#PinkHairDontCare

img_2568

So the other day I’m sitting in my therapist’s office discussing one of the most traumatic moments of my life, and kinda laughing it off because it almost sounds silly. I wasn’t discussing being molested or raped- not to say that’s not a discussion, it absolutely has been for many years, in fact, it has monopolized many a’therapy session. So much so that I have blown off other traumatic moments because when you compare them, you kinda can’t top sexual abuse. Well, that was my mainframe, anyway… But let’s not compare apples and oranges…. trauma is trauma. These moments can define you, and they did define me in many ways. I’m working towards living MY life and not basing everything off of my past.

SOOOO I’m discussing the days leading up to my baptism into the (cough* CULT *cough) ICOC. I was 15, it was the summer before I started high school, my parents FINALLY let me dye my hair pink, and I really wasn’t buying “the god thing”. My parents/teen leaders expected me and my sister to go to Teen Camp, and we did… At this point my closest friends had been kept from me for months. You know how I was a bad egg because I questioned, and am not easily silenced. The “church” decided it was better to isolate me… and they were right. Being left out was awful. It didn’t make me believe in god, it made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Like I was broken for not having the same blind faith as everyone else. It came down to being treated badly and either ignored or rebuked, or I could “study the bible” and be baptized and be treated kindly.

At this point, you have to understand that I literally didn’t see life beyond the ICOC. I didn’t dare to imagine it. I was RAISED drinking the koolaid. I felt like it was wrong, but what did I know? I was trained from the get go to believe that this was the only way to live. So when I questioned, I felt like I was “in sin”. It was scary and lonely and confusing. No one sympathized. Even the kids who rebelled still had some sort of faith in god. I was the only one that didn’t. So I told myself that I was wrong, and I should at least try because if I TRY, if there is a god, he will “soften my heart” and I will have my friends back, and my parents would be proud of me. That’s what I did. I studied, (studying The Bible in an ICOC or ICC church is pretty intense. Over the course of a few studies, you have been brainwashed into believing that the only way to achieve salvation is by confessing your sins to someone *who’s going to share with other people*, having a specified discipler and being baptized by someone in the ICOC/ICC. You’re eventually expected to distance yourself from family members that are non disciples.) memorized and regurgitated. After passing the “Prove It” study, my disciplers informed me that I could be baptized by next Sunday, but I had to dye my hair back to a normal color because I was” too noticeable and that’s sinful. God doesn’t like that sort of thing.”

img_2594

Remember how I was 15 years old and I had been begging my parents to let me dye my hair pink for like 3 years??? And FINALLY they said yes???? But, guess what, my cool pink hair was sinful. Just like my personality “made the boys struggle” (You guys, I wasn’t even cute, boys didn’t like me. I was awkward and mousy and plain. Flat chested, short… I wore glasses and read books. TRUST me when I say that I was not the girl that “made boys struggle”.) I was infuriated! Of course to be saved I had to conform. After deliberation and prayer, I bleached out the dye, and was dunked into the Pacific Ocean that Sunday. I really hoped my first breath after my baptism would feel like my first, that I would feel cleansed and new. It was a devastating slap in the face to see that I felt exactly the same. Only… pissed. These people have been lying to me my whole life. (I know some of you feel like your baptism meant something, and, OK I’m not saying nothing changed for you, I’m saying it didn’t work for me and it wasn’t for lack of trying.) Never mind the fact that at 15, how much sinning could I have done. I was actually on the more angelic side of the spectrum when it came to actual “sinning”. Realistically, I just wasn’t a bad kid. And after fuming for a few minutes and receiving awkward hugs, responding as honestly as I could when people asked me over and over, “How do you feel?” (probably just to reaffirm how they tell themselves they felt after the baptisms. In fact, I remember asking my best friend the same question before I was baptized, if she felt new, I would, too.) to which I answered, “cold.” I thought, “And I dyed my hair for this?”

Jenna and her rad blue ombre
Jenna and her rad blue ombre

Just over a year later I “fell away”. Afterwards I pierced my belly button, my nose, and tongue. At 18 I started getting tattoos, but I stopped dying my hair. Weird, right? I don’t remember consciously deciding I wouldn’t dye my hair again, but it’s been roughly 10 years and I finally dyed my hair a few months ago, nothing crazy, just blonde streaks. a month or two later I went a little further and went very blonde ombre… kinda dipping my toes in. I remember that feeling, the change every time you look in the mirror. New. Baptized.

And that’s the revelation I had.

For years I have avoided “ceremonial” signals of change. I stopped believing in these big moments that signify transformation.

And then, I decided it was time to dye my hair pink. Why? Because I want to, and I’m an adult now, so piss off! (Yes that was a drop Dead Fred reference) And guess what… I absoFUCKINlutely LOVE my hair! (I especially love that my husband dyed it for me #keeper) Also, we decided that all the kids should rock colored hair, because, why not?

img_2584

 

How I Drove My Husband Crazy By Accident

IMG_6285.GIF

Compromise.

I can’t begin to explain how often that advice is given. It fits with just about any issue… in a perfect world. But what about when there is no compromise? Because those situations are the real issues. The small things, yeah, we can find middle ground, one of us will back down because, we’re just too tired. Too tired of fighting. I am too tired.

Last year I committed to a year of “no-poo”. Well that’s what I called it, but in reality shampoo was only one of the many changes I made. I stopped using shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, antibacterial hand soaps, body wash, lotion, face wash, acne treatments and sunscreen. I know, now I sound like a dirty hippy. Don’t worry, I’m clean, and not smelly. I started out by making my own hygiene products, and slowly weaned off of many things altogether. Here is what I learned in the last year:

The biggest thing that stands out, to be honest is that I drove my husband bonkers! Seriously. Like I think there was a point where he was ready for one of us to move out. No, not because I smelled bad, but because I didn’t give him the option NOT to jump on my bandwagon. Within a matter of weeks I had thrown out all of the shampoos and soaps in the house. I went DIY crazy and made toothpaste, hand soap,  and shaving cream. He hated it. Not all of it, but most of it. He missed the suds in shampoo, and the wateriness of the body wash. The coconut oil toothpaste was salty, I fixed that, but then it was clogging our sinks. Our showers and sinks were nearly impossible to clean because coconut oil hardens and traps dirt. Still, I stood strong. I felt I was doing my job, I was saving my family from diseases. I still 100% believe in my “cause”… I just may have done it a little differently. I know that I changed everything because I love my family, but I didn’t realize the impact it would have… the negative impact. I had high hopes for the positive! I didn’t expect my husband to be frustrated daily. Missing the simplicity. I didn’t realize it took so much energy for him to try to understand my reasons, and how overwhelming it must be for him. I mean, our first year together I took away all the processed foods, and he started reading food labels. Which annoyed him then, also… now he has to read labels on the hand soap…

I realized that I was insensitive and didn’t truly know my husband. And he didn’t know me. I did not respect him. I didn’t bother to ask him, in my mind I had to save the world. That’s me… I am an activist. I see a problem and have an innate need to fix it. My heart is too big, I inherited this martyr-esque personality from my dad, and seriously I will be uncomfortable and miserable and choose the path of GREAT resistance for the greater good. That’s not my husband. They say opposites attract. Well in this case, it couldn’t be more true. I’ve learned this year that my husband is both a blessing and a lesson. I’ve learned that I am a control freak… and so is he. I’ve learned that compromise is a bitch.

