Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekend travels

This weekend we went exploring up north, while Robert and Matthew went to a Taokwondo training camp. We left before dawn, and came home when it was dark, so it was a long day trip. We made the best of it-and after 10 years of having kids, I felt like I set our expectations at a realistic (low) level, so I could maintain my sanity.

The younger kids and I went to the Jelly Belly Factory , and the festival that was taking place there. Gabriel and Elijah were fascinated by the assembly lines and machinery, Rebecca liked the samples of the jelly beans.
We wandered through Fairfield a little bit, and stopped at a local deli for lunch before returning to Martinez. Robert and Matthew had a fantastic experience at the training camp, and the Paleo inspired lunch that we packed had enough substance to give them energy during the long day. Quiche, baked chicken, grape tomatoes, baby carrots, strawberries, grapes, guacamole traveled easily and didn't make a mess. They did say their feet were hurting though after all the events, but it hasn't deterred them from wanting to go back next year.

We had our church harvest luncheon yesterday, and due to the rain (how exciting was that, it has been dry here forever!!!) we moved it inside. The message hit home for me and where I am in my life, and it reminded me to reflect on what I've accomplished and still keep striving towards my goals. I stayed to help clean up, while Robert took the kids home. The rest of the day was low-key, and frankly we needed it, after the long drive on Saturday. We did have couples group, but then went straight to bed after we all came home.

Busy weekend for us, and now it's off to the last week of September!

Busy weekend, ubt

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Coming full circle

On Sunday, I was where I needed to be, and who I needed to be with. We skipped out on church while Robert went to work, spent time with my friend K and her boys. We relate on so many levels, but truth be told, 8 years ago when we first met in MOMS Club, we didn't really know each other-her youngest is the same age as Gabriel (and I was in the midst of grad school during that time, so not the most active member) but in recent time with facebook, instagram, our lives moving on a similar path, we crossed paths once more and it's been an eye opening and thought provoking experience.

She has provided inspiration through going Paleo, Whole 30, our boys connect, and most importantly, she understands my crazy, chaotic life. We have been struggling with some issues for awhile, and my initial thoughts of doubt, overthinking and questioning have been set aside with the words of her own experience. The conversations we've had recently remind me why making connections and building relationships and friendships through all stages of motherhood is important-because motherhood is the most freakingly hard, exhausting, mind numbing experience sometimes, and there is no instruction book.

Today we discussed the how and why we're both wondering if working outside the home is all that it's cracked up to be when we have full plates at home. How we juggle the needs of our kids (who going through their issues really do need us in their corner), our relationship with our spouse, the day to day responsibilities of life, and  how we take care of ourselves. We came to the realization that it takes a village to raise a child-yet that village is now something we have to create on our own. I sensed that early on when we moved away from our families, and we had to be self-reliant, or go broke covering for sitters and paid help so we could get a date night every couple of months. We need support in all stages of motherhood, not just when our babies are nursing and not sleeping through the night. I need to know I'm not the only one struggling with bullies, school work, interventions, etc. I want my family to thrive, not just survive. Let it be known I don't hold anything against those who work, those who stay at home, everyone is entitled to make the decision that suits them and their family. I am just becoming hyper sensitive to the point that our immediate circle of support is fairly limited and I find myself questioning how we can outlay to get that support while we both work outside the home.

I don't feel like we have just been surviving, but I do feel we're at the brink of change, and that is something that we need to explore. I want what's best for my kids, want to know the legacy I leave behind is four individuals who are confident, competent, caring individuals. My job as a mom something I don't get to do over, I have this time, this season to work through the kinks, knead and shape my children's hearts and minds.

This season of motherhood is moving at warp speed. I sense that everyday I check something off my to-do list and I see my children grow and learn, asking questions, provoking me to think about the path we are on.

I'm not quite sure where that leaves me on the "go back to work" front. Right now is a sea of appointments and figuring out what we need to do and what is covered by insurance. I'm going to bide my time, not be Suzy Homemaker or a Donna Reed wannabe, but be me. Be a 35 year old mom of four, with my scheduled days of preschool, dr.'s appointments, volunteer responsibilities (which is actually shorter this year than in years past). I'm going to let life lead me where I'm supposed to be.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The secrets of marriage

Yesterday was a "I bit too much off, and how am I going to get this done, and nothing is going my way" kind of day. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my Sunday. To make matters worse (or better, as seen later on), my husband committed us to going to our couples group. It made my blood pressure go sky high-really in hind sight, I get it. I really do. I was exhausted, and taking it out on my partner.

Fast forward to the couples group I didn't want to go to, and my husband and I got to go on a field trip- to see the couples group of our elders, ranging in marriages from 36-62 years. Eye opening. Knowing that they had lasted so long, raising children, dealing with stress, many of them having had kids as close in age as ours (which was comforting too, knowing I could relate to those women).

I was grateful that we went, it was really a G-d thing that we were there. The petty arguments of the day were history,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Retraining after survival mode- Whole 30, one day at a time

Cooking has been theraputic, both for the physical work that goes into it, and the way it makes me feel inside. I don't think I really understood the latter until this weekend when I had to eat boy scout camp food. It did a number to my body-and although as another mom pointed out, I got quite a few work outs in, I still felt "off".

Prior to this weekend and during it too, I thought about doing another Whole 30. We had awesome results last time, and the crap food at the camp made me feel like I needed a reboot. Yet I'm unsure I could take much more on at this point-I felt like I was in survival mode the past couple of weeks trying to work out the kinks in a new routine.

My friend Kindra has been the source of great inspiration, she has revolutionized how she provides for her family, and it has encouraged me to do the same. Yesterday she posted this great article, Back To School Blues and that summed up how I felt. With the start of school, I felt my focus was on survivial-sort of how it was for awhile when the kids were first born. We haven't completely reverted to how we used to eat (the large pantry is for cooking appliances now and I don't really use a can opener except for my coconut milk) but the type of cooking I was used to doing had slipped. Taking care of myself had slipped. Eating healthy and exercise is a huge part of  self-care for me, and had been for a long time, but I had to take a step back from going full throttle to going half way, and I felt the difference- it was magnified when I was stuck eating food somewhere else with limited options.

So all that said, I'm turning the page and jumping back into the clean eating wagon as much as I can- and not thinking of the Whole 30 as this monster sized goal, but breaking it down meal by meal.

Tonight I needed a crock pot meal that would satisfy all of us, and something that would cook just in the afternoon, since we were home after 1 p.m. I opted for Slow Cooker Chicken with Sweet Potatoes since I had everything on hand, minus the applesauce. In lieu of that, I chopped up apples in the ninga, and then added the rest of the seasonings. The result was a Whole 30 compliant meal that left enough food for lunch for all of us tomorrow.