Friday, March 20, 2015

The New New Normal

When people have babies, lose a loved one, or make major life changes, they describe their altered existence as their "new normal". I feel like our family has had to embrace so many "new normals" in the past couple of years that I can't actually remember what life was like before I started counting normals! I suspect it wasn't very normal then, either.

Adjusting to life with a second baby boy was one new normal. 

 I can get behind this normal one hundred percent, even when he's sick all the time, or crying, or sleeping only in his car seat, or you know, just acting like a friggin' baby. He's so darn cute. Cloth diapering is becoming yet another normal, too, but that's maybe an entirely different post.

One year into life as the senior pastor's family, and me a working mom with two kids, well, that's becoming more normal too.

The newest normal we have had to come to grips with is another health hiccup where my husband is concerned. After a few months of a barrage of tests and a lot of uncertainty, he was finally diagnosed with cardiac sarcoidosis. We were so thankful it wasn't cancer again, but what the heck is sarcoid? Basically an auto-immune condition attacking his heart, leaving scar tissue which in turn affects the proper beating of his heart, which, as you can imagine, can be the cause of all sorts of problems.

Coming to grips with that meant also accepting the treatment, which is a large dose of steroids and then a long step-down process after that. We are talking years. And with that, we recently decided that Chris would attempt the Auto-Immune Protocol diet, to see if that could positively affect his health, too. Check out the list of foods to avoid:
 Yep, all grains, all dairy, all nuts (including COFFEE?!?), all beans, legumes and seeds are verboten, no eggs, and also nothing from the nightshade family, which includes  potatoes and tomatoes. Wow. So basically meat, poultry, fish and produce. Nothing pre-packaged, no food additives, emulsifiers, and (GULP) no alcohol.

We are trying this for a month. We went to Whole Foods last night and spent over $200 on food for the first half of the week. (BRB, fainting...) There is another grocery trip in a couple of days. 

I'll say that I am SO grateful we found a book of recipes that include meal plans and shopping lists. I don't think I would have had the energy to attempt this protocol without them!!

Anyone else attempting or have attempted this protocol? Any tips and tricks out there? We are just starting out and have little idea what we are in for. We honestly barely have money left over for the rest of the family to have planned meals...believe it or not, that $200 was for food for one person. There were some startup costs for pantry items that we don't usually have lying around, like coconut aminos, coconut cream, coconut flour...basically all kinds of coconut.

So that's that. I could spend time looking back and being overwhelmed by the whirlwind of our lives, or I can choose to be grateful we are all still here together, put my head down and keep going in grace. (Sometimes I choose both!)

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Sound of One Hand Typing

OK, so hopefully no one is surprised that it has been a month since I've had the wherewithal to sit down and type coherent sentences? I've got a 3.5 year old who is transitioning (very roughly) out of a regular nap and a newborn who seems permattached (totally a word) to my chest. I will not comment as to if he is there right now or if that has anything to do with the title of this post, because that would be TMI, right??

Ahem, moving on.

I had written down on a scrap of paper somewhere a few things I wanted to write about and report on...great Pinterest ideas that I tried and that worked, products that are proving so useful with this new baby, things like that. Who wants to guess where that scrap of paper is? No really, any guesses would be helpful, because I have no idea.

A couple of things I CAN report on:

Project: Decluttering!

Perhaps all well-intentioned mothers start their year off with a huge commitment to de-cluttering their lives and homes. And perhaps in light of the lost scrap of paper mentioned above, this seems comical where I am concerned. But I really, truly have been going systematically through my whole house and gathering up stuff that I know we can live without: books I will never read but just liked having on my shelves (guilty), stacks and stacks of paper in the filing cabinet that were completely useless and outdated (tax stuff from 2003...back when my husband was single and made engineer-type one wants to see that now!), magazines, crappy plastic toys...all recycled or given away. I have made many trips to Savers to donate to Hope Services... getting a great start to some tax deductions for 2015.

I was gleaning this idea from multiple sources: Pinterest, the Buy Nothing movement (not a chance that I will buy nothing, but certainly living with less!), and Kathi Lipp's challenge for living clutter-free. I knew nothing would work for me except something I created for myself at this stage of life, so I made a list of 30 spaces in my house that need to be de-cluttered and I set about using the month of January for the job. I won't feasibly get it all done in January because I've been taking weekends off, but I have done maybe half my house, and big spaces of it, too. The list is on my desk, staring me in the face, so hopefully I will stick with it until I'm done!

Reading: All Joy and No Fun

In my (snort) spare time, I am reading a fascinating book called All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox o of Modern Parenting by Jennifer Senior. You can go to the Amazon link to read an actual synopsis, but all I can say is that while I've been trying to read fewer secular parenting books (so many styles, so much advice!), I'm glad I made an exception for this one. It helps me step back from the day-to-day of parenting and how overwhelming it can be, and look at it from a cultural and sociological lens. Somehow viewing it in a macro sense helps me deal with the minutia, especially as I have been off work and home with the kiddos a lot more often. So far, I highly recommend it!

Also checking out Baby Led Weaning, which we will be doing with our new little one when the time comes. I realize this will only be in a couple months. Excited for no more purees!

Trip: Converge PacWest Pastor's and Wives Retreat, Pismo Beach (and surrounds), CA

I won't bore you with details but we did get a chance to have a little break, leave the big boy with my grandparents and go with the baby to a retreat with a bunch of fellow pastor's and their wives down on the beautiful central coast!
Here's the view from our room.

A photo posted by @dreamweaver2040 on

That is all. =)

Coming Up: Back to Work

Soon and very soon, I will be heading back to work, baby in tow. The logistics of this and having the big boy go to school for more days when it is already a battle to get him to go two days a week...and then having a baby with me while I try to work? Yikes, I must be crazy.

But the thought of staying home all day instead of getting paid for three or four hours of work a day doesn't really appeal to me either, so I guess I will have to try! I don't hate being a stay-at-home-mom, but I suffer from a little bit of anxiety which can turn into a little bit of agoraphobia if I am cooped up too long. I start to freak out that I can't leave my house because...I don't know, schedules will be messed up, the world will end? As much as I can think rationally about it now, in the throes of the everyday it rears its ugly head and I think my boys would suffer from becoming little baby recluses. Therefore, I will try this work thing. I'm so grateful that my workplace is so small and accommodating, and that I have an office with a door I can close to nurse or whatever.

So that's me. A crazy de-cluttering, reading, working mama. 

Wouldn't trade a thing.