Art

I truly can’t remember the last time I sat down with a paintbrush in my hand, and just created something. 

I’m not a great artist, I never have been. In school I took GCSE and A-level art and I could do the tasks asked of me with some skill. But I never just sat down and created something in my own style, with my own unique and creative force.

My focus shifted to writing when I went to University. I’d say I’m pretty adept at being able to convey my thoughts and my arguments using the English language. These are skills however, that I don’t use often.

My creative muscle is not often worked, and even rarer, flexed. I am not driven to sit and write creatively, or to take a tool into my hands and create visual art. When I do create something, it’s all in my brain. I’m unable to transfer the images I muster up, from my brain, down to my fingertips. 

It’s frustrating to not have a hobby even. I’ve tried knitting, crochet, macrame and I get bored. I get bored of the mundane, tedious nature of these activities.

So what is it I’m looking for? I’m not sure. 

Whole 30

I started Whole 30 yesterday with my neighbor Molly. We agreed to encourage each other, to check in daily and to cook for one another to keep us on track. I’m one day in and two pounds down (and yes I know I shouldn’t be weighing myself). I’m hoping that with the addition of no dairy and no sugar along with what is my already clean eating diet, I can start seeing real results.

I’m sorry if you are reading this and thinking “Another weight loss post!?”, but this is where I’m at right now. I have a goal in mind and I will achieve it. I’m coming up on my 30th year and I’m not going to enter it with feeling so negatively about myself. 

Food For Thought

It really didn’t occur to me before becoming a parent, just how much women tear each other down. I mean, I turn on the laptop or look at my phone and I’m bombarded with articles about the right way to parent, about how motherhood is meant to look and often starting with the dreaded “Dear mom…”. It’s not okay.

Parenting and motherhood are individual experiences. One persons norm, can be completely and utterly different to another persons. So why do we insist on writing articles that tear each other down? Shouldn’t we be creating the “village”? We should be building one another up, being a compassionate and understanding ear to one another when shit gets real. Because motherhood is hard and if you think it’s not, well, as Amy Poehler says “Good for her! Not for me”.

I’ve been torn down by other women, first hand. Grown women passing judgement on someone they know nothing about in order to what? Feel better about themselves? Elevate themselves above the women they are treating so negatively? No. Not for me.

In the same brush stroke, these same women are the ones not only targeting other mothers, but women in general. They fit shame, fat shame, body shame etc. Mind your own business. Be mindful of yourself. And please, don’t sugar coat your objectification and judgment and label it as being “concerned”.

You might be thinking that by writing this, I’m judging these women, and in turn, I’m doing exactly what they are. And I’d challenge you in that I am not tearing these women down, they’ve already lowered themselves to a point that I hope, they can elevate themselves from. I won’t stand idly by and watch others treat anyone with so much disdain, parents, women and men.

I leave you with this quote, some food for thought so to speak.

“You don’t have to knock anyone off their game to win yours. It doesn’t build you up to tear others down.” – Mandy Hale

21 Day Fix

I’m four days into the 21 Day Fix in an attempt to shed some of the excess weight I’m carrying. So far I am going to the gym every day and doing the daily DVD workouts and sticking pretty strictly to the eating plan. I just need to convince myself that there is no need to step on the scales everyday. The temptation to weigh every ounce I lose it overwhelming at times.

For the first couple of days I had a splitting headache from cutting out caffein. Even though you can drink as much tea or coffee as you like, I don’t like either black, and a bit of raw sugar and a drop of milk just doesn’t cut it for me, so I’ve cut them out entirely. The desire to stop at Starbucks when we’ve been out and about has been great, but I’ve resisted so far!

It’s not really a restrictive diet, it’s pretty much what I would usually eat, but I am more aware of my portions and I’m eating 5 small meals rather than 3 large meals a day. There are a ton of 21 Day Fix friendly recipes on Pinterest and the likes, but I have been keeping it simple.

Meal 1: Scrambled Eggs and Fruit
Meal 2: Tuna/Hardboiled Eggs/Grilled Chicken w/ Brown Rice and Vegetables
Meal 3: Carrots and Hummus
Meal 4: Chicken, Zucchini and Brown Rice
Meal 5: Greek Yogurt, Fruit, Sunflower Seeds and Honey

It might sound boring, but with some salt, pepper and some light seasoning, it’s been really tasty! And of course, I can’t forget the copious amount of water I’ve been drinking. I think my bladder is finally getting used to it, I wasn’t up to use the bathroom near as much last night as the first night. 17 days to go! I hope I see a significant reduction in inches and pounds!

 

More Than A Mom

It’s hard to remember or rather, remind myself sometimes, that I’m more than just a mom. I’m a wife, sister and an aunt, but I’m also a person with interests, ideas and hobbies (at least before kids) outside of those parameters.

