Tasty Tuesday – Ask, Accept & Banana Soft Serve

So, here we are, a week later. If you read last Tuesday’s post on self-care, you know that I have a report to make this week. Not because I think anyone really cares what I did all week to create “Calgon take me away moments,” but because I have to be accountable to something or someone – because God knows I cheat if I’m the only one looking.

I found that when I really slowed down to think about what I could do to give attention to, nurture and connect with myself, it usually meant doing two things.

Asking and Accepting  

Asking: Asking for permission not only from a caregiver, usually one that goes by the name of Daddy, but also asking and giving myself permission to take action. And then asking myself to go forth, do it and then free myself of guilt. Sometimes the action wasn’t so easy, even though I knew it would be good. Sort of like going for a long run while you are training for a race. You know you will feel so good after, but all of a sudden – every excuse in the book seems to outweigh your interest in the actual running: your laundry is piled up, you need to get caught up on paying bills and your ankle sort of feels swollen. For example, I made dinner plans with a group of fantastically contagious woman that I am lucky to know – you know who you are, you hot mamas. Dinner was planned at 7ish and of course it turned into 8 as we were all just stepping off the battlefield and we were all still a little muddy from the day. We all came exhausted and ready to unwind. We showed up because we knew even though it would have been easier to stay at home and make excuses about too much to do or being too tired – we knew we would have missed out on plugging our dead battery in. The wine didn’t hurt, either – but the company and sharing a boat with women for a few hours left me smiling into the next day. It was so refreshing that I barely noticed the slight headache that knocked on my temples the next morning. (In our defense, they play music WAY too loud these days at restaurants/bars…geez, I’m sure that’s why I had a headache.)

Accepting: Meaning, plain and simple, accept and embrace the time, whatever time it is, that you make for yourself. Create a space that celebrates you and makes you feel lighter and stronger all at the same time. I have learned that sometimes the precious time you work so hard to plan for yourself falls short of your expectations, making the outcome a little more blurry than you expected.  Either that darn clock just cranks too fast and you feel a few hours shy of refreshed, or you get home and all you can think about is where you just were… and feel GUILTY wishing you were still there – not here. It’s hard. It really is. Like today – I got my hair done after months of sad neglect on those graying brunette locks. And it felt SO good. All of it – the sitting in a chair and being dolled over, the scalp massage, the warm blow dryer and the fresh shake at the end of the blow out. But then, I came home… and I wanted to be THERE. I wanted to be back in the chair, all warm and dolled over. And I had to literally “fake it until I made it” HERE. Here, engaging with my kids.  And I told myself, “THIS IS OK, you love your kids…you may miss that chair, but you LOVE your kids.” Accept your transition out of me time and know that it can feel gray. Gray as in, hard to define the peace you just created in your body, now that it is colliding with hurricane house manager. Where does “me time” stop and “us time” kick in?” Good question, let me know if you figure it out. In the end, it’s just a season. Accepting the season for what it is. In twenty years, our season will probably be wishing “me time” away and waiting in the kitchen for some “us time” to just walk through the door, with a pile of laundry, fresh from their dorm room.

So with that, I would LOVE and be touched to hear how YOU celebrated yourself and actually took yourself up on some ME time. Please share?

And finally, I haven’t forgotten about nourishing that cute little temple of yours with food glorious food. This is not original work on my part, however, it is a great post from Angela over at ohsheglows.com, again. She lists 14 foods that are a little off the beaten path, but oh so worth digging through the mud to find. You can find them here. Enjoy and let me know if you try one of them. I, myself, have my eyes on the banana soft serve…yum.

Banana Soft Serve from ohsheglows

Be nourished.

 

A Happy Day – Go Giuliana

As a lot of you know, a few years ago I was in the trenches of trying to conceive, popularly known on blogs, online forums and other social media messages as TTC. It took me about as long to figure out what TTC,DH,BFN and BFP meant as it did to get pregnant. (Google them if you are confused as I was.) I can remember being in bed a lot during those days. Strangely, for trying to conceive, I remember being in bed a lot, alone. And sad. I would come home from work and watch Bravo and E! marathons like it was nobody’s business.

