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I’ve been quiet for a long time because I’ve been developing and designing my self-hosted blog. Come visit me at www.eat-pray-grow.com and let me know what you’ve been up to!

Top 3 Things That Terrify Me About Having Children

Crying children make me afraid to become a parentFirst, to answer the question “Where the heck have you been?” I’ll just say – I’ve been trying to get my poop in a group. I even purchased a book about getting organized in a year – which has been great so far, though I’m a few weeks behind. But I digress – there’s something more important to discuss.

  • First, out of 4 women on my husband’s side of the family, I am the only one NOT pregnant.
  • Second, I just found out my second set of in-laws (my sister’s husband’s family) are expecting their first bouncing baby.
  • Third, my baby shower and first birthday party invites are officially outnumbering wedding invites.
  • Fourth, roughly 84.2% of my Facebook friends are, according to their profile pictures, eight months old.
  • Hence, I clearly must resign myself to the fact that this is coming for me soon.

Don’t get be wrong, I’m totally excited for it. In fact, I’ve got an entire Pintrest board for my future children. Heck, I’ve even got a nursery theme picked out.

But, then I remember I’m 23. I haven’t traveled as much as I want to. I haven’t really traveled much at all. Plus, I’m the breadwinner, and I can’t really win bread while filling bottles. Just saying. As badly as that baby bug persists in biting, these are a few of the reasons I’m not attempting to grow a human right now.

Here are 3 others:

1. Toys

I can’t even afford to decorate my house the way I want to. What happens when a child comes along and decorates it for me?

Let me go on the record saying that I understand I may eat the words I’m about to say. my husband and I agree that “less is more” when it comes to children’s toys, and I’ve determined that my house won’t look like a Walmart toy aisle threw up inside it. All you parents are shaking your heads at me, but I believe there has GOT to be a way. For the sake of my sanity, I must find a way.

The Solution:
So I did a little Google search, and found that there are tried and true methods to keep this to a minimum. This article by the Organizing Junkie, for instance, stressed the importance of not giving kids access to ALL toys, ALL the time. I even read that Michelle Duggar rotates the children’s toys, and each time a toy gets pulled out of rotation, it seems new and exciting again. My aunt kept her childrens’ toy number in check by insisting that for every new toy they get (not as a gift), one must be given away to a child in need.

I have hope.

2. Fluids

Mainly, the ones that go in an upward direction.

It’s no secret to my friends and family that I cannot bear the sound of retching. I can’t do it. I’m a grown adult who will curl into fetal position and place my hands over my ears if I hear so much as a gag. All of the reasoning in the world can’t stop me from feeling a true sense of terror when I hear…that. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember. I have no idea how to cope with children who will likely be *almost* as terrified as me when they are sick.

The Solution:
My husband can do puke duty if I’ll do cleanup. I can handle cleanup. The only problem is, there will surely come a time when I’ll be left alone with my…biggest fear. So, for that, I can only hope that by the time they are big enough to do such disgusting things, I will have been slightly broken in by all of the other nastiness they have wrought upon me.

3. McCrack

If I ever take my child to McDonald’s, I will probably regret it for the rest of my life.

We’ve been living happily without cable for nearly 4 years and love being free from the constant bombardment of advertisements (sort of ironic that I’m in Marketing). We’re both pretty sure that those advertisements work pretty well on children, and they’ll be wanting all sorts of things they don’t need – but unlike us, they won’t be able to silence that little voice that says “you need this piece of crap.”

We can keep the TV advertisements at bay, but we can’t keep everything away. We will probably, at some point, drive through the McDonald’s parking lot, and they will be hooked. Hooked! And will only ask for that at mealtimes. It’s a proven scientific fact (maybe) that children are attracted to McEverything inside that building with the golden arches. Can I handle the incessant whining for McCrack?

The Solution:
Option 1: Dont go to McDonald’s, ever. We don’t go often as it is, but isn’t it a bit extreme to shun it entirely? I think I prefer…

Option 2: Teach our children moderation by going very, very, rarely. And hope against all hope that they won’t demand it every day.

