Sunday, April 25, 2010

1 Year

The end of April marks our one year anniversary of living with my parents. It has been a GREAT year. It's been such a wonderful experience for everyone, though an added burden financially for my parents. We moved without jobs. It really was our best hope for starting careers that could launch our independence. We will be forever grateful to both our families for assisting us along the way these last years, not to mention raising us!

It's been wonderful for our girls to be able to spend so much time with their grandparents. My parents were able to see how we parent and they followed suit when they needed to discipline. My Dad has been my right hand man in getting the girls out the door in the morning. I'm so grateful for that.

We've also been able to spend time with my brother and his girlfriend who has become a very special person to my girls. They love their uncle and S gives him a kiss and hug every time he's home for dinner. He's out a lot socializing and spending time with his g/f, but living here gave us more opportunities to be with him.

The holidays were so special and wonderful and I'm going to miss being here overnight during long breaks, not to mention being snowed in!

Farewell oh wonderful Walton-style home and hello nuclear family life!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Moon Cup

For about a year I was cycling with the full moon. It was amazing. There was no need to really keep track of my cycle. I only had to look at the calendar for the full moon to know when it'd come. As my diet got off track, so did my cycle. I actually stopped being able to tell when I ovulated. At first I wondered if it was because I was busier, but that didn't really make sense. Now that I've been eating better, I am able to tell when I ovulate. It's not the most pleasant thing. This morning the pain from it actually woke me up. It radiated from the front of my body through my back on my right side and a little on the left. It actually had me bent over when I got out of bed. The nice thing about recognizing ovulation is that exactly two weeks afterwards I'll get my period. Sometimes I ovulate a couple days less or more than two weeks after a period, so the four week count isn't as accurate as counting two weeks after ovulation.

It's "fitting" that I just found this very interesting device yesterday through a blogger who sells them. It's called a Moon Cup. I really like the idea of this and it seems comfortable enough, but the mess... I just picture the worst. How would I deal with this at work? It doesn't seem practical for a busy lifestyle. But it does seem a good way to cut down on tampon use and could be used when not working. I absolutely hate pads even though I know it's better for you to use them over tampons. The Moon Cup is very inventive. I wonder how many women use them.

Blog Shout out!

Here is a shout out to CrazySexyLife. It's a wonderfully uplifting, encouraging, informational website founded by Kris Carr. There are guest writers and regular bloggers who share inspirational stories and informational articles about wellness in every category from spirituality to health to green living. It's a great community to join and I feel it is the hub of my online support group. You'll find me there under Lauren M because there is another Lauren who visits all my hot spots as well. While you're at it, check out her blog. She has Crohn's Disease and is healing with a high raw vegan diet.

I can't recall the exact map I followed from blog to blog, but there is a connected community online and it pretty much stemmed from Kris Carr's blog (before her website launched) and I'm still discovering more blogs. You should too!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Green and Crunchy Giveaway

My new favorite blog is doing a giveaway. Even if you're not interested in this giveaway, you should read this blog. It's very informational and fun!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Smoothie Cravings

Every morning when the alarm goes off I picture cream pouring into steaming hot coffee. Then I usually picture toast with butter or a fried egg or a waffle. Eventually I get out of bed and get that cup of coffee. Then I have a mental struggle over whether or not to eat what I'm craving. Through the winter I ate lots of buttered toast for breakfast. It was a vegan breakfast (except for the damn cream in the coffee I can't get away from!). Since spring sprung I've been able to convince myself to make smoothies. And recently the second thought every morning after I picture my coffee is a smoothie! So I've been making smoothies either the night before or in the morning and I've felt really great all morning. I've not been as hungry when lunch time rolls around. And I don't feel as bloated, which of course you wanted to know.

