Monday, January 27, 2014


Anytime I write something I feel is controversial with the intention of sharing, I end up editing into oblivion as to not offend.  This post has been sitting, ready to be shared for weeks.  But I've been so scared of upsetting anyone's delicate sensibilities, I've held off till now.  However...

Keep in mind, if you think this post is singling you out, it's not.  If you get offended, I'm sorry.  That wasn't my intention.  I just had a mental breakdown and thought you ought to know.

I have mommy guilt.  Not the, "I just hid in the pantry while I ate a pop tart" mommy guilt.  The soul deep, massive, overwhelming "my kids eat gluten and dairy and I don't buy organic everything and their teeth will fall out because I use granulated sugar and I buy fast food like once a week and we watch tv, use store bought deodorant, don't make our own laundry soap and they go to public school" kind of mommy guilt.  I am drowning in it.

I tell you, if one more person says to me that I shouldn't eat sugar/bread/pasta/non-free-range eggs/meat/poultry/dairy/processed-anything/canned food I will run screaming into Dunkin' Donuts barefoot and the police will find me there stuffing myself into a processed, sugary, gluten coma.

I often fall into despair when I make a grocery list.  My budget doesn't always allow me to buy only "the good stuff."

I feel shame because my kids *gasp* eat bread!


Why do I beat myself up because I cook from scratch and yet I still feel like I'm not measuring up to Suzy Q. next door?

Am I really doing such a HUGE disservice to my family because I'm not gluten free, dairy free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, fruitarian or whatever the next "free-arian" is?

Why am I, and the way I live, seemingly not good enough anymore?

Please note: I realize that many of these diets are very necessary for some people.  I have friends who I love that eat fermented food and I don't shun them.  I have others that get violently ill if they eat gluten and I am not saying they should.  I don't want them to be sick!  Certain people NEED to eliminate many things from their diet in order FOR their bodies to properly function and for them to be at their best.  I am not upset or annoyed or anything else with them for sharing their lifestyle and diets with us. 

I just want to know when did it become not ok to eat a normal, balanced diet?

I'm not talking about ding-dongs and diet coke for breakfast, Taco Bell for lunch and potato chips and fried chicken for dinner all while you sit on your Hoveround.  I'm talking Brazil Butt Lift DVD's, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, a bit of dairy, chicken and beef... it's what's for dinner.

God gave us all one body and we should fuel it and take care of it to the best of our ability!  Which is what I try to do, but I can't do it ALL.

And everyday, on tv/facebook/instagram/pinterest I am bombarded by it all.  I am reminded that I'm not doing exactly what the experts say.  That somehow, in some way, I'm irrevocably messing it up.

And then I feel guilt.  Which leads to frustration.  Which leads to me hiding in the pantry and crying while I eat Stevia with a spoon.

It needs to stop.  And not just because Stevia is gross.

God doesn't ask me to be perfect.  (Which is a really good thing.  Because I obviously have "issues" with perfectionism...)

So this year, I'm just going to do my best.

And sometimes if my best is pizza from Papa Murphy's so I have more time to go play at the playground with my kids, or spend a few extra minutes talking to my husband about his day and not ignore him to go make dinner, then that's what it will be.

I will stop reading every-single-thing-about-every-single-diet so I don't feel shell shocked.

I will continue to mainly cook from scratch with quality ingredients.

I will make small dietary changes when necessary and not feel overwhelmed.

I will be confident in the knowledge that my family is happy and healthy, even though they didn't have $5 a doz. cage free eggs for breakfast.

I will be thankful that even when I can't afford a cart full of only "the good stuff" at the grocery store, I am provided for and able to afford groceries period.

Because I am good enough.

And if I stop stressing so much about food, maybe I'll have time to make my own laundry soap.

Monday, January 13, 2014

the 52 project

For Christmas 2012 I got a "fancy" camera.  An awesome Canon Rebel and I told myself I was really going to get off the auto settings in 2013 and learn how to shoot in manual, but alas, it didn't happen.  I mean, I definitely learned more than I had previously known, but the auto settings are still my best friend.

So at the beginning of this year I seriously put some thought into joining the 365 project.  A picture a day for a year.  Then I remembered that I don't always get my teeth brushed or a shower every day and making sure I got my big camera out every. single. day. seemed overwhelming.

Then I stumbled upon a hashtag on Instagram for the 52 project.  A photo a week for a year.  Much better.