Option 2b: Teach out children that for every time they ask for McCrack, they will have to run two laps around the…the…earth.

Will I get over these fears? Or will the desire for little bundles of joy supersede the bundles of toys, vomit, and french fries freakishly preserved in the couch cushions for decades? Perhaps there’s a reason why everyone else is having children, and we’re playing hide and seek at 3am on a Saturday morning.

Frustration. Discouragement. Caffeine. Bailey’s.

At 2:00am, I’m writing this because to my dismay, the Bailey’s did not counteract the coffee like I hoped it would. Duly noted, caffeine, duty noted. You have and always will win against sleep.

But, I’m not writing about sleep, I’m writing about a myriad of things that have congealed to form the collective passion-block I’ve been experiencing lately. I say passion-block because it exceeds the depth of a typical creative block. I’ve reached a wall, and I know exactly what caused it.

I started this blog as an outgrowth of my desire to live successfully in this unique stage of life. A time when young adults grow more fully into themselves and shed the old identity of being their parents’ dependent. We act like it happens overnight, but there’s nothing magical about turning twenty, graduating from college, or even getting married that prepares us for the confusing road ahead.

While we rejoice at the chance to discover our own tastes, put down our own roots, and discover more truly who we are, we’re met with the daunting reality that the world is a whole lot bigger than we thought, and the decisions that impact us for the rest of our lives now rest on our shoulders, whether we know what the heck we’re doing or not. By the way, we don’t know what the heck we’re doing.

In a simple world, there would be answers for those who seek them–I myself am a nearly obsessive answer-seeker, spending great amounts of time just researching things that interest me. The problem isn’t that there’s no answers. It’s that there are too many answers.

One thirst I cannot quench is the desire to learn how to live healthy. From choosing the right foods to finding a realistic fitness schedule and even natural remedies to health problems, I’ve got a whole lot of questions and I know everyone else does too. The problem is, the second I think I’ve got it figured out, I find conflicting advice.

For example, it seems organic milk would be better for you. But then again, many of the concerns about nonorganic milk, like antibiotics, are tested before the milk gets released and milk containing antibiotics isn’t sold. But organic milk contains more vitamins. But it’s ultra-pasteurized at a much higher temp than normal milk so much of the nutritional value is lost. But, but, but…

The evidence is all so contradictory it makes my head spin…how can an already indecisive woman make a simple choice like buying milk when everybody seems to disagree? On the recommendation of a friend who happens to be a dietician student, I’m going to pay closer attention to my sources to clear out some of the static. She recommended a few sources I’m going to check out.

I’m really trying to figure out and make positive changes in my lifestyle before children enter the picture. I’ve wanted to blog about running, but a shinjury (yes I made that up) early on has kept me from running regularly the past few weeks and its not getting better. Then, this week I learned that the very product I blogged about earlier, natural peanut butter from Smuckers, was recalled for possible bacteria contamination. Mind you it was the crunchy variation that was recalled and not the smooth that I bought, but it was enough to make that jar look so unappetizing that I bought a jar of regular old JIF today.

I’m upset that my attempts to get healthy are being foiled, and my discouragement is leaching into my blog.

If you’re still reading this, I congratulate you. I hope you stick around to see me through this season of frustration, because I’m sure I’ll emerge from it a little bit wiser and more convicted.

Love, a really exhausted twentysomething

The Stick, Revisited

I know I left all of you hanging with the Pee on a Stick post last week, so here’s the update:

I was right. Did I not tell you his claims were unfounded??

In other news, my sister in law announced she is preggers, so husband now assumes that the pregnancy vibes he was getting came from her, 100 miles away. As long as the vibes stay there (for now), that’s cool with me. Anyway, I’m most certainly not planning anything, but I’m a twenty-something who is approaching her fifth year of marriage, (I married as a teenager — it’s okay, you can judge me) it’s only natural to take this indefinite pre-baby time to plan everything.