The year mark couldn’t have come soon enough. Not that I wanted to buy regular hand soap, but I was ready to stop fighting. Every day became a fight on some level. Maybe we didn’t actually argue, but he would get frustrated by any number of inconveniences caused by the changes I made. And I took it personally that he hated it. It was those little things that wore on him, and turned into reasons to bicker. He became so frustrated. I felt like he didn’t care about his health, or our kids. It’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s that it was too much. This isn’t what he signed up for. It was all too much. And let’s be honest… Ignorance is bliss. I stripped away his bliss, I dissected it, and magnified the ugly truths, broadcasting them, forcing them to be acknowledged. This was the third time I turned his life upside-down and inside out. The first time it was the food, switching to organic and banning fast food. Next it was parenting, I brought my crunchy attachment parenting ideals into his home, and changed the rules. I took parenting out of his hands, again without compromise (in his eyes). And now I’ve taken away shampoo. In his mind, I’ve been taking. Taking away his comforts, his jobs, his rules, his ideals, his deodorant… In my mind I was enriching, nourishing, helping and teaching. It’s mind blowing how opposite we see the same situation.

It never occurred to me that I might make him feel stupid. I have such strong feelings, often based on extensive research, and because I trust my intuition. It was never my intention to make him feel less than he is. All I ever wanted was to be better for each other, our kids and the planet. I never thought that maybe he was perfectly happy with the way things were. Who do I think I am, that I can just make these decisions without talking with him? I am not his children’s mother, I do that job, he asked me to… And I wanted to. I assumed it meant I could parent the way I saw fit. I didn’t stop to think that because this is a partnership, he should have a say, more than a say… they are his kids. But I thought it was my job, this parenting thing. I have a daughter of my own, and I do my best. I thought his job was to provide, and back me up, while I did all the nitty gritty mom jobs. I didn’t think he wanted to “parent”. He never expressed interest in it, that is until I was doing it full time.

I learned that compromise doesn’t mean admitting defeat. It means I value my marriage. So last week I bought shampoo. I bought antibacterial hand soap, lysol, and toothpaste, too.  (I’ll write a whole blog on what kind and why!) I am picking my battles, and finding ways to keep my household healthy… and also realizing that all of our emotional health is more important than  physical. I would rather be married.

IMG_6286.JPG

I plan to write all the amazing things (and all the not so great things) I learned in the last year! What worked, and what didn’t… I know this post makes it should like it it was a disaster, it wasn’t. My hair is happy and my skin is smoother than ever! I had to get the therapeutic part out of the way first 😉

 

 

Birthday Wish

Tomorrow is my 28th birthday. I’ve been sick in bed with this horrible stomach flu… plenty of time to think through the last 27 years, but really I’ve focused on the last year. Usually we take inventory on New Years eve… but I think this is more appropriate for me. I’ve bee thinking about the kind of woman I want to be in the next year.

This year I want to listen more. I will bite my tongue and take a deep breath, because I don’t have to be right. I will be conscious of how I make others feel when I express my opinions. No one should feel small because of something I’ve said. My tongue can be acid, something I am honestly proud of… it’s my best weapon. But I’d rather use it only when there is a worthy fight. Speaking of fighting, I will pick my battles. There is no point in fighting to the death when it’s not THAT important. I don’t want to push people I love away because I have strong feelings. I will be kind to my husband. Why is it that it’s so easy to snap at him when I love him so much? Even when he does idiotic things, chances are, he had no idea how it would effect me. It’s not fair to hold him accountable for not meeting the expectations I never voiced. I will voice my expectations (after thinking them through, deciding if they are reasonable, fair and won’t rock the boat (too much). I will tell my kids that I love them everyday. I will tell my kids I love them when I am mad at them. I will have patience with other humans. I will have patience with myself. Nobody is perfect. I will follow my heart, I will embrace change, I will nurture and nourish myself family. Our health is important, even if it can be inconvenient. I will listen to my intuition. I will have humility when I mess up. I will not point out other’s faults. I will be kind. I will burn the good candles, eat sushi for no reason, drink champagne any time, and call my grandma “just because”.

I’m promising myself, because everything I do effects the universe. I want to make the world better, not bitter.

Step Monster

IMG_5474.JPG

I am so tired. Emotionally. I do not want to get out of bed because I’m not sure I have the energy to be a step mom today. I feel like every few months I’m at my wits end, sobbing in the bathroom into a glass of wine, resisting the urge to call my own step mother, and best friend to tell her I just can’t do this anymore. I don’t know how she managed, how in the hell she didn’t run away. I think, actually at one point she did run away. I don’t blame her. I can’t say whether it was harder for her to not have her own children, it was definitely a piece that was missing, but maybe it was a blessing for my sister and I? We needed all of her heart.

When I came into this relationship I already had my daughter, and my husband had a daughter and a son. I liked his kids immediately, and they liked me. I was thrilled to become a step mom, having been raised by one, I felt like maybe it was preparation for my future as a step mom. Not everyone is lucky enough to be raised by a step parent that they actually look up to. (It certainly wasn’t always like this, there were times that I think we hated each other, and years that I made her life miserable.) It didn’t occur to me that my life would turn into a fight. A constant fight for the impossible. I had been a stay at home mom, an attachment parenting mom. I was and am deeply connected to my daughter. I had not thought a whole lot about how I would parent her as she grew up, because I was taking it one day at a time. (When she was three I was convinced she was possessed, turns out she was just three… But I spent hours on the phone and the internet trying to figure out what to do.) Suddenly I had a 7 year old and a 5 year old, and my 3 three year old. I figured I would keep doing what I was doing, I tried to fit into their life as best I could, but there really was no place for me. The family was so used to taking care of each other that I was only really needed as a babysitter. Feeling like a fish out of water I began to make small changes in our household, there had to be a way to make us a family. Initially it was health. I threw out all the packaged, boxed and canned food and worked tirelessly on changing their diet. I wasn’t comfortable feeding my child TV dinners, and I thought it was the loving thing to nourish my new family. Well, that backfired. I ended up becoming the enemy of the in-laws and extended family. Instead of backing me up, they decided to lie, and sneak around, teaching my kids that I do not deserve respect.

IMG_5726.JPG

That was 3 years ago, since then we have had similar struggles, and they seem to be worse and more frequent. Between encouraging my kids to lie to me and my husband, and actually lying to us, it’s impossible. My husband is so used to his family disrespecting each other that he doesn’t see the problem. Because he doesn’t see it, he thinks I overreact. He feels I should just let it go, because they will never change. I would do that if it didn’t directly effect the way his kids treat me.

You can see, my husband is generally more relaxed, he’s not a rule enforcer. The only time he really pushes it is dependent upon his mood, or what is necessary, like if we have to go and the kids are messing around, THEN the dad voice comes out and everyone scrambles. I prefer that the children are obedient and don’t require “dad voice”. I am aware that as parents, it’s our responsibility to raise our children and teach them to be decent human beings. (The jury for me is still out on The Lord of the Flies, but watching my step son, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t hesitate to eat his friend.) It seems I worry endlessly about who these kids will be as adults and I am scared. Honestly scared. I see a child with no conscience. And I believe it’s our job (and I mean EVERY adult) to teach children empathy. We are not all born with the gift of empathy, and if you grow up in a household where it’s every man for himself… and that’s kind of the environment I see. The problem is, I seem to be the only immediate family who sees a problem and I go back and forth between just letting it be, and then being horrified and feeling a deep seeded need fix the problem.

