Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hotbed Subjects

I find that while I have strong opinions about many subjects, I tend to be reticent about them, both in person and in this space. I hate alienating people and I hate the fallback.  I much prefer to embrace everyone and their lives and life decisions as theirs - after all, they are the ones who must live with their choices, so why should I force my opinion on them?  Perhaps this is also because that is how I prefer to be treated - my decisions respected no matter the other person's opinion one way or the other.  So, while I try to write about many things, I often don't go into deep subjects, preferring to avoid any blow-back or negativity in this space.

However, I DO have strong opinions on many subjects, and, beyond that, I'm a researcher by nature.  I want to know something?  I start digging.  I read books, I use my friend Mr. Google, I do academic searches, watch videos on the subject.  Go to respected research and read it myself.  So, you can guess that, while some of my decisions are 'gut' decisions, most of them have been well thought-out, heavily researched, and my decision has been made, one way or the other, by what I've found and careful thought on the subject.  If it affects my family, hubster and I discuss it and share opinions and go from there.

Why do I mention this?

Simply because someday, I might be brave enough to not only voice those thoughts, but actually dedicate post space to them.

Because, maybe I'd like to voice some of those opinions in a slap-dash way right now, so that when it pops up in a post later, maybe, just maybe, that fallback will be smaller.

So, in a nutshell, some of my beliefs (and remember, I'm a researcher, so I've already done my research on all sides of the arguments):


  • LOVE.  love people. All people.  Regardless of Race, Gender, Sexuality, etc, etc. 
  • RESPECT.  treat all people with respect.  Think before you speak.  Treat others as you would like to be treated.  If you can handle what you dish out, don't dish it out in the first place.
  • LIVE AND LET LIVE.  For all things this applies.  See above.
  • GOD/JESUS.  Yes.  I'm a Christian.  I believe Jesus Christ is our savior and all that wonderful lovely stuff.  But I'm not evangelical.  I am a 'live-and-let-live' sort.  
  • CHILDREN.  for me, yes. For other people - that's their decision.  How many? Their choice.
  • ABORTION. Hot hot hot subject.  I'm not pro-abortion.  But I'm not anti-abortion either.  It's completely circumstantial and by situation.  Too many grey areas for it to be one way or the other.
  • CIRCUMCISION.  No.  100x no.  I could never let anyone needlessly (even harmfully) remove a part of my child .  However, it's not my decision for other people's children and I won't force my opinion on them.  (You can check this book out about it, though)
  • BREASTFEEDING. Yes. 100x yes.  For as long or as short is appropriate for your family.  There are so many benefits for Mommy and Baby that it's silly to discredit it.
  • BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC. Yes.  Duh.  Baby's gotta eat when baby's gotta eat.  It's legal to breastfeed anywhere the mother is legally allowed to be.  NO cover necessary.  However, if you are more comfortable with a cover or pumping and giving bottles, that's fine too!  
  • VACCINATION. Yes.  The diseases that are vaccinated against are nasty nasty thing.  It's obviously completely up to the parents, but I feel safer having my little ones protected from the nastiness that are covered by those vaccinations and I'd rather have a child with autism than a child struggling or dying from whooping cough.
  • GAY MARRIAGE. Some of the most wonderful people I know are gay and are in long-lasting, amazing relationships.  Why would I want to deny them marriage and the corresponding rights?  Why should it be up to me or the state or ANYONE but them? Remember my Live and let Live philosophy?
  • POLITICS.  I fall strictly.... nowhere.  I'm Liberal on many subjects, but I'm Conservative on others.  I don't align with any party and choose to vote on the issues rather than party lines.  I voted for Obama in '08.  I don't think he's all that bad.  I don't think he's amazing.  He's human.  And that is the best thing to be.  Why do we expect people to be superhuman and perfect when they are elected?  They are still human!
Anyway.  Those are the main hotbed subjects that come to mind.  So now nobody is surprised when things pop up. :)

~E.S. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

A.T.G.F.B. (Absolutely Terrified Gluten Free Baking)

I can't remember if I've mentioned it here before, but about a year ago, I decided to go gluten-free/limit my gluten consumption.  No need to go into the reasons since that isn't the point of the post!

