To the Folks that Constantly Remind Me, I have 3 Children…

My 3 Baby Yogis

Dear neighbors, on lookers, friends, and curious strangers…

That’s right. You can count. 1…2….3… Yes! I have more than the average family. Instead of 2.1 children…I have 3. Yes…My oldest and youngest look like twins and that can be confusing…Regardless…Good observation skills that I have 3 kiddos all close together. In fact, if I had time to stop and talk to you, they could recite to you that my teeny, tiny little Madison is 5, my very tall son Rylan is 4 (and dwarfs his older sister), and that the cute little cutie patootie Mark is 3 (not Madison’s twin).

I have to thank the countless amounts of random folks who brag on my children. Grocery store checkers, random mom’s in the parking lot, or even important people like when we visit our lawyer… Yep. My kids can go important places, and 9/10 times are absolute angels. I try to return this to others. For instance, while on vacation, we were at a restaurant and a mom and dad had 2 little ones probably not much older than ours. I went over and told them I had to brag on how good their kids were. We’re sometimes not told enough what a good job we’re doing, and I just wanted to make sure they knew they had some really awesome kiddos behaving so nicely in a good restaurant. We’re always quick to pick out those bad kids throwing a fit and looking down on the parents.

But, back to our fine folks…the on lookers, other shoppers…The commenters. Dear people, I have to say that your comments about my hands being full…are unnecessary. I’m not sure how to say this any different. I was even told, what a hassle I must have. I just laughed and walked on. But, I feel the need to get this out. I have to put it out there so that maybe someone will choose their words a little bit better.

My hands are not full…My heart is. My kids are many things…but a hassle…or a burden…They are NOT. If anything, they are a lesson, or constant reminder. They are a mirror, and accountability. Are they frustrating sometimes? Sure. What child isn’t? But I like what Elliott Hulse says about 3 types of people in your life. There are mirrors, who are supposed to show you something about yourself. There are crystal balls, who show you how you could be if you keep on the same path (good or bad). Then there are angels that are simply there to teach you a lesson. Now…learning and growing and maturing is not easy. As a parent, you’re really forced into it. You have to keep on your toes. You never know what your kids are going to throw at you next (both literally and figuratively). Children, are usually always mirrors.

Truthfully…I understand your point. A lot of parents are overwhelmed these days. They lack the discipline to keep their kids in order. We work really hard and make it a point that we expect good behavior out of our children. They do occasionally have their issues. I had to walk Madison’s whiny self out of Old Navy the other day because she wouldn’t listen and hear me in a situation and continued to whine when it was inappropriate. Did she get in trouble? Yes! But, we also understood that this little girl is getting old enough to avoid her naps…but sometimes she does still need it.

I see plenty of other parents with children screaming, and running, and throwing things. However, I don’t think you’d walk up to them and tell them they had their hands full. Or that they have such a hassle.

So to our dear friends and neighbors that greet us with smiles and take the time to see what awesome kids we’ve raised, we thank you and hug you. To those of you folks who constantly want to remind me that I have 3 children to raise into good, respectable citizens…I know. I know I have 3 kids. They are not a hassle or a burden…They are a blessing and a constant life lesson. Even though I’m usually the teacher…they teach me just as much in return.

-Ami M. Lee, Mom of 3 Awesome Kids

My Opinions on Dealing with Non-Paleo Family Members

I’ve only been paleo since March, fully committed since August. I may not be the ultimate word on paleo, but I’ve learned some stuff along the way. Here’s what I would like to share with you guys. My opinions on dealing with Non-Paleo Family members. I know that when you’re young, it’s easy just to be a rude little brat and stomp your little foot and tell your family, this is how things shall be, or else! A lot of people lose their family this way. I am a part of a Facebook Paleo group that I love very much, but I see too often, people complaining about their families.

