April 26, 2010

Please Excuse My Hairy Legs

Have you ever heard the theory that people tend to “let themselves go” when they’re in a relationship or when they get married? Where they once took extra special care of themselves when they were single and even early on in the relationship, and then slowly they stopped?

I used to actually like to get dressed up (this does not include wearing any sort of heel – my feet were not made to walk in heels. I just can’t do it), I loved getting my hair did (yes, Granny, I meant to say hair did – it’s a cool thing to say – probably in one of Ben’s songs), I used to wear fake eyelashes all the time (SO weird if you know me now), I enjoyed putting make-up on, wearing jewelry, buying jewelry to match certain outfits, etc.

My Mom stopped by the other day when Clover and I were playing outside. I was wearing a pair of light blue work out capri’s covered in dried paint, a mismatched tank top and my rain boots. She looked me up and down and told me I should move to a farm.

I haven’t had my hair colored since Clover was born. Most days I don’t wear makeup and I would rather dress like I live on a farm. I don’t wear any jewelry, except my wedding band when I go out in public. The only shoes I wear are comfortable ones. And let’s not forget the couple extra pounds I’ve packed on.

The thing is, I don’t feel like it’s because I’ve let myself go. I feel like I’ve changed because everything about me has changed. It’s not because I don’t have time to get my hair done, it’s because I choose to spend my time differently.

I realized this tonight when I took a break from sewing some awesome headbands to shave my legs (they were lookin pretty rough, and I really want to wear shorts without feeling like I have man legs). I was actually annoyed that I had to take time away from sewing to shave my legs. The whole time I was thinking how much more I would rather be sewing, or blogging, or painting, or reading, or cuddling in bed with Clover… or watching House (I love that show).

Where I once used to express my creativity by the jewelry I wore, now I make cute headbands for little girls. Those are the things I enjoy now, and it’s not because I’ve “let myself go”, or because I’m married and don’t care, or because I’m a Mom.

So, if you ever see my hairy man legs peaking through my shorts, please excuse them, I had more important things to do.

April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

No, I'm not a Earth loving hippie, but yes, I do love the Earth - I mean, don't YOU care about the air quality that you breathe? Or the gross, humid, global warming? In honor of Earth day, here are 40 ways you can GO GREEN!

40 Easy Ways to Go Greener at Home – Besides Recycling

1.  Plant an herb garden.  It’s good to have a reminder around of where our food originates.
2.  Switch all your lightbulbs to CFLs (or at least switch a few).
3.  Create a homemade compost bin for $15.
4.  Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model (look for the “energy star” label).
5.  Stop using disposable bags – order some reusable bags, or make your own.  My favorites are Envirosax and Flip & Tumble.
6.  Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles.  Then watch The Story of Bottled Water, a short movie about the bottled water phenomena.
7.  Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.
8.  Turn off lights when you leave the room.
9.  Don’t turn on lights at all for as long as you can — open your curtains and enjoy natural light.
10.  Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.
11.  Better yet, walk or ride a bike to your errands that are two miles or closer.
12.  Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market.
13.  Turn off your computer completely at night.
14.  Research whether you can sign up for green power from your utility company.
15.  Pay as many bills as possible online.
16.  Put a stop to unsolicited mail — sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers.  While you’re at it, go ahead and make sure you’re on the “do not call” list, just to make your life more peaceful.
17.  Reuse scrap paper.  Print on two sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.
18.  Conduct a quick energy audit of your home.
19.  Subscribe to good eco-friendly blogs.  My favorites are The Daily Green, TreeHugger, and Keeper of the Home.  Of course, you gotta subscribe to Simple Organic.
20.  Before buying anything new, first check your local Craigslist or Freecycle.
21.  Support local restaurants that use food derived less than 100 miles away, and learn more about the benefits of eating locally.
22.  Fix leaky faucets.
23.  Make your own household cleaners.
24.  Line dry your laundry.
25.  Watch The Story of Stuff with your kids, and talk about the impact your household trash has on our landfills.
26.  Learn with your kids about another country or culture, expanding your knowledge to other sides of the world.
28.  Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.
29.  Unplug unused chargers and appliances.
30.  Repurpose something – turn one of your well-worn t-shirts into basic play pants for your baby.  Or save egg cartons for paint wells, seed starters, treasure boxes, or a myriad of other crafts.
31.  Collect rainwater, and use it to water your houseplants and garden.
32.  Switch to cloth diapers – or at least do a combination with disposables.
33.  Switch to shade-grown coffee with the “Fair Trade” label.
34.  Use a Diva Cup for your monthly cycles.
35.  Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen. Be frugal, and make these rags out of old towels and t-shirts.
36.  Use cloth napkins daily instead of paper.
37.  Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and open your eyes to the way conventional food is processed. Watch Food, Inc. while you’re at it.
38.  Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage, especially in the kitchen.
39.  Five-minute showers – make it a goal for yourself.
40.  Donate to – and shop at – thrift stores such as Goodwill.  You’ll be recycling perfectly usable items, and you’ll be supporting your local economy.

