Saturday, February 28, 2009

Environmental Working Group

Check out this website: Environmental Working Group has a lot of great information about health and the environment. I read this site periodically and always find something interesting!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy Music

Do you have a kind of music or a song that makes you happy? I have lots. One of those kinds of music is vallenato. No, not the old stuff (although some of that stuff is good too), but some of the new vallenato is great. Carlos Vives was the first artist I know of to start off this style. Recently artists like Fonseca and Fanny Lu have been popular. I don't know why, but this music makes me think of flowers and sun, and makes me want to dance.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Roads Most Travelled

While it's easy to see the positive and negative effects of immigration on the United States, people don't often stop and think about the point of view of the immigrant...what they might have left behind, what they may have gone through to get here, or what their lives might be like here. It's not often we stop to think that these people all have names and stories. In today's post I will not attempt to solve these complicated problems, but simply to share these beautiful images with you. I think the realization that we in this country live as the elite, and that the great majority live drastically different is a significant motivator to simplify. I urge you to take a look at these photographs, and imagine for a moment these people and their stories. Imagine yourself in their shoes, what would you do, what choices would you make, what would your life be like? Because after all, there is no "us" and "them," we are all people with families, joys, and heartaches. No matter what side of the border you find yourself on.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On Happiness

Robert Louis StevensonPoet, Novelist & Essayist ( 1850 - 1894 )
How to Be Happy
1.Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.
2.Make the best of your circumstances. No one has everything, and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with gladness of life. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.
3.Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t think that somehow you should be protected from misfortune that befalls other people.
4.You can’t please everybody. Don’t let criticism worry you.
5.Don’t let your neighbor set your standards. Be yourself.
6.Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.
7.Never borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than real ones.
8.Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish jealousy, enmity, grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.
9.Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about new places.
10.Don’t hold postmortems. Don’t spend your time brooding over sorrows or mistakes. Don’t be one who never gets over things.
11.Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.
12.Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.

I'm surprised how much time has passed since this was written and yet, such good advice.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Birthday!

I'm so thankful for the many blessings in this last year. Watching my daughter grow, my husband, our health, friends, so much great stuff. What a great year this has been!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vacation Highlights

Trip Highlights
- Two new words "hi" and "agua"
- Long walks (oh, how I dream of warm weather)
- Climbing, running, and sliding at a family fun center
- Chili taking mini-walks with grandpa. (She's never really had many opportunities to walk outside before. By the time she started walking, it was already too cold.)
- Visiting my grandma and grandpa (Chili's great-grandparents)
- Shopping for shoes- I hate it, but I was in need of some, and it helps to have someone else with when you have a little one
- Getting my hair re-cut. It looks so much better now.
- Chili giving and getting lots of love to/from grandma and grandpa, I think they enjoyed the hugs too
- Checking out the desert vegetation, very different
- Chili enjoyed walking on the small rocks that were people's "lawn"
- Having time to read about gardening, I am reading Square Foot Gardening and dreaming of spring Walking with grandpa.

Checking out the "agua."

Chili making friends with the "woo, woo." It was so cute how she got her face right up to his and said "hi."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vamos de vacas!

No, nothing to do with cows...In Colombia, people use "vacas" as an abbreviated way to say "vacaciones." I haven't heard people from other countries use it in that way, though. Usually "vacas" just means cows. We (just Chili and I) are headed to Arizona for a week of fun in the sun with the grandparents. No cows included. At least none that I know of.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

All done!

I just finished my lunch. I offered some to Chili, but she wasn't interested. I ate the last bite and told her, "Se acabo" (with an accent on the o, where are the accents on this computer?) She signed all done! All by herself. She has seen me, and sometimes copies, but she has never just done it out of the blue. Good job, Chili!

Friday, February 13, 2009

More Communication

Chili loves telephones. She doesn't understand that you should talk into the telephone, but she knows that Mami and Papi use them a lot and she would like to use them too. When she sees someone on the phone or even if she sees a phone, she puts her hand up to her ear as if it were a phone. She has an old cordless and two old cell phones that she plays with. This girl loves phones! I can only imagine what the teenage years will be like!

Another thing she loves are hats. Often she puts on hats at home. When she sees Papi with a hat on, she often steals it off and puts it on her own head. Whenever there is a hat somewhere, she puts her hands on her head.

I am trying to teach Chili about the nice way to touch people. She has no idea that her pinching, grabbing, etc. hurts Mami. So, I started telling her "Suave, suave" and softly touching her face, and having her lightly touch my face. I don't think she gets it, but when I say "Suave, suave" she strokes her face. Very cute!

Another word Chili understands is "beso" and if I tell her "dame un beso" she actually gives me a kiss! We are enjoying her kisses.

Recently when she falls and bumps her head, she pats the front of her head. Nevermind she hit the back of it!

She also gives her water cup to me when she wants more, and uses the ever popular arms in the air for "mami pick me up."

I am enjoying every new interaction as her little mind begins to develop and tries to communicate!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Woo, woo!

I guess you could consider this word number three now. Chili everytime she sees a dog, or something that resembles a dog, she barks, "Woo, woo!" Yesterday we saw two out walking (yeah, it was actually nice enough to walk), and she was so excited! So now her word list includes: bebe, dada, and "woo, woo!"

Friday, February 6, 2009

One Reason High Fructose Corn Syrup is NOT sweet!

Forget all those commercials claiming it's "nutritionally the same as sugar" and that it's "fine in moderation." There are many reasons why it's not good, including a recent article from the Washington Post saying that they found mercury in it...NOT GOOD! Check it out here:

Monday, February 2, 2009


I have been thinking about a few quotes this week from Martin Luther King Jr. The first is, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' " Since I have been pondering this, I had a discussion with my husband about financially how can we give to others in need. Here, then, is the second quote, "Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philantropy necessary." Isn't it so much easier to send a check to some organization...then we don't have to change anything in our lifestyle. Often, our life decisions contribute to a system that's messed up. A system where all people are not valued equally, where some people are taken advantage of and have no voice, where a planet is slowly being destroyed. This is not the system we should be investing in. Especially people of faith, who believe in a God of love and compassion, and are committed to living likewise. I hear people say all the time, that the United States is such a generous nation, that we give ***billions of dollars in aid etc.... Or that the church in the United States gives *** millions/billions annually.... Here's my problem with that logic: so why do we still have all the same problems as we did before? As long as we are giving hand-outs and not rebuilding the system, I feel we will never get to the bottom of the problems that exist.

So, how do we do something to make a difference...It's so easy to feel powerless to do anything. Here are a few things I have been thinking about:
1- Your money has power. Where you choose to invest them can make a difference. Melinda from One Green Generation wrote an interesting post lately the Simple-Green-Frugal Forum (located on my sidebar) about how we can invest in local economies, giving support to small businesses instead of large, impersonal corporations and lower the amount of fuel used in transportation as well.
2- Make homemade instead of buying store-bought. If you make it yourself, you again are not supporting big companies, and you are saving money which you can invest elsewhere.
3- Support organizations that are working to change the system, not just give hand-outs. People that are providing job opportunities and new beginnings.
4- Barter for goods or services. Money then loses it's value, and we can invest in community instead of corporations.
5- Grow a garden.
6- Choose not to buy something, or go out to eat, and put that money aside to contribute to a something of much greater value.
I'm sure there are many more, if you think of something else, add it to the comments.

Mother Theresa said, "Live simply so others can simply live." If we simplify, we can invest in a different system, where all people are valued, and the planet is respected and cared for. We can make a difference.