I Don’t Like Christian Culture

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That’s me in my church-shirt. I loved it because it was purple not because it defined my reliegios beliefs and therefor who I was.

This last week I’ve had 3 people ask if I heard if so-and-so was coming to town. Each time I answered “no” and they got excited and responded that she is performing at my (small) church. Even after hearing the question for the third time my first reaction was that this was a person I was somehow supposed to be connected to, it is a small town after all, not a somewhat-known entertainer.

Here’s the thing. I don’t like Christian music. And if you get into it, I’m not a big fan of Christian culture in general.

My car presets are on NPR, alternative and rap stations. My Spotify and Apple playlists are filled with hip hop and rainy day Decembrists music. If I feel like I need to talk to God I do so in silence, not through mediocre (just my opinion) praise songs. Usually the first time I hear a contemporary christian song is in church, when the band plays it. I am not opposed to God, Jesus or scripture in music, I actually love when I hear pieces of if in contemporary music; Chance the Rapper and Sufjan Stevens are two of my favorites. The point there is just because I don’t like christian music doesn’t mean I don’t like music by christians nor does it have any real statements on my faith.

When you walk into my house, there is no visible sign of religion. No Jesus poster (Mormons know), no crucifix (Catholics know), no scripture on my walls (every woman from 25-65 knows). There is no visible sign of our beliefs, and there doesn’t need to be. The fact that we are welcoming in our home, that we show love and kindness to everyone is bigger than any vinyl lettering you slap on your wall.

Just because I don’t wear a cross on my neck or have a letter board of this weeks scripture on my walls doesn’t make my beliefs any weaker. It’s just not me. And if it’s not you either that’s great! If it is you that’s great too! (Just don’t do it to show off, because it doesn’t mean anything to anyone else but you.)

I love my God, I love my church and I love my community. Listening to Post Malone over Hillsong doesn’t change that at all.

That’s all. Nothing else to say.

Mom’s Growing Up

When I turned 30 I had people sharing that their 30’s are or were the best time. They all had the same reasonings: you just care about the little things less and you understand who you are more. It doesn’t happen right away, maybe it happens over the entire 10 year span, I don’ t know.

A couple of weeks ago I turned 32. Although, according to Willem, because there was no cake, wrapped presents and no one sang “happy birthday” so with no supporting evidence, it didn’t happen. That’s okay too. Not because I care too much about staying young (though I am considering Botox for that damn permanent frown line) but because 31 ended up pretty fantastic. Looking back, it may have been one of my better years.

In my 31st year I:

Bought a mom car. It is a Toyota but I resisted the minivan. If there is such a thing as the  anti-bucket list, this is on mine.

Said good-bye to the baby-years in our family. It was a happy good-bye.

Had a happy 6 hour day date with my husband for the first time in 7 years.

Made a commitment to myself to live life for the fun that can be found. This means letting go of the dishes in the sink to take my kids climbing, but still doing the dishes eventually.

Attempted to learn about homeowners claims, construction companies and what depreciation value means.

Worked my first full motorcycle rally. Amazingly tiring and fun.

Saw motorcycle races. Insanely cool.

Allowed myself to enjoy other flavors of La Croix besides coconut. It’s sill #1 though.

Went on my first permanent, daily medication. Okay, this one kind of sucked and I’m awful at doing it but it sucks worse when I don’t.

Had my first endoscopy. This is on the list because I know I’ll have more.

Went whitewater rafting.

Flipped in whitewater rafting. Such a fun experience for me, luckily I listened to the instructions in the beginning. Feet up!

Went to my first dispensary. It was intimidating.

Went on my second permanent, daily medication. This is a sign that I truly am getting older.

Landed a dream job.

Went snowboarding for the first time in 11 years.

Went skiing for the first time in 20 years!! And it was hard.

 

Helped build a deck.

Put a hot tub on that deck. This one is a dream fully realized.

Weaned my last baby. Such a sad and happy thing to do. Twenty-two months is long enough little dude.

Explored, remodeled, went camping, got outside,

Made a bunch of adult like decisions.

That was my 31. I’m okay to stay in it a little longer but 32 is looking like it might be a little bit of a ride so I think I can embrace that. I’m always up for an adventure.

In 32 I’ll try to have more photos of myself. Although, my first thought is to document the lines on my face as they are now and how the might change. (cough*botoxbetweentheyes)

#momlife

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I’ve been wondering lately if people asked Mary (mother of God) what she did? Did she have an outlet? Besides being a mother WHO was she, what was her purpose?

There’s this new wave of individualism that I’ve been feeling. It’s a rat race of branding yourself, setting yourself apart from the pack by what you “do” : your talent, art or outlet. Who you are based on what you do for you. I don’t love the way it feels, like we are one-upping or searching for whatever comes next and not relishing the moments of where we are now:: who we are now instead of what we are becoming.

A few months ago I took the deliberate step away from teaching yoga (still teaching Sat mornings), I did this mostly due to a change in Chad’s schedule but also as a choice to slow down my own life in order to focus more on being a mother. I am enjoying the slow down, it is a luxury I never afforded my mind to even step towards before.