I remember a particular night when Scott was out of town and our puppy love had just passed away and there I was – alone. Who else to cuddle up with but reality TV?  I came across the questionable real life stalking of “Giuliana and Bill.” I thought, why not? And started to watch. Here are my thoughts from that show, way back when. 

I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes. I remember thinking, oh my gosh. I think ALL those thoughts she thinks. I JUST want a baby like she JUST wants a baby. I felt a half of an ounce of a millimeter better because she is opening up about this very private matter on a very public forum. For goodness sake, I didn’t even want to discuss this over dinner with my BEST friends, let alone all of America. The shame. The fear. The yuck.  And here she was, airing her shattered, infertile laundry for all to see. Wow. I felt not so alone. A little less broken.  

Since that show, I can say that I have honestly watched her on the red carpet, E! News, talk shows and Today Show spots and always waited and scanned the TV for a baby bump. I’ve sent prayers to her, truly, I have. I cried the day she announced her diagnosis of breast cancer. Again, I prayed. I still felt connected to her. Remembering we were under the same bright lights, stir-ups and cervical probes at the same time, almost three years ago.

JUST WANTING A BABY. 

Today is a happy day. Well, the day that they had in private months ago, was a happy day for them. Today was a happy day for all that have been watching her journey from afar. They are having a baby, finally. They had 2 embryos left to use that were frozen before her cancer treatments started, and it took! They have an angel stork in the form of a gestational carrier bringing their baby to them late this summer. I cried again today, because I am a sap and a mom, and moms just always cry at stuff that should really make them happy. (And then we have to explain to our kids, “No, really, mommy is crying BECAUSE she is happy.)

It sounds silly to say this about an E! bombshell gone reality star, but I’m grateful for Giuliana. Grateful she has shared her journey with others to see. So thankful she has been vulnerable. Because for girls like me, 3 years ago, alone and afraid under the covers – sometimes we just need to know the monsters live under other people’s beds too.

And sometimes, you just have to see other people get out of bed to know you can too.

 


The View From Six

First of all – totally unrelated to topic, but important nonetheless: if you are reading this on the day this post is published, this means it is a Saturday. So – take a deep breathe in through your nose and then close your eyes, lean back in your chair and blow it out like you are blowing up a balloon. Repeat. I wanted to encourage this in case you suffer from the “hurry up and relax” syndrome that I do on the weekends. I get so excited for R&R, family time, weekend projects and sale shopping that I get all “bee up in my bonnet” feeling. I woke up this morning like an Elmo DVD on repeat with racing thoughts of: relax, yoga, write, make pancakes, family time, laugh, kodak moments, walks, homemade dinner, Verizon store, coffee out, nap and more. Wow – took the rest and relaxation right out of R&R. More like running and restless!  So, hence the deep breath encouragement at the beginning of the post today. Good for you if you are already relaxing and don’t need to do this. Even more points if you have toddlers and don’t need to do this.

So, moving on…you know how we wake up each day full of a million thoughts on how we can be better people, how we have a variety of things to learn about and improve upon and how we should or shouldn’t do more of this or less of that? And beyond that, we mostly keep these thoughts and realizations safe behind guilt, shame, and a lack of sharing and admitting? Not really letting ourselves be free? Well, hold that thought.

Last night we went out to a local pizza place to celebrate our nephews’ sixth birthday. Yep, plural: twin boys, Cohen & Colsen. Yep, add our triplets and an older sister from their side and we get a couple stares when go out to eat as a family. The children clearly outnumber the adults.

As dinner neared it’s end, the waitress brought out two bowls of cold and creamy vanilla ice cream laced with hot fudge in honor of the boys’ birthdays. ( I wonder why the kids get all the birthday goodies? Mom should get a glass of the most expensive champagne they have on hand for carrying, delivering and raising them to be suitable in society for the last six years.) I looked over at Colsen to see him staring at his ice cream with wide eyes, a frozen stare of “this is too good to be true” and his hands stuck on his lap as he truly took in the good life of being a six year old boy.

