Saturday, September 26, 2009


So ... I have an interesting thing that's been on my mind lately, and I'd like to share it with all of my faithful, ummm ... 13ish blog readers. :)

I think that somewhere along the way of coming back to Christ in 2004/2005, and getting married, and moving to Nebraska (a lot of Native Nebraskans are grumpy), and having children, and trying to fit in with a new family (in-laws), and trying to please employers/in-laws/family/friends/whatever ... I think that I lost myself somewhere along the way. And I've been missing myself.

I, by nature, am/was : passionate, energetic, late, outspoken, giggly, upbeat, optimistic, fair, a procrastinator, a night-owl, stubborn, playful, sometimes overly-trusting, an anti-morning person, bubbly, fiery, a bit defiant, opinionated, warm, sarcastic, flirtacious, focused, joyful, sympathetic but not always selfless, I can make friends anywhere - even a gas station, and I get embarrassed and blush easily for people (including myself) in silly situations - I frequently have to hide under covers and put my hands over my eyes when embarrassing things happen to people in MOVIES for crying out loud, and when I get excited I get REALLY excited and tend to jump around and squeal, ... I sometimes speak too quickly without thinking things through and then regret it later because I've hurt people without intending to ... and generally, I'm kind and thoughtful but sometimes have trouble actually making it to places/things on time to show people that I care about them. What most people who knew me in my childhood and high school years would say is that I've always been a happy and outgoing person ... an eternal optimist.

But somewhere along the way, I lost a lot of that spark. (Hah! Didn't seem to lose any of the negative stuff though!) But I really MISS that spark and spunk!! I don't know if it was having kids, or feeling like I needed to be less assertive (my siblings-in-law and mother-in-law, bless their hearts, are very non-agressive and have had to put up with my rather outspoken and opinionated self for the last 4.5 years), or just feeling like since I'm a grown-up and a mom now that I need to be somebody different, somebody "stiffer" and more responsible or something. I'm not really sure what it is ... but I've LOST myself somewhere, and I really miss me!!

As I'm getting back into contact with a lot of old high school friends, I'm realizing just how much of ME I've lost. They remind me of stories, and fun times, and my OLD personality ... how upbeat and silly and light hearted I used to be. Then I think of all the fun times my hubby and I used to have just going out and playing pool or card games or bowling or just sitting around telling stories and jokes -- and I wonder, where did that fun girl go??? I used to be able to smile in nearly any situation, could laugh at the silliest of things, could have fun doing the most mundane things.

I'm realizing that I've made myself into something I'm not ... that life isn't all about stress/money/paying bills/being responsible/being a grown-up ... fitting into the mold of a "calm adult" that I seem to have found myself in. Life is SHORT. You never know how many days you'll have ... we aren't promised tomorrow. I feel like I've been living a fraction of the joy and spark that I should be. And although I promise I'll still pay all our bills (haha) ... I think I've just decided that I need to go back to being ME, even if that "me" isn't your typical church-attending-fashion-savvy-grown-up-adult-parent that I seem to have mistakenly decided I have to be.

When I was a babysitter and nanny, nearly every parent that I babysat for told me that I was their kids' FAVORITE sitter ever. Why? I didn't let the kids get out of control and I made sure they followed all the rules ... I was their favorite because I took the time to be SILLY, and pretend ... to ENJOY the little things, and laugh at the things that don't make any sense ... I spent time getting on the floor and building forts and making up stories and thinking of ways to be more FUN and to help the kids learn, but in different and joyful ways. Nowadays, I'm too busy with facebook and bills and being a "grown up" and dressing to look good to other and trying to sound intelligent when I write things and stress and worries and cooking and cleaning and being a parent (read : "trying to find time to be an ADULT!") and I seem to force my kids to live in an adult world instead of living in the NOW and enjoying them being children ... I don't spend enough time living in the now WITH them and enjoying watching their eyes light up as I waddle across the room pretending to be a duck with them. ... *gasp!* ... I've gotten ... stuffy!

Yes, I'm training my children to be adults someday. But they aren't adults now, and they will have their whole lives to be adults (they're not allowed to start that part before age 15 though, hah!). They are precious, happy, joyous children ... who have no idea what divorce is (I pray they never know first-hand!) ... who don't know what suffering is ... who aren't tainted by materialism and the ugly sinfulness of this world ... who don't worry about tomorrow and who don't regret yesterday ... and they are looking to me to tell them what this world is like. If all I show them is stress ... and all I tell them is "NO, not right now, maybe later" and all I ask of them is to "sit still and behave" ... then what a boring and lifeless world they will think this is.

