Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Real life behind Instagram

I've been wanting to post for a while now about real life. When I say real life, I mean the real life that happens in between the instagram posts and the status updates.

I'm talking about real life that happens in all of our homes, but we don't dare post about those times because then someone may think we don't have it all together. I am not saying in the slightest that I am not one of those people, because I am. But I'm here blogging tonight in hopes to get an amen from a lot of mommas out there, and maybe just help a few of you feel a little more sane. 

(Why am I always sitting down to blog with a glass of wine, I'm not sure, but it seems to be a habit of mine.)

Anyways, so here I was having a day of all days last week. 

I woke up and within 15 minutes was already cleaning up Sawyer's spilled bowl of cereal followed by his entire smoothie. How he could spill both items in such a short period of time I'll never know. I'm not sure if I was more irritated by the clean up or the fact that I was watching my organic fruits and veggies that I had just whipped up lay strewn across the floor. For some reason I have become and absolute freak when it comes to wasting food. This is a total tangent, I'll get back to my bad day, I promise, but seriously I hope someone can relate. Since spending the money to buy things organic and since spending the time to actually prepare meals, such as smoothies, I now for some reason feel that this food is like rare gems and not a bite should be wasted. I would save and refeed the kids' almond milk from their cereal if I could! I'm a freak, I know. 
Okay, so after cleaning up the spills I proceeded to chase the kids upstairs to throw us all together to get out of the house and get Addy to school on time. It was one of those mornings where I was on repeat. Get dressed, get your shoes on, brush your teeth, brush your teeth, brush your teeth. While trying to feed baby girl on my bed I did what any other mom in my place would do and covered baby's ears with my hands and proceeded to yell, "BRUSH YOUR TEETH!" 
Ugh, I feel horrible telling this story, but I'll go on. 

So then I marched into the bathroom where Addy and Sawyer were messing around and I swatted her bottom to get her moving a little harder than I intended. Instant tears. Her big blue eyes just so upset. Instantly I felt so much shame. I acted out of my own frustration and in doing so ruined her morning. Not to mention that it happened to be "water day" at school where all the kids go in bathing suits. I was convinced that the teachers were going to notice a red mark on her bottom and most certainly call CPS on me. These were the same sweet teachers that I had to apologize for a couple weeks prior for picking up Addy from school with mascara flowing down my face. I actually had absolutely no idea I had mascara flowing down my face, but had been cutting onions all morning, threw on my sunglasses and ran out the door to pick her up and didn't realize until I got home the condition that my face was in. I am sure they thought I made up the onion story, I mean, that would be anyone's cover up wouldn't it? lol. 

So I was just humiliated and took Addy in my arms and hugged her and begged her for forgiveness. I told her that I made a mistake. She instantly forgave me and was ready to take on the day. I on the other hand, had not let myself off the hook that easy. I proceeded to call my husband and tell him what a horrible excuse of a mom I was. 

Funny how easily Addy was to forgive me when I asked, yet I still held myself captive to this mistake and couldn't get past it. I think so many of us do that with the Lord. Although he forgives us when we ask, we still beat ourselves up, sometimes far too long.

As we drove to school we sang songs, but I still couldn't shake the morning. I was so irritable. 

Then on our way back to pick up Addy a few hours later, my desperate attempt to keep Sawyer awake so that he would still nap at home failed and I knew in that moment it was going to be a long afternoon. And it was. Cranky toddlers that only have a 20 min nap in the car, turn into kids that fight about every toy, refuse what I make for dinner, and then cry through the bathtime routine. We all know our kids the best and usually we are pretty good at predicting these things by now. 
I knew at the end of the day of course it could have been worse, but I just felt exhausted. The moment my husband walked in the door to help relieve me couldn't come fast enough. 

That day I didn't have cute pictures uploaded on instagram or fun meals I had made. It would have been pictures of whining kids, a quesadilla, and a mom so utterly exhausted, covered in spit up with no make up on and my hair in a messy bun on my head. 
That was reality. Yet no one saw it. 
If it weren't for me posting on Facebook that I had a hard day with 3 kids 4 and under, that day would have gone by and no one would have noticed. Tomorrow I would have a cute picture of us all at the park and a new vegan meal I made and no one would even think that life may not be as hunky dory as it seems. 
Crazy huh? Not so much.
Looking back at every one of my instagram pictures I post I could tell you a story that you would never believe. 
But it's real life. 
Like the one of Capri peacefully sleeping on a lawn chair while we were at the pool wearing her Hurley onsie. Little did you all know that I got home and my baby was so badly sun burned that I had to skip church the next morning and rush her to urgent care. Despite being a third time mom, she still got burned, but no one would have known. (I still am mad at myself for this one!)

