Monday, September 21, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

Twitter Moms, along with Horizon Little Blends have asked how we parents sneak fruits and veggies into their kids' diets.

I don't.

I was raised hating fruits and veggies. If it was healthy, I wanted to run far and fast. The closest my snacks came to healthy was the name "Fruit" followed by "Roll-ups." In my adulthood, I realized I actually like a wide variety of fruits and veggies that were either never offered, or never cooked in a way I liked (i.e. broccoli was always cooked until it was mush and slathered in butter).

So with our kids, we have always made a point of offering a wide variety of fruits and veggies prepared in a number of different ways. We keep apples, bananas, nuts (plain or lightly salted), whole grain cereal, sliced peppers, carrots, raisins, plums, peaches and grapes in the kids' reach. And you know what? They actually eat them--happily. We never started them on the sweet sugary snack thing, so they don't miss them. We don't have to argue with them.

After a brief interview, here are my kids' favorite foods:

Girl1: Sushi
Girl2: Apples
TheBoy: Bananas

My biggest tip on food is simply--don't start down the slippery slope of mount sugar. You never have to break the habit if you never start it.

Through the Twitter Mom contest, I found another great link on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy & I must share. She has some fantastic points. Have I mentioned that my children (particularly Girl1) like jalapenos? Hey, you never know unless you try.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bending Toward the Sun

I recently received a copy of Bending Toward the Sun which is written by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie with her mother Rita Lurie. The book is a memoir that shows how true events of the Holocaust altered the lives not only of those who survived, but their children and even grandchildren.

From the official site,
"Rita Lurie was five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland to hide from the Nazis. From the summer of 1942 to mid-1944, she and fourteen members of her family shared a nearly silent existence in a cramped, dark attic, subsisting on scraps of raw food. Young Rita watched helplessly as first her younger brother then her mother died before her eyes. Motherless and stateless, Rita and her surviving family spent the next five years wandering throughout Europe, waiting for a country to accept them. The tragedy of the Holocaust was only the beginning of Rita's story."

My husband is the grandson of German Jews who made it safety to American shores from Nazi Germany, so this book particularly resonated with me. Even though my entire family was safely in the U.S. by the time the War began, I am a daughter and I have daughters, so it spoke to me on that level as well.

This book is utterly fascinating. It's unlike any other book on the Shoa I have ever read. The jacket describes it quite well,
"A decade-long collaboration between mother and daughter, Bending Toward the Sun reveals how deeply the Holocaust remains in the hearts and minds of survivors, influencing even the lives of their descendants. It also sheds light on the generational reach of any trauma, beyond the initial victim."

I was astounded to find that this book begins where most books on the topic end. We find the Gamss family leaving their hiding place on page 53, the beginning of only the fifth chapter. The rest of the book focuses first on Ruchel/Rita Lurie's story in her own voice and then her daughter Leslie takes over. There's even a portion written (fascinatingly well) by Leslie's 12-year-old daughter Mikeala (I laughed out loud when she referred to Adolf Hitler as a "Power-hungry man with unfortunate facial hair"). I think this was a fantastic way to work this complex story. We get to really see the complexity of the trauma as it weaves its way through the different generations.

This was one of those books that I picked up and didn't want to put down. I was up until midnight last night because I found myself so hungry for more of the story. What happened next? I had to know. Even when I forced myself to put it down, I couldn't sleep because I kept wondering what more I would learn about Ruchel as she traveled around Europe and then headed to America where she began her transformation to Rita.

I picked it up again today and didn't put it down again until I had read it cover-to-cover. I became completely absorbed with the entire family in the beginning and never lost that interest or concern for them. The account left me wondering what would become of each aunt, uncle and cousin and the book answered my questions (in addition the official website has a fledgling "Where Are They Now" section which appears as though it will feature profiles of family members when it's completed). It was fascinating to first read Rita Lurie's account of growing up with her family and then to see those same family members and even their children through Leslie Gilbert-Lurie's account.

Leslie opens the book with an account which illustrates that her daughter, Mikeala, like her mother before her, has inherited that overwhelming intense fear of abandoment which is understandable, but debilitating at the same time.

