and they'll say all the salt in the world couldn't melt that ice

These past few days have been a whirlwind as sick days usually are, filled with hacking and sneezing and coughing and yet still only the subtlest hint of that notorious wheeze that Ethan is known for. I've been too afraid to jinx it and yet still so silently thankful towards Ethan's doctor for changing his nebulizer medications at just the right time so that his system was strong enough to fight this without any added discomfort. Talk about things working out for the better and falling into perfect placement.

Ethan and I have spent the past couple of days at our home away from home, our local salt therapy facility. (For South Florida locals, we use The Salt Suite in Delray Beach, (561) 316-7258.) Halotherapy -- or salt therapy -- has been such an incredible experience for us. I say "us" because I've watched our sessions melt away Ethan's congestion and help his breathing tremendously within fifteen minutes and as a chronic sinus pressure sufferer, I've felt a sense of complacency towards my own breathing. We spent a lot of time at salt therapy when Ethan was younger and couldn't go more than four to five hours without a nebulizer treatment and I credit it for helping his respiratory system and getting it to the place it's at now. These past couple of visits to The Salt Suite have been Ethan's first since he began walking and it was endearing to watch him to try to waddle his away across the sand, nervously and carefully, wobbly and unsure.

These past few days haven't been all salt and fun and toys and easy-breathing. They've been full of crankiness and sleep made impossible by the nuisance that is a post-nasal drip cough. They've been full of actual tantrums in which Ethan flails himself backward while screaming at the top of his lungs and shaking his head "no, no, no" at whatever it is I'm trying to offer him, be it an apple or a sip-up of coconut water or the felt board I spent three hours making for him. Nothing made him happy, not even Bunny Cakes or dance parties in the living room or baths with lots and lots of bubbles. Yesterday afternoon we couldn't find his water anywhere (as it turned out, he hid it next to my nightstand) and we both sat on the living room rug and sobbed. Sobbed and sobbed until we were both a mess of red, puffy eyes and tear-streaked cheeks and complete apathy and disgust for everything around us. And then, like that, we stood up and went outside to play with the sand and water table and for a brief moment enjoyed the feeling of sun on our skin and in our hair. You know you've been sick and stir-crazy for far, far too many days when the air-conditioning makes you feel slimy and stale and clammy and the 98 degree weather feels like a dream.

I think the storm has come and gone, taking with it the sleeplessness and the tossing and turning. Taking with it the tantrums and the turned-down mouth of a little boy who is too uncomfortable to smile. Taking with it the food thrown on the floor and the black beans mashed into the grout. Taking with it the germs and the colds and the coughs and the glassy, runny eyes.

We have a lot riding on this weekend. Ethan and I are on the same page. Today he took a two hour nap -- the first in some time -- and woke up ready to chase me down the hallway until his laughter was coming so hard that he couldn't stand up without collapsing into a pile of giggles. I think it's safe to say we're back.


ethan's weekly eats

I briefly mentioned a while back about the rut I was in with Ethan's lunches. In an effort to not bore Ethan with repetitive lackluster lunches day after day, I thought I'd challenge myself (and my mediocre culinary skills) by posting a weekly what Ethan ate this week feature here on the old blog. I like to keep Ethan's meals healthy and well-balanced, served with fresh organic fruits or vegetables. Here is my little eating-machine's lunch menu from this past week:


Last Sunday (the 19th), Ethan had hummus on toast. Our grocery store had organic whole wheat 21-grain bread buy one, get one free last week so I bought it to try and Ethan loved it. He's never usually a fan of hummus, but spread onto a toasted slice of this bread and he devoured it. I served this alongside pieces of organic mozzarella cheese and an assortment of different organic fruits (blueberries, strawberries and avocado).


On Monday (the 20th), I made Ethan homemade macaroni and cheese with Dreamfields pasta -- which was one of my biggest pregnancy cravings, strangely enough -- and a handful of shredded organic cheddar cheese. I also added about 1/2 teaspoon of organic sour cream to make it more saucy and less stringy. I paired this with an organic plum, which is Ethan's favorite fruit lately.