Lord knows I would love to complain about my husband and his non-paleo ways. All. Day. Long. The chocolate milk and Red Bull in the fridge. The top pantry shelf full of his junk food. Having to rack my brain to make two meals out of one. Things would be so much easier if everyone I knew was paleo. But, one of my relatives told me a long time ago, “You have to live where you’re at.” That has always stuck with me. So here I go. My opinions.

1. You can’t expect everyone to understand Paleo, no matter how long you talk until you’re blue in the face.

You can share articles on Facebook, but you can’t make your friends and family read them. You can discuss it with family, but that doesn’t mean they understand. For instance, everyone knows my youngest is lactose intolerant…They think…He just can’t eat cheese. No people…This means he can’t drink milk products, eat yogurt, eat cheese, and this includes some “lactose free” cheese that actually have casein which he is highly reactive to as well. But, can you really expect to hand out a big pamphlet of things he can’t eat, have them take the time and headache of deciphering what he can eat, and then get it right every single time? Nope. You have to live where you’re at. And I, my friends, have a big family of non-paleos who love to stuff my kids full of food.

2. Give the ones trying some credit. Even if it isn’t perfect.

My mother in law is a great lady. She is that person that reminds me to stay kind and laugh. She is pretty much the only person who tries to comprehend what we can eat. She helps out often with Almond milk and even made some really great gluten free cookies. Now, some people feel the need to rant on about the cookies having rice flour that is not paleo. We could go on about the Almond Milk having carageenan. However, she’s trying and I’m not going to discourage her from helping because she’s doing a great job! Sometimes we focus too hard on the things that people do wrong. How about really appreciating the effort and being thankful she made gluten free cookies at all? I know I was ecstatic because I hadn’t had a cookie all Christmas till then!

And i must say, there are those people who know, and understand but just aren’t as vocal. I think my mom would be one of those people. She may not fully understand it but she respects me as their mom that I’m doing what I think is best. That’s a great thing to recognize.

Now…There are other people (remaining nameless, but will know I’m talking of them.) who just plain don’t care and will do anything to sabotage you. Literally, they just want to make you angry by shoving coke down your child’s throat, or making you look like a hypocrite for letting them eat conventionally on a holiday. Over years of fighting with these family members, I finally just gave up. Yelling and screaming doesn’t work. You get more flies with honey my friends. But, with these people, I think it’s important to make sure they know what you CAN eat. Meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts, chocolate (if you’re paleo). If you have a stricter diet like AIP, GAPS, Low FODMAP and are diagnosed, you may just take time to say I have “X” and I must maintain a healthy diet or I’ll get even more sick. That will actually cause me pain. Offer up a solution such as bringing your own food to family gatherings, offering to cook yourself at your house, or spending the day cooking with them and teaching them a recipe that you can eat.

3. Paleo (or other diet restrictions) are something you chose to do.

For whatever the reason may be, you think Paleo is what you need to be doing for you and your family. Which, what can be bad about it? You’re concentrating on whole foods, one word ingredients, organic, buying local, eating the color of the rainbow (no skittles), and you may be one of those cool paleos (that I hope to be one day) that is growing your own produce, eggs, and such. But, what many of your family may see is “Paleo DIET.” Diets are usually end-able. It’s not something that you stick to for long. Then, the longer you live your paleo way, they get more frustrated wondering when you’re going to give this paleo “thing” up. But, it’s not just about what you eat. It’s really about interacting with the community, putting your hard earned money in the hands of those who care about what you feed your family, buying local, eating the whole animal, and so much more. Maybe if you’re trying to have those conversations with non-paleo family members you can bring up more than just what you’re not eating.

