coming. That kid hangs onto every scrap of paper and plastic trinket, so I have to weed things out when she’s not home. I try to do multiple, small clean-outs, rather than do one big one, and risk her noticing lots of things missing at once.

I’m also prioritizing and getting ready to go through all of the resources in the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. Technology terrifies me, I’m clueless when it comes to design and visuals, and I often feel overwhelmed by all of the other things a “real” blogger should know about. I’m thrilled to have this set of tools to help me out.

What I’m Excited About

This election season is almost over!!!! At the same time, I’m excited to cast my vote on November 8th. My daughter loves to come with me, and it feels great to participate in the foundation of our democracy. As wacky as things have gotten in our political world this year, I know I’m very lucky to live in this country.

What I’m Watching/Reading

I don’t really watch any TV shows, but I’m a bit of a news junkie. And while I’m very excited about the end of this election season, I LOVE the excitement of Election Day. My (presidential) election night routine is to get Chinese food for dinner, pull out the sleeper-couch in our living room, and watch the coverage of the election until it’s called.

As for reading, I’m currently in-between books. Earlier this month, I stopped reading a book before I finished it, which is hard for me to do. I then read The Bucolic Plague in a few days, and my next book is going to be, The Power of Habit. However, my pile of unread magazines was turning into more of a tower, so I’ve been reading magazines for the past week or so.

What I’m Listening To

Podcasts galore! In particular, this month I’ve been binge-listening to episodes of the Brilliant Business Moms podcast.

What I’m Wearing

All warm and cozy clothes, all the time. I got my first pair of straight-leg jeans in I-don’t-know-how-long in my most recent Fix from Stitch Fix, and I love them!! I’ve been wearing boot-cut jeans for as long as I can remember, and I now feel a little more up-to-date. I also started wearing my winter coat this week, along with gloves on some of the chilly mornings we’ve been having.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

We have a pretty packed weekend coming up. As usual, my daughter has her hip-hop dance class on Friday evening. We’ll head straight from there to Chipotle, for her birthday dinner, and home for cake and presents. Saturday morning, my husband will take her to gymnastics class, then we’ll hit Saratoga’s Fall Festival, until her birthday party at 2:00 that afternoon. On Sunday, we’re going to the Fall Fest at the Spa City Farmers’ Market, and doing some cleaning and catching up on life at home.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

Thanksgiving, some fun holiday events, and the start of my six-week winter break from my job.
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Monday Meal Plan #9

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful fall weekend. After last week’s crazy vacillation between summer and fall, it definitely seems like fall is here to stay. It was very windy over the weekend, and the trees lost a lot of their leaves. Even more depressing, darkness is falling earlier and earlier, now. Oh, and our anticipated low-temperature on Wednesday is 27 degrees – brrr!

Weekend Recap

My daughter’s seventh birthday is coming up this Friday, and the celebrations began over the weekend, with a family party at my parents’ house in Orange County (New York). (But does Orange County count as upstate New York??) We got to see some of my extended family members, as well as my sister and nephew. The two cousins played together non-stop, which was very sweet to see. It was a short visit, but a lovely time. Birthday present highlights included Taco Terrie, Pieface, an American Girl sloth, some beautiful clothing, and, of course, money.

Before we headed home yesterday, we stopped by a much-loved place in my hometown, Jones Farm. It’s an absolutely charming family farm, selling their own produce and baked goods, plus custom picture-framing and gifts. They also have farm animals to visit and feed. I’ve probably been visiting Jones Farm for 36 years now, and I never tire of it! Yesterday we went on a hayride around their beautiful grounds, and took in the breath-taking mountain views. And my daughter “picked” a pumpkin.

Pumpkin-picking at Jones Farm

The Week Ahead

This is going to be another busy week for our family. I’m working Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; Wednesday is another school half-day for my daughter; and Friday is her big day! She’s having a small party with some friends at a local nail salon on Saturday, and we’ll also be attending Saratoga’s Fall Festival that day. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Saratoga Springs every year. There are lots of fun activities for the kids, plus trick-or-treating at the downtown businesses. And because one can never get enough Halloween candy, we’ll also go to the Spa City Farmers’ Market Fall Fest on Sunday. With that in mind, here’s what’s on our dinner meal plan this week:

  • Monday: Ravioli w/ roasted asparagus
  • Tuesday: Mushroom and kale (pre-made) Quiche w/ frozen veggies
  • Wednesday: Taco salads
  • Thursday: Stir-fried shrimp with broccoli and jasmine rice
  • Friday: Birthday girl’s dinner-out choice (Chipotle is currently the front-runner.)
  • Saturday: Slow-cooker pot roast w/ potatoes
  • Sunday: Leftovers

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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Dwarfism Awareness Month

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This is a guest post from my sister, Lynn, about my adorable nephew, Charlie. 

