Posts tagged lifestyle
untitled-identity crisis.

The last few weeks I feel like I’ve been having an identity crisis. Am I being a good mom? Who am I as an artist? Am I being the best wife that I can be? Where am I in relation to my community? I think that since finishing school there’s been the constant question from others, “so what are you going to do now?” I don’t know, I’m still figuring that out and taking it day by day. I have passions that are pulling me in all directions and I don’t know where to go. I’ve had family emergencies that brought me back and forth to California, inevitably leading to the passing of my grandpa from his medical complications. I’m unsure where I want to take my business and I simply haven’t given myself enough time to sit down and really think about what I want. 

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The stresses from the last few weeks, especially from being away from home more than being home have been driving me crazy. I like things to be neat and I hate clutter. I haven’t had time to clean and don’t even remember the last time I scrubbed down our shower. I often find myself measuring my worth of being a good wife against my abilities to keep a clean house. While sewing something for my grandpas funeral I turned on the Risen Motherhood podcast series to play in the background. I soon found myself playing my fourth episode, soaking in all the wisdom that I could from those wonderful women. As Jasper gets older, I find myself thinking about how Grafton and I are being examples for Godly parents. Are we teaching him to be a caring person, someone who wants to be a part of their community? Are we teaching him biblical lessons that he’ll hold dear to? One episode I was listening to gave me encouragement to start small, reading stories that are easy to digest and general rather than reading some obscure Bible passage his little mind can’t comprehend just yet. It also made me think about my own relationship with God and the church.

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In Boise we were super involved in our little church, Grafton did worship and I worked in children’s ministry in the nursery. I loved being connected to the people in our church. These relationships weren’t formed because everyone was the same age as me, had the same interests, or even similar personalities. I connected with my church body because we all had the desire to serve God and love on our community. Moving to Spokane, I lost that. I became so focused on school and found it difficult to find a good group of friends that I liked spending time with. The last few weeks of my university studies made being connected even more difficult, we have a small group that meets “every” week, but even that has dwindled from being so busy. I’ve been so discouraged that I can’t set aside a half an hour a day to study the Bible or do a devotional, but I’ve come to realize that a daily half-focused time in prayer is way less important than one or two times per week of fully devoting myself and meditating.

Actually looking into my heart and listening to a few Risen Motherhood podcasts made me realize that all my other relationships and heart issues are a direct reflection of my empty relationship and pursuit of God. It’s not that I don’t love God or desire a relationship, I’ve just put it on the back burner because I’ve put a higher importance on everything else. I believe in spiritual warfare, and have this sense that I’ve been attacked. School, something that is a good thing, became the cause of high amounts of stress for me. This stressed my relationship with my husband and gave me a short temper with Jasper and not being able to get things done around the house.  All of this stress has taken a heavy toll on my body. I think most women can relate to holding stress in their muscles, particularly their backs. I started having severe back spasms, feeling tired almost always on top of constant headaches, poor appetite (both nonexistent as well as an overactive appetite).

While acknowledging my triggers for stress I am also trying to find better ways to cope as well as preventative measures to take. I’m hoping to better my diet and make healthier choices. We do eat pretty healthy, but I’d like to be more conscious of my food intake. Gut health is the jumping off point for so many other things, from mental health to overall wellness. My acupuncturist also suggested that I eat more fermented foods or drink kombucha to aid my gut in wellness. In addition to food choices, I also use essential oils daily. I use products for cleaning that I either make myself or buy that are clean and free from harmful chemicals. I’m in the process of cleaning out my beauty products from toxic materials to pure ones that actually help my body. I’m looking forward to promoting the health of myself and my family in any way that I can, and using essential oils has been the easiest part so far. If you’re interested in learning how you can incorporate essential oils into your own life you can email me or find me on instagram. 

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I’m not expecting change overnight because I have acknowledged the issues. But it is making me conscious of what I want to do to better myself. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the women’s study I’ve done a few times and being part of a community of women that encourage, challenge, and support me to grow in my relationship with God.

Natural Home, Happy Home
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I have always preferred to use holistic or naturopathic remedies before resorting to prescriptions-I even avoid taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen if I just have a headache. I knew that once we had littles running around I wanted to use safer cleaning products as well as avoid unnecessary medications.  

