I have seen a lot of posts on FB and blogs lately regarding the plight of the stay at home mom.   Most are kind hearted and calling for ...

Perspective from a Working Mom

I have seen a lot of posts on FB and blogs lately regarding the plight of the stay at home mom.  Most are kind hearted and calling for help, understanding, and value for the mom staying at home taking care of her children every day.  One blog post even nudged at the idea that homemaker women have a harder time because our society devalues family, children, and the ministry of motherhood.  This issue had not occurred to me, the thought that stay at home moms may be carrying around a chip on their shoulder because they are told that the job they do every day is not valuable, not important, and anyone could do it.  That’s because I envy stay at home moms. Yep, used the wordy derd “ENVY.” 

I’m one of those women forced to work outside the home due to the financial needs of my family.  I’m good at my job, successful in my career, and I love having adult relationships with my work friends.  I’m not bitter or mad, sometimes very sad, but able to appreciate and be as content as possible with my situation.  I do not, however, fall into the category of women who need and want to work.  Women who know they are not the personality type to stay at home and find themselves to be better mothers and wives when they work outside the home.  I do not get energy and satisfaction from my work life that helps fulfill me in ways that my home and children cannot.  This is a perfectly understandable and right way to be a good mom.  It just doesn’t fit my situation. 

Lately, these many posts I’ve seen related to stay at home moms and their difficult situations have offended me a bit.  I have never seen a post from a working mother related to how hard it is on her.  I’ve never read a blog article representing my specific situation.  I’ve never read a post from a stay at home mom with empathy and compassion for her fellow mothers working outside the home.  I have seen articles on how we should all support one another and how each role is equally valuable and there is no one right way to be a good, Christian mother and wife.  Those are encouraging.  They are few and far between though.

So, I needed to blog a minute about this issue.  I said earlier that I envy stay at home moms.  Let me clarify that I do not have an idealized version of what it is like.  I was able to work from home for a year when I had two small children at home.  I worked 30 hours a week from my computer with a very tight deadline each day and cared for my home and children.  It was a sacrifice so that I could be more than just a nights and weekends mom, but it was not a perfect solution.  I did not consider myself a stay at home mom because while I had all of the expectations of one, I did not have all the capabilities considering my work schedule.  I had to trade being either a good employee or a good mom on a daily basis.  I got all the poop and puke, sibling fights, social isolation, meal time messes, grocery store trips, laundry and dishes, diapers and snot that any other mommy gets while also fighting a deadline and squeezing every possible working hour I could into nap time and after bed and the dreaded Saturdays.  When given the opportunity for a promotion and considerable raise, I prayed and sought Godly advice and decided I would be a better mom on nights and weekends than I was M-F while working.  I decided to give my babies back to daycare and head back to work full time.  It was terrible.   I was pregnant with my third baby and facing the horror of leaving another tiny helpless infant in the hands of a stranger.

Honestly, the offended part of me wants to scream.  How could any woman who has never experienced this kind of pain ever find it in herself to ask others to feel sorry for her? (Please keep in mind this is a gut reaction and not where this rant ends!)  If you’ve never sat at your desk with the door closed praying nobody walks in while you are wearing your hands free pumping bra hooked up to the moo cow double electric pump while trying to answer emails and not pick up your phone since the noise is incredible only to get 2 ounces of liquid gold all the while just wishing you could pick up your baby and let her nurse but she’s getting bottle fed half formula and half precious breast milk by a kind hearted stranger or probably a pillow they propped up in her crib because she’s one of 10 babies in the classroom……um, I got off track.  If that has never happened to you because you are blessed with the opportunity to raise your children full time, then I want to scream and tell you to be grateful.  I know there are stories on the other side of this and envy runs both ways.  I blow dried my hair today and put on a nice wool blazer from Loft and wore some jewelry and I will not get pooped or snotted on for 8 hours!  Woohoo!  I am a rare bird though, who would rather wipe snot then toil my day away at a job that has no eternal purpose. 

