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Monday, December 31, 2012

A Long Time Coming

I'm finally back. After months of silence, I finally have the words to explain all that has been going on in my life.

On Easter Sunday, Cameron and I found out that we were expecting. We were thrilled and optimistic, although our three pervious miscarriages were in the backs of our minds. Two weeks later, I began bleeding and was put on bed rest and then hormones to help us stay pregnant. I was constantly ill (morning sickness my butt) and had extreme back pain from dance injuries.

I went on maternity leave at 28 weeks and began bleeding again. I was put on bed rest again, but at 30 weeks I went into labor. After a few hours of contractions (I didn't realize that I was having contractions, I thought I may have food poisoning) I called my midwife and within the next few hours I was at the hospital. Rhoden Caeden was born October 21st at 11:20 in the morning. He weighed just over 3 pounds, but I was able to cuddle him before they rushed him to the NICU.



He spent 3 days in NICU and 26 in ICN before coming home just before Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for, blessed by, in awe of and in love with my sweet little boy. He has turned our world upside down for the better. I am now a stay at home mom and Cameron and I are getting ready to launch our own business.



Stay tuned for pictures, projects, business and random thoughts!

In Love and Light,

Audrey


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Apologies

Apologies for my hiatus. Life has been crazy.

Cameron and I are entering a new season here, not just weather wise. We are finally moving!

After months of saying "We need to move" and planning, two weeks ago we declined our release. Soooooo...we will be moving in July! We have already found an adorable cottage that we are hoping to get, so keep your fingers and toes crossed for us. :)

This move has made it obvious just how much stuff we have accumulated. You know those things you never use and likely have forgotten you even have? We have an entire bedroom full of those. This is a good reason to have a small home with only as many bedrooms as you need. If you don't have space for it, it won't even make it through the door (precisely why we are downsizing). I'll be sure to pass on any tips of tricks I discover while downsizing and moving!

In other news, I have been doing a lot of reading of Steiner's infant to 2 years philosophies. His understanding of children truly amazes me. As an example: I am a nanny for 7 month old twins (a girl and a boy). Their parents have bought them 2 swings, 2 bouncers, a jumper, 2 play gyms, a play mat and countless toys, infant books and other bright (usually plastic) items. Despite all of this entertainment, the babies often cry when put into the swing or on the play mat? Why? They much prefer to be held! While no one could be expected to hold a baby (let alone two) all the time, why do so many parents opt to try to entertain the child with another toy when he cries instead of simply picking him up and cuddling him for a few minutes? To quote the mother I work for: "I am afraid they will be 'lap spoiled' or 'clingy'."

I understand the sentiment, believe me, but I can't help but wonder how all the flashing, bright, noisy toys are affecting our children. If we look at what Steiner says on the subject, he believed children's toys should be limited under 2 years to items from nature and simple homemade items. He believed in a calm and quiet environment and frequent cuddling and nursing. How different is this from what we commonly see in homes today?

To me, it seems like we are trying to force our children to grow up faster. "I can't wait until he can sit up/crawl/stand/walk/feed himself" are comments I often hear from parents. Why? So that we can have our lives back? Children are a blessing, by having them we choose to alter our lives to better nurture and raise them. I hate to say it, but after having a child, your life is never yours again. Even after the child leaves the house, I know I frequently call home to ask for advice or assistance in some manner or other.

While we're on the subject, if you have a small infant, please, enjoy these days. Cherish nursing or bottle feeding her. Don't rush her to eat oatmeal or baby food when she is obviously not ready (if your baby cannot sit unassisted her gut has not developed enough to properly digest food). I will certainly post more about this later as I have some wonderful resources and references.

Before I close I would like to ask my readers to please suggest and topics they may like to have me write about. I'm always open for ideas and would love to know what you are interested in!

In love and light,

Audrey

Resource: Steiner Infant Article

Thursday, April 19, 2012

You Never Forget, It Just Gets Easier to Not Remember

Every year around this time I am reminded of how lucky I am to be alive.

In April 2009, my best friend and I were attacked by my ex-husband. He and I had separated following the death of our son and a long history of abuse. While none of my injuries were severe, to this day I still deal with frequent headaches and backaches from being slammed into walls, doors and furniture. Without my best friend, I would not be alive. I have no doubt that if I had been alone, my ex-husband would have killed me, he had every intent to do me severe harm.

Many of my family and friends have never heard about what my marriage was like, nor do they know the reason I finally left.