In response, the conversation goes:

Me: “Colsie – are you speechless?!” (Referring to his open mouth and inability to even reach for his spoon while staring with savor)

Colsen: (Proud look as he reaches for his spoon to dig in as he announces to the whole table and tables nearby:) “I’m almost speechless! I only have ‘th’s’ left to learn!” (Referring to the fact that he is about ready to graduate speech class)

Moral of the story: Be PROUD of how far you have come, even if it’s coming from what may be viewed as a shortcoming. PROCLAIM it to the world. And pick up that spoon and dig in, FREE of GUILT. And now SAVOR it.

 

 

 

Tasty Tuesday – Food for Thought

After Laura’s amazingly raw and sincere guest post yesterday, I just simply couldn’t jump on here today and talk about food. I do love food and sometimes blur the lines of “living to eat” and “eating to live,” however, that’s not what is screaming at me today. No, today it’s nourishment for the soul. Bread for the heart and wine for the mind (although bread and wine do sound REALLY good – like soft ciabatta and a pinot noir, BUT let us stick to topic.)

I had some couch time today. (Translation = talk therapy they it call in the medical world. It’s just sitting on a couch verbal vomiting on a counselor nice enough to listen and take a minimal payment.) I showed up reluctantly because a few things had fallen out of place in my day, meaning it took WORK to just show up to DO THE WORK, as they always call it.  And I sat there with my arms crossed, not wanting anyone to penetrate the grumpy, overly exhausted and perfectly happy with being mad person that I woke up being today.  It all started last night with Scott chewing too loudly while sitting next to me in the dark. I was trying to type and the sweet husband just wanted to sit next to his wife in the dark office and eat his dinner and all I got out of it was annoyance. Pure irritation.  For some reason when someone chews in the silence and in the dark, it’s like a microphone is piped into their jaw and going directly into my inner eardrum.

So – that’s it, ever since last night, probably even in my sleep, I’ve been a ticking time bomb. I’ve felt spread thin, exhausted, grumpy, irritable and just not that friendly. I was appalled that everyone did not move out of my way at Target or on the highway today. I was in complete disbelief that Harper threw every gourmet piece of PB&J that I crafted for her for lunch, onto the floor. And the clincher setting the mood: totally up in arms that God hasn’t placed a large over sized sign in my yard that says one of the two things: “YES, YE SHALL GO FORWARD INTO THE ABYSS AND BEAR A FOURTH CHILD” or “ARE YOU CRAZY, TIE THAT S@$% UP! ” Well, God probably wouldn’t use an expletive, but you know, for emphasis sake, we will use it here.

So, now that the mood has been set for you, couch time ends up going something like this:

Couch Guide (Counselor): “I’m hearing you are out of balance. What have you done for yourself lately that looks like self care?”

Me: (Arms crossed, eyes squinting because my contacts are dry. I hate it when that happens here because I feel like Bambi, all tender and about to cry – but really, it’s just my contacts.) “Like, in the last year?”

Couch Guide: “Like recently – last week or few days.”

Me: (laugh nervously) “Well, a few showers. I brush my teeth everyday! (I say with super pride!) I taught Pilates last night – it was sort of a workout. I went to a multiples mom sale and bought a toy kitchen for my kids! (I say with even more of a crescendo in my voice!) And…I drank a chai latte, TWICE in the last week – it was SUCH a treat

Couch Guide: (Head turns with slight grin) “I don’t know that those classify as ‘self care’ – since most are giving of yourself and taking your energy.”

Me: “Oh.”

Couch Guide: (A wider grin.)

Me: “Hmmm.”

—-

So, as I drove away I started to think, well how in the heck am I supposed to give “self care” when I have so much “other care” taking most of my available, allotted wake time of the 24 and 7. But it hit me, I’m doing NO ONE any favors by not asking for help. By not making it happen. Sometimes it feels all cozy and safe to just stretch myself thin, to do it all and more. To try to put the cherry on the top and show up to everything with bells on and skip to the lou my darlin’ – all in a day and while smiling.

