Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rice - my health vs the environment

For years we ate imported Thai white rice. It's delicious, and in my multicultural city, cheaply bought in 25 pound bags. About six months ago we decided to switch to brown rice. It's healthier and better for the environment. Grown here in the United States it's not shipped across oceans, and it takes less energy to produce the same number of calories of brown rice as white rice. I could even get organic brown rice for not much more than the white rice we had been buying.

Then this study by Consumer Reports came out. Thanks to years of high-pesticide cotton farming in the South and the fact that rice is grown in standing water, rice contains an alarmingly high amount of arsenic. That's right. Arsenic. Arsenic is a carcinogen. There are federal guidelines regulating the levels of arsenic in drinking water, but no regulations concerning arsenic in food. All rice tested contained some arsenic (and most other grains contain small amounts as well), but rice grown in the US is particularly high due to pesticides containing arsenic used on cotton farms (a practice that is still legal).

The solution seemed simple. Buy brown rice from Thailand or India. The problem with this is that most Asian cultures don't eat brown rice. The only brown rice we found by an Asian company is grown here in the US. So, with my apologies to the environment, we are back to eating Thai white rice in the 25 pound bag.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Olivia at Three Months

Olivia is three months old. She is as cute as a button. She is such a smiley baby, and gurgles and coos at very opportunity. She has finally settled into riding in the stroller. She doesn't sleep in there, but every once in awhile she finds the ride so relaxing that once we get somewhere and stop moving, she falls asleep. Her hands have found each other, and she has started staring at her toes. That last trick cracks me up every time I see her do it. Her eyes really aren't tuned in to what the rest of her body is doing yet. She is a much better napper than Alessia ever was. In the morning I have even had some success putting in her crib while still awake.

At moments I wish she were an only child and I could give her the attention I gave Alessia at this age, but then I see how she adores Alessia, and I'm glad that she is a little sister.




Saturday, September 8, 2012

Two Under Two - the vacation episode

After much back and forth, we decided to go to Maine this year. Every year Adam's parents rent a cottage in mid-coast Maine near where they lived for about ten years when Adam was growing up. We had only joined them once in the previous five years, and the more we thought about it this summer, the more determined we were to go.

The biggest difficulty was getting there and back. Without traffic, it's a 3.5 hour drive. Olivia nurses every two hours, sometimes more, during the day. Alessia is better about car rides than she was a year ago, but not that much better. So we planned two bedtime runs. We were nervous, but it worked. Both girls were asleep within an hour of departure and slept (almost) the entire way. It was no fun for Adam driving in the dark, but there was virtually no traffic, and it was worth not having to stop.

Alessia had a grand time. We went to the beach twice. The water scared her, but she loved all that wonderful sand to dig in.


We had second breakfast in coffee shops, and lunch in restaurants most days. Alessia's diet is still fairly limited, so became very skilled at packing her lunches. We balanced trips to boring adult shops with trips to the toy store and the children's room of the local library. For the most part we had our adventures in the mornings and quiet afternoons at the cottage. With some books and toys for indoor play and a huge deck and back yard, even spending time at the cottage was fun and exciting, and Alessia got some serious time with her nana and papa.

Olivia also had a fine time. She nursed in coffee shops and restaurants, on the beach, in the library, in the parked car, and even on a bench on the main street of Rockland. At the cottage I mostly nursed her on a comfy little couch, with this view.
Nobody got enough sleep. Alessia didn't nap most days, and while she slept fairly well most nights, she is teething so that woke her up a couple of times. Olivia reverted to the newborn stage and nursed every two to three hours all night, every night we were there. So we are very glad we came home Friday night and have two days to sleep and put the house back in order.