Adoption, Art and Baby Wearing!!!

image

Where to begin? Becky asked me to write a blog post from my perspective. I guess to get the full picture of where my perspective comes from I need to start at the beginning.

image

Photo by Becky from Uppymama

My life sure has changed since 7 years ago when I was a bright eyed freshly married naive woman so happy and ready to start a family. We had everything we planned for, house, 2 dogs, careers, each other and were generally pretty happy. 3 years after that my plan to start a family was on a different course. After spending the first 3 years trying to conceive, trying to get my body to work, and dealing with infertility and the devastating news that I would/should never carry or birth a child it was easy to transition our minds to Adoption. We had discussed adopting while we were dating and always thought it was something we would do. Little did we know that it was our journey to our family.  After countless signatures, home studies and payments to an Adoption Agency we were approved to be parents!! Whatever that meant! Our Adoption journey was long. It was 3 years. I could go into all the details but it was the happiest of endings. One day we got a call and met our son 2 hrs later and brought him home the very next day. We became Insta Parents as we like to call ourselves. During our wait we had lots of time to think about names, parenting, cloth diapering and of course baby wearing.  It was a no brainer for me. With adoption I didn’t know if our child would be new born or several months old. I wanted to bond with him/her as much as I could and in researching Attachment in Adoption baby wearing always came up as one of the key points to help with your child.
image

image

Photo by Amber Bourret

image
During our wait I had connected with Becky about baby wearing and of course Adoption. As we chatted about the importance of baby wearing we had spoke a little about a custom wrap and art collaboration that we could auction off to raise money for adoption.  As time moved us forward the idea of a fundraiser spoke to me. Here we were paying money to an agency for a child and I was very grateful we had money saved up. I always thought in the back of my mind what would have happened if we didn’t. Adoption is expensive. Now it is not a one time payment it is stretched over the course of your first year of the process but more costs are added the longer you are on the list.  What would have been my options if we couldn’t come up with the ending total of 15,000.? Well I cannot think of it because the the thought of not being a mother because of money makes me really sad. Money has never mattered to me, I am an artist, we live in a modest house and we keep our life simple. Money began to matter to me when we were facing the costs of Adoption. So the idea of raising money to help in any way we could for a birth mothers counselling or adoptive parents to bring their baby home became very important to me.
image
image

When Becky and I sat down to pick colors for the custom wrap I realized that I had 3 favorite colors. Aqua, Coral and Mustard Yellow are 3 colors I use frequently in my art. They are my primary colors.  A slightly different shade then the standard Red, Blue and Yellow. Kind of like me, always slightly different.  I added the Black and White that has represented the ups and downs in life and it makes the grey area in everyday. Being an artist I always looked at colors this way and it has molded my outlook on life. From there it was easy to create 4 works of art around love and adoption. The subject was very close to my heart. The creative process began on both ends as we continued to wait for our baby to arrive.
image

image

image

Then it happened. The call came and within 2 hrs we met our son, learned how to feed, swaddle and change his diaper. Our wait was over and our new journey with the three of us began. Becky arrived at our door a few days later with a loaner wrap until the custom one was created. Of course I needed some guidance as I hadn’t really ever wrapped a baby and the first time felt so good. It helped me not only carry him every waking moment but also to get things done. One thing the agency tells you to do as waiting parents is continue with your life, go on the adventure, keep planning and don’t hold off on things because maybe you will get the call. We learned this closer to end of the 2nd year.. We always had a plan B. So when O arrived we had things planned. I am a self employed artist so a week later I had my art retreat and 2 weeks after that I had a market I organized. We had to fit a baby into what was already planned. Looking back now I have no idea how we did it but I know wearing him for the first few months helped. I was able to create and paint with him on me. I could work on my blog and website while he was with me. It was so important for me to spend every moment with him to bond and I wasn’t going to let my work interfere with that. I was thankful I could still work and not loose a moment with him. I also didn’ t feel guilty because I was still creating a bond that was so important for his development all while full filling my commitments to my business.
image

image

As time moved forward we slowed down, art and mothering became second nature and he grew. Boy did he grow!!! He is now a few days away from turning 11 months old and our custom wraps arrived. In the past couple of months I have not carried him as much as I used too. He is bigger and on the move and loves to play on the floor. I felt bad taking him away from his toys just so he could be close to me.  It was also hard to carry him on the front and do the things I needed to do. Having our new wraps has changed that mentality. I wear the wrap without him in it and he wants up and down so much it is great to have some extra support when carrying him around. I am also a week away from my biggest market ever and to get work down carrying him on my back has really freed me to go into my studio and create.

