mommy blog

So Long, For Now

When I started this journey I was desperate for an outlet. I was (and am) a stay-at-home mother of four children. I love my job, but I was longing for a distraction. My youngest son was very ill (and I honestly got more gray hair since the time of his birth than I can count). Was I on the brink? Maybe. I just deeply needed and wanted a connection outside of the home. I found a new purpose in a sense of professionalism. It’s strange because I am actually a very private person (which interestingly I have found many bloggers to be). I created this pretend job, where I could get up and write; and take photographs; meet (self-imposed) deadlines; and share what was going on in my life. It opened conversations.

I wanted to tell people about our experiences with my son, our no-end-in-sight visits to the doctors. I thought if I could share his experience and what we were learning, that it might help someone else. Not all doctors (not even the best) have the answers. Sometimes they are just making their best “educated” guesses. I wanted to encourage other mothers to follow their gut instincts, sometimes we know.

I wanted to bring awareness to my passion of eating organic. There are big industries using the American people like lab rats with their food experiments. Our environments are being filled with toxic chemicals (that go right into our ground, food and water), while we just sit passively (often unknowingly) watching it all happen. Not so coincidentally, we have more diseases and sicknesses than ever. Healthcare is also a big industry. I believe strongly that so much of this is reversible. If we stopped ingesting crazy “Genetically Engineered Ingredients” or “Genetically Modified Organisms (GEI’s and GMO’s), and ate real, healthy and whole foods- our bodies could, in some cases, heal themselves. Likewise, if we make conscious decisions to know what we’re buying to feed our families, if we choose to avoid harmful food experiments, if we make a demand for organic (not tampered with) fruits, meats, vegetables- or even grow our own, our environment and earth can reverse the damages.

I wanted to share family recipes. Clearly, I like food, but it goes beyond that. It connects all of us, and it did for me. Recipes quickly became my favorite way to relate with others. I made friends around the world. Growing food, preparing food, sharing food: It’s a universal language. I’m not a chef… but I know the meaning of breaking bread with loved ones. Thank you to the friends and family members who shared recipes with me, that in turn I could pass on. It’s meaningful. And I don’t only appreciate the fact that food connects us at our own table, as well as globally; I love that it transcends time. Family meals connect us to past generations, to ancestors and traditions in the form of celebrations, holidays, and in our daily routines that we have been sharing… well, since the beginning of man.

It has come full circle. My son is healthier now, and believe it or not, it has mostly to do with his diet. Who knew that nursing him (the most natural thing to do) was weakening his already low immune system? The solution didn’t come from a doctor, rather a suggestion of an acquaintance in our relentless search to find answers. Goat’s milk. After harsh treatments of topical and oral medicines, ridiculous amounts of blood draws and testings; we found a doctor who said it was something I was eating. Since knowing the “trigger” was time consuming to say the least, we switched to a dairy free, soy free, etc. baby formula. Cutting out mother’s milk finally helped him grow skin. However, it was switching to goat’s milk (instead of chemical ridden hypoallergenic formula) that finally made him pass a soft stool. It might seem small, but after watching your baby suffer with mucous filled diarrhea since birth; it was a triumph.

I’m thankful for modern medicine. In fact, I carry an Epipen at all times, because a single cashew could stop my son from breathing. But I’m not oblivious to the fact that we have ancient medicines too. Foods high in antioxidants are proven to combat cancer cells. Things like turmeric and blueberries are being linked to fighting Alzheimer’s Disease. (Both of these diseases hit close to home.) You know that old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? I read recently that the enzymes your stomach produces to digest an apple, are enough to completely defeat some of these “new and deadly” flus. At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve read that they are linking an ingredient found in sleeping aids to dementia. Sadly, that ingredient is also found in Benadryl; the same Benadryl that my son has taken regularly almost since birth. So, when I read about the extremely nutritious properties and benefits of wild edibles like “nettles” that naturally encourage your body to resist allergens, I take notice.