I was struck not only by the fear which the Gamss family endured, but also by the normalcy they later created. Rita Lurie married at an early age and, by all accounts, she and her husband are still together and happy 50 years later. Her sister, Sara/Sandra was married 43 years before she lost her husband to Cancer. One of the great uncles Leslie interviewed was still married to the woman he married in Italy just after the war. They were able to find love. They were able to bring children into a world even though they had witnessed the absolute worst. They were cautious. They were weary. They were worn down, yet they were all survivors.

I just visited the website for this review and I'm impressed by all they have available there which compliments the book. I'm thrilled to find a resource section which includes a link for teachers. The additional family photos are fascinating. You can watch videos of Leslie discussing the book as well.

Rabbi Irving Greenberg calls this memoir, "heartbreaking, yet inspiring." I agree completely.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Yet another fortune cookie of abstinence
(aka: The Chinese Place Hates Me)

In addition to exclusively breastfeeding, we are now using condoms AND I'm temping in the morning in an effort to prevent pregnancy. Why are we going through all this trouble when getting pregnant has never been easy for us? Because a fortune cookie scared my husband. It could have been warning of a lottery-ticket-bearing Oompa Loompa*, but no, my husband feared it referred to a baby.

If you recall, there was a night last month (which turned into a whole freaking week because it terrified my husband so) where I didn't get any because of a stupid fortune cookie. At the time, I grumbled a little bit, but mostly laughed. Ha ha. That's funny how that can be interpreted to fit our current situation. By the end of that week, though, I wasn't laughing quite as loudly. It's just a freaking cookie. Get the hell over here!

A few days ago, we went to the same Chinese place and once again, we got fortunes. Girl1 and I both eyed the same fortune cookie, but she got it first. When she read the fortune out loud, my husband said, "Oh no. That one was meant for you."

Oh hell! So now, I'm beginning to seriously wonder if that restaurant has it out for me. Dude, WTF? And no, my husband has not touched me since that fortune.

Then, this morning, we opened the front door to find a box. It's yet another great big box o'WTF from my mom (see #9). It's a package, for my daughter--the one who actually opened that fortune cookie. Never in my life have I been so thrilled to get a random box of insane stuff that we neither want nor need. I don't know if that package will prove lucky for my daughter, but hopefully, it will for me. A big box of useless unnecessary stuff has fulfilled the pastry prophecy therefore leaving us free to enjoy some indoor sports. Game on!

*I'm borrowing the lottery-ticket-holding Oompa Loompa from someone on twitter, but I can't remember who said it. If you know, please post her name in the comments.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Memory

8 years ago. May life continue to unfold and inspire for us all, but may we never forget the significance and the loss of September 11th.

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-- Robert Frost

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Photo Meme

I saw myself tagged over at Collecting Hats (thanks. This is pretty cool), so here I go.

The rules are:

1. Open the 4th file where you store your photos
2. Pick the 4th picture
3. Explain the photo
4. Pass the challenge on to 4 other bloggers

This one was a bit rough for me since I don't post pictures of my kids' faces. Luckily, the rules worked out. My 4th photo folder is the "Family Tree" one. That's a good deal because that folder is most likely to contain faces of those long gone (and therefore, unable to identify themselves on my blog and raise a ruckus). As luck would have it, the 4th photo doesn't even include any faces.

That is the ship that made our very existence possible. That is the ship that rescued Bubbe and her family from Nazi Germany. She was 14 at the time. The ship was later destroyed during the War.

Now let's see what everyone else has to share. I love photos and I love randomness. So I'm very curious to see what everyone else posts.

I'm tagging Gina at the Feminist Breeder, Phyllis from Ima on and Off The Bima, Giselle at Giselle's Total Waste of Bandwidth, and Whozat over at Lucy & Ethel Have A Baby.

Husbands say the darnest things
regarding our childhood animated heroes

My husband complained about our collection of kid videos (yes, VHS tapes. The DVD player is being fickle). He made some comment about the choices being terrible. To which, I replied, "Jem is NOT terrible." He then said, "I don't like her, even if she is truly outrageous."