Friday, July 20, 2007

Running Bases & Smooshing Faces

Nothing interesting to talk about today...but I do have a few pictures I wanted to post:

Andy's parents came to town this week to see a Josh Groban concert. but before they could get out the door, they (and their poor old golden retriever, Daisy) fell prey to Landon's shenanigans and were roped into "Running Bases" in our kitchen for over an hour. Ahhh...what grandparents won't do for their grandchildren! (Disclaimer: While looking at the pictures, please disregard the "lovely" 1980's garden-theme border and co-ordinating green paint in my kitchen--I did not commit that crime! We can all thank the previous owners for that!)

The day after Andy's mom and dad left (probably bruised and exhausted), Landon spent half of the afternoon with the top of his drum smooshed up against his face, chasing me all over the house. He was cracking me (and himself) up and irritating the dogs to no end! with a two-year-old!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Never a Dull Moment

Tonight Andy and I decided to paint faces on our chins with my make-up and put on a show for Landon. Parents: If you haven't done this, you really should right away---I haven't laughed that hard in a looonnnng time! Landon was laughing so hard he couldn't talk or stand up. These aren't great pictures, but I'm posting them anyway--ha ha ha! By the way, the second picture is Andy...Be sure to make fun of his lipstick!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Oh "WATER" We to Do?

Something my friend, Sharon, posted on her blog this week really caught my attention: Should the government be able to choose whether or not we are allowed to purchase and consume bottled water? Hmm...On one hand, I like that the government was able to mandate something like the usage of trans fat free oils in restaurants in New York, but, on the other hand, I don't want them to be able to control every little detail in our lives. Going even further into the water issue, I am always afraid of what could be in my tap water. I'm constantly hearing about death and sickness being traced back to water supply contamination. I would hate to have someone force me to drink it! However, can I really be certain what is in my bottled water when so many times it has been reported that certain brands of bottled water are just bottled TAP water? And what about the fact that my beloved bottled water (yup, big bottled water drinker here!) comes in a potentially dangerous and environmentally unfriendly plastic bottle? Should I switch to drinking only glass bottled water? Should I just toss the bottled water altogether and install a filter to clean our house's water supply? If so, what type of filter is the most beneficial? The most cost efficient? Ugh!! Questions, questions, questions! On top of everything else that was already confusing me, I "happened upon" an article that really caught my attention. The article Sharon posted talks about how the Mayor of San Francisco is attempting a ban on bottled water sales in his city based on his city's having such a sparkling clean water supply. In the article I came across, The National Nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announced that "a review of reports from the government and from private water suppliers shows that several cities, including Albuquerque, New Mexico, and San Francisco, "have water that is so contaminated as to pose potential health risks to some consumers, particularly to pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems." (!!!)

I know that things may have improved some since 2003 when this research was reported, but COME ON!!! It is so aggravating to find so many different sides to every story. What in the world are we supposed to believe? Is the water in San Francisco pristine enough to warrant a ban on bottled water sales or disgusting enough to make people sick? Who in the world can we trust and how in the world are we supposed to feel comfortable drinking half our body weight in water ounces every day? I was on a mission. My first stop was the NRDC website. There, I found a pretty basic, seemingly non-biased question and answer section about the safety of both bottled and tap water. After reading several articles on the questionable safety of both bottled and tap water, I decided that neither were perfect solutions and went on to check out different types of water filters. This opened up a whole new can of worms. I found this great site which gives information on more than ten different types of water filters. I began to be very interested in the Reverse Osmosis water filters, but THEN went on to read on several sites that RO filtered water can become dangerous if consumed over long periods of time due to the removal of minerals. People were going on and on in their articles about how detrimental it is to our health to have minerals in our drinking water. Check this out:
"Minerals are essential for the basic functions of the human body to take place. They help to control bone growth, regulate fluids, normalize nerve and muscle functions, keep up metabolism, grow connective tissues, and so much more." (at this point, I was questioning the safety of RO water--I mean, we need those minerals, right? Read on...)
"However, a big misconception is that that we obtain minerals from our drinking water. This is actually not true because, in reality, the main source of minerals is always from our food and diets, not from our drinking water. Because in order to receive enough minerals for our body, we need to drink a bathtub amount of water everyday! Not very feasible. We are sure that your doctor will not prescribe you a "bathtub of water" if you are deficient in minerals, right?" While it's true that we do need minerals to survive, the fear tactics from tap water supporters are greatly exaggerated and unneccessary on most accounts. I found this site to be very helpful in detailing the recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals along with giving ideas for how to live a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise.