My two year old still cries when I leave her each morning at daycare.  I have to walk down the long hallway listening to her scream that she wants her mama.  My older two have started school so I’ve already missed the remaining time that they were mine.  Sometimes they beg to stay home with me.  Sometimes we do!  I still pray to God that I would have the opportunity to stay at home with them, but He doesn’t see fit to answer that prayer.  Even though we have two incomes, I still can’t afford to hire anybody to help around the house.  Talk about needing help, when exactly would you expect that a full time working mom has time to do dishes or laundry or go grocery shopping or cook or vacuum?  Seriously, I don’t understand the seeming lack of alternative perspective. 

We are all trying our best.  I also understand that stay at home moms aren’t crying out for a job outside the home, they are crying out for support and appreciation of what they are going through.  Amen to that.  You are appreciated by this lady.  I also know that it’s not about me, it’s about the individual and their needs and their place at the time.  So, I’m over the offended part and I’ve moved into more of the action phase.  My action is to offer perspective, not comparison, but perspective.  In fact, I live in a social realm where at least half the folks I am very close with would actually devalue my role as a working mom.  Talk about feeling unappreciated.  I’m not filling my eternal destiny and obeying God’s commandments because I don’t stay home and take care of my husband and children.  My house is filthy most days and I cuss sometimes.  The other taboo thing that happens in my house is that I have a partner.  He’s my husband and he is the head of our household and I love and honor and respect him.  He does dishes.  He does laundry.  He bathes babies.  He changes diapers.  He cleans poop and puke and snot.  He keeps kids while I shop and go to the store and go for a jog and garden and attend church meetings and go out with friends AND all summer long while I am still at work and he’s on summer break.  He is a parent, not a figure head.  He does not get to come home and put his feet up, nor does he deserve to simply because he’s a man and he worked all day for his family.  So did I, so did you, stay at home mamas! 

I’m sure most modern women don’t live in such a patriarchal fairy tale, but sweet gracious do I see some delusional ideas out there about the role of a man in the home.  No working mom on earth has ever been given that role just because she brings home the bacon.  I’m not saying to go burn the recliner, ladies, but I am encouraging a partnership that requires 100% participation from both parents.  Your man may be a terrible cook, but he can learn and he can certainly find other ways to help.  It upsets me when men are allowed to feel like they did their wife a favor when they changed a diaper or loaded the dishwasher.  Same thing when women think they did a great service to their husband by taking out the trash.  There’s always something else to be done and unless you are a puritan pilgrim, there are not gender assignments on household chores.  I don’t have the physical strength or infallible gag reflex to unscrew the u-pipe from the sink to remove butter knives and toothpaste lids from the drain and my husband is physically incapable of putting our daughters’ hair in ponytails.  That’s ok, we’ll trade.  It took three children to break ourselves of these terrible habits.  We’ve been in our house for almost six years and I haven’t mowed the lawn one time.  I’m not going to expect a parade if I ever do though.  Basically, I’m saying that being a stay at home mom or ANY MOM would probably be easier on women if the family structure was based on a true partnership and help-mate mentality.  It kinda makes me want to gag that it’s 2013 and I would still have to beg women to stand up for themselves even in their own homes.  I could not be a good mother and would never have had more than one child if I were in this domestic business on my own.  Wait, let me rephrase to be more shocking and terrible, I would rather be a single parent than stuck being a mother and caretaker for all of my kids plus my husband.  I am grateful beyond words for my husband, but not because he “babysits” or helps me with my chores.  I am grateful because he is my partner, friend, spiritual confidant and guide, and co-parent. 
It's still hard though.  Even though I do have a partner, it is still so hard.  We compete over who is more exhausted.  He got a second job doing online tutoring to help make ends meet.  We miss our kids.  Time is flying.  I am trying to focus on gratitude though and I don't want anyone to ever feel sorry for me.  I have more than half the world will ever see.  My children are already blessed beyond measure because they were born in this country.  If I fail at everything else, I gave them that.  I will not squander my blessings with comparison, worry, self-criticism, or envy.  I will empower women, equip my children with gratitude and tenacity, and thank God for a spirit of fire despite a pressing societal demand to douse it with feminitity defined by meekness.  That proverbs 31 woman is a bad ass and so am I. 
Ok, whew, that got intense.  So, I just needed to get some of this out because I don’t like being frustrated just because there’s a lack of perspective.  I don’t like feeling as if my story is unheard when I’m perfectly capable of telling it.  I do like writing.  I do like my freedom to have opinions.  I do like being a mom.  I hope that I’m not just labeled a crazy misguided liberal.  I’m not…well, I’m crazy and pretty liberal, but not misguided.  I’m a feminist who would love to be a stay at home mommy.  I’m a feminist who thinks we should be teaching our kids to knit, sew, and garden.  I’m a Christian who thinks women are abused and marginalized in the evangelical Church.   I have a crazy liberal best friend who comes and loves on my kids every week and tells me I’m a good mom and although she never wants children of her own (for now anyway), she encourages me in motherhood, Godliness, and helps in real physical ways that are invaluable.  My daughter will be President someday and my son says his favorite color is pink.  I’m a nights and weekends and two weeks of vacation a year mom.   I get to spend 3.5 hours per week day in the presence of my children.  That’s it.  PERSPECTIVE!!  I get to spend those 3.5 hours in a nice home and put dinner on the table and drive a mini-van with duct tape on the bumper.  I’m blessed and so are you.  The chips on our shoulders are ours alone to remove.