I am grateful to Becky for guiding me through baby wearing, and understanding why I needed to. I will cherish my wraps long after I carry him for the last time. Which better not be for years. My journey to motherhood was not conventional but it was mine. Including baby wearing into my journey has helped me gain confidence in my parenting. I can’t birth a child or breast feed but when I wear my baby I am a mother. My body is  soothing and loving my baby, that is what it was meant to do!!
image

-Lauren

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting with O

Painting with O is now up in video form. I needed some art and wanted to do something abstract as we don’t have any abstract art in our house. I also want it to mean something more then just me splattering paint around until I thought it looked good. So why not add O to the mix. He wasn’t hating the experience but he didn’t love it either. I thought he would play with the paint more but he seemed to want to get off the canvas more then actually explore the canvas. Total time on the canvas was maybe 5 minutes so this is a quick project to do with any child and the result is pretty amazing!!
image

image

New Year….

  • wpid-20151230072305.jpg

Well it has been awhile since I have posted anything on here. The last post I did was 2 weeks before we got the call from the adoption agency that we were chosen. Not just chosen our baby was born and you can come meet him now. WHAT yah so that’s what they call a instant placement. We were thrown into parenthood within 2 hrs of receiving the call after waiting 6 years to become parents.  So I have been distracted. Instead of thinking and filling my mind with creative ideas I was making bottles, sleep schedules, cloth diapering all while utterly exhausted and overly happy. Baby O is 9 months next week and I am getting my groove back…just like Stella but in a completely different way!

Motherhood wasn’t something I longed for before I met J. I always was indifferent. I could be an amazing mom or I could do other things. I never wanted it nor did I ever not want it. When I met Jason and started planning our life I saw myself as mother and realized it is something I wanted. 9 months ago an amazing woman chose me to be a mother for her son. The magnitude of that is not lost on me.  Who I was before doesn’t exist and finding Lauren in mix of acid reflux, cows milk protein allergy and dirty diapers has been a challenge. My life before was a gift, to be able to have creative freedom and the time to make mistakes and create was a luxury. Lauren the artist has learned to think about her art while feeding little O, or while he is napping on my chest because I cannot put him down as this time is precious.  People have said all mothers loose themselves in the throws of motherhood because the fear of failure, or we want the best and do our best.  I haven’t lost myself but I have become anew.  I was reborn. In a way I found myself. I am a nurturer, I never thought of myself as care giver, I love to play, and I gush over his cuteness. I have fallen hard for little O and I am sure it will grow.  But I added this new person on top of my old self. I grew as a woman not loosing myself within motherhood. Now finding time for art is the tricky part.My life now as a mother, wife and artist is a gift. It has been given to me and I am grateful.

It is Jan 2 2016 and life feels good. Every year I chose a word as a theme, a motto to live by. to live up to, to guide me through the celebrations and tribulations of each year. I make some new year goals but this year feels different. I feel I don’t have anything to change. Now don’t get me wrong I can make the longest lists of things I want or need to work on or change about myself if given the time to actually sit and knit pick about myself but this year I don’t think it matters. Its not that my priorities change because my health is still important it is just I am not putting time into worrying about it. I have been overweight my entire life and yeah its something that would be amazing to change but it is my health that matters more to me then my thick ankles. My health will keep me here with O and my cankles are something I need to be proud of.  I get them from my Grandma. Who is 86 and going strong. So why not embrace them. There is one thing that I am going to work on this year. One thing that can bleed into all areas of my life and I feel that by working on this one simple thing all areas of my life, body, business, marriage, motherhood  that I can knit pick at will be forever effected and changed. By doing this one thing my life will be changed. This year I am going to LOVE MYSELF more. I am going to work on that. Simple. To the point. Done. That one simple thing will change who I am forever. I am going to love my life so much, be adventurous, love and live for my family of 3. I am going to love my body so much that it only gets good wholesome, delicious food, and healthy movement. I am going to love myself enough to truly push myself in my art and trust the process, I am going to love myself without boundaries and molds of others, I am going to love myself for who I am, cankles and all. I know if I do this one thing all areas will feel replenished and loved.  Which then I ask why haven’t I done this already?

