Life. Love. Family. My Perfect Imperfection.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A quick glimpse

Baby J on a field trip with mom and E's class :)
Apparently, Baby J will be having surgery in the next few weeks. It's a minor surgery, but he'll be under anesthesia and that is scary to me. Even with everything we have gone through with each of our munchkins, this is definitely the scariest to me. I never thought it would be the youngest having surgery. I always figured E would have had to have heart surgery for his VSD (ventricular septal defect).

A quick run-down of the trials and tribulations we have dealt with as parents:
(Nothing terribly huge and I know others have to go through much harder things. Don't think I'm complaining, just sharing, so you can see the big picture.)

E: heart rate dropped numerous times during labor and umbilical cord around his neck at birth; diagnosed with VSD at 2 days old while still in the hospital, even though we could have gone home early, I had decided to take the extra day for rest and help as a first time mom; ppd for me and low supply and minimal to no support for breastfeeding resulting in me giving up (important to me but luckily he did ok on formula with no allergies :) ); jaundice but numbers never checked (still makes me mad at the dr, as Jas and I were uninformed and young); slow growth, probably due to VSD and high metabolism; speech delay at 18 months, with formal diagnosis of communication/speech delay shortly after; autism diagnosis through school in kindergarten per IEP team; Asperger's/Pervasive Developmental Diagnosis Not Otherwise Specified and possible ADHD at 8 (?, it was the end of 4th grade I think...). He still has a small hole in his heart but it is slowly closing, causing no issues/symptoms and doesn't need surgery. He has a behavior plan as well as an Individual Education Plan through school, is academically advanced, in 6th grade at 10 and making major progress socially and behaviorally. Oh yeah, and an unfortunate incident with a quarter that involved several x-rays and mom watching the toilet closely. We never did actually see the quarter again, but x-rays confirmed it was passed...

A: Heart murmur at birth and because of the sibling history had echo at hospital, turned out to be nothing serious, just the pre-natal vein/artery (correct me if I'm wrong?) wasn't closed completely, fairly common; ppd for me and again, low milk supply; jaundice with his numbers getting up to about 15 - seriously, he didn't look as yellow as E did, though :(; somewhat slow growth (apparently, I just make small babies, though, cause even on formula he didn't get chunky ;) ) and then a possible formula allergy so he had to go on soy formula for a while; reflux that needed prilosec till he was about 11 months and spitting up, he even needed an ultrasound and ct scan (I think? the one with the dye...); he's also had x-rays 3 different times from falling (the most recent off his bike and needing his elbow and knee x-rayed!).

J: heart rate dropped during labor and umbilical cord around his neck at birth; slow (but steady) weight gain but no other failure to thrive symptoms; heart murmur noticed at 1 week old, again because of sibling history sent for echo - turned out to be an "innocent" murmur; very jaundiced, numbers up to 18 and needed bili-blanket at home for several days; undescended left testicle which was seen on ultrasound at a few weeks old.

That brings me full-circle. The surgery is to "bring down" his left testicle. At just over a year old, it has still not come down on it's own. The urologist couldn't feel it and manually move it so he's scheduling J for surgery in the next few weeks. It's an hour long surgery at the hospital and he'll be under anesthesia, but he gets to come home right after he's out of recovery, apparently. I'm nervous for him. I can't be in there with him, he'll be medicated, he can't eat or drink (and most likely, not breastfeed) for several hours beforehand. He still nurses on demand, and most nights that means quite a lot, sometimes it feels like all night long ;)

I know deep down that he's going to be fine, but I'm anxious. I guess I'm asking for some prayers from you all. For J. For me. For the doctor. Thanks.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Normal.

What is normal? Or maybe, rather, who is normal? Not I! I don't fit neatly into any box. I am not just this, or just that. I try to get along with people. I like people who talk to me like their equal and not lesser than. If you treat my kids the way I would, with respect and authority all in one, I trust you with them and want you and your kids around. If we think along the same lines, in one way or many, if you get my husband's goofy jokes and sarcasm, if you understand my kids' differences and don't think anything of it, you are my kind of people.