4. Be the change you want to see in the world.

I love this saying. It is so true. You can’t fix everyone else. You can guide, hint, show, but until you really live the change, will people be like “Hey…what’s going on with that Ami? She looks great…What is she doing?” Sometimes we have to be selfish and work on ourselves. I do that by doing yoga. https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene I love doing Yoga with Adriene. I did DDP Yoga for a while but it’s more about working out than the spiritual aspect. With Adriene, you can set intentions and visualize things already being done. Remember that hard to deal with family member? Maybe envision dealing with them gracefully and kindly. I try to keep kindness and compassion at the center of my practice. You also find your center and I know on days when I’ve gotten my yoga in, I’m more calm and seem to make better decisions. Work on you, and the rest will find it’s place. You may also consider, when having a conversation with a family member…”Is what I’m about to say helpful?” Will it cause more understanding? Will the light bulb click on? Will it at least move their hand to the light switch? If not…I’d adjust what you’re wanting to say. Be thoughtful.

5. Family is more important than Paleo.

While I hope you never have to actually make the choice between family and paleo…In the end, Family is more important than what you eat. The analogy is gross…but sometimes you just got to “Let dead dogs lay.” This doesn’t have to mean giving in and going back to the Standard American Diet and enjoying doughnuts with them every Sunday. But, maybe you find a recipe for paleo doughnuts and ask if you can bring your own and leave it at that. Be comfortable with your choice but understand, they may never be paleo. Love them anyways. Even if they’re literally being *insert your thoughts on that person here* love them anyways. I think of another saying…(I guess I’m full of sayings today. ^___^) Being angry is like a holding a hot coal in your hand with the intent of throwing it at the person you’re angry with. In the end, you’re the one that gets burned from holding onto anger. And who knows! When you finally let go, you might open up your perspective and find that family member you didn’t even know had a clue…in fact…Does have a clue! Even if it’s not the exact same idea as you…It’s progress.

And that’s it! That is the summary of all my “learnings” from the past five months of being fully committed to paleo. It’s hard to get to this place. It’s hard to deal with non-paleos…but it’s also hard to deal with Hard Core Paleos that think everyone should be paleo 1000% of the time or you’re doomed! Either way you look at it…Stay positive. Seek out the good in everyone. Praise those who really try. Keep kindness and compassion. Plus, stay open minded. That’s it. That’s all I have for now.

Challenge Updates

Let’s start off with my Yoga Practice. ๐Ÿ™‚

It is day 10 of my 31 day yoga challenge. Good grief this is going by fast! As I mention in my last practice I did miss day 6 but luckily was still active. Tonight, it is getting late so I am learning Ujjayi Breath. It’s not all about full sequences. I am also taking this journey to learn more about yoga and explore what I want from my practice. I think deep breathing techniques have proven to be very helpful to me. I’m feeling great. I’m wanting to work on doing a morning and night routine. We’ll see how that goes tomorrow. I just need to take that time to center myself after waking up and before going to bed. I have been sleeping so much better and have less dreams. Which, is an indicator that I am fulfilling my full cycle of sleep. I’ve also been able to keep more calm. Not always. I’m not immune to frustration…especially with three kiddos. I find that I recover and handle things more constructively even though I may be upset, frustrated, or angry.

7 Days of What Went Well

Today is day 2 of What Went Well Week Challenge. I found myself today trying to locate things that I could write about. That’s a pretty amazing, fast improvement in my outlook throughout the day. So here we go…

1- Seeking out positive things to write about.

As I said, pretty easy…I was identifying positive things in the day. I know I’m guilty to get into toxic thought mode. Kids are too loud, kitchen is a mess, husband is asleep and it feels like the weekend will never get here… No, I reminded myself I’m excited for Saturday. Played positive videos. I didn’t just jump into toxic thought when issues with Rylan came up. He was a little whiny this evening…but that leads me to number 2.

2- Positively dealing with Rylan.

I figured since it was so close to bed time that Rylan might get a little upset when his Mamaw came to pick up Maddy (our niece). He was whiny, near crying and I picked him up and tried to get him to wave. Got Madison and Mark to show him. Said encouraging things like, Look! Wave! She’ll see you. I picked his arm and wiggled it around and he smiled. So hard to cry when you’re laughing. He was also whining when Nick left for work but thankfully we were able to distract him with the bed time routine. We’re trying to make a good habit of brushing teeth before bed, going potty, all those healthy night time habits. He went to bed, got his blanket on him himself, and was happy when I told him goodnight. It’s easy to go into toxic thought mode when he does these things…but that doesn’t help him or me. I know I won’t always get it right, but I’m happy for this little victory today.