I wonder if I didn’t have my own daughter, and actual horse in the race, maybe I would just let it go, be a babysitter, and let their lives be the way they were. The problem is that I have a little girl that I have high hopes for, I see so much promise in her, and I won’t cut comers on parenting. Not with my little girl. I have seen the products of “non parent parenting”, and I am not going to be responsible for that. The problem is, I have a hand in parenting my step children, so I will have responsibility to take. What am I gonna say? I’m sorry I fought with your dad so much and taught you that it’s OK to undermine your partner? I’m sorry I was so inconsistent? I’m sorry you think I favor my daughter– I wasn’t allowed to be your mom. I’m sorry I gave up on you….

IMG_5727.PNG

I don’t want to give up. I love these kids. And I love my husband. I want us to be a family, but I don’t see how we are going to get through this with out royally fucking these kids up. At some point something has got to give. I’m tired of fighting. But I feel a moral obligation to these awesome littles. I feel a deeper obligation to MY little.

I am blessed because my daughter has a wonderful step mom who has become my friend and sometimes my therapist. I have 100% support from my daughter’s father and his wife. It’s refreshingly healthy. I can’t see why I don’t have that from my husband’s family.

I know I’m not an expert parent, but my heart is in it, and I work my ass off trying to do right by my little family. Often times it’s the hardest thing to do. And way too many times it turns into a fight. Where is the balance? What battles do I pick? How can I make this work? I have fantasies that I take my daughter and we just live together, and I spend weekends with my husband and the kids… wouldn’t it be easier if I only saw them all occasionally, and didn’t have a responsibility to parent? I would miss them, but I think I would be much more relaxed. It’s a huge responsibility being a parent. I do not take it lightly… I do not want to abandon them. But I do want to run away sometimes. Like today.

IMG_5472.JPG

 

Stop means STOP

This one is kind of a rant….

I have a question:

Why are victims the ones who have to make all the changes? Why is it socially acceptable to give victims pointers on how not to be harassed, bullied or raped?

I asked my husband yesterday as he was giving me ideas to tell a friend of mine who is being cyber bullied by her ex husband. He said, “Because Douchebag (No his name isn’t really Douchebag, but I changed his name for his privacy lol) is never going to stop. If she wants it to stop SHE has to do something.”

To me that answer sounded an awful lot like, “She was wearing a dress, she was asking for it.”

Why doesn’t the abuser have responsibility to take in these scenarios? Why doesn’t STOP mean stop? Why doesn’t NO mean no? Why did my friend have to run away from an abusive man, and get rid of her cell phone because he had enabled the GPS and was following her? Why did she have to sit in a court room and be victim shamed because she couldn’t afford a lawyer?

Why doesn’t he stop? Why is he allowed to text her 20-40 times in a row? Threatening litigation over and over for every little thing. Blaming HER for his actions. Somehow its all her fault, but he is the one who abused her. And he is still the one harassing her.

In the 4 or 5 years that I have known Douchebag, he has been possessive and controlling. I watched my friend’s phone ring 32 times in a row. 32 times! If she silences her phone and puts it away while we are out to lunch or something, when she picks it up again there are dozens of missed calls and texts. When they shared a car, he would threaten to call the police and report it stolen if she wasn’t back in a reasonable time. For a few years I rarely saw my friend because it was just too stressful for her to leave the house. And she is not the only person who has been harassed. He will call my friend’s parents to “tattle”, or show up at their house in the middle of the night in a panic. He threatened to kill himself, and sent a photo of himself lighting the title to my friend’s car on fire. He has cyber bullied me via Facebook and text message. He showed up at another friend’s house at 2am and began ringing the doorbell over and over looking for her. Their daughter told me that “Daddy is scary at mommy.”

Somehow in his brain this is all her fault.He has no responsibility to take. The judge didn’t think a restraining order was necessary, and ruled that Douchebag is allowed to talk to his daughter on the phone every night, so my friend had to give him a phone number. Which he uses constantly.

A few hours after court I received a (drunk?) text from Douchebag threatening to sue me for “deformation” or character and slander. (It’s defamation you idiot!) I had been on the stand that morning, and I told the truth, (although, funny enough, I wasn’t allowed to tell the whole truth. I was cut off at any chance that I tried to explain an answer. Why was I even sworn in?) and he didn’t like it. No kidding, it makes him sound like he’s insane!!! But he can’t own it.

Last night I got a text from an ex boyfriend of my friend informing me that Douchebag contacted him in attempt to locate my friend. He threatened legal action. I found out later that he also contacted 3 other people as well.

When will it end?

When will stop mean stop?

I am infuriated by the disrespect. This man truly believes he’s in the right, he believes he has every right to harass whomever, whenever. It’s not OK. I encourage you to speak up when you witness bullying of any kind. Teach your children about respecting each other, when your child says, “stop” then stop! And reinforce that you respected their words. Let’s not raise bullies. *****Obviously, be safe, don’t put yourself in danger.*****

Parents have responsibilities to their children and to society to raise respectful children. Bullies don’t just pop out of nowhere. It’s a product of some type of trauma, or abuse or neglect. (Monkey see monkey do.) As parents we must nurture, and encourage empathy. Teach our children that other people have feelings, too, and it is equally important to validate your own feelings, as it is to validate other’s. There are too many little assholes running around, one day they’re gonna be big assholes. And it’s much harder to tame that kind of behavior in an adult. Let’s teach our kids that it’s OK to say, “I don’t like the way that makes me feel” and to remove themselves from uncomfortable situations. It’s OK to to walk away when someone is hurting you, or or making you feel yucky. I wish I was taught this. I wish my friend was taught this. Sadly she put up with it for too long. The problem with allowing bullies to bully, is they have learned that it’s ok to treat you like that. At this point we have responsibility to take. I am always called the bitch because I won’t put up with “certain people” who treat me badly. I will not be yelled at, name called or disrespected, and I make every effort to avoid situations where this might happen. I avoid certain functions because I know that I am not respected, and I won’t just sit quietly and take it. Because it’s viewed as “rude” to defend myself, I stay away. While everyone gives “certain people” excuses. “That’s just how they are.” Not to me they’re not.

If you have suggestions on how to deal with a bully, please comment below.

Nature Vs Nurture

In high school before reading Lord of the Flies we had the “Nature Vs. Nurture” debate and I was die hard Nature. I believed deeply that we are innately good, despite my Christian upbringing. (If you are Christian, you more likely believe that man is evil, and must make the conscious choice to do “good”) As an adult, and a parent I am considering that both are important. I still believe we are born good, that our hearts are pure, and we are effected by circumstance. But I believe we are who we are. Do circumstances effect a person? Change them? Yes, but I believe we already have a blueprint, so to speak, so we still react based on our personality.

For instance, I’ll give you three girls, all three grew up in the same church (you guessed it, ICOC), all three lived in loving Christian homes, they went to the same schools and all three were molested. To keep things interesting let’s name them: Gemini, Aquarius and Pisces.

