Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Way I Am

They tell me I should strive for a gap between my legs,
and nip and tuck and stuff myself till I am the right shape.

If my hair is brown, then "dye it blond!" cause then I'd have more fun,
Cause what fun can you have with color of the dust where you came from?

Botox can fill the lines and a knife puts things back in place,
but all this would erase the history of the expressions on my face.

My stretch marks may be scars to some, but they are my victory stamp
of children born and muscles gained sprinting at field hockey camp.

And what about that double chin that shows up in photos?
I'll hold on to the extra fat for a rainy day, I suppose.

My arms may be too short and not thin enough for some.
They carry a twenty pound baby until he learns to walk and run.

I'm lucky that my teeth were straight and no braces did I need,
but they never will be white enough to be smiling on TV.

My average five foot four frame is to short to model clothes,
but my frame is always the right size when my husband pulls me in real close.

Thank goodness I am well-endowed cause a B cup is too small,
cause the fact that any size can feed a baby is not good enough for all.

They built a bed where I can lie to change the color of my skin,
since pale is beauty of the past, and fair is out and tan is in.

You'll never see my hands model nail polish or rings,
the veins pop out because you see, I cook too many things.

And some day you might find me with an arthritic pinky just like my mom,
but I'll show it off with pride and joy to the grandkids that come along.

Pictures burn, computers crash, and in a second memories fade,
but my body is my daily witness of the life that I have made.

It may have scars to mark the past, and wrinkles mark the days,
but I'll keep the imperfections passed on from the genes from which I was made.

I am a Crandall and a Nielson, a combination of the two,
the evolution of these genes is bigger than me and you.

So don't tell me that I need to change, I'm great the way I am,
God knew what he was doing when he created the evolution of man.

Monday, June 24, 2013

I'm scared

Today I'm going to share a little secret with you: I'm scared. 

About a year and a half ago, I looked down and saw those two beautiful lines. We were going to have a baby. Shortly thereafter, I did some research like any responsible mom-to-be would do. I found out that I needed to sleep on my side, and not just any side, preferably the left. I always slept on my right side, so I was going to have to switch. It was hard to fall asleep on my left side. Would my baby get enough blood flow if I'm lying on my right side? 

Most women know that they shouldn't drink alcohol or smoke while pregnant. Nowadays, you get on the Internet to discover that your favorite turkey sandwich could cause you to miscarry. As you talk with other moms, you find out that the list goes on and on. I remember the day I found out that I should not use my facial cleanser because it contained salicylic acid. This facial care regimen had been the only one in years that controlled my acne and I was going to have to give it up too? Or I might kill my baby?! I'd had enough. I used my cleanser.

But the truth is, I felt guilty. All the articles had scared me. I was so scared that anything I do might jeopardize the life that was growing inside me. But it didn't stop there. After Wyatt was born I was so worried that he would die of SIDS. Now he is nine months old and the worry doesn't go away. Some may say, "Oh, that is part of being a mother." But I don't think it is. I think it is part of living in the world today.

We know so much today. Studies upon studies are being published. I remember years ago when "they" came out and said that eggs were bad for your health. Now eggs are great for your health. Vaccines cause autism. Now that has been dis-proven (or so they say). I am part of a Facebook group of mothers who use natural methods to treat their families. Many of them are against vaccinations and much of modern medicine. I remember being a kid and knowing "medicine is good" and it will make you feel better. Now, I feel like I can never know if the remedy is better than the problem. And this is why I'm scared. All this research and knowledge feels paralyzing. I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't. And that is really scary as a mom because you make a lot of decisions for this little life that has been entrusted to you. 

There is the phrase that knowledge is power. But is it? If knowledge is power, then why, in this information age, do I feel so weak? In my opinion, we may know more today, but we are more anxious than ever before. I should know, I'm a therapist. You would think that I would have learned how to cure my own anxiety. In today's world, there is always someone who is ready to tell us how to live life better, how to eat better, how to exercise better, how to look younger, how to parent better. It is hard to just "be" when there are so many messages telling you "Do this! Don't do that!" I wish I could say that the messages don't penetrate through my skull but they do, and they have made me more anxious than I've ever been in the past. 

The other day I was thinking about when I was a kid. We had convinced my mom to let us get a trampoline. I had always been a more cautious child but I had worked my way up to trying more daring acrobats on the trampoline. I could finally do the back flip. Then one day, I landed on my head. I got so scared that I might break my neck that I never did a back flip again. Now, trampolines are dangerous and I could have broken my neck but as I look back on that day, I cry. I cry because I realize that I let the fear win. And though my circumstances are different now, the fear still wins sometimes robbing me of peace. 

