Blissfully Informed Hippie Chick

Encouraging people to think critically about everything.

Ode to the Magic Eraser

Oh, magic eraser…how I love you and despise you, all at the same time.
I bought you solely for cleaning the crayon off the closet shelves in the playroom.
And then, I figured I might as well use you on the playroom walls.
But you still had some life left, so I spot cleaned the living room walls, too.
You still weren’t falling apart, so I moved onto the kitchen walls.
And the face of the refrigerator.
I finally said goodbye, my old friend, and threw you in the trash.
But your twin is calling my name…

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Sleep…or the lack thereof…

The stars aligned this afternoon… Bobby, my 9 month old, and Natalie, my 21 month old, both fell asleep in bed with me at the same time. So I did what any sane person would do, I shut my eyes and napped with them! We slept for 90 glorious minutes. Although now, I’m paying for it with a toddler who refuses to fall asleep. It’s kinda ridiculous that my not-yet-2-year-old sleeps 12 hours at night, and that’s it! No naps. If she takes a nap, she may very well be up until midnight. It’s a small consolation that I’ve read how children who need less sleep may actually be highly intelligent. I’d believe it, too. I’m sometimes terrified at her level of understanding and insight. I know she’ll grow up to do great things. But for now, I just wish she’d sleep!

Some links on giftedness and sleep, since I’m sitting here rocking Natalie in silence:

http://giftedkids.about.com/od/familylife/qt/sleep_help.htm

http://giftedkids.about.com/od/younggiftedchildren/qt/infant_signs.htm

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P.S. She fell asleep! Nearly 9pm…

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I never thought I’d…

My parenting journey seems to be a series of “I never thought I’d…” events. Like this one:

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When I had my first baby, I swore I wouldn’t give her sugar until her first birthday. I sneered at the parents giving their babies candy. And here I am, 11 years later, giving a lollipop to my 9 month old after his breakfast of half a banana and some pickles.

I also swore I wouldn’t have a toddler who ran around with a pacifier in their mouth; then my second baby had hers until she was nearly 3.

In the past, I downright refused to consider homeschooling my kids, because my husband and I were both sorely unsatisfied with our own homeschooling experiences. Now we are not only homeschooling, but unschooling, and adamantly opposed to the entire notion of “school”.

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When I think about it, my whole life has been a string of “I never thought I’d…”. From the seemingly small and mundane (I never thought I’d eat raw onion, I never thought I’d cut my own hair) to the life-changing (I never thought I’d have a home birth, I never thought I’d share a bed with my baby), my existence is one long failed expectation. Or is it?

There are some things that have happened that I’ve always known, always held fast to. I always knew I’d be a mom. I always knew I’d fall in love and get married. I always knew I’d travel. I always knew I wouldn’t circumcise my baby. I always knew I’d parent my kids differently than I was parented. I always knew I’d never stop asking why and learning about life. Isn’t that what this is all about?

I’ve learned so much over the last decade, I’ve changed my mind on so many things after reading, researching, discussing, and pondering.  All these things that I never thought I’d do have been a result of knowledge I’ve gained, information I’ve discovered. While I know the importance of goals and dreams, morals and values, we should never be afraid of questioning those things. In fact, I think they should be regularly questioned. If they stand up to the test of questioning, then we can hold onto them. If we find something lacking or that no longer fits in our lives, we shouldn’t hesitate to discard it and move forward. Change is a continual part of life. Don’t be afraid of it, embrace it. The next time you think “I’ll never…”, remember that never is an awfully long time. And maybe this reminder will help us all judge each other a little less harshly.

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KILL YOUR FALSE SELF

I can relate to so much of this…

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What about the REAL victims? The Josh Duggar scandal protects him as the abuser again and again.

This post expresses a lot more of my sentiments that I was unable to convey in my blog, for lack of time.

Unschooling Momma and Poppy

Image Source: Twitter

For the last two days my social media has been flooded with the news of Josh Duggar and the molestation cover up that happened when he was a teenager. As many of you probably already know Josh Duggar is the oldest son of  Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar from the TLC reality tv show “19 Kids and Counting.” Here is what Josh had to say regarding the molestation of 5 young girls, several of whom were his sisters:

“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that…

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The Cycle of Abuse

I can’t refrain from posting something about this…

http://defamer.gawker.com/the-web-has-known-about-josh-duggar-for-years-when-did-1706258269

I’m disappointed that not many people are talking about it beyond Josh and his parents. What about his sisters? But I’m also disappointed that people are ignoring the fact that emotionally healthy teenagers don’t just randomly molest a bunch of little girls. Monsters aren’t born, they’re created. What was done to Josh that manifested itself in such a horrible way? And also, what horrible punishment was bestowed upon him by his parents? The whole situation is repulsive to me, but I refuse to forget about all the victims here.