Gemini never really fit in anywhere, and she over ate and wore baggy clothes as to not attract sexual attention. She was mean to other kids, and angry. Mostly she was sad, but didn’t feel like she could show it. She eventually began using and selling drugs. After a few rounds of rehab, she is clean and happy, working and going to school. She has a huge heart, and is comfortable with her body and her sexuality. She has a higher power.

Aquarius tried to talk, but was hushed repeatedly, eventually she stopped talking. She felt ashamed of her body because of the kind of attention it attracted, she threw herself into extracurricular activities. She became too busy to feel. She is now on the road to entrepreneurship, she has her own business, sings and doesn’t let anyone push her around. She still has faith.

Pisces plastered a smile on her face in public, and was overly friendly to everyone, she never wanted anyone to think she wasn’t OK. At home she hid behind her books, and escaped in other worlds so she wouldn’t have to deal with reality. She can’t handle injustice and calls people on their shit. She wants to save everyone from pain, and is empathetic to a fault. She can’t stand churches of any kind, but truly believes the best in people.

You see, all three girls reacted in their own way, even though they each went through the same thing. They each found a way to escape: drugs, work, and fantasy. I see this as proof that we are who we are.

If it wasn’t obvious, Hi, I’m Pisces. I have been hurt deeply in my life, just as Gemini, Aquarius, and so many others were, and still I see good in people, I trust WAY too quickly, I want to believe you. I feel connections to people almost instantly. I also instantly know if I do not like someone, and I can usually figure out what sign they are based on my uneasy feeling. I feel it is my mission to help people, and I have passion out to wazoo. I also have a really hard time taking criticism, and admitting I’m wrong feels like I’m swallowing a flaming sword.

I’m telling you all that to show how individual I am, because you may be a Pisces, and you may be thinking, “Well astrology is BS because I’m not like you, Justine. I am shy and quiet, and I go with the flow. I have had less than 3 sexual partners, and I keep my opinions to myself because I don’t like drama.” Of course not every Pisces is gonna be a clone of the next Pisces. I think that people get that impression about astrology. You see, different people have different coping skills and personality traits that may have been passed through genetics, or maybe it goes deeper? I have always connected with astrology, my birth chart (not to be confused w the horoscope you find in the newspaper) is insanely accurate, my parenting, love, emotions and life mission are spot on. Just bear with me, I know you think it’s a bunch of crap, but I have a point. I want to show you my blueprint.

I am going to stick with the super basics so I don’t lose you. So I’ll show you 4 of my twelve signs, the 4 that seem to me to really build a personality.

Sun sign: Your sun sign is your birth sign, mine is Pisces. So that’s super basic, a typical Pisces is emotional, absorbs others emotions, good or bad, can be a sucker for anyone who needs help. Can be gullible and shy, dreamy, romantic. Gets easily lost in their own fantasy world. Pisces can be airheads, and pretty temperamental. A Pisces mother has a deep connection with their children, she is a nurturer and may spoil her children. Most of that is true about me, however, most Pisces can relate to the first level, but we may feel there is so much more? In my case, where is the out-spoken passionate fighter?

Rising Sign: Your rising sign is the mask you wear in public. It is usually someone’s first impression of you. Mine is Cancer. Cancer risings like to be in a familiar place, and get uncomfortable in new places, they are cautious and conservative, gentle and giving. Cancer risings are nurturers. Overly sensitive to criticism. If you just met me (not having read my blog because my blog totally blows my sweet sensitive water sign’s cover) you would probably think these things about me. More so when I was younger, as I’ve aged I have actually started to embrace my moon sign more. In fact, people who I have reconnected with over the years always ask, “Where did the quiet little Justine go?” She found her voice, it was hiding in her moon sign.

Moon sign: The moon sign is the main reason people with the same sun sign can be so different. Your moon sign is your emotions. It’s the way you intuitively react to things. Mine is Aries, after reading my blogs and seeing so much of my fiery side, you were probably surprised my sun sign is Pisces! “Aries Moons are headstrong, aggressive and may be difficult to control. They do best if they can find a physical outlet for their emotions” An Aries moon is a fighter when emotions are aroused, they have a hair trigger to specific stimuli, and will just unload everything (verbally). They act before they think, which can get them into trouble. They have quite a temper, but surprisingly do not hold grudges. Their moods change quickly and have an extremely strong and forceful personality. I can relate to all of that, however, I do have my peaceful water signs that will sometimes come in and drown my fire, and because I am intuitive, when I am around other people who are happy, I will be happy and keep my moon to myself.

Mercury sign: Your mercury is the way you communicate. Some people have absolutely no communication skills, others are very factual. Some people only say what needs to be said. My Mercury is in Pisces, so my thought process is not logical at all, it’s emotional. I think with my feelings and imagination, I trust my intuition and tend to reject ideas that are based on logic. This is where I am thankful to have a husband who is a “true” Virgo. Five of his twelve signs are Virgo, including his sun, rising and moon. So you can just imagine our discussions, I’m all emotional, and he’s totally factual.

Now that you have little understanding of a birth chart, you can see where I am going with this. My nature is quite literally written in the stats. Just as Gemini’s nature, and Aquarius’s nature were written in the stars. Having grown up in the same neighborhood, attending the same church and school, we each responded differently to the same situations.

Don’t get me wrong, I think nurture plays a huge part in self esteem and bonding, and I do believe that the way a child is raised has an effect on who they become. I have three kids who couldn’t be more different, or more like their charts. In children I can see even more how nurture plays an important role in becoming who you are, but I also see that each child is so individual and requires their own brand of nurture. I believe that abuse and neglect have a lasting effect on a person, I just also believe we all deal with it the way we are cosmically built to respond and cope.

I do not know about people who are inherently “bad”. I think we all have the capability to latch on to the negatives, to ignore our basic intuition and turn off the good. We all have some darkness, even in our charts (that is much deeper, I’ll save that for another blog), and we can in a sense, nurture the darkness. I know a little boy who gets angry very easily. You can see it on his face, his face gets red, veins pop out of his temples, he will scream and yell, hit and kick, as if he isn’t able to control himself. This behavior, and reaction to things like, lack of control over his toys has diminished since his parents began talking very calmly, reminding him to count to ten, and giving him space when he is upset. He may always struggle with anger, but I think as a child, if the people in his life are patient and loving, and still give him limits and boundaries, including ways to let his anger out, he can grow up into a well mannered man with self control. I also worry about the type of man he could become if his anger is not addressed in a healthy way. I know men who were like him as children, it’s a scary thought. I can relate, granted I am not violent, but I can be explosive when I am angry. Mixing the Aries moon with the Pisces Mercury can be a very noisy tear-filled argument, and while there will be times when I will lose it, I have had to learn to control myself. Other people do not deserve my acid tongue.

This all may sound like hocus pocus to you, but this is just me making sense of life, and people. I cannot look at my children and see evil. I see good, love, innocence, beauty, curiosity and silliness. While sometimes they may disobey, or fall out of line, I don’t see the devil in them, I see a kid who needs a reminder, maybe a hug, but certainly no evil. I guess my point is that we should nurture nature.

 

*I use Always Astrology for birth charts you can find yours here: http://www.alwaysastrology.com/birth-chart-calculator.html of what I wrote are things I already know from studying astrology over the years, but I particularly like this website for refreshers.