On Tuesday, I made some quinoa, cheese and spinach "muffins." They're essentially quinoa, organic spinach chopped up way small (I used the food processor), organic cheddar cheese and a scant amount of organic whole wheat breadcrumbs (I threw a slice of bread in the food processor) to bind them. You just bake them in a muffin tin until they're formed and ready to go! I served these alone since Ethan had just finished some applesauce before lunchtime.


Wednesdays are our busy, busy, busy day. We are on the go bright and early Wednesday mornings what with Stroller Strides followed by My Gym and so lunch usually comes someplace that is not home and in between the two. Anticipating our usual craziness, I packed Ethan's lunch while he was eating breakfast. I made him one of my old childhood favorites, cream cheese and jelly, on whole wheat bread. For snacks, he has some organic strawberries and blueberries as well as some homemade baked organic kale "chips" that I made for him. This kid loves his greens!


Thursday we scheduled an impromptu doctor's appointment for Ethan. It was one of those "oh, just spending the morning playing at grandma and grandpa's house -- let's see what the doctor says about this weird cough he's got going on -- oh, they want me to come in to see them in an hour? Let me scramble to get ready!" things. Luckily grandma and grandpa always keep their 'fridge fully stocked with Ethan's favorite foods! He had some broccoli and cheese Jolie Ravioli with a little bit of sauce paired with an organic peach and some organic blueberries.


Friday was so chaotic that I admittedly forgot to snap a picture of Ethan's lunch until he was halfway finished eating it. Then I had to be all weird and yank the plate away from him to at least get a picture of the half-eaten fare. We were told at yesterday's doctor's appointment to forgo all dairy products for a week (normally my key to making Ethan such a great eater is sprinkling at least a pinch of cheese on top of anything) but luckily lunch with what I had on hand was a success. I made him a toasted slice of 21-grain whole wheat bread with some black beans and organic avocado spread on top. He had this with some organic strawberries and the remainder of the baked organic kale "chips" that I prepared earlier in the week. (Just baked kale leaves, spritzed with a drop of organic olive oil and sprinkled with a tiny dab of black pepper, baked until crunchy!) Kid loves those greens.


Saturday was a day of storm preparation and family. Ethan loves the weekends when his daddy is home to play with him for hours on end so I thought I'd keep up the happiness and make everyone their favorite lunch -- black bean tostadas. I seasoned my black beans with some cumin and black pepper, mashed them up a little to create a nice paste, served them atop a corn tortilla with some vegan/non-dairy sour cream and cheese for Ethan and topped them with some fresh organic tomatoes. I paired this alongside an organic plum.


Sunday (yesterday) was supposed to be a tropical storm but, really, we just got rain. I served up Saturday night's leftovers -- organic Kosher turkey breast burgers -- open-faced, with a slice of vegan/non-dairy cheese and a dab of organic mustard. I paired this with a few pieces of Pirate's Booty and some organic strawberries and blueberries.

All in all, week one of non-repetitive lunches was a success. I need to take advantage of the fact that my son loves his fruits and veggies by offering more of a lunchtime variety of fruits, but I think I did good in making every day a little bit different!


but i won't rot; not this mind and not this heart

Tropical Storm Isaac and it's 65 MPH winds are making an earlier than anticipated arrival here in South Florida. I'm fine with this new arrival time as thoughts of canceling my chiropractor appointment tomorrow morning were scarier than many of the images they've been showing on television so far. We're far enough away from where the storm is scheduled to hit, nestled just below Palm Beach county where schools aren't even canceled tomorrow, but zoned for the Miami-based news networks with their scary reports of evacuation shelters, water distribution stations and power outage counts. Basically, we've been going into this thing with conflicted reports and weather predictions. Will it become a hurricane? Will it stay a tropical storm? Will we lose power at all? Was it a total waste of time for me to brave the chaos of the grocery store yesterday to stock up on non-perishables and bottled water? Will the poor traffic girl ever get to dry off, go home and get a break from reporting live in Key West?