Meet my son Charlie.  He is a cheerful, smart, handsome 7 month old – an overall great guy.  On the day that he was born, Charlie was diagnosed with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.  As his mother, one of my greatest fears is how he will be treated, by a sometimes unkind world, simply because of his stature. You see, Charlie is like most other 7 months old, only a bit shorter. (Note from Aunt Amy: Charlie is actually one of the sweetest and most joyful babies I’ve ever encountered.)

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Prior to my son’s diagnosis, I knew almost nothing about dwarfism.  I had seen the occasional TV show – some exploitative and some not.  Though I had sometimes seen Little People (LP) out in the community, I have never actually had a conversation with an LP.  When I learned about Charlie’s diagnosis, I initially struggled with our new reality.  Though it was certainly an unrealistic expectation, I imagined having an easier time with a second child.  Suddenly, I had a baby with a genetic condition about which I knew very little.  I was concerned about the possible medical complications associated with achondroplasia.  I worried that Charlie’s potential would be greatly limited by his stature.  I wondered about how he would be received by the world that still feels free to openly mock Little People.  Before even leaving the hospital with my new baby, I was lucky enough to be connected with the Little People of America.  This amazing organization provides a variety of services to Little People and their families.  I have connected with many people through our local district and around the country.  They are a source of support, resources, and social connection.

The last seven months have not always been easy but Charlie is an amazing guy.  He is sweet, social, and charming.  He is a great addition to our family.  He has introduced me to a world of amazing people – LP’s, parents of LP’s, and families of children with medical special needs.  I have learned more than I ever could have imagined.  As an advocate for Charlie, I believe that it is important to share some of this information with others.

Here are some basic facts about dwarfism:

  •  Charlie’s form of dwarfism, achondroplasia, is the most common.  However, there are over 200 different types of dwarfism with an estimated 30,000 Little People in the United States and 651,700 LP’s in the world.
  • 80% of Little People are born to average sized parents.  Most often, dwarfism is the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation.  My husband and I are both average height.  Neither of us have any family history of dwarfism.  One set of Charlie’s genes are now altered and carry the mutation for achondroplasia.  Should he choose to have children with an average height partner, there is a 25% chance that each child will have achondroplasia.  If his partner also has achondroplasia, the chances increase to 50%.
  • People with dwarfism are usually no taller than 4 foot 10 inches.  The average height of a man with achondroplasia is 4 foot 4 inches.  The average height of a woman with achondroplasia is 4 foot 1 inch.  People with achondroplasia have an average-sized torso, a larger than average-sized head, and shorter than average arms and legs.
  • The word “midget” (often referred to as the “m” word) is considered highly offensive.  The term was used to describe LP’s who were put on display in sideshow acts.
  • Most types of dwarfism have medical complications, some more severe than others.  Charlie has severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  He was oxygen dependent since he was three weeks old.  Just last month, my husband and I made the difficult decision for Charlie to have a tracheotomy.  This immediately eliminated his OSA.  Learning to care for an infant with a trach has been a bit overwhelming but we are all literally sleeping easier.
  • Dwarfism occurs in all races and ethnicities.
  • Such terms as Little People, LP, Person of short stature or Person with a form of dwarfism are all acceptable. Most people with dwarfism see the word “dwarf” as acceptable. Most people would rather be referred to by their name than by a label.  When he is older, Charlie will decide what language he prefers.  For now, we refer to him as a Little Person.
  • In the dwarfism community the word “average” is used instead of the word “normal.” Example: “Average sized parents” rather than “normal sized parents”.
  • Dwarfism is not a reason to assume that someone is incapable. Little People can do just about anything an average sized person can, just sometimes in a different way.  Charlie will live in an averaged-sized world.  My husband and I will make some accommodations at home and in school.  Beyond those, we will encourage Charlie to try anything he would like to do and be resourceful to make it happen.
  • Dwarfism is not an intellectual disability. A person who has dwarfism is typically of average intelligence.