Regrets

391780_10200174961475949_318844110_n

Regrets. You know that feeling, that knot in your throat, the queasiness in the pit of your stomach, the ache in your heart. You fucked up. I am incredibly familiar with this feeling. I envy the people who say they will never regret anything. OK if you have no regrets, you must be an amazing person, teach me your ways! How can you live your life without doing something you wish you hadn’t? I feel like I have so many, maybe they are not huge life altering events, but there are decisions I have made that to this day haunt me.

I had a dream recently that I was waiting at a table in a restaurant for someone, I didn’t know who, when 3 people from my past walked in. They were shocked to see me, my heart started racing, having no idea how to react. Almost immediately one of them acted happy to see me, I knew she wasn’t, so I said, “It’s OK, you don’t have to bullshit…” Which probably made the situation worse. You know how it is, it’s easier to to be fake in an awkward situation. Especially when you know they way you really want to behave is like a jackass. My dream goes on with me alone at my table, and this small group sits at another, I got up to use the bathroom, and so did the girl who pretended to be happy to see me. Since we were alone, I asked her if she’d read any of my emails. You see, in real life I have written to her multiple times to apologize for the things I said to her, and she never acknowledged the emails. Since my subconscious mind seems to be aching for the opportunity to make things right, I apologized right there.

I woke up with that knot in my throat… that disgusting nauseating feeling. And I can’t fix this one. I want more than anything to tell her that I am so sorry I unleashed on her they way I did, that she didn’t deserve it. That I had been holding in hurt feelings for too long and had been fed a lot of negativity by someone close to us. I felt like a fish out of water, no- like an animal in captivity, with no control, and I lashed out at the easiest target. I’m sorry. No one deserves to be spoken to the way I ripped her apart. And I understand why she won’t accept my apology. I don’t deserve the validation.

This is the understanding I came to late last night. Just because we truly are sorry, and we want to fix something, just because our hearts are in the right place, does not give us the right to be forgiven. Not every mistake can be rectified. Sometimes people need to be bitter, they need someone to be upset with, not everyone is ready to forgive, when we are ready to own up to our mistakes. And that’s OK. Does it fit into my plan? No, I desperately need to deal with this situation. Whether she hates me and bitches me out, or accepts my apology and we never speak again… there are limitless outcomes, but it’s ME that needs this, and in this situation, I have no right to “need” anything. I should have thought of that before I lost my shit.

I should clarify, personally, I know a lot more was going on at this time, I know that I was feeling uncomfortable in my own skin because I was on birth control (from other blogs you know that birth control has had terrible effects on me, one of which is temporary insanity. Hormones are no joke.) which made me irritable and anxious, among other things. I also was going through a custody battle. For the first time in my daughter’s life, there was a possibility that I would have to split custody of my daughter, and I was flipping out. For months I couldn’t eat, in fact the day that I flipped out, I had not eaten anything, and we had made sangria. (Not brilliant.) As you know, I practiced attachment parenting, and the thought of being away from my baby was, and is heart wrenching. I cry every Friday when she goes to her dad’s and I spent all of last weekend in tears because she went to Sea World, and that was the first time she has ever gone far from me. You can imagine the fear in me during this time, and the discomfort, I did not know who I could trust, this girl is friends with my ex, which is not a problem, but it was a conflict of interest, and I did not know how to deal with it. I had never been in a situation like this, and for some dumb reason, when I am uncomfortable, I tend to react strongly, in an effort to find a safe or comfortable place. In this case, I alienated someone I loved dearly.

1477381_10202762940533808_924339994_n

I feel the need to explain all of this because it is weighing so heavily on my heart. I now can imagine how my mother feels, I have so much bitterness for my mother, and I love her insanely, but in June 2012, the same month I unleashed on my friend, I (verbally) attacked my mom. I was in Indiana visiting some family, and my mom offered to babysit my then three year old (need I remind you thatI was preparing for a custody battle?) and my mom of all people offered to babysit. My mom was the LAST person I was going to trust with my daughter. Not because I don’t think she had good intentions, but because she walked out on me and my little sister when I was Jo’s age. I did not think any of that through when she offered, I just knew that the answer was “No.” She did not understand why, so I had to figure out why this made me so uncomfortable. Jo doesn’t know my mom. We live in California and my mom had met Jo maybe 3 or 4 times her whole life. I was not about to leave my kid with a stranger, I meant, I wasn’t even comfortable leaving Jo with her own father! My mom insisted that she’s not a stranger, she’s Jo’s grandma, and I became more uncomfortable, I ended up screaming at her that she left me when I was Jo’s age, and I will NEVER abandon my baby, I will NEVER give my baby reason to think I had left her, I can’t trust her with the one person I love more than anything. I yelled at my own mother that she had no business having children, and what was she thinking? If she couldn’t stick around for 2 of us, how irresponsible was she to have more children? Clearly at this point I had lost my mind, a lot of baggage had been triggered, and I did not think before I said these terrible things. I said– screamed these things (and worse) in front of my younger sisters and brothers. You may have imagined that this is another one of those situations where I get that nasty knot in my throat. If I could go back, I would have held my tongue. Actually I would not have gone to Indiana that summer. I knew it was going to be too much for me, but I went anyway, and now I live with regret. I hurt my mom, and my little brother’s and sister’s.

1470163_10202763113898142_1408968871_n

Luckily, my brother’s, sitter’s and mom all still love me, they were in my wedding about 5 months ago. I guess that’s a perk with family, eventually you’re more likely to be forgiven? Here is the thing, though, my mom has asked over and over for me to talk to her, and I never wanted to talk about all of the passed things, the abandonment, and painful memories. I could never understand why she just stood there and took it while I screamed at her. I get it now, when you fuck up, and you have regret, you stand there and take it when someone calls you on it, no matter how nasty they are, you don’t have a leg to stand on, you have no excused. It’s not your turn to talk. It’s your turn to listen, and let the person you hurt heal. With that, I am resolving to be patient, to understand that I am not owed any type of validation from anyone I have hurt, the ball is in their court, and if they are not ready for my apology, it’s OK, the apology is not about me, even though it would make me feel better, why do I deserve to be forgiven? I should hope that whomever I have hurt is happy now, and if it’s easier to never talk about it, I must respect that. I also need to keep these things in mind before I open my mouth, as to not have more regrets.

1484204_10202762359839291_16019727_n

 

Attachment Parenting vs. Traditional Parenting (in my house)

993648_10201771623071491_1054077738_n

Blending families… Have I mentioned it’s really difficult? My husband and I have ONE huge disagreement. We rarely argue, but when we do it’s always about this one thing. Attachment Parenting vs. Traditional Parenting.

When Joliene was born, my life changed. Even though I had no idea WHAT attachment parenting was, and had no interest in breastfeeding, co sleeping, or cloth diapering, However, I naturally became a “crunchy” or “granola” mom, and did all of the above! I did not read any books, initially, I followed my instincts. I do not know if it has to do with my personality, my own upbringing, or maybe it was just love? We all show love differently. (There are 5 Love Languages, after all!) I show love by nurturing. If I love you, I want to take care of you, I want to make your life easy, and beautiful and I will bend over backwards doing so, if I feel it’s what you need. I remember Jo being maybe a week or 2 old, and her dad telling me that I could put her down, she was asleep, and I said, “No, I want to hold her.” That’s all I wanted to do.

