Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Hardest Post to Write

Blanche and I went up to northwest Missouri to visit my family all last week and weekend. I feel like once again I meant to take more pictures, but resorted to using my phone a lot of the time. I guess the fact that I normally have a baby in my hands when taking pictures can be a good excuse. So, until I become strong enough to go without an iPhone, remember that you can always click the blue camera button on the side of my blog to see my instagram. I captured several good pictures. One of my grandmother that I love. So, feel free to browse that page.

I guess I picked up my camera during the trip when I saw a moment I wanted to remember. Because thats how pictures work. One day, maybe ten or fifteen years from now, I will remember this trip in my mind within these few pictures. Maybe I will also remember something profound, a conversation, or something funny that I tell people who ask how my trip went. The thing I wish though, is that even though I took pictures of the happiness, that I could convince myself by looking back at these photographs that happiness is all there is when it comes to going home.

I constantly struggle with how I should write this blog. I hate when people are fake. I don't want my blog to just be a constant happy wrap up of all things in my life. I told Andrew that I wanted to start this blog to practice my writing and to become a step closer to knowing what it would look like to write a memoir. But its hard to write open and honestly about one's life. Because it involves other people. I've always leaned more toward the side of respect and harmony. But lately I've felt like my life (and even more so my past) is being erased in doing so. I read a quote a couple of weeks ago and it stuck with me,

"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better." - Anne Lamont

Now this doesn't mean that I feel I have the permission to write dirt on all of my family. Because we all have dirt. We are all pretty messy people. And I know I have never appreciated anyone pointing out my mistakes for the sake of just pointing them out.

But I want to be honest. Sometimes going home can really suck. I took pictures of the happy parts because I love my family with all my heart. I miss them every day. I long to be closer to them. I have fun with them when I am home. But there is brokenness. And I guess I'm tired of pretending there isn't. I'm not pointing my finger to anyone and saying that its someones fault. Its everyones fault. We are all guilty. I just wish that full redemption would take place, but I know that it may be later than now.

I think a big part of healing one's self is to admit how we feel. With divorce and remarriage there is so much entanglement and history that sometimes I feel I can barely say who my parents are without offending someone. But I need to write this for myself. Not to shame my parents, not to say who was right or who was wrong. But to simply say that it makes me sad that my parents marriage ended. It makes me so sad. This doesn't' mean I don't love my step mom dearly (she is the best I could ask for) or that I wish things could be changed tomorrow. I don't. Because what is done is done. And you can't take the past into the future. All you have tomorrow is tomorrow.

I think I have realized that I need to admit and accept that I hate the fact that my parents marriage ended. And then accept that it has. And then move on.

I have always felt like divorce is a very hard thing for a child because it feels like someone is trying to erase you. The love that created you is no longer. This is what makes me cry. That there was once something so beautiful that it made me. And now it is no longer.

But what I have to realize is that I am here. And I am a sign that no matter what has happened or will happen, that the love my parents had at one point in life was real. And thats enough. That love has changed into both of my parents loving each of us kids with all their hearts. They would die for us. I know they would. And that love is what is beautiful and can be focused on. Divorce is messy and awful and I would never wish it on anyone. Because the fact is, even at almost 27 years old, I am a child of divorce, and I still cried to my husband when I came home. And out of respect for myself, I am admitting how I feel. And now I am moving forward. And I can look at these pictures and be happy. I can know that I have a mom who loves me. And a dad who loves me. And a step mom who loves me. I have so much family that would do anything for me. That is where my focus needs to be.

I know sometimes my blog is about granola, or homemade deodorant. Now all of the sudden I just got real. I guess I want to be real. I want whoever is out there reading along to know my life isn't just about granola. Its about pain and heartache at times. I use writing as a way to process and heal, and I hope my writing can do the same for others.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nycum Living

Andrew and I are similar in the fact that when we get into something, we really get into it. As I have mentioned before, Andrew and I like hobby making. I think it has to do with that law of science where something in motion stays in motion? (See, I could totally homeschool…) Either way, I would say the obsession with food and making it from scratch began as an interest and has slowly been becoming more of our every day life. I appreciate the fact that Andrew has to think about food every day for his job as well. I think it helps him stay in that frame of mind.

When Andrew and I first got married, I started going to the farmers market, reading cookbooks, and trying my hand at being a homemaker. I had always been intimated by cooking and baking. But I had a good little start. I even did one of my first blog posts about cooking. This was all a few months before becoming pregnant with Blanche. Once that happened, I became so sick, that I sort of threw everything out the window. Then even after getting an appetite (mostly for sugar and white carbs), I was too tired (and suffering from swelling and lots of water weight) to cook. This is when Andrew took over. And then, until recently I never had the desire to go back. I hope the next time I am pregnant I can learn from some of what I have learned and continue to eat healthy.

I would say it was maybe about two or three months ago, I began to read different blogs and see other moms taking the tasks of cooking and turning it into something to be passionate about. I guess I came to see that eating is something I have to do. And my husband has to. And now Blanche is here, and she's eating. So, I should probably step up and try to make the best of it. Sometimes you can turn something thats rather dull and hanging over your head into a passion. As an artist, its good to find the beauty in things. So, maybe I have decided to find the beauty in food. Like how you can use oats and nuts and honey… and make something so much better than highly processed corn cereal. And how eating the right fruits and vegetables in season can be the most beautiful and tasty thing.

I am currently reading, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. Plus Andrew and I also both had the idea of surprising each other with four new cookbooks between the two of us. I feel like I am immersing myself in not only in the knowledge of good and wholesome food, but reading of others' journeys. And just seeing beautiful raw pictures of vegetables in the cookbooks…that seems to almost show me the face of God. Not to be overdramatic (which I can do) but seeing the earthy and beautiful artistic nature of God who has created these plants that we call food, it is simply amazing to me.

