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18Dec/123

I can do it all at once, right?

I am currently considering the following:

-Pouring myself into The Social Eater, this time turning it into more of a resource instead of a blog.

-Finishing my Masters (as inspired by my husband who graduated last Saturday! and a job I could likely have right now if I had already finished)

-Pouring myself into journalistic-style writing, with the help of my uncle, in an attempt to make a go of freelancing.

-Getting any old job and pouring almost my entire focus into being the best wife, mother, and friend I can be.

Choices, choices.

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21Jun/124

Where to next?

The boys are sleeping.

I'm not sure for how much longer, so I'm going to try to type quickly.

I've been sitting here, thinking about what to do with my fair trade efforts next.

I write once a week, but I really haven't had the structure of time set aside just to work recently. I think summer weekends tend to be quite busy, and since my working time was usually Saturday morning/afternoon (prime get-together/travelling/much-needed family time), my efforts have been kind of squished into the more empty spots of my days.

I know that I cannot change a system that is so often bent on "more for less" on my own. I don't despair over that, but I also am not quite sure where to go from here.

I'd love to host a screening of "The Dark Side of Chocolate," hold a little discussion, provide fair trade chocolate-based snacks, that sort of thing...but who would come ? And where would I have it?

I don't know HOW to change things, but I know that doesn't mean I get to give up.

There is no giving up on something I am passionate about.

Discouragement at times, yes. But no quitting.

I do know that I can make changes to what I do. I know that I can do something to make sure I am gracious and knowledgeable when someone does want to have a conversation about fair trade/small farmers/ workers rights/slavery.

I know that I can try things and fail and try things again.

Not only can but should and need to.

It's about time to try (a few new) things.

10Feb/121

Happy Friday!

Y'all (yes, I say this. Mostly in my head. Yes, I am born and raised in Pennsylvania. Moving on.), parenting is hard. And it's wonderful.

I happen to be awake before Nolan(as I start this post...only time will tell if he stays asleep until I publish it), so I thought I'd go for a little online interaction while he's still sleeping peacefully.

I know that my writing hasn't been high-quality lately. Actually, most of my would-be posts are crafted in my head...when I can't sit down to write them. But I still need to be here, you know? I still love the catharsis of seeing words spill out onto the screen. I still love the interaction.

I still read what you're writing. Sometimes on my phone via my Google Reader while trying to stay awake in the middle of the night as I rock Nolan to sleep.

But I read.

There are a few thoughts I'd like to share with you (and get your feedback if you want to share it!) today...on this FRIDAY.

Hooray for Friday. For me, it means I get to go to a studio yoga class tomorrow, work on my most recent fair-trade-centric projects, and then home to my boys refreshed and ready for family time. It means 2 days of life as the 3 of us, of laying in bed til noon on Sunday if we want to. It means meeting with friends and trying new things together.

So. Just a few thoughts before we get on with the beauty that is Friday:

1) Right now, my stomach feels like it's going to eat itself. This is of note because it's 7:45, and I last ate at 3:30 this morning. Both Nolan and I are eating so much, and I'm almost not quite sure how we're going to keep up with the grocery bills. I'm not complaining. I like eating, and I'm actually going to miss my huge appetite when it's gone.

2) One of my favorite posts this week was this one. It's all about making the ordinary things into the extraordinary. I love, love, love it.

Also? I'm just really glad Kelle blogs. Her perspective is just so refreshing- invigorating, even.

3) I'm thinking about doing Tina's Best Body Bootcamp.

Pluses: accountability, possible prizes, it ends right around the time I'll be finishing 30 Day Shred and looking for the next fitness challenge

Minuses: It costs (just) $25. That's really a great price for 8 weeks of workouts (so this could go under the pluses category, too), but as a stay-at-home mom, I really have to weigh and measure where I spend any money. Also, my Shred videos have fun music and visuals to keep Nolan entertained while I work out. I'm concerned I will have a hard time fitting in the boot camp workouts at home.

What would you do?

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17Jan/1217

Why I’m Not Weighing Myself

[operationbeautiful.com]

There are a lot of Body After Baby posts out there.

A lot.

It's great, really. Happy, healthy mama makes for happy, healthy kids. I really enjoy reading those posts. I find them encouraging and inspiring more often than not.

But you won't find one of those posts here.

The main reason is I can't.

I can't pursue the same goals you'll find in those posts and stick to my "healthy, happy" goals.

I know because I was pursuing them. I was weighing in with a specific number in mind. A number, I might add, that is quite healthy for my body.

I knew that it might take me some time to reach that number. Months, maybe a year.

But then my thoughts kind of got taken over. If I didn't lose weight between weigh-ins, I was discouraged, despite all the good, healthy choices I'd been making.

When I was feeling particularly overwhelmed, my thoughts became, "who cares about the number? I want comfort eating NOW."

I was fitting back into some of my pre-pregnancy clothes and feeling good about it, but that number? It wasn't low enough. I was convinced that I shouldn't be able to wear those clothes at my weight. Parade dampened.

So.

I made a decision.

Me and the scale? We're taking break. We need our space and we're not sure when we might get back together.

