Friday, September 30, 2011

The practice of mindfulness

Today I put on my apron that my grandma made me and did some laundry. I know, I know, some of you are going to be asking yourself why I am writing a post on laundry. It’s such a mundane task!

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Here’s the thing: Laundry is so mundane that many of us forget to stop and be mindful of the task at hand. More often than not we want to just get it done and move on. We may be listening to some tunes or watching TV or texting our bff. Guess what? When I did my laundry today I didn’t have any of that.

Profound, I know. But that is why I am writing this post. Because I hung my laundry to dry outside while my Gorgeous was taking her first nap of the day I HAD to turn all of that off. I had to be able to listen to everything around me in case I heard her wake up! So, by default, I felt myself turn towards being mindful.

Now, what is this mindfulness and why is it so important? Mindfulness is a state of being wherein you are simply focused on the task at hand. It is part meditation and part awareness. It’s very hard to describe unless you’ve allowed yourself the quiet space to experience it. But this state of mind is exactly what so many of us need and desire. Instead of watching TV to drone out the events of the day you can achieve a mindful state by simply focusing on the task at hand. Personally, I find this much more relaxing and calming. Instead of having things blare in my ears or shock my eyes into oblivion I find that simply doing the task at hand is so much more calming.

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Even though I was trying to practice mindfulness I found myself thinking about the profound simplicity of hanging cloth diapers to dry on the line. I thought about why I was lined drying them instead of running them through the dryer that was more conveniently located. And I thought about how much of a statement line drying your diapers outside really is. So I wanted to touch on these aspects for a little bit with you.

I want to share my diaper cleaning routine with you. Part of the routine is based on where I am currently living (when in Rome do as the Romans do) but most of it is how I figured out how to do it on my own. Here’s the basic routine:

1) Diaper comes off Gorgeous’ bottom and into the sink (unless there’s a BM).

2) If there is BM that I didn’t “catch” (we practice part-time elimination communication) then I dump the poo into the toilet and rinse it in there as best as I can before putting the diaper in the sink.

3) The sink is my pre-wash, essentially. I rinse out as much “liquid” (pee, oils, etc.) as possible before putting it into my in-house diaper container.

4) After a days’ worth of diapers accumulates in-house I take them outside to line dry if the weather is on my side (otherwise they go straight into my outside container).

5) After drying they go into the outside container which is an old storage tote with a bungee on top so no animals can get in.

6) When I am running low on diapers I put a load through the washer. I use Oxi-Clean for stains and soap nuts as my detergent/softener.

7) Once done (2 washes for smell reasons) I pull them out and shake them out to re-fluff them.

8) They go onto the line from here until dry.

9) I pull them inside where Gorgeous helps me “fold” them and put them away. She takes them out and throws them across the floor while I stack what I can catch.

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Covers and liners go through a similar process unless I am low on covers-then they go into the wash with other clothes. They don’t get as dirty so I worry less about them. Our cloth wipes are dealt with the same way as the diapers. We use so little of these that we’re never low.

So why such an elaborate process? Well, for one, my MIL’s washer doesn’t have a sanitary cycle so I wash them this way to reduce the amount of times I need to wash them in the washer. My MIL is not a fan of the idea of human excretions in her machines (not that I blame her) either. I line dry the first time because my MIL and husband dislike the smell of pee (again, no blame, just a difference in tolerance levels). The soap nuts and Oxi-Clean are because of Gorgeous’ skin sensitivities (sorry, Love, you inherited those from me). And the final line dry is to sanitize them.

Yes, the sun sterilizes and sanitizes! It evens whitens whites. I am completely serious! When I found out this little fact I started putting pillows in the sun, throw rugs, anything that could hang on our line. I liked that it refreshed the items in between washes which allowed the items to last longer without wear and tear! With the upfront expense of cloth diapers makes this is an amazing little discovery because line drying lengthens the life of the diaper. So if you have cloth diapers and room for a line, do yourself a favor and line dry!