A lot of people, family included, judged my parenting style, saying “It’s harder. It takes too much time. You’re spoiling her. It’s not necessary. She will never be independent.” I shrugged it off, I didn’t care what anyone thought. I was doing what I felt was right for Jo and for me.

Flash forward to the last year or 2. I moved in with my husband (well, now he is my husband, anyways) and his 2 kids and it was quite the culture shock. His family had all banded together to raise his kids, and it was kind of a clusterfuck. It was amazing that everyone had stepped in to do their part, while James had been working full time. As dysfunctional as the family is, their hearts really are in the right place. However, I felt like I was coming into a… I don’t know, it was like walking into a house that is so thrashed, and you honestly have no clue where to begin. I had 2 new kids who had never had a bond with their mama, and were emotionally band-aid-ed together. 2 amazing little people who had known unimaginable loss, and virtually no consistency. A 4 year old who was playing Black Ops, and running into the street without a thought, and only ate mac n cheese. An 8 year old who spent more time gone at her grandma’s house than home, who was so shy, and at the same time so eager to to be a big girl. The kids already knew what was expected of them, they took a bath, used the restroom, got dressed and brushed their teeth on their own. They really were independent. But, to me this was so concerning, because I saw these little ones doing everything by themselves, not needing any help, any bonding, or support. It was unnerving to me. You may be thinking “How great! they were so self sufficient! It must have made life easier for you!” No… It didn’t, it made me feel useless, and sad. I didn’t know where to begin with them, how to develop a relationship, a parental relationship, at that. Here I am with my 3 year old who only recently stopped co-sleeping, who sat on my lap for every meal… come to think of it, we didn’t even have a schedule, as I had always been a SAHM, we just went with the flow of life, day to day. My baby wanted to be wherever I was, and I wasn’t comfortable with her running across the street to their auntie’s house because I had no idea how she would react without me… I had so many concerns and I had to find a way to fit. I loved that my baby wanted her mama, I loved that she was so connected to me, that we had our own life that virtually revolved around one another. Did I need time and space sometimes? Absolutely. Was it hard sometimes? Fuck yes. But I was comfortable. And I looked at my “new” kids, and I felt sad. It’s funny that I felt so sad ( and in all honesty STILL feel a huge loss, because I wish I could have been with them when they were smaller, I wish I had had the opportunity to bond with them like a mother, to hold them, and feel connected.) they were perfectly happy. They didn’t know that they were missing, and thank goodness for that.

Here we are now, and there are like 3 different parenting styles going on in my home! There’s my husband’s: “Tough love, take it or leave it style” ( for the most part, he still has his moments with “his boy” Lj has been blessed by being not only the baby, but THE BOY, in a family that A) is made up of mostly boys, and B) has an obsession with sports. They pride their boys on their physical abilities and skills and they tend to bully the younger, weaker, more sensitive children. ) My parenting, which is based on each child in that moment and can look insanely unfair, if you are out side of the box. And the CRAZY parenting that happens when we cannot agree, so we kind of take over “our own kid(s)” and don’t let the other have anything to do with them. Jenna kinda swaps back and forth between me and James depending on the situation.

Crazy parenting happens after an argument, usually involving one injustice or another that was done to one of the kids by the “other” parent. It can be the simplest thing that one of us blows out of proportion, like, Jo likes purple, but James gave her a blue cup (tough shit), and I was annoyed that he even gave her the blue cup KNOWING she would want the purple one, but I have been REALLY working on supporting my hubby, so I said, “Now your cup matches Jenna’s!” (In my mind helping her to see bright side, no she wasn’t going to get her cup, and no crying about a cup would not work, but, check it out, blue is nice, too!) Enter James, who knows I’m annoyed that he gave her the wrong color, so he gives her a new cup (completely diminishing BOTH of our attempts at parenting, because now, Jo got her way from crying, and James is now upset because he feels like his parenting is undermined, and I am frustrated because I feel like I backed him up and then he dropped the ball.) So then he gets annoyed by anything I do to “help” Jo, in this case, she didn’t like the sauce on her salmon, so I wiped it off (easy fix). Now we are both frustrated and we are both triggered by the other one so our “never-really-ending parenting debate” continues from the LAST time we had a disagreement, and we both have a billion examples of how the other one is not consistent, which sounds an awful lot like an attack on the other parent’s parenting.

Natural consequences... You fight, you hold hands.
Natural consequences… You fight, you hold hands.

So here I am for almost 24 hours now trying to find a balance. Attachment parenting is based on the theory that we are shaped by our first attachments… “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” I have spent my entire life looking for someone worthy of a true attachment, I have felt alone and abandoned and my first true bond was my little girl. Jo put me together, and gave me my first true attachment besides my sister. I literally cannot help loving her, and wanting to show her in the most selfless ways. I see how that can be weird to a traditional parent, a traditional parent’s habits for teaching their babies to be more self sufficient may be more natural to them. However, having attachment parented for almost 4 years now, I have seen Jo grow up in her own time. Maybe I didn’t force her to use the big toilet when she was potty training, but one day, she made the decision to take off the booster seat and “balance” on the toilet like a big girl. I feel that growing up naturally happens, and it’s not a big deal if she chooses to use a booster seat, because one day, she will decide she’s over it. One day she won’t want to be in my lap all day… Oh wait, that was today. I don’t know why, but today she has been perfectly content to play on her own, and do her own thing. Some days all she wants is to be in my lap or under my feet. It’s organic, and it’s silly to me, to force her to feel something she doesn’t feel, or put her in a situation that make her feel uncomfortable. James feels totally different, like he should be able to tell his kids what to do, or say or how to act, and in that moment they should obey. I give Jo time to process, I don’t spring things on her, I warn her, that we are going to the dentist next week, and I repeat it daily, so by the time we are going to the dentist, she knows, and she may not be thrilled, but she is a big girl about it. However, if I were to tell her the morning of, the world would end, and the dentist, likely would not get anywhere near her mouth. I believe that in time, she won’t require so much warning, and it’s not even an inconvenience for me to let her know ahead of time. I would be pretty frustrated if suddenly I had to be at the dentist in 10 minutes, wouldn’t you? I almost feel like the way I parent is respectful to the child. Yes, I lay down the law when it’s necessary, and I try to be as consistent as possible, but I feel like its fair and better for the child’s sense of self to have some control over their little lives. Whether its a purple cup, warning about a trip to the dentist, or a choice of strawberries or an apple.

1000626_10202074887892922_314956501_n

I don’t feel that this means Jo rules my life, I know that when you love someone you make changes and sacrifices to make their life easier, yes, but also, to better them, to encourage growth, learning and decision making.

Jo getting her own fruit! #MissIndependent
Jo getting her own fruit! #MissIndependent

You may pride yourself in your ability to say jump and have your child leap into the air, and I do have that experience with my (step) kids (depending on the situation…. ) and yes, it makes life easier, but I don’t know how “easy” parenting is supposed to be? Isn’t parenting about growing ourselves as we nurture a new life? Being a mother has taught me so much about myself, and I have had to make so many changes, and take serious responsibility. Knowing this, I feel our kids deserve some slack. Why must we be dictators? When we really are meant to be teachers. And I don’t know about you, but my favorite teachers were the ones who personally invested in me, pushed me to be better, and gave me some slack when I needed it.