Because that’s what I do. I plan.

So, even though I have no business doing so, here is a picture of my future nursery theme:

I'm obsessed with bird nurseries. If the baby comes out a different gender than expected (as I did), there's no need to restyle.

And another…

Nursery

This one, not so gender-neutral—but I do love the name Liam, and the tree decal is spectacular.



Thanks to Pinterest for ruining me for the next few years while I plan every detail of my future baby’s life. Or at least its nursery.

Natural Peanut Butter….Be Brave…

Natural Peanut Butter….Be Brave…

According to every health food article published in the last 2 years, everything you can’t pronounce in processed food labels either makes you fat or gives you cancer. Or both.

It’s no wonder why so many people, including myself, are so skeptical of every food they purchase. It’s hard to keep straight what kinds of fat are good today, or whether chocolate is a miracle drug or death sentence. In light of all of this doubt, my food philosophy has gradually been shifting to “back to the basics.”

My friend Allison, who was in culinary school at the time, told me several years ago that I don’t want to know what’s really in peanut butter. The additives that relieved us of menial tasks like *gasp* stirring actually take a relatively healthy protein source and put it in the fatty-fat-fatty club. I looked at the label and said “hydrogenated what?” and then put it back and tried not to think about it.

Years later, the “natural” movement has led to an emergence of natural peanut butter in mainstream brands like JIF and Smuckers. I love peanut butter, and haven’t been able to really enjoy it for years now (thanks, Allision), so I decided it was time to try the natural stuff.

Here’s the lowdown on natural peanut butter:

  1. It contains two things: peanuts and salt. That’s it.
  2. The oil separates and forms a welcoming party at the top each time you screw off the lid. You need to stir it.
  3. Because it’s a little runnier than regular PB, it needs to be refrigerated for that thick consistency we all love

My Natural PB Experience

(Sounds dramatic, right?)

While at Target (they’ve recently embraced the natural/organic crowd), I found a selection of natural PB’s. A quick search on my iPhone showed that the Smucker’s variety tested well for the folks at Real Simple. So, I grabbed that one. Here’s the product:

Remember when I said it’s supposed to be refrigerated? Well, I tried it right off the bat, and the texture definitely threw me off a bit. It was pretty runny and a tad oily-tasting, perhaps because I didn’t stir it enough. Even though it was the smooth kind, there were still tiny chunks. I knew there were no sweeteners, but the reduced sweetness took me by surprise—I’m thinking the corn syrup in normal peanut butter has me fooled into expecting unnatural amounts of sweetness.

Anyway, I let it sit in the fridge overnight and tried it again. MUCH better this time, I think the fridge was needed to get that consistency right and it didn’t taste oily this time. It was more like normal peanut butter, just with little chunks and not as sweet. Here’s what it looked like (notice you can see the knife grooves from a sandwich I made, so it clearly holds its shape):


Anyway, overall I was pleased with it and I think after I get used to it, there will be no going back. It’s worth being able to enjoy my peanut butter without hearing the haunting echo of Allison’s voice.

I think my next jar will be the variety of Smucker’s with honey in it, just because I still like my PB a little on the sweet side. So there you have it—the green light to go try peanut butter, knowing the rules (refrigerate, stir, enjoy) to making it a tasty, healthy snack. Or meal, if that’s how you roll.

“So…When Are You Going to Pee on a Stick?”

“So…When Are You Going to Pee on a Stick?”

My husband made a prediction over two weeks ago that I was pregnant. Let me just say, we’re not trying to get pregnant (in fact, we’re taking precautionary measures to avoid parenthood for the time being), and I think his prediction is completely unfounded. He just “has a feeling.”

While I think he’ll most certainly be wrong, after weeks of getting questions from him (and now the friends I have told) about how the “little guy” is doing, I decided I had to prove him wrong as soon as possible.