Right now we mostly have rain and enough wind so the trees aren't really staying still, but they're also nowhere near the point of bending or blowing around. Our sky becomes ominous, clears up until sunshine peaks through and then returns to a gloomy shade of gray. Between the media's hyped-up horror stories told through flashbacks of 1992's Hurricane Andrew and the meteorologist's occasional admission that we're not all going to be blown to shreds, I'm fairly certain that this is the worst we'll be seeing. And, really, Ethan sleeping in until after 8 o'clock this morning after 2 1/2 weeks of wake-ups at 6 a.m. at the latest really doesn't seem so bad. It's good sleeping weather, even Ethan knows that.

After a week of a sore back, sheer exhaustion and a lack of coffee causing me to complain through gritted teeth about having to cook dinner each night, I am admittedly relieved to get in the kitchen this evening and make something not out of a can or box. Good riddance, non-perishables.


this delicate balance

Not long ago I read a post by Nicole of The Kavanaugh Report that she wrote while guest blogging over at Growing Up Geeky. The post, seen here, was about balance -- how to find it and how, as moms, so many of us don't. (I know I don't.) I'm guilty of not cutting my hair until it's become a mangled mess that is too heavy to even throw up in my trusty bun (which in itself screams of apathy and helplessness). I don't like that I do this, the whole waiting until I'm a walking disaster to do something about it thing, but I do. Somewhere in the chaos of making sure that everyone else is fed, has clothes to wear, is sleeping well and right -- I forget about myself. I always declare "no more!" and make a firm and determined promise to myself that I'll wear make-up and look presentable at least four days a week. Baby steps. (It never happens. I always end up back in my hair stylist's chair with a frizzled, frazzled mess of hair too knotted to even run a brush through.)

The past few weeks have really gotten the best of me. Ethan has suddenly stopped sleeping just as suddenly as he began sleeping in the first place. Trying to adjust to life off of our set daily schedule has been challenging, especially when we've been having more issues with Ethan's stubborn respiratory system. The latest development has been a cough upon overexertion -- too much playing, too much laughter, too much running. We've now been adjusting to the addition of a mild corticosteroid in the mornings and evenings through his nebulizer and, basically, all of the stress and worry have been eating me alive. With balance on my mind, I attended an open house at a "holistic oasis" with one of my best friends last night. We enjoyed free samples of tea, five minutes massages and acupuncture trials (that was all her -- I chickened out!) before ending the night over delicious oversized pasta dishes at a downtown restaurant. It was a wonderful evening out and the world didn't end, the pantry wasn't stripped bare, the laundry didn't smother everyone in the house. Imagine that.

After owning up to my self-negligence (and the mom-guilt I feel when I spend these three seconds contemplating my own self instead of my husband or my child), I really mean it when I declare "no more!" this time around. I need to find the balance in my own life and make time for myself, even if it's just throwing on some lipgloss and mascara before shuffling out the door in the morning. Today was my first step in the right direction: a haircut exactly eight weeks after my last one. You know, like you're supposed to. It felt so good to shed the straggly, mangled hair that had found itself shoved up in that old I'm-too-lazy-for-anything-else bun.

After an hour first thing this morning having my poor hair saved by my wonderful stylist, I was still able to finish grocery shopping and have lunch on the table for all three of us by the time Ethan woke up from his nap.

Balance. It's a beautiful thing.

I'm trying really hard to get the hang of it.


and we're walkin', yes indeed

Oh, Ethan, you are fourteen months old today and I can hardly believe it. It feels like just yesterday I was keeping myself awake at night, trying to figure out how on Earth it was possible that you were dancing on the edge of one and now here you are at 14 months. I'm constantly remarking on how quickly the time flies by but I can't help it -- it's the truth. One moment you were just born and then I blinked and now you're a handsome toddler with curiosity for miles.