 How about the picture of me and the three kids. I think this was one photo that got more "likes" than any other I've posted. Little did everyone know that I had not yet showered that day, was wearing sunglasses to hide my tired eyes and was about to lose my mind in the house that day so a walk was my therapy which was when I snapped that pic. I can't even recall if I brushed my teeth that morning. I sure hope so.

Or the photo of John and I before our date night. We were actually in a 7-11 parking lot in front of a bush. Romantic huh? That was where we were meeting my parents to swap the kids and figured we better take a picture to actually remember that we did indeed get out for an evening sometime in the first 6 months of Capri's life.

What about the photo of Addy & Sawyer on our way to picture day at school. Well, that day I woke up and was about to load the kids to find that our lovely cats had peed all over Capri's carseat. So bad that I couldn't just "throw a towel over it." I actually called my sister who lives in the neighborhood, thank the Lord, and at a moment's notice she actually drove her carseat over to me so I could use it and then she proceeded to walk with her baby and stroller home. It was an absolutely ridiculous morning. 

Or this awesome picture of Addy holding a beautiful butterfly.. bet you wouldn't have guessed that this butterfly died only moments later and we had to have a talk about heaven. 

It's so crazy to me. I could go through all of my pictures and tell a story. I'm sure we all could. There's so much more than what we all see in tiny frames of each others lives. 
And guess what. It's okay. It's okay that we don't have it all together because in these moments are when I feel myself grow. I feel myself turn to my friends and family and most importantly I turn to God. 
We are all striving to do our best. We are all striving to have it all together.  
And some days we are going to fail. 
Real life. 
"Let us not grow weary while doing good, in due season we shall reap if we don't lose heart." Galations 6:9
It's so true. 

So I have a dare for you this week..
 I dare you to post a picture like this one on Instagram.

My house with not one clean room to be found.
I'm sure if nothing else it will give someone else a laugh or a sigh of relief knowing that they aren't alone. 

Real life. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

So.. I've gone a little crunchy!

The Urban Dictionary definition:
1. earthy-crunchy
An adjective describing persons or things relating to any or all of the following: vegetarianism; herbs; all-natural and organic products (such as food, skin and hair care products, etc.); recycling; protecting and preserving the environment; natural medicine; etc. People that are earthy-crunchy are sometimes called tree-huggers or hippies.
She loves to go to the health food store, where she buys all that earthy-crunchy stuff.

You are so earthy-crunchy, you make cliff bars look like a slim jim.
I like this definition. Especially the way it uses earthy-crunchy in a sentence. The funny thing is that I could tell you a ton of stuff to dissuade you from eating a cliff bar. But that is not my purpose for this post. ☺