A few months back I reached out to a woman within my Instagram community about using essential oils. I had used a diffuser for quite a while, but never thought to use oils as remedies for ailments or illnesses or overall wellness. I want to point out that essential oils are not labeled as something to use to cure illnesses, as most other natural approaches are not- they have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am, however, one to believe that diet and herbal approaches can be effective in many ways. 

I have just recently began this oily journey, so I have decided to share a few of my favorites with y'all: 

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CITRUS:

My favorite citrus oils are Orange, Lemon, and Tangerine. I have used Orange and Lemon quite a bit for both cleaning and cooking. I will share a few of my favorite recipes in a later post.   I have yet to use Tangerine often, but I have made a "refresher" using it with baking soda. I took a small mason jar and poked a few holes in the lid, mixed in some essential oils with baking soda and let it sit for a few hours. I will sprinkle it on our mattress every couple of weeks then vacuum it up, as well as use it as a scrub when I clean the sink after doing dishes. 

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BUG REPELLENT:

Earlier this Spring we had some nasty mosquitoes! We've also had a couple black fly bites, even on little Jasper. While I will use regular bug spray if it's around, I don't want to be spraying it on Jasper! I ordered up some Citronella and got to concocting! In a spray bottle, I mixed about 20 drops of Citronella, 15 drops of Lavender, and 2 drops of Rosemary. Rosemary has a very strong smell, so I use it sparingly. I filled the bottle with water and so far have not had an issue with bug bites.

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A GREAT COMBO: 

I LOVE cloves. I think it's because it reminds me of winter time, which is the best. Anyway, I like to make oatmeal for breakfast (when I remember, HELLO mom brain!), my favorite recipe is old fashioned oats with chocolate chips, a few drops of Orange and only ONE drop of Clove. This blend is also a great one to diffuse. 

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THIEVES: 

This oil blend is one of my favorites by far. I use it in my diffuser to make my house smell fresh and clean, as well as use it as part of my daily beauty routine. It is worth mentioning that Thieves is considered a "hot" oil, meaning, it has a warming sensation when applied topically. I only use 1-2 drops on my face, making sure to keep it away from my eyes. After a moment, I apply 2 drops of Lavender to cool off the sensation. Thieves is also a powerful cleaner and can be added to a load of laundry or dishes. I have also tried the YL Thieves Toothpaste and really liked it.

 

Overall, I have had nothing but a great experience with essential oils and the community I have found within it. Personally, I use Young Living; it is important to use 100% pure essential oils, no matter where you choose to get them from.  If you want to learn more about using essential oils or would like to begin using them, feel free to contact me-while I am still learning myself, I am happy to help!

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whole30:day 23

Holy smokes! I can't believe I have made it this far without veering off the whole30 track. Yesterday I got some cute new cookie cutters, so naturally, I had to try them out. A simple sugar cookie mix and a half hour later, I have some pretty stinkin' cute mason jar cookies for my husband to eat.

So far, I can say that the whole30 program has definitely made me less bloated and I have lost weight, I've even started having to notch my belt two holes tighter than before. I didn't start this to lose weight at all, I was just curious to see if any foods affected me in any sort of way, but I'm not complaining about the results. 

A few of my go-to foods are:

  • eggs-pretty much my breakfast every morning. I like to add onions, spinach, sautéed mushrooms, or avocados.
  • sweet potatoes-twice baked pizza stuffed, or with sautéed mushrooms.
  • chia pudding-thanks to my mother-in-law, I have this little snack that I keep on hand. 6-8 oz of a whole30 compliant milk, 2 tbs chia seeds, and banana blended together. I like to add a little cinnamon or strawberries too. Let the mixture sit in the fridge anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight depending on your preference of texture.

I've found that it hasn't been too hard to make dinner's, just that I have to be more aware of the ingredients list on things like almond milk, juices, and even chicken broth or canned tuna. While dining out, I'll get a burger without a bun, a salad, or an omelette-I'm just always sure to ask for dairy free since most places use milk in their egg mixtures to make them fluffier.

While I was originally planning on doing the whole30 for the entire Lent period, I decided to just do the 30 days, so then I can start the reintroduction period during the last couple of days. I'm not sure what food group I will start with first when I begin reintroducing foods, but I will be sure to update y'all on that and how they affected my body.

squeezing in lunch

As I mentioned in an instagram post a little while back, it's pretty hard to find time to make myself lunch while simultaneously trying to hold Jasper. Usually he's okay for a few minutes if I lay him on his little bear rug, but this also means I have to make something that's super quick and can be hand held. 