I had to share the hilarity of my children.  Last night was our Women's Bible Study and Kid's Club at church.  I go in the gym to pi...


I had to share the hilarity of my children.  Last night was our Women's Bible Study and Kid's Club at church.  I go in the gym to pick up the kids and one of the little boys runs up to me and says, "Hey, she [pointing at Addie] said you were gonna have a baby."

I laugh and said, "No, I'm not having a baby."
Then our children and family minister steps up and asks, "Do you have anything you would like to share?"
Turns out that Miss Liz asked the kids to share a blessing each before dinner.  When they got to Addie, she said, "My mommy is going to have another baby soon."

Well, everyone's face turned and they all just assumed she'd let the cat out of the bag.  I had lots of inquiring minds but I assured them all that I am not pregnant.  This elicited lots of laughter, some relief, and a few inappropriate comments along the lines of, "Oh good, I was thinking, 'Are y'all crazy?!"  I was quick to clarify that we do want a fourth baby someday but that we are not currently pregnant.

On the way home I asked Addie why she told everyone that I was having a baby.  She replied, "Because I want you to."

Here's how the rest of the conversation went:

Me: Well, baby girl, I know we would like to have another baby in our family, but Mommy is not pregnant right now.  I'm not growing a baby in my tummy so we don't need to tell people that because it might make them sad. 

Addie: But I want you to!

Me: I know, but I'm not having another baby right now.

Addie: Why not?  I told them you were having one soon, not right now.

Me: I'm just not, it takes a long time for babies to grow, so I'm not having a baby soon either.

Addie: [Bursts into sad sad tears and sobbing] I waaant you to right now!!!!!

Freddie: Mama, why don't you just go home and get married right now so you can have a baby.  I want you to have a baby tomorrow.  I want a Pokemon baby.

Me: It doesn't work that way Freddie.  Only God can decide when I am able to have another baby.

Freddie: Why don't you ask Him for one?

Me: I have and I will keep praying for that.

Addie: Just roll your window down and ask Him right now!

Me: [laughing a lot] I can pray without rolling my window down, ya goof.

Addie: I want a girl baby.

Me: God gets to decide if we have a girl or a boy, not us.  We will be grateful no matter what we have.

Freddie: Or we'll be grateful if we have two babies.

Me: [doubtfully] Um, yes, we'll be double grateful.

Freddie: Oh, Mama, you can get double pregnant.  Tomorrow you need to kiss two boys.

Me: [laughing more, near peeing my pants]  It doesn't work that way Freddie, stop worrying about it.  Mama will tell you both if we are going to have another baby.