But it's not. This life is truly what you make of it. All of us have bad things happen, all of us have to "remake" ourselves at some point, all of us deal with tragedy, all of us deal with heartache, and all of us have unfortunate things happen to us. But if you focus on the good things in life, put your trust in Jesus, allow yourself to heal when bad things happen, and allow yourself to be warm and trusting (even though you might get hurt), and just look every day to find the joy in something, even something little ... then every day can hold a smile, and every cloud has a ray of sunshine just waiting to burst through the gray. It all depends on how you look at it. And for my children ... the way that they view life in the future has EVERYTHING to do with how I teach them to deal with things now, how I model "life" for them.

I need to find ME again ... the OLD me ... but I won't be not paying the bills, won't be neglecting (too badly) my housework, will still be going to church, won't become a total slacker ... that's not what I'm saying. I just want to show my kids that it's not normal or healthy to run around mis-trusting everyone, being closed-off, being "stuffy" ... God gave us things (and people) in this life to ENJOY!! So I want to take the time to play pretend, catch butterflies, roll in the grass, and have food fights ... because even though those are ridiculous and time-consuming and messy ... this is the only shot I've got at my kids' childhood. I don't want to miss it just because I was so selfishly consumed with finding "Mommy Time" and being annoyed with them.

The part of me I've locked away somewhere has just got to come back out. I'm going to start looking for her, in earnest. For three reasons :
1. To put more spice and spark back into my marriage. Flirtaciousness isn't something that needs to disappear when you're married - I seem to have lost mine completely - it just needs to be directed toward the only appropriate person. :)
2. To be the mom that learned how to be a mom by babysitting, and having fun! To give my kids an example of JOY and LIGHT-HEARTEDNESS and WARMTH and COMPASSION, so that they can grow up to be joyful creatures themselves.
3. To be who I AM again. To find that inner spark again. To find that driving passion and joyfulness that has always made me ME and enabled me to get up every morning and heal even after some pretty deep wounds. To find the joy and the smiles and the radiant (albeit, energetic/stubborn/outspoken/assertive/annoying) person that made me who I was ... the person who loved fiercely, the girl who was the favorite babysitter, the optimistic and giggly woman my husband initially fell in love with.

That's the spark that I want back. I've got to figure out how to dig that LIFE and JOY back out of myself again. Going "green" and finding a passion for being "crunchy" has really helped me to start the process of finding my real self again, but I'm not done yet.

So I just want you to know that I'm on a journey towards re-discovering my inner firecracker, ad I'll take all the help I can get from any of you reading this. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Crunchy Mama

Please enjoy these definitions from urban dictionary - I only picked out the ones I liked.

Crunchy Granola : a person who is into all that all natural crap and eats tofu and does yoga and hugs trees.

Granola : An adjective used to describe people who are environmentally aware (flower child, tree-hugger), open-minded, left-winged, socially aware and active, queer or queer-positive, anti-oppressive/discriminatory (racial, sexual, gender, class, age, etc.) with an organic and natural emphasis on living, who will usually refrain from consuming or using anything containing animals and animal by-products (for health and/or environmental reasons), as well as limit consumption of what he or she does consume, as granola people are usually concerned about wasting resources. Usually buy only fair-trade goods and refrain from buying from large corporations, as most exploit the environment as well as their workers, which goes against granola core values.

Granola Girl : Modern hippie woman minus the heroin and STD's. Socially aware and active with a penchant for hemp and sodium-free soap. May eat tofu for breakfast and sweeten food with agave syrup. Is determined to save the world.

Crunchy Mama : Mother who supports homebirth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, etc. One who questions established medical authority; tends to be vegetarian and/or prepare all-organic foods. See also crunchy and hippie.

Hee hee ... hope you were entertained by those!

I don't fit ALL of those descriptions, but certainly most of them. I'm not left-winged, and I don't eat much tofu, and so far I haven't done any yoga but Matt and I want to start up soon. :) Also I think agave syrup is disgusting, so I use honey instead (raw, locally produced honey, mind you).

I LOVE being crunchy. The more "all natural" I am, the better I feel about everything. We use all-natural plant based soaps, cleaners, detergents, and deodorants. (And as soon as our toothpaste tubes run out, the replacements will fit into the all-natural category too.) We eat mostly organic food, and if not organic, then at least as natural as things can get. I am still breastfeeding my 16 month old as often as she wants, I regularly "wear" her in my Sleepy Wrap instead of putting her in a stroller, I plan on homeschooling my children, and our family rarely goes to doctors. I *WISH* that I could homebirth, but alas, due to my abnormally small inner pelvis bones, I cannot birth children naturally and must have c-sections. *sigh* We definitely co-sleep with our babies for about the first year, and then they move into a room of their own, but Mommy is never far away. If our babies (or toddlers, or preschoolers!) get scared or sad or upset or hurt or worried or needy or whatever, even 8 times in the middle of the night, we are there to comfort them and make their world secure. We don't do the cry-it-out technique, because the way we see it ... we are the baby's only source of comfort/support/love/nurture/EVERYTHING. If we don't answer them when they need us, who else will? Trying to teach a tiny baby (or toddler) that you "must fend for yourself" is the most ridiculous, western, anti-nurturing thing I can think of. UGH!