I have a hard time relating to people, or maybe it's just that I don't always open up to others? I don't know. It takes me a while to make a new friend. But finally, after 3+ years of living in MI and my oldest son being halfway through his 4th year at his new school, I can say I truly have someone I consider a good friend! It's nice to get along with somebody, that lives nearby and has kids that are similar ages and get along with my boys. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my boys' teachers but because they are their teachers, it's probably crossing some invisible line to call them "friend" (even though, I truly classify at least one a friend and 2 others as acquaintances!). But another mom that Jason and I feel comfortable around, can have over for dinner, sit and talk to and totally lose track of time in the process, that is a rare thing indeed. (I've only ever found that with a few other people in my lifetime - Sharon, Jill and Darla are three of them and they are all still amazing friends!!!)

So thanks again, Julie, for hanging out with my goofy family last night and bringing your boys over to this madhouse!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Making a difference

I was approached by a friend today about helping her write an article in our school newsletter about food dyes. She has a fantastic idea and since she's experiencing first hand what a difference it can make, she will do a great job with this. I am truly humbled that she asked me to assist her!

I want to make sure to approach this without putting any parents out. I don't want them to feel bad or think they are doing something wrong, cause that's not the case. But I want them to be open minded and think about it. Maybe little Suzie is struggling to focus on that assignment, not because she can't do it or she's bored, but because her brain can't focus due to food dye interfering with it's natural functions. Maybe little Johnny can't stay in his seat, not because he's "hyper" from sugar, but the food dye is affecting his ability to sit still and not fidget so much. Maybe your child has "brain fog" and can't think clearly when it comes to their homework, or they get a lot of headaches but the doctor can't find a medical reason. They won't stop talking or interrupting long enough to listen. Whatever "ADHD" symptom they are having. This is not to say there is no such thing as ADD/ADHD or that medicine is NEVER the answer, but sometimes it's more (or less) of that. Isn't better to remove some unnecessary item from your life, something insignificant, that COULD be causing a problem, and surely doesn't do anything good for our bodies? Why not eat foods that don't have dyes? They really serve no purpose, other than making our food look "pretty". The fact that they are made from petroleum makes me (and hundreds of thousands of other people) think that, how can they be good for you or just be benign ingredients??

It's hard. Your kids will resist. Especially when their friends have fruit roll-ups or blue frosted cupcakes. Or when Grandma and Grandpa say, hey it's just once in a while, or even the inevitable "well you ate it and you're just fine!"

Seriously, that one makes me mad. Am I really? Is my generation seriously just fine? Look at the obesity rates! I'm 65lbs overweight, because I've eaten crap food for too long and not exercised on top of it!! Look at the high incidences of ADD, ADHD, Autism, asthma, cancer, and numerous other diagnoses. Do I think that all/any of those are caused by food dye? I really don't know. Do I think that they are exacerbated by it? YES, YES and a resounding YES!!! I think GMO foods haven't helped either. I think these things not only screw with our brains but our genetics, our fertility and therefore our children! Our parents ate a ton less "crap" food, and their parents, even less. We can NOT keep doing this to ourselves. We have this one life here on Earth, (and God-willing, eternal life with Him in Heaven, because yes I do believe!) and we have to make the most of it. We have to make our kids lives good so they can grow up and be successful and hopefully someday, if they choose, have their own families. How can they do that with out good, real food going in their little bodies and their brains being able to get the right nutrients? We all know if we don't eat a meal or eat too much candy, we don't feel well, maybe a tummy ache or a headache. So why not make the most of those meals we do eat?

Oh yeah, and when your kids resist, remember, you are the parent. You buy the food, you do the cooking. Don't buy junk, don't make it available. Offer something at every meal you know they will eat (but is good for them) and whatever else you planned. That way they have the choice to try something but won't starve if they don't want to or don't like it. Don't make it a battle. There are so many more important things in life, than fighting over food. Offer the good stuff, don't "give in" and keep the crap out of the house!