These days, you're all about walking. You've finally crossed the threshold into the walker category and you wear this title proudly. You've taken to running up and down the halls, chasing your Aunt Megan -- your favorite game -- until you're laughing so hard you can't stand up. At home or in places where you feel comfortable, you are solely walking. In new environments or crowded public spaces, you will hold onto my pinky for support and encouragement while you cautiously toddle along beside me. I am so proud of you. I've really started to notice the way you're coming out of your shell and gaining more self-confidence. You are capable of anything you set your mind to and I will always be here to encourage you.

These days, you're wearing clothing in 24M and 2T. You're still holding strong in your size five diapers. We see the doctors tomorrow for a respiratory issue recheck and I'm eager to see how much you've grown and how much you've gained. You are still bigger and taller than most of the children we play with on a daily basis and I still chuckle at passerby who ask how old you are -- are you two or three years old? You are proudly wearing your first pair of shoes, size 5 1/2, and absolutely love putting your shoes and socks on in the morning.

You are still eating like a champ. Your favorite foods still include greens, especially kale and spinach, and you're really starting to love fruit. Right now your favorite fruits are plums, watermelon and blueberries. You still love your water but are finally starting to get a taste for milk, which you have a cup of in the mornings with your breakfast.

Your favorite activities would be brushing your teeth (which you've almost mastered doing on your own now!), visiting grandma & grandpa (and ringing their doorbell to make the dog bark!), and loving on your kitty-cats. This afternoon you began imitating the cats and now answer a very loud "MOWWWWWW!" when asked what sound a kitty-cat makes. Your vocabulary has been expanding by leaps and bounds this month. Today you added ganba (grandma) to your vocabulary when we stepped into grandma and grandpa's house. You've started picking up telephones (or remote controls, whatever is nearer), holding them to your ear and yelling "HI!" This is also one of your favorite things to do. You also love looking at family photographs and can point to everyone when I ask where they are by name. (This includes pictures of Elmo which is quite a feat considering you've never watched an episode of Sesame Street other than YouTube clips while doing your breathing treatments!) You love the vacuum cleaner more than any toy that you have, second only to the cat's water fountain. Your favorite bedtime story is Sleep Tight, Little One -- especially the sleeping mouse on the very final page. You always give this mouse a goodnight kiss. Giving kisses, by the way, is also one of your favorite things to do these days and those big, slobbery "OOOHWAAAHHH" kisses you plant on me on the regular? They're my favorite.

Oh, my lovebug, I can't believe how quickly the time is passing by. I am having the time of my life with you, watching you learn, watching you grow.

Fourteen months. I can't even begin to believe we're already here.


morning dew, fresh air and sunday school

Today we drove for an hour to visit a farm. A real farm, one on acres and acres of land with animals roaming around freely. We chose a farm theme for Ethan's 1st birthday party, turning my family's home in the suburbs into an honorary farm for the day. This time, we trekked up to an area so rural I couldn't believe we were still in Palm Beach County. We drove on dirt roads and watched the gravel turn up clouds of dust as we drove on, past ponds and palm tree nurseries and roads without names. We arrived and were greeted by the sound of hens clucking and horses neighing. It felt like the heat was so brutal that our flesh would melt clear off, so hot that your insides burned and you had to constantly blink the sweat from your lashes. We were able to temporarily forget about this heat, though, because there was a baby zebra and so all was right and wonderful in this world. Yes, I said baby zebra.

Apparently this baby zebra has a taste for blood and loves the occasional nosh on human fingers but that, too, was easily overlooked by the fact that, hello, there was a baby zebra but a few feet in front of us and he was so cute that I thought I was just going to melt. And then we really did begin to melt because it was just so hot outside. We spent more time in the car than we did at the farm, but it was still a wonderful afternoon filled with ponies and chickens and alpacas and real produce markets with freshly grown produce.

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