Freddie: You can kiss Daddy and Rimshot, he's a boy.

Me: [thinking he may need a better anatomy lesson than I was willing to give a 7 year old]  No, humans can't have dog babies.  It doesn't work like that.  I'll explain more when you are older.

Addie: We never had a boy baby.

Me: What did you all have for dinner at Kid's Club??????


Today at lunch, Addie asked Jason what he  made in Sunday school.  He replied, "Conversation."  Addie said, "Oh, that's ...

I'm gonna write that down

Today at lunch, Addie asked Jason what he made in Sunday school.  He replied, "Conversation."  Addie said, "Oh, that's good, conversation.  You made some friends." 
I told her that he also ate some cake.  She wanted to know what kind.
Jason replied, "Chocolate ice cream cake with chocolate chips."
Addie said, "Ooooh, that sounds delicious.  I'm gonna write that down."

She is hilarious.  So, I'm gonna write some stuff down too.  First off, today is September 1 and I ate a CHEESE quesadilla for lunch.  I had a whole wheat tortilla with white queso quesadilla cheese sprinkled with a little cumin and some homemade fresh salsa made from my garden tomatoes to dip it in.  Now I feel queasy.  I'm also nursing a sore throat and overall yuck feelings today, but I will try and blame the dairy for as much as possible.

August happened.  Vegan eating for a month happened.  Lots of new foods, recipes, ideas, etc. happened.  Four pounds lost and reaching my 60lb mark happened. Now it's time for something new or something old.  A friend asked me for an informative post on why vegan.  I mentioned watching Forks over Knives and a slew of other documentaries, but if we just need an abbreviated version I'll deliver.  So, the stuff that causes exponential cancer growth us omnivores is animal protein.  Animal protein isn't only found in meat, it's found in milk, cheese, and yogurt too.  I wish we could take butter out of the equation.  It's not protein, just fat, surely that's ok!  Also, I can't turn away from the incredible environmental toll of the livestock industry.  It is destroying our earth.  The human population continues to place crazy demands on high yield from the meat industry, causing soil erosion, water polution, severe animal cruelty, greenhouse gas emissions, genetic manipulation, and the eradication of viable farm land.  So, organic is good, right?  Free range chickens and eggs, grass fed organic beef, and all that jazz.  Well, maybe.  Maybe is as good as I can get because, first, I can't actually afford to feed a family of five all free range organic grass fed animals and their by products.  Second, it's not all it's cracked up to be either.  Free range chickens only require a few feet of space to meet the standard while they still get placed on an assembly line and male chicks are shredded up while they're still alive to make our dog food and hot dog fillers vs. a traditional chicken "manufacturer" who hoards hundreds of chickens into a few square feet and they grow into their cages and are pumped full of so many hormones to make their breasts grow that they can't even walk.  Hormone and antibiotic free organic dairy cows are euthanized if they have a basic udder infection because farmers can't use antibiotics to heal them or they won't get a stamp on their milk cartons.  Things like this upset me. 

I'm not asking or expecting it to upset everyone.  We all get through daily life with selective ignorance and denial on one thing or another.  I have no idea what small indonesian child probably suffered to make my cheap target sandals.  There is no way I could go through all the possible scenarios of how a cow is treated before it becomes a rawhide chew for my dog.  I've only started looking at how all the chemicals in my house are probably killing us.  Food has just been something that I take such an active roll in on a daily basis, that it seemed a good place to start being socially, economically, and environmentally conscious.  We all have our issues we are passionate about.  I'm not certain this will become "MY THING" since my thing is already all wrapped up in natural birth!  It's all strung together for me though.  Making small steps toward a more conscious way of living is how we'll survive another thousand years on this earth without it becoming a real live zombiepocalypse nuclear holocaust hunger games situation. 