3- My husband didn’t like my pizza, but the kiddos did.

I tried a gluten free crust. I did kind of mess up and used shredded instead of grated parmesan, but I thought it was really awesome and I had my 3 kiddos plus our 6 year old non-paleo niece actually ate too! And she never eats Aunt Ami’s food! I made sure to give her a big hug for being so kind and eating my pizza. However, Nick did not like my pizza. Why is this under, that went well? I, again, didn’t go into toxic thought world. I know that I liked it and so did the kids. It was super filling. So, I offered up the suggestion of just buying a pre-made pizza crust for him next time. I was offering up solutions instead of being devastated that my husband who is already had more than he can handle of paleo, didn’t like it. I often take those things personal. While I know I won’t always be able to make such good thought choices, I was proud of this and thought it qualified as something that went well.

Thanks for reading. I hope you are doing well. Is anyone else doing a challenge right now? What’s your goals? Share with me below. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you have a blog page, I’d be happy to check it out as well.

Peace and Love. -Ami

My Name is Ami…And I have a Problem

So where do you start on a new blog? This is a continuation of a blog I had on blogger.com but I’ve decided, with the success of my recipe blog, that I would begin anew. My name is Ami and I have a problem.

I am a 26 year old stressed out, wife and mother of three. I have extreme anxiety issues, and am incredibly overweight. I am tired, unmotivated, and very alone.

You see my husband is a transport deputy working in law enforcement with hopes and dreams to go to patrol. I don’t expect anyone but other LEO spouses to understand how hard this can really be. Knowing your husband might not come home at any given time. He works nights, and is rarely home. We are not very wealthy, so grown up date nights, or treats to be Nick and Ami, instead of mommy and daddy are very few and very far between. We love our kids dearly, but I think if you think about it, everyone needs time to be a grown up.

I have a five year old daughter named Madison who is the perfect child. She is sweet, cuddly, and my right hand gal. She is polite and kind and loves us and loves her brothers. I rarely have any issues with Madison other than the uncanny high pitch of her voice when she’s singing on and on and on…

My middle son who is 4 years old is my husband’s son from a previous marriage that I adopted. He has really extreme behavioral issues. We are in therapy to help him because his temper tantrums and constant picking and gouging of his skin has caused great concern. I finally admitted to my husband all of my negative thoughts about how much easier life would be if we had let him live with my husband’s mother. I don’t understand him and I am constantly frustrated that he doesn’t jump on board and fall in line with my other two kiddos. He whines and cries to everyone to get his way. I don’t tolerate this, so of course, he rarely acknowledges my existence and often in a day the only words I hear are a reluctant “yes ma’am.” He steals food out of the kitchen and has convinced his little brother to do the same. I am working really hard on this…and this is really why I’m renewing my commitment to this blog. Please spare the judgments. I am working on this. I truly know how bad this sounds.

My youngest son is 3 years old. He is cute, cuddly, and squishy. However, he is in that terrible 3’s stage. He’s getting better at communicating, but I can tell, at times, his biggest frustration is that we don’t understand. He often falls on the ground when he doesn’t get what he wants and cries often if I don’t immediately give him what he wants. I am not the type of mom to drop everything on a dime and bow down to my children’s every will. Patience is something I often try to teach and repeat over and over again…What does patience mean? It means waiting nicely, they reply. But, I feel mentally, he’s just not quite old enough to control himself yet.

And me? Well I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder two years ago. I have extreme anxiety and it doesn’t take much to set me off. Sounds and loud noise, or children being too loud, bother me. Messy rooms, things not staying clean after I just cleaned them. I am very OCD and not very patient. I am a strict parent and I expect immediate obedience. Again..I’m not very patient. I love my kids and I love my husband, but it gets tough being lonely and dealing with so much.

