Q & A: Round One

A big thanks to everyone who contributed ideas for blog posts in 2009...I'm excited to talk to you more about homebirth, unschooling, cloth diapering, my faith, and living green! :) Here is the first round of Q & A...there will be several more in the coming weeks. Sheri asked: “What does your typical day look like?”

We don't really have  a "typical" day around our house, but we do have a loose rhythm that we follow. We are blessed in that Matt runs his own business and I work from home (20-25 hrs a week), so we are able to have a pretty flexible schedule. One thing that I am working on changing is my bedtime lately...I tend to stay up late to get stuff done that I didn't have a chance to do during the day, and end up staying up too late. Which affects my mood in the morning :) My goal right now is to get to bed early and rise early (as in around 5am)...but it's an ongoing battle!

7:30-8:00 am: We all wake up...Matt usually goes to start the fire while Bella and I snuggle in bed. 8:00-9:00 am: Breakfast together, read Bible, read newspaper, check email. 9:00-10:00 am: Getting dressed and ready for the day. 10:00-1:00pm: Depending on what day it is, we have ballet lessons, women's Bible study, story time, prenatal yoga class, etc. 1:00-5:00 pm: Home time...Matt might take care of Bella while I work if he's between job sites, we might do some arts and crafts, work on reading skills, watch cartoons or a movie, have a tea party, play outside, etc. 5:00-7:00 pm: Supper prep, family supper, clean up. On Tues. we have small group Bible study at our house. 7:00 pm: Bella takes a bath and gets her pajamas on. 7:30-8:00 pm: Matt and I take turns putting Bella to bed each night. 8:00-10:00pm: Alone time with Matt...usually hanging out in bed with our computers, watching a movie or TV. 10:00-11:00pm: Goodnight!

LaLibertad asked: “Were you raised in a religious household and how has your faith changed over time?”

I was definitely raised in a "religious" household...but it was mostly just a Sunday thing and not a relationship with living Savior.  I grew up and was confirmed in a Methodist church and went to youth group, etc. mostly to socialize, see the boys, etc :) It wasn't until the 8th grade that I really started to "get it". We moved to a new town and my best friend, Heather (some of you might know her from The Laundry Pile), went to this "weird church" where they put their hands up in the air when they sang and everyone had TONS of kids :) There was just something so different about their family and their community of friends and I loved being around it. I started going there with her (even though my own family stayed at the Methodist church), and slowly, I came into a more authentic relationship with Christ. We moved again when I was in 10th grade, and my faith wavered a bit. I stopped following wholeheartedly and tended to look to PEOPLE and THINGS to fulfill my needs instead of Jesus. That continued into college...I dated some non-Christian guys and really got off the right path for awhile. But then I met Matt and everything changed. With him, it was so easy to be who Christ had created me to be. He is an incredible man of God and encourages me daily. After that point 10 years ago, I've never looked back. This is not to say that I don't have highs and lows in my faith...I absolutely do. I am not perfect by any means. But God is faithful and is also full of mercy...he sees my faults, but loves me unconditionally, as a father loves his child. I am so thankful for my relationship with Jesus...it's a source of daily joy and a shelter in the storms of life.

Jeannine asked: “How did you began your “green” path?”

You can read about my "story" here.

Cassandra asked: “How are you and your family going to deal with the economic crisis and how do you budget, etc??”

I guess I don't feel like there is much to "deal" with ... we don't own a home, we don't have any stocks, and we have a somewhat stable income. We have been living frugally for so long now, it's just second nature to buy everything used, budget, meal plan, etc. Those things would probably seem like "cutting back" to some, but they are common for us. As far as budgeting, we follow Dave Ramsey's methods. We LOVE the cash budgeting system and find this is the only way for us to stay on track. I will be doing a post about that in the coming months. God is still sovereign...He is still in control of all things, including the economy. And my hope is not in the economy...it's in a coming Savior! Times are hard, but God is good and will not leave us in times of trouble. Even if we lost everything...we still have hope and the joy of our salvation.

Heather asked: “What does your family think of your chosen lifestyle?”

My family and Matt's family are super supportive of us in everything that we do (which is a blessing!). They will ask the hard questions when we are dreaming up something new (like when we decided to sell everything and travel the country)...but they have been nothing but wonderful throughout this process. When I first decided to have a homebirth with Bella, there were  lots of questions...but after I explained the process, etc...they understood my reasoning and were behind it 100%. I do have 3 younger brothers who like to pick on me about not eating meat...which can be annoying at times...but it's usually just playful bantering back and forth. They all know their sister is a "crazy hippie" (their own words) and they're cool with that. :) I guess I don't even remember most of the time that how we live is different than anyone else :) It's just normal life for us.

Elizabeth asked: “Are you still eating mostly raw…now that you are in such cold country?”

