A Day at a Time

I mentioned in a previous post that we are still struggling to organize our home / work / learning time a little better here…

As with other things in life, I have been leaning toward what is working, instead of deciding what works and aiming for that.  It makes me appear lazy though to some… so I do a bit of hustling as a front or come up with a spiel just to quash any uneasiness others may have… the people pleaser in me…

The Man has faith, I think ;), in my abilities to coordinate The Boys learning experiences.  My sister also accepts that I want the best for The Boy and that I am still finding out what that means.  The both have some questions but generally leave me to it 🙂

But for others; my parents, former co-workers, friends, and so on…  honestly, the fact that we are homeschooling this year hasn’t even been a topic for discussion for most of these groups.  They have probably just assumed that The Boy is back in his private school…  I’ve been out of touch with so many friends since The Baby – but that’s a whole ‘nother issue – they ask more general questions –Hows the family? Hows the house? Are you sleeping, yet? -when I talk to them now since it has been so long.

We have no curriculum.  He takes no regular classes.  We don’t do workbooks.

It is proving to be a difficult concept for most people who were traditionally schooled.

We don’t really unschool (yet? lol )… in fact, I try to avoid saying we do any variation of it so to avoid looking like a poser.  We’re in this middle ground right now; a difficult style to explain to folks on either end of the spectrum.  I don’t even know if it IS our style – a few more eyebrows raised – it just so happens to be what we are doing at this time.  We get up, at no specified time (though bedtime is generally routine which translates into a general time of alertness in the morning), The Boy completes a few self-responsibilities (washing up, brushing, dressing), breakfast is had and then the general plan is to pick a book in the morning to squeeze in sometime during the day before bed, and we take the day as it comes…  We have a few activities that are routine throughout the week (meet-ups / park days / trips to library / etc) but they are optional still and may or may not happen.  This, of course, works much better for us with The Baby in tow.  Who knows what the plan would be if we didn’t have to accommodate for feedings / changings / naptimes … but we do… and next year it’ll be a different game plan entirely I’m sure.

What is working right now

– Getting The Boy excited(?) about keeping track of responsibilities and planning – we created this weekday planner and charted out the months planned activities thus far.

– Journal-ing what we have done everyday and being consciously thankful for those things – The Boy knows this as ‘pick 5 things [you are thankful for]’ – usually a dinner or bedtime activity.

– Reading at least one book a day; The Boy has also picked Monday morning as the time frame for ‘reviewing’ his favorite book read by writing out information such as title / year of publication / things he liked / etc.

– We have a weekly Playground meet-up, Games Day meet-up and Sports Day meet-up as well as a planned hike (weather permitting) to Trader Joes for ‘Kids Corner’ every week

– The Boy picked Wednesdays for a trip to the Library.  This week he will finally be getting his own library card – Super Exciting

– We typically meet with a friend of mine for an outing, usually a hike, during the week when we are all available.

– Math – the key is keeping it happy and enjoyable for all of us – right now consists of us alternating creating problems for one another that we solve on our own and then together.  The Boy thoroughly enjoys penning out looooooooong equations for Mommy to solve with at least that many O’s.  We practice some in our heads, some written, use the TI-83 a bit, and we have also developed this cool chart that has proven to be quite fun.  We also have been baking a bit more together and are discussing fractions / measurements.

– The Boy has also taken a (free / intro) Yoga class, been to a Wildlife reserve, enjoyed an Indonesian Festival and so much more.

A lot of what we do are things I previously would have tried to squeeze into our busy schedules anyway.  But now we have more time to reflect and discuss.  Its no longer a whirlwind of activities.  We don’t have to ‘review’ what we just learned at one activity (in the car, mommy fighting traffic nodding ‘ uh-huh’) while on the way to activity number two.

We are still de-schooling but I am looking forward to it all 🙂

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Monkeys in the House!

In conjunction with my -bendy body- challenge, I am going to join my sister in a “Banana Island”-esque challenge.

She is coming off of a TEN day juice fast after a recent vacation loading up -her body- in Puerto Rico with pleasures 😉 … She knew she would do it though and she ordered her juicer online to be delivered while she was away. She is eager to transition slowly back into better foods and wants to return to a high-RAW diet.

It was a slippery slope, it seems, for me. After our first thirty days RAW, I attempted THREE more times To maintain a 100% RAW diet…Failing each time after only a few days… Was it just ambition to complete the initial challenge that kept me going? …I began maintaining a ‘high-raw’ diet – about 90% – allowing one meal every other day to be non-raw. That one non-raw vegan meal morphed into a meal every other day and a snack in between. Then it really just fell apart and I’ve been struggling ever since.