I guess I've become a bit of a conspiracy theorist. Yes, the easiest and cheapest products to buy are ones that have been mass-produced and are laced with TONS of chemicals, pesticides, and Lord only knows what else. But what are they really doing to our environment?? You think that all those chemicals that get dumped into our public water are actually being completely filtered back out?? Think again! And unless your water bottle says "spring water, bottled at _____ mountain spring source" then it is actually nothing more than tap water, which has sometimes been filtered and sometimes not. If your water bottle says "purified" or "filtered" or "drinking water" on the front, then you can bet that it is actually nothing more than tap water!! Seriously, it comes from "municipal sources" - ie, tap water!! Some brands, like Sam's Choice brand, is typically not even filtered another time before being put into bottles and sold at 10x the price of tap water. So around here, we drink spring water, or artesian well water. (And sometimes, even wells, aquifers, and mountain springs have been contaminated (but usually much less so)!! We are killing ourselves!) Read more about water and the cancer-causing chemicals found in our water supply here. Another thought is pharmaceuticals in your water. Every time a girl on the birth control pill (or any person on ANY pharmaceutical, for that matter!) goes to the bathroom, those chemicals get into our water supply. There is currently NO regulation for the filtering out or testing for these chemicals. The problem is especially bad in highly populated areas, and has even been cited for one of the causes of precocious puberty! Read more about pharmaceuticals in your water, here, and what the ENN (Environmental News Network) is trying to do to raise awareness and get some laws passed to actually start monitoring/filtering out these harmful chemicals in our water.

In addition to all the crap in our water, I think that most of us, as Americans, CHOOSE to be ignorant about what's REALLY going on behind the scenes in our country. We just want to assume that meat comes from a grocery store (instead of an animal being abused/injected/treated cruelly/slaughtered) and that all food is nutritious (when practically everything on our menu is tainted with corn, high fructose corn syrup, pesticides, chemicals, and genetically-engineered products) and that Western Medicine and doctors in general have all the answers (when in fact it's illegal for them to say that something natural like garlic can heal your infection faster and better than an antibiotic - I mean, God forbid that you actually take something that's natural and cheap {and isn't sold by a pharmaceutical company} and that boosts your immune system instead of tanking it, like antibiotics do) and that pharmaceutical companies and FDA really ARE out for our best interest (when I'm pretty sure that MONEY is the biggest reason behind a lot of our country's medical decisions!) ... There are a few really great things out there that can open your eyes to what's really going on in our food system -SuperSize Me, Food Inc, and 4 Year old Hamburger - so you should check those out if you can. Yeah, so, I can really get on a soapbox about this whole set of issues here, but we'll save that for another post.

About 3 weeks ago, I decided to go vegetarian. Although I guess I'm actually a "pescetarian" because I still eat fish. I still eat/drink dairy products, but only go with the organic, free-range, grass-fed type. More on this in my next post. I feel healthier, more energetic, and just cleaner.

I am thoroughly enjoying that some of the styles of the 60's and 70's are coming back in right now. Mmmmmm! I love the browns and greens and earthy colors, the headwraps, the flowy dresses and shirts ... right up my alley. I have several flowy dresses and skirts right now (and I LOVE them, which is so weird because I used to hate dresses!) that I just can't get enough of. I am hoping to go to thrift stores and/or garage sales and find a bunch more on clearance somehow. What would be even better is if I can finally learn to sew. I have a sewing machine around here somewhere (a Christmas gift from my wonderful mother) and I desperately want to learn how to use it. Then I can just buy bolts of cute organic cloth, and make our own clothes! WOO HOO!

I used my Sleepy Wrap at church Wednesday night, and everyone was like, "That's so cool!" because they hadn't seen one before. Yes, my child is 16 months old, and I still do the "babywearing" thing!! Maezie hadn't gotten a nap today, and was in desperate need of one, so I knew she wouldn't tolerate being in the nursery very well. So I strapped on the Wrap, put in her in, walked around and patted her back for about 5 minutes, and she was OUT! Slept through most of church.

