Thursday, January 30, 2014

Teething

My sweet Erin was so sad this morning. Her teeth are hurting her and she's a bit feverish so everything is  more emotional than it should be. For example, earlier I heard her wailing desperately for help in the hallway. When I flew to her aid and asked what she needed the only answer I received was one tiny, trembling finger pointing at some applesauce, dribbled down the front of her shirt.

I am sympathetic, having recently rediscovered what monthly hormones feel like.

Oliver is also teething. His first tooth! 3 months seems a bit young but I also started cutting my teeth at that age so possibly it is a family thing.

In between the chores and baby coordinating I've been reading up on Charlotte Mason. I'm so completely excited to provide the best education possible for my children. The deeper I delve the more I feel like I ought to send myself back to some form of school first.

Ambleside online offers their free annotated version of Charlotte Mason's books here. I'm thinking a steady read through of these will be a great place to start.

In other news, Ben has just started an author's blog called, The Ragman Has a Packrat. It's already great. :)

After work this evening, we all flopped on the floor for a pre-bedtime play session. Oliver joined, small though he is.



I hold to the theory that he is a boy and therefore tough and can handle things. I mean -- look at him. Not even phased (even though I was pretty sure his life was in danger). 


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Media Fast January 2014 - Part 2


I enjoyed feeling so secluded during our media fast. It was nice, relying on my cookbooks rather than Google, comparing my housekeeping to yesterday rather than some perfect photo. The phone rang once or twice, surprising me with the reminder that other people still existed. 

I had this moment, standing at my kitchen sink. The blinds were all the way open and Erin and I were singing at the top of our lungs. For the first time in awhile I was perfectly content to wash the dishes. Joyful, even. I didn't have something else I needed to do, or somewhere else to be. In that moment my purpose and goal was to make MY kitchen clean and pretty with MY daughter. It felt like I was a kid again, powering through my chores so I could fly out the door and run with the wind.

Some days were hard. Many times if we had not been on our media fast, I would have called it a day after a rough moment which was after a rough night which was after a rough...everything. By which I mean we would have watched Winnie the Pooh in our pj's because mom needed a break. Instead I prayed a lot more, drank lots of coffee, and took a ridiculous amount of deep breaths. A routine developed, and I guess I don't need as many 'breaks' as I thought I did. Pushing through is really rewarding. Do Hard Things? Psh. Hard things are my life.

This media fast was wildly successful.

~ Priorities have been re-evaluated. 
~ I slowed down. Sometimes the world is too fast for me. There are so many ways to be efficient, so much information to absorb and implement, so many good ideas and ideals -- who has the energy for ALL of that? Maybe I'm just old fashioned.
~ We've established that Sundays will be quiet days. We will unplug and focus inward. That way, weeks won't have gone by without any downtime. No more burning out for me.
~ I hung my clock!! And a photo frame!! This is actually a big deal.
~ Erin's involvement in household things basically doubled, and it seems to be sticking. This is happy.
~ My Mister got a ton of reading done, and made huge progress on his book planning. Guys! His book is going to be amazing! Interesting fact -- we thought of the original idea together, at night, in bed, just before falling asleep. It felt silly and just for fun at the time. It has obviously come a long way since then, but I'm still claiming Muse rights.
~ I also did a lot of reading, and have kept it up since. I used to devour books by the dozen. I'm glad to be back in the game.
~Also, blogging...that's going well.
~ I'm getting more creative with my days. Not so point and shoot. I like how things have taken a bit more of a meandering course.
~ 'Nurturing' isn't always my strong point, but that's improving. Probably a result of a combination of much of the above.

I suspect that a passion for nature and my original under-exposure to modern technology has played key in my need for occasional space and silence. I don't hate our handy modern tools, I'm just me. If I had it my way I'd live in a terrarium. There would probably be flower fairies. We would eat off wooden utensils and drink water from a spring. Since I'm also happy to live in the real world, I'm grateful to know more about my limits, and propensities and potential than I did before our Media Fast. Thanks Mister, for going along with it. Thank you Lord for sound wisdom, laid up in heaven for me and mine. 

/photo credit goes to uncovet.com/

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Media Fast January 2014 - Part 1

My husband has occasionally teased me for being a Luddite at heart. Apparently that means I hate technology, or something. It's true, my fondest memories usually take me back to a time where I guess it was always summer, and warm, and full of adventure and discovery and usually no electricity. I remember the best chore days happening to the tune of one of our two CD's (if I had managed to convince mom to let me play it that day) with all the windows open. Preferably the neighbors (aka our best family friends) would be running in and out, and Dad would decide to work on OUR house instead of his construction job.

I remember learning how to use a computer when I was much older than my friends. It was strange and off limits and overwhelming. Sometimes I just sat there with my hand on the mouse, stricken with all the possibilities and unable to choose even one. High school debate happened (so much research), and Facebook (so much sneaking around) but usually in closely and suspiciously monitored quarters. Then I grew up and moved out and freedom was mine.

I'm ridiculously careful of my time, my responsibilities. I care so much and I try so hard, that 'burnt out' is becoming a perpetual state of being. Freedom, right? Despite all this, my home and life are not even close to meeting my own standards. Sometimes it feels like I can only be successful with one thing at a time, I have to fail everywhere else to make it work. I've spent entire days trying to figure out what's wrong. I love being a mother, a wife. Home is my favorite place to be. I have a lot of fun planning how to make our lives run more smoothly. So what's up? I've come to numerous conclusions the past two years, most of them excuses.

This January my family took one week for a media fast. So, so worth it. I've asked for this before, hoping vaguely that some sort of evil influence or time sucker would suddenly be absent and all problems solved.