It will be quite the statement you are making to the world. Short of letting your little lovey run around in just a cloth diaper or wearing a shirt declaring your love of cloth, this is the biggest statement you can make outside of the bathroom about your diapers of choice. Imagine what your neighbors will think when they look out their window to see a field of white diapers, pretty cloth covers, and some shredded cloth wipes. Honestly, if they’re anyone I’d want to hang with, they’re probably thinking how cool you are for saving the earth and your baby’s bottom! They may even come over and ask for advice. Well, in an ideal world at least. But even if you aren’t having your neighborhood momma’s coming over for tea and diapers people will still know that a baby lives at your house and that you are making an alternative lifestyle choice. I wouldn’t fret too much about this though.

You see, all you are doing is going back a few generations and bringing their knowledge up to the modern era. My husband was cloth diapered. My grandma’s were cloth diapered. My mom and I weren’t. So you will have to go back a few generations to gather this knowledge. But with the upswing of vintage ideals (or whatever you want to call it) you will be considered the cool cat in town. And if you don’t have the capability to gather the knowledge from your grandmas there are plenty of resources online you can turn to (don’t forget: you can always email me if you need).

As I hung my diapers to dry with my apron holding pins and the laundry basket getting pushed down the line as I went all I could think about is how cool my MIL is for letting me in on this wonderful knowledge. I felt connected to all the women of the past who did the exact same thing, maybe watching their kids run around the yard or teaching their daughters how to hang a diaper on the line. I thought of old civil war movies where you see sheets hanging in the breeze on an old farm. And I remembered my dream as a kid where I wanted a small self-sustaining farm with a couple kids in tow. Such a simple task connected me with my passion and with generations of women.

Even if you don’t do it for the earth friendly benefits or the health of your kids or, even, for the frugality of it I ask you, have you tried to cloth diaper for even one day? Won’t you try it? Or what about giving your dryer a break and hang drying, even in the bathtub? No? Okay, then I challenge you to turn off the screens for one hour and report back to me with what you spent that time doing. It may take a little adjustment but I bet you’ll love it. Simply try to be mindful of yourself today and you, too, may find that deeper connection.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just a quick update

So I've been awhile for awhile but I just wanted to post a quick update/check in before I conk out.

Why have I been MIA for awhile? I've been moving and dealing with my ailing grandmother. But I am officially moved into my newest temporary space until further notice. And my Gorgeous is walking across the floor in front fo me as I write this-the most I've ever seen!

Anyway, after our brief Itsy Bitsy Spider interlude... Basically, I have a lot of new posts planned and am nearly at the point where I'll have time to write again.

Oh, and it's been about 2-3 weeks and I have lost 20lbs! I'm on HBP meds now though but I hope to make that extremely short term. :)

Well, more to come soon!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

About ME-warning, long post

Welcome! Welcome! Today I wanted to tell my story. It’s embarrassing and hurts, yes. But I need to tell it. If I don’t tell it then it will be hidden away out of fear and fear holds us back. The last thing I want at this point in my life is to be held back. Also, as a side note-I’m still churning through some brain fog as a result of the low-carb flu so I apologize if any posts written in this time span (say, around September 6th 2011 through a few weeks later) are a little bit hard to follow. If you aren’t sure on something I’m trying to say, by all means, tell me in the comments and I’ll try to be more concise!

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Where to start? Hmmm…. I guess at the beginning. When my mom was pregnant with me over 22 years ago she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (I can just hear my DH going diabeetus). They found out about it because I had stopped moving as much, meaning that my tiny, forming pancreas was pumping out insulin for both of us. She was promptly put on the meds to help her through and I was born! A giant newborn that needed to be pulled out of her induced mother with forceps because I was stubborn, even back then. My mom? She still has diabetes, amongst other dis-eases.