 

I am looking forward to sharing this journey of loving myself through all areas with you right here. It will be amazing and scary all at the same time.

-Lauren

  • wpid-photogrid_1451783236140.jpg
  • wpid-photogrid_1451783167113.jpg
  • wpid-photogrid_1451783202493.jpg

Spring is in the studio!

New Works in Progress. Love working with a new a medium and fresh new ideas. My mind is racing with ideas. I have found a rythym of not being in my studio all the time is working. Taking breaks, visiting friends and enjoying being outside is helping my creative mind.
-Lauren

image

image

image

image

Life is funny!

Yesterday was the most relaxing inspiring day I have had in a while. Shopped with the hubby, ate  good food, created and was inspired. I went to bed feeling calm and rejuvenated. Today not so much, car issues, vet visits, finances, chronic pain and stress. 2 days back to back and amazingly so far from each other.
image

When I think about all the days that I have managed to get through and all the days I never wanted to end, I am grateful. Life throws you happy times, stressful times and sad times and all the other times in between. Why? Is it to test our strength and courage, our ability to just be happy. Is there a no reason at all. Is it just what happened and I am not supposed to think of why? I am curious, always have been. I think it helps with my career and art. When I look at the past 2 days is there a reason to give us an amazing day and a bad day, one right after the other. What’s the point to give me a great day to just ruin it with a bad one?

I have to believe it is for a reason. To show me that with the good comes the bad and with the bad comes the good. People say you can’t have one without the other. I agree. I would never know what happiness is if I didn’t know sadness. I believe that the struggle makes you test your courage and strength to make you realize you can do anything. Face it head on and always come out on the end. I have learned everything always works out no matter what it is. You may not see how it will or even that it will. It even may turn out completely different and most of the time better. All you have to do is believe it will and hang on.

I also believe you have to find your happiness within you, you create it, you manifest it within you. You create a space that is you and full of love either it being your mind, heart or soul. But you also create your struggle. Problems arise to challenge us and just as we create our happiness we control or create our reaction.

It is all up to us, everyday!

Day 11

I just read my last post where I was on day 3 and wow. I made it through, I have lost 12 lbs and I am not hungry and when I am I nourish my body with delicious juice.  We added in a salad on day 8 for lunch and it is still helping. I now crave that salad. I want to eat and I feel full and satisfied. Sometimes I don’t even eat the entire salad which is very surprising for me.

But this cleanse has helped with more then just my weight. I get up in the morning and crave my juice, I feel awake and alive. I get to my studio faster in the morning and I am more productive when I am in there. I have cleaned and organized most of my closets in my house. I am busy and I never feel sluggish. I have energy and my eyes never feel heavy. At night I feel tired and go to bed without any help. I am more awake and busy during the day causing me to work harder and move more. At night I feel tired, go to bed early and sleep deeper. I am off sugar and have lowered my caffeine to 1/day and before noon. I will never give up my coffee. I love the taste and it will never be gone.

In just 11 days I am happier, I was sluggish and slightly depressed before. I am generally a happy person but I was exhausted with life and daily activities and now I can say that being happy is something that is genuinely what I feel.

Here’s to another great week and I will keep you posted.

Lauren

 

 