In July 2008 my ex-husband and I had an argument regarding his relationship with one of my friends and his lack of being home. During this argument, he shoved me and I fell into a wall. I was holding our 5 month old son at the time, his little head hit the wall. I had finally had enough and packed his things (and a few of mine) to send to his mother's house. I honestly don't know if he stayed there during the next few weeks, but on August 26th he stayed with us and the next morning our son was dead.

Abuse is something you rarely see happen, but often you see the repercussions. Very few people ever saw my bruises, but many saw me withdrawing and isolating. If you ever think that someone you know is being abused, or if you are being abused yourself, tell someone. Get help. Because it's not an "if something bad happens" its a "when something bad happens" kind of situation. Abuse always ends badly, and unfortunately it's generally bad for the victim.

In Virginia we have a "3 strikes" kind of law. If you are caught being abusive once, you must go to classes and complete 6 months probation. It's almost impossible for the victim to get a protective order even for a few weeks. If the abuser then moves on to another girl and is charged with abusing her, it's his first strike again. Generally, the abuser creates a string of 3, 4, or 5 victims before the state finally says "Enough!". Virginia is not the only state like this.

In the news today was this story. This woman was lucky enough to escape, but how many other women are living this same story today? How many of them will die before our country steps up and finally says "We will not tolerate abuse!"? Please, help break the cycle...change a woman's, child's, man's life today.

In love, light and honor,

Audrey

PS. I just wanted to note that the man in the story I posted was released on bail. His original $750,000 bail was reduced to $100,000. He is out and wandering the streets today. This happens all too often...it's almost no wonder that we have repeat offenders and that so many women go back to these men. Even the police can't or won't protect abuse victims. And by the way, did anyone see the story about the young man that tried to give his ex-girlfriend an abortion by jumping on her stomach? I don't know if he was released on bail as well, but men like this are out there. And just in case you think I'm being sexist, a woman in Texas recently scalded her newborn until his skin was "bubbling" and another woman recently killed her husband claiming he had been abusive (although it was later found that she had been having an affair). Abuse spans all race and gender lines, and we can do something to stop it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Young Rarely Do As They Are Told

One of our family's favorite television shows is Stargate.  After watching an episode the other night I started thinking about the way the United States, and the world in general, reacts to the unknown, the scary or the "undesired".

In Stargate there is a race known as the Nox. They are complete pacifists, using illusion as their defense. In many episodes, they (along with other advanced aliens) can be seen reprimanding the US Airforce for being "young" and having a "shoot first ask questions later" first reaction.

This past week, North Korea launched a test missile. It supposedly was not a weapon, only a satellite. Prior to this launch, the United States and North Korea had been discussing food and medical aid that the North Koreans desperately need. Since the missile launch, all talks have stopped. 

Now, before I go on a rant about how the people and the government officials are two different entities and that the people should not be punished for the North Korean officials decisions, I will first say I hope the United States reconsiders their decision and that the North Korean government will in the future put their people first.

That being said, I am a pacifist at heart which is probably the reason I love the Nox. I can't help but wonder what will happen to the United States if we continue to have the reaction to invade first, get information later. What happens when we step on the wrong country's toes? What happens when we no longer have the funds or the resources to support invasion? 

If we look back into history, all world powers come to an end. In general, those that support their power through invasion tend to fall harder and faster. 

Let's go back to the North Korea situation for a moment. When North Korea announced they were going to be testing a missile, before the United Nations even knew what it was, several countries (including the US) announced they would end relations with North Korea if they launched the missile. I understand that relations with North Korea have been volatile for years, however, if the United States had known that the missile was a satellite (and failed by the way) maybe they wouldn't have taken away the much needed food and medical aid from the North Korean people. A small example of how an "ask questions later" knee jerk reaction can have bigger and unsavory consequences.

Just something to think about...

In love and light,
Audrey

PS. If  we quickly think back to the Nox, they feel responsible to teach the United States because as a nation and world we are "young". They do so gently and with humor.  As an older and more experienced nation, isn't it our duty to treat North Korea and other nations with the same respect? And on a side note...how about how we treat our children? Think about it and please feel free to leave a comment...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Snippets of Spring

These are some pictures from out Spring celebration so far :)


Our Holiday Tree (We started this tradition this year. Each first day of the season I redo all the decorations and the tree is added to over the season)


Some beautiful cupcakes from a local organic bakery


Our Spring tablecloth is actually a scarf that Cameron gave me

Some scenes from dying eggs




And what would a celebration be without a sweet gift?


