Little Things

I was just going through my vlog video list as my most recent video is uploading, and realized that although I said there isn’t much more happening in my life, I really left out quite a bit from my blogging/vlogging records.  Just a bunch of little stuff, but it all really adds up to make the bigger picture.

First of all, my diet has been on hold for the last 2-3 months due to the stress and depression, and then the distraction of all the changes.  No excuses, it was my choice.  I decided NOT to go forward with a gastric sleeve surgery, and that I was doing this on my own.  However, I haven’t lost any more weight, but I didn’t gain any more back either.  I held at 225 for nearly 3 months.  I think that will be beneficial for me when it comes to losing again.  My body adjusted to being this size (45 lbs less than I was a year ago), and it won’t be so hard to keep off more weight once I’ve lost what I want.  About 6 weeks ago I qualified for skin removal surgery from my mid-section, and a breast reduction and lift.  I promised myself I wouldn’t go forward with those procedures until I was under 200 pounds because I want to look good after my surgeries.  As of today, I am back on the diet and exercise plan, and I’m ready to start dropping the pounds again!

I decided to downsize when it comes to pets.  Losing half of the household income really showed me how much we were spending on pets, and I’d like to move in the near future, so it was time to start cutting costs.  Penny killed Cecil, my duck.  I was devastated, and very angry with the dog.  But it made me realize that outside birds probly weren’t a good idea.  So I found the chickens a new home
too.  I gave Oscar the pug back to his previous owners, knowing he would be loved and cared for there.  I gave Gemini to Jake’s mom so she’s not so alone in her house now that Jake and Steven have moved in with me and the boys.  So we’re down to Penny, Sunny and Salem.  Plus Jake’s bird Snickers (amazon parrot).  And now I have a lovebird named Skittles, but she’s mostly caged for her own safety.

My best friend Amber and I started each other on a set of dreads.  This is my final attempt, and so far its not so bad.  My scalp hasn’t been itchy, likely because I conditioned it to the shampoo I’m using for several months ahead of time.  And I have my first professional dreadlock maintenance appointment set for next week, so they will look GOOD this time.

I have also gotten 2 sesssions of work done on my right arm tattoo sleeve.  My phoenix has been completely recolored and I’m getting the background filled in with leaves and such.  Its turning out amazing!

I do believe I’ve found us a 5-bedroom house for rent for a very affordable price, but I have yet to hear back from the landlord again.  I’m hoping to hear back within the next week so we can do a walk through before the current tenants move out.  If its as nice on the inside as it seems from the outside, we may have ourselves some comfortable permanence until the kids are all grown!

Though I still dream of Florida almost nightly, I have decided to stay closer to family for the time being.  I can visit Florida when I get chances.

I’m sure that’s not all either, but that’s all I can think of at the moment.

Trending In My Life – January 2015

Hello all!  I’m back for January trends, as promised.  Looking through last month’s trends made me realize all over again why I’m doing this so frequently – things change all too fast around here.  This month I started working full time for the first time in my life, so I haven’t been able to play games or watch TV much.  However, I do have some things that seem to be in the forefront.  Without further ado:

Game: Casual Mobile Gaming.  I haven’t had a lot of time to play the consoles lately, so I’ve taken to casual gaming on my Android phone.  I’ve been staying entertained with games such as Farm Heroes Saga, Sim City Buildit, Words On Tour, and little bit of Trivia Crack.  They are easily put away when I get busy, and easy to spend a little more time on when I have time to burn.  However, I do have an Xbox 360 game to spotlight in February.

TV Show: Parenthood.  Parenthood follows the lives of the Braverman family, which consists of Mr. Zeke and Mrs. Millie Braverman, their 4 adult children and their spouses, and all the grandchildren. The series addresses many real-life issues such as mental illness, addiction, relationship problems, sibling rivalry, health concerns, and so much more, all wrapped up into one loving family that is always there for one another.  The characters are easy to love, and fascinating to follow.  The actors have outstanding chemistry together, and the writing is spot-on.  I cannot say enough about this show.  It must be one of my absolute all-time favorites. Parenthood is currently in its 6th season on NBC and only 1 episode remains – the series finale – which will air on Thursday, January 29th.  However, the first 5 seasons are currently available on Netflix.  I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!

