Biblical Womanhood

Oh Monday afternoon, I sat out on the back patio while the kids played and relished the fact that my assistance is not called for every 2 minutes. And I read. I’m back into the swing of reading again… this season in my life has made it so simple and easy to leave a few books around the house and grab one to read every few hours. Seriously. My children will probably remember me as the mother who stood in the kitchen stirring caramel sauce and reading a book. Thankfully, our library has an online account where I can reference book reviews I see, add them to my cart and set a pick up location. And for the forgetful ones like myself, I can renew {and pay fines} from my desk as well.

Anyway, Crunchy Chicken is doing a book club with the book Almost Amish  {that’s another post} and while I was ordering that one, I came across the book, Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. I recognized the author because she writes very intelligent, provoking blogs that are frequently shared by people in my Facebook feed. On a whim, I snatched it up.

Now listen. I grew up in church so the concept of the Proverbs 31 woman is not foreign to me. But it irks me that it is either used to put oneself down or to judge another. As I read through the beginning of the book, I realized that while I might not be challenged to fit into the guideline, I could certainly learn from all her research.

Out of the entire book, there were two portions that stood out to me: the discussion about a woman of valor and the challenge to be mindful about where our purchases come from.

Why did “Woman of Valor” stand out to me? Because we don’t support each other enough. Because we spend time talking about how “she” does things differently and is therefore cray cray. Because we can’t seem to wait to pass along the next little bit of gossip. Because if “she” is a dedicated runner/crossfitter/yogi/fitness buff she’s “obsessed with herself”. Because if “she’s” opinionated, she’s a B. I know I’ve said it before, but dude! We have GOT to stop comparing and judging and just link our arms and be a team. So if you get a text from me calling you a Woman of Valor, it’s a compliment. Embrace it.

The challenge regarding our purchases cut pretty deeply. Chocolate isn’t a huge issue, but coffee is and I just felt so sad thinking of the children who are abused because I need that cuppa. I realized that once again, I’ve slipped into cheap and convenient over what I know I should purchase. Rachel’s trip to Bolivia really hurt my heart in a good and convicting way… so much so that there was coffee shopping last night.

The book was a quick read… I finished Tuesday afternoon. And entertaining? Oh gosh, I laughed out loud at several points… who doesn’t love a good kitchen disaster story?! And I must say that I have great respect for the amount of research Rachel needed to put into this book. It opened my eyes to the reality of how great our lives are in the 21st century. I know that already, sure, but to really consider what those women thousands of years ago endured just because of their gender? Big stuff there. I may never, ever complain about how embarrassing the purchase of feminine products is. After all, I could be sitting in a red tent for a week!

Sight words and life lessons

Welcome to the September 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Home Tour

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have opened up their doors and given us a photo-rich glimpse into how they arrange their living spaces.

***

When we moved into this home 4 years ago, I struggled to make it my home and get over that it was my grandmother’s home my entire life. Initially, I picked darker colors for all the walls… Covering every inch of the stark white paint I could. The hardest room for me to “transform” was the dining room.

IMG_5094

For one thing, it’s in the middle of the house, and filled with the massive dining room suite I couldn’t sell when we held the auction after her death. Dark and formal, it’s never been the style that is practical for our family. And the added worry of little ones opening the glass doors and breaking the china? No thanks.

IMG_5102

As the years have passed, I’ve taken things out of the china cabinets and packed them away. The table no longer has a centerpiece or a table cloth for that matter. And little by little, the table became the place to settle in and draw or paint. So when we decided to homeschool, I knew right where we would set up.

IMG_5097

The cabinets now hold workbooks and books I’ve been collecting in the last year. The drawer that once held fancy silverware now holds my Montessori letters and 100s board. And the table that was only used for holidays now is the table I will always hold dear as the place where Liam learned to read.

IMG_5096

Every morning we settle in at the table and I’m grateful that although I never thought I’d find a way to make this room ours, it fits like a glove. We watch the cardinals out the window and spread our words out on the table. We high five our success, jump out the frustrations and soak in our lessons.