In love and light,

Audrey

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Equinox

*This is a rewrite of a post I originally deleted. Pictures will follow soon...my smartphone is being rather stupid at the moment ;)

Cameron and I have decided to not celebrate traditional holidays in our home.

Yes this will ruffle some feathers, but we're not having Christmas at out house, nor Halloween or Easter.

We are, however, celebrating the beginnings of each season, birthdays, Independence Day and a few other events here and there.

After watching all the commercials for Christmas this past year (did anyone else notice that they started advertising in September???), followed by commercials for sales for New Year's, Valentine's day, Saint Patrick's day and now Easter, we felt overwhelmed by the commercialism of it all. How have the holidays gotten so far away from what the original point was? When did gifts become so important?

Growing up, I remember that Santa brought presents for the stockings (which were always practical things like socks and underwear) and maybe 3 gifts for under the tree. We got usually one present from each family member with gifts from our parents always being a new outfit. Easter we got one practical gift, a book or game that tied into school. When did it become normal for parents to max out not one, but 3 credit cards for just Christmas?

We are in a transition season, of course this will take time. Another reason we have decided to do this is that our nuclear family celebration will always be on a different day than that of our extended family and the masses. There will never be any scheduling conflicts. Six events throughout the year will be gift giving: two equinoxes, two solstices, birthdays and anniversaries. All gifts will either be bought second hand, on extreme sale or made (actually we're trying to make this a rule for daily life as well).

As we grow together and children are introduced, we hope that the holidays will be a time for reflection, thanksgiving and love. We want our future children to remember that Spring is a time of rebirth, of Christ and the world around us. It is a time for second chances, to begin anew with a clean slate. So while at home, we will not be participating in Santa or the Easter Bunny, we will certainly not keep our children away from these concepts when with extended family. We will still participate in the Christmas Eve dinners, egg hunts and the general excitement that comes from holidays with large families. And don't worry, while Santa may not visit our house, King Winter (popular in old stories and the Waldorf schools) will. To us, it is the simplicity  that matters. And to paraphrase a letter to a little girl named Virginia, "Yes Virginia, Santa does exist. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion abound..."

In love and light,
Audrey

In case you would like to read the whole letter written to one 8 year old Virginia O'Hanlon:
http://www.newseum.org/yesvirginia/

Irrational Fears

Last night, Cameron and I watched a documentary on mental disorders in children.

Traumatizing.

These poor children have no control over what they see, what they do, and often have no control over what they say. I can hardly imagine the nightmare that daily life can present for them.

But it got me thinking about a blog post a I wrote last week. I deleted it.

Why?

Because someone I know may read it, or one of my parents friends may see and then what would they think of me?

What an irrational fear.

First, it's unlikely that any of my friends or parents friends are reading this, and if they are, they likely already know I'm a little odd, and they probably don't care. And second, why should I care what they think? I am certainly entitled to my opinion, even if it doesn't mesh with what my parents think, my friends think or even what Cameron thinks.

I am, after all, my own person :)

In love and light,
Audrey

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Baby-Step Series: Creating a Usable Calendar

To preface: I am not posting this to say this is the only way or that you should do things my way, just that this is what works for me, and if it works for you then feel free to use it.

I hate when I can't find a calendar that I like that is small enough to fit in my purse, so I finally decided to get smart and make my own.


I began by folding a standard sheet of paper in half, then each side was folded in half towards the center. Next the paper was folded in thirds lengthwise.

I labeled each of the squares with their month on the front and back (the ones on the back read from right to left).

I'm still in the process of filling mine out, but thus far I have added holidays, birthdays and important deadlines (like our lease expiring). I plan to color code the months and highlight certain items once I'm finished (stay tuned for the update :) )

This project was really begun to try and help me organize my week to make home maintenance and outings more smooth. Generally, I just go with the flow and do things when I get to them, but recently I've tired of the crisis cleaning and grocery shopping right before dinner (which ends up pushed until 8 because there was no food in the house!)

So after I got a general idea of what my months were going to look like I sat down and began to look at my work schedule. Cameron works Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday through Friday so my weekends happen on a Wednesday and Saturday. My work schedule is a bit flexible and happens on the days he's at work already.

I borrowed FlyLady's idea of zones, but, considering our home has white carpeting and 4 occupants, I wanted to make sure each room was touched on once a week.


