This is a mama post. Maybe you will be able to relate, whether or not you're a mama?
I don't know, but I know that I've felt the need to be honest about my mama dirt. Because maybe you're in the trenches, too, and you love your kids, of COURSE, but some days you feel like you're going to lose ALL your marbles. (I know this isn't just a me thing.) Maybe you're living a different kind of challenge, and you wouldn't give it up for the WORLD, but like I have in the past, you feel like you're not "allowed" to talk about the tough stuff because you chose this? (Has anyone else felt this way?)
I am the mama to two beautiful children and the wife of the best guy I know. I am sleep-deprived, and maybe I should be napping right now, but I feel like a bit of writing is what I need, and I hope I'm not wrong.
I am on-call as a mom ALL the time. No hours off because I am breastfeeding (my choice) and Selah's not yet at the recommended point for bottles (although we may try today for the sake of sanity). Nolan (my son) and I are trying to process what this new life looks like; he loves his sister, but he doesn't quite love sharing my attention. I just want to be left alone for a guaranteed hour.
Last Tuesday, at just about 3 weeks postpartum, I went on my first run and crossed my fingers that my body would be okay with it because I NEEDED it. I'd told my husband earlier that day that I suck at this job. Nolan and I had "started over" probably 25 times that day, and I called my sister crying that Nolan needed a new mom. My mom was planning to stop by after work, and I hopefully asked her," how long are you planning on staying? Do I have time to go for a run?"
Nolan skipped his nap that day (as he worked hard at doing the rest of the week) and was a verified MESS, so my mother cheerfully called my father in for back-up, telling me to take my time. I came back feeling SO much better, was able to enjoy
Thank God for family (blood or not!), without which I'm not sure how I would be functioning right now.
Later in the week, I learned that when my husband asks me if I want to go for a run just when I am dragging myself down the stairs too early in the morning because I need to make coffee, I should say yes, no matter how tired I feel. Running makes me a happier, nicer person. It's a healthier drug than sugar, my default medication and it's a WAY better choice than snapping at my husband because I'm tired, frustrated, & by my rationalization, he's an adult and can handle it.
1. read Parenting with Love and Logic (I'm feeling like I could use some help as we navigate this new season of Nolan no longer being the only child.)
2. stick to my running plan.
3. save sweet treats for the evening- if I start earlier than that, I can't seem to stop!
4. go on an actual date (no kids allowed!) with my husband.
5. purchase a couple of outfits from thredUp that I feel cute in.
6. have our "new" neighbors over for dinner. (They moved in several months ago, and we just met them. Ahem.)
7. get a (very) part time job in place.
Linking up with The Tiny Twig's Goals with Grace.
I've been itching for a chance to tell you about another affordable & ethically-made clothing option I discovered recently.
Wildly Co. is a small company run by a single family (their 4 boys help, too!). They sell kids' clothes completely made by people who are paid and cared for fairly. Absolutely NO sweat shops or anything made by kids AND it's affordable.
6 styles of t-shirts are currently available in their shop, but Wildly Co. is currently running a kick starter that will enable them to offer more complete outfits in the form of a capsule project.
A capsule is a set of tops and bottoms that can be interchangeably mixed and matched.
Kick starter is a way to fund a project that involves a larger community. Everyone who chooses to contribute can give what they want and can afford. Financial contributors receive some kind of reward, usually according to the number of dollars given. As a way to protect financial contributors, no one's credit card or pay pal account is charged until the end date of the fundraiser and only IF the full amount has been pledged.
Wildly Co. has reached their first goal, which is to fund the boys' capsule. (Hooray! I plan on getting some for Nolan and/or requesting them as an alternative for the conventional clothes he often receives as birthday gifts.) They are currently trying to reach their stretch goal, which will make a girls' capsule possible.
Want to get help create an affordable, fairly made, and thoughtful clothing line for kids? Check out the kick starter here.
When I talk about my body bouncing back, I am referring to what I can physically do. I am talking about feeling at home in my body sooner than I expected and sometimes feeling cute in an outfit I put together. This will never be a blog about pounds or weight loss. I won't be posting any "body after baby" progress pictures, although I do sometimes find those interesting on other blogs.
I think it's probably time for a blog face lift (new name, new tag line, an air-ier look, more resources). That may not happen for awhile, so in the mean time, here's what you can expect around here between now and the next few months:
Wellness. I am determined to live my life as best as I can. For me, that starts with what I put in my body. I've gone back to good old fashioned pen and paper food journaling because it makes me accountable to myself and it works for me. I also have a default setting of stress eating, which is triggered during times of stress. Because this fall is going to be a challenging season for our family, expect plenty of posts about living well (or not) when all of me is screaming,"just numb it with food!"
