Children, Parenthood, Primal

The Primal Blueprint 21 Day Challenge

Although I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, there really isn’t a better time to kick off some good habits.

This holiday season was very overindulgent for me, maybe for the simple fact that I was sleep deprived and stressed with the new additions and responsibilities of a bigger family. I ate too many sweets, too many foods that slow me down and make me grumpy, and most likely had a few too many glasses of wine some nights, as well.

Last week I purged the house of all that holiday junk, and this Monday began the Primal Blueprint 21 Day Challenge. Jeremy is doing it with me and so far we’ve been pretty much spot on. I can already tell a difference in my energy level! I can also tell a big difference in the way my pants fit when I don’t eat sugar, corn, or gluten free cheat foods. I do so well on a primal diet, and need to just stick with it instead of slowly letting treats creep in (like popcorn at the movies and tortilla chips at a Mexican restaurant).

I’ve been told before that I’m too regimented – too disciplined sometimes. But I don’t see it that way at all. My body tells me very quickly when I eat something that isn’t optimal, and it’s much easier for me – and my family – if I just stick with what I know works.

I can also see a big difference when I let a lot of cheat foods come into Griffin’s diet, as well. When he eats primally, with lots of vegetables, fruit, quality meats, and raw, organic dairy, he doesn’t have as many chaotic times. He’s more level-headed and fly off the handle quite as much. Of course, this is a 3 year old we’re talking about, so all that’s all relative.

I know for a fact that our entire family benefits from living Primal, and that includes Rowan. Not just in regards to the quality of my breast milk, either. Because Primal isn’t just about food. It’s an entire lifestyle that includes getting the right amount of sleep, quality sunlight every day, moving our bodies and not being sedentary, and PLAYING.

Play is such a huge aspect of the Primal lifestyle that many people overlook. But our best moments as a family are the times that Jeremy is playing the guitar and Griffin and I are having a dance party around Rowan, who kicks his feet and looks in wonder at what he knows his body will eventually be able to do.

So today is day 3 of the 21 day challenge and we are flying high. It allows us to really connect as a family, get as healthy as our bodies can be, and simplify life to include what’s really important.

It’s all about simplifying right now, and this is just one more way we can do that.

Primal Challenge

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Children, Christianity, Lifestyle, Parenthood, Simplification, Travel, Uncategorized

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!

 

 

Baby, Books, Parenthood

Routines, Schedules, and a Myriad of Books

When I was pregnant, I happened upon an ingenious little book called Bringing Up Bébé. I read it cover to cover, bought a copy for Jeremy, and began insisting that we raise our child in France – heck, I wanted to move to Paris simply in order to give birth. Week-long recoveries involving hospital menus devoted entirely to cheese and wine? Count me in.

This Bébé is passed out and Momma is taking a break from her reading.
This Bébé is passed out and Momma is taking a break from her reading.

The author presents her case in a clear-cut way – the French just do things better and more efficiently than us Americans. What I really took from the book was this: we as a culture buy too many books and try to make everything into a set of rules to be followed. While American parents are busy reading through libraries of books devoted to babies, the French simply pause and listen to what their baby tell them.

I put the book down, content not to read another thing. I would be a French parent living in America. I didn’t need a book to tell me how to teach my child to sleep and behave. My baby would simply tell me what he needed and I would listen.

Fast forward 3 months.

Donald

Griffin is now 11.5 weeks, and I’ve read through BabyWise twice. I purchased a Montessori Curriculum book for infants. I just ordered Secrets of the Baby Whisperer this morning at 5am. I find myself constantly googling questions and reading through blog after blog in an attempt to find solutions to the dilemmas I have. But no one seems to be able to help, and I’ve finally realized why.

Books don’t take real life into account.

Sure, an author can tell you their own, personal account. They can give you examples of stories they’ve heard from other parents. But they don’t know your story. And so, even with yet another book arriving at my doorstep in just two days time, I’ve decided to throw most of what I’ve read out the window and just focus on my baby.

This actually does sound a bit like I’ve come full circle, doesn’t it? If I just listen to Griffin, he will give me cues as to what he needs, when he needs it. But I get too wrapped up in the routine, or the schedule, to truly listen to him.

Yesterday was a perfect example. He woke up and took a nap like a champ. He didn’t even wake one time during an almost 2 hour stint in his crib. But then things went a little haywire. As I’ve mentioned before, we have a pretty good schedule on most days that involves set 3 hour time frames. But yesterday he woke early from a nap and simply wanted to play for awhile before eating. Of course, after he finally ate he was tired and didn’t want to adhere to my playtime routine.

The routine, as I had established it, had been shot to pieces.

But the fault lay solely with me. Instead of cherishing those playtime moments, taking in all his smiles and capturing each little coo and wondering gaze, I frantically checked the clock every few minutes, worried about just how “off” our daily routine was going to be.

This caused the day to be stressful for me, and in turn stressful for baby and daddy later that evening.

Today began in much the same way, and quite honestly I was stressed about it. Hence me purchasing The Baby Whisperer. But since then I’ve had a chance to pray and really ask God to help me get a grip on my control freak tendencies. There’s just no way I can listen to what my baby is telling me if I constantly plug my ears and ignore his cues.

It's hard to stray frustrated at this much cuteness
It’s hard to stray frustrated at this much cuteness

I think I’ll reread Bringing up Bébé. I need to stop attempting to train my baby, and instead allow him to teach me his language.