Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Food, Children, Community and Health

Once again I am deeply grateful for the community of Mamas who surround me. And, as is typical, I'm grateful to them about the health of our children through food. I have reached a tough diet decision and I'll be needing all the support I can muster.

When my dear son was born I had an early intuition that he might have Celiac disease (the gluten allergy). It may be one of the reasons that he is named after the grandfather of mine who suffered the same condition. After worrying and fretting about it for some time, I have come to the decision that I need to drastically change my diet even while we await a formal diagnosis. Since he is still almost exclusively breastfed, it's up to me to keep him safe from the foods that hurt his sweet little tummy. I love that boy. I love that little boy more than I could have ever suspected. I am convinced that he is the sweetest being on the planet. (I love his sister too. She is also the sweetest being on the planet ... in a distinctly 3 year old way.)

So from now on, I am clearing my house, my life, my body of gluten, dairy and sugar. I've never tried to do this before and it's a big step that is leaving me a little panicky on the first day. (Maybe it's just the chocolate withdrawal.) But I have a deep certainty that I am doing the right thing and I have a patient and long-suffering dear husband who also loves his family.

So, dear Mamas, I hate to impose another set of dietary restrictions on our little circle, but ....

Luckily, I know that K makes the most delicious nut milk and coconut ice cream sweetened with agave. Ani can make any ingredient or set thereof into something impossibly delicious and gourmet *and* she did a lot of this diet's style baking for our dear little 5 year old friend with the same restrictions. And W knows so many fantastic recipes for vegan raw goodies that I know I won't be feeling deprived. I am planning to ask you all for recipes! Luckily it is the beginning of summer and W has me convinced that I can live on just fresh fruit and be perfectly fit. =-)

I'm also blessed in my dear friend C, who is our 5 year old's mama, though not a Woolly Mama. She's doing the same thing. I'm thinking that she would be a great candidate for joining our circle. I'd like to open it up for approval next Sunday.

I love you all and I am so grateful that through our community of Mamas I now feel that I have the strength and support to do this, when just 1 year ago it was too scary for me to even contemplate. I'll be keeping you all posted on what the doctors have to say about it.

Much love, Ivy

Mamas In the Sun

I have been slowly working on this post for three days now. It is a ridiculous testament to how busy I have been lately, and how slow my dial-up Internet connection is, that I must take a few days to download a couple of pictures and formulate a few thoughts into typed sentences. I love Spring, but all of the activity has me spinning. Not that it isn't anything I didn't choose. I just have my hand in a little bit of everything right now... crochet circle, crafting for the market, making and spending time with new friends, joining a women's choir, weekly ballet classes, gardening like an addict, reading several new books, a brand new attempt at homeschooling my eight year old, signing the boys up for various recreational activities that I have to get them to and from, and of course writing on this blog as well as my other personal blog... craziness.

So, we had our meeting at my house on Sunday. I loved it. I was pretty excited about it all week, and actually put some time into making my backyard into a more beautiful and magical haven for all of us mamas to enjoy. I was excited to clean my sun fountain and put it together on the deck. The element of water truly transforms any space. We are now meeting outdoors for the rest of the warm season, which is really nice in itself, as well as opening up a few more venues that we cannot use during indoor meetings because of cat allergy issues. Mine is one of those. I have a very beautifully soft and furry, long haired Siamese lynx mix who sheds uncontrollably and therefore owns the house. I agree with the statement that Ivy once made, "I will never be a good enough house keeper to host a guest with severe cat allergies". Since we all love K so much, and would never want to leave her out, we must reserve our cat residences for backyard gatherings only.
I had a really nice time at our first meeting in the sun. The kids played happily and harmoniously. They discovered my rock turtle and liked him so much that they were actually arguing over turns with him, which I secretly liked, because it is fun to see children get all wrapped up in playing with my little treasures. We ate a raw corn dish brought by W, tons of fresh fruit, Ivy's quinoa dish, K's pancakes with lemony maple sauce, fresh lemonade (my current passion) and my favorite thing, K's homemade vegan ice cream made from coconut milk, agave nectar and fresh vanilla bean. OMG what a treat. I didn't do any crocheting, but instead worked on my felted magic wands that I will sell at the market.