Spending. We all spend spend SOME money, yes? I'm always on the lookout for ways we can buy our products that don't come from children, slaves, and otherwise oppressed and abused people- even BETTER if buying those products would actually contribute to community,sustainable businesses, and quality of life. Oh! And I need to be able to afford said products. This is where my heart is. Expect lots of these posts.
Motherhood. Because I'm now the mother of TWO. This is new and different, and even if it wasn't, raising humans with their own personalities and otherwise unique makeup is a BIG deal. It's a lot of patience for them and for me, a lot of okay, let's try again. It's a lot of snuggling and listening and paying attention and energy. My kids are very much the biggest time priority of this season of life for me, so there will be plenty of these kinds of posts, too.
Do you blog? Please link up here! What do you write about?
As this whole "Real Food Friday" business is rather new around here, I'm guessing my recent inability to post on a schedule wasn't actually noticed by anyone. Still, I'm excited to get back to it.
Selah Marie is now 16 days old, and I'm ready to talk about food again. Okay, I'm always ready to talk about food. I'm ready to sit down and type and actually publish a few thoughts on food again.
I'm eating fairly well. This is motivated by the fact that I have the needs of a baby and a toddler to keep up with + I have other interests I'm trying to pursue + a husband with whom I'd like to continue to have a good relationship. Generally, I try to eat so I have energy for living.
I'm not perfect with the whole eating well/ real food thing. In fact, I'm often re-learning the same lessons because I just can't focus on every thing that demands attention all at once, I get distracted, and I fall off the wagon.
I thought I'd share what's working for me in real food for energy and what isn't. I'd love your ideas, too, if you have them!
Our CSA subscription. The more veggies I eat, the better I feel. Crazy, right?
Getting in the kitchen when I can. The kitchen is a form of therapy for me + getting in the kitchen means all that kale (or fill in whatever veggie) we have gets turned into something yummy. (PS. Our family favorite recipe for kale chips can be found here.)
Gifted meals. I used to be shy about admitting to my dietary preferences, like admitting them (even when asked) was piling some too-heavy burden on the person asking. I've since discovered that those who are asking want to know, and I'm feeling a little less weird about it. Can I just tell you that food is my love language? I eat a little differently than most people I know + I view food as medicine, so things like noticing Selah's tummy troubles means cutting out dairy or finding out that wheat leaves me feeling foggy and sluggish means a lot less (if any) of it. Of course any meal is a welcome gift, but receiving one with my preferences in mind always has me feeling loved and cared for.
Extras. I aim to take in food-based prenatals (Megafood is my current favorite), a real food source of probiotics (I'm eating ruby sauerkraut these days- the refrigerated kind, not the shelf-stable stuff), and a tablespoon of grass fed gelatin most days.
[What doesn't work]
Eating too-tiny meals. I do sometimes have trouble feeling hunger. I blame it on the sleep deprivation. But a day of too-small meals has me reaching for all the sugar I can scrounge by the evening (a default setting I'll likely always need to stay conscious of if I want to be healthy). That doesn't feel good or lend itself to any of the huge doses of patience I feel like I need these days.
Counting calories. I did this for about 2 1/2 days after an evening of over-indulgence. It helps me feel a little more in-control, but it doesn't really fit my style. I always find myself rebelling against it or choosing foods based on calories and not nutrition (because I don't want to take the time to calculate every meal; I just want to cook if applicable and enjoy). No more counting calories for this girl.
Selah was born 15 days ago. I had grand illusions of writing more in these past 2+ weeks than I have, but typing out just how many days we've been doing this family of four thing (only 15?!) gently reminds me that I'm still in transition/survival mode.
So, hi. I'm glad to be here. I've missed this space. I have a Real Food Friday post ready for tomorrow, but then I can't guarantee when I'll be back. I'm planning on soon because this place is my therapy.
My body is recovering much better/faster than I thought it would. I attribute this to mostly good nutrition + eating grassfed gelatin nearly every day.
I love getting out for walks with Selah in the Ergo, but the highlight for me was last night. Nolan wanted to "go for a run," and Tim was holding Selah, so my little buddy and I went running around our neighborhood. We both had a blast, and so far, I haven't "paid for it" like I thought I might.
I don't really have a specific plan for getting back into exercise, but so far, Nolan has it covered. He loves to go for bike rides, runs, and walks. He sits in the stroller because although I could put Selah in there, he says the stroller is "his." I go with it because as a toddler with a new sibling, there's not much he can call his own that can't be claimed by someone else at any moment. Sometimes this means I push him in the stroller and carry Selah in the Ergo. So far, I see no need to sign up for a gym membership.
I do still have to say no to things I'd rather say yes to because I need the sleep. Sleep deprivation is no joke, and I know I need to take care of myself for no other reason than I want to be present for my family.
