For my birthday, I gave myself the book Radical Homemakers.  I have to admit that nothing in the book was shocking to me.  I grew up in a home where my mother stayed home and made the bread from scratch, we dried our clothes on the laundry line and were homeschooled for years.  I will be the first to admit that once I was out of the house and had started my own career, I was lured away from my simple roots with the promises of trendy, mainstream products.  However, within the first year of my marriage and living in my own home, taking care of it at my own pace, I realized it wasn’t the path we were meant to take.  The spring of 2007, I planted my first garden with the intent of learning to preseve some of the produce.  I re-learned to cook and started to blog.  That May, I quit my job which paid very well and demanded absurd hours in the interest of losing the commute and the stress.  My pay working full time went from $20/hr to just under $10/hr.  I would still be working a full week, but the drive to the office went from 45 minutes to 7.  At first, I was scared that we wouldn’t be able to make it with me bringing in such a measly amount of income.  We cut debt, reworked our budget and prioritezed our spending.  I learned to do more things on my own and clipped my first coupon.  Within a few months, we had discovered that we could actually live a really nice life this way!  I was so happy to not be stressed, I was off all medications and no longer was paying a weekly co-pay at 2 different physicians’ offices!  
In October of 2008, I got pregnant with Liam.  After 2 miscarriages and an inordinate amount of struggles involving our desire for children, it was a wonderfully welcome surprise.  We planned a quiet homebirth, to use cloth diapers and to breastfeed.  Once again, we prepared to simplify our budget even further as I would be moving from a 5 day work week to 2 8 hour days.  I’ve written before about our decisions with parenting and how there are the occaisional moments when I do wonder if he’s getting everything he needs from life when compared to his playmates’ flashy lives.  In the end, I do believe we made the right decisions.
This last year, we started a journey in our lives to move homes, downsize and renovate.  After my grandmother’s death, I inherited her home.  Normally, this would be exciting.  However, this happened when the real estate market in our area is at a stunning low and we were going to lose a great deal of money if we were to sell the property.  After much thought and prayer, we decided to move from our precious first home where our marriage was built and our son was born to a home that I was partially raised in.  On July 31st, the carpet was laid and we realized that we were really doing this project, whether we were ready to or not.  A few weeks later, I realized I was pregnant again… not just worn out from working at the house everyday in addition to my regular life!  It was at this time that we realized we had made the best decision as far as the home renovation was going.  It was going slowly because we chose to work on it as we had the cash in had, putting nothing on credit.  In addition to that, the house was getting it’s first splashes of color on the walls and we decided to spend the extra money so we could use no VOC paint.  At this time, I chose to quit my job and work from home in the evenings tutoring online. 

For us, this path has been one of constant change and learning.  We won’t have a garden this spring since I am due in early April and the ground breaking so we could prepare a space was at the bottom of the priority list.  Instead, we’ll be supporting our local farmers for our produce that I’ll be canning and freezing.  We are planning another homebirth, breastfeeding and cloth diapers.  As I look around, I’m so happy that I can say that we are raising our children and living our life the way we want.  We aren’t making decisions based on the popular vote and we don’t live busy lives.  I keep our home as quiet and peaceful as possible, a topic I’ll be writing more about in the coming posts.  My grocery bill is manageable because we don’t purchase the processed foods that add up so quickly and my laundry smells fresh and clean because of my beloved Soap Nuts!  I am anxious to share with you this week and hope that maybe I will be able to show you that it’s ok to go your own way…. even if no one agrees!

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