So, I came home with an early pregnancy test. Out comes the husband’s nervous laughter—I suppose this makes his goofy prediction a little more “real.” As much as I don’t believe it’s true, (after all, he said this over two weeks ago and I’m just now approaching the time that I could even take the early pregnancy test—see, I told you…unfounded) I still have heard enough eerie stories about women whose husbands predicted pregnancies way before a test or any symptoms could show up. I also found out that while pregnancy at the beginning of a cycle is not the “norm,” it’s happened to quite a few women.

So it’s not impossible, per se, it’s just….it’s just unfounded! (What else can I say?)

I’ll probably take it the morning after next, since that’s well within the window the test claims to be accurate in. Then I can tell my husband to keep his mouth shut until I’m a little closer to test-taking time, because two weeks is too long to endure false statements about my child-bearing-ed-ness.

So, stay tuned, I guess…for the answer you know is coming (negative!).

Love, a comfortably non-pregnant twentysomething

The First *wheeze* Steps

The First *wheeze* Steps

Ever since we moved to our new rental house in a small town 30 minutes from Springfield, I’ve felt a little restless. I really come to life outdoors, it’s where I find my peace – and while I could get my needed doses of the outdoors in our old house (where we had a backyard of large trees, a little garden, and also a large park within blocks) I don’t have any of that at our new diggs. To the left of our house, a bank parking lot. The right, an alley street, and behind it is the fence of our neighbor’s yard with enough room for us to put our trash can next to the alley. It’s hard to get fresh air next to a trash can, or on our front porch where the traffic is surprisingly robust for such a small town. I’m not writing this to complain, but to illustrate a point: I feel like a caged lion!

I work from home, so if I don’t do something about this, I can easily go several days without leaving the house. I may be an introvert, but I’m not a hermit – so the answer came to me over several weeks of finding myself doing laps around the house like dogs do sometimes when they get a random burst of…manic insanity.

So, I decided to run. Not for any of the same reasons I’ve decided to in the past, like weight control or physical health, but for my mental sanity. And somehow, my mind takes better to preserving itself than it does my body – so this time I didn’t let the normal excuses stop me. Yesterday I got fitted for the right running shoes for my feet, and purchased them along with a pair of running pants and a wicking base shirt. We don’t have the budget for all the running gear under the sun, but I got enough to get me started. (I’m writing a post later this week on figuring out that I needed more than motivation to run).

So today, in the wind-advisory, chilly, rainy weather, I went on my first run. I used the Couch 2 5K app on my iPhone – it interrupts your music to tell you when to run and walk, gradually increasing the proportion of running to walking over 9 weeks.

And here’s the part where I tell you that it felt great achieving my goal; except, I’m going to tell you the truth instead. I did not feel great, and I did not exactly achieve my goal. Let me explain:

If I’m going to be honest, the things I thought would bother me did not; my knees and feet did not hurt, the cold and rain didn’t get to me. Some things somewhat bothered me; the self-consciousness as small town drivers unaccustomed to seeing runners (especially in the rain) slowed down as they drive past me. That self-consciousness is something I’ve got to get over and one of the reasons I want to do this. Then there were the things that did bother me; my teeth and inner ears throbbing in pain (that caught me by surprise), my earbuds falling out, and the worst of it was the burning lungs. I expected coming home rejuvenated and pumped up, but instead I stumbled into my house after ignoring the lady telling me to run three times in a row, wheezing and trying not to throw up.

Sure, I did it, and I’m glad I did. I’m not going to stop. The reasons for doing it far outweigh any excuses not to. But it’s not easy to start a new habit. I’m 23 years old with average weight and no major health problems. And the easiest running course kicked my ass. So if you’re older or perhaps overweight, take comfort in knowing that no, it would not necessarily be easy if you are younger or thinner. Those things don’t equate to fitness any more than being rich equates to true happiness. We all have to start where we are, realizing that the size of the obstacles we allow to stop us is our choice. Someday I won’t be wheezing the whole way, and I look forward to that, but for now I’m satisfied knowing I tried. Even if I didn’t make my goal or feel like superwoman, this is the reality of running for now, and doing a crappy run is better than no run at all.

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