Well, you know what, I can’t do it. I can’t. So I sit here this afternoon with no real solid advice on how we can add a 25th and 26th hour to our day so we can get a pedicure, read a book, go to yoga class, laugh with your girlfriends, share popcorn with your husband at the movies or actually laugh and giggle with your children because you had time to yourself and they all of a sudden don’t feel like energy sucking little vampire people. ( I love them, but they are little vampire people some days, I’ll say it.)

So – it’s my Tasty Tuesday challenge. No recipe, no suggestion for some crafty, sneaky cute plate of food in the kitchen. It’s a tip: go nourish your bad self. Find a way. I vow to find a way and when I do, I’ll tell you about it. If I fail and I’m back on the couch in a week crossing my arms about the same stuff, I’ll tell you that too. And that’s OK, because hopefully I will have brushed my teeth – and that’s a grey area of self care, right? Right.

Go forth and self care, or at least think about it. Leave us braggadocios comments with your self care secrets. Because if there is a truly a secret for adding a 25th hour to the day, I NEED to know about it.

Mama Tree – Inaugaral Guest Post by Laura Weaver


There is a pose in yoga simply called “Tree Pose.” The beauty of this balance pose is that it is never the same from one day to the next. Some days it feels easy,natural and strong. The outcome resembles those girls in Yoplait commercials on a beach: one soul of their foot resting effortlessly on the inner thigh of the opposite, standing leg. Arms outreached like two unwavering branches with palms open accepting the gifts from the sun. The tree is strong in the core – like a mighty oak. When you achieve this pose effortlessly, you are proud of your tree and feel independent, yet wonderfully woven and connected into a loving community of the forest. You aren’t jealous of other trees. You’ve got it going on.

Other days, you visit the pose to find you are a fragile and tender sapling. The core is shaky, giving in to every element of the earth. The branches, your arms, flail desperately to center you. The tree is weak and exposed, like a naked tree after an ice storm. The grounding foot is disconnected from the earth and is doing you no good. You are ashamed of this tree. You are all alone and you have come to believe no on is coming to water you. You pray for rain.

Years ago when being led into Tree Pose by an instructor, she said, “You can be any tree you want to be.” Every, every time I do Tree Pose, I revisit this proposal. Wow. How powerful. How beautiful. How true.

Any. Tree. You. Want. To. Be.

Metaphors are God’s way of helping us to see past blind spots.  I think of what kind of tree I want to be in terms of being a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a stranger. Myself when no one is looking.  We all get the chance to wake up and be any tree we want to be. Even better, we get the chance to accept, embrace, water and nourish the living green tree in our heart. 

I am one little tree. I don’t want to be alone in the landscape. So other trees are welcome here, in fact, mandatory. Once a month, I will have a featured “tree.” One of God’s own creations and greatest mysteries – a mama, the mama tree. Showing up and giving you a slice of vulnerability pie. Isn’t that the best way to connect? Bring the coffee, we’ll bring the pie.

Meet our first tree: A dear and kindred spirit to my soul. We had our first babies 8 days apart and fought a tandem 2 year battle of just trying to get knocked up. She is a spark plug in a crowd, a truth telling soul sister and always good for a laugh.  A lover of nature and all things that are real.

Meet Laura Weaver:

——-

Let me preface this post by saying I have been inspired to write after following Kristin’s blog for the past few years! Reading her words (and fun analogies) always soothes my worries and leaves me feeling more at peace with myself (and all of the thoughts that flow in and out of my mind). I feel connected, reassured and full. Yes, my mind feels full…full of purpose, full of meaning, and full of love. I enjoy it so very much. Thankfully, she has encouraged me to start writing again. So, here goes nothing. The words I am sharing started pouring out when I sat down to write with no particular purpose other than to let my mind empty some of the thoughts inside.