I am still spending some time in the kitchen when I can because it's so life-giving to me, reading (blogs and Jen Hatmaker's Interrupted), getting out because we all need it, and holing up at home because we all need that, too.
I am clinging to spending time with people who I can easily say,"hey, I have to go lay down," or "hey, I'm so tired I'm having trouble putting a sentence together." I'm finding that I have quite a few of those people in my life, and I feel lucky and also happy that at least in some ways, I'm a little more forth-coming with my needs and a little more confident than I felt after the birth of my first child. I feel like I'm growing up along with my children, like we are all learning from and for each other. I am tired, tired, but they along with their amazing father are my treasures, and tired or not, I know this life is so good.
I will drink it up. That and coffee. Oh, sweet coffee.
I've been wanting to post Selah's birth story since it happened on August 6th, but I've been a little preoccupied . One week from holding my daughter for the first time, here is a "quick" version for those who might be interested.
The night before my Selah girl's arrival, I told some friends I thought she would never come. That's how it feels sometimes.
I woke up to a strong contraction at 6 the next morning. No big deal; I've been having contractions for months (?), and I wasn't too hopeful that this was "it." When they persisted, I started timing them. Ten minutes apart, sometimes a closer. Hmmmm...
6:45 am- I really wanted to make a good breakfast. I got to work making coconut flour- based zucchini bread and slow-cooked zucchini, to be served with eggs, heirloom tomatoes, and goat cheese. And coffee with cream, of course. Always coffee.
7:00 am-I informed Tim what was going on out of perceived necessity- he was sleeping on the couch (something he often did toward the end to allow me the best possible chance to spread out and sleep comfortably) and even though I was trying not to make too much noise, I wasn't as successful as I hoped. But I was having regular, strong contractions, and I NEEDED to make breakfast!
7:15 am- I texted two dear friends to inform them about what was going on and invite them for breakfast.
8:00 am- I contacted my doula. I knew she wasn't able to come until 11:30 due to a mandatory deposition at her day job. No big deal.
8:15 am- One of my friends was able to come over (I think it was around this time?). We talked and cooked, and she ended up finishing the cooking while I stopped for contractions. I ended up taking my plate upstairs to eat in the bath because contractions were getting stronger, and I thought the tub might soften the pain, as it did during my labor with Nolan.
I stopped timing contractions, and just took them as they came. Faster and stronger. Tim took over without me asking him, arranged Nolan's pick-up time, made any other appropriate phone calls or texts, and told me when we thought we should leave for the hospital.
Nolan was uncharacteristically uninterested in me, a HUGE gift. Although I felt sad that we couldn't spend the time over breakfast that I wanted to that morning, I knew we'd be reunited soon and he'd be thrilled to spend the day with his Pop-Pop.
10:10 am- we left for the hospital, stopping for contractions on the way to the car.
10:20 am- Tim and I walked to triage slowly, stopping for many contractions. I could not fathom sitting in a wheel chair for any length of time. I was convinced I was traumatizing first-time pregnant mamas, but there wasn't anything I could do. Selah was COMING, and all I could do was live in that.
Full disclosure: Phrases like, "I don't think I can do this" came out of my mouth many times.
10:30 am- We check in. The woman at the desk seems unimpressed with my current situation, but since I've been to triage many times during this pregnancy (false labor and lots of non-stress tests), a nurse who knows and likes me gets a crew together immediately.
I get "checked." I've already determined that if progress isn't to my liking, I NEED drugs.
The team tells me to move to a delivery bed, but I. CAN'T MOVE.
The team waits for me to comply while my hero husband rescues me and pulls me onto the appropriate bed.
A lot of pain. A lot of coaching. A lot of feeling overwhelmed and almost completely out of control.
11:00 am. My Selah girl is born. We lie skin-to-skin for at least 45 minutes, and I am still in some pain, but it doesn't matter because she is here. Just when I thought she'd never come.
Selah Marie, 19.5 inches long, 7 lb. 2.3 ounces (my nurse told me I should own that .3 because I pushed it out. Ha!), cherished, loved, and treasured.
I am 40 weeks pregnant and feeling giant and marshmallow-y.
I am, surprisingly and for the most part, not bothered by this.
I don't know when active labor will start, and although I've been having fun trying out some old wives' tails, I can't actually make it happen (outside of induction. or a schedule C-section. neither of which I want).
I've sort of had to let it go and just keeping living life.
Summer offers so much life. The sun takes longer to set, so we stay up later, making connections and not feeling rushed about it. The farmers markets are full of fresh, just-picked produce, and in some cases, we can pick it ourselves. (My husband and son take care of our garden; I just pick and eat.) Every weekend seems to hold something we want to check out or find out if our son is interested (he is mostly interested in everything right now, making trying new things that much more fun.)