Well, something happened.

In the past, we've gone partially 'media' free. This time, It was a little bit like stepping behind an iron curtain. I sat haughtily on my side waiting for productivity to soar in the absence of my enemy while facebook, pinterest, gmail, spotify, blogger, netflix, various informative/inspirational sites, and everything else continued on without me.

~ ~ ~



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Maker's Diet Breakfast: Phase I

According to the plan we selected (male potato type) there are three breakfast options during Phase I. We won't do everything perfectly, since I'm still suffering from sticker shock with the raw honey, raw milk for kefir, everything organic and free, etc. I plan to let these things sort of sneak up on me, all  subtle and inexpensive-like.

1. Eggs and fruit

3 Eggs cooked however you like in coconut oil
Sauteed Mushrooms, onions and bell peppers
1 serving of grapes

2. Smoothie

Plain whole milk Yogurt or Kefir
Coconut oil
Frozen Berries
Honey
Vanilla extract (opt.)
Protein Powder (opt.)

3. Yogurt

Yogurt with honey and fruit
Handful of raw almonds

Breakfast happens to be my weak spot, especially on the weekends. What's been working so far is to just boil up a bunch of eggs every few days, and eat those with some fruit, or a smoothie if I'm feeling optimistic (I'm bad at smoothies. It never works out.). Hard boiled eggs seem to be my best bet for actually accomplishing breakfast, which is to say, it's absolutely no work at all and really hard to mess up.

As far as how the diet in general is going....

Meh.

But that's okay. I suspect some of my issues with being unable to resist cravings stem from being pregnant two years in a row. During this time, myself and everyone else stuffed me full of whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. I /really/ like how this diet works, the types of meals I've been making lately. Once we get some consistency, it will be even better.

Some positive things I've noticed already:

~Waking up has been a teeny bit easier

~Detox happened once or twice, but it wasn't very intense

~My people seem a little healthier. We've got mold in the house, and dust, not enough sunshine or fresh air, some family health issues, and a history of sort-of bad eating. Just a week or two of  intentional dieting and we're eliminating some of that 'generally always sick' feeling. Yay!

Circulatory Herba-Smoothie

Something I'll be adding to our breakfast on a daily basis once it comes, is the Circulatory Herba-Smoothie mix from the Bulk Herb Store. The idea of the herba-smoothies is that you'd be making and eating your own supplements/vitamins. I'm all for that -- the effective supplements in the stores are really expensive and hard to come by. This particular mix contains rosehips and ginkgo, both of which I've wanted for a long time! Also, there is a suggested smoothie recipe. Here's hoping I can finally get it right.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Erin, 20 Months

Erin, my sweet girl,

Now you are almost two, and you have been loudly proclaiming your identity to the world for some time already. I can hardly see a trace of the infant or baby anymore. It's getting easier to look down the road, and see the woman we've been training you to be. With a new brother in the house, I can tell how much your daddy and I learned from you...sometimes I'm worried about lost opportunities, but then I remember that I am also an oldest daughter. You and I will have a special relationship because of it. You will be strong. We will be best friends.

Your daddy and I are so proud of you because:

~ You have your own tiny broom and vacuum, and can take care of the floors with mommy.

~ You love your baby brother and give him kisses all the time.

~ Your favorite game to play on your own is 'going bye-bye' with your best baby doll. This one will get easier after you've learned how to handle all the buckles, straps, laces and corners involved.

~ You are learning to count! 3 is about as high as it gets right now, and the best part for mommy is that you understand the concept as well as how to mimic the sounds.

~ Right now you learn best with a combination of sign language and instruction. I think you feel like we're not putting enough effort into it if our hands are still.

~ Being read to is cause for celebration. We've got to be mindful of our timing because you will ask for book, after book, after book...

~ Cartoons were made especially for daddy and Rinrin. You guys have your own special show, and it's perfect for cuddling and exchanging astonished expressions when something cool happens.

~ You are almost completely fearless as long as daddy and mommy are around.

~ 'Dance' is your favorite sign, and you've got a hair trigger for breaking out into wiggly, bouncy dance sessions.

~ You take the garbage out with daddy, and consider it a serious responsibility.

~ The kitchen counters and drawers belong to you during cooking times. You know which ones are allowed, and you know exactly what to do with them. There have been several meals with your special touch added to things.

~ You love blueberries /so/ much that you are willing to put aside all prejudice in their name. You forged new friendships with your Grandpa and great Grandma based upon the power of the blue berry.






Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Launch of the Maker's Diet

My mom and I will be joining forces as we attempt to subject our families to a very simple, yet rigorous diet change. The Maker's Diet for Weight loss has been sitting on my Kindle bookshelf unused for almost 1 year, but I think having a partner in crime should prove motivating and fun. :)

Each phase is supposed to last 4 weeks, but I'm going to move things along much faster and cut that in half for the sake of actually sticking to it. We're in Phase I now, the cleansing phase. Per my new years resolution, I'm not going to count our mistakes so far as 'not starting yet'. I'm just going to keep pushing forward.

Confession time-- I never actually told Ben what I was doing. Or when I was doing it. Or any of the rules. Because I've discovered that when it comes to my sweet, loving hubby who just wants a piece of pizza, I am a major wimp. Which is different than a normal wimp. So my explanation for suddenly developing a desire to do all the grocery shopping by myself (sort of) with great excitement was simply that Mom and I are doing a 'thing'. A thing? Yep, a thing.

But I'm pretty sure he knows by now.

Quick note:

Frittatta's are super awesome and my daughter loves them. Ben doesn't, but that's okay because he likes Salmon and steamed Broccoli apparently. Hopefully there will be photos and recipes soon.