Soap Box Follow-Up: Going Against The Grain

Go ahead! Prop your feet up!

Go ahead! Put your feet up!

I got such an amazing response to my soap box about going against the grain. Daniel encouraged me to write a little follow-up, and I thought it was a great idea. All sorts of people responded to what I had to say. I was fascinated by the words of advice, and differences in perspective. I love it!

To keep it short and sweet, I’m going to get to the point.

I noticed one commonality when I reviewed all the comments, personal messages, etc. No matter what lifestyle, no matter what choices each individual family unit had made, they could all identify to some degree with the negative impact of scrutiny and judgement. Even people I know and love who have a more traditional lifestyle had been put under the magnifying glass for their choices.

My conclusion in all of this was in no way earth shattering or revolutionary. It only reaffirmed how much we as a people put so much emphasis on comparison and pride, and forget God-like features like humility, kindness, and empathy.

There are so many things that are worth putting emphasis into when we are around other people. I don’t think pointing out whether they eat Horizon versus Market Pantry is one of them. Rather, take a step back and be grateful that they are sharing their food with you. Forget your urge to educate them on the risks of letting a child cry it out, and emphasize how much you wish them all restful nights.

Put aside what you know, your need to let everyone know what you know, and remember what all of our goals should be with the people around us. To encourage, to listen, and to offer loving advice when it’s requested. And remember that you don’t offer advice expecting it to be taken. Taking things personal is no fun. No, you offer advice because someone wants to know what you think, and you hope your opinions help them get through life. That’s the extent of what advice is for.

I’m not even kidding when I confess this following thing. Any time I’m in a situation where there is tension or awkwardness, I seriously hum this song internally. So have a listen, and do a little jig if you feel like it.

Here’s to loving, encouraging, and appreciating differences because they make life interesting!

Soap Box : Going Against The Grain

Look at those cheeksTo look at us, we look like your average family. But when people spend time around us or observe us in daily life they begin to see that we go against the grain in a lot of ways. Over 7 and a half years of marriage we have lived and learned. Our current lifestyle looks completely different than it did when we were newlyweds. Daniel and I are passionate about learning and seeking out information on new and better ways of doing things. We are constantly challenging the norm, and a lot of our conversations revolve around things we have read or seen, and whether or not we want to introduce them into our lifestyle.

I don’t believe there is anything wrong with the conventional way things are done. That being said, it surprises me how little people look into why they do what they do, and/or whether there are gaps in their knowledge. This only really bothers me though when, after doing research and making decisions we feel comfortable with, people still look at us like we are crazy.

I can’t count the comments we’ve gotten about natural birth, baby wearing, eating organic, eliminating most grains from our diet, cloth diapering, wood burning, vaccinations, chiropractic, alternative medicine, and especially baby led weaning. No one has better intentions for our little boy than Daniel and I. We would never do anything to jeopardize his safety or well being. We want the best of the best for him, that’s the whole point. It’s not fun to get “the look”, to be told “you are doing what?”, or to be treated like we believe everyone who takes the conventional route is beneath us. That is not how we feel at all!

Daniel has told me that he would be perfectly happy if no one ever knew these “against the grain” things that we do, and I share the sentiment. Some of our goals in life are to keep our family healthy, and be conscientious about consumption of resources and food. That does not mean we feel the need to convert everyone to our ways. On the contrary, we are a little family who prefers to stay below the radar. Like Daniel has told me before (he is so much better with words than I am), “We don’t like to rock the boat. Unfortunately things we choose to do tend to rock the boat.”

Daniel and I have discussed so many times how exhausting it is to feel like we constantly have to justify ourselves, because we really shouldn’t have to. We try to be patient and put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Maybe the people around us get defensive, or maybe they are concerned because they don’t know something we do. Who knows. Nothing in this area is worth making people feel inadequate or hurting feelings, so we try to pick our battles. What matters is that at the end of the day, our little family of three is happy and thriving greatly because of the lifestyle decisions we have made.

The question I have been asking myself is whether we should live our lives openly, or keep everything quiet? While I love conversation, I hate put downs. And I’ve wished I’d kept my mouth shut one too many times. Explaining why Daniel and I do certain things requires time and open ears – which are not always offered. In these kinds of situations I’m not very good at explaining things on the spot. I get the nervous jitters and wish I could just direct them to the source instead.