Just a thought...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

READ, READ, AND RE-READ THOSE LABELS!!!



I started writing this on FaceBook, but quickly realized that my little status update/photo share was turning in to a long rant. LOL. So here goes: I went grocery shopping this weekend and bought these 2 items because I had coupons. I didn't check the labels closely. I usually trust Dole and Welch's. They both have some good products, but that doesn't mean they are all "ok" to eat. Blindly trusting manufacturers is not the best decision. We are trying to avoid HFCS, and drink 100% juice. The mango twist is only 20% juice and it's 2nd ingredient is HFCS, right after water. That means it has more of both of those than it does actual juice. (Ingredients are listed in order of amount, 1st ingredient being the most, and so on). I usually by the Dole fruit cups that are packed in just juice, no added sweeteners. The Dole canned tropical fruit has added sugar (hence the "light syrup) and while it's not the 1st or 2nd ingredient, it's not really needed. Fruit is sweet enough on it's own. It really doesn't need added sugar. If our kids get used to eating it without sugar, they will soon realize that it's delicious with out extra sweeteners. Our taste buds are so used to all the extra sugar and HFCS because it's in EVERYTHING! If we stop eating so much, our sense of taste can adjust and we can enjoy food the way it's meant to be, the way God and nature intended.


That's not to say I don't love candy (especially chocolate) and Pepsi, but I guarantee 20+ years of having those have made a big difference in that. Over the last couple of years, I've learned to enjoy many foods, things I've never even tried before.

(BTW, a piece of dark chocolate, even once a day, isn't necessarily a bad thing. It has antioxidants, plus if you truly like it, it can be a bit of a stress relief ;-) )

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Trying to avoid food dyes and some GF tips too!

In 4th grade, E did a science experiment involving mice, a maze and red food coloring. At the end of it, he had proven that the food coloring, as benign as it may seem, had a definite effect on the behavior of the one mouse who drank water with the red dye. The mouse had become aggresive, sluggish and had forgotten how to run the maze that just days earlier he had mastered with a time of about a minute. At the end of 7 days of drinking the water dyed red (with FDA approved food coloring), his time for the maze was over FIVE minutes, while the control mouse still had a very low finish time and who's behavior had not changed. The mouse (Chesterfield) died a couple of months later and, while unconfirmed as to what exactly it was, he had some type of growth in his belly area, which we believe to have been a tumor. The other mouse (Phineas) only lived a few more weeks but we were told by the pet store that they would probably only live a few months anyway. The point was that the food dye, after a short time, had a visible effect on that tiny little mouse.

Shouldn't food dye be safe? If it's approved by the FDA for consumption, surely it is, right? Also, I know, we are not mice, we are larger and eat less than that mouse did, right? Are you sure? Have you actually checked your food's labels lately. There is food dye is SO many things, even marshmallows! Did you know that is made from petroleum?? YUCK!

So how do I avoid food dye? Well, I don't always. But I'm trying a lot harder to.

Check every label. Read every ingredient. There are so many things we really should avoid eating, things that aren't food and that shouldn't be in our food.

The first and best option is to avoid anything with ingredients you can't identify or wouldn't cook with in your own kitchen. Organics are a better option for prepackaged foods, at least when it comes to avoiding dyes. I'm not saying they are always healthier. There are, for sure, a lot of unhealthy prepackaged "organic" foods. Fresh fruits and veggies, meats, and rice. Bake from scratch as much as possible.

There are choices for candies that use natural food dyes made from vegetables and fruits.

Capri sun is a "better" drink choice than others, except you have to be careful if you avoiding HFCS.

Watch out for canned/jarred cherries and pie fillings, there are almost always dyes, especially red #40 in cherries. Even in the little cups of mixed fruit. I avoid those for the kids.
Real juice or even water and milk are great choices. If they really want pop, and you aren't opposed to it, try sierra mist (it doesn't have dye or HFCS).