I normally wouldn’t use a source such as this, but I happen to agree with what is expressed here, and currently don’t have the time to do more research to find a better source:

“It’s quite likely that Josh was sexually molested himself,” Dr. Ornstein explained. “This kind of behavior repeats itself. His sexual misconduct at the age of 14 was not normal, and should have raised major concerns when it happened.”

http://hollywoodlife.com/2015/05/21/josh-duggar-molested-child-psychologist-repeat-behavior/

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Facebook Group

I don’t really get enough free time to write as often as I’d like. Usually, the posts I do write are from my phone, and interrupted about 8 billion times by one of my little people needing something. It can take half a day just to write one entry! (Sometimes longer.) So I created a Facebook group where I can post links to interesting articles I read, and sometimes a few thoughts on them. I figure that I can use the group posts as a starting point for future blogs, plus my readers can be more involved and share posts and opinions there as well! If you’d like to be a part of this group, here’s the link (please let me know if it doesn’t work, I copied it from my phone and am not sure it’ll work on a computer!):
Blissfully Informed

Feel free to invite your friends, too =)

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Food Choices

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Son after my son was born 9 months ago, I realized that he had strong sensitivities to dairy, soy, and wheat. I eliminated them, one at a time, from my diet in order to continue breastfeeding him. If you’ve never done an elimination diet, let me be the first to tell you, it’s difficult. Most people don’t read the labels of the foods they eat. I bet you have no idea that it’s almost impossible to find packaged food that is free from dairy, soy, and wheat. When I began my quest to stop eating them, it got frustrating really quickly. I spent twice as long as normal buying groceries because I had to analyze everything. As a result, I began eating more fruit and vegetables, beans, nuts, and meat. Well, that was pretty much my whole diet, for about 6 months. I have to tell you, I felt amazing! For the first winter in years, I had no arthritis pain, no fibromyalgia symptoms. I know it had to be the food I was eating; or rather, the food I wasn’t eating.

About a month or so ago, I began attempting to eat small amounts of the ingredients I had eliminated. At first, my baby wasn’t tolerating them particularly well, but after a few exposures, he seemed to be doing ok. Admittedly, I went a little overboard due to my own cravings for certain foods, like cheese. But I was using whole ingredients, not packaged food, and I think that’s why I was not only able to start eating those things again, but he was able to eat them, too.

Not long ago, I figured that if small amounts of whole ingredients was going ok, packaged food every now and then would be ok, too. I bought a few frozen pizzas, frozen garlic bread, donuts, etc. While I noticed a difference in how I felt immediately after eating those things, and a difference in my son’s bowel movements, the changes weren’t severe. I noticed that I was getting heartburn again, when it had been nearly non-existent (I have been diagnosed with GERD, although on my elimination diet, I had nearly no episodes). But it wasn’t enough to severely bother me. Then, on Monday, my husband came home for a couple days (he’s a truck driver). Not only did I buy things like Oreos and chips, but we bought a couple bags full of greasy, fried food at a truck stop to take on a picnic…corn dogs, onion rings, chicken strips, etc. It tasted so incredibly good! Then yesterday, not only did I have a bad stomach ache, headache, and heartburn, but my baby and toddler had horrible diarrhea. My 9 year old had a stomach ache, too. It’s clear that it was the food we chose to eat that wreaked such havoc on our bodies. I felt so gross!

While I may not avoid processed food like the plague, as I had to do before, I will definitely try to plan better in the future. I’ll make sure we have sandwich ingredients, fresh fruit and vegetables, and homemade snacks to take with us on long car rides and picnics. I’ll choose to make treats like onion rings rather than buy them. And I’ll certainly think twice before making a purchase based on convenience, when I now know what it will do to my body later. No amount of convenience is worth tormenting your body!

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Perspective is Everything

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What do you see here? A mess? A tripping hazard? Housework? Frustration? I see my toddler’s newfound love of coloring. Her desire to test every color of crayon. I see her running over to me with a twinkle in her eyes, asking me in her own way to please come color with her. I see her delight as I draw shapes, animals, stick figures, and houses; making me feel like my drawings aren’t as terrible as I think they are. I see my older children huddled around the paper with my toddler, interacting so kindly and patiently with her.

Is it a mess? Sure, and I already cleaned it up. But rather than getting angry and thinking “oh my god, I seriously have to play 100 crayon pick-up again?!?”, I chose to think “I’m so grateful that my daughter loves to color!” Happiness is a choice; anger is a choice.

