Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why I Keep Blogging

What started as a hobby for me back in 2009 has grown quite a bit in the past year. I finally decide to open myself up, share my stories, and connect with other women. I'm so thankful for the community here and am grateful this has given us all a way to gain new friendships and insights.
But recently, there have been plenty of times I've wanted to call it quits. Times when I get overwhelmed and over-saturated with the world knowing our lives. Times when I want to revert to my secluded and private life, put up my walls, and not let anyone in. Times when I've wanted to stop talking about myself.

I read a short article online the other day about why it's important for writers...to write, despite the criticism and frustrations that come with melding our online lives with our real lives. I just started reading One Thousand Gifts, and one of my early takeaways from her emotional and thought-provoking words are ways in which we can be joyful and intentional in the midst of our daily routines. Although I try and avoid doing this on my blog, often times on social media we are only shown the big and captivating moments of marriages and vacations, the photos where our double chins aren't glaringly obvious, the weekend recaps that don't include messy homes and pajamas, and the stories that are void of all hurt.
My personal mission statement here is to be real, honest, and vulnerable, because I think life is too short for anything less. This online space has given me a place for self-expression about topics I am passionate about. This is why I write. This is why I share.

Of course I also blog so that family can keep up with Ben's changes, keep track of our histories, and the like...but the root of why I keep blogging is this.

| One | To let others know they aren't alone. Motherhood can be especially isolating and lonely, through the daily struggle and hoping and praying we are doing this right. When I write something and hit publish, I know that another mother, maybe halfway across the country is reading my words and nodding, saying "me too", or thinking "someone else knows my struggle." The need for human connection is powerful and profound.

| Two | Inspiration. I was overwhelmed with the amount of love and support I received through sharing my stories about post-partum depression and a traumatic birth experience. My devotion for feeding my family healthy foods has spilled over to this space as well. My success with breastfeeding. My fitness journey. Who could I help and inspire with my words?

| Three | Transformation. I was a print journalism major and a creative writing minor during my undergraduate college years. I may have even attended a poetry jam, or two. The written word has always carried a lot of weight for me. Writing has been transformational for me because I am not only the creator, but also the product. I've processed, healed, and released many things in my life through transforming my thoughts into words.

| Four | Friendship. It's kind of like online dating for friends, right?
Maybe someday I really will stop, but for now, I need this. How about you?

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Birth Diaries#15: Amanda and Mason

Hi, I'm Amanda! I blog over at Little Baby McKinney where I share stories about my son Mason, how I am learning to balance mommy hood with a full time professional career, and how I am doing my best to live life to the fullest each and every day. I discovered Andrea's blog a few months after I delivered my son, Mason. I have been captivated by her birth story diary series and am honored to share my story with you all. To be honest, my delivery was one of the most traumatic and scariest times of my life. It was not at all what I had imagined and dreamt of during the 9 months of my pregnancy. But in the end, I walked away with the most precious gift- a healthy, handsome, and energetic, almost one-year old son Mason.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Announcements

This public service announcement brought to you by a very tired mommy and a toddler with new molars. The last couple of weeks have been long ones, for many reasons, but mostly because Benny boo bear has some shiny new molar points to show for it. He only has two more bottom molars to go (Lord help me) and then he will have all of his teeth. Crazy! These last back molars are giving us more trouble (cranky, whiny, needy, hands in mouth, etc) than any of the others. My heart goes out to the parents whose kids struggle through all the teeth. There's a lot of teeth in those mouths! Anyway, I digress.

Here's what's up with the Laughery Clan. By the way, in case you're one of those people like me who wants to know how to pronounce people's names...we say la-ow-ree...low-ry...lawlry...not Laugh-ery. It's confusing. I know. When I tried to spell it out phonetically for my Masters degree ceremony, the chickie wrote down "owl-rey"...so that's cool. "Andrea "Owl" Laughery" please come up and get hooded. Cool nickname.
| One | 
The biggest and most exciting tidbit I have to share here today is that we are potentially home owners (again)! I know I just wrote a sad little post whining about where our perfect home was, and the next day we got good news! One of the homes that we were in contract with for a short sale came through! The bank originally counted 80,000 (yes, that many zeroes) HIGHER than our offer, so we obviously figured that perfect home wasn't going to be the one. Turns out the bank lost some paperwork, and instead of gathering it all up again they just decided to accept our offer. Well, alright then! We have our inspection today, and if all goes well we should close soon! I was starting to feel anxious about moving, because I hate change and I'm really uncomfortable moving out of my zone. The summers here on the water are so heavenly and I felt like not finding a home was a sign to stay. Well, the next sign came flashing neon when a rat died in our furnace, our washing machine broke again, the sugar ants started marching and singing all over the kitchen counter, and the abundant rain reminded me why more indoor space will be a huge blessing. I'm ready to move (but don't worry future renters, we will fix these issues!) Also, Ben gets to have a real bathtub, and Justin's commute is slashed by 40 minutes. YES!
| Two | 
I weaned Ben from breastfeeding last month, but this is funny. If it makes you comfortable to cover up, then by all means do (I did from time to time), but this comic really sheds some light on how silly it is that our culture has shoved baby mammals under blankets.
| Three | 
THE trip. You know, the big one. It's coming up. In five weeks my husband and I will be flying away from our sweet boy for a little one-on-one adventuring together. I felt crazy about leaving my son, but hey, if you can...you should. It's a surprise to my husband where we are going, so I definitely have some creative packing to start thinking about. Red beard also is just finishing his scuba certification (has his last open water dive tomorrow), and I'm trying to figure out if he can bring his gear with him to dive at one of our locations.
| Four | 
After my whole ankle spraining fiasco, working out rigorously like I had been is proving difficult. We were able to climb up Mount Ellinor without major issues, but trying to do T25 in our living room is not happening. I've been able to get in 45 to 65 minutes of cardio on our stationary bike every day, so that is helping me maintain, but I'm kind of "stuck" at my current fitness level and I'm looking forward to my ankle being fully healed soon.
| Five | 
Stranger at store: "Awww, he is so cute! What a flirt! How old is he?"
Me: "Thanks, he sure thinks so! He is almost 19 months!"
SAS: Confused look...appears to be counting...
Me: "Oh, um, he's a year and a half old."