October is Dwarfism Awareness Month

Sometime this month, please take a moment to educate yourself and make the world a kinder place for Charlie and all Little People. Here are some fantastic resources to learn more:

When I first learned about Charlie’s diagnosis, I did a little research, since, like Lynn, I was not particularly at all knowledgeable about achondroplasia. I was relieved to learn that Little People have average lifespans and no intellectual limitations. The only differences are physical. At the same time, I was concerned that people could be unkind to Charlie, because somehow a social acceptance of making fun of Little People seems to persist. Please share the information in this post with others, and help ensure that Charlie and all Little People receive the love and respect we all deserve. Many thanks!!

What’s Up Wednesday: September, 2016

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I’ve been reading What’s Up Wednesday posts for a while, so I’m very excited to do my own this month…

What We’re Eating This Week: I dusted off my slow-cooker when the temps cooled and I went back to work. This week I’m using it to make two, new-to-me recipes. We’re also having taco salads and breakfast-for-dinner, two family favorites. You can see my full meal plan for the week here.

What I’m Reminiscing About: Because my daughter’s birthday is coming up,  I can’t help but reminisce about her arrival in our lives. She hung on for a few days past her due date, my doctor induced me, and she ultimately was born via c-section, seven years ago. Sniff, sniff…

What I’m Loving: Apples, and pumpkins, and squash – oh my!

What We’ve Been Up To: Settling back into our school-year routines. In addition to my daughter being back in school, I’m back at work two days per week, and my daughter is doing several extracurricular activities (hip hop dance, gymnastics, and Brownies). I’m also blogging (obviously), and in the midst of my semi-annual purge of my daughter’s outgrown clothes.

What I’m Dreading: Darkness. Even though the days have been getting shorter since the summer solstice, I only really started noticing a difference in late August. By the end of next month, it’s going to be very noticeable, and once we set the clocks back in early November, well, I don’t even want to think about that…

What I’m Working On: This week I’m tracking how I spend my time in 30-minute increments. I’m reading I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam, and she suggests that better time management starts with tracking how you’re already spending your time. I’m also trying to complete an editorial calendar for October for this blog, and starting to understand my least favorite social media tool, Pinterest. (I consider it a black hole, where I end up spending way too much time, and come out feeling incredibly uncreative.)

What I’m Excited About: Fall decorations!! It took me a while to warm up to them this year, but I’m thrilled to have mums, corn stalks, and pumpkins out at our house now.

What I’m Watching/Reading: I don’t really watch any TV shows, but I’m a bit of a news junkie. However, I’ve scaled it back this summer and fall, since I just can’t take any more election coverage. November 8th cannot come soon enough for me! As I mentioned above, I’m currently reading I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam. (You can see everything on my fall reading list here.)

What I’m Listening To: Podcasts galore! In particular, I just started listening to Her Monday with Jean Chatzky, and I’ve been binge-listening to catch up on the episodes I missed.

What I’m Wearing: Fleece, sweaters, long-sleeve tees, jeans, and boots – my kind of clothes!

What I’m Doing This Weekend: Saturday is my 11th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, I didn’t schedule a babysitter on-time, so we’ll be enjoying a family anniversary dinner, followed by a date night next weekend. Other than that, we don’t have any plans at this point. (And that’s just how I like it!)

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month: Our anniversary, my daughter’s 7th birthday and two parties to celebrate it, and Halloween!

What Else Is New: Work, school, fall… isn’t that enough?!?

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Monday Meal Plan

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday! I hope your holiday weekend has been fantastic!

My family has enjoyed doing a whole lot of nothing this weekend. We considered driving to visit various people and places, but opted to keep it low-key and home-based. My husband has been putting in a lot of hours at work lately, so he needed some time to relax and recharge. He did some yardwork, I finished school supply shopping – what, me procrastinate?? – we took our daughter to play mini-golf for the first time, and did some planning for the upcoming months.

One weekend highlight was a party with good friends last night. We met when  our daughters were in the same kindergarten class, and fortunately we, the parents, are as good friends as our daughters are. And as a bonus, all three girls are in the same class this year!

The Week Ahead

This week is kind of a sweet-spot week. My daughter starts second grade on Wednesday, but her extracurricular activities don’t start until next week. Also, I have a couple of additional weeks at home, before I return to my part-time job in a local college career center, on the 20th. Basically, this week is about gently easing into the new school year, before things get hectic again.

With that in mind, here’s what’s for dinner at my house this week:

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Yesterday I shared on Instagram this great meal planning tool I found on Amazon. It’s the Mead Organizher Magnetic Shopping List. I can jot down my meal plan and shopping list together in one place, and display it on the fridge throughout the week. (I know there are higher tech tools for this sort of thing, but I’m a low-tech gal and prefer writing things down by hand.)

How was your holiday weekend? What’s for dinner at your house this week? 

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