For us, the room that didn’t fit is now the room I look forward to spending more and more time in as the years pass. In that, we all are learning together – sight words and life lessons.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon September 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • Being Barlow Home Tour — Follow along as Jessica at Being Barlow gives you the tour of her family’s home.
  • A Tour Of My Hybrid Rasta Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes you on a tour of her kitchen complete with a Kombucha Corner, a large turtle, her tea stash, and of course, all her must-have kitchen gadgets. Check out Hybrid Rasta Mama’s most favorite space!
  • Dreaming of a Sisters Room — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, dreams, schemes and pins ideas for when her younger daughter is ready to move out of the family bed and share a room with her older sister.
  • Building a life — Constructing a dream — Survivor at Surviving Mexico-Adventures and Disasters shows you a glimpse inside the home her family built and talks about adaptions they made in constructing their lives in Mexico.
  • Why I’m Sleeping in the Dining Room — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook welcomed a new baby but didn’t have a spare bedroom. She explains how her family rearranged the house to create Lydia’s nursing nest and changing room in spaces they already had.
  • The Gratitude Tour — Inspired by Momastry’s recent “home tour,” That Mama Gretchen is highlighting imperfect snapshots of things she’s thankful for around her home. Don’t plan to pin anything!
  • Our Home in the Forest — Tara from Up the Dempster gives you a peek into life lived off-grid in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
  • natural bedding for kids — Emma at Your Fonder Heart shows you how her family of 3 (soon to be 4) manages to keep their two cotton & wool beds clean and dry (plus a little on the end of cosleeping — for now).
  • I love our home — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings explains how lucky she feels to have the home she does, and why she strives so hard to keep it tidy.
  • Not-So-Extreme Makeover: Sunshine and Rainbows Edition — Dionna at Code Name: Mama was tired of her dark, outdated house, so she brightened it up and added some color.
  • Our little outdoor space — Tat at Mum in search invites you to visit her balcony, where her children make friends with wildlife.
  • Our Funky, Bright, Eclectic, Montessori Home — Rachel at Bread and Roses shows you her family’s newly renovated home and how it’s set up with Montessori principles in mind for her 15-month-old to have independence.
  • Beach cottage in progress — Ever tried to turn a 1980s condo into a 1920s beach bungalow? Lauren at Hobo Mama is giving it a try!
  • Conjuring home: intention in renovation — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama explains why she and her husband took on a huge renovation with two little kids and shares the downsides and the ups, too.
  • Learning At Home — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling helps us to re-imagine the ordinary spaces of our homes to ignite natural learning.
  • My Dining Room Table — Kellie at Our Mindful Life loves her dining room table — and everything surrounding it!
  • Sight words and life lessons — The room that seemed to fit the least in Laura from Pug in the Kitchen‘s life is now host to her family’s homeschool adventures and a room they couldn’t imagine life without!
  • A Tour of Our Church — Garry at Postilius invites you virtually visit him in the 19th-century, one-room church where he lives with his spouse and two kids.
  • Preparing a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the Montessori baby-toddler space she’s created in the main living area of her home along with a variety of resources for creating a Montessori-friendly home.
  • The Old Bailey House — Come peek through the window of The Old Bailey House where Erica at ChildOrganics resides with her little ones.
  • My New House Not-Monday: The Stairs — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shows you her new laminate stairs in her not-so-new-anymore house.
  • To Minimalist and Back Again — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went to the extreme as a minimalist and bounced right back. Read how she finds it difficult to maintain the minimalist lifestyle when upsizing living space.
  • Our Life As Modern-Day Nomads — This family of five lives in 194 square feet of space — with the whole of North America as a back yard. Paige of Our Road Less Traveled guest posts at Natural Parents Network.

Awesome!

I need this for my home… where we can see it every day!

It is my personal parenting goal to teach my children that we can do hard things. Life is hard. Challenges come and we are faced with how we will respond. We choose to tackle these challenges head first, asking for help if needed, and we conquer. I’ve had the Bible verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” in my head over the last few years, so I felt that it was an appropriate addition to the lesson. 

On the first day of school, we sat down and talked about the rocks and how we are building a foundation in their lives, one lesson {rock} at a time. By the way, Liam is the only who got this discussion… Sylvi was thinking about Ariel… So when he masters a sight word, or has a particularly awesome attitude for the day, or I catch them acting in kindness without prompting, an AWESOME ROCK goes into their jar. And lest you think that I’m just piling stones up, once they get to 10 in the jar, they get a bonus when I pay out their allowance. It’s a huge hit :)

IMG_5097

Today wasn’t the smoothest school day. Liam needs to work on ordering numbers, and he loathes practicing this. Although, he really enjoys math in general, I just haven’t found the right way to work on this skill so it’s not tedious for him. Neither child nor mother got an awesome rock. But in the afternoon, we were invited to a friend’s home to swim in their pool. I strapped on life jackets and told the kids to play… to be brave and swim without hanging on to me. Both children panicked and cried when they first realized they couldn’t touch easily. I encouraged from where I sat {close enough to help if it was needed, don’t worry!}, and actually watched the fear on their faces be replaced with determination as they moved their bodies from bobbing to kicking and stroking.