Tim and I have somehow landed 2 dates two weekends in a row.
So much new keeps making itself available. New friends. New opportunities. New traditions. New ideas.
I am hopeful that I will be able to follow through on all the plans I'm so excited about in the next few months, but I know that I cannot control every.single.thing that I want to (even though I would really like to!). That, in itself, is living life. Who knows what opportunities will be made available that I have not even dreamed of yet?
With that, I'll leave you with a camera phone snapshot of my giant belly to commemorate this day.
I get that there are times when the prep work for a real food meal didn't happen and time is not on our side. I do.
For those times, I would say there are real food options that can be obtained relatively quickly and at least somewhat healthfully.
There are a couple of options in my area that I would consider when wanting something quick, "real," and satisfying. You might have different options in your area, and if so, I'd love to hear about them!
Chipotle. While I'm not a fan of everything they serve, Chipotle does a great job of being transparent about their food. You can make your own informed decision by checking out their ingredient statement here. Everything, with the exception of tortilla chips, tortillas, and possibly white rice, looks like real food to me.
Elevation Burger. While not quite as transparent as Chipotle, Elevation Burger does offer100% grassfed burger patties, organic bacon, aged & unprocessed cheddar, fresh-cut fries cooked in 100% olive oil, and organic milk, all of which pass my real food test.
If you're from the Reading, PA area, what am I missing?
If you're not, I'm curious- what fast real food options do you have in your area?
Okay, so I'm no fashion queen, and I've maybe a little bit (a lot) fallen out of the practice of being creative with my clothing choices. I enjoy fashion, but up until recently, I didn't think I could really be into it in a way I could afford, avoid supporting business practices I don't agree with, and even support the ones I really DO want to get behind. (My "being into fashion" may be very different than yours. I am talking about feeling good and like "me" in my clothes here).
I am slowly getting back into having fun with my outfits again. If you want to support slave-free and fair trade practices when you make fashion choices, too, I highly recommend hopping on the following ASAP.
Seriously, sign up for thredUp (link is my referral code). And get the app. I previously mentioned that I opted to pay $20 to cover shipping for the entire year. I also discovered that signing up for the app means that return shipping is free, making purchases fairly risk-free. I posted my first purchases on Facebook, earning me $20 dollars in referral credits. So, this morning, when my very pregnant self needed a little pick-me-up, I opened up the app and ordered a completely FREE outfit for post baby days- larger than I would wear in normal, non-pregnant life because I'm not dumb. And I STILL have a few dollars in credit left in my account.
Have you checked out the awesomeness that is Noonday? I'm not an ambassador (yet), but the new line is launching on August 7th. Ambassadors and Noonday in general are looking to sell off last season's wares, so it's a good time to score some discounted gorgeousness while STILL being a part of sustainable fair trade practices and orphan care. Check out the sales at Noonday's main site here or a local ambassador's sample sale here.
This holding what I have loosely thing is a continual practice.
Definitely not a once and done "this is what I'm going to do, that's final, I've got it down, moving on" type of decisions.
It reminds me of my yoga practice (which I'm now feeling a little anxious to get back into. I do some prenatal yoga, but it's not quite the same. Any locals have affordable ideas for a mama in need of regular yoga, including childcare?).
Sometimes it's several times in one moment that I have to consciously determine whether I'm doing what I can on my part and then let the rest go. I have to open my hands, sometimes physically to let this trusting parts of my life that I cannot control to someone or something else happen.
Y'all, I want to control parts of my life that I can't, even though I don't really know how they are going to turn out best. I don't like that in-between discomfort that comes with letting life unravel. I want the comfort of knowing.
I don't know when my Selah girl is going to show up. I want to tell her any day but one, because I don't know how her being born then will effect others' feelings. I want to control her birth and I how other people feel about it.
My sweet niece was born yesterday to one of my favorite people in the world. She sleeps 1,450 miles away, and I don't know when I'm going to get to snuggle her.
I've been spending quite a bit of time researching Noonday, wondering if it's the right fit for me and my family. There's only so far I can go until I get the answers I need, and the one or two people who are assigned to answer them for me are currently occupied with other things.
Yesterday, I found out that one of my dearest, kindred-spirit-type friends is moving 1,600 miles away in less than 3 weeks.
Y'all. I can't control any of that, and it's hard.
I can keep playing my own part and opening up my hands, even when I have to pry them open (several times in one moment).
I will. I'm going to practice that.
I have to believe that there are beautiful things to be had in
practicing openness, not shutting down
doing the best I can with what is mine to control
look for reasons to be grateful
for parts of life I don't love right now.
That is the hope I am holding onto.