Friday, May 31, 2013

I'm a Closet Hippie

Ok, I have another confession to make. Not the one about stashing Swiss Cake Rolls in the basement or eating all of the Drumsticks. No, this one is different. Maybe even worse.

Secretly, I'm a hippie.

I don't think you'd know this from passing me on the street. I don't wear hemp. My hair is not in dreadlocks. I wear makeup. And khakis. But on the inside, I hide strong hippie tendencies.

I came to this conclusion today as I was hanging out laundry to dry on my new dry rack. The one BestestHusband got me after I talked endlessly about wanting to hang laundry outside. Our condo rules disallow "clotheslines". But they don't disallow umbrella-style clothes racks that fit securely into our patio table umbrella base and can dry multiple loads of laundry simultaneously. And then be hidden away in the basement again. I was deriving great joy from hanging out this laundry. Sure it was a tedious task. You can fit the girls' laundry for a whole week in one load of the washer. But it takes forever to hang it all up on the rack. Yet I was so happy...

I think the hippie tendencies come from a combination of factors:

  1. I'm a cheapskate (at times)
  2. I like to help the environment (if it's not too inconvenient or expensive)
  3. I like finding less-toxic ways to manage my household (again, if not too expensive or inconvenient)
  4. I have a lifetime of love and admiration for our pioneer foremothers (thanks to owning the entire collection of Little House on the Prairie books)

So as a result, I love the idea of making my own yogurt, and occasionally bread. (I think I've made bread once since I've been pregnant, but have been doing ok with the yogurt). 
I love air-drying clothes. 
I love hand-me-downs and buying things used from local families. 
I love making cleaning products out of vinegar and scented oils. 
I love using a small amount of hemp soap to create a full dispenser of foamy hand soap. 
I love smearing myself with my own home-blended mix of coconut oil and scents instead of using store-bought lotion.
I love making my own granola. 
I love that we're eating spinach we grew in our own garden. 
We have a lot of glass canning jars that I store stuff in. 
I just bought two new types of baby-wearing devices for our upcoming arrival.

I must be a closet hippie.

I'm coming to terms with this. 

Last night I used up our over-ripe cherries to make yogurt smoothies that were put in re-useable squeezie pouches and made into popsicles. I have plans to walk to the season opening of the local farmer's market in the morning with the girls. These things make me happy. And they're healthy, good things to do. And I have a LONG way to go before achieving true hippiedom. I mean, I have no plans to stop shaving my armpits any time soon. And we're buying a minivan (I know, GASP!), not a family-style tricycle that allows me to bike my kids around town. And commune life definitely doesn't jive well with our particular natures. (Sharing our property with one other condo is hard enough for us.) So never fear, I won't be changing my name to Moonbeam any time soon.

But making my own squeezie pouch snacks for the girls? Oh yeah, I'm all over that!

Monster Pops are the best. Freeze them in their bases, then turn them over to eat the popsicle out of its handled base. You can even set them down in their bases to take breaks without spilling. And they make substantial popsicles. Every closet hippie needs these.

I just ordered these YummiPouches. You can get decorative stickers to go on them. The girls are excited about that part. These contain yogurt smoothies and went into the freezer right after this picture. Homemade yogurt + real fruit + re-useable container = hippie's dream.

The ziplock closure is at the top, and the spout on the side. I saw some versions from other companies that had the spout on the top, but a ziplocked bottom. That made me a bit nervous. The girls LOVED these today at the playground. A semi-frozen smoothie was a perfect summer snack.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Sorority of Moms Comes Through Again

So, I'm pregnant. This isn't news. And I'm hungry. I guess this isn't surprising, either. But I'm hungry for fatty processed junk food that I don't typically feed my family or myself when I'm not pregnant. This is less than ideal. 

I used to have a box of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls hidden in the basement. Until I ate them all. I used to have a box of chocolate Pop Tarts hidden in the center console of the CR-V. Until I ate them all. I used to have a box of Drumstick ice cream cones in the freezer that the girls were really looking forward to eating. Until I ate them all. Seriously, out of a variety pack of 8 cones, the girls each got one, BestestHusband had one, and I ate the other 5. Not all at once, of course, but over about 5 days. They just satisfied a craving that nothing else could.

So it was with shame that I was standing in the ice cream aisle of the grocery store today, trying to find the same box of Drumsticks. I had just stocked up on Turkey Hill ice cream, which is on sale right now (hoorayyyy!!!). Blue Bell will always be my favorite, of course, but you can't get it in Boston. I'll just have to eat my fill the next time I'm in Texas. So a sale on Turkey Hill makes me stock up. Oh, and also in my cart was a giant bag of peanut M&Ms. Yeah, that cart was a winner. It was a glaring testament to my junk food excesses. 