Before having Calvin I played Roller Derby, I played video games, painted, wrote poetry and enjoyed baking, traveling and being outdoors. Since having kids, I stopped playing Roller Derby, stopped playing video games and I can’t remember the last time I picked up a paintbrush or pen that didn’t involve washable finger paints, craft paper and smocks.

It’s not that I’ve lost these desires, or these interests, but rather that my priorities have shifted. If I make it through the day having gotten the kids out of the house, played with them and read to them, I call it good. Recently I started baking again and that has been a lot of fun, and I’ve started back at the gym, which is kind of a result of the baking!

I wouldn’t call baking or the gym “me time”, but they are activities that are reminding me that I’m more than just a mom. I’m more than just a mom on another level as well, I’m a teacher to my children and I’m relearning a lot through teaching them, even if it’s just a refresher course about the solar system.

Having friends who are both working moms and stay at home moms, I’ve been able to see this from a lot of angles, not that I have any better understanding of this feeling, than of my own experience. But it seems that it’s easier to keep your “other” identity when you have a tether to the adult world, aka work. As a stay at home mom, your world becomes your kids and about enriching their days. Neither is right or wrong, they are just different.

I’m not resentful, I’m not negative about my change of pace. But I do know that to be healthy both physically and mentally, I have to find time to do something I enjoy. I’ll be able to do more when the kids are in school, but for now I’ll soak up my time with them and lose myself in the music during Zumba!

We have a 3 year old… Oh crap! We have a 3 year old!

This past week has been nuts! Somewhere between gathering food, drinks, decorations and favors, the regular busyness of a toddler and infant… A birthday happened and a party was pulled out of his imagination. 

Our not so little, man, turned 3 this past Wednesday and I regaled him with the story about the day he was born… To his complete and utter disinterest. We ate donuts for breakfast, opened presents, sang happy birthday (which he hates) and played the day away. Sunday came around quickly and we had a low key Octonauts party with family and friends at a local park, two hours of hard, mud covered (leaky ice bucket in 95F weather and the California drought) morning, followed by a hard nap for both kids. The day went off without a hitch, much like the Sunday he was born.

 

This really does sum him up, curious, humorous, explorer!

 
Let me stop here to say, wtf!? To this fall weather. I’m done with the heat, bring on the cooler rainy days!

And so it goes, I look back and wonder where the time went, then I look to my side and see a baby… That turns 1 next month. Shit. This parenting thing is like being on a merry go round that doesn’t stop. It’s a never ending cycle of ups and downs, with a theme tune of kids shows and a roller coaster of emotions on loop in the background.

 

The soon to be, birthday girl!

 
I’m not looking to get off the ride, but if it could just slow down from time to time, so that I could really, truly, savor the surroundings, that would be great! 

Healthy Eating

This is a bit of a different post from me! Last month I did the Fitgirl challenge on Instagram and lost 6lbs. It was a matter of cleaner eating and smaller portions combined with daily exercise that made me shift from the plateau I’ve been sitting at since Mia was born. I still have wait to lose, but I’m also still breastfeeding, so I’m taking it slowly!

I’ve discovered a love of Greek yogurt, nothing fancy, just some plain 2% to add to breakfast smoothies or top with fruit. It’s the closest to English yogurt that I’ve found, yogurt in America is always cloyingly sweet for me.


I missed the start of the July challenge, but bought the cookbook and still have the 28 Day Jumpstart recipes to pull from to continue with the healthy eating. If you check it out, I highly recommend the sweet potato street tacos… Oh my yum!

A Quote

One of my all time favorite books is Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. There is a quote in it that has been resounding with me since my dad passed away. 

It makes me think that no matter how much I write about loss, it’s not going to change anything, it may help me release the stresses I feel but as a reader, you may not feel what I feel. Perhaps you are dealing with your own loss and there may be similarities in our thoughts, or the way we are each dealing and reacting to it, could be completely different. 

At the temple there is a poem called “Loss” carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read loss, only feel it.

A Busy Break

I haven’t been in much of a writing mood recently. Things have been pretty busy in our household with work, friends and family. It’s Fathers Day and although I am thinking about my dad a lot, missing him a ton and wishing he were still here with us, I am also trying not to dwell on it too much. It’s my husbands third Fathers Day and we are going to visit him at the station this evening for some dinner and bubble blowing!

It’s getting swelteringly hot here and I really wish to be back in the lovely 70F weather of San Diego that we had the chance to experience last weekend for a wedding we attended. It was the first time that Curtis and I had been away together, alone, since we got married in 2008. We stayed in a beautiful hotel near Mission Beach, ate breakfast by the bay, watched the cray fish glide through the water and rode beach cruisers up and down the boardwalk. It was blissful to say the least!