Worrying? At 31 weeks pregnant and the mother of a 16-month old daughter, I often wonder if the worry I feel is related to the hormones and stress of motherhood, or if it’s the same ole worry I have had my entire life. In my counseling program, my professor (a Psychologist) labeled me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. He did not share this with me in a private one-on-one counseling session, but instead, he did this in front of our small class. Hello, probably not a good idea to do to someone with anxiety, but somehow I welcomed his words (at the time). Later, I obsessed over the reactions others might have of a student (me) in the counseling program with GAD. He went on to tell me I have what they call, “obsessive thinking.” He said its pretty much genetic and there are some good drugs out there to help manage it (sign me up for those drugs).  I wasn’t shocked at this diagnosis because it sounded just like me: racing thoughts, repeated words in my head where I obsess over minor details, conversations or anything I can wrap my mind around, and a few panic attacks. I was a bit stunned that more people didn’t speak up. I was thinking, “Come on, surely everyone feels this way. Am I the only one saying how I really feel and what goes on my head?” Well, maybe out of this small group I was the only one, but if they have created a “diagnosis” for this style of thinking, then there are quite a few people out there like me.

I have always felt a little supercharged, overly analytical, and able to achieve any insane/ridiculous idea that crosses my mind, while always keeping in mind the judgment and/or criticisms of others, but I have always assumed everyone felt this way at some point or another. Well, not all people. Others probably get some other fun diagnosis. Don’t we all have something? Personally, I wonder if it’s just our character/personality/quirkiness and it just sounds better when we know someone else could share some of our traits. The other day my husband asked me to describe my obsessive thinking/anxiety/worrying (whatever you want to call it), so he could better understand. I was in the middle of a quiver-lipping episode where I couldn’t describe why every fear known to man had just entered my mind.

Before I continue, I do spend the better part of my days with good, thought provoking anxiety that I tend to believe makes me a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, and counselor. It’s energizing and invigorating (at least this is what people tell me and I choose to believe them). Unfortunately, I do have bad anxiety days where the thoughts that stimulate good ideas and creative energy can turn on me and produce fear, dread, worry, concern and a downward spiral of emotions that cycles over and over. This was one of those moments. It could have been from anything (exhaustion, hunger, a need to exercise, or just being me). Needless to say, I had reached this point and couldn’t stop the tears.

My husband and I have been together over 10 years and married 5 this summer. He can recognize the physical side of my anxiety (tears or verbal threats associated with the fear of future events not going as planned), but this time he was asking for the detailed side of how my mind works. Holy hell, how do you describe a mind like mine to someone who has never worried. Let me rephrase, how do I describe my mind to someone who has never worried for absolutely no reason at all. He is 100% logic and reasoning in his mind; the complete opposite of anxiety. I try to use logic and reasoning during these episodes, but most of the time I like to throw those thoughts right out the window! I know the logical side of my thought process will help. Unfortunately, I do not know how and when my mind turned to the state of emotion and confusion that hates thoughts of logic and reasoning. I am usually too deep in the zone of emotion to climb out using these methods.

Thankfully, this question posed by my husband led me to search for answers about my thought process. Surprisingly, I have found that there is some good that comes during these bad anxiety episodes. I always learn something. If you tell me this during that state, I would say a few cuss words and tell you how crazy you are and that you don’t know the first thing about anxiety (sorry to my husband). I do truly believe I need these moments of feeling sorry for myself and worrying about everything around me in order to find me. I don’t necessarily enjoy it. Nor, do I enjoy being on the brink of tears, but it makes me feel more human. In these moments, I pause and reflect on my life. These moments help slow me down and force me to focus inward. The good anxiety inspires me. It pushes me forward into the future where I am going to conquer all of my hopes, dreams, and wishes (and yours too if you ask me). I love the good anxiety because I live in this future world where anything is possible. I can run a marathons, start my own business, have 2 more children, hike, and move to the mountains all in the future world. Then, just when it gets good, fear of all this future and untapped potential from within is met with the bad anxiety. This bad anxiety keeps me in the present, but fearful of the future and events that may not happen (or events that might, but not the way I envision). Strangely though, it centers me, so I have to focus on healing all of the abuse my mind delivers to my soul. I face my fears, worries, and reality in this state of anxiety. It’s also a test to tell myself to keep climbing and living even though I don’t know what lies ahead.