So, I guess it's time to stop telling people Ben's age in weeks or months. Ha! I'm that annoying mom.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week. I'm really grateful for all the friendships I've made here and appreciate you following along with me.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's In Our Pantry

I know, I know. You've been waiting for this post. Probably wondering when I was going to share the thrilling contents of our family's pantry. Wait no longer.

A while back, Justin and I decided (okay, I decided and he was forced to go along with it), that we were going to go vegan. Vegan was the new black. Everyone was doing it! Long story short, it really wasn't the lifestyle for us. BUT, we do believe in eating mostly plant-based foods, and less animal. It was the start of us drastically changing our eating habits.

Fast forward a bit. Current day, we eat hardly any processed or boxed foods. Most of the fruits and vegetables we eat are organic and/or locally grown when possibly. The meat we eat is sustainably raised, and we know where it comes from. The seafood we eat is never harvested from a fish farm in Thailand full of GMO corn. In summary, we eat a lot of nutrient dense foods that are real and minimally prepared out of our home. I read the labels on everything. Just because it says "organic" or "natural" means nothing.

The standard American diet is scary. Our bodies are sick, unhealthy, overweight, addicted, and upset. We blame it on anything we can but our own habits. People have forgotten that food is medicine. It fuels our bodies. It's disgusting (ethically, morally, the whole biz) that agricultural corporations, advertising companies, and big businesses pump people full of additives, chemicals, genetically modified foods, high fructose corn syrups, sugars, refined salts, and flours.

We decided it wasn't for us, and that wasn't how we wanted to raise our kid(s). Ben is at a prime age for growth, and people have teased me about the way I feed him, but I know he is getting the nutrients and minerals that his developing body needs! Joke about the kale smoothies, the homemade almond butters, the coconut flour if you will, but we over here are doing what is best for our family. Of course it isn't an all or nothing kinda thing. Ben ate Annie's organic macaroni and cheddar for dinner the other night because I was single-parenting it. Justin grabbed Subway on his way to scuba class, and I downed a 16 ounce sugary coffee from Starbucks. It happens. But it shouldn't all the time.

I guess this eating lifestyle we have adopted is called "eating clean" or "whole foods". I just think of it as eating real food, most of the time. It's pretty hard to eat this way and avoid the inner aisles of the grocery stores, so I thought I would share a glimpse of our pantry. The pantry is the place you most typically find the junk and the crap. I hope this gives you some ways you can help clean up your pantry, too!
Top shelf left: I keep our coffee and tea in the bin, along with organic "cheerios" for Ben to munch on (I like the Cascadia Farms ones because the only ingredients are oats, barley, and sea salt). I also keep organic oatmeal, flax, and organic canned tomatoes up there.
Second left: I have a bunch of pasta noodles here, that quite honestly are leftover from a couple of years ago. I keep them around in case we really really need something. I also have dried beans, quinoa, and rice on this shelf.
Third left: I still buy tortillas, and bread (although I try and make homemade loaves a few times a month), and organic rice cakes. I've also got some almond crackers, raw almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, almond milk, and lara bars stored on this shelf.
Fourth left: Organic maple syrup, honey, peanut butter (I also make our own but keep that in the fridge), raisins, dates, popcorn, and dried pea crisps.

Top shelf right: This shelf has a lot of strange items (like absinthe that I bought in Athens, Greece in 2007). So up here we have husband's whiskey, olive oil, a jar of jalapenos, hot sauce, protein powder, and some really really old peanut oil that needs to be thrown out.
Second right: Organic chicken stock, canned beans, artichokes, and pickles.
Third right: Mixer and baking jars. I keep organic brown sugar, raw sugar, and whole wheat flour in those.
Four right: This is the baking shelf. Chocolate chips, coconut flour, whole wheat flour, almond meal, baking soda, etc. Also, if you are looking for a couple of great muffin recipes, the back of the coconut flour has a great recipe for chia blueberry muffins that is gluten and dairy free (I've posted on instagram here), or check out this pin for flour-less peanut butter banana muffins! Yum!
*The bottom shelves (not shown) on this side have our waffle maker, wine, vacuum sealer, and some other baking pans.

Well, that's the tour of our little ol' pantry! Watch out, my fridge might be night next!
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Birth Diaries #14: Heather and Evelynne

Hi, I'm Heather and you'll find me blogging over at Like a Morning cup of Coffee  where I write about my life as a Police officer's wife and young mama who loves coffee and really  loves Jesus.
My #1 goal as a Mama Blogger is to encourage other mamas. Which is why I love Andrea's blog so much! It's so refreshing and encouraging which is why I'm so blessed and honored to take over for a day. I love these Birth series and I hope my story can bring encouragement to you today. Much love.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

No Words

It's been a long week of sunshine, running, hugging, eating, and growing. I have no words tonight, just photos. 

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