Check out blogs and facebook pages: Die, Food Dye; 100 days of real food; Feingold diet; and many many more.

Gluten free is hard too but some keys to truly going gluten-free: Use a separate, NEW toaster for gluten-free bread. Watch for cross-contamination. It really can be easier to just have everybody go GF. It truly does NOT have to be super-expensive. Avoid the majority of processed GF foods except for occasional treats. Look for hidden gluten, like in lunch meat and hot dogs. Make your own GF pizza crust using pamela's bread dough mix (seriously it's some of the best pizza we've ever had, when we were GF). Eat fresh fruit and veggies, meats and rice and potatoes. Quinoa, and other unique grains. Avoid wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and only eat oats if they are certified gluten free. Try to make your own bread or buy gluten-free wraps for "sandwiches"/roll-ups. Use corn tortillas or corn taco shells (check for hidden gluten). Also there are a ton of internet resources for going gluten-free.

Annie's makes really yummy, naturally flavored/colored (organic!) fruit snacks as well as cheese "bunnies" and chocolate "bunnies". There are store brands of dye-free items (mostly organics) and also GF items. Kroger and Meijer both have a decent selection of each.

Not sure what else to write on the subject. As you start to avoid the dyes though, you will see yourself avoiding other additives and hopefully start to feel better, to notice a change in your kids. I know, for us, when our boys have stuff with red #40, especially when it's a lot or a few things over several days, or even other dyes/additives/HFCS, there are more meltdowns, more behavior issues, more frustration, more whining even. They seem more tired, or more hyper, depending on the child, LOL. I feel more on edge, less patient, meaner for lack of a better description. I even have a brain fog type of feeling. Depending on what and how much I've eaten, I have physical symptoms, ranging from stomach/digestive issues to headaches to more/longer colds and respiratory illnesses.  I can say, when we eat better, I truly, truly feel better.

I love this phrase: When we know better, we do better. That is what I'm working towards. Slowly but surely. Another favorite: Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. If you slip up and eat something not so good for you, it's ok. Move on. Do better next time. Don't just give up and go back to that not so good way of eating. Follow the 80/20 rule. Plan to eat really good 80% of the time so when the other 20% of unexpected happens, it's really ok.

I will try to post later with some actual links if I can find them ;)

Friday, January 18, 2013

My dreams

Not only am I married to a guy who never seems to put his roots down for longer than a few years, I myself feel a bit like a "gypsy". If I had things my way, we'd move again. Not sure where, but somewhere. I'd like to spend some time out west, in Arizona, New Mexico, and California. Heck, I'd be happy to own a nice RV or bus (the kind you can actually live in) and travel around for months (or years!!) at a time. Just seeing things, meeting people, and learning new things.

If we could go to Europe for a few months, I would love to see Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Poland, you name it. Then there's Australia, Asia, Africa, South America. Oh so much to see and learn! I'd love to really make a difference in some way in a far off place and teach my kids the true meaning of life, and what it is to be a citizen of the world.

I know that Jason has an amazing job, our kids are in a great school and we have a nice home, but I have this sense of longing, never truly being happy where we are, but always (or at least almost always ;-) ) happy with who we are with - Jason and E and Alex and Jax. They mean the world to me.
I don't know why there is always a nagging feeling that we should be doing more, that we should be living somewhere else, etc. I know it sounds silly.
"I should just grow up and settle down."
"What about school for the kids?"
"What about friends (for them) and family?"
Truthfully, I want so much more for them. I want their lives filled with diversity, and culture, and life-long learning, and philanthropy, and caring, and empathy for people who have less. I want them to see families around the world who may have less "stuff" but more love than we see day-to-day and who would share with you just because you are there.

As a child, I was always interested in Archaeology and History. I still am today. I'm interested in Sociology and other cultures. I want to learn a new language at nearly 32 years old and I want to take my three young sons on a never-ending adventure and for them (and I and Jason) to really live life, for us, for others, not for things and money and whatever else that doesn't really matter when it comes right down to it. I believe that God made me this way for a reason.