Now I'm working out with other goals in mind.

Strength. For me, there's a certain pride I feel in feeling strong. I have fond memories of cleaning out a storage facility with mostly guys. Those guys would ask me if I needed help with boxes that looked particularly heavy, and the thing is, I really didn't. I was lifting regularly, I was capable of participating in activities that required strength, and I was proud of that. I wouldn't mind feeling like that again.

Quality of life. I believe that spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental health are tied together. If one is improved, it is likely the others are, as well. If one suffers, the other aspects suffer. I want to squeeze every sweet drop out of life, and that means being prepared and doing what I can to have the energy and ability to take on opportunities as they come up.

Comfort in my own skin. If I pay attention to the above aspects and wear clothes that fit me well, this particular goal falls in place quite easily.

Right now, those things are more important to me than a particular number of pounds on my frame.

And since I don't have the ability to do both...

Well, I know the scale will be waiting for me should I choose to return.

Related posts that resonated with me:

The Year I Stopped Chasing Skinny

A New Tool: The Zero Scale (Part of this post is a  product endorsement. I have no plans or desire to purchase said product, but I appreciate the ideas and thoughts presented.)

2Jan/122

Hello, Monday

Hello, Monday.

Hello to a new week and a new year. (So many possibilities in such a simple sentence!)

Hello, saying goodbye to my "little" brother (I'm getting teary just writing that out) and bringing Nolan along to soften the blow...for everyone. That boy's a magic charm.

Hello, getting back to exercise, reading, and blogging.

Hello, dancing around the house with my little boy and

celebrating my fifth wedding anniversary with my man (and massages and a special meal to go with it!).

It's going to be a beautiful week.

What's going on in your world this week?

28Jun/111

I Don’t Know

It seems all I want to write about lately is food and pregnancy.

source:vibrantlifephotography via pinterest

Hey, that's ok. Those are two very exciting things.

But here's the thing. I know there will be a time when I'm no longer pregnant, when I'm feeling more tired than enchanted with being a mother, when I just don't feel like cooking an actual meal, so another egg sandwich it is.

What do I have to fall back on then?

I have been thinking about this. I've been thinking about it as my last few days of work wind down and my last set grad assignment date looms: What do I want to work toward? What do I want to be? If and when I do choose to go back to work, what do I want to do (if the choice is mine)? I've begun the process of studying to become a reading specialist- do I want to stick with that? Or choose something else?

I know my first goals are to love my husband, and then love my child(ren) in word and in action.

My second goals also have to do with people. With wanting to make life better, not worse. With wanting to learn to listen, be where I need to be, give out hugs, and make smoothies on a tired winter evening, if that's what's needed.

Tim and Michelle did all the smoothie-making in this case.

Then there's this part of me that keeps the idea that there is very little that can be promised to me close. People change in big and small ways. They get in accidents and sometimes they die before I think they should. I don't know when or why or where these things will happen.

I don't hate this part of me. It has me cherishing more moments, gushing with more love and throwing out more inhibitions than I might otherwise.

I'm not saying I have the whole "live in the moment" thing down. I'm saying I don't want to change my awareness that everything I have is temporary. I like it. I like who it makes me to be.

But I am saying that the same awareness spurs me on to the thought that I need something that is just me.

When life continues on its path of continual change I have:

  • yoga
  • cooking
  • my teaching abilities
  • writing
  • faith in God (it changes, but it is always there)
  • dancing (even if I lose the ability to walk, I can dance in my chair, as I have on many occasions)

So what do I want to pursue? I could become a yoga teacher, a cook, a professional writer...I could continue on the path of education I am currently on...

I just don't know how to decide.

No idea.

In the meantime, I'm loving this path of learning about pregnancy, birth, motherhood, nutrition, cooking, and hospitality.

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2Jun/110

Decisions, Decisions

I know.

I really have been a bum about updates around here.

I've been getting caught up with all kinds of things. Big things. Life things. Saying goodbye and pregnancies and birthdays and weddings. (Which I would like to be blogging about, but I've simply been running out of time.)

I still don't have a bump picture, but I do have something to say.

That is, today I was reminded of something absolutely wonderful about life.

There is a woman in my life who is absolutely toxic (and of course, you know this is not the wonderful part). She seems to always be in search of ways to put me down. Ways to rain on my parade. Ways that are masked as "helpful" or "interested" that aren't, really.

I have learned to deal with this, for the most part.

But let me tell you- one thing this pregnancy has brought with it is a much lower tolerance level. Along with that same treatment from a particular woman refocused on my growing belly.

And a gray cloud that hangs out over my head sometimes- well, too often, really.  I haven't wanted to let the  comments bother me, but they have.

The comments continued, my poor husband the sounding board for my frustrations.

Today, I was sure I was about ready to blow a fuse.

I vented to my husband (again).

I vented to my sister.

I vented on a pregnancy forum I frequent.

(Thank you to everyone who listened! I needed that today!)

Which led me to realize something wonderful about this life we live- choices.

