Punching Holes in the Glass Ceiling

Today someone voiced that there were eighteen million cracks in the glass ceiling at this very moment. In a way this is correct, because if a female is elected President of the United States, it will certainly be history in the making.

girls

However, as I continue to look through my various social media feeds I’m not seeing all those cracks. I see a little space carved out perhaps, allowing women to climb up further in certain areas. Two of my role models have only in the last few weeks stepped out on their own and bravely voiced their beliefs, regardless of the criticism it was sure to arouse. But because of that I saw women verbally abusing each other with an “I’ll pray for your soul” attached at the end for good measure.

I’m seeing women objectify their own bodies and calling it feminism, perpetuating the idea that we are images that need to be on display at all times. What I don’t see is a guy showcasing his body and calling it male power, grabbing himself in the name of freedom, or loudly singing about sexual positions to an audience of high schoolers and calling it his male right. They do all that stuff, sure. But they aren’t trying to attach it to a holy cause.

I see judgment from all sides, throwing boulders at one another and calling it Christianity.

Hey ladies, let’s scrap like cats because someone doesn’t want to breastfeed at all, or decides to nurse well into the toddler years. Let’s “slay” as we judge each other based on our political preferences. We can rally at the cause of feminism by purchasing a push-up bra so that we can feel good about ourselves while we’re at it. But who even decided that high breasts were something to feel empowered about?

I think our glass ceiling is being held in place by each other’s hands, and until we can get past these things nothing will be shattered. We will only see individuals cutting their own holes and climbing through – wrinkles and all – while the rest of us scramble for youth and other people’s affirmation, not even noticing when someone escapes.

And as long as Sexy Witch is the number one costume choice of adult females, I think most of us will continue burning each other at the stake, while a very few make their own ladders and climb up and out.

Wake up, You Sleepy Head

sleepI love this picture of Rowan as a tiny baby. He looks so peaceful, asleep in my mom’s living room. Amazing that he could do that with everyone sitting around him, staring at him being adorable just by breathing.

God is always asking me to get out of bed before I feel ready. This has been going on for years, and sometimes I’m very diligent about it, whereas at others I hit snooze or forget to set an alarm in the first place.

But over the last week or so I’ve been getting even more of those messages from Him. At church this week the pastor made a passing comment about rising early, and then later that day I read it somewhere again, not even in connection with God, but with the same message of getting my butt out of the bed before the last possible minute.

Now, I’m an early riser anyway. It’s not as if I’m throwing on a sweatshirt and grabbing the kids a granola bar for the road as we leave for school each morning. I always get up, get ready, put on makeup, make them a good breakfast. Each and every school day. On days off my oldest and I may snuggle a bit, but the little guy generally demands milk, so I’m not sleeping in.

But what does all that sound like? It sounds like me. I get up early so that I can look good. Preparing the kids’ breakfast doesn’t take that long, really. The majority of my morning routine is spent in front of the mirror if I’m really being honest.

So Monday I tried something new. Nothing groundbreaking, but a test-run of sorts. I got up when my husband’s alarm went off at 6am, leaving me about 45 minutes of quiet time before my oldest came running into the room. I didn’t put on makeup or change out of pajamas. In fact, I only brushed my teeth and then got back in bed with my bible and devotional.

But listen, Monday was a GOOD day. I didn’t have any meltdowns or moments of huge stress. I was even able to take the kids to Target, come home and make lunches, and put them down for naps without too much fuss on their part or mine.

Did God give me some kind of epiphany for taking the time to rise and meet him, as I was? Not in any lighting bolt, dramatic fashion. But I think maybe he did in a “gentle whisper” kind of way. This is what your days can be like if you give them to me. This is how you could mother if you allow me to nurture you first.

But guess what? Each day has been more and more of a struggle to grab that time. Monday was easy – I didn’t have to take the kids anywhere. I didn’t have to put on my mask so that humanity wouldn’t freak out over a bare face. But the world tells me I need to cover these dark circles and blonde lashes, so I do it.

Today I read 1 chapter of the bible while nursing my son. Griffin back-talked me after breakfast for one of the very first times, and I didn’t respond as I know I should have.

Would the outcome have looked different if I had gotten up with enough time to start my day with God? I’m not sure. But maybe I need to do more than a 1 day experiment to find out.

 

Primal Chicken, Broccoli, and Artichoke Casserole

This weekend Nashville was hit hard by Winter Storm Jonas. Rain on Thursday night quickly turned to early morning sleet, followed by heavy snow that fell throughout the day and into the evening hours. I can honestly say I’ve never seen snow like that in the South. It was wonderful!

Snow2

SnowAlthough the roads were slick and our cul-de-sac dangerous to drive on, my parents and brother braved the elements and came to spend Saturday with us. We had cozy clothes, a roaring fire, plenty of mimosas, and a comforting casserole for dinner.