It's not always easy, being a parent, a spouse, especially when you have 2 extremely intelligent children, one of whom is also on the Autism Spectrum. It's hard to remember sometimes that they are just little guys still (10 1/2 and 7 1/2) and not "little adults". They know so much and memorize the craziest things. But then we have to repeat and re-teach the simplest things over and over, to the point of it being maddening. I want them to be children in the true sense and love life and really enjoy it and also see what the world is really like, outside of school, outside of the sheltered lives we all live...

Is that too much to want? Am I really asking too much? I know how crazy I sound. I am after all just myself ;) I love who I am and I'm learning to love who I'm becoming even more.

*Edited to add this final thought as well as this photo I took a couple of years ago: BTW, I know I am totally spoiled, lucky, whatever and have no idea what I would be getting myself into, as well as the fact that I have an idealized outlook on the world. But let me ask you this, if you had a chance to see the beauty in the world, would you seize that opportunity or would you stay in the comfort and confines of your own backyard?!? When I took this photo, I did not see the inchworm (or whatever it is). After I got home, I decided to crop the picture and enlarged it. After seeing it, I saw more beauty in this picture than before. I almost didn't even snap a photo of that flower that day, but something told me to. I'm glad I listened to that little nagging voice. :)*

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Radio Silence

Sorry for the short blog break! I know I haven't posted in almost a week. Not sure if my 8 FaceBook followers even noticed or cared, LOL. It's not for lack of wanting to write. We have been so busy around here. 

We were very busy Saturday with religious education/catechism for the kids and Sunday we went to see an exotic animal show. Alex started throwing up around midnight Sunday through lunch Monday and I had to pick E up early on Monday due to his cough and extreme crankiness. E went to the dr and has a sinus infection and Alex had a 24 hour bug. Babysat 2 little girls for a couple hours Monday afternoon/evening. Alex had cub scouts Tuesday, and then yesterday, I barely had a minute to myself. I think Jack is trying to end his morning nap. Which stinks. Yesterday, I finally got him to sleep at 12:30 and ended up crashing with him for 2 hours from sheer exhaustion!

Today is starting out a little better. Still no nap (usually he falls asleep on the way home from school and sleeps till about 9:30) but he's having a snack and seems mostly content. BTW, the whole "let's put everything in my mouth and try to eat it and freak mom out" stage is my least favorite baby stage. Lots to do around here today. I have to call the ISD (intermediate school district) about Jack, to see if he needs anything for his gross motor skills, as well as a urologist about his *ahem* undescended testicle. Laundry to fold, budget to do and I need to start planning not 1 but 2 parties soon. Alex is making his First Communion this year, April 21st and Jack will be (finally!) getting baptized soon. I still have to figure out the details on that, but it will be before the start of Lent.

I'm hoping to get some great inspiration from my facebook page as right now, my brain is running on fumes. Usually, though, if I get a good topic or starting point, I can roll with it.

Time to get going on all my to-do list stuff I guess.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention, I made quinoa for a side for dinner last night. Only our second time having it. Jason and I really liked it this time and the older boys at least tried some and Jack seemed to like it a little bit. I also gave Jack some vanilla coconut milk this morning with his snack and he LOVED it! E and Alex tried it yesterday and did NOT like it. Oh well. At least it's a healthy option for one of them ;)



Friday, January 11, 2013

I am not Super Woman...

and I need to remember that.

This morning, I woke up fully intending to go help make and sell popcorn for the school's Friday fundraiser. All the kids' really look forward to it and there's usually at least two moms there to do it. As I am saying goodbye to Alex, he mentions there was an announcement just a minute before that there would be no popcorn today. The mom in charge apparently wouldn't be there and hadn't called to tell me (or find a fill-in for herself, I guess). After seeing the disappointed look on his face, I went to the office and let the secretary know that I would take care of popcorn alone, no big deal - please don't cancel it.