I used to bake a ton!  My husband LOVED it.  Pies, Cakes, and Cookies were regularly coming out of our oven and it was one of the best ways for me to de-stress after a rough week.  Since going gluten free, however, I've been terrified to bake and have done very little.  The baking I have done has been from boxes and mixes.  I don't know if I'm nesting or what, but the urge to bake has been getting stronger.  This has led to more baking (admittedly still from a box) but I'd like to share some of the little things that have worked well!

*please keep in mind that these are not trying to be healthy recipes*

GF mixed berry muffins using Pamela's Pancake and Baking mix.  These came out SO good and I just pulled the recipe off the side of the package.  I used frozen mixed berries from Trader Joe's that I defrosted while I mixed.  Then I added my own 'streusel' topping that I made from Coconut oil, brown sugar, and a pinch of gf mixed flour.  I used this recipe and modified to my preference.  I'm not 100% dairy free, but since I'm sensitive to dairy, I used coconut oil in place of the butter.

GF birthday cakes for my munchkin: 
all of these cakes (for Dec's first birthday) were made with Bob's Red Mill gf cake mixes.  Both the chocolate and the vanilla.  I was making a bunch of cakes that month since my boy and my mom share a birthday and we celebrated it twice!  These were unmodified - I just followed the directions on the package - and were a pretty big hit!

and, right now, I've got my first GF banana bread in the oven... *crossing my fingers* that it comes out!  It's also made with Pamela's Pancake and Baking mix (Which has nuts and dairy in it, for those with issues with either of those things) and some bananas that were going sad in my kitchen.  Again I substituted Coconut oil for the butter.  Let you know how it goes!

~E.S.

30 weeks

I'm 30 weeks already!

I swear, this pregnancy is flying by.  There are some things from my first pregnancy that I miss-  like getting to take a babymoon.  We're just too busy to sneak off and I feel bad leaving Dec for a weekend.  I haven't yet left him overnight!

So, I know I haven't done pregnancy updates at all this time, but it might be fun to just check in anyway.

At this point in my pregnancy...
Your baby's about 15.7 inches long now and weighs almost 3 pounds (about the size of a large cabbage). A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her, but that volume will shrink as she gets bigger and takes up more room in your uterus. Her eyesight continues to develop, though it's not very keen; even after she's born, she'll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When she does open them, she'll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means she can only make out objects a few inches from her face. 
SOURCE

So, I'm chugging along in this pregnancy and I have to share that pants are so not comfortable this time!  I'm all about dresses and skirts. Along those lines I've just recently discovered maxi skirts... I know, they've been around forever, but I was never one to go for them. Until now!

 

This skirt is seriously the most comfortable thing ever!  and I've been loving this flowy cardigan thing.  it's a sweatshirt material and OH SO COMFY! I love feeling cute while I still feel comfy this pregnancy.

Quick facts about this pregnancy:

  • I can feel baby move SO much more this time.  And he's an active one!
  • Dec likes patting 'baby brother' and giving him kisses.  If you ask him where baby brother is he generally pats the nearest adult stomach (usually mine) or pokes himself in the belly.  It's hilarious and cute!
  • I'm freaking out about how things are going to go with Dec after the new baby comes.  He's so curious about babies and is so sweet and gentle with them.  However, I've noticed this week that while he prefers independent play when I'm available and ready and willing to play with him, the second my attention is on someone else (aka, if I'm teaching and he has to be here for some reason) he just wants mommy and becomes a crazy, attention-seeking, screaming, turning the keyboard off toddler. So I'm understandably nervous about the transition! 
  • My tailbone and pelvic structure is feeling much more painful this time - I think because I'm carrying Dec as well as being pregnant.  (and I haven't been doing as much yoga this time)
Generally, this time my pregnancy hasn't been the main place where I'm placing my attention, where last time, ALL my attention was on my pregnancy!  

I'll leave you with these cheery flowers that my hubby brought home Wednesday night!

Happy Friday!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

On Self-love, Beauty, and Ideals

A recent post by fellow blogger and sister-in-law, Cori, got me thinking more.  I've already been riding on the self-love boat since discovering the Birth Without Fear Self-love project, this, and this project by the amazing Jade Beall, but I've never talked about it and my feelings about it in this space, So here we go.