Ahh ... I love being as chemical-free as I can, as organic as I can, and as all-natural as I can. It's a liberating and empowering feeling. ... Yep, that's me. Crunchy Mama. :)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Storm

First, let me apologize for shirking my blogging responsibilities lately. Whoops.

Second, the kids are doing well and are growing like weeds. Maezie is starting to use phrases when she talks, and Kyleigh is telling stories and creating "plays" with her Little People toys.

Third, let me just say that when it rains, it pours, and it's been raining cats and dogs at our house lately. First, Matt's job is killing us. Financially, emotionally, and every other -ally you can think of. So we've been looking for a new one. Keep getting put off, asked to wait. (We trust You, Lord.) Got several jobs looking at Matt, hopefully we'll score an interview with Wal-Mart next week.

So we're all confused - do we stay in Farmington? Do we move to Cortez to save money so Matt doesn't have to commute 75 miles each way every day? (And yes, we realize that he could get a hotel room there, but he wants to see his girls as often as he can, so he makes the drive.)

Tuesday morning, Kyleigh took a bottle of Lysol Disinfectant Spray and "cleaned" the tv. It got up inside the inner components of the tv and now it doesn't work anymore, and the part of the screen that does work flashes "not available" because it thinks that the channel-down button is being pressed constantly. Fabulous. Matt even took it apart and cleaned and dried it, but it still doesn't work. We'll try again in a few days, I guess.

Matt's drive to Cortez every day has killed two of our cars. One day on his way to work, our gas-friendly car, the little Honda Civic, blew a timing belt and got internal engine damage. Would have cost easily two times or more what the car is worth to fix it. So we scrapped it. Then he was using the "winter car", our old Chevy Blazer 4x4. One night on the way home from work, it somehow blew a piston and messed up the radiator while it was at it. In order for that car to run again, we'll need a whole new engine, new radiator, and also new ball joints and new tires (uneven tread wear, almost-bald tires -- two things I didn't notice until the broken-down car was parked in front of our house) so that car will be getting scrapped too.

So, we are down to one vehicle - our dear Dodge minivan. ... And, yes, you guessed it ... Tonight, on Matt's way home from work at 1:45am, a deer ran out in front of him. He tried to swerve, but was unable to miss it completely, and so the right front part of our car clipped the deer. We are sad about the car, but more sad about the deer. :( Anyhow, part of the car hood is actually MISSING, and the light is busted out. It will need a new hood, bumper, light, and right front quarter panel. In addition, the radiator got some damage, so Matt drove the 30 miles home with the windows down and the heat on full blast (to pull heat away from the engine and into the car) to try and keep the engine from heating up as much as possible. The car made it home, leaking radiator fluid like crazy, and probably wouldn't have made it much farther than our house, honestly. Praise God, Matt wasn't hurt at all!! But we are sorry, Lord, that our car killed one of Your creatures.

The BAD things about this : There's always the off-chance that the insurance company will total the car. In which case, we'd be in big trouble. This was our last car, and now we don't have any way to get to and from work/church/groceries/doctors/etc.

The GOOD things about this : Now Matt gets to spend some extra time at home. He can't go to work, obviously, so he'll get some extra time here with the family. :) Our insurance will pick up the tab for this one, minus a $250 deductible from us.

I am pretty sure that I should be more upset than I am. But I feel strangely peaceful about the whole thing. I feel like we're caught up in some nasty storm, but we know Who is in control, ultimately. It's a hard thing to lose your tv, only car, and not get a job, all in the same day. (We were expecting a "here's a job offer" call from Wal-Mart, and instead got a "you're in the pool of applicants and we'll set up an interview and call you on Monday" call.)

But ... we have a loving family. And Matt still has a job. And we have two beautiful, healthy children. And I just went grocery shopping, so other than needing to walk up to the local grocery store about 8 blocks away for milk, we're set for awhile. And we are happy. We don't have a lot of extras, we don't have a lot of money, and we don't have a lot of nice clothes/furniture/cars/insert-materialistic-object-here ... we're not earthly rich ... but we are RICH, my friends, I tell you we are RICH!! We have our faith, and no one can take that away from us. We have eachother, a strong marriage, delightful (albeit frustrating sometimes!) children, and a blessed home.

So, we might struggle for awhile. And normally, I would probably be in panic-mode right now. But I'm at peace. And I'm praising God that Matt didn't get hurt today in the deer accident, and that Kyleigh didn't electrocute herself messing with the TV, and that we are ALIVE and WELL and happy. But even in the midst of this storm and struggle -- still, we will follow!!

We thank Thee, O Lord, for Thy rich blessings. Even when all is crumbling around us, You are the Light that anchors, the Peace that renews, and the Love that strengthens. We Praise You, O Most High God.