Jack and I went over and started the process, and another mom (who by the way is an awesome friend!!! You know who you are! and THANK YOU AGAIN for all your help!!!!!) came over for awhile to help until she had to go do her own job in the cafeteria. Again I was on my own and managed to finish with a little help from a couple of teachers helping me carry crates of popcorn. High schoolers helped me for the last 15-30 minutes or so. We ran completely out of popcorn and bags at the very end.

I have to add why I am not Super Woman. While I thoroughly enjoyed the looks on the kids' faces when they got their treat and the thank-yous from students and teachers all around, I left almost 5 hours after starting, having cleaned the popcorn machine and vacuuming the floor (with the world's crappiest vacuum, btw! LOL), with a cranky baby, a horrendous headache, and just a bit stressed, not to mention tired and starving. I love helping at the school. But I need to learn my limits, I think. I can't do everything, be everything, for everybody. I need to slow down a little. But I hate to have the students be disappointed...

Dilemma.

Onward and upward. Growing into me... Today this couldn't be more fitting.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

He did it!

E won the 6-8 grade bee! He's moving on next month to the charter school one. I'm not sure how they figure out the Scripps regional bee but I guess we'll find out?

I had planned to post video from the bee, especially as my munchkin is quite the character. However, it's almost 30 mins long and I need to edit out the beginning before they started. I'd like to take out where the kids say their names and grades, etc. I'd hate to share that without permission. Not even sure if I should share at all since I don't have permission to share the kids' images. Probably not a good idea...
I was thinking I could just try and edit parts of just E but not sure if it would work. Plus I just got this laptop for Christmas and I figured how to add the video but not how to edit videos. :(

Regardless, I think he did wonderful. He was so funny up there. It was down to him and an 8th grade girl (8a) and she misspelled courage. He had to spell that plus one more word. E spelled courage and then won with journey.

His list of  correctly spelled words:

  1. diameter 
  2. solemn 
  3. source 
  4. flourish 
  5. freight 
  6. glacier 
  7. eavesdrop 
  8. tortoise 
  9. community 
  10. proofread
  11. preview 
  12. transfer  (at this point it was just E and the 8th grader)
  13.  outlaw 
  14. observe 
  15. courage 
  16. journey

Spelling bee

The school spelling bee is today. E made it as the top speller from his 6th grade class so he and the second place student get to go to the school bee. He said he was nervous this morning because we haven't studied. Mind you, this child is off the charts when it comes to spelling. His teacher has him in the hardest spelling group (which I believe are the 8th grade words) and they are actually too easy for him. He's working on the meanings and how to use them in a sentence though, so it's still a great benefit to him.

The top 2 winners from today go on to the charter school bee hosted by the company who runs the boys' school. It's hosted at another of their schools. Last year, they had 2 separate bees, one for grades 3-5 and one for grades 6-8. E went on to that bee and won first place in the 3-5 bee!

The first place winner from today's school bee also gets to go on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee's Regional Bee - sponsored locally by our newspaper. Of course, the winner from that goes to Washington, DC to the Scripps National Bee held yearly in May/June. Last year, Ethan was able to go to the regional bee and made it to the 6th (I believe?) round before he got a word wrong. He was so proud of himself, and so were we.

Not just because he won and moved on. But because he handled losing with tact. His Asperger's can cause him frustration and anxiety. It can cause him to overreact. However, he was very calm and handled it so well.

E was even interviewed by the newspaper and then the local news! He was on TV! Alex and E both thought that was so neat.