I feel FAT. I look TIRED. My energy ZAPPED; I have resorted to coffee in the evenings. JOY is fleeting and giving way to IRRITATION.
^ 75% of that COULD also be attributed to my eight month olds fifth tooth coming in… But I digress

So! We will be making a change again!
I don’t know that either of us has a duration in mind just yet but we will try out best to MONO eat and be RAW once more in the next few days. We’ve bought one 40 pound case of bananas (100 count) already and I think I’ll order another today so we can ripen them in preparation.

Two weeks ? One month? Or longer

A Bend-y Body

Over the last eight-or-so-months, I’ve lost sixty-plus pounds – not to shabby, eh? I did, however, lose about 20 of that in about 20 minutes once my son was born 😉

I haven’t really achieved any fitness ideal though. I’m not terribly unhappy with my current shape or size but I was getting used to being so much more before baby number two. I’m able to squeeze in some moderate exercise ( I’ve accepted it will be a bit further into the future before I can resume my gym rat ways ) but I have this nagging urge to flex, bend and twist! Start fixing to do it and uggghhhh…. Stinging! Burning! Pulling!

Resting in a stretch with elbows under knees at our former – cramped – apartment in 2010. Apologies for the ancient looking photo 🙂

A dream of mine in recent years was to offer ‘flexibility training’ – for fitness, for athletes. I would often strike up a conversation with folks at the gym who were intrigued by my thorough stretching – I am no yogi – I just think most bendy people probably don’t practice at the gym. Most of my ‘flexibility training’ came from a young lifetime of soccer and from my various coaches. Through the years it became a daily practice; never did I exercise without stretching. My form may not be perfect as I have never formally trained in any respect; I choose to continue a stretch if it feels good and discontinue / alter a stretch if it doesn’t… Listening to my body… Learning what makes it happy… I have been quite flexible; all with practice of course. Initially, it was a regimen. But as each stretch became easier to hold for extended time I found myself adjusting slightly to the nearest muscle and would start there at my next practice. Over time I developed a way to pull each muscle and thoroughly enjoyed each practice, stretching usually for at least an hour, sometimes two, most nights (after The Boy was in bed).

Lying in a stretch – photo snapped by my husband in 2010.

Once The Baby formed his little body in mine, exhaustion forced my hand, and though I bought/borrowed many a pregnancy yoga DVD, I was too exhausted to care after working full time and generally single parenting The Boy since The Man was working 60 plus hours in a week. Eight months later now, I thought I’d at least be close to be former bendy body. But it seems I forgot what little time is available with newborns around 🙂

I have decided to make a commitment! (!!!)

Instead of just hoping I’ll “have time later”, I am going to make time! I am going to give myself thirty days to make some progress. I will commit to stretching every other day and will have my photographer (a.k.a. My Sissy) catalog where I am throughout.

I am fed up with finding the time to sneak to the gym but being to embarrassed about my straining to stretch in front of others.

I am tired of feeling locked into place.

So ready for the freeing of my limbs. Ready to feel each muscle gently lengthen again.

I’ve just got to persevere past that initial burn to unlock happiness!

Wish me luck!

Remembering how I live for CHANGE…

Soooo…

“My forte is change” <— Remember that?

My dear husband is still coming to terms with my fondness for all things new and shiny.  Big changes are headed our way and yet again each shift in our lifestyle is compounded with another seismic shift.  It’s all happening at once and keeping him stressed and me busy as usual …I’m enthused and he lets a little worry out the window each time he realizes I will win him over 😉 … he gives into my charms a bit easier every time.

All of the wonderfully awesome things I had been eyeing on Post 1 are on the back burner now… Fun-er, more exciting things I have found!!