Then I got a bit older, a happy baby from what I’m told. That is, until I went to preschool from about age 2 to a little after age 3. I was pulled out of the preschool when my parents discovered I was being molested almost daily. My mom says this is when I started putting on weight. I still have a bit of PTSD from it and have memories of it. I’ve been pretty introverted ever since.

From there I went through a few moves and ended up in elementary school. The first time I ever remember thinking I was fat was in 2nd grade. And because of my preconceived notions of what fat people are supposed to do I stopped enjoying play and PE. I started being the kid who sat around with friends and talked instead of playing tag. I was also the kid who walked home to an empty house and made herself snacks and dinners because her parents were at work. And since I didn’t know how to cook on a stove I ate microwave food. This happened again in 6th grade when my parents would stay up late at night trying to finish the papers to own their own home. Also in 6th grade I started my period. Within a year it was clotty and HEAVY.

In 7th grade I was constantly teased for being so large. I try to block out 7th grade for that very reason. I recall having an argument with a now-ex-friend and walking past her while she made thunder noises to my every footfall. I remember being so freaked out to go into the girls bathrooms for fear that I’d be teased that I would hold it all day until I got home, just in time to wet myself at my front door. And it only furthered my embarrassment. This was also the year that I started contemplating running away and I knew it wasn’t me thinking it. I ended up diagnosed with clinical depression.

By 9th grade I felt much better adjusted. I no longer feared the bathroom as badly. I’d just go in and get out as quick as possible. I tried to look my best but frequently just wore whatever t-shirt, an orange sweatshirt, and jeans. It was my self-imposed uniform. I developed a huge crush in 9th grade and ended up being really good friend with the guy, until he refused to date me at the end of the year. I thought it was because of my size (I still think it was but I haven’t asked him yet-I’m still barely brave enough to have him as my Facebook friend, lol). For the next 4 years I’d always worry about what he was thinking and try to either demonize him in my head so I’d feel better or try to ignore him. This was also the year that I came out as bi-sexual. I had had a crush on a tomboyish bisexual girl in my choir and decided there was no reason to hide my sexuality.

10th grade found me my first boyfriend. He was really nice, cute, and funny but he was gay. He frequently would tell me that he would never love another woman, that he was gay except for me. Of course I was going through a gender crisis at this time so it felt odd (for reference- I now consider myself pansexual and gender neutral). We were on again, off again for 2 years.

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Took this in the summer between sophomore and junior year when I went to Australia as a student ambassador.

In 11th grade, during an off again phase with my first boyfriend, I dated a senior. She was a very smart girl but I was kind of blindsided by the whole relationship. I remember just being told that I was her girlfriend. We went farther than I ever had but I couldn’t help being so uncomfortable in my own body that I couldn’t get past hers. Our relationship was her way of coming out of the closet.

Senior year I was single and a homecoming queen nominee for the Youth Educating Against Homophobia club. I had a female escort who is lesbian and a male metrosexual but very heterosexual escort. I was taller than both of them, lol. And, man, were we a sight to be seen. They were both dressed up and in the halftime band show while I was sitting there in my junior year prom dress holding a crystal wand and wearing a tiara on my inch long hair! I started smoking at 18 and ended at 19. Now I'm allergic. I also started drinking about 17 and have simply developed a distaste for it since my Gorgeous is here.

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Just outta high school I met my husband. He is amazing and I was just so surprised that someone wouldn’t care about my size! We were very quick in that we met in May of one year, he moved into my parents’ house in June, got kicked out in July, we moved into our own place with roommates in August, got engaged in September, had a miscarriage/scare in October, moved out of that place in December, and had set our date for June of the next year!

Then I got cold feet. I wondered how someone so utterly amazing could want me, a fat tub of lard. My parents called the wedding off about a week before our date because of my cold feet. It was a dark time. I ended up cheating on him in August of that year, despite us being still engaged. I felt that there was no commitment anymore since the wedding had been called off. And this guy was saying such nice things about me being pretty-not that I didn’t hear them from my then-fiancé. After that night I moved all of my stuff out of the house and back into my parents.