My smoothies consist of some kind of milk (almond, rice or coconut), some frozen fruit (strawberries, pineapple, mango, peach), some fresh fruit (banana, strawberry, pineapple--whatever we have), a tbs of hemp seed powder, and maybe some greens. Today's smoothie was a beautiful bright pink color because it had fresh strawberries and pineapple.
Disclaimer--that's not my smoothie, just one I found online, but it looks like mine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Lease on Life

We signed our lease on our new house Monday (after the thumb-slicing incident). Though we're not scheduled for move in until mid-May and our rent is prorated for a half month, we'll have access to the house as of May 1st! We're THRILLED! That means, and we can move some furniture items we have here at my parents ahead of time. We can also move clothing over and other household items like toilet paper. It'll just make it that much easier when we do the big moving trip. Mid-May, on a Saturday my sister and brother and their significant others are going down to NC with us to help us load up a moving truck, stay the night, then drive to our new place and unload the truck. It's absolutely crazy, but I'll be going to school the next day. My in-laws will be watching the girls so they can have a fun weekend while we move our stuff. We'll let them stay home from school on Monday so they can enjoy setting up their toys they haven't seen in a whole year and get settled into the new house. Then it'll be back to the grind. It's just so nice we'll be in the house that much earlier and getting things in there. I'll get the shower curtain up and extra shoes in the closet and.... oh I'm so excited!

I am certainly excited to get back to feeding my family and myself vegetarian whole foods. It will be tiring, I'm sure, and I won't always want to make dinner, but I will do my best to prepare menus and meals ahead of time. Plus, eating that way is energizing! And it's spring! I feel so much happier now that it's spring. I'll have two kitchens! I'm not sure how this will work. I picture myself in both of them and try to work out scenarios in my head that will work. The main floor kitchen is tiny with just a little counter space on either side of the sink. The dining room is right off the kitchen, so it'd be easy to do food prep like chopping on the table and move it back to the kitchen. I can picture doing meals there and having meals at our dining room table. Baking, though, requires more room. For one, you need counter space to lay out cookie sheets, or baking dishes. And, baking is something I like to do with the kids, which means it's messier. I can definitely see us baking in the basement kitchen. There's a nice long counter and we'll have a table down there as well. But how to divide things? Just put most baking things downstairs and keep a couple things on the main floor for cooking, I guess. Flours and baking ingredients can be kept in the basement (I keep flour in the freezer anyway). We already know we'll need to keep all our extra serving dishes in the basement except for our good china, which we'll probably keep in the china hutch. Lots of fun organizing and reorganizing ahead of us! We'll just have to figure out what works and what doesn't.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When x-acto knives go wrong

X-ACTO knives are awful. This semester I had one kid get a little stab with one by "accident" from another student. I'm not really comfortable with the students knowing where they are or using them to cut the many things they want or feel they NEED to cut with them. I am without my mat cutter for the time being until I get it out of storage, so I needed to cut mat with an x-acto knife and a ruler. I had made 15 6"x7" rectangles already when... dun, dun, dun! You know.... IT HAPPENED! It's the horror story I've heard from many an art teacher. Sometimes it involves a paper cutter, sometimes an x-acto knife, but whatever it is, it's BAD.

I thought about showing real pictures and probably would if I weren't 1. lazy, 2. with dead batteries in the camera, 3. unsure where the camera actually is, 4. without my cord which is at school. So, these extremely inaccurate drawings will have to do.

First, here is my beautiful thumb without any unnecessary detail:

And here is the weapon:

And here is what happened when the two met (without all the terrible blood):

Don't freak out. I didn't sever my entire thumb! I just cropped it like that for the picture. I did chop off a little cap on the top side towards the fingers.

It happened so quickly that I simply thought the knife had gone into my thumb and I pulled it back very quickly and put my index finger of the injured hand right on the top of my thumb until I got to the sink. I held my breath as I ran it under cool water, but it didn't sting. Strange. I grimaced as blood gushed and then wrapped it in a paper towel and finally, I took a look at it. That's when I saw that it wasn't a gash that would possibly need stitches, but an open wound about the size and shape of a small dried black bean. Mmmm, I love black beans. I went to the secretary and asked if she knew if the nurse was still in. She knew she wasn't and she knew she hadn't been in at ALL that day. Great! Why did I choose that day to do the cutting? I asked for gauze and the secretary got me all bandaged up with pain relieving neosporin, two gauze and four band aids. She had no issue with blood. And my gash still didn't hurt. That's the weirdest thing, it doesn't hurt at all! This happened yesterday afternoon after school and today I wore a finger cot. I also called it a finger rubber and a finger condom. You gotta know your audience and mine is a bunch of rotten teenagers. They thought it was hilarious. hahaha! Look at this great picture I found:

Can you believe this? Look at the top on that one! HA! And that's exactly what it looked like on my thumb over my band aid today.