I talk a little about that here. But no...for the time being, I am not eating "mostly raw". During  the first trimester of this pregnancy, it was physically impossible for me to do green smoothies...but now I have been working it back in. They are sooooo cold though! It's hard to motivate myself to make one when I wake up in a cold house (waiting for the fire to get going). Plus, my midwife has recommend that I gravitate towards "warming foods"...which doesn't always mean hot foods, but I'm sticking mostly with warm soups, eggs, sandwiches, hot teas, etc. I usually eat the raw kale avocado salad several times a week. I am obsessed with it. The problem is that it tends to give me heartburn while pregnant, but most of the time I just don't care! :) We eats lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and eat homemade, whole foods as a general rule. I avoid caffeine, high fructose corn syrups, trans fats, food dyes, preservatives, etc. We still have a very clean diet, it's just not completely raw anymore and we're ok with that :) Eating raw tends to be more expensive as well, and we're trying to work within a pretty tight budget. I'm looking forward to the summer months, when I can sit down and eat an entire (in season) watermelon! I LOVE the raw diet and believe that it's the optimal diet for me, but right now in this season of life, it's been modified a bit.

And EVERYONE asked: "When do we get to see photos of your new place?!"

Soon...soon...soon! :) This week we've finally gotten some stuff on the walls and are making some steps towards completion. I still have a lot of little projects to do, but I won't make you wait until those happen...because it could be awhile! I will try to have some photos up in a few weeks, if not sooner.

A House Without Wheels

A House Without Wheels

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. --Ecclesiastes 3:1

Here it is…the long-awaited “real” update on what we are up to. In October, I announced that we were going to be parked for awhile in Bozeman. We love Bozeman and all it offers, and we are delighted at being here. Planting roots feels really, really good after being on the road for 18 months. We have loved every minute of it…and wouldn’t give that time back for anything. But it was for a season...and now it's time for a new season. Learning that we were going to have another baby was a great motivator to settle down, of course, but even when I was 8 weeks along, we still had plans to continue traveling until the spring.  But by then, I was really having a hard time traveling with nausea and all the joys that the first trimester brings (side note: tummy photo at 15 weeks here).

For some of you, our decision to move back to Bozeman may seem like it was made in an instant, but in reality, it was pondered over since we left here in July of 2007. When people around the country would ask us where we would eventually settle down, our answer never strayed from “Bozeman, of course!”.  We left our hearts in Montana, and we knew God had put that in us for a reason.

So, after arranging for a place to park (and live in) the RV in Bozeman through several God-aligned circumstances, we made the long trek West. Our hearts were instantly at peace when we arrived on Oct. 17…and they still are. We have jumped right back into our church…Matt is playing on the worship team, I am co-leading a Beth Moore study, and we are helping with the small group ministry. And of course, we have frequented our favorite local restaurants and coffee shops that we missed so dearly! :)

We quickly realized that living in a parked RV is a bit more challenging than living in a moving one ☺ You don’t have the built-in requirement of cleaning from top to bottom every 3 days so you can drive away, so things tend to pile up and the walls begin to close in. Combine that with the fact that I was really sick during the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy (and not physically able to clean all day, etc), and it’s a recipe for insanity. We had originally planned to stay in the RV until a month before the baby was born, but plans change.

After several weeks of searching, we found an adorable little house close to downtown…just ½ block from our favorite park.  It also happens to be 3 doors down from a neat family that we hung out with a little bit when we last lived here. We moved in on the 1st of December and have met the neighbors just to the south...and get this, she wants to do "city chickens" with me in the spring :) Yay! We're going to combine a part of our backyard to make a chicken run/coop. Oh. My. Goodness. Giddy I am, I tell ya. I've always wanted chickens...for fresh eggs, to watch their antics, and to teach Bella about them! Turns out there are several other families in our neighborhood with chickens. I love these people!

The owner has agreed to let us replace all of the flooring and paint all the walls, at her expense (it was VERY worn). That might seem like a nightmare to some, but for those of you who have been around this blog for awhile, you know we love it and we're up to the challenge ☺ We started the remodel as soon as we moved in and we love it so far. We’ll be able to make it our own little home...one that we are planning on staying in for awhile! There is a wood burning stove in the living room, open floor plan, and 2 BR. Even though it’s a freestanding house (not duplex/apt), it’s still just over 800 square feet. With a little garden plot and shed in the backyard, it’s the perfect size for our family. And yes…I will, of course, be posting before and after photos of the inside. But it won’t be for a few months I would guess.

As for the RV, it’s going on to a new owner who will love and cherish it just like we did ☺. We are in the final phases of selling it to a wonderful couple who will use it for their own kind of tour. I'll be sure to share more details on that later. We have also sold our little veggie car (it did not like to start up in the Montana cold!) and we're now the owners of a used minivan. I could not be happier. I love that thing!