Therein lies my new pursuit of interest. It’s not like I’m ending the book, just the chapter… and it’s time to turn the page. I’m going to educate myself on such things as foraging and wild edibles, fermentation processes, and essential oils. I’ve always wanted to feed my family whole and organic foods, now I want to spend time researching the subject further… I’m ready to dig deeper into holistic living. I’m starting another 21 day cleanse. I’ll still be honing in on my coffee roasting skills, and dabbling in cheese making. At the same time, it’s been two years of talking about my dreams, it’s time to follow them. I’m thinking of it as a sabbatical of sorts. (Now to persuade my husband to buy that farm. 😉 )

Thank you to my supportive friends and family; my husband, parents, sister, cousins, aunts, peeps at ESC, lifelong friends of JHS, and those faithful supporters not mentioned. I am so grateful for my blogging family (in no particular order) Anna, Roberta, Terry, Fiona, Jasmine, Lynn, Antonia, KR, Shamira, van, Tikeetha, pug, Freda, Natasha, and on. You’ve supported me even when I haven’t reciprocated. Thank you. Thanks to Sean at Wayfair for the opportunities. If the situation presented itself, I couldn’t say never. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing, more than I ever knew I would. So who knows? Therefore, I won’t say goodbye- just so long, for now.

 

Who Has Time to Blog?

So as many of you know I spent the last week and a half on vacation. As the quasi-organised person I am, I set the blog on autopilot, scheduling posts I wrote ahead of time and even filling in a few during the trip. The truth is I love my blog. It’s my getaway, my connection to the outside world, and my sense of professionalism. We had a great time on our spring break, and in reflection on the way home it seemed to provide an endless amount of inspiration with all of the things I could share! Then reality set in.

Of course we held the mail while we were away, so it came to no surprise that upon delivery it would be a bundle. What I didn’t expect was a bill from a collection agency regarding an unpaid balance from my 2014 baby delivery! What in the world? We settled everything already a year ago (so I thought). Ok, fine. Don’t stress about it, I’ll have Owen call in the morning. Moving on.

I was unpacking our suit cases upstairs while my daughter played with the baby in his room, when I heard her scream. “There’s an ant!” My three year old bravely went to get me a tissue to dispose of the ant, while I checked for any more. And yes, there was another crawling up the diaper genie. Ugh! We paid (what I considered to be) a small fortune for an extermination company to get rid of the carpenter ants last fall! Oh please, don’t let this be happening again.

Naturally there tends to be a lot of laundry when a family travels, but not for us. We are the fortunate ones who get to visit my in-laws during our stay. They generously offer their home, including appliances, so we don’t have to pack-up dirty belongings. So where in the world did all of these soiled clothes, blankets, etc. come from? I’d like to know.

I knew there would be no groceries at home, because we were responsible people and used up what we had before we left. So, obviously it made sense to stop and pick up bread for Isaiah’s school lunches on the way to our house. Why didn’t I think of anything to make for dinner? Or milk? Who goes to the grocery store and doesn’t pick up milk? So I trekked my way out this morning to make a dash for the grocery store with three kids 5 and under, after a stop at the bank. In route my baby fell asleep in the car, and you know what? I just didn’t feel like doing it. So through the drive-thru I went and back home.

And you know how I like to deal with all of this stress? Well the washing machine is running and I’ve already called the exterminator. The kids are fed. So I’m going to pretend it’s not happening. Instead, we are going to purpose-lessly decorate eyeglass rims and dress up like Batman, until it’s time to get ready to celebrate my nephew’s birthday. The end.

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Aspirations

Sometimes I wake up with such big aspirations… which could also be referred to as small attainable goals. I get my game plan together: “Today I need to give the middle kids a bath.” (Side note: The eldest and youngest got theirs last night. I’m not one of those “crazy” people who think you need to bathe every day… And I’m just kidding about thinking people who shower every day are crazy. Many members of my family are everyday people. More power to you. I’m just more of an every other day type of person.) Ok, let’s get back on track. So on the day’s list is “Give the middle kids a bath; Enroll Isaiah in flag football, sign Naomi up for gymnastics, and call about soccer for Elijah; remind my husband about scheduling the windshield replacement; email the guy about the travel trailer; catch up on laundry (my nemesis); etc.