This last Sunday I finally decided to make extra quinoa and chicken to use throughout the week, and let me just say-I'm pretty happy that I did! I've made a couple different wraps with it that were super delicious, easy to make, and I could eat while holding Jasper.

I have a few favorite go-to lunches when I'm in a rush, and usually try having my veggies chopped before hand. 

  1. Smoothies- A couple weeks back I bought 'Power Greens' from Costco in the big pack, along with a pineapple, strawberries, and kale. In ziplock bags I added my greens, the fruit, and a few dates. I made about 15 of these baggies and popped them in my freezer, when I'm ready to use one I just blend it with either milk or some greek yogurt. I like to add granola or chia seeds on top as well for added flavor.
  2. Salads- I LOVE a big salad. I could probably eat salads for every meal. I always make sure I have a big container of the 'Power Greens' I mentioned earlier on hand. I usually just add some cucumber and tomatoes on top, but I also like an asian style salad with chicken, mandarins, almonds, and wonton noodles. Goat cheese is another one of my favorite toppings.
  3. Curry Wrap- With the extra quinoa and chicken I made this week I made a super delicious wrap that tastes delicious hot or cold. In a tortilla, I add a spread of a ready made curry sauce, either homemade or a jarred one from the store. I top this with chicken and quinoa. Super good, easy to take on the go.
  4. Quinoa Bowls- YUM!!! I really like these bowls with roasted veggies and topped with garlic or turmeric, sometimes chicken if I want a little more substance.
  5. Tuna Avocado Sandwich- I love tuna. I'm not sure what it is about it, because I normally don't like fish, but I LOVE tuna. I like it with tortilla chips, but I really like it on a sandwich. In a bowl I add a drained can of tuna, a little mayo-emphasis on a little (I hate mayo), and garlic powder. Mix that baby up and put it on some whole grain bread and top it off with avocado.
  6. Hard Boiled Eggs-I try to keep a couple of these babies in my fridge, they're a quick and easy snack that requires little effort.
  7. Zucchini or Banana Bread- Every couple of weeks I make a big batch of zucchini or banana bread. I have 4 mini loaf tins that I bake them in and usually make muffins as well. I keep a couple in the fridge and wrap and freeze the rest. They freeze super well, so when I'm ready to defrost them I just pop it in the fridge.
  8. Apples + PB or AB- Thanks to WIC, I have a whole lotta peanut butter in my cupboard, and sometimes I have fresh ground almond butter from our local Huckleberries Market. A super easy snack that you'll most likely already have the ingredients for.
it's decided

I finished finals last week, 17 credits with straight A's-not sure how I managed that with missing 2 weeks and having a baby, but I did.

Last March I transferred to Eastern Washington University, changing my BFA in Studio Art to a BA in Visual Art. I had heard great things about EWU and was excited to hopefully finish my studies. My first day of school I plugged my meter for 7 hours since I would be on campus all day, only to get an email as I'm walking into the building that the professor was sick and class was cancelled. So at this point, there was no point in staying on campus until my next class started 4 hours later so I drove all the way back home. My painting class that day was mediocre, and the next day, my drawing class was a total joke. We spent the first 20 minutes drawing different kinds of lines. Literally just scribbling on paper. Mind you, this was a 300 level drawing class so I was expecting it to be as challenging as the 300 course I had taken the semester before at Boise State.

I went home that day irritated. I spent the rest of that quarter basically just existing on campus because my classes were so easy, I didn't even have to try. I hoped that this fall quarter would be better.

Scheduling classes was a little of a challenge, as I needed flexible teachers who were willing to let me register with me missing the last part of school due to Jasper being born. I lucked out; my French teacher was super awesome, and even let me bring Jasper to class with me. There was a new Art History teacher who had previously taught at the University of Washington who didn't even move to Spokane until 2 weeks before school started so I was nervous about his decision to allow it. I was also going to be his only student in the Art History Research course, so the first day of class I introduced myself and gave him the low-down. Daniele was excited for me and Grafton and was more than willing to be flexible with me regarding due dates and missing class (Yes, HIS name is Daniele, he is Italian-like, super Italian). I had the same painting teacher as before, but honestly, I didn't really care what he thought because he didn't do much the quarter before anyways.