I’m a stay at home mom and while I can be grateful for the time spent with my kids, I absolutely hate being stuck in the house for weeks on end. I do not have any friends that live near by and I do not have money to go visit them. I don’t go to church, and that’s about the only thing to do in this tiny town to make friends. I’m sure money could solve about half of my mental issues, if I could just interact with grown ups, without my kids, with like minded people, once a week. But, sadly, that’s not the case here.

I am not religious. I decided that Christianity was not for me nearly two years ago. Yes, I know Jesus loves me. No, I am not mad at God or rebelling, even though that Pastor told me my house was destroyed by a tornado because of sinning. No. I think it’s too loud, and not enough substance. Or at least not in this local area. I have a wonderful church family that I love, that just happens to be too far away and I know that they still love me, even though I have too many questions to justify identifying myself as Christian. However, Buddhism, which I like and try to read on often, is very close to my beliefs. It gives me much more peace than Christianity ever did. And, it gives me a platform to say, I don’t dislike any religion in it’s generality, it just wasn’t for me and if it leads you to serve the greater good, then good on you. I recently started reading the Quran so that I could see what the big deal was. I was seeing so many negative stories, and turns out…It has the same stories as the Bible. Go figure.

I love my family very much, but my relationship with them has always been strained. I have always felt like the black sheep and that I never really belonged. My opinions are too strong and nothing like theirs. But, like I said, on the occasion that I do see them I do feel a great deal of love for them, especially my aunts and uncles who always tell the best stories. I had a terrible situation happen where my step mom stole money that one of my aunt’s sent for me after the storm, so she’s really dead to me. Which makes it hard to have a relationship with my dad and step siblings. But, I try as much as possible with my dad, because I will always love him. My younger half sister had a baby at 15, and I’m still not quite sure what to think about it. I think she’ll be a good mom, don’t get me wrong…But, I guess I’m still buffering on that. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of hateful stories coming back to me that I’m talking about my step mom…but hey, if other people can scream about saying what they want…My blog. My life. My story.

Oh, so yeah…As you may have noticed. A tornado destroyed our house back on April 27th of this year. Not just destroyed…We never recovered 99.9% of the things we owned. There wasn’t even carpet on the floors. We lived with my husband’s little brother for a month before his wife started fighting with the brother, who complained to his dad, who texted us in the middle of the night to move out. I had to take my kids to my mom’s and had to leave Nick to figure out where to go. He eventually ended up on his female corporal’s couch. No. I didn’t approve of it and yes I trust my husband. Doesn’t mean I have to like what happened. At least he had a roof over his head. A week later, I left my mom’s…Stayed for a week with a friend. And then eventually ended up in a hotel in Conway. We were homeless wanders, me and two kids, for 3 months. We bought manufactured house thinking space vs. price would be advantageous to our situation. Now we’re dealing with a house that is brand new but falling apart because of the poor quality of craftsmanship and materials used.

Back in March my husband decided to order DDP Yoga. I love DDP Yoga even though I haven’t done it in a while. I went gluten and dairy free and within a week discovered an extreme intolerance to gluten. You could see how hard it was when in April, I became homeless from the tornado. Never mind the constant criticism from my family that I was feeding my kids paleo. I am extremely sensitive to gluten, dairy, sugar, coffee (yep this momma can’t have coffee…do you see now why I’m writing this blog if you’ve made it this far?) and I try my best to avoid soy, rice, and corn and gmo’s. Yes, the older I get, the closer to an old Hippie lady I become. I hear it runs in the family. LOL My husband’s family is often clueless, even though my husband’s mom is really doing her best to help out and understand it. Mark, my youngest, is severely lactose intolerant and through becoming paleo, all my kids have become sensitive to conventional food. My kids ate mcdonald’s last night since my husband and I had to go to the LEO Awards Banquet, and now they all have diarrhea and have been in the bathroom half the day. Two steps forward…three steps back…ya know?