I realize this all sounds very doable. And in theory I agree. Of course, there is the regular daily stuff to do too. I wake up, change the baby, pour a cup of coffee, pack Isaiah’s lunch, start breakfast for four kids (a special menu for the baby, no dairy means no butter, pancakes (with milk), cheese, yogurt…), unload and load the dishwasher… Have I read my Bible today? Did I yesterday? I really need to get on the treadmill. Today is the day I’m going to count calories. Get the baby off of the kitchen table. Who’s calling my name. Oh, Elijah needs help in the bathroom (my newly potty-trained big boy!). Shoot, where’s the baby. “Mom! Noah is on the stairs!” Ok, run to get the baby before he gets into Isaiah’s lego-land. Ugh, did he poop? Change the baby’s diaper (2 down, umpteen to go). Oh no, I need to roll the sausage over. The toast is probably cold- Isaiah won’t eat butter if he can see it. Ok, gather everyone to the table. Elijah got his own water from the fridge… get a towel before everyone soaks their socks. Is that lip gloss on the kitchen cabinet? “Naomi, did you put on lip gloss?” Check her face. Affirmative. “Did you leave a lip print on the cabinet?” Add to list Magic Eraser the cabinet. What’s in the baby’s mouth. Oh my gosh, Owen left his socks on the floor. “No, Noah don’t put that in your mouth!” Ok, time to eat. (I will spare you all of the details. It’s mostly just constant reminders for the children to actually put the food in their mouth, and for the baby to sit down; because he is a master of high chair escape.) There is at least 1 spill, probably more. What time is it? Isaiah go brush your teeth, your bus will be here in 10 minutes. Start the clean up. Make sure Isaiah’s lunch, snack and water bottle are in his bag. “Mom! Noah is on the table again!” Save Noah. Watch Isaiah get on the bus. Elijah asks for a snack. I reply we just had breakfast.

Wow, what was I supposed to do today? Because it’s not even 8:30 am, and I could really use a nap.

Reality

It has been brought to my attention that there may not be enough drama on my blog. Somehow this has equated to being not relate-able. You want a little more reality? Here it is…
My throat hurts, bad; like on fire! I’m pretty sure I was running a fever last night, I know I had the chills. If I had a job that required attendance by employer, I would call in sick. But I’m a mom. I don’t have that option. My arm feels like it’s going to fall off. My infant has a crazy skin rash condition. It makes him want to scratch his face off and remove both of his ears. He has to be under constant surveillance, usually held in restraint. I should have biceps like Angela Bassett.

My two year old is never full. He is constantly asking for snacks. He’s hungry after he eats breakfast. (And I mean a breakfast that would fill you). I make him wait an hour, full of begging mind you, until I let him have a yogurt. And then he’ll ask for a snack. I’m not kidding this is my day. He also poops as much as he eats, which means I ask my four year old daughter to watch the baby (to keep him from removing his cheeks) while I change at least 4-5 poopy diapers, on a child who by most standards should be potty trained. (This doesn’t include his wet ones or any of his brother’s.)

My infant who is now 7 months old, still doesn’t sleep through the night, so neither do I. I’m exhausted! And every time we take him out people stare at him like he’s a freak. Honestly, you should have seen him two months ago! We have taken him to over a dozen doctors, including the University of Michigan, Motts and Children’s Hospital in Detroit. I’ve had my fill of suggestions and unsolicited advice. (Actually if you had a good idea, I’d consider it. Don’t mind me right now.) I’m tired of explaining the situation at the grocery store. And because I’m a mom, I still have guilt, so I rationalize with things like “at least they see the other kids look ok, so I hope they don’t think we are totally neglectful.” He’s drinking goat’s milk now, so I get to carry another bag around to keep it chilled. Awesome.

My third grader learned more about anatomy and life from friends this year than I think I knew in high school. Thank you parents for being so open with your kids! Could you ask them not to share until the other kids parents are ready to talk to their own children? My kids don’t believe in Santa, I’ve asked them not to tell your kids. (I believe I do owe an apology to one family member that comes to mind, very sorry.)

Talking about food on a blog makes me think about food more. I also want to try more food when I’m out for inspiration on new recipes. I can see this wreaking havoc on the waistline. I’m certain that’s why I read so much about fennel greens topped with lemon juice and fitbits. I get it, but I’m not there, yet. That’s not how my family eats. Am I frustrated that my pants are tight? Absolutely. And I’d like to have a doughnut, please.

I don’t like the #hashtag #game. I’d rather #read an #article than all of your score signs. But I suppose that’s how to #getahead in the #blog world? Hey #mommybloggers #nominate @sadiesnest for #keepingitreal

My husband is great in the supporting department. He’s a great dad. Just know while he’s making ‘dude perfect’ videos, I’m making dinner or cleaning it up, or catching up on dishes and laundry, it’s a vicious cycle. But that’s okay, because they come with my husband and kids… and I love my family!

Well I hope you enjoyed my venting session, free of charge. Is this relate-able? The truth is I love my happy blog. I take every picture, write every story and make every recipe (unless credited otherwise), so it’s very real to me… Except it’s a wonderful distraction from my reality.