To start – I have opened my Etsy shop (!) … Aaaannd have had two whole sales! Yes!!  It’s still very new and green but I’m working on building it and feel thrilled that I have crossed that bridge!  I joined Etsy two or so years ago with the intent to open a shop.  I let life sit her ass in front of me too long – I leap-frogged and got a clear view of what I needed… The Man better hang onto his seat 🙂

I have also (finally!) convinced my husband to let me Home school our eldest!  Trust, when I say convince, I don’t mean I just asked.  My friends literally congratulated me when I divulged that he finally agreed.  To be honest, this was one time when I was nervous that he wouldn’t budge…  Sooo YAY!  I am very excited for what this means for The Boy and ultimately our family.  At this point I am still in planning mode – I lean more toward ‘un-schooling’ though am not completely convinced that’s best for us and I am trying to keep my excitement to a minimum and keep my mind open to possibilities.  I could use any input I can get!  This year ( “first grade” ) is a “trial” and The Man has made it clear he wants verifiable proof that things are actually getting done and evidence of behavioral/academic improvement for The Boy… 🙂

Lastly,

-THIS major life change is one brought on by The Man for once –

My mother-in-law will be moving into our home when she returns from a trip abroad.

It’s amazing how small our three bedroom home seems now trying to figure out where everyone’s  life will fit.  We have been anticipating this change but had thought we had some time before it happened…. either way there will certainly be ups ( live in sitter = first date night in three months, at least) and downs (any tips for privacy, anyone?), but it’s happening and we ought to make the best of it.

— maintaining a High-RAW diet (about 85 – 90 %)  but more on that soon 🙂 —

Cheers to CHANGE!

Peel things before freezing…

I will soon get into the habit of sharing what exactly we are eating everyday….

But tonight I had to share my creation!

SOO.. I threw some bananas into the freezer last night as I had read something about using them as a base for ice cream… figured I should leave them until tonight when I’d have the energy to focus on making something…I reached in the freezer and picked them up and in an instant I realized my mistake… I hadn’t thought about the fact that I would have to peel them frozen solid. Fudge… So I peeled them, alternating hands in my mouth so I didn’t lose sensation in my tips : /

It was so worth it though…

Toss in blender and BAM !

I decided to go all out and add about three ripe strawberries to the mix and saved some for a topping…

It was surprisingly ice cream like…I thought it’d either be mushy or like banana shaved ice… So wrong! Now I see what the fuss was about!

Topped it with a few more strawberries and some raw Chocolate I had leftover…

I thought about drizzling some Honey but decided I’d like to try it in the buff first…

My mind is reeling with possibilities now and I’ll have to try it again this weekend…

freezing the berries first and adding a whole lot more for a berry ice cream …

I blended three bananas – not sure why- but 1.5 is probably all one person needs for a nice sized dessert portion…

I definitely ate all of my ice cream tonight though! Its bananas so who cares! Awesome that you can indulge shamelessly…

This is the one aspect that, no matter how my diet changes, I hope to keep up with. I have a fiendish SWEET TOOTH (extreme emphasis not exaggerated) and I have been feeling so satisfied in that regard. I hope to keep my desserts mostly RAW even if I start slacking otherwise( cut me a break – I’ve got two kids and a husband who is out of the house for 70+ hours a week and you know, other things, like, LIFE ). The savory cravings belong to my sister and I’ll have to check and see if we’re meeting needs in that area… but I’ve got this covered! AND its yet another delectable recipe for which you don’t need nuts to make it something other than fruity slop!

I’m having an AWESOME moment right now basking in this new found enjoyment of completely-good-for-you desserts!

I sure hope I wasn’t the first person to make the banana mistake … I feel awful silly about that

I certainly learned something though and I’ll be sure to think about what I’m trying to accomplish in the end (peeled banana ice cream) and not just the immediate goal (freezing the banana!)…

To be… oorrrr not to be in secret….

I’ve touched on the fact that I have a hard time dealing with the wave of emotions that overcome me when I envision becoming 100% RAW… for life…  I do almost certainly believe that it could be the most beneficial diet for health.  Restate that… Physical Health.

But what is physical health without mental well-being?  Can there even be physical health without mental well being?  Depression or anxiety can cause physical symptoms, right?  If I indulge in a cooked ingredient (or meal?), am I sabotaging my diet or could I possibly be promoting it?  I certainly applaud people who commit themselves seemingly on a whim to a RAW lifestyle 100%.  I wonder who those people were before RAW?  Is it possible for someone who loves so many different cuisines to be without them forever?  Or are these extremists from the start; people who’ve doused eggs/meat/birthday cake in ketchup all their lives? 

I’m new at this.  Perhaps still honey-mooning. But it isn’t all that bad.  That said, my sister and I are allowing wine (technically RAW?), coffee (we know… not RAW… but with raw honey and raw homemade almond milk 🙂 ) and we’ve decided not to stress about minuscule amounts of ingredients like Maple syrup / dried spices / etc…sooo… 99% RAW?  Its just awkward to say that though.  I’ve been in a handful of dining situations now with people who haven’t the slightest that I’m going RAW and I’ve often wondered how I’d describe exactly what it is we’re doing….