When my then-fiancé came home the house was very empty. I got the phone call asking what happened. I came over and told him. I broke his heart and my own. So much that neither of us has gotten over it. So much that these are some of the toughest words I’ve put out there. I was so depressed that I thought I was worth nothing. We went to counseling within a few days and he told me he forgave me. {…hold on…} It hurt because I thought no one could forgive such an indiscretion.

Obviously we got back together. It was tough. It still is. I betrayed his trust and I can never take back what I did. In November of that year we were happy enough together that we decided to not use a condom and let things fall where they may. Well, we were rabbits back then (still would be if we could) and I am a fertile myrtle. So I told my then-fiancé at Thanksgiving that I thought I may be pregnant because I was feeling different and nauseous. About a week later I took a test that confirmed it.

The hormone changes did nothing for me. I couldn’t stand the smell of work. Eventually I got laid off (wait, they said they’d write it as if I quit so I could reapply later) from my job. This was in January of last year. Yes, I filed against them and no, I didn’t win. I worked for an Indian Casino and Native Americans are under their own government.

In February I blew it. I was so hormonally driven, so depressed, and felt so worthless that I fell into the thought pattern that my parents had. So I told him not to call me again, called the police on him for abuse (not true-that was the thought pattern I had fallen into), and called animal control on him for not taking care of his birds. Nothing came out of the police except it being put on the records. My parents went to his work and told him to stop talking to me or they will put a restraining order on him. I ended up so depressed that I contemplated how I would settle my affairs after the baby was here so that I could kill myself but not the baby. I still cry thinking about all of this. It still hurts very, very badly.

I got put on antidepressants for bipolar 2 disorder. They made me so loopy-weird that I stopped taking them without the doctors (or my parents) knowledge within two weeks. During this depressing time I also decided upon Gorgeous’s name-thinking that my then-ex wouldn’t be very involved and that he didn’t deserve to choose. At the beginning of March I heard that my then-ex had bought a safe car so that he could travel with our child safely. So I decided that I would place a bow in a box for him on his birthday with our baby’s sex when I found out a few days before his birthday. I ended up contacting him sooner than that. He was so mistrustful (for good reason) that he documented our every text just in case. We eventually met up and talked. I apologized and broke down. And then I found out that he was with someone else.

This hurt worse than any of the other hurts and all I could think was that I now understood how he felt when I cheated. Somehow we ended up together again intimately and that same night the other female came over and tried to be with him. He pushed her out the door (he had broken up with her a few days prior) and she figured out that I was in the other room. We have only seen her one since then in a chance encounter (on my birthday no less).

A few weeks later it was his birthday and we had found out that Gorgeous was a girl. We decided to go visit his sister so I could meet her for the first time. It was one weekend and in that weekend we got married in Reno and I felt the baby kick for the very first time in response to her daddy’s voice. When I got back I told my parents I was married and got kicked out to live with him.

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Things were generally on the up and up from there. Eventually my parents and husband could tolerate each other for me and the baby. In my third trimester I started having severe reactions to gluten and whey. I cut them out only to eat the alternatives-gluten free grains and soy substitutes. This prompted my passion for nutrition. I stabilized my weight gain in my third trimester when most women are supposed to gain the most-purely by cutting out gluten and whey. I thought it was the baby having the reactions and not myself (though the doctors disagreed of course).

While I was hoping for a natural birth I ended up getting induced a few days before my due date. My husband was right in my face full of concern for me and was the biggest supporter I could ever have. Next child we have I want only him in the delivery room. I couldn’t have done it without him. Could Not Have. After a day of Pitocin I was checked and had only dilated 1cm. I had been confined to the bed and feel that this was probably why. But after that pain for that long I consented to getting a C-section. We were worried that she would be too big and end up with shoulder dysplasia. The next day I was thrown into the delivery room and couldn’t stop sobbing long enough for them to place the epidural without much bruising. I was and still am scared of hospitals. Finally they let my husband into the room and they delivered my baby girl. Once she was out and I stopped crying tears of fear and started crying tears of extreme joy I looked to him and told him to go with her while they cleaned her. Once I was reunited with her I wouldn’t let the nurses take care of her-I had to do it. I even co-slept with her on my chest despite their concerns.