It was a Primal feast! Since my husband and I are right in the middle of our 21 Day Primal Blueprint Challenge, we knew we couldn’t overindulge too much, so I pulled out what I had in my fridge and freezer, got my mom to bring over a few supplemental items, and we threw everything together into a wonderful casserole.

Broccoli CasserolePrimal Chicken, Broccoli, and Artichoke Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1-1.5 lbs Organic Free Range Chicken Tenders
  • 1/2 tsp Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Meal
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 bag frozen Broccoli
  • 1/2 bag Trader Joe’s (or similar) frozen Artichoke Hearts
  • 1 head fresh Broccoli (or 1 pack precut fresh broccoli)
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheese (I shredded some Greyere and Kerrygold Dubliner)
  • 1 cup Primal Kitchen Mayo
  • 2 Tbsp. Sour Cream
  • Avocado Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. In a ziplock bag, place chicken tenders and toss them with some avocado oil, then add the basil and parsley, along with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to your taste. Coat everything then arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then cut or pull apart into bite size pieces and set aside.

Using the same method as above, put bite size pieces of the fresh broccoli in a bag with avocado oil, salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Arrange frozen broccoli on a separate parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with avocado oil topped with salt and pepper. Both of these will go into the oven for 30 minutes, or until edges of broccoli begin to char.

While all this is baking, combine mayo, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and cheese in a large bowl. Allow artichoke hearts to thaw enough to cut each in half, then add into this mixture, along with the almond meal and coconut flour.

When broccoli and chicken have cooled enough so as not to completely melt the cheese, combine everything and put in an 8×12 baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes and have two or three helpings!

 

Revisiting Minimalism as a Mother of Two

The more I acquire, the more I seem to want to simplify. Now that I’ve acquired another child and we’re a family of four, this has hit me with greater force than ever.

BrothersThe need to declutter goes hand in hand with my need to destress as much as possible. Is that even possible in this season of life? I’m not sure – at least about the stress level. But what I can control are my family’s possessions, and that doesn’t just mean the tangible “things” all over the house.

Our possessions have also shown up in the form of anxieties, frustrations, over-abundance of food and convenience products, and unnecessary cultural expectations (decorating the house and keeping it immaculate for any unexpected guests that may arrive).

This past weekend was Griffin’s third birthday, but it was his first that I didn’t allow the party to completely take over my life. Yes, it was still a great party with tons of food and everyone having a great time. But I didn’t go all out like I have in the past. This could be partly due to the lack of brain cells needed to do that – having a two-month-old hasn’t allowed me to focus entirely on any one thing. But the decor was much more scaled down than in the previous two years, and I didn’t worry as much about topping myself from previous years.

I compare myself to myself more than anyone else, always attempting to one-up the previous me and what her accomplishments were.

Griffin's BirthdayI’ve found it interesting that on the days when this need to simplify really strikes me the most, I will have a mental relapse and find myself shopping online for something frivolous, or going to the grocery store and loading the cart with pre-cut fruit and vegetables. I can certainly cut a sweet potato myself and save us money in the process, but the allure of having the produce guy at Whole Foods do it for me is too strong sometimes.

I also want to cultivate a minimalist wardrobe for myself – an overhaul of my current closet, to be replaced with quality pieces that are interchangeable and can be worn over and over. But that would require alot of time and money to get started, and I fall into that trap, telling myself I’m simplifying when what I’m really doing is online shopping.

These things are all an ongoing process, just like everything else where simplification is concerned.

It’s all about this idea of experiences over “things.” Having our family spend our time and money on what is lasting – on memories we will share and always have, versus things that are merely meant to be looked at or compared with someone else’s. Franklin, Tennessee is one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, and we constantly have to watch ourselves from falling into the comparison trap. I want my sons to grow up knowing other cultures, other ways of living.

I never want them to belong to this entitlement society, even if they do live in it.

BeachSo I’m trying something new, and with a new year approaching I think it’s coming at the perfect time. We will not be spending a lot of money on things to make our new home more magazine-worthy; rather, we will be spending our money on experiences, starting with a two-month cultural immersion experience in Dublin, Ireland this summer.

More details on that to come!

 

 

Kicking off Summer with a Vacation + 6 Months

It’s becoming a habit for me to begin my blogs by saying something along the lines of, “It’s been too long since I’ve posted anything!” Or maybe it’s just being a mom and trying to not only find time, but also muster up the creativity for another post. That certainly seems to be the trend when I look at other blogs, anyway.

After Jeremy got out of school for the summer, we packed way too many bags and headed down to Florida for some time away. Did I mention that we just sold our house? Well that happened the day before we left for vacation. Describing our life right now as a whirlwind would be a bit of an understatement!