I made more granola today. I love this recipe from the cookbook, "The Homemade Pantry". I made it last month. It makes over two pounds of granola that can last three weeks. We snacked and ate it for breakfast all month. I had some ask for the recipe, I was going to write it out, but it turns out she has the entire recipe and her step by step instructions on her blog. I do add a 1/4 cup of honey to this as well, because she mentions it in her cookbook. The granola is sweet and spicy with the added cinnamon. I love it with raisons and almond milk in the morning. Blanche likes it too! She will even eat it on top of yogurt.

Click Here For Yummy Granola!

That is the link to her recipe. And actually, she has a ton of amazing recipes on here! I'm excited to look around! All the pictures above besides the bread are her recipes. We have made lemonade with just lemons, water, and honey. Then almond butter and dark chocolate cups, homemade crackers, and granola! I think "Nycum living" is about continually knowing more and more about what it is that we are eating. Whether that means what is in it or where it comes from. I think it is always better to focus, on the positive, as Barbara Kingsolver wrote. I like to focus on the good that we are doing for our bodies and the environment, rather than talking about what it is "that we don't eat." It has been exciting to find a passion that Andrew and I can grow in and share with each other. And to know my family is benefitting from that passion.

And last but not least… my mom is coming for the weekend. And she is bringing me dunkin donuts. And I will eat one. Because you only live once, and I really love donuts (maybe one day I can purchase a donut maker). Anyways… just keeping it real. Happy almost weekend!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Weekend in Dallas

For some reason its taken me well over a week to post about our trip to Dallas. Its funny how you can leave for two and half days, and when you come back, it seems like there is so much to do. Or maybe its just that I'm always adding to my "to do list." I think once I am in motion, its easy to keep going. Until I crash. Last week I felt like I did something every day besides the normal. Like traveling into Fayetteville with Andrew to buy in bulk at our natural food store. Then we tried two new recipes for our "whole foods" eating change. Which I want to write about that a little as well. I think last week hit me this week. I have felt so tired every morning. It hasn't helped that Blanche got up at six am on Monday and Tuesday. But today we seem to be getting back into the swing of things.

So, as I was about to say… we went to Dallas two weekends ago. Andrew's best friend from his childhood was getting married and Andrew was in the wedding. Luckily, Gigi and Showpa were driving up from the Austin area, so we got to spend some time with them as well. I think I envisioned the weekend going as worse as possible. When we got the wedding itinerary for the weekend, and I saw things like, "soup served at eight thirty" I began to panic. No one thinks about making a schedule that is good for small children unless you have one. And if you don't have a small child, why would you?? I just tried to picture myself and Blanche sitting down for soup at eight thirty. I saw her having a melt down because normally she is between bath and bed at this point most evenings. I wondered if I should go to the reception. Or if taking a one and half year old to any of the events would be wise.

But then again, Blanche always surprises me. Like how she surprised me on our trip down to Dallas, not sleeping one minute of the seven hour trip. Or how she surprised me that once we got to the hotel there was still no nap, no melt downs, and no tears when I left to go with Andrew for the rehearsal dinner. I was even leaning over to kiss her (and probably being more worried than I should) and she blew me a kiss real fast and said, "bye bye" and ran off pushing her stroller around the hotel lobby. This felt like a vision from the future. It was like she was telling me, "Mom, I do still need you a lot of the time, but sometimes, especially when I'm with Gigi in a cool new place… I got this."

So, I was off. As soon as Andrew and I arrived at the rehearsal, my heart was touched to see a little "Blanche Nycum" place card.  Autumn, the bride greeted me warmly and said she wasn't sure if Blanche would be there, but wanted her to have a place. I had never felt so welcomed somewhere just by a person accepting my child. I think sometimes as a stay at home mom, I can feel a little out of touch with society. There are just a lot of situations and places that its stressful to have a small child in. I guess I had thought coming to this wedding might be one of those situations. But it wasn't. Everything was beautiful and pretty much magical, and my little Blanche was welcomed. Even though I laughed at her place card and said, "how sweet…but Blanche would destroy this." It was nice to sit down to a beautiful meal with just Andrew while Gigi and Showpa watched Blanche.

The next day was filled with a busy schedule for Andrew, and an hour and half trip to whole foods. Andrew and I love good food. So we shopped and ate there. At one point I looked at Blanche and she seemed like she might just fall over. I took her to the van and she immediately fell asleep. And stayed that way on the way to the hotel, being carried up to the hotel and in the hotel bed for two hours. This was a pretty good sign that Blanche was exhausted. So I was able to relax too while Andrew did his wedding duties.

Overall, the evening went smoothly, with Showpa taking Blanche during the ceremony so I could sit and be a part. Then Blanche crashed again between the ceremony and reception… and lasted until about ten at the reception. She sat on Gigi's lap for awhile too while Andrew and I drank champagne and danced. Like I said, Blanche surprised me.

Even though it was a quick trip, it was great to see Austin and Autumn get married. To see a sweet and in love couple become one. It was also my first wedding to attend after being a mother, and I felt sentimental in new ways as I watched the mothers cry. It was crazy to think of Blanche leaving our family one day to start her own, but I was comforted by the fact of how much I call my own mother now that I too am a mom. Relationships are constantly changing, but they don't end with a wedding.

The trip to Texas and spending time with Andrew's mom and step-dad gave us a refreshed vision and hope for the future and what may one day lay ahead. And thats all I'm going to say. You know, to not count my chickens before they hatch.