Since having Dec, I've been hyper-conscious about how he sees me perceive myself.  I want him to learn how to appreciate all kinds of beauty, and love all kinds of beauty.  My attitude towards my own looks and how I beat myself up was not how I wanted him to appreciate women and their bodies.  If I ever have a daughter, I don't want her to learn that self loathing from me either.  I am God's creation and so blessed by all the gifts He has bestowed upon me; life, good health, an amazing body that has delivered a beautiful child, and an amazing gift of a singing voice.  I am not perfect, but I am blessed and God's creation and now it's my job to love that creation and pass on that tradition of self love to my children!

This, however, was not my mindset for much of my teenaged and adult life thus far.  I was always self-conscious of  how skinny I was (or not skinny), how big my nose was, how my smile was too big, how I looked too young, teeth too big, face too thin, my double chin (??? where did I get that from, btw?), whether my stomach was flat, my chest too small, my thighs and butt too big.  I became a workout junkie, not because I wanted to be healthy, but because I wanted to be skinny.  For a long time I was skinny- too skinny.  The biggest turn arounds in my mindset happened during grad school, while I was pregnant (body image), and when Declan was born (how I feel about my face).

This is not to say that I still don't have moments, of course, but that I am working on changing my own outlook so that I'm not teaching my children that thought process.

So what were the factors to changing my thought process?

In Grad school, I started having lots of health issues tied to stress.  Suddenly I realized that skinny didn't matter if you were sick all the time.  I started doing yoga more - a lot more -and included a home practice which changed my world.  In the process I found myself feeling stronger, healthier, and though I wasn't as skinny, I felt better about my body. I stopped worrying about weight or inches and started thinking about function, health, and strength.

A couple years later I got pregnant.  I thought I would be this perfect fit pregnant momma, but life (and my body) had other plans.  Pregnancy alone is rough on my metabolism and I was lucky to have enough energy at the end of the day to cook dinner, let alone get up early or workout before bed!  I took myself to prenatal yoga, which was about all I could handle, but also ended up being perfect for me.  Among other things, prenatal yoga taught me that yoga shouldn't be a competition of me against my body, but a melding of the two.  An acceptance of my body's abilities at the moment.  I grew to appreciate the day to day changes of my body and to respect it's limits.  During pregnancy I also changed my thoughts on  what beauty is.  It is so easy to start feeling huge, out of control, or just start resenting your body when you're pregnant, but I found the magic of the changes freeing and loved every moment of getting bigger and rounder.  I think I loved my body most when I was pregnant with Declan!

After Declan I discovered all of the projects I showed earlier.  I also developed my first distinct wrinkles (!!!) and started to fall back into that pattern of insulting myself.  It took me a year to start feeling 'normal' and to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  I was softer around the middle, I had wrinkles and stretch marks in places I had never had them before.  Sleeplessness gave me dark circles under my eyes, my hair fell out, then started growing back (and now, with this pregnancy, has gone thicker, wavier, and crazier).  Again I came to the realization that I was letting society's view of beauty dictate how I felt about myself.

I've been doing pretty good lately.  I generally feel really good about myself and almost never wear makeup  or do my hair (who has time?) and feel confident in how I look most of the time.  My exceptions are those days that I feel like I look really young and have a 'grown-up' job to do, the days I feel like my hair is OUTTA CONTROL, and the days when i'm busy thinking I'm too skinny, not fit enough, or ...

Wait.

Not the point.  The point is that we are real women and that there is nothing more beautiful than a REAL woman and inner beauty is the really important part!

This all leads to me posting a self-love selfie on instagram (and facebook):


and I encourage you do the same!  This is a good morning, no makeup, not much sleep face and it's beautiful!

Some related things to look at:

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFkm1Hg4dTI this video on selfies

-BWF Self Love Project 

-Jade Beall's A Beautiful Body Project

-Beauty Revealed Project

- Operation Beautiful



Do you self-love or self-hate?  Have you ever tried to change your mindset and what helps/motivates you to do it?

~E.S.



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Toddler Tuesday: Things my toddler threw tantrums about this week

By 8 am this morning, we were two tantrums down the hatch.  The closer we get to two, the more I'm seeing these!  So here are some things that we are throwing tantrums about this week.
(they are funny once I'm removed from the tantrum situation)

Not  being allowed to play on the computer, even though he NEVER has been.

Wearing Pants.