Matt is starting his own handyman business, and is also snow plowing this winter. I will continue to work for my parents from home (helping to run the administrative side of their business) and will be doing some photography as well.

We are just thrilled to be here...every morning when we wake up, Matt and I look at each other and smile...so content and ready for change. We're looking forward to meeting new friends, spending time with family, and establishing a consistent rhythm of life. Bella is super excited to start taking gymnastics and figure skating lessons...and to go to library story time twice a week. But most importantly, she has what she has often asked for..."a house without wheels".

We will not soon forget all of the talented, amazing people we met during our life on the road. We still keep in touch with so many of you daily and we are forever changed by the special moments we shared. We feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to see our country and enjoy the freedom of travel. But now...our hearts are aching to plug into a community and settle down. For everything there is a season...and we're looking forward with hopeful anticipation to see what God has planned for us here.

One Year Dreadiversary

close-up-at-one-year.jpg It's been exactly ONE YEAR since I said goodbye to my comb...and what a year it has been! I've experienced so many things in 365 days that it's hard to wrap my head around it all. It's been the year of changes. Our jobs and homes have changed many, many times, but for now...I will focus on how my HAIR changed...and how it changed ME as well.

I think back to the moment I looked in the mirror in Boulder after Becky dreaded my hair. Oh. My. Word. What have I done? That thought was quickly replaced with, "Ok. Here we go!". I knew it would be a wild journey...and I was up for it.

Those first couple of weeks were really rough...I was pretty self-conscious of my new 'do and it consumed my thoughts at all times. You don't realize how much you depend on your appearance to help you blend in to the crowd or to make first impressions. I kept them pretty tame and pulled back all the time...I was too nervous to "let my freak flag fly" (as Miss Becky would say). :)

And then one day I realized that I wasn't thinking about them as much...I wasn't obsessing about every little bubble or stray hair. I would get up in the morning and pull them back and be out the door. They were crazy and they were MINE. I wasn't "Sara with the baby dreads" anymore....I was just Sara. I felt more comfortable in my own skin than I had for quite some time. Other areas of my life became less high maintenance...my make-up routine pretty much went away. I found that I quite liked a fresh face rather than a covered up one. Even when I had imperfections showing, I didn't bother to cover them up like I would have before.

I even stopped painting my toenails. *GASP!*. Seriously. You have no idea how this rocked my world. I have had my toenails painted for pretty much my entire life. I think I might have been born with them painted. I was always jealous of women who had "naked" toenails. I always thought mine were too ugly to be seen in their natural state. But one day I decided enough was enough. If I could have dreads and stop wearing makeup, I could certainly give up the paint. And oh what a joyous day it was! I felt so free :) Don't get me wrong, I like a prettily painted toenail as much as the next mama...but I just didn't want to feel TIED to it...like I had to paint them for some crazy reason. Oh the fabulous side effects of dreads!

Like any hairstyle, dreads have their ups and downs. Some days I would look in the mirror and LOVE them, and some days...let's just say I wasn't feeling so much love. But, I have never once ever wanted to comb them out/cut them off...which really confirms my decision to put them in in the first place.

They are currently MUCH shorter than in the beginning...dreads go through a shrinking process as they lock up. It's Most of my dreads are right at or shorter than shoulder length. There are several that refuse to go into my ponytail...so most of the time I have to wear a headband to hold them all back. The front dreads are VERY short...and only come to the tip of my nose when I pull them down in front. I do have hope, however. They have finally started to grow faster than they are shrinking! I can imagine that it will take another 2 years or so to get them to the point where I feel like they are "long"...but that is part of the journey. It will be interesting to see how they change in color as well...right now, my natural color at my root is really getting long, and the ends are really blonde (I've dyed my hair blonde since my freshman year of college). I would love to have all blonde dreads someday...but I'm going to let them do their thing for awhile.

For those of you considering dreads...the first year is definitely the hardest. There is much to be learned about yourself and even about those you love (in their reactions). They go through so many different phases...changing almost everyday. But it's so rewarding...I love "knowing" my hair. I know every dread by how it feels! I definitely have my favorites...and Matt has his favorites too :) It's hard not to touch them all the time because the texture is so fun now!

I've met so many friends online (and now in person) with dreads and there is just something special about the bond that you have with another dreadhead :) They understand the commitment, the frustrations, and the joys of having this crazy hair. It like gaining a new family!

My favorite part about having dreads has been not having to "do my hair"...which was one of my original reasons for getting them in the first place. The only maintenance I do is wash them once a week (or so) with Peppermint Dr. Bronner's and rinse them with organic apple cider vinegar to condition. Sometimes I will palm roll them to smooth them out after I wash them, but other times I just let them go. So easy!

It's been a wonderful journey so far, one that I wouldn't trade for anything!

I've uploaded lots of new photos (it's been awhile!) of my dreads. My sweet hubby did a little dreadiversary photo shoot for me. :) Check them out here.