K, there's my soap box.  I ate cheese today.  Just plain old cheese with no fancy labels and it tasted good.  I won't be eating it at every meal and I don't know when I'll feel like eating a piece of meat again.  I'm only going to do the best I can to reduce my consumption and educate my family so that they can do the same.  Maybe a year from now I will have more resolve and higher standards and expectations for myself.  I honestly hope so, but I've made dozens of small changes and an entire eating, lifestyle, shopping, environmental consideration, fitness, and outlook change because of these.  That's good enough for me for right now.  Individual choice is key and I'm proud of any small step I make or you all make in the right direction. 


It's almost done!  My month of vegan eating has not been quite as hard as I thought, but my desire for cheese has reached an all time ma...

Vegan Adventures on the Go

It's almost done!  My month of vegan eating has not been quite as hard as I thought, but my desire for cheese has reached an all time mammoth sized craving.  Some things are frustrating, like that only the cheap white flour brand of english muffins are dairy free AND they contain high fructose corn syrup.  The whole wheat ones have egg and milk in them, boo!  Also, I don't want to have to shop at whole foods to purchase vegan bread crumbs.  Seriously, no brand at Kroger was dairy free.  I ended up buying kroger brand shake'n'bake instead because although it had every other chemical known to man in it, no dairy!  Issues like that seem to defeat the purpose of eating healthy in the first place, so to sustain this type of diet, I would have to stock a vegan pantry with lots of forethought and planning.

Here's the other thing that made it easier.  I've only eaten away from home a handful of times this month.  Once to Pei Wei, where they were incredibly accomodating and almost excited to help me find a vegan option.  Once to Panera for lunch on the very first day (which I shared with you on FB!) and failed.  Once to Mexico Chiquito and once to Chuy's, and oh gosh once to Razorback Pizza.  Here's what I had.

Panera - Corn Chowder (FAIL!) and Greek Salad- order black bean soup in stead and get a vegan bread option because the little mini baguettes are not

Pei Wei - Pad Thai w/no Egg (Success! and YUM!)  There are just a million calories in it.

Mexico Chiquito - (Half Fail) Veggie tacos which consisted of black beans only because I ordered them with no cheese dip.  The half fail is because their lettuce/tomato/cheese mixture for topping is all mixed in and I couldn't get the powdery goo off of my taco.  I also got guacamole and chips which were tasty.

Chuy's - Veggie fajitas (SUPER DELICIOUS!), OMG their tortillas are so good and the veggie fajitas with some quacamole and salsa honestly left me feeling no sadness for the lost sour cream.  The only thing I didn't like was paying (sortof, we had a gift card) $12 for veggies on a skillet.  They should adjust the price if you are only ordering veggies I think.

Razorback Pizza - Spanish Pie w/no cheese or meat or sour cream (EPIC FAIL OF SADNESS) Seriously, I have had taco pizza at Larry's before and it was delish and needed no cheese or meat at all.  This stuff at Razorback pizza was awful.  The beans are mixed with chili powder and tomato paste to create a bitter, vinegar flavored awful paste stuck to stale crust topped with big hunks of salad bar lettuce and tomato wedges and olives that seemed way past their fresh by date.  They gave me half off the pizza because I couldn't even get the kids to eat the cheesy/meaty goodness side of the thing.  It was awful and in the bathroom, there was this photo.

Talk about adding insult to injury!! Needless to say, that was a tough day to stay vegan. Later that night my church hosted their annual homemade ice cream and dessert bingo night. I ate my black bean burrito wrap from home with great sadness as everyone chowed down on ice cream and brownies. If I'd had the time I would have made myself a vegan treat, BUT I was too busy shopping for new pants and treated myself to a pair of red high heels. So although it didn't feel quite as good as those treats probably tasted, I vaguely understand the phrase! 


We are on a crazy tight budget this summer after vacation, so it's actually great to be cooking vegan/vegetarian foods. Meat is expensiv...

Cheap Vegan Meals and Recipes

We are on a crazy tight budget this summer after vacation, so it's actually great to be cooking vegan/vegetarian foods. Meat is expensive, especially the healthy kinds. Here's my dinner list for the week along with recipe links and my original recipes are posted below. Enjoy! 