The future is unpredictable. It’s not worth all of the worry I give it in my mind. I have lived in way too many hypothetical future scenarios to even count. It’s time for me to find a balance between living in the present while planning (just a little) for the future. So, here is to embracing anxiety, worry and fears of the unknown. So far, all of the things in life I have been unable to control have delivered the best outcomes (ie. my husband, my daughter, and my baby boy in utero). For now, I will just have to enjoy the roller coaster ride of anxiety living in my head!

Wow…if you made it to the end of this post, you will see why we all need to breathe in and breathe out! Thank you Kristin!

Green Snot

The snot never really dries up in a house full of toddlers. And that’s OK, together we have come a long way in the department of nasal passage leakage. I’ve learned boogie wipes are too expensive and my mother wipes work just as well (my shirt sleeve, my pant leg,etc). And the kids are finally learning to blow,blow,blow those little button noses. What we haven’t figured out is the etiquette surrouding the level of when we are contagious and not welcome to be in places other than our own dungeon of boogers and bananas. All of it’s so sticky, toddlers are just so sticky.

Just when are you contagious?

Well, for our kid’s sake, that green, dark snot is a pretty obvious indication they aren’t welcome at that much anticipated play date. When the clear snot hits green territory, it is the mark of the beast. But what about mothers, wives, friends and co-workers? When are they contagious? Well, yes, they can have green snot too, but I mean when are they contagious with something good, like the opposite of green snot. Like when do they leave behind examples and inner motivation without offering any guidance or verbal advice? When they are truly just so great that you want to be annoyed with their goodness, but you can’t, because you are better after you leave them every time.  They are contagious and it spreads. Just like green snot at an indoor mall playground in February.

It’s true: when you surround yourself with greatness, you catch it. When you possess greatness, you spread it. Greatness is contagious.

There is a tribal connection of love and sacrifice among the motherhood village. Every mother has battle wounds, lessons learned, blue ribbons and victories worth sharing. Perspective and experience that has made her great. And it’s something worth sharing without fear of judgement, jealousy or shame.

Starting tomorrow, once a month, this little blog will provide a platform for various voices of greatness to be heard and spread like cupcake frosting (yum). After all, I didn’t start a blog to speak/think to myself – I do enough of that already. A new mother and voice will be writing a post each month to connect, share and let her greatness infest others.  Think of it as an open mic night on the blog. A mom gets up on stage, looks around a little in fear and then, after a shot of whiskey (well, isn’t that what people do on open mic night’s at a bar? I’m guessing, never been) she simply speaks what’s on her heart. Opening up and bearing some truth from this life called motherhood. Sharing some greatness…with or without the whiskey – we’ll never know, this is a blog, remember.

Give a little, take a little. Let your poor heart break a little. That’s the story of, that’s the glory of…being a mother.

Until then!

The Cocktail Napkin

It’s been one of those days.

Mom code for: Just get me to nap time. Just get me to bed time. Just get me through.

Nothing even that bad. Really. Little stuff involving the following incidents and the overwhelming annoyance and or guilt that was birthed during and after the events: eating cookies for breakfast, poop up backs (twice to be exact – once on my unassuming forearm), naps cut short for all by one songbird Miss G-girl and the awareness of how much I actually call my son Quinn by the generic nickname “Bud” or “Buddy”. Mind you, the last annoyance wasn’t my fault. Hubby hates when I overuse the “B word” as a nickname and wants to nip it in the bud now. He asked me to please do him a favor and see if I still like the nickname after adding our last name to the end every time I say it. So, obliging to his request to prove him wrong, I set out to actually do it today. Here’s how the day goes: ”Come here, “Bud Hackman,” “Good job, “Buddy Hackman” or “Give mommy a kiss, “Bud Hackman.” Say it outloud. Now you are annoyed too. I told you.