In the end, what was hard became something so fun they want to return… to swim without me. They tackled something that was hard and scary, but they did it. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s review of the day to get their thoughts on how they felt when they conquered. In the meantime, though, I’m adding some awesome rocks to their jars!

Gym daze

Even though I said that my workout schedule switched to the early mornings during my Mighty Mommy post this week, it’s been going on for a while… I’ve just been comforting myself with the notion that at any point, I can snooze an extra hour or so and just go after supper. So I’ve been dragging myself out of bed and into the gym almost every day of the week, joining the throngs of other people {just kidding, there’s only like 10 people there} who are up before the sun. For real. It was still dark when I left my house this morning.

Anyway, since you are now duly impressed with my dedication, it’s time to mention that I’m pooped. So while I’m sweating away, I’m thinking and I’m planning all the things I will do before supper, the meals I will make in the remainder of the week and the topics I will write about. But somewhere between the sweat and soccer drills, all these lovely plans go straight out of my head. Gone.

Today was the first day of co-op. I went to the gym, I came home and showered {forgot to eat breakfast} and then put gym clothes back on since the class I’m a part of for the first hour is K-2 gym. During the second hour, I get a break… time to sit with half of the mamas, drink coffee and, if you’re me, work on that to-do list you started 4 hours prior. Except that I could not remember a darned thing. Sheesh. So I stared at my paper like a complete dolt, but I did manage to muster up a few items, which now that I see them, I have to laugh… clearly I wanted to look busy.

Friday is supposed to be my rest day, but I think I’m getting up once more. Saturday is going to be “cold” and rainy and my kind of day to stay home, put a roast in the crock pot and read. So tomorrow, after lunch, the kiddos and I will pack up and head to the library. And I will pick up a new pile of books to bury myself in for the weekend. I should probably change the sheets too. And put away all my canning from the weekend.

This is a season and as with all life, it’s fleeting in reality. I think there’s a shirt somewhere that says “Sore today, Proud tomorrow” or something to that effect. After my run, I stopped to wipe all the sweat off my face and gulp water. I happened to catch the eye of a Y employee who {bravely} high-fived my gross self and said “THAT is what you are supposed to look like when you’re done. I did not look at myself. Instead I told her I wanted a nap. Ain’t that the truth?

Mighty Mommy Monday – Training week 6

It’s Mighty Mommy Monday! Abbie of Farmer’s Daughter and I have decided to challenge you on a weekly basis.  Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself — every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health: workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. I’ve set a few goals for 2014, but my biggest is to swim a total of 30 freestyle miles this year AND run a half marathon in October! Join us!

I decided to take a break this weekend. That’s right. I did not work out from after our family hike all the way until today. Oh yeah. I even skipped my 6 mile run. I got almost no sleep this weekend and decided that rest was a better method of training than running on empty and trying to finish a run. And I did not feel guilty. This means that tomorrow morning, when I get up, I should be ready to roll.

This week brings the introduction of both our Wednesday night services at church and the homeschool co-op session. What does this mean for me? No more night time workouts, that’s what. The alarm now officially is set to go off at 6am every. single. day.

Monday – stretch and strengthen {more stretching, less strengthening… today is a modified rest day now}

Tuesday – Run 4 mi

Wednesday – Cross train. I loved that mid-week swim last week and think I should keep it!

Thursday – Run 4 miles.

Friday – REST

Saturday – Swim a mile

Sunday – Run… 6 miles. Planning for a run 1 mile, walk .25 mile, run 1 mile, walk, etc. pattern.

When I’m done training for this… I’m going to propose to the elliptical machine. I love it waaaaayyyy too much! And I’m shocked I didn’t discover it until now! No matter, I’m a dedicated gym rat now :)

Friday field trip

IMG_3157[1]

IMG_3152[1]

Today marked the 10th day of homeschool for our little family. We celebrated with a field trip to the nature center. I could hardly wait to get to this day because I had found the cutest little Nature Scavenger Hunt from Simple as That. 