• Black Beans & Rice w/avocado
(I use dry beans and omit the radish!)
• Black Bean Burritos (cook onions and garlic to skillet, put leftover beans in food processor then cook in skillet until bubbly) 
• Vegan Chili 
• Vegan Chili Mac w/double fiber rotini
• Lentil Cauliflower Rice Tacos

• Vegan Shawarma Patties w/jasmine rice
• Spaghetti with Vegan Vodka Sauce

Easy Vegan Chili 

1 small yellow onion, diced
1 yellow squash, finely chopped or shredded
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp olive oil
2 cans chili hot beans or kidney beans
1 can chili ready tomatoes 
1 large can tomato sauce
1 tbspn nutritional yeast (optional for flavor only)

Chili Seasoning
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (adds great flavor if smoked, but sub regular paprika if needed)
1/2 tsp brown sugar

Mix well with fork, save for more chili! You will only use about 1 and a half tablespoons.

In large pot on med-high, heat the olive oil then add diced onion, garlic, and shredded squash and cook until tender and starting to brown. Then add 1 tbspn of your prepared chili seasoning, stir well. 

Turn heat to medium then Add can tomato sauce and stir well. Slowly add all canned ingredients plus one small can of water and the nutritional yeast. Let heat until bubbly, then taste for spice. If you need more flavor, add another half tablespoon of chili seasoning. If bitter or needs more tomato taste, add 1 tbspn ketchup! For more spicy flavor, add more cayenne pepper. Let simmer on low for awhile, stirring occasionally. Serve hot topped with cilantro, salsa, fried onions, or eat with chips! 

Gimme some and no TVP!!

• Chili Mac -  Serve over double fiber rotini topped with nutritional yeast or smoothed silken tofu in the food processor mixed into leftover chili for creamy sauce. 

Vegan Shawarma Patties

1/2 cup green lentils (dry-cook according to package)
1/2 cup of cooked jasmine rice
1 small yellow squash, diced
3-4 portabello mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp curry
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp coriander
Dash salt & pepper
Dash allspice and cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup oats

Mix cooked lentils and rice together
Cook all veggies in skillet with olive oil, when very soft add spices
Add veggies to lentil/rice mix
Add flour, cornmeal, and oats, stir well 

Create patties and pan fry in olive oil (same skillet used for veggies)  until brown on both sides (3 mins or so on each side over med-high heat)

Serve on pita or with rice and cucumber sauce 

Vegan Vodka Sauce

Favorite Spaghetti Sauce Veggies
Garlic cloves (2)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Prepared Jar of Marinara (sockarooni by Newmans Own is goood)
Half block of Mori Nu silken Tofu (soft or firm)

Cook veggies and garlic cloves in pot or skillet
Cut tofu into chunks
Place in food processor with garlic powder, basil, and about a 1/4 cup of marinara and blend until smooth
Add mixture to pan with veggies along with remaining marinara. 
Cook until bubbly and serve over desires pasta noodle
I use whole grain or double fiber by Ronzoni or Barilla 


August really surprised me.  I knew it was coming, but not so soon.  We all say that, but I have so many things to do, that are due (Master&...

Very Vegan Vignette

August really surprised me.  I knew it was coming, but not so soon.  We all say that, but I have so many things to do, that are due (Master's PROJECT!!), that I don't want to do.  This summer was too short, but we had our vacation and our three day family weekends now that I'm working 4 x 10 hour days.  The kids are getting so big.  Freddie went to a two day summer camp.  Charlie is working on potty training and Addie hasn't sucked her thumb in weeks.  Addie starts a 4 y/o pre-k program this school year so I will have three kids in three different places every week day.  Soccer starts soon.  Dance starts soon.  Homework starts soon.  With all of these impending stressors, it was a must for me to step up my diet and exercise routine and give myself a vision for the month of August.  I needed something to keep my self-care near the top of the priority list, but with enough room for the MANY other things headed my way.