There are so many windows of life that I enjoy, so many things I can do, that I love to do but the thing that comes before all others is being a mother, it’s what takes up the majority of my time, my thoughts, it’s the thing about me that will never change. While I have other dreams and outlets, it may just be that my main purpose in this life is to be a mother to my sons and there is no shame in that. So the next time I’m asked what I “do” for me, what makes me an individual, I will answer with no shame that I’m a mom to 3 very busy boys and I might not claim to do anything else and that is more than okay.

Especially because my kids are awesome. Most of them. Most days.

 

Looking for Fun

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A month or so ago a friend who babysits for me was telling me how she took a kid that she babysits to gymnastics and was sitting in the bleachers listening to all the moms talk about their house renovations.

The next day I myself was surrounded by (other) moms who were talking about their house renovations.

When did we become so boring that our daily life seems to revolve around our homes? To be fair it’s where we spend most of our time and is a fair representation of ourselves (sometimes, I am not as messy as my house can be) but it is no who we are. Your American contemporary-modern home with concrete countertops and glass subway tile backsplash is gorgeous but it does not make me think any more or less of you. Same goes for your hunter orange, “hasn’t been updated since 1973 but the dishwasher works” kitchen, I think you are awesome as well. Unless your home is filled with 36 cats I will find something I admire about it, houses are cool, homes are wonderful.

In ways our millennial love for minimalism has allowed us to move our focus from simple consumerism to hyper focus on how and what to improve on the few things we want to spend money and energy on. You don’t need all the books anymore but you sure as hell need that shiplap.

My house reflects my style, my preferences, it also reflects my baking experiments and my children’s love of art on both appropriate and inappropriate canvases. My home and myself are unfinished and full of potential. My home however, is not who I am, it may define my style but it does not define ME.

Caught up in our own home renovations Chad and I looked into getting our single pane bow windows replaced in the front of our house. This is no small expense. We still have our quote hanging on the inside of the cabinet and for 2 days we were excited about this change in our house. After the install we wouldn’t be getting any noise from outside, less draft/energy loss and it would be more aesthetically pleasing. Six years from now we would put the house on the market and make some of that money back but our excitement about the windows would be long gone.

After the 2 days of excitement over new windows (this is 31 y’all) the idea of a trip/vacation crept back into my mind an after a brief discussion we had a change of heart. Instead of putting all of that money into windows we will put it towards a trip, an experience. We won’t be getting any money from a trip back as we would in selling a house with new windows but when our time on earth is up for either of us we won’t be thinking back to that time we picked out windows together.

This brings me to the big point:. houses, kids, when did life get so… not fun? It’s beautiful and there are fun parts but I find myself looking for rest or finishing chores more than fun. I’ve been so caught up in chasing my kids and attempting to get enough sleep that I forgot what the rest of life looks like. I’ve started a new chapter where life is going to revolve around fun (and Jesus) for me and my family, basing my decisions on the questions “is it fun?’ and “can I make it fun” (okay and also “is it safe” because I am a mom now).  This means choosing taking my boys swimming instead of finally finishing laundry, concerts instead of countertops and making memories over sweeping floors.

So starting (really about 2 weeks ago) now, I am in search of fun. Sometimes my kids will have to tag along with me and there will be times where they will inevitably make it not fun, the weather could turn, circumstances will destroy bridges to fun but I will pursue joy and fun and happiness. I’m done being stagnant. Though I will still lust after that mid-century modern home on Berry Pine Road. (and try to update with a pic soon).

 

Motherhood Problem #1: Sleep

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I had a friend send me a meme/message today about the “sleep when baby sleeps” saying that you get fed as a new parent. I responded with the question of “what do I do if the baby is sleeping and I want to sleep but the preschooler is still awake and crazy?” Because that was my real life situation.

Truth is sleep is the holy grail of parenting, the key to happiness and success often teeters on the scale of how rested you are. The more kids you have the more you adapt to interrupted and fewer overall hours of your eyes being closed.

Not going to lie, some days I roll my eyes at this whole scene about becoming parents and losing sleep but is it because I was lazy or I’m now just so used to it that, as long as someone isn’t sick throughout the night, I actually think that I am sleeping like a normal human being?!

And let me just warn any not-quite-parents-yet out there that motherhood does start at pregnancy because I remember losing sleep when I was pregnant with Harper and other moms telling me “oh you should sleep now while you can!” What a bunch of shit advice that was. How can anyone forget the immense uncomfortableness of a baby moving inside you, punching your cervix, kicking your ribs, spreading your hips apart mixed in there with the having to pee every 2 hours. From now on I’m just going to tell newlyweds “sleep now while you can because the from the moment you know your pregnant  you’re screwed until they all learn how to get themselves breakfast and turn on netflix themselves.” That’s real advice.