To make this I first folded a sheet of paper in half, then folded each side in half towards the center. Then it was folded in half lengthwise to create 8 squares.

I illustrated the first square to make it more fun (as FlyLady says "Make it fun, it will get done") then each subsequent square was labeled with a day of the week including Sunday.

Choosing which rooms to focus on each day was a little harder, but I tried to make sure the focus room was appropriate for the activity of the day. I'm sure it will be adjusted over time, but this is my starting point :)

To go along with this I also made two other half sheets depicting my daily tasks and biweekly tasks. No excuses here, if it's on the fridge, it needs to get done!



My little Home Center on the fridge for now

The Vernal Equinox is tomorrow and our family will be celebrating our first Mean Erraigh. We plan to use this as our refresher date, much like the New Year. Seems fitting since this celebration is about renewal of life, fields and home. Stay tuned for pictures of our new little garden, our holiday tree and decorated home :)

Love and light,
Audrey

PS. Sorry about the poor quality pictures. Our home has only one window downstairs (aside from a sliding glass door) so the light is awful. These were also taken with my phone, hopefully someday I'll get an actual camera to use and love! Also, if you were wondering about my color coding, I try to keep it simple. I love bright colors so I picked the rainbow to use for my days of the week. Sunday is red, Monday is orange, etc. Seven colors for seven days. Works for me!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Learning to Think

One of the things Cameron and I have always agreed on is that when we have children someday, we want them to be thinkers.

It bothers me to no end that education these days is synonymous with regurgitation of facts. I can distinctly remember in ninth grade being failed on a history paper because I did not agree with the original article's author.

Does it not scare anyone else that we're raising a generation that cannot think for themselves? How can we possibly expect them to make good decisions when we have taken the critical thinking skills away from them?

Every day I read news articles about how some young person has been caught with illicit drugs, stealing or generally making a nuisance of themselves, I can't help but feel sorry for them and wonder at how society let them down. Not all families are blessed with the opportunity to have one parent at home with the children and only a fraction of families with two working parents can afford exceptional childcare. How amazing would it be if the government offered decent care that didn't include children being set in front of a TV with pizza snacks?

I was fortunate enough to grow up primarily being cared for by my mother. I can remember doing art projects, going on nature walks, reading and acting out stories. I also went to daycare occasionally, and my experience there, while wonderful, was more run by Sesame Street and Barney (I can actually remember getting in trouble once because I told my care provider I didn't want to watch Barney because he was boring lol).

Kindergartens in the US are one of the "grades" that bother me the most. The translation is "Child's garden" but why do our classrooms feel like anything but that? I have yet to walk into a classroom that didn't have an over abundance of toys or seem overpopulated. Frankly, the argument that class sizes are growing because of overpopulation in the US makes me want to laugh. More children were born after World War II than in any other time in US history, and the children born during that time are among the first to have families with only one or two children. So why on earth are there classrooms with 30 children in them???

Honestly, my public school experience is limited to K-3 and high school, but I feel this puts me in a unique position. As a homeschooled child, I was able to advance at my own pace and take sick days without being penalized. I had the full focus of a parent (or tutor) when I needed and could ask any questions I wanted. In high school, I actually had a teacher tell me that no, he would not answer my question because it was "stupid" and everyone else in the class already knew the answer (yes this was the same teacher that failed me for having my own opinion).

My mother is now a high school English teacher, and I know from watching her that by law teachers are required to teach to the lowest denominator, in other words the child either having the most difficulty or moving at the slowest pace. In theory this sounds like a great idea and in theory the schools have it all figured out by offering different levels of the same grade (like honors and advanced classes as well as general or applied), however, I have been in many classes where I was either bored or completely confused and didn't have the teacher's attention in either situation.

I don't blame the teachers or the system. Human nature states that when we have a vested interest in something we will give it the most attention. That's why philosophies like Waldorf and Reggio Emilia state that "you are your child's first teacher". In Waldorf schools, teachers often stay with the same group of students from kindergarten through eighth grade and the class size is 10 or less. How amazing our educating system would be if public schools offered something like that! Teachers and students could develop a true bond and develop so many deeper interests simply because they know each other well and the class size wasn't astronomical.