To be fair and balanced, the day had many great things too, like they always do, sometimes lurking in the shadows. I had my mom’s group at church with women who make me smile and always leave me feeling a little less alone. Like it has all of the Jesus love, but we are really just a bunch of smart moms who just sometimes feel dumb, and can laugh about it. And mostly, we all ate cookies for breakfast together, so what’s not to love. And I had a wonderful visit with a friend and her twin girls, that I met while on bed rest with the trio. We sipped chai lattes (yum, who knew I could chai?) and thanked God for all that had gone so right after all that could have gone wrong with our high risk pregnancies way back when. Back when we met in wheelchairs and had bellies for tables – probably eating cookies on them. Is there a theme here?

And not to mention my favorite part of the day, the best thing about kids. I had imagined this made up grudge between G-girl and myself, like she knew I was annoyed she woke up early from her nap. And when she threw her fits today, she was throwing them at me. And she could feel my boiling point as I chased her to get her scraggly bangs out of her face with a hair tie before our play date. And as we drove and I looked at her sweet face, I of course felt guilty that my 15 month old and I “were in an argument.”  So at bed time I hugged her and apologized for getting frustrated with her and told her how much I really loved her and appreciated her. I say, “Tomorrow, G-girl, you and Mommy are going to have a much better day?!” She gave me a look that could only mean, “you’re whack mom, I ain’t mad at ya’, never was.” (I think end of day “civil wars” with hubby often end this way as well. Geez, people, you are missing the obvious – we are so mad at each other). Then she walks off with a happy go lucky spring in her step. And to answer my question/prediction of a much smoother day tomorrow, she bobs her head and shakes her copper streaked curls to the side and says “Yeppp”.

Ok. It’s clear. There are good days. There are bad days. But mostly, there are just days – beautifully woven together with the “yepps” and the poops.

I walked into the bathroom earlier today to find a cocktail napkin laying on the floor. This may seem weird to some, but it’s not in our house. I have tiny feet and hands that make sure nothing is in it’s place. No napkin left behind. My friend Lauren had brought this package of cocktail napkins back to me from a girls trip to Key West that I missed when the babes were 4 months old.  I loved it then and I love it now.

The cocktail napkin sums it up: Good days or bad – we are all just living the dream:

 

Tasty Tuesday – Oh Nuts

So, it’s Tuesday – time to talk nourishment – in the form of food. Remember, part of nourishing our soul is feeding our body with delicious and tasty choices while deconstructing the cravings for “more”, in all aspects of our life. I know, easier said than done, but it’s worth a try. I know the occasional lunch out or afternoon latte fills up my belly and my cup, simply because it’s different. You know?

Today’s topic: Nuts!! For YOU (adults) or your KIDS!

(Remember, this is not a food blog, don’t expect too much from me. I opened this idea up to get comments, suggestions and feedback from people smarter, better and more creative than me. I just want to plant a little seed for variety in that grocery shopping robot of a mother mind. You know the one, “I am mother robot, must go to store, pack kids and snacks for drive, drive to store, buy same 75 items, feed snacks to crying kids and wait in line and read People from afar, drive home, make same meals because mind is fried. Repeat next week. ” ) Good luck, Mother Robot.

Breakfast or Dessert

* Yogurt and Nut Butter Parfait (good for teaching toddlers to scoop & spoon)*

Ingredients: – Nut butter of your choice (almond,peanut,sunflower or soy)
- Milk of your choice

-Plain yogurt (I use greek)

- Cinnamon
- Ground flax seeds (good omega-3′s)
- Fruit of your choice (berries or peeled and chopped apples or pears work well)

I start by thinning out the nut butter with milk. I use whole milk for the kids and just stir in about 1/2 Tb milk per 1 Tb nut butter to start . Slowly add milk and stir until mixture is like frosting – not too runny or too thick. I put about 1 Tb of this mixture into bottom of small child’s bowl. Sprinkle thin layer of ground flax seed and then sprinkle cinnamon over the flax meal. I put a dollop of plain yogurt over the nut butter “crust” and spread like frosting.  Top with chopped fruit of your choice. 