“I’ve gone RAW! …. dietary explanation as I sip my coffee….”

“But you know…”

-_- “I have children. Active children” 

“so you allow A, B, and C?” 

“well, yes….”

“You’re planning on doing this forever?”

“well, no….”

“So, really you’re on a diet.”

“No!”

Personally I am going to aim for a high raw diet for well into the future.  I am not going to attempt to become vegan either – sorry to all my vegans (!)- … Although, from what I’ve read it could be a slippery slope… Once you remove things from your regular diet, your body is bound to react when its reintroduced.  That scares me… 

Back to my fruit, raw brownies, and just-made sangria… Cheers!

Useless Data…?

Before starting my 30 day Rawchallenge… can’t call it a diet- people assume I’m trying to lose weight… I had made family aware so I wouldnt be unnecessarily tempted. I had read so many horror stories of Detoxing with aches and pains and an unwillingness to go on.. I prepped like crazy reading every blog I could, joining Facebook Groups, Google-ing survival guides for Raw detox. I felt equipped and ready for the challenge. I could tell my husband, who has been in the restaurant business for fifteen or so years, started tuning out all the useless (for him!) factoids I spewed upon his arrival from work every night…. he’s a live to eat kind of guy 😉

My sister, who had just arrived back in town after graduating college (!) Phi Beta Kappa (!!!), was most interested in my Rawchallenge starting in a few days. She has had ongoing issues with digestion, etc and seemed to be interested in joining me. I attempted to bestow upon her all of the knowledge I had acquired. I was nervous for her. I had no idea what her diet had been like recently and I cautioned her that the first week or so may be awful… But we could do it!

Tminus2days I became anxious. What am I going to do if I have a craving for Dim Sum/Pho/Crepes/any cuisine I haven’t even tried?! What will I do at night without cupcakes/cookies/candy/SUGAR?! I must keep reminding myself its only 30 days…there is an end in sight… just make it through! I honestly had more anxiety about going Raw/losing my options than I did about giving birth to my 9+ pound son unmedicated. I was as calm as a cold tea kettle whilst having the urge to push him out on the beltway… but losing my opportunity to just walk around and pop into the closest Ethiopian joint for dinner was honestly reason to question this whole thing. Knowing that my husband would be coming home talking about A-B-C ingredient atop X-Y-Z dish at work was worrisome. I had to take deep breaths knowing that my eldest son would be home for summer break and I’d be making three+ meals a day for him. June is also our anniversary month, Fathers day and of course the beginning of summer trips to the beach(butter-y SEAFOOD!)/water park (Ice Cream!)/ Carnival (FUNNEL CAKE…wah!) Anxiety all around.

Now, nine days in, my sister and I are trying our best not to jinx ourselves, but we’ve been looking at each other with this-is-it-? kind of faces. I’ll speak for myself – I don’t like describing my diet as SAD (standard American Diet); that evokes lots of processed junk, McDonalds, and Soda… I’ve been eating (and forced upon my loving family) a generally whole foods-plant based diet which includes occasional meats and lots of fish and eggs. I favor water or juice over soda, though I sip on my husbands coke now and then, because of the way pop makes me feel. Generally, I don’t like chicken at all and meat very little. I have always aspired to eat fewer animal products, only because I’m convinced its best physically. Many a blog post warned with stories of then cooked vegans becoming raw foodists and the awful detoxes they went through and it conjured thoughts of me lying all sickly in bed the first weeks…Perhaps, kicking a ball outside while half waving to the neighbors in a zombie-like trance induced by migraines. Or worse yet, hauling around my 25-pound-five-month-old with sore aching muscles.

But … we both had headaches on the first day. And yes, gas since day one. Bloating as well <— most annoying since I walk around looking pregnant when I’ve just recently dropped all 50 pounds of baby weight gained…. I’ve read that should end…some time…

Really, overall we haven’t been feeling awful. We don’t feel intense cravings for anything. We haven’t felt like we’re missing out. I for one have tackled a 50+ person cookout, multiple occasions dining out, and a trip to my Mother-in-laws’.

We are both confident this could last! We do however envision taking a day (its been suggested once every thirty days) off for indulgence in the ethnic variety of our locale. No amazing side effects to report yet but we are most anticipating an increase in energy and muscle tone.

Three Cheers for Fruit!