Who is Lauren M?

Welcome to my blog! I hope you stick around. I love feedback and I like to find new blogs to read, so please leave comments. Here is a little bit about me. I am a day dreamer. I want to be a doer, as well, but it's a work in progress to be both of those things. Here are some things I definitely am:

A wife. I've been married to Will for 9.5 years and we've been together 11 years. I love being married. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. We met in college, very young, and fell hard for each other. We couldn't stand to be separated, so when Will joined the Coast Guard we started planning our wedding. We married July 28, one week after my birthday, July 21, and children soon followed. Having never finished our college education before marriage and children, we received tons of help from family and have since completed our degrees (two, for Will) and have jobs in our fields. We struggled through many stressful times, but we've made it to a place where we feel secure and can support ourselves and our children both financially and emotionally.

A daughter and a sister. I live within 25 minutes of my parents and brother and within 10 minutes of my sister, though I have to pay a toll both ways and go through a tunnel to get to her house. I lived away from family in NC for almost four years and I missed them very much. I greatly enjoy living close to them. For one, my mom can clean my teeth again. She's a dental hygienist. She's the only dental hygienist I'll tell to stop, it hurts! I also love having my family close by to have a close relationship with my two children. We're within a little over an hour from my in-laws, so we see them frequently as well and both grandparents happily take the girls for overnighters from time to time.

A mother. This is one of the most defining things about me. It's something I can never separate from, nor would I want to. I had my children young, in my early twenties, and while it was not the best thought out plan, it is my truth. I have two daughters who are 2.5 years apart in age. My oldest daughter, S, resembles my husband in many ways, physically and in personality, and we butt heads a lot. She's very strong willed, out going and very intelligent. She's also emotional and empathetic, like me. In the end we always hug and express how much we love each other. My youngest daughter, G, is still my baby. It's something every parent has to contend with when it comes to the baby of the family. Still, she's very independent and also very smart. She's also strong willed, maybe even more than her big sister. She resembles me more physically and is shy and sensitive, like I was growing up. She was born two months premature on my birthday and that experence links us in a special way. My daughters love each other so much and I hope they are best friends when they grow up.

A teacher. It's my career. I teach high school art at a small Catholic school and I love it! My girls also attend the same school in the lower school building, so we're all on the same campus every day. I've been teaching at my school since fall '09 and I hope to stay there for many years to come. Whatever comes my way, I hope to continue teaching. Working in academics keeps the mind sharp.

An artist. It's my career. I teach art because I love art. I love making art, reading about art, looking at art, talking about art, teaching about art, demonstrating art methods, etc. I'm not interested in being a well-known artist, but I do enjoy making work that people want to buy. It's not something I do these days, but I will again.

A vegan freak. I'm not vegan. I want to be vegan and often I eat completely vegan. I love vegan cookbooks and I always bake vegan. See "Why vegan?" to learn more.

A Catholic. It's like an ethnicity. I was born into it. I was baptized before I could speak as were my children. I was away from the Church for a while and not sure if I ever wanted to come back. Maybe God made the decision for me. Maybe it was just a nice coincidence that a Catholic school had a job opening. Either way, getting the teaching position I did has put my family in a vibrant Catholic community and connected me to a church and the Church once again.

A liberal. Politically. I still believe in things like monogamous marriage and not aborting viable pregnancies, but most of my political leanings are liberal and democratic. I campaigned in NC for Obama and am proud that my county was a blue county even though we were surrounded by red in our region. I'm not disappointed in Obama, but in our system. Change occurs slowly. I still have hope. I want two consenting adults, of whatever gender, to be able to have a legal marriage. I want Obamacare. I want people to have the ability to immigrate to our country with ease. I want there to be less discrepancy between the wealthy and the poor.

A feminist. Keep it equal, man. Equal pay. Equal rights. Equal parenting. Well, I'm not sure that parenting can ever be equal. First of all, women are the gender that get to carry and birth babies. Whether you think it's a curse or a blessing, it's just not equal. There will always be times when one or the other parent is picking up more slack, but over all, the effort should be that both parents are as fully involved as they each can be in rearing children.

An exerciser. I don't think I'll ever be an athlete, but I love exercising. I never thought I would! I did not play sports as a kid and I was anti-sports as a teenager. Why? I dunno. It probably has to do with my dad's absorption in my brothers athletics. My parents just never signed me up and I never asked. I ran around outside a ton, swam every summer and climbed trees and monkey bars like, well, a monkey. But as I aged, I realized I needed to exercise to feel good in my body. As a preteen/teenager I often felt separate from my body. I know that sounds weird, but think about it. The body starts undergoing all these weird changes in puberty. You're constantly growing, so you're always having to get to know a new body every few months or so. When I started going to group exercise classes and felt how great it was to be in control of my body and not separate from it, I was hooked. I love it!

A health nut. I'm not that nutty compared to many people who devote their lives to the field of health, but I do enjoy the topic. I like to read about it. I like to watch Dr. Oz. I just plain like the idea of making ones body a healthy system.

A sensitive soul. I'm empathetic and it's not always a good thing. Sometimes I think about other people's problems too much. I can't let them go easily. It's because I care. When I was in high school I recognized that being a therapist or counselor was not the field for me. Well, being a teacher is often being a counselor, so I have to deal. I enjoy helping people, and know that just listening nonjudgementally does a world of good. But, sometimes when the house is quiet, I remember someone's issues and feel sad. I also struggle with depression and anxiety. It started when I was 7 and it's been an issue on and off my whole life. I really struggled during my first pregnancy, but never had post-partum depression. Now I take Zoloft to ease the depression and anxiety. I started taking it last winter when I was super stressed and was having panic attacks. I have seasonal affective disorder and feel fatigued and sad during the winter when there is less light and it's cold. During the spring and summer months I'm more energetic and happy. Though, with the medication and with getting back to exercising, this winter is going much better than last. The fact that I never had issues with depression during the winter months in NC is a testament to the power of exercise. It was my medication and I didn't have it last winter.

So that's me in a nutshell. I'm much more than these words, of course. We all are more than a few descriptive paragraphs. I am constantly evolving. I hope you continue to read my blog and follow me on my journey. Link me on your blog and I'll do the same for you.