So like I said, I finished the quarter this last week, but I had to make a decision about Winter Quarter in November. I really want to continue learning French, but I was feeling so much stress over school I was unsure about continuing so I waited and prayed.

The last two weeks or so, it has become pretty clear that the best thing is for me to stop going to school for now. All the stress about finishing school (which would take about another year, possibly even 2 if I couldn't get into the classes I needed to, because EWU generally only has one time period for each course-it's ridiculous) especially the financial stress was getting to be too much. I went from a full ride at BSU to having to pay almost $2000 per quarter. I was expecting the art program here to teach theories of color, how to stretch your own canvas, framing and displaying your art, I expected to learn different mediums to paint in rather than just acrylic.

I'm not sure if I'll return to school in the future, and honestly, I don't really want to think about it. I want to enjoy the time I have with Jasper, I want to focus on my art and actually make the business out of it that I have been trying to the last 3 years. I know that I'm going to disappoint some people with my decision to quit after 4 years, but I think my mental health and my happiness is more important than a degree, especially since I want to pursue freelance work anyways. I don't agree that the only education you can receive is in a classroom. I have learned more from classes on Skillshare, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube than I have the last 2 quarters in school.

So for now, you'll find me snuggling my baby, happy as a clam and painting.

À bientôt-

countdown

In one month, our little baby is due. It's a little crazy for me to think about how fast the last eight months has gone by. Today we have a birth class (all day-cause you know, cram as much as you can in at once...) and it's really starting to sink in that this is all for real.

A lot of people have asked if I'm nervous or excited, etc. I'm every emotion packed into my little body. I'm nervous for delivery, I'm stressed trying to figure out how my school schedule will be, I'm scared for Grafton (hopefully I don't become a raging laboring woman haha). I'm excited to have our little babe wear all the cute clothes he has gotten. I'm really excited to be able to go out dinner and have a beer with my meal. I can't wait to snuggle Baby and nuzzle his head with my nose and give him all the kisses I can.

I look forward to all the adventures we will get to bring him on, although for some reason a lot of people keep saying things like, "you can't do this or that anymore". PFFT. Say's who? Last time I checked babies can be held and carried...and I'm fully capable of having a life outside of sitting inside my house. Yes, I'm aware that having a baby will make it more difficult to go places-but I'm okay with that. 

Thanks to my best friend Hailey for the photo.

I think the most interesting part of my third trimester so far is the weird/dirty looks I get while walking across campus. Mostly from young(er) girls. It must be a little shocking to see someone waddling to class with a protruding belly when a majority of the students there are "traditional students". I just want to point out the fact that, yes, people with children and full time jobs and maybe even people who are over 40 years old can go to university. 

Often times I've noticed that it's these non-"traditional" students who succeed the most in college. They aren't out partying, they have priorities, they know why they're going to school. I'm in year 5, so it's a little late to drop out. Plus, I enjoy being in school and learning more. I probably should have gone the faster route to graduation, but hey, college is about exploration right? Since I started university I have changed my major about five times and have transferred schools three times now: I started at BSU, transferred to FVCC and graduated from there with an AA, transferred BACK to BSU then Grafton and I moved to Spokane last December for him to start his business so I transferred to EWU. I definitely do not encourage transferring and changing majors a bunch of times. It's one hell of a hassle to deal with. 

Once I found out I was pregnant I was forced to really think about what I wanted to do about school: do I finish? Or do I drop out? I decided to just go for it, and a few months ago I had to officially declare my major with the university, and because I was a transfer student, I needed a certain number of credits from EWU to graduate. Well, just being a studio art major wouldn't get me there so I had to either double major or declare a minor. Me being me decided, "Hell, I'll just do both". So here I am, officially declared as a double major in Studio Art and Art History and a French minor about to have a baby in 4 weeks. Luckily my professors this quarter are okay with me possibly missing the last 3 weeks of class and the same professors will most likely be my professors next quarter, and they are totally okay with me bringing baby to class if I need to. 

T W E N T Y N I N E days until we meet our sweet baby boy. Four weeks until I get to meet him, kiss him, cuddle him, show him off. One month until I get to hold my Baby.