April 18, 2010

Food Revolution For An Addict

I’m a food addict. I love the taste of food, the act of eating, the social aspect of eating and the comfort of eating. Food is not just food to me. It is both a reward, and a way for me to rebel. You know when you’re little and you make it through a tough week of school and homework, and then on Friday it is pizza and soda night and you get to eat in front of the tv while watching “Are You Afraid of the Dark” with your awesome little brother? Maybe yours wasn’t quite the same, either way, you catch my drift. Those “special” nights were awesome. Another favorite night for me when I was little was going to my Dad’s house. We either had pizza (obviously my favorite food) or macaroni and we rented movies from blockbuster, ate in front of the tv, and got to spend time with our Dad. It was Heaven.

Somewhere along the way, I subconsciously associated the food I was eating with the “awesome” and “heavenly” way I was feeling during those special nights. Similar to the “high” shoppers get when they buy something, even if it is a 25 cent piece of gum, I get the same type of “high” when I eat pizza, or drink soda. It’s not about the food; it’s about the way the food makes me feel. If I’m having a bad day, I comfort myself with a Dr.Pepper.

My Mom was great at rewarding us with things other than food, and I really admire that about her. However, there were still many other situations that I was rewarded with food or candy. In school, teachers often rewarded with candy. Birthday parties, holidays, most types of celebration – all involve “treats”, cake, candy, ice cream, pizza, soda…junk, junk, junk. How could I not naturally have grown up enjoying the feeling that went along with these foods? How could I have avoided loving these foods because of the feelings that came along with them?

Sometimes, when I’ve done really well avoiding the awful foods, I get a little irritated. I feel almost like I’m being punished because I can’t have the foods I want (thus the feelings that go along with the foods). I rebel and reward myself with the food I want. It honestly feels good to ignore the nagging voice that says “it’s bad for you” and to get “high” off the food instead.

If you’ve never seen the show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, I would HIGHLY recommend it. It’s about a chef from England who wants to change the way American’s eat (specifically children in our school systems). In the most recent episode, he is having a battle with flavored milk (which has more sugar in it than a soda) that is being offered to kids in elementary schools. His argument is, if that’s their only choice and if they don’t know any differently, they will drink the regular milk.

I agree with him 100%. At Clover’s 1st birthday party, she didn’t have cake. I made her a no dairy, no egg, naturally sweeten with apples, cupcake. Yes, I was that Mom. I still have never given her any sort of cake, ice cream, candy...We try not to let her eat processed foods or unnecessary sugars (the kid does love pizza and an occasional french fry) . Her diet consists of fruits, veggies, grains, and a little bit of dairy. Maybe people think that’s weird and I’m okay with that. I just feel like if she doesn’t know any better, what is the harm? How will it harm her to learn to prefer fruit over cake? Or water over soda?

I have no judgment towards parents who allow their children to have sugar. I just know where my weight struggle comes from (bad food) and don’t want Clover to struggle with the same issues. If I have to be ridiculed because I’m that Mom that packs different foods for my daughter to eat, or doesn’t allow her to partake in the cake at birthday’s parties, then I am okay with that too.

The other night, some friends of ours were at my Mom’s house for dinner. Everyone was eating dessert and Clover wanted to taste some of the ice cream I was eating. Part of me thought, what’s the harm in one bite? Well chances are that one bite will taste good and then she’ll want more. So instead, I gave her a cracker, and she pranced around the room happily eating her cracker, thinking that she had something just as cool as everyone else.

April 11, 2010

17 Months Old

17 Months Old:

I have 6 teeth, but I'm currently working on about 5 more. 

I love my "Momma", "Dada", "JuJu" (my Mom), Uncle Jonny, "Aaaa" (Ava AND Anastyn), "Papa" (my Dad), "MiMi" (my step-mom, Melina), "Jeh" (Uncle Jeff), "Nii" (Nick), "Isst" (Christi) and all of my play group friends.

I love to make different animal sounds. My favorite animals are dogs and birds. JuJu taught me how to listen to the birds.
I have "boo boo's" on both of my knees, but I still love to play outside.

I love to read, play with bubbles, paint, dance, swing, slide, get dirty and eat.

My favorite songs are "open, shut them", "if you're happy and you know it", "feel good" by the Gorillaz, "diaper dance" and ANY Johnny Cash. 

My favorite foods are black beans, most fruit (especially strawberries, blueberries, cantelope, apples, oranges, bananas and grapes), yogurt, green smoothies, pizza, and "gold golds" (gold fish) and "crack" (crackers)

I love my Baby Signing Time DVD's

I am a total, 100%, girl.  I love dresses, hair bows, jewelry, bags, shoes, and I even prefer my pink "ba ba's" (pacifier's) over the green ones. 