Since getting home today I've left it open to the air and it is healing so nicely already. Amazing. Good thing I had a tetanus shot a couple years ago!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Best Blog Find EVER!

I need to express how incredibly happy I am to have found this blog: Green and Crunchy. It's about a vegan family with 5 kids (I think) and it is packed full of fun photos and awesome edibles. There are a gazillion tips on every page, easy recipes and proof that kids will eat the crazy, hippie food. I am so geared up to try everything Sheri makes for her family. First off, I've decided to get whoever I can on board and buy bulk. Sheri shares her bulk buying stashes often and it's obvious it is the best way to get the best food for the lowest price. I'm just so excited, but I need to remind myself to take it slow. I'm not starting completely from scratch here, I know what kind of great vegan foods there are, I've just never made them myself. I think it's time to start making my own rice and almond milks and nut butters and hummus and more! Looking at Sheri's pictures of her full blendtec blender, I'm realizing I should get one of those! You can really fill those things up and get great smoothies!

S, my 7 year old, is very interested in cooking and food. She's always had a great appetite and has not been a picky eater... until more recently when I cut out meat from my diet and have encouraged her to do the same. It's been a difficult transition for her, mostly, I think, because we live in a meat-eating house. My little one has less issues and is very happy to drink down any smoothie or veggie juice I make. When I showed S the Green and Crunchy blog she was very intrigued. The pictures of the section plate meals are so colorful and look sooooo good. I get a lot of complaints about food from S. It's confusing for her to have food in the house that I have told her she can't have and she's starting to feel bad about eating meat, though I do my best to let her know she needn't. Still, I acknowledge that she's having these feelings and I think we've hit a turning point with her. Twice now she has told me she wanted to avoid eating the meat my mom made for dinner and both times she gave in and ate it--and enjoyed it! Ha! But, it seems she is ready to be free of meat. It's been 9 months since I stopped eating all meat except seafood and it seems the kids have realized it's not something I'm doing for a short time. They check with me every-so-often to make sure I haven't eaten any meat. Seafood is my last hurtle for vegetarianism. Then I'll have to tackle my dairy issues. I'm betting it'll be pretty easy to get to vegan because G doesn't have egg or dairy due to allergies and once she doesn't eat meat, she's automatically vegan without issue! So, I'll eat like her. I like to make vegan meals to accommodate her and make my own transition.

With the help of this blog and others like it and my vegan cook books and raw "cook" books, I'll have a variety of things to try this summer. I like to keep it simple in the kitchen and I like to have the kids help. When they're involved they're more likely to eat and enjoy new foods. I'm so happy to be home this summer with my children and to have the time to get in the kitchen with my girls and make this summer of dietary transition an enjoyable family event. Maybe we'll set goals together of things we want to make and we'll keep a record of every day we eat all vegetarian or all vegan. Because we'll be doing it together and S won't be in school, she'll be able to feel more included than secluded in her diet.

I still want to meet other vegan moms in person, but since that has yet to happy, I'll rely on this online community. And frankly, I'm obsessed with this blog! Thanks Sheri!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Back on Track

I'm trying to get my diet back on track.
Here are my excuses: I live in a household stocked with all sorts of processed foods. I'm busy. I'm tired. I'm STRESSED. I hate winter. It's too cold and I need bread. I don't have enough support. I have to make food for the kids. I don't have enough support.

Ok. So now I'm going to kick all those excuses to the curb! I'm back to reading the bloggers that give me the support I need. They are real people and they will really respond. And there are other readers out there like me who are blogging and trying their best. So, I'll keep connecting to these people even though it's only online. It still helps.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. First of all, spring is here and the warmer weather is motivational to me. It motivates me to move, to exercise, walk, run, play. It motivates me to make green juice and drink lemon water and munch on cucumbers.