They have their moments...
They have their moments…

The Passion and Pain Will Keep Me Alive

Dancing with her lovey

I am a mother, I am also a step mother. I am incredibly passionate, which is both a blessing and a curse. My opinions and feelings on things are very big! I react instantly and and explosively. So imagine being a work at home mom. I do not “go to work” and a lot of people seem to think this means that I have free time, I don’t. I have almost no free time. My life quite literally revolves around the kids, from the moment I wake up in the morning to the time I go to sleep at night. So that does not leave much room for me to be passionate about things, while, my passion may hinder me on occasion, I wouldn’t give it up. When I stop giving 100%, and learning and changing, it means I don’t care, my light will be snuffed, and that is when depression sets in.

“I can understand how the edges are rough And they cut you like the tiny slithers of glass And you feel too much And you don’t know how long you’re gonna last” -Pink

 

Depression is a scary place to be. If you have never been depressed, it’s the darkest, coldest, loneliest place you can imagine, and it follows you everywhere. It’s impossible to describe to anyone, and and it’s unfair to everyone around you, everyone who wants to help but can’t. You’re numb, nothing touches you, food doesn’t taste the same, your friends and family don’t mean what they once did. You’d rather be alone, even though you hate being lonely. It’s a scary place where you’re confronted by your demons, and you don’t have the energy to fight. I have struggled with depression since I was in middle school. I was medicated and had a therapist from the time I was 11 until I was 19, and at that point I was no longer insured, so I took what I had learned in the 8 years of therapy, the 3 months of rehab and the weeks of outpatient, and I was ok sometimes, other times, I wasn’t. I got myself into horrible situations, terrible relationships, and at times I felt it would be easier to die than deal with my problems.

577948_10200782310070975_263556928_n

My pregnancy was one of the darkest times in my life. I did not want to be pregnant, I was terrified, lonely and angry. And nobody wanted to hear me. Nobody wanted to know the truth, the truth that I was forced to live with. The hormones took me over and held me down, I was sick EVERY SINGLE DAY. I hoped I wouldn’t wake up as I fell asleep every night. Who do you talk to when everyone is so happy, and can’t possibly understand how far you’ve gone into the deep sea of depression. Especially when my daughter’s father’s family did not “believe” in depression and therapy. They did not acknowledge my misery, or anything else that wasn’t picture perfect. I could go on and on about my horrible pregnancy and depression, but that’s actually not the point. My point is, every time I started getting pulled under the surface, I had nothing to feel passionate about. I had nothing to fight for.

“I won’t let you make the great escape, I’m never gonna watch you checkin out of this place I’m not gonna lose you Cause the passion and pain Are gonna keep you alive someday.” -Pink

Passion. Passion is not only something to fight for, but, more importantly, it’s something to LIVE for. I am not ashamed of my passion, and I understand that not everyone will see it, not everyone will understand why the heck after my daughter was born, and she gave me life, I became obsessed with cloth diapering. I researched it, and it gave me something to do, something to right my little corner of the world. I breast fed my daughter until she was almost 2! That was another thing I fought for because I had not only friends who did not understand, and were negative, but family that that blatantly disagreed with my decision. Honestly, having people disagree only reinforced me, it pushed me to find studies proving why breast is best. No one ever thought I would potty train my daughter when she was only 14 months old, but, guess what, it was another thing to look forward to, to work for, another thing to be excited about! Over the past 4 years, many things have made it to my passion list, not all of them have stuck. One thing did stick, and is ever evolving. My passion for health.

Health was right up my ally, after nursing and all of the research I did, it was only a matter of time before I caught the bug. I am so glad I did! I have never been healthier, and I believe in this. I believe so much, that yes, it’s worth it to fight for. You’d think food would not be a fight (see my blog “(Fast) Food Fight”), apparently it is. It never was an issue until I became a step mom and started introducing real food to my family. I have not yet been here for a year, so this is all very new to my fiance and my step children. It’s a foreign concept to my future in-laws. It’s really hard for people to respect these choices when they can’t understand them. And harder still when they don’t want to.

To set the record straight, while health is my passion, the decision to eat real food was not mine alone. When I first moved in I shopped for my food at my store, and he shopped for their food at his store. He made the decision to try what me and Jo ate, he started reading labels, he jumped on board with me. For some reason there seems to be a misunderstanding there. James has a mind of his own, and he also has an open mind. Those are two things that I love about him. He is totally willing to try to understand why things are important to me, in doing so, he decided to stop eating fast food on his lunch breaks, and totally stand beside me when we made our house fast food free.

I mentioned that passion can hinder me… it does, in this case especially because people seem to think I’m judging, when I’m not. Yes I have convictions, yes my feelings are strong, and yes, I will fight for them. I do expect to be respected, particularly if you are someone who would like to be involved in our lives. We need support from the people who are close to us. Raising children that have been through trauma makes it that much more important for us all to be united, and for stability in their lives. I have only been here since March (2012), and I am doing the best I can. These kids are my life, I have nothing besides my family, most of my friends are busy with their lives, and have moved on, just as I have. You don’t have to understand, but I think it would be easier if you were on the same page.

I tend to push people away when my passion gets the best of me. It’s never my intention, but things get miscommunicated, and misunderstood, like I said some think I’m judging, others are jealous that I am blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home, and the ability to fully live what I believe is right. Others are afraid I will force my lifestyle on them. That’s not my pan. While I believe this way of eating can save your life, but it’s up to you to make this decision, just like I did not force JAmes to eat my way. He chose this. Now we do have kids, and we decided to do what we believe is right for them, and its been slow going, and I do not do it perfectly, but that is the beauty of this type of change, we can take baby steps. As parents, their nutrition is our responsibility. We are doing our best.

As I type this I can’t stop thinking about how this resembles a religious fight. I remember being  young and in church (a cult), and how hard my parents worked to do what they felt was right when it came to “The God Thing”. People thought I was so weird, and my church as so creepy. I hated that I was never allowed to go places with my friends, and I was the only one of my friends that was not allowed to date. My parents stuck to what they believed, and it did save me from a lot of dangerous  situations. I did not like it at the time, and I do have a lot of bitterness with the church, and all religion, for that matter, but I do appreciate the integrity that was instilled in me. I have always been a terrible liar, annoying at times, but considering I am the kind of person that can’t live a lie because lies fester in my soul and ruin me… It’s forced me to be honest, and stick up for myself. I don’t tell my kids that if they eat cinnamon toast crunch they will die, I just say, we don’t eat things like that because it’s not good for you. So I ope my kids won’t grow up and rebel, and hate me for never buying marshmellows, although I’m sure in a few years, they will eat what they want. My plan is to keep healthy foods at home, and for now, to keep feeding them real food, until they are older, and going out with friends, having sleep overs, and thinking fast food is a food group. Ideally, they will grow up, and still have a taste for salad, and I will know I did my part.

472_10151484695479349_1146948613_n

****I have written many blogs that explain why nutrition is so important to me and my family. I have a facebook page where I post the things we eat, recipes, ask advice, share my blogs… my blog is open to anyone who wants to take the time to understand, before they judge. My facebook page is also open to anyone. I know some of you avid readers only do so in order to gossip, I knew that when I started this website. I want to be clear here, everything I say here I would not hesitate to say to anyone, particularly the people I write about. I do not hide my feelings, and I’m not passive aggressive. I encourage you to not take what I say out of context. for those of you with questions that you don’t feel comfortable asking, you can click on “Health and Fitness, and you will find all of my blogs that explain how we eat, and why.****

 

 

 

Sleep!!!