But the Sorority of Moms came to my rescue. As I was searching for the right box of Drumsticks, a woman interrupted my pitiful search. "I just have to tell you, you're absolutely adorable." 

I know she's a mom. I didn't even have to ask. Because she gets it. And she absolutely made my day. I can buy all the ice cream I want. Because I'm pregnant and some stranger in the grocery store thinks I'm rockin' the belly. 

This is the Sorority of Moms at its best. When I'm more in control of my own body, I make my own yogurt, and my own granola, and try to serve food that doesn't come from a factory. But I don't feel in control of my body right now. I don't feel in control of much of anything these days. (Oh bladder, where art thou?) And sometimes I do feel a bit ashamed of my eating habits. And I feel tired and grumpy. And I feel stretched to my limit. And other moms know this. And sympathize. And offer unprompted words of encouragement. 

So sisters, keep the movement going forward. Offer compliments to strangers. Smile at the woman with the tantrumming toddler. Let's go out of our way to support each other. Because I can tell you that today, it made a huge difference.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Yes, It's Been a Long Time

So it's been almost a month since I last posted here. Yeah, that's a long time, even for me. 
But it's been a busy month. I worked a lot of overtime. BestestHusband traveled. My parents visited for a week. We've been shopping for a larger family car. And bunk beds for big sisters. And I'm almost 7 months pregnant, and constantly either peeing or wanting to take a nap. Or occasionally napping. 

Ok, whine whine whine. Yes, I'm full of excuses. I'd prefer to call them "explanations."

But we're fine. All healthy and happy. Well, mostly happy. Except when someone's using the red and pink pens and someone else really wants them and then whining and crying ensues. Or when someone's using the red tricycle and someone else really wants it and then whining and crying ensues. (Note to self. It's time to buy a bicycle for a certain someone. Ok, maybe 2.)

The tragedy a month ago has caused a great deal of grief. I think many of us here in Boston are still grieving the attack on our city. But other griefs have come along to burden our hearts. Like a monster tornado that ripped a 17 mile gash through a city's suburbs, leveling a school and killing the children hiding inside it.

The world is full of grief. But also full of joy. Death happens. Then life happens. On the same day, we can hear about both funerals and births. We look at flags at half mast to honor those that died protecting our country, then spend an evening on the patio with family, reveling in the joys of our freedom. BestestHusband told the girls the other day that church would be the place of some of their greatest joys and greatest sorrows. Ours has been the site of our wedding and the baptisms of our 2 children, yet the funerals of friends and friends' children. But mostly a routine of nondescript weeks in-between. You need both grief and joy to fully appreciate the hum-drum-ness of daily life. The happy medium is actually pretty nice.

So I'll try to focus a bit more on little joys this week, the ones that add a bit of spice to the blessed hum-drum-ness. I certainly have spent enough time discussing the grief. 

Have a great week!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

For Better AND For Worse

The world is very small, despite its size and number of inhabitants. There are days that remind me of that on occasion, and today is one of them.

Once upon a time, I was a lowly research assistant, tagging along for testing of research participants. One participant made a huge impression on me. He was a brilliant young man. He worked on cutting edge technology. He had a lovely wife and a bright future. And then he had a significant stroke. It changed his personality. It made him unable to work. It made him unable to be the husband he had once been. His wife wanted a family. She wanted children. And she knew that she couldn't do that and take care of him.

So she divorced him. She remarried and had the children she wanted. He was left alone. When we visited his apartment, it was cluttered and chaotic, a physical manifestation of the chaos and disorganization that reigned in his mind.

His story haunted me. I've thought about it many times since then. I certainly thought about it before I got married. I vowed to stay with BestestHusband for better or for worse. Actually, for better AND for worse. I'd seen enough in healthcare to know that life and health will take turns for the worse. And I had to face the fact that I was signing on for it all. Honestly, it makes me grateful that married life so far has been mostly "for better".

This week I met the man again. He landed himself in the hospital, and then in rehab. His identity dawned on me gradually. His disorganized and unreasonable mind was impacting his ability to recover from his injuries. I was supposed to evaluate and help. I'm still not sure how we'll help. This might actually be the end of him living on his own. This might be the beginning of an institutionalized life.

I work with confused and irrational patients every time I go to work, wherever I work. Usually, they have family members who are with them. So when the patient is suspicious of his medications, the wife reassures him, and he takes them. When he doesn't want to get out of bed and exercise, the wife reasons with him and he grudgingly gets up and walks. When patients are difficult to help, we turn to family members. But he doesn't have a family. Because his wife abandoned him. Because she only wanted "for better". She wasn't really serious about that "for worse" part.

He's been on my mind today. What were the chances I'd run into this guy again? But I did. And his situation is worse than the last time I saw him. And it's burning a hole in my heart.