PoolNeedless to say, we were ready for some time away, and got it in the form of Captiva Island with both sets of parents. After 6 days there, we took the rental car and drove to Disney World for a couple of days before returning “home” to Jeremy’s parent’s house, where we will be staying while our new home undergoes a few facelifts over the next couple weeks.

Tea CupsMy last doc visit was almost 3 weeks ago and I failed to give an update. Next week I go in for the dreaded glucose test and to see if I ate a one too many Mickey bars while in the park. I can’t believe this baby is showing himself so much more than at this point in my last pregnancy!

24 WeeksPregnancy Stats:

How Far Along – 24 Weeks in this Photo

Size of Baby – An ear of Corn

Total Weight Gain – As of the doc visit a week before I left for the beach, I had gained 1 pound. Something tells me next week I’ll be told something much different, however!

What I miss – Being able to tolerate the Florida heat. We’ll be heading down again for the 4th and I can’t imagine I’ll be in the sun much at all – at least we have a beach front home so I can take in the view from the air conditioned living room!

Cravings – Being at Disney, I had to have some Erin McKenna’s gluten/soy/nut/refined sugar free Donuts (they’re amazing, I promise), as well as a Dole Whip, and of course those amazing gluten free Mickey Waffles! But I still haven’t been craving too much sugar. Mainly, if I’ve wanted anything it’s been saltier foods.

Symptoms – My energy level has been pretty low, and some issues with incontinence over the last month had me taking Milk of Magnesia per the doctor’s suggestion.

Maternity Clothes – I got a couple of T-shirts from Target before I left for the beach. Right now maxi skirts and tank tops are my best friends, however.

Worst Part of Pregnancy this Week – Major cramps when trying to work out yesterday. I had to wait through the pain and Griffin was asking if I was OK. I hadn’t even been doing anything strenuous!

Best Part of Pregnancy this Week – Griffin putting a hand and ear on my tummy and whispering to the baby – he already loves his little brother!

Gnomes

New Year, Trying to Get Back to the Old Me

Our doorbell rang on the day we got home from our Christmas/New Year’s vacation. A cute little girl stood on the steps with a sheet of paper clutched in her hands and a hopeful smile plastered to her face. I’ll give you three guesses who she was and what she was up to.

Girl Scout Cookies.

Luckily I had not made any food related resolutions this year, and even if I had our sweet little troops in Nashville, Tennessee aren’t selling the gluten free cookies I’ve heard about in super cool states like California. Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but admire the guts it must take these little girls to go house to house like that. Only one week into the new year and they’re knocking on doors like wolves in sheeps’ clothing, for all the world seeming like the little devil on  your shoulder as you weigh your resolution against a green box of Thin Mints.

Again, I’m glad I had no reason to say yes to that cute face. My husband didn’t get away quite so easily.

But back to resolutions. Mine was a little different this year. Instead of trying to lose weight, I’m attempting to lose the false identity that’s crept up so stealthily. I care too much about what others say and how strangers perceive me. It’s time to stop caring.

Me and Marty

This is my year to get back to my childhood self. The girl who wore bell bottoms when everyone else was sporting high-waisted mom jeans. Who had hair I could sit on when my friends were getting chin-length bobs. Who started a journalism club and created her own magazine.

That much cliched phrase “new year, new you” is just so tired. It isn’t new; in fact, it’s exhausting. Attempting to reinvent yourself each and every year is probably the main reason that so many New Year’s resolutions fall quickly by the wayside.

I’m done with makeovers and potions that promise to transform; instead I’m going to seek out my past and hope that I can erase a few decade’s worth of everyone else’s opinion.

“I Want My Boots On!”

Now that Griffin has a vocabulary that rivals my own, I get to hear phrases like the one above all the time. This particular statement came at 7am a few days ago, as he stood in his crib pointing to the new shoes he had picked out for Fall the previous day.

photo“Mommy! I want my boots on!” Over and over.

Jeremy and I laughed from our bed, turning up the volume on the monitor and listening to our little linguist – and apparent clothes horse.

Yesterday morning he had another demand: “Read Things That Go on the potty!” Anything that gets him onto his little toilet is a win for me, so I took the steps two at a time in my rush to get into his room before he changed his mind.

At this very moment I’m listening to him wake from a long nap. “Kind of like Goofy,” he says as he opens his mouth as wide as it will go. “Open my mouth.”

He can pretty much recite books verbatim based on the page I turn it to, and has just begun to sing the lyrics to songs on his own. Current favorites are “Dyer Maker” by Led Zeppelin, “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah,” and The Beatles’ “Blackbird.”

Next step, reading!

Boots: Livie & Luca