IMG_3156[1]

Joy of joys, Matt only had to work until lunch today (yay holidays!) so we waited until he got home to leave. As we were all lacing on shoes, Vito started jumping around like a puppy, so I asked if he wanted to come along. He gave me pretty much the same look he gives me when I ask if he needs to go outside, so I asked if he wanted to ride in the car and he let out a YIP! like I haven’t heard in forever. So we had an extra student along for the excursion.

IMG_3153[1]

IMG_3155[1]

Once we got to the Nature Center, Liam was far too set on his personal goals to really play along with the scavenger hunt. I’m so grateful for a daughter who thinks every little thing I do is phenomenal. She was thrilled to carry a clipboard and pencil, searching high and low, delighting in crossing things off her board. At the very end of the hike, I found some acorns and she squeezed my legs, telling me they were “de best!”

IMG_3158[1]

In the end, we found almost every thing on the hunt except for animal tracks, deer and of all things, squirrels. We did find a lot of poop though. A lot of poop. We listened to the cardinals calling, the insects humming and the dog gasping. I’m planning to take the kids back again as the weather chills for another hike to see what we discover as the seasons change… I’m even hoping to convince them myself it’s a great idea to do a snowy hike!

Mighty Mommy Monday – Training week 5

It’s Mighty Mommy Monday! Abbie of Farmer’s Daughter and I have decided to challenge you on a weekly basis.  Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself — every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health: workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. I’ve set a few goals for 2014, but my biggest is to swim a total of 30 freestyle miles this year AND run a half marathon in October! Join us!

I’m realizing the full extent of my training this week. Between homeschooling, housework, freelance work, exercising and generally trying to be a balanced person, I’m not doing so well. Last week, I cut my volunteer participation significantly. It hurt my heart a little to say goodbye to so much good, but I have to sleep at some point, you know? However, I was running out of creative juice for several of the positions and I much prefer quality over quantity so I feel that for myself, the right decision was made.

My legs were really bothering me on Sunday’s run, so I’m contemplating adjusting my runs so that walking is built right in. So at least while I’m training, I’m not flirting with injury. I get another adjustment on Friday, and I am really looking forward to that!

Monday – stretch and strengthen {more stretching, less strengthening… today is a modified rest day now}

Tuesday – Run 4 mi {It’s supposed to be a scorcher tomorrow… I plan to run at the Y. In the air conditioning. I’m a wimp. I don’t care who knows it.}

Wednesday – Cross train. I’m considering squeezing an extra swim in this week. I really like doing those peaceful laps back and forth in the pool. {if I’m ambitious, I might toss in a little time on the elliptical}

Thursday – Run 4 miles.

Friday – REST {and adjustment}

Saturday – Swim a mile

Sunday – Run… 6 miles. Planning for a run 1 mile, walk .25 mile, run 1 mile, walk, etc. pattern.

The first week

We officially made our homeschool decision in June. Once the decision was made, I went to bed and actually slept through the night for the first time in months. We LOVED the school Liam attended for preK and I just couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel settled about sending him to Kindergarten there! {Of course, now… months later… it makes complete sense as Liam’s needs have changed and the sweet people who handle his OT are becoming some of my greatest cheerleaders.}  I cried a little knowing that I wouldn’t have the amazing teachers in his our lives, but the fact of the matter is that we need to do what is best for our family {specifically Liam} and homeschooling is the answer.

IMG_3134[1]

Monday morning, I fed the kids a first-day-of-school pancake breakfast and we headed into the dining room to start school. Because it was day one, every thing was shiny and new and interesting. I had very low expectations for the day for several reasons, but mainly because new routines are hard! Additionally, my parents decided after my 1st grade year that they needed to homeschool me and although I was excited to stay home, I remember being sad when my peers walked by my house on their way to school. I figured the same would be true for Liam, especially since he really thought his beloved Mrs. Lilly would also teach Kindergarten.

Monday was all unicorns and glitter. It was fun and new. Tuesday and Wednesday were challenging. We had to stop a few times and wait for attitudes to clear, but the overall day wasn’t bad. But then. Thursday and Friday Liam blew me away.