So now to my main point. Sleeping with babies. Everyone has their own journey. With baby 1 we had a crib and bassinet/pack n play combo. I was so paranoid about him breathing I couldn’t put him in another room where the crib was, he hated the bassinet so he slept next to me. Perfectly safely. But then again I never fully slept pretty sure I didn’t enter any form of REM sleep until he was 1. Baby 2, we bought a king size bed because baby 1 kept coming into our bed here and there. It worked alright but now we have 4 people in 1 bed 3 nights a week. Somehow, baby 3 happens and I’m at a loss. I felt that I couldn’t safely sleep with a baby in our bed as long as there was the potential for the other 2 to come in (usually they would sneak in). Also, I was far more sleep deprived now as a mother of 2 already that I didn’t feel my state of sleep was as reliable as it was when 1 was born- basically, I could no longer trust myself to sleep lightly around a newborn.

I started researching (shopping) around for ideas on how to keep this new baby safe and I found the Halo bassinest. Once I found it I felt it was the answers to my prayers from the beginning because it was easy to get baby in and out of, literally could by baby right next to me without them being in the bed and best of all it swiveled so I could get up in the night without scooting down to the edge of my bed. Plus it had a sweet nightlight and vibration and other stuff that I didn’t really use. Overall best baby sleeper ever, I slept thoroughly and safely next to Iver every night, even when he was waking up every 2 hours straight for 3 weeks….we used this until he could sit up on his own, around 5-6 months.

Second purchase I made towards sleep was the dockatot. Originally I made fun of the “baby raft” but in the end it was my best friend and the hardest baby item I’ve ever had to say goodbye to. I’d put Iver in the dockatot and he would put himself to sleep. That baby pillow hugged them just right so they felt safe and secure and I felt safe and secure with him in it because I knew it was snug and it was breathable. Add in the fact that it was his bed when we traveled and it was well worth it’s price tag. I used it all the way until he was 10 months old.

Third thing toward a decent night sleep with baby 3 doesn’t work with all babies but a good swaddle. I was grateful that a friend lent me her Ollie wrap, it was the best swaddle I had ever used because you could really wrap those suckers (babies) in there and it had enough give that they could squirm but it never un-hugged them. Iver was golden in it. We used it until he grew out of it and could wiggle out, probably at around 4 months, which is a pretty long time in the swaddling world.

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the holy trinity of sleeping babies

Ollie wrap+dockatot+bassinest= at least 4 hours of sleep at one time even with a colicky baby that you haven’t figured out is actually dairy sensitive yet.

And now that I no longer have any of these but don’t have to worry as much about anyone rolling onto my baby? I was planning on buying another dockatot (there’s a bigger one) but couldn’t swallow the price on it ($260) so I did a little more research and ended up buying Iver  a sheepskin to sleep on. It is amazing, transfers (what we parents call moving a sleeping baby out of our arms) onto it are very easy and he stays asleep. Though it doesn’t snuggle him as well as the dockatot did it is SO much cheaper and now everyone in my family wants their own because they are so cuddly and comfortable to sit, stand and sleep on.

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dreaming of sheep(skin)

On one final note. I heard the statistic yesterday that the quality and amount of sleep only lessens for women and not for men.  Haven’t these babies heard of feminism?! (as my husband sleeps on the couch just fine right now…. but surrounded by 2 out of 3 children).

Badlands NP

The weather was nice, Harper didn’t, have school, the entrance fee was waved and it’s my birthday so we went outside to Badlands National Park. We did a few small trails including a juniper forest and massive canyon but mostly we climbed and explored.

swim suits, because it’s cold outside

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not.me.

 

I’m not overly excited for winter to be over but it’s that time of year when I start looking forward to spring. I’m gearing up to occasionally open windows and watching my trees bud and bloom. The thing that I don’t really look forward to is swimsuits. This year I had to focus a little earlier on it then most because Harper wanted a pool party for his birthday.

I feel like every woman in America wants to complain about shopping for swimsuits but lets be real, it’s SO HARD to find one that you love. No matter what your thoughts are on your body swim suit shopping generally sucks because it’s never going to be the perfect fit in the perfect color/pattern for your perfect body. Oh and by the way, they are pretty expensive. So to make it simple on myself I just wanted something with solid coverage that didn’t budge and wasn’t totally horrible on my body. Add in the fact that I live in a small town and have to do 90% of my shopping online and here’s what I found:

I love this free people suit, it’s a once piece which isn’t normally me but I bet the top doesn’t budge much! Probably not the best for tall people like me.

I also discovered this little boutique suit shop Desi’s Bikini Boutique that creates many different styles and cuts that surfers swear by, unfortunately I can’t get to Costa Rica anytime soon and without an online catalogue I’m a little lost.

Target doesn’t make the cut this time. Not impressed with pricing, quality or style this year.

I found that the high rise bikini’s are getting trendier, hard to tell if they are flattering without trying them on but some look promising like these ones from Nordstrom and Lululemon (normally I lean towards black but that blue!!!).

 
Ultimately I ended up buying form Athleta where they had a ton of different options for mix and match solids but the quality sounded up to par for the preformance I wanted and best of all, no-hassel, no-cost returns. I wore it to Harper’s party and the bottoms are amazing so far, the fit is perfect and coverage/staying power is exactly what I want (though activity was minimal so far there was still no wedgie). The top is fine, it will do the job coverage wise, though I’ll probably end up with a rash guard as well thanks to my skin cancer caution.