what I have been up tooooooooooooooooooo

I haven't been blogging or reading many blogs lately. I have been busy and I just wanted to share some things that have been going on. My life is a series of stages- even steps. Each one exciting, different, and building on the one before. Childhood, Adolescents, The Teen Years, Young Adult, and now...my thirties :O The past three years I have solely dedicated myself to my family. When I was pregnant with my daughter I made it a point to be very much, in each moment. Although I was sick most of the time, when I wasn't I was basking in the joys of carrying the little one. I kept a daily journal, took prenatal yoga, swam, lay staring at my belly and dreaming of holding her in my arms. When I wasn't doing that- we were spending lots of time with our son, soaking up these last months of just the three of us. At the time we lived on a farm, and took long walks almost daily, built fires and stared at the stars, invented new recipes and ate loads of soups (it was winter), and tried to build structures like Andy Goldsworthy on the property. Magical to say the least! Then soon after I gave birth to my sweet babe we moved to Portland, Oregon for hubby's new job. This time was difficult, only b/c we didn't know anyone, I had recently given birth and was also homeschooling my boy. The three of us frequently suffered cabin fever and homesickness. But through these stages/steps we grew so close as a family. Then my father became ill and my son and I missed home and synchronistically my husband was offered a full academic scholarship with an internship, to complete his Masters, in none other then my home town. So off we went... we stayed with my parents (all 4 of us) until we found a home. This time at my parents I will always treasure. I didn't know then, that my father would be leaving us...never would have even thought it...he was so alive and happy. We made so many wonderful memories. I even had a bit of that wonderful feeling of being a kid again. Eating dinners that my mom made, giggling with my daddy, the kids soaked in love...Treasure! Later as you know, my father passed away. It was on my daughter's birthday, a year from tomorrow (wow, has it really been a year?) that my dad got sick and was hospitalized. A few days later he came home and we were all excited about our Christmas together. The day after his return, he fell and broke his hip. That's when everything fell apart. Why? Why, when he was the happiest he had ever been...when life was finally right? After that he never left the hospital again, except when he came home to die. I remember standing in the kitchen as they wheeled him in, he smiled at me from the bed, so glad to be home. He looked so small and I remember thinking, he will never leave this house alive again. He stayed with us longer then they thought he would. Ornery little booger :) He was alive for my birthday, March 1st, in fact that was the last time he spoke and ate. He was laughing and jovial then suddenly he wasn't. A couple of days later he was gone... I don't know why I wrote all of that. I wasn't planning too- I guess remembering makes him feel alive. Somewhere in all of this...the amazing natural birth of my daughter, the two years of breastfeeding (still am and we have loved it...she has only had a cold twice and nothing else:D), the co-sleeping (which we love and wouldn't trade for the world...there is absolutely no better way to wake up then to a smiling child saying, "up mommy, up daddy"), the moving several times, the home-schooling my son (which has been beyond gratifying with results beyond what I could have imagined), the new relationship with my husband that happens with each additional child (deep and more unconditional then before), the death of my father and the shifts that continue to happen in my heart and spirit without him...somewhere in all of this I got lost. I am not upset about this. It's natural when you have a child to re-emerge 2, 3 years later and redefine yourself. I figured it was time b/c I was starting to feel invisible and often frustrated. Who was I? What did I like to do? Even getting dressed to go to dinner with a friend was hard b/c I couldn't remember what my "style" was. So I have been taking baby steps. Sometimes it's hard b/c the "guilty mother syndrome" creeps in and I have to be prodded and pushed by my supportive and loving husband to go do something for myself. (I love this man so much!) This is what I have been working on: I started with nutrition. I believe that when you need a change in your life- a new head space or whatever, nutrition is always a good place to start. Heal your gut and it will trickle into everything. Being a vegetarian for the last 13 years has been wonderful, but I wanted a re-charge. So I have been experimenting with a vegan raw diet. It has been amazing. I have fallen off the wagon several times, but each time I jump back on, I am reminded of it's instant benefits. And their are soooo many.(I will post a blog all about this another time) At this point I am not 100% raw and don't have any near future plans to be...but I am about 70% raw and loving it! Secondly, I began working on my fitness. This increases the serotonin in the brain and makes me feel alive. Feeling my muscles work makes me feel connected to my body where lately I have felt that my body wasn't my own. So when I can't get to the gym I do a kickboxing dvd (that leaves me very sore) and this week my sweet friend is meeting me early in the morning (before the fam wakes up), to play racquetball, jog and lift weights! YIPPEE! Thirdly, I have been slowly getting rid of excess in our home. Excess weighs my life and my families life down. I think all this consumerism mentality during the holidays spurred this on. I just get so sick of this "give me, give me....buy buy buy" attitude. The more you have the more time is zapped from you. So I cleaned out my closet...I mean really cleaned it out. If I didn't wear it on a regular basis it was put in a pile. Each time I struggled with an item and then finally tossed it, it was such a free feeling. By the end I was flying! I even did my daughters and son's and B did his. We have bags of clothes to donate. I basically did every room...including toys, gadgets, etc. Fourthly (is that a word?), I got a job...whoa! It has been a long time. I knew this would be good for me. I have become socially inept over the last few years. My social calendar and conversation skills are kid oriented. It worked out so well. Because this is B's last semester he only has two classes, twice a week. So now I work about 20 hours while he is home with the kids. I am a receptionist at a fancy hair salon. It's so strange to be working, and even more strange to be around adults. I am still adjusting. I have so much more confidence then I did when I was in my twenties...but I have been feeling homely. Everyone is so hip and exciting and I come in, in my fanciest mom clothes :D I didn't know if I should be offended when at least 3 stylist asked if I wanted my hair done ;D... So now I am trying to figure out my personal style again (which is so fun) and I am getting my hair done this Wednesday. It will be drastically different...I figure go big or go home. I will post a picture. I am beginning to remember who I am. I am beginning to feel excited about new adventures and learning to flick the guilt I sometimes feel when I am gone for the few hours a day- that is easy to do when I come through the door and see the kids playing on the living room floor with their dad, laughing and jumping up and down as they tell me the fun stuff dad did. I find myself jumping out of the car bounding up the driveway when I get home...excited to embrace my family running to greet me (if they aren't busy playing)!!!oh...and did I mention my husband has dinner ready for all of us...lucky gal here! These changes are good. I am even more present each day as I sit and read stories, play with baby dolls or assist in putting together puzzles...and I think of better subjects when we play 20 questions in the evening before bedtime, (CJ's favorite game)...I think I even give better kisses and hugs to my husband ;) If it was even possible, I feel more blessed today then I did yesterday. and maybe, just maybe the hole that was left when my father passed, will get smaller. Now I gotta go...clean up the coffee that was spilt, the crushed cheerios on the floor, and think of something to entertain my children...oh yeah, and brush my teeth and get dressed :) Life is good!