I grew up doing math as our first subject of the day, but decided for my own children, we would do reading/writing first. But on Wednesday since Liam was just not cooperating, I asked him what he wanted to do first and he chose math. Shockingly, he completed his pages and then asked to do more. Once math was done, he was cheerful about what was coming next. Thursday, I tried the same routine and again, it was a smooth day. Soooo…. Mom? You were right.

IMG_3140[1]

Friday we ended the week on a high. I think I’ve finally figured out our daily routine and feel like next week we can hit the ground running. I planned a month of schooling out in advance, leaving the details to be determined on a week-to-week basis. Liam will finish the first math workbook I got him Monday and we’ll start the next Tuesday! He needs to refresh his handwriting as over the summer, he’s forgotten how to make lesser used letters and numbers. Sylvi needs to work on her pencil grip.

The upcoming week I’m hoping to keep pretty quiet. In addition to all the newness of school, we had errands that cropped up and derailed our attention or nights where the three of us hardly slept, so I’m really praying that it doesn’t happen again. But you know, just because you plan it, it doesn’t mean it will happen!

Mighty Mommy Monday – Training week 4

It’s Mighty Mommy Monday! Abbie of Farmer’s Daughter and I have decided to challenge you on a weekly basis.  Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself — every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health: workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. I’ve set a few goals for 2014, but my biggest is to swim a total of 30 freestyle miles this year AND run a half marathon in October! Join us!

 

Last week was tough. I had so much pain in my legs that by Thursday I could hardly walk. I rolled, I stretched, I took extra Cal + Mag. Nothing helped. I reached out to a few of my runner friends asking for advice and they all recommended rest. Uhhhhhh…. how is one supposed to add distances if you are resting? I liked the advice that substituted running on pavement for running on the elliptical jogger at the Y though!

Friday, I went to our Chiropractor and came prepared the the areas I thought could possibly need adjusting. I’ve been struggling with my foot strike since, most likely, always and now that I’ve realized what I’m doing wrong and how to correct it, I also wanted to make sure my bones were in line. They weren’t. In addition to my spine and atlas, I also had my FEET, knees, wrist and elbow adjusted. When I walked into the office Friday, I was thinking about all the ice and ibuprofen I was going to need on my rest day. When I walked out, I was contemplating a run {which I did not do per doctor’s orders for rest}! I still cannot get over how instantaneous the relief in my legs was once he adjusted my feet. And Sunday’s run, went well. It was tough, because HELLO! I added another mile, but I let myself stop and walk in circles at mile 4 before pushing on. It’s amazing how confident I feel when I’m not in agony :)

This week:

Monday – Stretch and strengthen {yoga and weights… I attended Nina’s M&MF class on Wednesday, discovered Plyo pushups and realized I cannot do them. That will change.}

Tuesday – 3.5 mile run {easy pace}

Wednesday – 45 minutes on Elliptical jogger

Thursday – 3.5 mile run {easy pace}

Friday – REST {and attend a planning session for the 2014-2015 MOPS year, so main goal for today is to behave with my food choices.}

Saturday – 40 minute swim {we are not enrolling the kiddos in swim lessons for this session since soccer is about to start, so I will have to make my own time to get up early on Saturdays and work out. But hey, that means I don’t have to worry about finishing before the kids’ lesson is over!}

Sunday – 5 mile run {I’m running in the early morning with a friend. I always do better when I’m with someone, but matching schedules has been a issue for all of us, so we are trying the 530/6 am time slot.}

Essential oils for supper

IMG_5035
A few weeks ago, I wanted to make a creamy chicken and asparagus pasta dish for a family who had just had a baby. Comforting food, but with the asparagus to make me feel like I was serving them something healthy. :) Too honest? Sure, but still super tasty.

The challenge came when I realized I had no lemons. Lemons, chicken and asparagus are just designed to be together! Then, I remembered this recipe from That Mama Gretchen and wondered if it would work in a cream sauce. Spoiler alert: it totally does!

IMG_5032
Lemon Chicken and Asparagus Pasta

  • 4 chicken breasts, grilled
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, diced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 20 drops Lemon essential oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound pasta {I used gluten free}, cooked

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and saute the shallots and asparagus. The asparagus will turn bright green and become fork tender as you cook them. Pour in the chicken broth and reduce by half, stirring gently. Add the milk and lemon oil. Sprinkle in the cheese and stir well. The lemon scent is pretty strong, but the taste is subtle and light.

Slice up the chicken and mix it in the with sauce. Pour over the pasta and toss to combine. Serve with more grated cheese if you like.