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Seven: A Mom’s Reflection on a Lucky Birthday (Not a Paleo Post).

Seven is a lucky number for some. I’ve never particularly associated anything lucky with it, except of course, those mornings where I realize I’ve luckily managed seven hours of sleep.  But, because the alarm clocks rouse us adults here on Klien Street at four o’clock in the morning, I rarely achieve this goal.

This morning was no different, except that today is my son’s birthday, and when my alarm went off, instead of snoozing and rolling back over as usual, I stared at the clock: Four-blinking-colon-zero-four AM.

I stared at the neon green numbers, but I pictured the moment I first saw my 9 lb. 11 oz. son, blue-faced and screaming for the oxygen he had been deprived of during the final moments of delivery, his broken bloodvessel-filled eyes open wide and watching me, charging me with his safe keeping in this new world that had already proven dangerous. I reflected on how quickly he’s grown and changed–his humor hard-wired and ever-developing and his good-natured heart and compassionate gestures among the first comments on his report card every term. I speculated as to what the future will hold for him when he graduates–perhaps he’ll become an inventor who creates the first teleportation system, inspired by the long 600 mile car ride he takes twice a year to visit his aunt, uncle, and cousin in TN. Or, maybe he’ll decide to…

And that’s when it happened:

The image of his little munchkin face that I held in my mind changed, and I found myself picturing the sweet, angelic faces of the tender souls from Newton, Connecticut who will spend eternity at six. Each one of them frozen in an image that only captured a small sliver of their little selves in a moment when they were full of zest and verve and unrealized potential–each one ready to be a veterinarian, a sports star, an outerspace police officer, an artist…

I picture them and my heart breaks for their poor, grieving parents who will never get to light seven candles, give seven birthday kisses (plus one to grow on), pack a surprise seventh birthday card in a special birthday lunchbox, or watch indecision melt into a puddle of wax as a seventh birthday wish gets made.

At 4:05, the official moment of my son’s seven-hood, I cried myself back to sleep, entirely overwhelmed by the feelings of relief and then guilt over my own family’s safety, my own family’s happiness, and my own family’s completeness.

In the days since the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I (along with millions of other parents) have thanked God for the health and safety of my kiddos innumerable times; I have hugged and kissed them to the point of rolled eyes and amused acceptance; I have written letters to school officials and teachers thanking them for all they do and asking how parents can best support the safe school efforts already established in our district; and, like so many American parents, I have wept. And wept. And wept.

I am two steps removed from this tragedy–loosely connected only by a friend whose former classmate lost his beloved six-year-old daughter Charlotte. And yet, I weep for these losses as if I share them. Because, I do.

We all do.

It could have been our community, in one of our schools. It could have been our kids. We could have seen the news reports, gotten the calls, rushed to the scene. We could have been the ones left waiting, not knowing if we wanted to have the news delivered or to live in the hope of uncertainty for another moment. We could have had our worst nightmare played out in reality. And, though no one wants to give voice to our feelings–for we don’t want to appear callous, uncaring, or disrespectful–we are thankful that it wasn’t our community, our school, our kids, us.

We owe it to the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School to keep their memories alive by being grateful for our own lives, by treasuring every moment we are afforded, by supporting our youths in their endeavors to better the future. As families who lost their precious children work to heal, we must work together to keep vigilance a priority in our schools and to keep complacency at an absolute minimum so that this tragedy is not repeated.

I said to a friend the other day that I hope and pray that somewhere, somehow, something positive blooms in memory of all those taken too soon. I think it’s starting. Across America people have started intelligent dialogues about mental health services, school administrators have reevaluated their safety protocols, teachers have been inspired by tales of heroism, students have witnessed the importance of coming to one another’s aid instead of tearing each other down, and parents have been reminded that our children–and, in my case, a seventh birthday–are truly life’s greatest gifts.

Love to you all.

What We Really Bring Home From the Grocery Store

These days, I’m pretty sure my life revolves around grocery shopping. So much so that sometimes the sensation of my freely swinging arms brushing against my sides feels so unnatural that I need to reach out and grab hold of an imaginary cart to regain balance and perspective and purpose.

Hyperbole? Maybe.

But, you see, when I grocery shop, I do more–much more–than just walk around the healthy perimeter and down a few select aisles of the store.

When I grocery shop, every turn of the cart is a meditation on how much I love my family–on how much my young children’s still-growing bodies and ever-developing minds need physical nourishment and how I am the one responsible for supplying to them the foundational nutrition that will shape who they become and how they will feed and treat their bodies for the rest of their lives; on how much my husband’s health depends upon what he does and doesn’t eat (the ice cream, cookie, cake, & cracker aisles? Yes, they are the reasons I do the grocery shopping–after all, I want him to be healthy for the long-haul in this life we love to live together); on how my parents are learning, by example, to eat healthier in order to ease the effects of aging and reduce their reliance on pharmaceuticals so that they may actively enjoy every moment with their grandkids; on how my own health is balanced and maintained by eating well, and how my family’s healthy eating practices begin with me when I choose to fill our grocery cart up in the organic produce aisle, the organic meat department, and the natural foods bulk section.

When I grocery shop, I do more than just purchase groceries. I vote for quality food free of pesticides, GMOs, chemicals, and processing with our hard-earned money. I vote with the extra dollar I pay for every organic cucumber that I will juice, skin included, and drink with my children the next day. I vote with my decision to place grass-fed beef on the conveyor belt rather than the “Club Pack” ground chuck that could potentially be mystery meat suspended in pink slime. I vote with my devotion to organic unrefined coconut oil instead of Crisco. I vote with raw organic nuts, grain-free flours, wild-caught fish, and locally-grown organic produce. Do I pay significantly more for these products? If money is your only measure of payment, then, yes, I do. But that’s not how I see it.

I see it like this:

When I grocery shop, I bring home my family’s current and future health, wealth, happiness, and longevity in over-flowing, reusable bags. What do you shop for each week?

Happy Shopping, Lovelies!

XO~Nikki

Monday is Launch Day!

Okay, Lovelies. I know you all clicked on the link from our Facebook Invitation, but NO PEEKING! Not even a tiny bit until Monday! I cross my Paleo-healthy heart it will be worth the wait!

What will be in store for you here, you wonder? The short answer: LOTS! Not only will we share (in the way only sisters can share) our health struggles and our successes with Paleo, but we will also provide resources and strategies to help you achieve the same! In addition, we will share Paleo recipes; reviews of books, products, and places; and our workouts/exercise regimens (because feeding constantly ravenous cave creatures the healthy way counts as exercise, right?).

And, as if that isn’t exciting enough, I forgot to mention that we sisters have hilarious kiddos (a.k.a. cave creatures) and cavemen who like to rearrange (or totally obliterate) our most carefully constructed plans without any advance notice. So, really, anything goes! (One day I will have stopped laughing long enough to tell you all the coconut oil story….)

See you on Monday!

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