Two days ago, Isaac and I brought Wyatt into our room and we were all just hanging out on the bed. Wyatt was being his adorable self and Isaac and I were smiling and laughing as we enjoyed watching him play. Isaac said to me, "I hope we get to enjoy him for a long time." When he said this, it made me sad but it also gave me peace. It made me sad because I realized that I don't get to decide how long Wyatt is in my life. But it gave me peace because I also realized the truth. Isaac and I don't own Wyatt. He isn't some possession that I own or control. He is an individual soul that God has entrusted to me and Isaac. Once I began to see it from this new perspective, I gained peace and felt grateful that Wyatt is in my life at all. In moments like these, I am grateful to have a spouse who is strong where I am weak.

For a while now, I have thought that I need to work on managing my stress and anxiety. I know it is important for me, as a mother, to be focused and living in the moment. I can't remember if I heard this somewhere or if it was my own thought, but I deeply believe in what I am about to say. I can never expect my child to be more than what I am. If I am not honest, if I am not kind, I can't expect my child to be honest or kind. And if I am insecure or anxious or any other thing, I shouldn't be surprised to find that my child struggles with these same things. So knowing that I'm easily stressed and anxious about living in today's world, I'm going to do what I can to find courage and peace. I may not cure myself of anxiety but I will be that much closer, and hopefully, my children will be too. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tamales, a labor of love

Some of you might have heard that tamales are a Christmas tradition among Mexicans. Now I know why. They are a lot of work! But, they are super delicious and worth the effort! For Father's Day weekend my in-laws came into town and my husband's Aunt and cousin had come up from Mexico. We had a full house which always means lots of food and lots of love. My in-laws even brought my niece Leila. It was a party! Unfortunately, Wyatt was sick so he was sad most the time. It is so hard to see Wyatt sick and fussy because he is always so cheerful. Anyway, here are some pictures of the Tamale making process.

We made green chile and cheese tamales. Yum, so good!

You would typically buy this premade dough from a Mexican market. It's just cornmeal, lime, and water.

Because I have a mixer we did it the easy way. You would typically do this by hand. "I love technology..." Shout out to Napoleon Dynamite.

Then, to cook the tamales, you make a little cornhusk teepee in a pot so the tamales don't touch the bottom.

 Here is our table all set up for us to start putting everything together.

Once you assemble the tamales you stack them upright around the teepee. You do not want the tops of the tamales be submerged.

You then add more corn husks and form a cover. You pour about 2 quarts hot water around the edges and cover with a lid. We then cooked them for 2 hours. Oh, so delicious!

It took us about 5 hours from start to finish but the recipe made 50 tamales, so I will have plenty to freeze and eat later. Next time, I will make the pork with red sauce variety. I'm sure it will take me much longer doing it alone and that is exactly why tamales are a labor of love.


We have two young horses that live here on our property. These horses are abotu 2 years old so Isaac can't ride them at work quite yet. Often, when Isaac gets off work, we all go out back and Wyatt and I watch Isaac train his horses. It is pretty neat to see the progress the horses make. 

Isaac took this picture at work.

Even though Isaac won't admit it, I think Isaac is a great artist. Most recently, Isaac has been trying his hand at leather work. He made these leggings (some of you might call the chaps). Don't mind his feet at the bottom of the photo.

He hand stitched these.

This is our neighbor's horse. Her name is Jazzy. She is a beautiful horse. She looks so powerful closeup.  Isaac was working with Jazzy because he was preparing her so that he could  use her at work.

In this picture you can see Isaac's arm is extended. It is interesting to see how he signals the horses and they know exactly what to do. I'm always surprised at how fast they catch on though some horses have been a little stubborn.

My handsome husband! I love this picture of Isaac. He looks so focused.

This is the first time he put a saddle on Boots. Isaac's first horse Blue birthed Boots about two years ago. She is a pretty gentle horse and you can tell that she trusts Isaac.

I love this next photo. It shows Isaac in action. Basically, this is what happens when horses don't want to obey.

Here are our two horses, Gres (Grey) and Boots.

Boots on the run!

Isaac giving praise for a job well done.

Isaac rides Boots for the first time.

The smallest cowboy. Oh, he is so handsome! Who could refuse that face?

Like Father, like son.

Wyatt's first time on a horse!

 I don't know what Wyatt was thinking during this picture but it looks like he is up to no good. I'm pretty sure that's the "mom is too far away to stop me from licking this!" face.

So focused for a young buck!

Our little cowboy!