Sunday, July 31, 2011

Balancing Act

I feel with this delicate balancing act of being a good mom, self employed, and a wife- that the scale can tip easily. I carved a hard life, getting pregnant at 17. I fought to be self employed to make my own schedule. I really have issues with someone telling me I have to clock in at precisely at 8:00 am (what if someone wasn't a responsible puker that morning and I'm running "late"), when to leave, when to eat, and what I am allowed (not, in my case) to say.  I spend summers playing with my kids, volunteer at school, and take most their days off school with them. This also means late nights of working, sometimes panicked bill paying time, but it is worth it to me. Life at 33 with a 15, 12  and 9 year old blended family can be crazy. And to add to the hysteria-toss in one vegan, one vegetarian and one meat eater (but not pork). I thank God every day my husband is the most patient and loving father/husband I know. This is seriously the like being told you are being forced to learn to tight wire walk, with no teacher or instruction manual, 60' above ground with no safety net. Throw in an ex-wife who really doesn't like me. Now I feel like just for shiz and gigs, somewhere along the way someone informed me they were changing the already skimpy 1/2" wide tight rope wire to barbed wire... just to "shake things up a bit".

When my two youngest let me know their other mom was going vegan and demanding they follow suit even at our house, I was left speechless. I was forced to take on the struggle of trying to learn to cook without use of milk, butter, sour cream, yogurt, eggs, honey, chicken, fish, meat, cheese, etc. Why not just cut off my hands to really make my cooking entertaining, while you are at it? (I'm a fighter, I'd learn to use my feet.  I'm a remodeler, I'd build the chair to reach the stove or rip out the kitchen and rebuild to better suit my needs.) All while trying to support something I personally did not agree with, nor did my kids want to do. I thought, what is there left to eat?  Carrots, salad and rice?

Surprisingly, there is a lot to eat, it just takes some creativity and an open mind. I am stubborn, extremely independent, hard headed and never wrong. This was definitely going to be a challenge. However, I am proud to say after a long and hard struggle, I have embraced my inner vegan. Vegan Lunch Box cook book saved my life. Sneaky Moma's tomato sauce is awesome. We meat eaters in the house have unintentionally changed our lifestyle and eating habits from the research I was doing to ensure we were supporting the nutritional needs of my one vegan as best as possible.  

After a week of researching online we were shocked at what is really going into a fast food hamburger. (just cause it's "ground" beef folks, doesn't mean it was healthy or even alive before it was ground. Can I get a round of "ewwwww!") Did you know Gelatin is made of crushed up cow and pig bones? Me either!? It's in a lot of things, including Starburst! Did you know Carmine is boiled bugs and gives a great red hue to your yogurt? Check the container, it's really on there!

I recommend to anyone reading this post to watch the documentary "A Beautiful Truth". It is not disgusting nor a mistreatment of animals video. It's really enlightening, educating and is a documentary on a school project of a 15 year old. If you are daring, Youtube, "Meet your Meat". Stay far far away from PETA videos as you will never sleep the same again. 

We have made a simple switch to organic meats and cage free eggs. I can afford these more expensive alternatives because I now have a simple garden that was really easy to plant even on a very tight budget. Packets of seeds are only 99 cents, plus two bags of organic potting soil and it is much cheaper in the long run than constant trips and the every rising prices at the grocery store. I simply went to the local landscaper and asked for their left over black plastic pots (free and saved from the landfill) bought a $4 can of made for plastic spray paint for a better looking exterior, and viola! Insta food that grows insanely fast for a whopping $20.  Hard to tend? I think not. I rigged an irrigation tube (that isn't the prettiest, but does the job) and it is now hooked up to the auto drip system. Even if you do not have this luxury, watering is an every other day, every three day deal. Who knew? Empty a bag of soil into a pot, sprinkle some seeds, put one more inch of soil and water. That is really it, people! Food on your patio! Holler!!!

P.S-the dorky canvas shopping bags are really cheap and much easier to carry than plastic bags. I only need to own four canvas bags for my family of five. This is a $5 one time expense. Go get you some!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

You need to be a responsible puker.