Anyway, at 2pm, Jack and I are going to the school to watch the bee, and whether or not E outspells everybody, I will be sure to tell him I love him very much and am proud of him. For everything he does.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My kitchen finds

Since I had to go buy dog food today, Jack-Jack and I went to Meijer after dropping the older boys at school. He had fallen asleep, so I had a chance to walk around for a few minutes. I've been looking to add some gadgets to our kitchen for a while now, so when I found two I wanted for such a good deal, I had to have them. ;-)

For the last year, we've had a membership to Costco, and I've been buying bulk cheese, including Parmesan. I just shred it here and Oh My Goodness!! It really does taste better freshly shredded. I purchased some bagged, shredded cheddar a couple of weeks ago, and truly, YUCK! Anyway, I've been trying to grate Parmesan for spaghetti and other things using our 4-sided cheese shredder. Let me tell you, it was not easy to do. I've been wanting one of the nice rotary graters but couldn't find one. I've also gotten away from buying spray oils (Pam, etc) and using olive oil or butter to grease pans. To be honest, it's a pain in the butt because I always use too much olive oil and that stuff isn't terribly expensive but it's not cheap, especially the organic that I try to always get. I've been coveting those refillable oil sprayers, which again I couldn't find locally. They are both on my Amazon wish list but I was waiting.

Today, I happened across BOTH at Meijer!!

The Misto Oil Sprayer was $9.99 and the KitchenAid Rotary Grater was $12.99. Both were less than I've seen on Amazon! (Of course, now that I'm looking again, I do see some that are around the same price, maybe a bit lower, but if you don't have Amazon Prime, most places have shipping so it would be the same or more and you have to wait to get it!)

I'm wanting to start organizing our kitchen a little better and replacing some of the items so I may make this a new Wednesday thing. Each week, I will try to post something about our kitchen, whether it's a new gadget, an item I have that I started using more frequently as we continue on our "real food" journey, or something we've organized/changed.

Comment with something you would like in your kitchen or have done to or bought for your kitchen recently.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Perception

We, as humans, in general are concerned with how others perceive us. We care to much about how we look, or present ourselves to the world. I'm not saying we shouldn't put our best foot forward, or care about other people and their feelings but a decision that affects my family or myself, well it shouldn't really matter what others think or what they opinion they have on it. Unless of course, it truly affects their life. Or is a safety concern, like a child running into traffic. Because I would hope that each one of us would stop that child, and confront the parent if said parent was truly ALLOWING that child to run in the busy street.

Now, on to perception and how we perceive ourselves. How we put ourselves out there for others to see. I have a little story to share:

On Sunday night, I made whole-wheat pizza pockets for the next day's lunch. Which by the way, turned out awesome, and were delicious!! I love her blog and recipes. The items I've made so far have mostly gotten rave reviews from the kids. But I digress. This is not about the recipe. More about what happened.

So I made the pizza pockets, and poked an initial into each, so we would know who's is who's, since we all made them slightly different. As I was prepping the last 2, Alex walks out and is checking them out.

Alex: Who's the "M" for?

Me: Mom. See, everybody has their initial. "E" for Ethan, "A" for Alex.

Alex: But there's no "D" for Dad.

Me: You're right, I put a "J", didn't I?

See here's thing. I thought of  Jason as "Jason", not as "Dad" (obviously he's not my dad, so why would I, right?). But when thinking of myself, I didn't think "Crystal". I thought "Mom".

This morning, on the drive home, I was thinking about how an "M" upside down is "W", which made me think of how I'm also "wife".

I realized, even though I don't want others to think of me as only ("as only a mom" "as only a wife" "as only... fill in the blank"), I think of myself in those terms, more often than I think of myself as a whole person.

Sure, we all do that, right? We have a tendency to put others first, etc. However, if I don't want others to think of me like that, I must stop thinking like that. I must start seeing my whole being. I need to see "Crystal", not "mom" or "wife". Yes I am both, proudly and happily, but I am Crystal and those are both a PART OF THAT WHOLE PERSON!!

I know. It's a silly thing, really. But when you start seeing only part of who you are, or only concerning yourself with that aspect of your life, personality, whatever, then it can overtake you and you don't grow as a person. I want to use the things I like about myself, the things I love about being a mom and wife, and the things I enjoy doing to become a better person, to help others and to really blossom.

How do you perceive yourself? What about others? Does it really matter what others think  about you?