Starting his current favorite movie, A Monster in Paris (we let him watch tv while we're cooking) in the 'wrong spot' (aka, the beginning).

Socks

Shoes

Having chicken on his plate

Someone else's toy car at the park

Mommy vacuuming

Playing at the park.  literally about playing - he only wanted the big kid playground and, at 7 months pregnant, mommy isn't up to that!


What has your toddler been throwing tantrums about?

~E.S.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Things My Toddler Does; Episode 2

Good Morning all!

It's time  for another episode of  Things My Toddler Does!

 So, we did mostly annoying/funny things last time, so lets start with some CUTE things my munchkin does!

Many mornings start with a pre-wake up at 5:30 am (or earlier), but if left to himself he promptly goes back to sleep. <3 nbsp="" p="">
Slides are best if you insert a "weee" at the bottom.

Lately, he's been in a definite 'learning' mode.  He was super excited when he found out that mommy could make make 'music' by blowing into the openings of different size and shape recycling bottles.  This led to D, laying on the couch with the gallon vinegar bottle up to his mouth trying to get it to resonate.  Pretty sure there were some last drops of vinegar consumed as he smelled like vinegar for the rest of the day.  Take that, sweet baby smell!

His latest choice of bedtime stories is "Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs" by Byron Barton.  He lets us know he wants that book by rawring at us!


Source
Fun Breakfast Fact:  Cheerios in your munchkin snack holder are much better if you pour lemon-orange-honey tea into them.  Mommy's reaction is better that way too!

Fun Trash Fact: It's really hard for mommy to tell you off for throwing something in the trash when it's a) something that actually belongs in the trash and, b) you proudly clap for yourself afterwards.

While helping hubby with dinner the other night, D decided to show off his favorite skills - Standing and balancing.  We turn around to see him standing on the chair with his hands in 'flying/balancing' position!

At Nana's house, one of our favorite activities is moving canned good from one cabinet to another and then stacking them into precarious, yet curiously balanced leaning towers.  My little engineer!

His sense of humor is starting to show itself!  When D made a funky face at me, I made one back and he busted up laughing.  Then I made a fishy face.  He now asks for 'hwi-shie' face all the time and busts up laughing when I make that face. 

D loves bath time these days and when the tub starts draining he starts splashing in protest - that's when Mommy gets her showers! ;)

Also, Hats.
  

Hope this cures all cases of the Mon-Days!

~E.S.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Day in the Life

I love these posts on other blogs so I thought I'd try one!