Here is my favorite project that I accomplished this week. I am making felted balls for children. I have made them before but without pictures/decor. I was also unhappy with the lightness of weight in the past. To really play with a ball, it think it is important for it to have some weight (unless it is for a little baby to pick up, and should contain a little bell for sound interest). I solved this issue with rubber bouncy balls. I am starting with them in the center. Everyone has a few laying around, if they have children. I will never have to buy any, but will use ones that people give me, as a good recycler avoids the new. Hear that everyone? Please pass on to me all unwanted bouncy balls, tennis balls, golf balls, etc. Tell your friends, and let me know if you see any at the thrift store. I'll pay you back if you buy them for me there. Thanks.

I started with natural, undyed wool and wet felted it over the ball.

I also did some over a rock, which I will cut in half, take the rock out, attach a necklace cord, and have little woolen pouches for crystals, tiny dollies, whatever.

Here it is after I needle felted decor onto the drying ball. Isn't it so cute? I am very pleased. I posed it on top of some flats of Irish Moss that I just splurged for to plant in the perennial garden bed. So soft and lush- can't wait for it to grow and cover more ground!
In response to Ivy's post, wow, gluten free and more. What a hard change. I support you 100% and will be happy to comply with my pot-luck bringings. Thanks for bringing me the bags of groceries that you weeded out of your kitchen today. They will be well utilized and enjoyed. This Celiac thing seems to be getting more and more common. It makes me wonder about evolution and the state of health of our young these days. Changes are in store, I fear. Actually I try not to fear change. I should say, I predict.
And yes, I agree, we are more of a movement than an organization.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thanks to Ani, Something New

I am so excited to be posting my very first blog. As my little sister, a veteran blogger of the Gen Y crowd would say, "I thought you were a luddite." Well, no more, though I am using this high tech forum to write about how I can make my kids homemade hats.... Thanks to Ani for turning us on to this wacky modern invention/compulsion to make our diaries available to the whole public world. (Actually I'm having fun.)

As far as the Woolly Mamas being an organization (or maybe it's a movement)-- I think we're just about as organized as you can be when more than half your group is under the age of 4. Heck, we're organized enough to actually meet most of the time. It's more than I ever saw growing up. I'm almost as thrilled for giving my kids a regular play group time as I am for giving my dear husband a whole evening of alone time *and* Myself a whole night of deep connection to some beloved friends and colleagues (I can say that as a full time professional mom). Ah, this is the life!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Together again

It has been a good several weeks since someone was not missing from our circle. Many illnesses and other last minute conflicts have kept one or more of us away lately. That is why we were all so thrilled when all four of us core mamas showed up on Sunday to share the evening. We ate delicious food, as always. A salad chalk full of flavor- it had rice, sprouts, cilantro, ginger, tahini, red onion, and I don't know what else, but it was super yummy. Also, the best shepherd's pie I've ever had, and it was dairy-free (go figure). I now realize that olive oil and sea salt taste even better than butter in most cases. I made gnocchi with a lemon-cashew sauce and thyme vinaigrette off of a recipe that I got from the vegan yum yum website, and for dessert, we had banana slices with coconut milk and fresh mint. It was nice out, so the kids were in and out playing, and I have to say that we didn't do a whole lot of crocheting with the great food and busy kids. While that is the purpose of the meetings, it kind of isn't the main draw. We like to eat together. I think this is truly the tie that binds. Anyway, it keeps us all motivated and working on yarn between meetings. We are so official now. Not only do we have a blog, but we have a printed schedule of meetings on a house to house rotation, with the potluck aspect on a 'who's turn to bring what course of the meal' rotation. When you are this organized, I think one might fairly call the group an "organization". Yes?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Getting Organized

Today we have our weekly pot-luck meeting, and I really must get cooking, but I have been so excited as I filled out the farmer's market application this morning and was inspired when I saw the blank space on the form where you write in your website. I thought it would be a good idea for all of us woolly mama crafters to have a place to write our reflections and impressions about our gatherings, post recipes that we all loved, share patterns and crochet tips with the masses, and show the world our creations. Here it is! The new Woolly Mama blog. Enjoy!