(On a side note regarding class size: my math class my freshman year had 37 students in it. The classroom was built to handle a max class size of 25, although 30 could be squeezed in. We actually had students assigned to sit on the back counter for the first few weeks while the teacher moved around his supplies and desk. Despite the class size, he was actually one of the best teachers I had :) )

What bothers me most about public education (and I touched on this earlier) is that there is no room for deviation. The student is given a text book and expected to memorize the information presented to use on one standardized test or another. I personally remember truly enjoying learning Shakespeare and Latin as a child, but I hated it in high school. Why? The stories and language hadn't changed, what had changed was the method of teaching.

My mother encouraged us to understand the characters, to write personal stories for them, to dress up, to play act, to enjoy the plays. We wrote picture books for younger cousins, we saw the plays on stage, and even in our free time we pretended to be Sebastian and Viola. As for Latin, my brother and I once did a whole day of school writing in Latin, talk about having to think, algebra in Roman numerals was a challenge!

Will public schools ever offer opportunities like this? Not likely. The cost to change the machine would be too great. Of course, there are always those wonderful teachers that despite the system make learning wonderful. Like my freshman English teacher who taught us to waltz while studying Mozart (this same teacher also had the boys learn to write a Shakespearean love poem, a task they despised at the time, but their future wives will appreciate) or my chemistry teacher who let us bake cookies and popcorn (its a chemical reaction after all) and also let us blow up close to a hundred soda bottles with Mentos. If only all teachers were like these, if only education wasn't a race to keep up with the next student and a rush to college.

If only more teachers, parents, trusted adults asked children "How do you want to live?" "How do you want to get there?" and most importantly "Did you have fun today?"

In love and light,
Audrey

PS. Of course all opinions are my own and you are welcome to yours. I'd love to hear what you think!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Beauty of Doing Nothing

This week, for the first time in at least a year, Cameron had two days in a row off.

I had grandeur plans of getting the house organized and clean and getting the car fixed. 

But when we woke up Tuesday morning, it was just too pretty of a day to be cleaning all day. So we played outside, went on a walk and then as a special treat Cameron bought us Stargate SG1 Season 1and Chinese food (both are favorites in this family).

Wednesday rolled around and a friend asked to visit with their children, so my "To Do" list stayed tacked to the fridge while I played princess and helped find a pet frog.

We both had to go back to work today, and my To Do list is still on the fridge, but that's exactly where it should be. Life is about living. Who cares if my house is messy when my family and friends love me? And besides, if I was cleaning, I'd miss moments like this...


Love and Light,
Audrey

Monday, March 12, 2012

Today Changed Me...

I can remember exactly where I was four years ago today.

I was in a hospital bed, hooked to a million machines. I can still hear the soft whirring interrupted by loud beeps.

My son was born into this world at 4 pounds 4 ounces 30 weeks gestation. My little boy who was supposed to be Avery Marie, but surprised me and came as Rhodry Aidyn. Born with red hair and big blue eyes, he was perfect.



Every year on this day I'm reminded of how far I've come, how amazing it is that I survived today. I was 18 when I went into labor early due to a grand mal seizure. I was eclamptic but had not been diagnosed. The ambulance took almost 20 minutes to get to my location and then it was another 30 to the hospital. I remember being sick on the way there and crying realizing I may not get to say goodbye.

I was given Pitocin and told I needed to deliver immediately (this was 2 pm on March 11). I slipped in and out of consciousness as I was given an epidural and taken to the delivery wing. Mostly, I slept, a wonderful side effect of the seizure preventing drugs.

And then, at 6:15 Rhodry Aidyn was here. Safe, crying, perfect.



Both of us struggled. I was released 5 days later only to be rushed back to the ER when I passed out at a feeding in the NICU. About 2 weeks later I was re-released and a week and a half later Rhodry (also called Rady affectionately) was able to come home.





We had frequent visits to the hospital though. He struggled with eating, then caught a cold, and around 4 months developed Impetigo (a nasty skin infection, if you've never had it I pray you never do). After being released from the PICU from the Impetigo, there was progress. He was eating well, sitting up, beginning to thrive. But two months later he would pass away in his sleep.



I don't want to focus on his being gone today though, I was to talk about what he did while he was here.

He repaired the relationship I have with my mother

He brought my dad and I closer

He laughed (a huge feat for him after being on oxygen for so long)

He sat up

He held a bottle himself

He wore the right size (he was smaller than the preemie size when born, so when he made it to the 3-6 month size I was overjoyed)

He slept through the night

but most importantly,

He made me a mother.