YouTuber: Laci Green. I am a big fan of Laci Green. She is amazing at what she does. She is a vlogger on YouTube and has her own site. She promotes safe, consensual sex, sex education, women’s rights, and so much more! If you haven’t already checked her out, I recommend it. You may even learn a thing or two.

Music: Spotify. So last month I wrote about how annoying Pandora was being for me, and was asking for suggestions for other music services to try. I tried a few, but the one I have enjoyed the most is Spotify. It has the same feature of music station creation that learns from your likes and dislikes. But it also has unlimited skips, playlist creation, and even offline listening. Normally it runs $9.99 per month, but since I signed up just before the end of the year, I got my first 3 months for $.99! I like that I can follow my friends’ listening habits too, to discover new music, or it will suggest bands like the ones I’m listening to. It’s just what I wanted out of a music service and more.

Interest: Dreadlocks. Yep, that’s right, dreadlocks. For those of you who followed me from the beginnings of Ink & Earth, you may know I’ve given them a couple of short tries before. I took out my first serious set of dreads only 3 months into the journey to look presentable to officiate a friend’s wedding. Between then and now I have done tons of research and even joined a group to learn from others’ experiences with dreads. (Best group of people I’ve ever met, by the way – The Dread Den on Facebook) And finally, in December, I took the plunge again and started a new set of dreadlocks. I told myself I would not give up on them easily this time, and that if I did I would force myself to cut my hair as a consequence. And if you know me, you know I like having longer hair. I’m 4 weeks into my journey now, and there are good and bad days. But the point is, I’ve stuck it out so far. Some days I feel like my head is a mess and I’d just like to be “normal” again, especially at work. And other days I am so happy to have so little maintenence, and not to have to brush my hair or wash it as often. I do believe with time I will grow to love it more and more. As my desktop computer took a dump and I’m posting from my phone, I can’t make embedded photos look proper in my blog post this time. But I will post updates and share photos along the way of my dread journey.

So that’s my post for January. I’ll seeya again for another trending post on February 28th!

Your Postpardum Body

I found the following post on The Other Side Of Mom on Facebook.  It was not written by me, but it is fantastic and I wanted to share.  Enjoy:

When I got pregnant for the first time I was 18, fresh out of cheerleading, doing Yoga daily and in the best shape of my life. Though I gained a mere 15 pounds during my pregnancy, my body stretched and pulled in ways it has never truly recovered from and I struggled a lot with the way it looked and felt after Samara was born.

It was partially my circumstances too, my ex husband regarded me with words of criticism despite walking out of the hospital in the same size 0 jeans I’d walked in wearing. I heard my mother complain my entire life about her body and the ways carrying four full term girls had changed it. In fact – I’d never heard a single positive thing about postpartum bodies that I could readily recall.

My self esteem dipped into the negatives, I was bitter in every sense. I had this beautiful daughter and now my body was fucked up. The trade off was a worthy one, but that didn’t make it suck any less.

A divorce followed, and so did regaining my sense of self. Around Christian it was easy to see my body as beautiful. He didn’t ignore the flaws, his fingertips ran along the length of the stretchmarks on my thighs, he dug my Cesarean scar, and kissed my stomach. He didn’t just accept the changes {and he knew my body before children}, he admitted that they’d made me even better. I wished I could feel the same way about it.

Four more children, five more pregnancies, and Christian’s enthusiasm for my body has only become more fervent. But more importantly, my own feelings have changed.

After my third pregnancy, I realized I no longer felt negatively, I no longer rushed to work out, I no longer lost my shit over the baby weight. I was elated to be rid of that pressure, anger, longing and sadness.

My body has done the greatest work. It held my children. It nourished them. Along with its overlooked most basic of functions; my heart skips a beat when I look at my family, my brain functions well allowing me to learn so I can in turn teach my children, I can walk to Starbucks and order a Cinammon Dolce Latte. I no longer take all of these things for granted. But I’ll be honest, in a world hell bent on making me hate myself for being dark skinned, or for being a stay at home mother, or being tattooed, or not adhering to society’s rules for proper child rearing, etc, etc, etc – sometimes I need a reminder.