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We had problems latching so she ended up on formula while I pumped. I had to drink Mothers Milk Tea to get my milk to come in but after a month of pumping I stopped. It was so thankless a job that I just didn’t do it anymore despite my urge to breastfeed (which I still have frequently). In the first month home I lost 45lbs. Between losing the pregnancy stuff (placenta, etc.), pumping, and simply not feeding myself enough I lost a ton of weight. And my Gorgeous started having colicky issues early on which I intuitively felt were gas pains. So I fought everyone and got her switched to soy formula. Still wasn’t the best on her tummy but was better than all of the other stuff.

As time went on we became more and more of a family. We tried to feed her at 3mo per my mother’s advice but felt it was wrong so we stopped. I eventually found out about Baby Led Weaning and tried it. It worked. We were all eating whatever we had in the house and whatever we could find. Sometimes entire meals would be mashed potatoes.
In January of this year my father’s father died. While my parents were up north dealing with the situation up there I was house sitting their house and it got robbed. I came in to find many family heirlooms gone. I quickly searched the house to be sure no one was there and to see the damage. I had to call my parents and tell them what happened. I also called the police and my husband, daughter and I slept in the living room together with a gun by my husband to be safe.

In March my father’s mother went into the hospital. When she came out she ended up living with my parents while her husband filed a divorce. She is having to be forced to move this month because of all of the stress and negativity it is putting on the house.

The last night of April, when April turns to May, my day attempted suicide. My mom and I found him but I saw him first. They both say I picked him up by myself. I don’t know, I just remember being very scared and having a lot of adrenaline pumping in my veins.

Also around April or May we found out that our then-roommate was watching minors in incestual relationships on his computer. Because of what I had been through and what we didn’t want our daughter to go through we went through the process to evict him. Only problem was that once he got evicted we had to reapply and didn’t make enough to stay there. Part of the problem had been that I had had to quit my job because I was having asthma attacks to the bleach there.

So around June I moved into my parents’ house with Gorgeous and my husband moved into his parents’ house. Quickly we established a routine that allowed me one day to myself and one night with him. In August we celebrated Gorgeous’s first birthday and I was told that I was not bipolar so I got to strike that from my record. At the end of August I was told I had ganglion cysts on my ankles and one hand and that it was not depression but GAD instead. And this is how it’s been for awhile. I found Primal living around March of this year (our 1 year anniversary) after blog hopping through 3NL. I found 3NL because of my minimalism search when I was nesting. I’m still an aspiring minimalist and it helps with the transient lifestyle I’m currently forced to live. And somewhere between researching tiny living, primal eating, and dreaming of the home I will someday have I found frugality. As in the lifestyle associated with it, not just the act of being frugal.

And I feel that these three go hand in hand. Usually… So, today, I am in the beginning of my primal journey, going to be moving in with my husband and his parents at the end of the month, and am still dreaming of one day having a rental or tiny home to call our own.

On September 6, 2011 I took my own personal Primal Challenge. At the end of the month I am being threatened by my doctor to be put on blood pressure medicine. I am already on an as needed beta blocker for my heart palpitations. I am on 10000IU of Vitamin D and take 2 allergy meds a day. I turned 22 on September 4th. I am a mom of one lovely Gorgeous and a wife to an amazing man. And I am going to counseling to work on heart healing. I have so much tied up in my heart that I need to heal what is in my heart and dump that baggage in order to be successful with dumping actual weight. This is part of why I have written so much in this one post.