Reflections

I am in the middle of a 7 day juice cleanse. Holy Moly people it is hard.  I maybe dramatic but I know giving up food for 7 days and just juicing is one of the hardest things I have done and I have been through some hard times. But this experience is different. It is self indulging journey to health and it is still hard. There are millions or starving people in the world and I cannot make it 7 days. How dramatic can we be? The reason I want to do this is for health. My health has been always up and down and in 2012 I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. This a is chronic illness of the uterus and I have it pretty bad. When I was diagnosed I was also facing my Uncle dying of cancer. Some how my situation wasn’t important. Although he didn’t see it that way. He was devastated for me as I was devastated for him. His outlook on what he was facing helped me see my situation for it was a bump in the road. He died a few months later and I vowed to take control of my health as best I knew how. Which wasn’t much. I understood my disease on the surface and the drugs helped a lot. But those drugs put my 33 yr old body at high risk for all female cancers. Which I wasn’t okay with.  But I had to figure out which one was more important quality of life or drugs/cancer. At the time I chose quality of life.  I went to a cross fit class, I ate real food. I research my endo. I knew what I shouldn’t eat to help with pain. My goal was to be pain free as best as I naturally could be. I succeeded.  I stopped my meds, worked out and ate well. Then we bought a new house and everything I learned went right out the window. Why? I don’t know. Laziness, stress whatever. I let it go for whatever reason it was me that did it. 1.5 yrs later. I have gained the weight back. I am on meds that are less of a risk, but are still a risk. Do not work as well as the other stronger meds. My body hurts, I get headaches and I am only 36.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is we are adopting. The day my Uncle died was the day the agency called us to tell us we are on the list. Which was 28 months ago. It has been a ride. We are waiting for that one phone call to change our lives. To bring our family home. The stress, the ups and downs of this journey and facing my health concerns at the same time is one hell of a ride. It is so nice when you have a bad day to eat. Just eat. not matter what it is I will eat it! Bad food of course is the most comforting but good food works too. But what I have learned is that once you go bad you never can go good very easily. The sugar is the number one culprit. I have read books, watch movies and understand what flour, sugar and processed food does to inside of ones body. There is sugar in everything. And too much of it! Milk, bread, pasta sauce, salad dressing, etc. sugar messes with your system and your body is confused. I always knew sugar was bad. It is not like I eat candy and ice cream. But what we have done as a society is allow it to be in all our foods.  And not to mention I should not be eating WHEAT or MILK. Yep that’s right with Endo you should avoid these foods to keep down inflammation which would reduce my pain.

Which brings me to a 7 day juice cleanse. I have stuffed my face with foods I should not eat for a over a yr. Why if I know I shouldn’t eat those foods am I here now. My health would be better if I just avoided them altogether. Why does it so long for one to learn that lesson. I am an emotional eater, I eat when I am stressed, bored, lonely, sad, happy, whatever. Which brings me to the beginning.  I am on day 3 and I feel like I am suffering but how dramatic and self indulgent is that.  We live in a world of abundance, where we have the best fruits and veggies, REAL FOOD but we have created food in a factory to indulge our ever wanting need of sugar and more and more!  I want to feel hunger again. I want to feel what it is like to be nourished from the food I put in my mouth and not depressed and tired.

What I have learned this 3 days, and yes it only took me 3 days to figure this out is not that I am hungry. I am sometimes, but water or tea helps but that I eat whenever I want.  I have learned when my triggers are.  Commercials, recipes on Pinterest, et. I have created a habit of eating not actually eating when I am hungry to nourish myself.  Which leads to never being satisfied, always looking for something better, more satisfying but it never really comes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 shows, 2 months, and 1 very tired but happy artist

image

image

Wow! What a whirlwind. From Oct 25 to Dec 13 I had packed in 15 shows, organized one market and came out one very happy artist. This was my first Christmas season as full time artist and I was worried I over booked myself but I got into a pretty good pace. Saturday and some Sundays I had shows. Monday through Thursday I made more art and completed commissions. Then I would do it all over again. It was a pretty good system. It kept me focused and in the studio daily.
image

image

image

I learned how to be an artist with consistent work ahead of me. Since becoming a full time artist I have been very grateful for the amount of work I have been getting and looking forward to more growth in 2015.  I want to increase my classes to once a month starting soon. My retreat is coming up in April and hopefully I will have 10 people come and take part in such and amazing weekend.  I want to have at least one show a month starting in March which gives me time to create a different body of work for my 2015 season.  The next 2 months I am going to focus on new art, new classes and retreat planning. I am going to BREATHE and enjoy each minute of this year personally and professionally. Last year went by fast, with many ups and downs and I want to slow it down. enjoy it!!
image

image

 

 

Prairie Girls Vintage Market, Cochrane

I had the best time last Saturday under the harvest sun outside Cochrane, Ab.

The location was impressive and breathtaking, the vendors so inspiring, the

organizers were amazing!! It was a pleasure to be a part of such an amazing

event and be one of the vendors chosen to contribute to the market.

Take a look through some photos and hope to see you next year!!

-Lauren

  • wpid-wp-1411608467984.jpeg
  • wpid-20140920_112608.jpg
  • wpid-wp-1411608496291.jpeg
  • wpid-wp-1411612109381.jpeg
  • wpid-wp-1411612130043.jpeg
  • wpid-wp-1411612171951.jpeg
  • wpid-wp-1411612191699.jpeg
  • wpid-wp-1411608513158.jpeg