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8Sep/142

How to Receive a Trophy (or Not)

The whole "it takes a village" thing?

YES to all of that.

I'll admit that I and my husband are the ones who signed up for this parenthood gig, but there's so much that we can't give our kids that OTHERS can. Sets of skills, perspectives, undivided attention while we are attending to work/each other/another child.

My children are so much better for the time they spend with the people who love them that don't HAVE to. Those people didn't sign up for this crazy, beautiful, difficult life we didn't quite understand when we bought in- but then they bought in, too. I am overwhelmed- in a very good way- by that.

Collectively, my kids have very special people in their lives who can show them how to build and use tools, create something out of scraps of fabric or ingredients in the kitchen. They have people who can show them how to welcome others into their home, how to feed bodies and souls, work with numbers, play sports, take care of the earth, spin stories out of words, climb trees and ropes and slides...and that is not close to the end of the list.

Thank you, GOD for people that fill in the many gaps for us.

We are (so much) better for it.

So are our kids.

Our lives.

I am not being dramatic here.

This life is not meant to live alone, Y'all. Every time I've thought I must be the only one, that I must be alone in whatever I was or am dealing with, I was DEAD WRONG.

Everything I've seen or experienced that's been really life-changing and beautiful? Not done alone.

Fair trade coops. Communities of people that love each other through the messiness of life. Tears met with an "I'll hug you till you've had enough." Companies and groups of people creating opportunities for better lives for others.

I keep thinking I'll find the ONE thing that's "mine."

I mean, I am a fair trade girl, through and through. But what about a job? What about something I can really call my own? What company can I start to align with my values and passions?

I want my kids to see me doing something that benefits the lives of my family AND others. I want to make my mark.

I am still looking for it, but in the meantime, there are so many groups of people doing beautiful things that I can join in on. I can be a part of them, if I choose, even if I can't plaster my name all over them and hold them up like some kind of trophy.

They are "mine" if I buy in and get involved.

My kids still belong to my parents and my in-laws, too. Because they chose to buy in.

Maybe you're like me, and you don't know what you want to do with "the rest of your life." Maybe it won't be one thing? Maybe we should stop waiting until we find that one thing? Maybe life keeps evolving and we'll never achieve our names plastered on anything. Whether or not we receive recognition, we can claim beautiful things as our own.

That is what I'm choosing to believe.

Ps. If you need a few ideas, some of the things I'm buying into are Wildly Co., Noonday, fair trade in general, the need for adoption and my family. I'd love to hear your ideas, too!

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7Sep/141

Stuffing my Face & a Possible Solution

I fell hard into the pit of shoveling ALL the food into my mouth on yesterday.

I spent the date physically attached to my baby who spit up all over me several times and then nursed the entire rest of the day when she wasn't sleeping (mostly on me).

I looked for-and found!- sweet parts of the day. Nolan ended up spending the day & night at his grandparents', unplanned by me. He got to spend quality time with them, while I was able to focus on selah & her needs.

Selah's constant needs + the heat+ not enough sleep wore me down, I guess, and I ended up making some pretty poor dietary choices- lots of sugar and even takeout pizza.

Pizza is really forbidden territory for me. I avoid gluten because it seems to make me more tired, and I can't afford that at a time when all my energy seems to go to my baby and I still have a husband and son to love on. I avoid dairy because it's hard for Selah to digest right now (i ended up avoiding it until Nolan was 3 months old, too.)

The pizza was straight up putting myself & my desire for me time ahead of my family. I didn't create time for me and because of that, I reached for it the easiest way I know how- in the form of sugar and low-nutrient carbs. I used to think ideas about putting yourself "first" so you can then pour into others were a bit sketchy- and probably they can be taken too far- but I'm also seeing that creating a little outlet for me would have better served me AND my family. Takeout pizza and/or eating everything in sight doesn't actually leave me feeling great and it lessens my capacity for nurturing the relationships I care about most.

So.

Tweak to my September goals- add planned movement into my every day. I've noticed on days I run, I have no real desire to stuff my face. The run- even when I bring my toddler along- is my "me" time, my outlet, and my rejuvenation. It settles my nerves enough to plow through whatever I otherwise feel like I want to numb with sugar and other empty carbs.

Alright. Here we go (again). Thank God for the chance to "start fresh" at any given moment, right?

1Sep/143

It’s okay to say things are tough + September Goals

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.

Sorry, Tim.

[September Goals]

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.

30Aug/140

Wildly Co.

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.

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24Aug/140

On being healthy, spending money, and being in charge of human life.

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.

Related posts:

Buying Less Crap while Still Looking Cute in Your Clothes

Follow up: Buying Less Crap while Still Looking Cute in Your Clothes

two things to check out now for more affordable slave-free fashion

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?

22Aug/140

Real Food Friday: What works and what doesn’t (for me) for postpartum eating

Hi, All,

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!

[What works]

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.

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21Aug/147

Quick! Let’s catch up!

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.

Some things:

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.

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13Aug/147

And I thought she would never come.

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.

No dice.

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.

8 centimeters.

Water breaks.

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.

And then.

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.

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3Aug/144

Selah is due “today.”

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.

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1Aug/141

Real Food Friday: Fast Food

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?