The past few months I have been dabbling in Weganism or being a Wegetarian.  That's where you eat vegan or vegetarian until the weekend hits!  It started with just an interest to see if I could do it.  Could I cook vegetarian meals for a family of five on a very tight budget with a meat lovin' husband and a picky two year old?  Could I buy more organic fruits and vegetables and not go wildly over my weekly grocery average?  Could I cut meat meals down to 3-4x a week, then down to 2, or maybe just one?  The answer to these questions was YES!  It cost more to buy organic fruits and veggies and meat, but once I cut out the meat, it evened back out.  Some questions were a resounding, NO!  Like, Can I buy only local food?  Can I go to the Farmer's Market every Saturday morning?  Can I order from the AR Local Food Network every week?  Nope on those things.  Too expensive, too much time commitment, too much future planning, tooooo much for me.  That's ok though.  I found out that I can grow stuff, with some help.  Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, eggplant, and now even some peppers from the garden have helped feed my locally grown fancy.  Another resounding NO for me right now is feeding an entire family of five on a vegan diet.  We have made HUGE strides in eliminating animal products from our house and at least having a variety of options.  We have almond, soy, and dairy milk in our fridge.  Meat meals are down to once a week besides eating out or at church functions.  I haven't figured out how to get rid of yogurt, sour cream, cheese, eggs, butter, and hot dogs from a kid's diet.  My children love fruit, veggies, hummus, peanut butter, nuts, seeds, beans, etc though.  That's a plus!

So, what in the world is wrong with me anyway?  Two years ago I had a blanket distrust of anyone who didn't eat meat.  It was hoity toity nonsense.  Vegetarians were obnoxious enough and vegans were on my list of the most pretentious on the planet.  Don't get me wrong, those judgy snobberies definitely exist.  It's just that there are multiple motivations and varying degrees of expectations related to plant based eating.  Mercy and realism are elements of most people's daily perceptions!  Rachel has been kicking tail at being a vegan, besides an occasional corn dog or cheese stick mishap.  Damn that Sonic Drive-In!  She's so encouraging when I cook vegan meals and appreciative.  It made me realize that I wouldn't have to give up my joy of loving people with food in order to give up meat.  It just didn't happen that I wanted to give it up or saw any reason that I needed to.

Then came friggin' My Fitness Pal.  Do you know how many calories are in ground beef???  It was terrible, so I switched to ground turkey.  Cue the e-coli bacteria outbreak in ground turkey.  Um, now what?  Ground chicken?  Organic chicken was stranglingly expensive.  I looked into a meat share with a local organic farmer but was way too overwhelmed with the thought of having a deep freezer full of a 1/4 cow, 1/4 pig, 12 chickens, a huge turkey, 8 lbs of organ meat, and an entire 10lb bucket of lard in my garage.  Then I decided to give in and watch Forks over Knives on Netflix, then every other plant based, locally grown, organic food documentary I could find like Food Fight, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Vegucated, and many others.  It was so interesting and sortof scary.  Watch them!  Seemed like a pretty good challenge for me, so August it was.  I geared up by eating vegetarian for awhile and then just made the decision to try eating a vegan diet for the month of August.  Done, sorta. 

I have made a few mistakes and it is definitely a learning curve. I'm not freaking out about it though and continuing to make good choices even if I do eat a cream based soup by accident.  I'm also finding humor in the huge tupperware I have to bring to the church hot dog bar and the whole cucumbers I pull out of my lunch bag.  It's just another layer of being in this world, but not of it.  We don't have to ascribe to a standard American diet of processed food and meats that are actually funding dessertification, soil degradation, and starvation for much of the world.  We deserve to know how our bodies were created to work and how chemicals and hormones effect our health both mental and physical.  I may not be able to stick this out and I LOVE hamburgers, corn dogs, turkey sandwiches, fried chicken sandwiches from chick-fil-a, hot wings, pepperoni pizza, oh man I'm getting hungry.  It's just worth a try!  The worst thing so far is not being able to use half and half in my coffee.  Soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk creamers, tried them all and yuck, splfhfffh, ecck, ugggh, nope.  The best is soy milk with lots of sugar but still it isn't the same joy.  Poor me. 