I truly believe in a whole healing approach. I am gathering my supporters and key players around me. So far they are my DD, DH, counselor, doctor, nutritionist, and the guys who run my local CrossFit. If you can’t heal your head or your heart I don’t believe you can heal your body long term. Stress truly has that profound of an effect on you. So, here comes the stats you have been so kind to wait for:
Day 1: 9/6/11
Stats:
Upper arm-17"
Chest-60"
Waist-58"
Hips-68"
Upper Thigh-34.25"
Calf-23.75"
Weight- 390.1 lbs.
Height-5' 11.75"
BMI- 53.9
Age-22

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I put my story out there to try to give you all hope and inspiration. I’ve had to eat potatoes for an entire meal, I’ve been molested, I’ve seen death and faced it multiple times, I’ve cheated, I’ve felt cheated, I have a family. There are so many things that I hope you can relate to from my story that I want you to be able to see that all of you can overcome things ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Primal/Paleo Challenge to you!

Hi everyone! It’s me, Dawn. Back from the depths of the interwebz and ready to give you all something to chomp on. It’s September, a time for new beginnings like the start of the school year and my birthday (I’m 22 now!). It’s also a time of challenges. And not just the “can you force yourself out of bed early enough to get the kids off to school” type of challenges. I’m talking bigger and more personal.

Mark Sisson of Marks Daily Apple has proposed his yearly challenge to begin on September 12th! And, let me tell you, I’m excited! I am currently 4 days into being Primal (following the 80/20 rule) and am on my own personal challenge to give up processed foods, grains, legumes, and sugar! And I’ll be adding an extra few days just to participate in my first Primal Challenge! In the spirit of this month I’ll even be posting a lot about my own journey, including my own “Before” pictures as taken on September 6, 2011, in addition to a lot of family, frugal, minimalist, and nutrition topics.

For those of you who don’t know what Primal/Paleo is check out The Primal Parent, Primal Toad, or even Marks Daily Apple itself! It is very healthy in my own humble opinion and, honestly, you don’t know until you try it. Part of the fun of things is experimentation!
So, I propose a challenge to you. And you get option my dear friends.

1. Take the Primal Challenge! Go check out the rules and try it out. You have nothing to lose considering it’s only 30 days of your life.

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2. Give up junk food. Many of us are addicted to junk food and don’t realize it. Ever gotten really full but still had a craving for pasta or candy? We can become so addicted that we stash our food and lose friends/family! So give it up!

3. Your last choice? Go Whole Foods. Even if you can’t seem to get rid of your precious bread and soymilk at least make everything from scratch. Real veggies, real fruit, real meat, and, if you must, whole grains. At least this way you get to hold onto conventional wisdom a touch longer. Make you feel warm and fuzzy at night.

And if you just can’t wrap your head around these options then try one of the following:

Get better sleep. Turn off all lights in your room, darken the windows, and go to sleep about when the sun goes down. You may have to count sheep the first couple nights but I promise it’ll help.

Play. No, not online or on another device. Put them down and go play. Climb a tree, play dress up with your nearest young female relative, swim, dance, walk through the park. It doesn’t matter how you play, just that you do it for the fun of it.

Get more sex. Seriously. Sex is fun, a workout, and an endorphin release. So if you are of the age where you feel okay with “doing it” then just “do it”.

Relax. Take 10-15 minutes or so each day to just do something that relaxes you. Draw, write, take a long hot shower…

Kill the clutter. Seriously, your outside surroundings are akin to the state of your mind. If you live in clutter then you see lots of visual stimulation which leads to more stress. The minimalist movement has something right. Even if you don’t aspire to be minimalist at least do a 27 fling boogie a la FlyLady. And remember, you can do anything for 15 minutes.

You know, I could totally give you more ideas for mini challenges but I want to hear your ideas. So go on and tell me in the comments what it is you are planning on doing for September 2011 and why. I’d be happy for some thoughts!!