And last night Severus Danger sat beside me as I nursed Thaddeus to sleep. He noticed my shirt had risen and revealed the smallest patch of my stomach’s skin and he said “Mama, you have a squishies!” and I laughed and told him I did. He asked to see my belly button, a thing he’s noticing everyone has now, and I showed him the deep gorge.

Severus examined it for a second, then looked at his own, looked at mine, looked at his, looked at me and said matter of factly; “You button looks different than mine.” and again I confirmed that was true. I told him that all belly buttons looked a little different, but that mine looks this way because when I was pregnant with him and his siblings, my tummy grew to make room for them to do the same. He was fascinated by the short story and my one armed gestures that gave him a sense of the enormous impact they have on my life. He threw himself onto my stomach {disturbing his brother in the process} and squeezed hard.

1491657_449770108487517_1001977056_nJust as I was starting to feel slightly self conscious, he said “I love you squishies, Mama! And I love you button! And you babies! And even me because I grew in here!” and there my reminder was.

It occurred to me that maybe you may need the reminder too; your body has done a great work, it was strained, and pushed and pulled and full of life {or lives}. You may have had Cesareans like me and have scars, or you may have birthed a baby vaginally and have scars in more delicate places. You may have gained 10 pounds, you may have gained 80. You may have experienced an easy pregnancy, or one wrought with frustration and worry. You may have fed your baby from your breast, or from a bottle and still didn’t escape the preparations to breastfeed that your body automatically switches on. All of that makes you a bad ass, you should never see yourself as anything less than a Goddess.

Please stop hating your postpartum body, please stop hating each other’s postpartum bodies – why the fuck is that even a thing? Please stop feeling shame because it might not look the same way it did before you had children. Please stop obsessing over losing the baby weight in harmful manners – there’s nothing wrong with you wanting to lose it, but be gentle and kind to yourself as you do. Please be there for another woman who may be feeling upset, because your support may be what she needs, and may make a big difference.

In My Bag

This blog prompt gave me an excellent excuse to finally clean out my purse!  In my purse I found a first aid kit, napkins, Kleenex, my wallet, Altoids, paperwork from doctors for the boys, cub scouts badges, a memory stick, a pen, a credit card payment attachment for my phone, a coin purse, an ice cream coupon, tampons, a notebook, cold medication, travel-sized deodorant, hair ties, and a bunch of garbage and broken makeup.  And now that everything is out of it, its in the laundry (made of black cloth), and all the garbage is in the trash can.  🙂

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Day 9 – What’s In Your Bag/Wallet
*written for the 30-Day Blogging Challenge.

No More Dreads

My time with dreadlocks has come to a quicker end than I expected.  While I was evacuated from my home for 2 weeks for pest control, I was unable to take the time to properly maintain them myself.  Plus because of the pest issue, I felt dirty and wanted to wash my hair every day.  So the dreads got so completely messy and out of control that they were literally all sticking up in different directions and they would not be tamed.  They had a mind of their own!  And on top of the crazy mess, I had a handfasting to officiate and I needed to look more formal and professional.  Not to mention I felt unsexy, immature, and I needed to feel more presentable for handling my kids’ school conferences and other meetings.  So I felt it was time to brush out my hair and look “normal” again.  A friend volunteered to help me, and it took the better part of 10 hours with leave-in conditioner, detangler spray, and combs.

4e33eda9-c2fc-4bd8-9931-66393e29b018Though the time with my dreads was a short 3 months, I really did love it!  It was a great learning experience in the areas of patience and not caring what others think.  I was able to let go and relax, and even be lazy when it came to hair care.  I may try again some day, but for now its time to stick to the business that needs to be tended to, and maintain a more neat and clean appearance.  Being poor already gives me a reputation that is hard to deal with when it comes to anything business, not to mention my large number of tattoos, so I need to maintain whatever professionalism I possibly can so that things get accomplished.

I want to give a special shout out to the ladies and gents at the Dread Den (Facebook group) for being so super-supportive, knowledgeable and amazingly awesome during my dread journey!  I made some great friends in there, and found wonderful entertainment.  I highly recommend the group to anyone considering dreadlocks, or who already has them.