198298_4156787917194_1338743068_n

Sleep… I love sleeping, I am one of those people who would gladly sleep all day, will leisurely roll out of bed at noon (given the option), I will press snooze 12 times, and be a complete bitch if I am woken up before I am ready, rudely, by the doorbell, by the neighbors screaming children, by my screaming children, or if we are not going to Disneyland. I have always been like this. On my 16th birthday, my dad came in to wake me up and I threw a shoe at him. (Don’t throw shoes at your dad, you’ll be in big trouble, and it does’t matter if it’s your birthday.) Something about mornings just rubs me the wrong way. I can’t eat in the morning. I can’t even drink coffee before 9 or 10 am. I have read so many times that it’s best to drink 12 ounces of water first thing in the morning to cleanse your body and start fresh, yeah…. I would throw up. I’m not kidding, any water in the morning is slowly sipped on. Otherwise I wait until after my stomach has agreed that it is, in fact time to ingest something. I will also suddenly get a fever and throw up if I do not get enough sleep. I do not like speaking to anyone about anything in the morning. I especially do not like to be asked questions. My mornings last forever. I take my time waking up, I read my Facebook news feed like it’s the morning paper, I return text messages, and then get up, brush my teeth and head for the coffee maker. I then sit quietly and read articles about health, human rights, or my favorite blogs, and answer emails…. Then I am available. I’m caffeineated, I have had my space, I can deal with human contact now.

246405_10200902435582347_1260797602_n

That was all before Isagenix, anways. Isagenix changed me! My first cleanse blew me away, but more importantly, it blew my fiance away! Poor James has to walk on egg shells in the morning so as not to piss off the Big Bad Wolf that lives in me before 10 am. Not anymore. For no reason at all, a few days into my first cleanse I started waking up around 8 am. I was wide awake, my mind was clear, I still was not hungry, and I still had to wait to drink my shake, BUT I DID NOT NEED COFFEE! I’m not kidding, and it’s crazy because if you know my family, you know that coffee runs through our veins! Growing up, my dad who is 27 years sober, went to AA meetings (where they serve coffee), led groups (where they serve coffee), worked in rehabs (where they LIVE on coffee), led Bible Talks (where they serve coffee), and eventually began roasting his own coffee beans as a hobby, he started buying raw coffee beans from Costa Rica and Panama and roasting them, so we had the best, freshest, most delicious coffee possible. My family HATES Starbucks, in fact, I’m probably not even allowed to say that word! It’s like calling on The Coffee Devil, or something in my family. My dad even has a running tab at his local coffee shop! Who has a coffee tab? IF I wanted to, I can even go to Element Coffee (in Camarillo) and order a drink, and put it on my dad’s tab. My mom does not believe in decaf, and my sister drinks coffee all day long. My parents might not even own a regular coffee maker, they do have an esspresso machine, and they make coffee by the individual cup by heating water, and pouring it over this little cup thing that sits on top of your mug. It took me a while to figure that one out. Also, they never pre-grind coffee beans. They always grind as needed.

579732_4710732965474_1242684446_n

So you get the idea, coffee was my life source, and one day… it wasn’t. I still love coffee, don’t get me wrong. I drink it on weekends now, since weekends can be “cheat days”. I have started looking at coffee as a treat instead of a necessity. The IsaLean shakes give me all of the energy I need, and have given me better sleep at night. Having better sleep means needing less sleep, which means I am up earlier, functioning faster, and I have a better attitude!

 

Why is sleep so important? For one, you are recharging, you are resting your mind, giving it a break from all of your stresses, you are giving your subconscious a chance to take a deeper look at your problems. Your pores open when you sleep, which is why you should always wash your face before bed! Not sleeping enough stresses your body out and can cause weight gain! For those of you who have done the Belly Blaster (ask me about it!!!) with me, I have explained that part of the reason it works so well is because the protein and calcium puts your body into a deep sleep, and you lose inches over night! Better sleep means a better mood, mental clarity, and more energy.

599945_4165692819811_1001962516_n

I was talking to a couple moms about sleep training this week. Sleep training your infant can be tough, but sleep training your toddler is HELL! Trust me, I know, I tried teaching my daughter how to sleep in her own bed when she was a baby, and that was such a failure! She co-slept until she was 2 years old. Honestly I did not mind much, I kept her on my schedule, and I breastfed until then, so she always needed me close, anyways. But I can see the benefits of having your child sleep in his/her own bed. For one, it destroys your sex life. I did not notice because I had lost interest in sex the moment I got pregnant in the first place. So a few years of co-sleeping did not bother me, in fact, I liked it. Nap time was a pain. She never had a scheduled nap time so she would just pass out while nursing and I would gently try to escape, but most of the time I was stuck. I watched Desperate Housewives, Prison Break, and House straight through on DVD during the first year!

When I finally did sleep train, she was old enough to understand, and defiant enough to pee every time I put her in her room. No we are not talking about a puppy… my daughter used to literally take off her panties, and pee at me. That’s what I get for potty training her when she was 14 months old. She knew how to hold it, and would pee to get out of naps. She would also occasionally throw up at me. Once, she was so tired she sat on her potty in the hallway and fell asleep peeing, and fell off, and I found her passed out, completely naked in the hallway. Eventually she did get the idea, and one of the best things was that she had “lovey’s” I think I got the idea from “The No Cry Sleep Solution”. (I mentioned it in my blog “Bonding”, if you want more details.) Now, she recommends A LOVEY, my daughter has like 25 lovey’s. She is extremely attached to her stuffed animals, and “squishies”. (Squishies are weird rubbery squishy toys that Jo is obsessed with.) It works for bedtime though, if she has her “friends” she is content. We have some nights where she does not want to sleep, but if you threaten to take her friends, she’s over it. She does not even need a night light, she is not afraid of the dark because she has her friends.

Dancing with her lovey
Jo (4) and her lovey

I do suggest sleep training sooner than I did. Everyone needs sleep, and it’s fair and respectful to your kids for them to have a safe comforting sleeping space and time. Kids need structure, they feel safe when they know the schedule. And I think, as parents, we owe it to our children to give them enough sleep, and to give ourselves some down time. Having time in the evening with James is very important to me. If James were not around I would appreciate the quiet by reading a book, scrapbooking, chatting with a friend on the phone or zoning out on TV. ME time is sacred. It should be to you, as well.

My friend’s mom reminded me of this a recently. The best way to get on a healthy sleep schedule is to get up at the same time every day. Even on weekends. I will be honest, I do not do this, I still stay in bed late on weekends, usually because James and I stay up late on weekends, but it is good advice, especially if you don’t like mornings. Once your internal clock figures out your schedule, mornings will be easier. Until then, try Isagenix!

If you have questions about trying Isagenix I would love to help! It’s risk free with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee!!

Don’t forget to find me on Facebook www.facebook.com/isahealthymama , follow me on Twitter @ISAhealthymama, register to my blog, and don’t be shy about commenting, or emailing me! isahealthymama@yahoo.com