food for thought (and new teeth, too!)

Well we didn't have to wait very long for 2011 to deliver the teeth.  A few days ago, as Claire was eating a snack, I spied a little "nub" in her mouth.... tooth #1 is FINALLY making an appearance!  She seems to be handling it all quite well, with only one somewhat weepy and clingy day.  Which I may as well just be honest about and say I didn't mind all that much (the clingy-to-mama part, of course I don't want her to be in pain...) after several days of visiting and playing with friends and family who weren't mama.  I, like Claire, thoroughly enjoyed the time spent visiting loved ones, but I'm starting to accept that my baby will soon be one year old, and so a little extra mama-clinginess here and there?  Well, I'm not going to complain.

Our drive home went so much more smoothly than our ride up.  Claire took 3 (!) long naps in the car and didn't really reach her point of not wanting to be in the car seat for one more second until we were about 35 miles from home.  Not bad.  Of course, there was that little part of the ride where we ran out of gas on the PA turnpike as we approached our exit ramp, but that wasn't really so terrible after all.  Claire and I bundled up and ran around on a hill while papa took Wolfie for a walk and we waited for the friendly AAA folks to deliver some gas.  Shortly after that we got more gas (figuring that perhaps more is better than less when it comes to gas...) and I consumed a fast food burger for the first time in at least 14 years.  I'm not proud of this but I do find it to be noteworthy.  After leaving vegetarianism and veganism behind about 8 years ago, I've done a good job of being pretty picky about the meat I eat.  I want to know where and how the animal was raised and slaughtered (no point using fancy words to describe the process, right?), and ideally I like to know the farmers who raise them.  Around here, that isn't hard to do.  We are lucky to live in an area where eating locally and sustainably is enough the norm that several restaurants serve local eggs, meat, breads, cheeses, etc. and buying locally raised, grass-fed, organic meat is as simple as driving out to one of several farms or to the local health food store.  Like many people, we are conscious of how much we spend on food and try to find ways to save money.  However, I am also a strong believer in letting your food be your medicine, and hence, I am thoughtful about my food purchases and am willing to spend more on something that I know is wholesome and nourishing for my body and for the bodies of those I love. (especially that little body I'm now responsible for!)  And when you consider that you are essentially choosing to end a life when purchasing meat....well, the few extra dollars spent to ensure that that life was spent as happily as possible (yes, until slaughter, of course) is well worth it to me.  So, while I acknowledge the convenience and lure of the fast food industry, I happily pledge to go at least another 14 years without.

We spend far less on food (as a percentage of our income) here in the U.S. than most people do in other countries.  I doubt this is just because we can get a lot for our money when it comes to food.  I think it says that we, as a nation, value cheap convenience foods more than we do wholesome foods because more of our money is then freed up for the oh-so-many things that we think we need, but don't really.  Of course not everyone thinks this way, and hopefully the food revolution going on in our nation is here to stay and a sign of shifting priorities.  Sure, we can buy a half gallon of soda for much less than we can a half gallon of fresh orange juice, but which one is better for us?  We can send our kids to school after a breakfast of pop tarts with a lunch of "lunchables" instead of feeding them oatmeal and sending them off with a nutritious lunch, and perhaps even save 5 minutes and maybe a few pennies (but likely spend more) in doing so, but to what advantage?  Is saving a little bit of time and money really worth what it ends up costing us (and our health) in other ways?  I do realize that I'm rambling now, by the way, but that's alright.  That's part of what writing is about after all, isn't it?  Looking around and seeing what is going on in the world around us and responding to it.  I'm also not trying to preach to anyone here~ if anything, I'm rambling to remind myself of why I am picky about what I eat and why I hadn't eaten a fast food meal in so long (well, the meat anyway.....).  So,  I suppose this is my long response to that 1/4 lb. burger from Wendy's.  Of course I realize that there are far worse things to eat and do, and that this isn't really a huge deal in the scheme of things, and I'm not sitting around beating myself up over it or anything like that at all.  It just seems that perhaps I've gotten a tad bit lazy about using my food dollar to cast my vote.  I choose a better way.  I choose the slower, more thoughtful, sometimes slightly more expensive way.  I choose the way that I believe is best for me, for my daughter, and for the world as a whole.  I will save my money elsewhere, thank you.  Perhaps by not purchasing another "time-saving" device or overly-packaged convenience foods, or 50 pounds of plastic toys for my daughter.  My daughter who, by the way, was THRILLED to be in her home again last night.  We watched in amusement as she looked at and pointed at everything she could and grabbed her toys and books, smiling and dancing in her little rock-back-and-forth way.  My heart swelled with joy as I watched her, filled with such happiness to be back in this place, in this home that we have created for her.  What more could a mama ask for?

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