I don’t know that there is a global answer to my self-reflective question of whether I should be open, or keep things to myself. I’m sure there are going to be more good and bad experiences with all of this. But if life so far is a testament to what God is doing in my little family, hopefully I will become more discerning to decide when and where I should explain myself in ways that are helpful and constructive to others. I’m a work in progress!

If you are in the same boat as Daniel and I please share. You are not alone!

To those of you who inspire and encourage us (you know who you are), a blanket thank you!

Here’s to learning and living and taking care of ourselves and our families!

Sleepy Baby

 

Today was a really busy day. I only remember sitting twice, and that was to eat lunch and dinner. But all in all, it was a great day. Gideon was in a great mood. When Gideon is in a great mood, so is the rest of the household.

Bedtime has always been one of my favorite times of the day. I love winding down, talking to Gideon about our day and singing to him. Over the last few weeks Gideon has really begun expressing love and sweetness by hugging and giving kisses. He’ll put his face up close and go “mmmah!”. At night when I’m reading him a book, he’ll take his pacifier out of his mouth, turn his head up and go “mmmah!”. I don’t mind the slobber at all.

Tonight he calmly and quietly drifted off while I sang to him. So I put my long before-bedtime to-do list on pause, and just sat there rocking him and looking at him. No matter how stressful life gets, nothing puts things into perspective for me like watching my baby sleep.

Everything will be ok, mom.

Everything will be A-ok, mom.

Tiny Gideon

A week old.

Tiny Gideon an Me

Nothing took the away the pain and trauma of Gideon’s birth more than feeling his little body snuggled against me.

Sweet memories I never want to forget.

Easy Peasy 2-Ingredient Pancakes

Once a week, we treat ourselves to brinner. Breakfast for dinner. I get some delicious breakfast chicken sausage from the fresh meat section at Whole Foods, and we chow. Until recently, our favorite wheat free pancake recipe was based mainly on almond butter. It’s delicious, but is relatively pricey to make. I went on a quest to find a pancake recipe that was grain free and budget friendly. I came across a 2 ingredient recipe that is absolutely delicious. It’s a lot lighter than the almond butter pancakes, and leaves more room for yummy breakfast side dishes.

2-Ingredient Wheat Free Pancakes

2 or 3 Ingredient Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 banana

1 egg

any [optional] topping – blueberries, chocolate chips, cinnamon, the sky is the limit

Directions:

1. Heat a skillet over low-medium heat

2-3 Ingredient Pancakes

2. Mash up the banana in a bowl

3. Add an egg

4. Beat the egg and mashed banana until well incorporated (until most lumps are gone)

2-3 Ingredient Pancakes

4. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet, and add toppings. We love our blueberries!

If you have a little helper, let them clean the counter top for you!

If you have a little helper, let them clean the counter top for you!

Bib is on. I'm ready to eat mom!

Bib is on. I’m ready to eat mom!

5. Let batter cook until the pancake is sturdy enough for the worst of pancake flippers to flip. It’s best to cook them low and slow. *If the batter starts to burn or stick to the skillet, turn the heat down.*

We had our banana pancakes with breakfast sausage and fresh strawberries. No butter required on these babies! Just a drizzle of maple syrup.

We had our banana pancakes with breakfast sausage and fresh strawberries. No butter required on these babies! Just a drizzle of maple syrup.

6. Enjoy a delicious meal!!

Baby tested, mom approved.

Baby tested, mom approved.

Do you have any 2-3 ingredient recipes that you recommend? 

A Productive Day

It’s so great to see most everything checked off my to-do list at the end of the day.

Yay for me!

It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it’s very rewarding. Daniel let me sleep in this morning while he took Gideon to get firewood and stacked it in the backyard. It was wonderful, and definitely put a little pep in my step. I love that the boys got to spend some “guy time” since I’ve been Daniel’s helper lately. I could make a very extensive list of tips and things that help me be productive, but here are some of the main ideas I can think of that help me stay focused on a daily basis. Remember, I’m preaching to the choir.

1. First and foremost, get some sleep! You know that “floating head” feeling? We all have those days when we just kind of drag and wander around the house not knowing where to begin. After a good night of sleep, your energy is restored and you’re more likely to hit the ground running. Staying up late for any reason at all is just not worth it.

2. Be realistic when you make your to-do list. Ask yourself: How much energy do I have to spend? What is my priority today? How much time do I want to spend on this? You get the idea. Set yourself up for success.