 I get to decide what I'm going to do with the comments I've been trying so hard to be gracious about (while inwardly getting more and more bothered). I get to decide whether I'm going let her rain on my parade or whether I'm going to push her comments aside and enjoy the changes that are going on in me for the beauty and the miracle that they are.

I get to decide.

And that makes me feel so much better.

And by the way, a few of the things I decide are:

-My body is doing something amazing and inspiring, and I'm going to continue my quest to soak every moment of it up.

-It's not a good idea to ask my husband, "am I really that much bigger?" after hearing a particularly bothersome comment. He won't say it, but I am getting bigger. There is a baby growing inside of me. No one that matters in my life cares, no one thinks my identity is tied to my (growing) size. It's a good idea to just let it go and enjoy. (To this end, I've started stepping on the scale only at the doctor's office, no more at home.)

-New life is something to be celebrated, and celebrate I will.

-No one unnecessarily rains on my parade without my permission.

11Apr/112

Well, Hello, Monday

Work has gotten noticeably more challenging in the past couple of months.

There are several reasons, but I'll spare you the details.

None of those reasons are actually the star of today's show.

There are many mornings when I wake up, inwardly grumbling about waking up to the sound of an alarm and about what lies ahead.

It's silly, really. Complaining only puts me in a worse mood than I was the moment before (unless I am needing to vent, but I assure you, there is no genuine venting at 6 am for me, only whining).[Source]

On my best mornings, I usually still wake up, instinctively grumbling, to tell you the truth. But on those mornings, I nip it in the bud quick, before my pessimistic side taints more of my day than it already has.

I list things I am thankful for.

I thank God for them.

I ask God for help, essentially "rocking" my day.

And let me tell you, on those, my best mornings, I do rock my day.

Maybe I still leave work spent, but I'm satisfied.

Today was like that.

I'm thinking Mondays aren't so bad.

13Feb/111

Food Blogging

So, the consensus on my personal food blogging questions seems to be that the creativity, beauty, and fun of food trumps the ability to see every single bite I eat.

Sounds good to me. Tonight I made a stirfry using West Soy's Chicken Style Seitan. I'm convinced that given the proper stock of ingredients, I could eat stir fry every night for a long time before tiring of it. My husband loves it, it's easy to get in plenty of veggies, protein, and whole grains, and there are so many combination possibilities.

I'm guessing I'll be posting a recipe quite soon, but for now, the combination of flavors that's working for us looks something like this:

-Saute garlic, shallots (or really, any type of onion), and ginger (if you have it) in a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil.

-Add protein and veggies (order depends on cooking time needs of individual ingredients).

-Poor a mixture of 3 tablespoons soy sauce + 1 tsp sugar over stir fry.

-Turn stove off and add sesame oil. Serve with brown rice.

Pretty easy, right?

(I got the photo you see above from here. I wasn't sure how tonight's dinner would turn out, so I didn't photograph it. I'm getting much better at making stir fries, being confident in the cooking abilities I do have, and trying to improve my ability to take a picture, so expect more food photos in the future!)

9Feb/111

A Short Detour

Yesterday's plan looked something like this:

  • Work
  • Stop at home, grab a snack, exchange work pants for jeans and head back out
  • Meet my dad for coffee
  • Scrap exercise plans in favor of heading home, doing a bit of housework, writing and publishing a blog post, and going to bed early

Well, while I was still on my date with my dad, two people that I love very much (Hi, Steph and Alex!) showed up, so when he left, I stuck around. After which, maybe I "should have" gone home to catch up on sleep, but I couldn't resist the invitation to meet my husband and brother at a nearby pub (and the promise of a glass of red wine. Although for future reference, being that tired and drinking wine is not a good combo. I wanted to lay my head right there on the table.)

I went home. I went to bed. No housework, no prep for the following day, no blogging.

I think I made the right choices:-).

I have been really, really tired these past few days. Not emotionally, just physically. This seems to happen easily during the workweek, and overdosing on coffee does not seem to do it for me. So, maybe my writing attempts are less than stellar. Maybe my food choices are less than stellar (the lack of prep has me just throwing items together and relying too heavily on protein bars.)

But I haven't overeaten.  That means I haven't been relying on old and unhealthy habits to power me through less than ideal circumstances. I've been making conscious decisions, enjoying conversation and experiences and life with people around me even when impulses tell me to give myself a boost with handfuls of sugar and empty calories. There is a place for empty calories, of course; there is no way I am swearing off dessert. But food- as much as I love it and believe it can lead to warmer community and richer conversations and all kinds of amazing things- is being put back in its place.

I like where this is going. Small changes lead to big changes.

Today, I'm going to divert from the plan a little. (I have a feeling you won't mind.)

I'm not going to post what I ate yesterday or all the things I choose to eat today. I'm doing well, and I will tell you if I slip. (I will; my boundaries are limited when it comes to what I will admit on via the internet.) I am writing this on my lunch break with no applicable food photos in tow, food is not going to make up for the lack of energy I'm working with (so I've got to go to bed early tonight), and I have plenty of homework to complete before Saturday.

I'll be back tomorrow with pictures of my food choices, thoughts, and (I hope, I hope!) much more energy.

What's everyone making for dinner tonight? I could use some new ideas.