There is also a light at the end of the tunnel for living in our own house. YAY! We sign the lease Monday, but don't move in until mid-May. Still, it's not far away and I need to start planning for all the added food shopping and prep I'll be doing.

I need to remember that I have a supportive husband. He is completely supportive of vegetarian eating and eating a high raw diet. He loves green juices.... even greener juices than I like! Our juicer has been put away for FAR too long.

I'm super excited to get the kids on a vegetarian diet. Prior to moving in with my folks they were eating poultry and fish. It didn't stay that way. It's difficult on their psyches. They WANT to be vegetarian. G is always saying "I'm vegetarian now" and the other night S said she was trying to keep from eating the ham on the table in front of her. Of course I told her to just eat it. I reminded her that she is free to eat meat when we visit family and she can eat vegetarian when I'm the one fixing her dinner. When they're struggling with the ethics of eating the meat in front of them and knowing I encourage vegetarianism, I remind them that their breakfasts and lunches are vegetarian 90% of the time except for occasional turkey sandwiches.

I do have one concern and that is budgeting. Apparently my husband thinks I'm not so good at grocery shopping on a budget. I think he's still remembering when we were first married 9 years ago and I bought a bunch of packaged foods and household products in one trip and to him it didn't look like it represented the cost. Really, he needs to look at what we spent the last couple years in NC. We did FINE. We didn't overspend on groceries.

Kristin's Raw is such an inspirational blog for eating all vegan high raw. She has great tips on eating healthy on a tight budget. Some I had already thought of, like buying grains, lentils and beans in bulk rather than in boxes. As much as I'd love to buy all organic produce, I know I can't. I would also love to join a CSA, but the price for that is too high to do this year.... hopefully next year we can budget it in. So, I'll have to stick with buying organic apples, carrots and spinach because these are big staples in our diets and they're part of the dirty dozen. I'll have to settle for getting the rest regular except for occasional organic greens. I just don't think we can afford all organic lettuce and juice the amount we want to. I don't know what is better.... only juice when we can get organic or juice regular? I lean towards juicing regular lettuce, because we're still getting the phytonutrients. Unfortunately the dirty dozen consists of a lot of the veggies we eat regularly. :(

I'll have to keep in mind that our budget comes down to eating for about $15/day. That's a family of 4. Doable? It had better be!

I am so looking forward to not stressing about what NOT to eat because I won't feel bad about eating ANYTHING we have in the house since it will all be excellent food!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Heart Boobies

This is the new cancer awareness campaign and the perfect excuse for teenage boys to wear articles of clothing, like T-shirts (bracelets, when in uniform) that exclaim "I Heart Boobies" and "Keep a Breast." Well, I do heart boobies. They are great. They look nice. They feed babies. They can be stimulated for X Rated fun. Boobs are the bomb.

I do not like boobies with implants. Plastic surgery is great and I'll probably get some nips and tucks in the future (unless my awesome diet negates the need for such procedures--yeah, I wish!) That procedure, I can honestly say, I will NEVER, EVER get. While I feel some minor insecurities about having a small chest, most of the time I am happy with what I have. To make myself feel better when I'm feeling less than adequate in my clothes, I think about sexy celebs such as Kiera Knightly and Kate Hudson.

When I heard on the radio driving home today that Kate Hudson got breast implants I was upset. WHY?! I thought, We lost another one! But, then I continued thinking about it. I understand why she would get natural-looking implants, and they are small, not Girls Next Door size or anything. For one thing, whatever size chest you have, when you have a kid, you can lose the firmness and perkiness you had before you had the kid. The growth in breast size during pregnancy and breastfeeding and the weight loss afterwards can basically, well, deflate breasts. Most mothers will relate to a sagginess that wasn't there before, even if the size isn't too decreased. For some, especially if there is a great amount of weight loss, like myself, the size is much decreased. Maybe Kate felt even flatter, and likely was, than before she had a kid. As I recall, she'd gained quite a bit of weight during pregnancy and has obviously lost it all.
Alright, to each her own. As for me, I will continue to be comfortable with the size I am. Besides, I 'm more concerned about my saggy butt than my deflated breasts! Butt, I'll save that for another post, or not. HA!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Day in the Life of G, a four year old girl