3. Stick to the to-do list that you’ve set for yourself as much as you can.

4. If something pops up in your day that needs to get done but that you weren’t really planning for, re-configure your to-do list. Add it if you think it won’t put a dent in your set plan, or replace it for something that can be done tomorrow.

5. When you see or think of something that needs to be done soon, make a running list for  tomorrow’s to-do’s.

6. Set a timer! I seriously have made this into a game. I pre-determine how much little time it could possibly take me to complete a task, and I set a timer. It’s incredible how much you can get done in even 5 minutes.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that productivity means different things to each of us. The same goes for priorities. We don’t share them and that’s okay. Look at your life, what stage your in, and what matters most to you. Spend your time on these things, and don’t worry about what the next person is doing.

thethiefofjoy

I have my set priorities, and it’s what keeps my little family going. The best part of being productive in my life, is that I do it all for the boys.

My boys

The reason I do what I do.

Being productive and maintaining our home is one of the many ways I express my love to them. I just thought I’d share this priority since I was able to stay on task today. Anything for Daniel and Gideon! ❤

What are some of the things you prioritize in your life?

Growth Spurt ?

 

Gideon and his fox

Gideon’s sleep schedule has been completely out of whack. Part of that is because it’s summer. The days are longer and sometimes he doesn’t go to bed until 9. But that’s ok, right? It’s summer! His naps have also been completely inconsistent. Where Gideon used to take his two naps like clock work, the last week or two he has been really inconsistent with the timing. He has even refused his afternoon nap a few times.

Last night Gideon woke up at 4 AM asking for milk, and would not calm down until I brought him some. It has been several months since he’s needed milk during sleeping hours. He went to sleep right away after finishing off around 4 oz, and didn’t wake up until 9 AM this morning! His wake time is around 7. I body must have needed those extra calories or calcium.

Tonight I gave Gideon his usual 6.5 oz of milk before bed, and then brushed his teeth as usual. He got fussy as soon as we sat in the rocker before putting him in his crib, and he has not fought sleep quite like that in a long time. Gideon wasn’t protesting sleep, he was just unhappy about something and I had no idea what it could be. I took his pajama bottoms off thinking he might be hot, but that didn’t help. I kept asking him what was wrong, and he finally signed “leche” or “milk”. 3 more oz and a few minutes of lullabying, and he was ready to be laid down.

My growing boy!

My growing boy!

I don’t want to assume things too prematurely, but I think it might be safe to say that Gideon is going through a growth spurt. I will just have to wait until the morning to know for sure. I would not mind the extended hours of sleep!

My parents are heading to the USA tomorrow morning, and I wanted to make sure they got some face time with Gideon before a short break in communication. My parents will finally be with us in a few weeks, and we are so excited.

 

Gideon on Skype with his abuelos

Gideon on Skype with his abuelos this evening.

Gideon on Skype

My parents are wearing their Argentina jerseys, thrilled that Argentina defeated Belgium this afternoon and are moving on in the World Cup. This might be their year!!

Happy 4th weekend!

Making Memories At The Deli

This one will be short and sweet, I promise.

At the grocery store this afternoon, Gideon and I were standing in line at the deli and my little tike was winning hearts over for cuteness left and right. He was flashing smiles and waving at everyone around us. A deli worker appreciated my son’s cheerful disposition, and offered him a slice of cheese.
Gideon was thrilled. He shot the deli worker a huge smile and took the slice of cheese. I told him “what do you say?”. Gideon was so excited about the cheese and eating it, that he had forgotten his manners. I got his attention and told him to say thank you. “Say thank you, sir!”.
The deli workers were just shocked when he signed “thank you” and then kept enjoying his treat. One of the ladies working asked me how old he was, and she told me she’d never seen such a well-mannered 15 month-old in her life.
It did them all in when he was done eating his first piece and asked me for “more please”.
I know Gideon is going to do great things in his life, and he’s off to a great start at the age of 1. He’s already inspiring people, and showing them how teachable even the youngest tots can be. My hope is that now they go home and start talking about how they saw a baby sign “thank you” and “please”, and then teach it to their children and grandchildren.

I’m keeping tonight’s entry short and sweet because this evening Daniel totally offered to do kitchen clean up, and I’m giddy with excitement. I decided I’m going to sit on my couch to read a book while a huge storm rages outside. Then we are having a treat and watching a movie. Great night!

In the bottom left picture, he is signing "cat" or "Abby". He must have heard or seen her.

In the bottom left picture, he is signing “cat” or “Abby”. He must have heard or seen her.