Thanksgiving is coming up…and Christmas…I am cooking a big meal for my family and I’m excited but extremely stressed out about cooking a mostly paleo thanksgiving. I will be using gf cornbread, and bread that uses rice flour. This is my superbowl and I will be cooking from scratch. I am stressed because I don’t know how I’ll fit the in-law’s thanksgiving next door into my busy schedule without offending someone.

I am beyond paranoid. Right now I can think of 4 rumors to be started by this post that will eventually get back to me and let me know who is in fact talking about me…Which hell, I’m talking about them. I’m too old for high school drama so I am beyond caring. I am always, deathly afraid of offending people and often hold in too many things….Made even more obvious by this post…I should give people a prize for reading this far! ha ha ha…but not seriously, I’m again…too poor for that unless you’d like a poorly crocheted scarf.

So why am I venting? Because I really needed that and to set as an example the need to write and the need to vent. I get trapped up in my head and the negativity runs rampant. So. What am I doing to combat all the above chaos that has become my life recently? I am going to slow, the, blank, down.

My name is Ami, and I, dear readers, have a big problem. I am stressed beyond the point of sanity. I find myself screaming at my kids and not handling things constructively, and unable to find anything else to do to solve my parenting issues. I find myself resenting my husband for being too busy. I feel lonely but don’t reach out to my friends to ask for a visit or a phone call.

My name is Ami, and this is where I change it.

So here are my health goals to make Ami and healthier person, mind, body, and spirit:

  • Less Facebook and Television
  • More Yoga
  • More Reading on Yoga, Buddhism, Peace of Mind, Paleo
  • Redirect negative thoughts to positive thoughts
  • Listen to Positive/Calming Music
  • Listen to older episodes of The Paleo View
  • Find resources on kind but firm parenting
  • Less Yelling
  • Find something to redirect when I’m angry, but not ignoring the problem

I’m sure the list is much longer, but that is what I have written down. If I want to accomplish becoming the strongest version of myself and being the person my kids and husband and my body needs me to be, I have to slow down. I have to quit reading the stupid posts other people like, but didn’t share, not knowing I can’t help but read the stupid comments.

So. I am saying Good-bye to Facebook, but keeping my blogging. My cooking blog is a joy and a thrill to have amazing people like and share my love of food. I will post on my journey with this blog in the hopes that I can center my thoughts and make them productive instead of destructive. I will concentrate on yoga and being kind to my body…And if THE SUN WILL EVER RETURN TO VILONIA! I will work on getting more sun and vitamin d. I will work on not stressing out. When I do stress out, I’ll redirect to something positive. I have got to do this or I am going to go crazy. And ain’t no body got time for that! Life is long and short at the same time. There are times I really enjoy my life and I would like that time to be all the time.

So this is me. Ami. Trying to fix my problem in a healthy way. Going paleo… I listen to a lot of opinions and I got so mad at that vegan video saying paleo’s are addicted to drugs like caffeine and they can’t sustain their way of life without chemical stimulation. Damn right *explicative deleted*! Because this paleo mom doesn’t really eat sugar, doesn’t drink coffee or tea…This gal is not able to have that vice for when life goes bad. I can have a panic attack because I’ve had a bad day and drink a cup of coffee and chill out. I live in a dry county, otherwise, I would probably drink wine a little too much. This is me. Off drugs. On a journey. So…if you read this 2,300+ words and got this far, patย  yourself on your back for supporting me. Because I am sending you big hugs! Let’s hope this next post will be a little more cheerful. I will probably write again later on Yoga…I found a video on YouTube I want to do that I may share. In this world, I’m ready to switch off…not with drugs, medications, suicide…But with health.

I’m sending you guys love for your journey, and giving myself an inner high five for writing and getting this stuff off my chest. I’ll try to update this page and get the FB page attached if you’d like to follow me further.

-Peace and Love, Ami M. Lee