I'm already behind, but it's ok.  I missed the very first week of the year, but got a shot in last week and will try and make up for my slacker tendencies this week with 2 pictures.  So much pressure...

Anyway, here is my first shot- a Texas road on a foggy day.  (Don't worry mom and dad.  I checked both ways for cars before I stood in the middle of the road.)


Friday, January 10, 2014

christmas "letter" 2013

As much as I would like to send every-single-person I know an actual Christmas card every-single-year, I just can't.  So while a few of you got a real life card, most of you will have to settle for this.  And by "this" I mean a few pictures.  I wanted to write a short blurb about each of us and get it up on here by New Year at the latest, but then I got sick a couple days after Christmas and now it's January 10th and I just don't have it in me.  But the great thing about a blog is that YOU can go back and see all my old posts and catch up with our new nothings.  Tada!

We did our own pictures this year.  I went into it with Mary Poppins positivity, a $15 tripod and some staging ideas from Pinterest.  Getting 6 people to all look at the camera and smile on cue for a timer is not easy.  Folks, we got this money shot on the 3rd try!  As soon as I saw it I shouted out, "WE DID IT!" and there was joy in the land.  

For about 3 seconds till I told the kids I wanted to get a few shots of just them.  There was some initial moaning and groaning but then I explained I wanted them to stand on the couch and jump.  That was more up their alley and the four of them happily climbed on-

I neglected to mention that I just wanted a little jump.  When I told them to sort of bounce, this is the reaction I got-

Deciding this was not working out I told them all to sit and first we made funny faces to lighten the mood-

Then we tried some nice smiles-

The boys were up next-

Then I asked Liam if I could take one of just him-

For some reason this was the only one I took of the girls together-

Jason and I used the tripod, just give us a barn and a pitchfork-

Then to make up for shed tears in the couch jumping debacle, I told Liam to hop on and show me what he's got! After I cut off his head (the kid can JUMP!) and a photo bomb, we got a good one-

I took individual pictures of the girls at the park because I also wanted to use them as "school" photos.  (I decided not to buy pictures from the school this year.)  We got some lovely shots!  I also asked permission at the library to take a photo of the girls as they both have quite a passion for reading and I thought it would be a nice addition if I wrote a Christmas letter-

That wraps up our card creating adventure and if you're wondering where Finn's individual pictures are, so am I.  Did you know I have 4 kids?  Because I apparently forgot.  Hopefully I haven't scarred him for life.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!  Keep up with us here because you'll probably just get another picture card again next year...

gift giving

Christmas was mellow this year.  Probably because we had one sick kiddo and no extra family in town on the actual holiday.  My parents came to visit the day after and we had a lovely time with them, until the one sick kid turned into another sick kid, sick mommy and sick grandma.  Then the party was over.

I just sat down today and downloaded Christmas pictures off the camera (I did not recover quickly from whatever junk my child gifted me with...) and I laughed and laughed at some of the expressions I captured.

Have a laugh yourself.  (And excuse the blurry-ness.  I usually have great success using the action setting and auto-focus on my camera when I know my lack of skills won't keep up with manual settings.  But for some reason, things were off this morning.)

We kept the gift giving small this year.  Partly because we gave the kids bathroom an update (that's another post) and it wasn't necessarily cheap, but mainly because we see Christmas as a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, not to spoil our kids rotten with stuff. 
So it was group gifts, like new art supplies, and a few special individual items.

Finn loves to cook!  If I am in the kitchen, he is next to me on his step stool. So we and the 4 Grands all chipped in and bought this fellow his own kitchen and pots, pans, etc. 

Finn is a blankie and pacifier baby. He used his other blankets to shreds, so they got replaced. He opened the box, grabbed the blankets and headed for the nearest lap!

Who knew soup mugs could be so exciting!

Liam likes to call it his "derector" set.  

Evie got a special bowl to hold her earrings.

Working hard at getting that ribbon off!

Katie is always excited! I love that.  Evie... well.
(And thanks Uncle Jake for the new blu-ray player. :) )

I'm dying.  This face.

The man got Ghostbusters.

And Demolition Man.

(And do you like my grey ghetto/redneck moving blanket curtains?)

I told the girls to run their new clothes upstairs and put them away real quick before we watched a movie.... these beds (for their American Girl dolls) from Ikea were on the floor when they came back down. I think Jason and I went deaf from the exclamations of joy!

Rum cake for breakfast and a shot of the trees I made to decorate the table.

And the day after...
I know where Katie gets the tongue thing from...

Happy holidays y'all!