I can't sleep with out my froggy. 

Being 17 Months Old is AWESOME.

Easter Photo Shoot

My friend, Becca, took some really cute pictures of Clover the other day at our play group's Easter Egg Hunt.  Clover was in such a grumpy mood (I know, gasp to everyone who thinks she always smiles!) She had a red-headed photo shoot that morning (more on that later), then she only took a 30 minute nap and then we went to the Easter Egg Hunt.  Even though she was Miss Grump Pants, Becca still managed to get some GREAT shots!
I love this attempt at a group picture... oh, life with toddlers!

April 08, 2010

Free, like a bird.

I am definitely a sucker for a bargain. I also love to buy used things. (I just won a 9 inch portable dvd player on eBay for $23!) My husband calls me a hoarder because I won’t throw anything away. I will give it away to someone who needs it, or sell it, but I will NOT just throw it away. My Great-Grandma Alman was the same way. I remember going to her house when we were little and she would tell us to pick out some “school supplies” from her cabinet. These “supplies” were often 2 inch long chewed up pencils. Excitedly, I would pick out a few favorites (the ones that still had half the eraser on them), but my Mom always made me put them back.

I’m not really a hoarder. I know this because I have seen the show about hoarders and I am definitely not like that. I do have some emotional attachment to certain items, but I am also physically capable of getting rid of things I don’t use.

My cousin Rachel got me hooked on her friend Sara’s blog (both blogs previously mentioned in my shout-out post). I am fascinated by Sara’s blog sometimes. Not because they live out of an RV, but because all of their belongings fit into that RV! She recently wrote a post on her blog called Simplify Saturday. Every Saturday they go through their RV and get rid of things they don’t use. She said, “If you don’t love it, it’s gone. If it doesn’t fit you very well, it’s gone. You will feel free…like a bird.”

I wanted to feel free like bird too! So, a couple of weeks ago, I cleaned out our closets. I’m not talking about getting rid of a couple shirts; I literally cleaned out half of my closet. I had so many clothes that either didn’t fit me anymore, and I was hoping some day they would, or that were so out of style, but I knew I spent a lot of money on so I couldn’t get rid of it. I had clothes and shoes that I’ve owned since high school and college! Dustin has tried to get rid of clothes of his in the past, and I wouldn’t let him because I knew they were nice… well, I let him. We sorted through our dvd collection and took out the ones we hadn’t watched in years (I mean seriously, why did I feel emotionally attached to the Spider Man series?) and put them in the garage for our garage sale. I didn’t realize how cluttered my house was with items that I might someday use. After loading up the garage, I really did feel like a huge weight was lifted off my chest. I really did feel free. I felt like I could breathe again.

It was just a start. Truly getting rid of things, purging, is hard. Especially when you know how much it cost, or if it was a gift and you feel guilty getting rid of it, or if you think you might need it someday. I had two boxes of hangers (baby and adult) in our garage sale and marked them as free. As two woman emptied the box out I started to panic a little and actually thought about stopping them and saying I needed to keep a few. Then, I realized that a 10 pack of hangers usually cost about a dollar. If I truly needed more hangers someday, I could go buy some. OR, I could clean out my closet again….

April 03, 2010

Love Blooms Here

I am constantly in awe of Clover. The things that she learns, the way her mind develops and the things that she understands continue to amaze me every day.

We decided that Wednesday would be a great day to plant some flowers. So, we went to home depot to browse the garden section and pick out our favorite ones. Really, Clover just liked pointing to all the different flowers and didn’t show a preference, but I wanted to test out my gardening skills on the least expensive, lower maintenance flowers. We loaded our car with our chosen flowers, a bag of special soil that the very helpful lady recommended and a little shovel to dig a hole for the flowers (I’m sure it has a fancy garden tool name).

The weather was perfect and it was early evening (post snack and pre dinner, so Clover wasn’t hungry) and we got started. Right away, I realized my first mistake, I needed a bigger shovel. My second mistake, Clover needed her own shovel because she really did enjoy helping. Third, I didn’t buy enough flowers.

We had a wonderful time though. In so many aspects, Clover is truly my child – being messy is one of the traits she inherited from me. She had an absolute blast playing in the dirt. Once I ripped the bag of soil open, she dug right in. She loved taking handfuls of dirt out and rubbing them all over herself. She also enjoyed making little piles of dirt on my legs saying “Mama!” with a gleam in her eye and a big smile on her face (like she was doing me a huge favor) while covering my leg with dirt. At one point she even took a handful and put it down my shirt saying “boo boo’s”, which is what she calls boobies.

The end result was a tiny little garden and a happy and fulfilled Mama and Clover.

*Please note: Clover did NOT eat any dirt - she is currently working on 5 new teeth and is drooling like a maniac, so the dirt kept sticking to her wet face!  Don't worry Granny, she's done with the sand/dirt eating for good!*

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.  ~Claude Monet