As I was skidding across the tile floor this morning, thanks to the cursed cat's upset stomach and her lovely pile of warm regurgitated wet cat food, my memory was immediately jogged. Far back, to the day I had to teach my youngest daughter (step-daughter in all actuality, but you will never hear that label pass my lips) how to puke responsibly.

It was a typical Monday morning and we were heading to my tae-kwon-do class. She wasn't feeling 100%, and that was my bad for taking her out for an hour. In my defense, I was close to testing for a new belt and desperately needed the practice. I made her a cozy spot on the foam mats with blankets and a slew of all that is Polly Pocket and gave her a RED tasty gatorade to drink.

After class, my mom carpooled us back to my vehicle. While I was switching the car seat into my truck, Lily waited patiently inside my mom's car.  In the two minutes or less it took me to strap the contraption in correctly, Lily apparently decided she was in the Christmas spirit. She turned a neat shade of green and projectile vomited red all over the back of my mother's car. I stared dumbfounded. The car door was open. A simple 30 degree turn of her head to the left would have sent said mass of liquid and cheerios onto the ground. And not all over my mother's car and herself. Words couldn't express my horror.

After a slew of apologies, a mass of paper towels, and a promise for a steam clean- I take my naked child, bag of smelly clothes, and head home. Only to walk in the door and have a whole new puddle all over her and the floor...again.  Only. Feet. From. The. Bathroom.

I'm amazed at my calm, cool, and collected new self.  Something about unconditional love for a child will do that to a woman. I'd beat a normal person down for such irresponsible puking.

"Lily, honey." I say. "Do you know the feeling you get when you are going to get sick?"
Sheepishly, "Ya."
"Why don't you tell me when you get that funny feeling, run to the nearest sink, exterior floor, or toilet so that we don't have to do this again?"
"Um, I don't know where to puke."
"Well peanut, you have to be a responsible puker and go to any sink or toilet."
"Oh. Okay."

Later that evening, I am honored to say, my kid comes out of the bathroom and proudly announces to my confused husband, "I was just a responsible puker, dad!" I wish I could explain the look I was on the receiving end of at this particular moment.
"Responsible puker?"
"Nevermind," I say, and wink at my three year old.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ode to my first little black chin hair, and thus (sigh) sign of aging.

As a child, I remember always wondering why my three Great Aunts couldn't take the simple millisecond to pluck the four to six, random, eyebrow length, jet black hairs from the forest of peach fuzz on their sagging chins. It wasn't like they blended in- shy and unnoticed. But rather stood out like a skyscraper comfortably nestled in the midst of a single-story residential neighborhood. And now, my own chin has been invaded. And to make matters worse?! It wasn't even me who noticed it first-but my teenage daughter. Why am I so shocked? I am the ripe age of thirty three... and a half.

We were in the mall parking lot (really, where else would I be with a 15 year old?) and she leans over to lovingly assist her Ma by brushing aside a stray "dog" hair that she wrongly assumed traveled on my face from my home, 30 minutes in the truck to the mall, and 4 hours of shopping and movie going. But alas, to her surprise, it was attached.

Oh, the horror. Did my aunts never notice the invasion? Is this to be my doom? I got my face closer to the rear view mirror than I thought humanly possible and stared in disbelief. I immediately scrunched my face and jutted out my chin. I vaguely remember someone sobbing and repeatedly murmuring "really?". Looking back, I hope it wasn't me.

So you, dear reader, ask what is the big deal? Ha-ha! I now know you ask that because chin hairs, so long you could braid them (maybe a french twist?), don't run in your family.  This is larger than a first grey hair, crows feet, or when you realize when you wiggle your arm, the soft skin where your tricep used to be continues movement several seconds after you still your arm.

As this is my first official post, and I didn't really know where to start-moving across country at 4, getting pregnant at 17, starting my own company at 24, finally marrying the man I have been deeply in love with with since I was 12? Yes, they are all entertaining stories, but I didn't feel it just didn't sum it up like the new resident of my chiny chin chin. (p.s. the photo is knowingly shared by my fabulous sister and professional photographer

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Hi everyone. This is Beth's sister at the keyboard. She should never give me password permissions :) I hope you come back often for hilarious stories of her wonderful family.