I don't even know where to start, but I suppose I could start with my family going vegetarian 12 years ago when I lost my uncle to cancer and he was in his late 30s. It's hard for me to relive that time, and I miss my uncle dearly. I vividly remember my mom researching stuff after this happened and very soon after our diets began to change. She was finding out stuff about the way our food is processed that well, no one really wants to think about. I can't say exactly, but I think that this traumatic event of losing my uncle (my mom's brother) at such a young age sent my mom looking for ways for us all to prevent it, and if diet was a way, well, we were going to change. We cut out all meat except fish.
I soon after landed a job as a fabulous front desk receptionist at our local 24 Hour Fitness. It wasn't long after I was working there that the question of "so you are vegetarian for the most part, so where do you get your protein?" started coming up. I knew little about protein. I was 18 and had been a gymnast my whole life so never really put much thought behind what I ate. I burned so many calories that my Wild Cherry Pepsi, bear claw and salsa verde Doritos "diet" didn't seem to matter. But as some of the trainers were filling me in on protein, calories, fats, etc. I started to be more aware and soon brought meat back into my diet. I was the only one in my family that did. 
Now fast forward just about 12 years and I'm the one doing all the research just like my mom did then. This was actually something that I was not looking for, but it kind of found me. I'll explain. 
Capri has been dealing with some major congestion issues. After trying all the "normal" things with humidifiers, nose drops, steamy showers, and sleeping at a tilt I was determined to see if possibly something else could be contributing to her congestion and a friend of mine suggested it might be the dairy in my diet. Huh. I had never thought of that, but was willing to do anything to help my baby girl since she was exclusively breastfeeding. At the same time as I decided to go dairy free, my sister became highly invested in researching health and diet more and was just about to start a 40 day challenge. Another very close friend of mine informed me that she was considering going vegan for many health reasons. She told me about the documentary Forks Over Knives and after our sushi date I raced home to turn on Netflix and watch it. Fascinated, the next night my husband and I watched Food Inc. and we have already been huge fans of Sick, Fat & Nearly Dead.
For our health, and our kids future health, I immediately felt on my heart that it was time for our family to make a change and the most amazing part is that my husband did too. 
  Since then, we have been on a 40 day "cleanse" if you will that will end on Nov. 2. Why 40 days? Well, it's a biblical number, and after going 40 days you will really notice a difference and have to alter your lifestyle to get through it. It's a plant-based protein, whole food diet. No dairy, no meat, no sugar, all organic, and little to nothing processed. Definitely no GMOs. I didn't go as strict on the kids by any means, but I did eliminate meat and have decreased their dairy and processed food consumption to very very little. It may sound like a very restricting lifestyle, but actually, I feel so free. I am learning to cook with vegetables I never would have tried. I even signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) and now get my produce delivered to me weekly! I am getting my protein from vegetables, legumes, and sprouted whole grains. My sweet tooth is cured with raw honey and fresh organic fruit. I'm even making my own almond milk! (It's the easiest thing, I swear!) It's absolutely amazing. I feel like my outlook on cooking has completely changed. It used to be the biggest chore, and now I actually look forward to putting together meals that I know are going to be absolutely fantastic for us. I am teaching my kids what it means to be "plant strong!" I even overheard Addyson this morning talking to Capri telling her all about being plant strong and how Capri will be plant strong someday too. It absolutely melted me. It's amazing how much they understand and buy into at 4 years old. What better time than now to train them up in healthy food choices!?

I've still got a lot to learn and to be honest it is hard at times. I have been in the kitchen a lot more than I was when I would throw the frozen lasagna in the oven. (And that means a lot more dishes!) But I truly feel like my family was ready for this change and I'm excited about it. The kids are now trying new vegetables every day (not always easy) but after a few weeks it's already getting easier and now for snacks they are asking for strawberries, apples, carrots and hummus. Sawyer loves tomatoes and Addyson loves broccoli. I realized I love kale. Who knew! lol. And pretty soon I'll be able to make Capri's baby food and it will be beyond easy. Something I never even considered doing with the other two.

The funny thing is that the dairy elimination didn't really help Capri. I have noticed a slight change, but she may have to see an ENT to see if there is anything else going on. But I can honestly say, I think being ready to make a change in my diet for her is what really opened my mind about watching these other documentaries. You really have to be in the right frame of mind to do so because after watching them and reading more online you will feel like a change has to happen and that's scary. I have known for the last 12 years a lot of the information that you will find in Food Inc. and such. It's funny how we can just turn things off and push them far out of our brains. I convinced myself over the years that it was too inconvenient, and I don't eat "that bad." 
The truth is, I probably did eat better than the majority, but it could be a lot better. And now I'm responsible for 3 little ones that rely completely on me to make their food choices. That's scary.
I've been more worried about the spray tanning solution going on my skin being organic than the food actually going into my body!

So everyone is asking me, well, what are you now? Vegan? Vegetarian? My answer is, well I don't really know yet. I do know that my body has never felt better. I am never bloated and I have energy most days despite a 10 week old, 2 1/2 year old and a 4 year old. And that's without coffee! I think after 40 days I might add free range eggs back into my diet, maybe fish once a week and my husband may add back grass fed beef on occasion. For the most part, I can easily see myself sticking to this way of life. It's funny how after eliminating things from your diet for a little while you realize how much you don't need them. My husband has lost 13 lbs in about 3 weeks. Insane. I'm just about back at my pre-baby weight, although that was not my reason for doing this, just a perk. 

Basically, I want to live by the 80/20 rule. 
I've heard this so many times now and I 100% agree with it. If 80% of the time I'm feeding my family amazing meals and introducing and teaching them about how important good food choices are then that 20% of the time when we are at a birthday, out to dinner, or just so busy that a drive-thru is a must, well, we will survive. I won't deprive my kids of Halloween candy or myself of pumpkin pie I can assure you that, but on a typical weeknight you just may come over for dinner and see a fantastic vegan feast before your eyes..

You are so earthy-crunchy, you make cliff bars look like a slim jim.
Yup, that's me now... and so far, I love it.