So, what conclusion did I reach? Well, any filter is better than no filter...neither bottled nor tap water get a clean bill of safety, even from the most non-biased reporters...& with today's devious marketing strategies, you can't really trust anyone, but yourself. For us, a water filter seems to be the best solution. I hope to have one installed soon (most likely the Reverse Osmosis type), but I'd also like to mention one more solution for people who'd like to continue drinking bottled water: Check out the Penta Water website. It seems like they've thought of just about everything a bottled water company should think of!

Okay, (PHEW!) I am done with my rant for the day. If you have a chance to read all of this and visit any of the sites (or if you even care about the whole water issue :o), let me know what you think!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Landon's Birthday Party

We love throwing parties in our family. We are known to celebrate any and every holiday on the calendar just to have excuse to get together and eat good food, be loud and laugh. Since Tuesdays are good enough excuses for a Granger or Pfaffl to celebrate, imagine how much fun we've had planning Landon's birthday parties! Last year, for Landon's first birthday, we hired a steel drum band and had a luau. Andy and I catered the whole thing ourselves (I know, I know-What were we thinking?!!!) with traditional luau foods (yes, we were up roasting a giant ham at 6:00 in the morning-ha ha ha!) and Landon spent most of the party as you see him in the picture, in a grass skirt and diaper (exposing 100 rolls that would make any baker proud!). It was fantastic!
This year, for his second birthday, we opted to go with a Dora the Explorer/Diego theme. With fingers crossed to ward of the predicted rain, we planned a backyard adventure for about twelve of Landon's "nearest and dearest" (ha ha!). When the kids first arrived, we sat them around a table in the front yard and had them decorate visors with foam stickers. Then we handed out homemade fleece backpacks (filled with little water bottles, battery powered fans and maps to guide the way) to each child and led them to a blanket on the lawn where my sister (dressed as Dora, of course) read a Dora the Explorer story to them.
Just as the book was coming to an end, my dad started a bubble blower behind the gate and the kids went nuts running around and jumping through them! We lined all of them up and led them into the backyard through the thousands of bubbles. The first stop on our adventure was "Crocodile Lake". I made the "lake" out of a piece of blue satin and had the kids hunt for "stones" (sticky felt) to help them cross to the other side. I couldn't believe how much they played along! It was so cute to see their serious expressions as they carefully made their way across the "water"! After Crocodile Lake was tackled, the next stop was the "Tickly Tunnel".
We filled Landon's tent with fuzzy balls and feather boas and fake fur (Landon's choice) and had the kids crawl through it to the other side. We noticed at one point, that the kids were going in, but not coming back out...and when we looked inside, we saw that they were all stuffing their backpacks with the little balls!! Ha ha ha! Just past the Tickly Tunnel, we set up a pinata, and had the kids put all their treats into their backpacks before going to the last stop. We rented a giant blow-up jumping castle, but we didn't inflate it before the party. Instead, to surprise the kids, we had them scream "Salta!" (Jump in Spanish) to solve the backyard adventure mystery. When all of them were screaming "Salta" as loud as they could, my brother, Brian, plugged in the castle from inside the garage and within two minutes, the kids were all bouncing happily inside it. After the kids exhausted themselves jumping and playing in the backyard, we all ate Mexican food and cake and then watched Landon open presents. A few people stayed after the party was over to hang out and all of the adults (Mostly my crazy siblings) got rowdy and jumped in the castle, screetching and laughing louder than the little party guests had! The weather was great. The kids were ADORABLE. Everyone had a blast and I WAS EXHAUSTED!! Landon was, too, poor little guy! We had him in PJ's (half asleep) by 5:30 thinking he'd be out for the night at an unusually early hour....but instead, he was wired!
His little mind was racing with thoughts of magic castles and new toys and all of his buddies and he ended his day running around the backyard with his new bubble lawnmower at top speed (wearing his new sunglasses, to give you the full picture ;o) while the rest of us watched him in envy of his energy! PHEW! I was thinking about the party after everyone had gone home...about the messy countertops that got overlooked by our little guests after I'd been stressing about them all day...about the simplicity of the activities I (painstakingly!) came up with and the great joy I saw on the kids face in spite of my lack of creativity. I tend to overdo things, over-book and over-worry trying to make sure everyone is happy and I wind up unable to enjoy myself at my own parties. This one was different, somehow. A little piece of discount satin really became "Crocodile Lake"--The Tickly Tunnel provided a secret hiding place for the little children with big imaginations. I realized how important it is for someone like me (who is so easily absorbed into the habit of trying to please everyone) to spend quality time with children--They're not judgemental, not yet jaded by society or hardened by the world. They just enjoy running through a thousand shiny bubbles or sitting on the lawn to hear a good scrutiny and no expectations.