Wednesday, February 12

5am - wake up (again) to go to the bathroom and roll over so my hip will stop screaming at me (one small downside to pregnancy).  Fall back to sleep feeling the baby squirm. <3 nbsp="" p="">6:30 am  - hear some little noises over the baby monitor.  Ignore, hoping he'll go back to sleep (usually he doesn't and I get a half hour before "mommy.  mommy? mommy!" happens
6:45 am - realize all has gone quiet again, peek at monitor.  Wonder of all wonders, he DID actually go back to sleep!
7:20 am - stumble out of bed to get breakfast and tea.  Say 'good-bye, have a nice day' to the hubster.
7:30 am - can't believe Dec isn't awake.  Go check on him and inadvertently wake him up.  darn!  Plus side, he's a 'slow-to-go' kinda guy, so I grab the dirty diapers and run them out to the laundry in the garage while he wakes up.
7:40 am - get Dec out of bed, change his diaper, take him to the dining room for breakfast.  Breakfast this morning (not inspiring) is granola (me) and Honey Nut O's and bananas for Dec.
8:14 am - release the boy from his high chair  for some play time while I fold laundry and we listen to the radio.  He comes up intermittently asking for a "puppy" or a "kitty" on his magnetic drawing board.  I draw them and still manage to get the laundry folded without too much re-folding.
9am - I see the time and get us both dressed to leave the house so we can (attempt) to get some 'paperwork' done for a subbing job I'm doing next week.
9:30am - finally out of the house and at the college administration office.  They tell me that TB tests can only be administered on Mon-Tuesday. shoot.  (yes, I had called ahead and the person who I talked to said they were available all week long)
10:00am  - after abandoning my 20 minute parking and finding a new parking space, Dec and I trot along campus to the Campus Police office for Live Scan.  They inform me that I have to go to another building to pay before I can do the live scan there.  I tell them I'd rather  go to a free-standing place and can they tell me who they accept that from?
10:40am - I get Dec BACK in the car (with no little fighting and have to remove shoes due to a mud-puddle incident...) and call the hubster for a quick (ok, not quick) vent.  GRRRR
10:45am  - on the road again!  this time headed to my parents' house for the first lesson of the day. We get there with PLENTY of time and go for a walk in the neighborhood.
11:15am  - lunch!  I whip up some scrambled eggs and (frozen, gf) waffles for lunch so that we can eat before my student comes.  Declan eats the eggs and some crackers.  today is not a winning day for diet for this boy!
11:45am - I put Dec down in my old room at my parents for a nap.  They have it all set up for him and with the right 'props' he's usually good about going down and napping.
11:47am - screaming from the bedroom.  I go in expecting to see him on the floor (having climbed/fallen out - he is at that age after all!) and instead find him standing in the middle of the pack-n-play.  we snuggle and I put him back down.  (disclaimer: usually my dad is around to entertain my little monkey, but he was on vacation)  Photo: Snuggles!!! Love the love this boy shares!
12pm -  my student shows up.  We start the lesson about as usual...
12:15pm -we hear fussing
12:20pm - fussing is now full out crying.  I go get Dec and set him up with some toys, books, and his blanky in 'papa's chair'
1pm - lesson was mostly a success, though Dec tried his best to distract us with cute antics and 'reading' all the words he knows.  *favorite moment was when he pointed to a picture of a tomato and said "FISHY!" he was very proud of himself*
1:30pm we head home.  Dec (unsurprisingly) falls asleep in the car.
1:45pm I transfer Dec (apparently successfully) to his crib.  All quiet on the toddler front.  I sit down with lesson plans for next week and start perusing.
3pm - I go to wake Dec up, only to find him wide-eyed, staring at the ceiling.  Creepy! I ask him if he's ready to go see "ti-ti" (his name for his friend at daycare) and he sadly says "no."
3:10pm - we leave the house only a little bit late.  The drive to daycare takes 15 or so minutes.
3:25pm -  drop  Dec off at daycare.  Warn her that he might be a little out of sorts, but he happily gets playing!  We chat for a couple minutes about life and everything.  "ti-ti" wakes up, so I sneak out while Dec is distracted by the exciting prospect of his favorite playmate!
3:45pm - shoot. construction on the way home... this is going to slow me down!
3:55pm - realize I didn't start dinner in the crockpot. double shoot!  i'm going to have to squeeze it in in the milliseconds between students!
4:02pm - I'm home!  a little late, but I made it.  Immediately turn on the keyboard and start lesson #1
4:30pm - lesson 2 arrives!
5pm - lesson 3 starts
5:30pm - Lesson 4.
6pm -  make sure everything is in the crockpot to be cooked.  Hightail it to the car to go get Dec.  We've only got 1.5 -2 hours before bedtime.
6:20pm - pick the Decmeister up.  He's sad to see me instead of daddy.  Sorry, buddy!
6:25pm - non-stop asking for daddy.  We detour to the dojo for a quick visit.
6:45pm - stop in at the Dojo and see daddy.  The guys are all doing their thing - Daddy is in horse stance holding a bo staff above his head.  Declan is confused, but takes the time to run around the dojo a bit.
7pm  - we head home from the dojo.  Dinner is ready-ish. ready enough and Dec and I eat.  Sitting down was a mistake.  Now I don't want to move!
7:45pm - Time for bed. I drag myself out of the chair and we do bedtime routine - Diaper, pajamas, teeth, book, Nigh-nights.
8pm  - jump in the shower
8:05pm - jump out of the shower (it is a drought after all!) realize I haven't put the diapers in the dryer.  Start putting Cloth diapers on my baby registry instead.
8:45pm - hubby is home - manage to convince him to move diapers to the dryer.  we realize I would have had to take his clean clothes out anyway...
9pm - we watch an episode of the Mentalist.
9:45pm -  I convince him to start another episode and promptly fall asleep on the couch.
11pm -  Hubster wakes me up.  I brush my teeth and  crawl in bed.  We have a bonding moment with the baby (hubster puts his head down on the belly to listen to the heartbeat  - i'm so jealous he can do that! - and the baby kicks him in the head.) Love it!
11:15pm - I crash.  on to another day!