I'm an Angel mother. Even though he's not here, I will always be a mother. Because of him I now know not only how to type one handed while bottle feeding with the other, but also what I truly value. Like how I'd rather treat the problem holistically if possible first (I still can't get over just how many antibiotics Rhodry was given in his short life time) and that spending time with those you care about is far more important than a TV show or concert. Rhodry taught me to celebrate life, each moment, every feat--no matter how small. He taught me to love unconditionally, and to have no judgement. He showed me just how lucky I am. I hope that if you knew him, you look back on today not with sadness, but with joy in the things he showed you and try to make tomorrow even better than today.

This year I have decided to do something different in honor of little Rady. In August I will be sponsoring a rising pre-k child, supporting him or her throughout the year. Please, if you get the opportunity to make a difference, take the opportunity. I may not be able to change the world, but I can change one child's life, just like my child changed mine.

This is the last photo I have of Rady, two days before he passed away.
Look at him go!

And his memorial picture taken by his lovely Aunt Leah

And a smile to go out on :)


In love and light,
Audrey

PS Some of the dates on the photos are wrong, I know. I'm one of those technologically challenged people and could never figure out how to reset the date or time haha

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Abnormally 22

Yes I'm weird.

I don't like to drink.

I don't like to party.

I'm 22 years old and I've never been to a major party in my life. I've never been busted for under age drinking and I've actually never had a drink while under age (aside from what my parents allowed).

I prefer flowy skirts and peasant tops to booty shorts and crop tops.

I don't like bikinis or low cut shirts

While I do own them, you'll rarely see me in a bikini or shorts. Unless they're cut off's that I can control the length of. As for shirts, try to tell me that when you're wearing a low cut shirt you're not constantly checking to make sure it's covering your bra. I know you do, because I've done it too.

I'd rather stay home and play with my dog than go out late

I'm perfectly happy not going to the beach for spring break

I never participated in a Spring Break event, unless going to the beach with my cousins counts. Hanging out with them watching movies and playing Mario Kart was way more fun than I would ever have had doing a wet t-shirt contest.

I love babies and children

I love philosophy

On any given day, you can find me with my nose buried in a book or new article. And most of my weekends are taken up doing the Wiggle Dance with little ones. I bet I remember more of my weekend and had more fun than most.

I'm not perfect

Nor do I want to be

But in the morning when I wake up, I'm not hung over or foggy about last night's details. When I go to work I'm enthusiastic and prepared for the day. When I see my friends, the girls aren't worried about me stealing their boyfriends and the guys aren't looking at me as simply a sexual object. I do my very best to be loyal, loving and always learning. I've made thousands of mistakes and will likely keep making them, but I am proud to say that I am abnormally 22 :)

Baby-Step in the Kitchen

Yesterday I spent about 30 minutes unloading the dishwasher, reloading and subsequently scrubbing the counters and sink from all the dirty dishes that had been left on/in them.

It got me thinking...

So I sorted out one plate, flat bottomed bowl and small bowl per person (as well as a set for guests) along with one large cup, one juice cup and a mug.



The cupboard already looks cleaner, even with the extra dishes stacked up on the highest shelf (in case we need them for guests). Each family member will be responsible for cleaning his or her own dishes after every meal, no more stacking dishes in the sink or letting the clean dishwasher sit clean and unloaded until there are no clean dishes left. I'm considering downsizing the silverware as well, but I'll see how this babystep goes first.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Learning to Slow Down: Babystepping Series

I have habit of over planning and jumping into the deep end with both feet. Anyone can tell you the result of this, I get overwhelmed and the started project sits unfinished for at least weeks.

That being said, there are quite a few projects that are important to me that I really want to get started on and actually finish for once. So what's a planner to do? Simply put, plan :) The key, though, is to plan smarter.

For instance, I would love to eat organic, whole, homemade food/meals. And while I could just change my buying habits and go to Whole Foods all the time, that's not really getting to the root of the issue, nor would my family enjoy that. Honestly, Lunchables are abundant in our house along with Coco Puffs, chips and Chef Boyardee. It pains me to admit that, but you can see why it would be impractical to just change all the food. Instead, over the next few months I'll be changing a few things a little at a time.

As a part of this series I will be documenting our journey to whole foods meals, finding our rhythm, simplifying the house, budgeting and developing the family. I hope you'll read and enjoy :)

In love and light,
Audrey

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When the World Spins Out of Control

Dear  Readers,

My sincere apology for my long absence. What I am going to share today is very personal and I hope you will all treat it with sensitivity and kindness.