Yesterday, I chose anger. Yesterday, I felt like a mess. It seemed like everything was going wrong, like my kids were all conspiring to test my patience at the same time. And I lost it. I reverted to my old ways, familiar ways. I screamed. I didn’t just yell, I screamed. I scared my kids, and made my oldest cry. I felt like the worst mother ever. In retrospect, I can see the beauty in the mess, though.

Just 4 years ago, this type of outburst was pretty much a daily occurrence. I was full of frustration, fear, hurt, and uncertainty. All of those feelings came exploding out of me in the form of rage. I hurt those closest to me far too often. I’m grateful that I’m married to a man who was able to see through the mess and love my inner beauty, even before I knew it was there.

While I’m not proud of my outburst yesterday, I’m proud of how far I’ve come in just a few years. This is the first time I’ve lost my temper this badly in a very long time. I honestly don’t remember the last time it was that bad. And within a few minutes, I was verbalizing my feelings, apologizing for my choices, and hugging my crying daughter in comfort. While I didn’t exactly calm down 100% after that, I didn’t choose to yell again. I tried my very hardest to show patience, compassion, and understanding. And I woke up today committed to choosing happiness and peace. So while I may have made a decision yesterday that I’m not at all proud of, I do see the progress I’ve made, and I’m choosing to forgive myself for a bad decision and celebrate all the good ones. One day at a time, one step at a time, I’m rebuilding my life in a better way. And that’s a beautiful thing.

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RELAX

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Easier said than done, I know! But it’s not just a good idea to try to relax more and stress less, it’s imperative to your health.

…untreated chronic stress can result in serious health conditions including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.3  Research shows that stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression and obesity.

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-chronic-stress.aspx

But how? How can we relax in a world full of deadlines, appointments, budgets, and activities? Here’s a few things I’ve learned through the years…

1. Slow down.

I know you feel like you’re always rushing around, trying to get everything done. Trying to squeeze as much productivity into your day as possible. I had to realize that productivity isn’t living. My life shouldn’t be measured in how many dishes I washed, how much laundry I folded, or how clean my windows are. Because tomorrow, there will be more dirty dishes to wash, more clean laundry to fold, and if you’re like me, more smudges from kids and pets on the windows. What matters is not how much I get done, but who I do it with and for. If you get a fraction of your to-do list done, but go to bed remembering the laughs shared, the smiles received, and the roses smelled, I think that’s a successful, fulfilling day! I know there are unavoidable times you have to rush, but try to avoid those with time management, and let all the self-imposed deadlines slide (or disappear). Here’s a great article on tips for slowing down:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201109/4-tips-slowing-down-reduce-stress

2. Breathe.

Sounds silly, because we breathe all the time without thinking about it. But that’s just the problem, we need to think about it more often! Deep breathing brings your focus back to yourself, your current situation and surroundings. It gives your brain a boost of oxygen so that you can think more clearly. And it forces you to slow down. Read more about deep breathing, and find tips for practicing it here:
http://www.stress.org/take-a-deep-breath/

3. Connect with nature.

Take a walk. Smell flowers. Lay in the grass. Climb a tree. Stare out your window for a few minutes. If none of these options are available to you, even looking at pictures of nature is better than nothing. Nature reduces stress, it’s a fact! Be sure and use all your senses to experience it for the full relaxing effect. Read more about how nature is good for the brain and body here:
http://dirt.asla.org/2011/09/08/research-shows-nature-helps-with-stress/

4. Dance.

I don’t care what kind of dance it is, or how silly you think you look doing it, just dance! I promise, dancing to just one song will immediately boost your mood and put a smile on your face. It will reduce your stress and help your mind relax. I have a playlist on my phone called “happy tracks”, where I put music that always makes me smile and feel like moving to the beat. I put it on in the car, while doing housework, or when my kids seem to be extra cranky. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 50, I always feel so much better afterward! Here’s a great article all about relieving stress with music, including dancing:
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/12-ways-to-reduce-stress-with-music.htm

5. Be silly!

One benefit of having toddlers is that they are constantly doing silly things that make you laugh. Putting things on their heads, making silly faces, wearing crazy outfits, tumbling in the grass. We need to take a cue from them and add more silliness to our days! Skip down the sidewalk instead of merely walking. Jump on the shopping cart and ride it like a scooter through the parking lot. Wear fun socks with your favorite cartoon character. Sing a silly childhood song. Stick out your tongue and cross your eyes. Stop being so serious all the time! Life is too short to be so serious. Here’s a great article with lots of fun, silly ideas:
http://www.whatsupfagans.com/2014/11/ways-to-be-silly-fun-playful-parent-mom/

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