I hope to post some recipes up here and easy meal lists for people interested in just cutting back on the meat, cutting down their grocery bills, or in going all in.  Oh, check out this awesome blog for amazing fat free vegan recipes.  It may be important to note that I'm going to try and primarily eat plant based, which means no vegan cheese, processed prepared fake meats, oreos (totally vegan!), onion rings, and the like.  This is supposed to be healthy, low fat, low calorie, HIGH nutrition.  I still have more weight to lose ya know. 

Last thing for today.....as promised, 18 month weight loss photos!  58.2lbs down!  It's still so incredibly slow, but I see shape change even when I don't see pounds shedding off.  I love to see the progress I have made and I laugh to myself thinking about what my infomercial would say.  "Would you like to lose up to 58lbs in a year and a half?  How would you like to exercise, run a half-marathon, track calories, watch your portions, completely change your eating habits and lifestyle, makeover your grocery shopping routine, and find yourself losing a steady 1lb a week over the next couple of years?  Does losing three sizes and 8.5 inches from your waist by next Christmas sound good to you?  If so, call this number NOW!"  :)  It just doesn't sound like it would sell very fast. 


I had a request for an update!  So, I'm updating but no major news.  Life is completely insane.  Seriously, we are having a blast but be...

Mama's Day

I had a request for an update!  So, I'm updating but no major news.  Life is completely insane.  Seriously, we are having a blast but between dance, soccer, church, full time jobs, volunteer stuff, weight loss/exercise journeys, trying to finish my master's project, and eating, we are full up!  It's almost Mother's Day again.  One of my very favorite holidays that I believe just needs to replace my birthday.  Even if we've lost our mothers or don't have a good relationship with your mother or you aren't a mother, there is something wonderful to celebrate.  Remembering all the good things about your own mother, honoring that amazing woman in your life that is such a nurturer, contemplating all the ones your nurture and love (plants, animals, friends, etc.), or just being a strong feminist for the day.  Wow we are awesome.  There are so many roles women are asked to play and this mother being is the beautiful centerpiece of the whole woman thing I believe.  We are shaped by our moms, either to spite her, in spite of her, or in pursuit of her. 

Anyway, I just wanted to stop in and say I'm alive and life is good.  My frustration has waned in the weight loss adventure because I've done much better at staying on track since the holidays finally came to a close.  I'm down 52 total pounds since January 2012 and I will post an 18 month update photo after we take our July 1st comparison pictures.  Is it weird to be excited about taking pictures of your butt and gut?  :)  I'm sure it is weird.  Oh and the half marathon was amazing and super hard and not something I really think I will do again any time soon!  Maybe if it didn't take me 3 hours to run the thing I would think differently. 

Oh, and I will leave you with a motivational schpeel I sent to a friend the other day.  It is truth folks. 

I am thankful today that I feel beautiful.  I see so many people, especially women, walking around all sunken in and down or arrogant and haughty and think to myself,

 I’m glad that I just feel like a person who is lovely inside and out.  I’m thankful that I feel like I deserve basic human dignity and respect but don’t feel the need to demand reverence from anyone.  I am grateful that God helps me feel worthy and deserving of love so that I feel others are also worthy and deserving of love.  God loves me and although I have done nothing to earn my place in this world, I feel an undeniable need to smile and bring light into the darkness and breath into lifelessness.  This must be a tiny glimpse of what God sees while looking upon the world, light and darkness.  It’s not always the darkness that comes from evil or cruelty, but the darkness that comes from ingratitude, arrogance, insecurity, self-doubt, discontentment, self-loathing, loneliness, grief, pain, and the absence of hope.  That darkness will not win today.  I see it in her, in him, in that room, and I’m going to shine my light so bright in those spots today that nobody will even like me tomorrow.  Maybe tomorrow my light won’t feel so bright and I’ll need a shining.  Today though, I’m going to beam.  I hope you beam too!