I have battled with eating disorders and poor self esteem/body image for as long as I can remember and about 4 weeks ago my world came crashing down. My long term boyfriend and I have been going through a rough patch (this will probably end up being it's own post later) and due to the stress I lost 20 pounds. Now, let me paint this image for you. I'm small, about 5 foot 4 inches on a good day and I weighed at the time about 95 pounds. So I didn't have 20 pounds to lose. I had made the decision to stay with some friends and made it there safely, but about an hour later I shut down, completely exhausted, dehydrated and at that point malnourished.

It has taken me 4 weeks to put on 12 pounds and I'm struggling to get over the "90 pound hump"...supposedly the "100 pound hump" will be even harder, but I'm trying to focus on the today and not what may be in the future. It's a long, uphill battle but one that will be worth it. I have spent years being called "mouse-y", "skinny mini", and "waif" along with a slew of other comments made unfortunately by the people I loved and trusted the most. I find my self saddened that I let those people define who I am, what I look like and what I think of myself, because I am truly beautiful, unique and worth something. It has taken me this long, but I'm happy to say I can now look in the mirror and see a young woman who is strong enough to admit she needs help and is in recovery.

Anyways, that's where I have been and this is what I have planned for the near future:
*earning my teacher's degree (with a focus on early childhood psychology and development)
*earning my Waldorf early childhood teacher's certificate
*Moving!
*starting a playschool?
*Learning to cook from scratch (I've heard this can be really helpful for those recovering from eating disorders)
*Learning to be more crafty (sewing, felting, knitting and painting are on the top of my list)
*Learning to play an instrument (maybe guitar?)
*cleaning and organizing my home (ah spring cleaning...)
*paying off debt and living debt free (nothing comes cheap these days)
*working to understand, accept and love myself and my partner

So this is probably what I'll be posting about for the next few weeks/months, unless I get inspired and my writer's heart takes off down another path :)

In Love and Light,
Audrey

PS. While I am open to questions about my personal life, please keep in mind that it is just that, personal...so please phrase your questions and comments with care <3

Monday, January 23, 2012

Change

We are in a season of change.

As I sit writing this it's snowing outside, almost no one is in the coffee shop. I'm nursing a cup of mint tea hoping it will completely rid me of this horrible cough I have left over from my three week long cold (ick). It makes happy to be warm inside with my journal.

Cameron and I went to look at a new house yesterday. We have been renting for the last year and a half in a small city, but both of us are ready for a move to the country. We found an adorable two bedroom cottage about 15 minutes from his job with 2 acres of land for less rent than what we're paying now and fell in love. It has a double deck outside and large kitchen inside--perfect for both of us. The only problem is it's available February 7th which means we'll either have to pay a full month's rent at our current place and only stay 6 days or  hope they'll hold it for us.

Moving would be a big change. We currently live in a three bedroom townhouse with two floors and two bathrooms. to say we have a lot of stuff is an understatement. When we went to donate to Goodwill before Christmas it took two cars to carry all our bags and boxes...and we still had a room full leftover at home! Downsizing is truly a hard task to accomplish. It's time consuming and often an emotional process. It's amazing how many memories those scrawled math notes can bring up.

Besides moving, we both have taken on new responsibilities in 2012. Cameron is working full time as a manager at the coffee shop now. I am most often at home but still babysit a few times a week. While our finances haven't changed greatly, it is a transition into new roles. I've been devouring books on cooking, organizing and crafts. I've learned to clean with vinegar and baking soda and that you can, in fact, wash jeans in your sink. I'm hoping after this move that we will be able to start a garden and I'll learn to cook from scratch, I really want to make bread :)

This move would also allow me to finally start my playschool that I've been dreaming of for the past year. Ever since I rediscovered Waldorf (and this blog) I have been dreaming of having a Waldorf style playschool and home. I'm in love with the peacefulness that exudes from the photos on Rebecca's blog. While Cameron and I don't have children (four legged ones aside) I do hope to someday raise them in a similar environment and having the playschool would let me experiment a bit while earning some money on the side. If all goes well, I hope to maybe enter into the Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching certification and teach at the local school.

Yes, it is a season of change...it's hectic, but we're generally laughing together and look forward to what the future will bring us in the next few weeks :)

Love and Light,
Audrey