"Hi, how are you? Good. Today I played with my I... I... played with Uncle M. I like Uncle M and my sister. And I like bees. And I like Diego. Bees don't bother you. That's what I like 'bout it. Today I saw Uncle M and today I saw Aunt L. And today I saw all the bees at the bush and they were getting pollen. I like Diego. He is my favorite boy in the world. And I don't want Diego to stop making Diego on TV. And I like bees and they're so nice cuz they don't bother us. In Madagascar Pengiuns there's hornet bees and they're stinging the penguins. You know the king in Madagascar, he has servants. And they get him something always what he wants. The little squirrel likes his feet. The royal king says 'Nobody touch my feet for no reason' and he says 'honey I want honey, go get my honey.' And it was hornets and he licked the nest but there was no honey in it. He run and he went then a little kid came in and he screamed and he ran back out and the penguins killed the bees and came back and the penguins were under the chair. The science penguin said 'Good job, penguins.' The science penguin said 'We are the best penguins.' They runned under the chair before the children comed in. Soooo, that was the end. Goodbye."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Updates leading to religous ramblings...

Life is full right now: sister newly married, lots of planning for school, spring (bring on summer!), looking for a rental to move in June. That last one is so exciting, but also has us anxious. The kids went with us on our first outing to look at houses. Next time we'll just take the oldest. It was great to get her read on the houses. The first two she didn't feel right about. Neither did we! They were dumps. Then the third we all really liked. It had everything we were looking for and more. It had what I want: hardwood floors, walk-out finished basement, more than one toilet! Will would settle for less to keep the price down. The thing is, the house with it all was the cheapest. So, I think we can get a place we can really enjoy and settle into easily and still have a decent price. There is a good bit out there to choose from and I look forward to going back out there Friday.

My sister's wedding last weekend was a blast! She and her husband were gorgeous! While chilly, the day was beautiful, my girls were great flower girls and I danced my feet sore. I don't think there was anyone there who didn't have a great time.

On Easter Sunday, religion is on my mind. We went to mass today and I have dual personalities. On the one hand, I could just leave it all behind and raise the kids without Christianity and live my life away from the Church. It seems the decision, which I had wrestled with most of the almost 4 years we lived in NC, has now been made for me. So, on the other hand, we are a Catholic family. I am a Catholic school teacher. The girls are Catholic school students. We are expected to be participating members of the Church family and examples of Christ's teachings. At mass I disciplined S for not standing up during "the most important part," the Eucharist. Each bible story S or G shares with me from school brings back my own Sunday School teachings. It is all so familiar, comforting, and annoying at the same time.

Bill Maher... I agree with him. Religiosity? Yeah.

Mother Teresa. She didn't believe. She kept going, but she didn't believe.

Not that I'm ANYTHING like Mother Teresa, but I am sort of following her example, though she never wanted it known, that even when you don't believe, keep going as if you do. And that's what I do. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the coincidence of landing at the Catholic school. I love Catholic school. It's a unique environment and a nice one in which to work. I feel at home there, as I knew I would when I first visited the school for my initial interview. So, I'll keep going. I'll make the sign of the cross, I'll demand respect from the students for prayer, I'll support the children in learning all about the Bible and Jesus and the Saints. They'll make their sacraments. They'll think it's real for me, too. And though so much doubt and skepticism runs through my brain each and every time I encounter Jesus information, I'll admit that at the end of the high school's performance of the living Stations of the Cross, I shed a tear. Because the story of crucifixion is just fucking horrible and should never have happened and should never happen. And when Jesus stood up after everyone had gone from the tomb and the light still shown on him and he walked away... it was moving. I do believe in the afterlife and that we will rise out of our bodies when they stop living and we will be apart from material living. And the story of Jesus dying is why I am against the death penalty and always have been.
Today, the priest said how the crucifixion was as painful as the electric chair or the guillotine. How could we have continued with such practices into the 20th century?

That makes me think of the movie I watched tonight: Men Who Stare At Goats. I highly recommend it. I think the underlying message of the story is that peaceful living is best and violence is to be avoided.

So I will not avoid the obvious path that is laid before me. Whatever is out there allowing this miraculous life is to be praised.