My 15 month old toddlers love this . We are in process of learning to use a spoon at our house and they think it’s cool to learn how to “scoop” and bite with this one. Seems to work well with awkward spoon newbies because it’s sticky at the bottom and they have to actually scoop, but can pick up fruit with fingers when frustrated. Disclaimer: It’s messy, wear your patience pants.

Breakfast (for mama)

*picture credit: ohsheglows.com*

*Overnight Oats* LOVE this. And totally not my idea. I found this from one of my favorite foodie blogs, ohsheglows.com . Great blog to learn new tips and tricks in the kitchen. Heads up, this is a vegan/healthy focused blog, but really worth checking out – don’t let the “green monster” intimidate you. I’ve been meaning to try it – tell me if you dare!

The oats are easy and are prepared the night before while kids are in bed, meaning, breakfast actually will be prepared for YOU, not just THEM. Below is Angela’s original recipe from her blog. I substitute ground flax seed (again, love my big bag from Costco) for the chia seeds (the chia is just a little “crunchy” for me.) I also didn’t use carob or protein powder and used almond milk instead of soy. Place all in a bowl and stir. Put in fridge overnight and it will be waiting for you all creamy and delicious in the morning! I stir in peanut or almond butter thinned with milk so it is stir-able consistency. Nuts and more fruit is good stirred in, as well! I actually heated my bowl of soaked oats one time, as well. You can eat cold or hot, both good.

  • 1/3 cup regular oats
  • 1 tbsp-2 tbsp chia seeds (thickens mixture overnight)
  • 1-1.25 cup non-dairy milk (I now use Eden organic soy which has 12 gram protein!)
  • 1.5 tbsp carob powder or flavoured protein powder (optional)
  • Maple syrup, to taste
  • Fruit like blueberries, strawberries, peaches, kiwi, mango, banana.
Here is a link to MANY of her wonderful variations of the oats concoction. Overnight oat recipes. Let me know if you try one and really like it.

Snack (this is one of mama’s snacks but kids could eat too)

*Easy Afternoon Nut Dip for Mama*

Super easy. Take a Tb or two of peanut or almond butter. I mix the two for a combined taste. Same theory as above: thin with milk to make like a smooth dip (I use vanilla almond milk). You can also stir in a Tb of yogurt for calcium and creaminess. Add a dash of cinnamon and a little bit of honey or agave syrup and you have an afternoon dip! Just add milk slowly and keep stirring until you have a good, creamy dip like consistency.

I usually sprinkle cut up apples or pears with cinnamon and dip away! The kids love to come and try it. We work on biting apples – who knew you weren’t born knowing how to bite!? Would be awesome with graham crackers. I use leftover dip spread over a rice cake and topped with blueberries for a bedtime snack.

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Tell us, do you have any good nut/nut butter ideas you are holding out on?? Do share because, well, who doesn’t love nuts? (Well, I guess a large chunk of the population can’t eat them, and for that I am sorry to exclude you on this post. But soy butter is made just for that, right?) Hmm…maybe I love them because I am nuts? Who knows.

Be nourished!

 

Easter & Oprah

Easter Sunday, simply put, offers all of us a sense of hope,renewal and an invitation to new life. It brings many people together – even from different religious backgrounds to celebrate being OK. Jesus, whether you follow him or not, is a solid guy. He died for the sins of others, something I will never understand. The message itself has floated through the years, to believers and non-believers, that on this day, it’s time to look at yourself, look at something bigger than yourself and to shake out the winter and get on with the hopin’ and prayin’ and trustin’ (or something like that…)

Our pastor, very gracefully and with great heart, approached the story of Easter with detail and sparkle and seriousness.

I left feeling lighter and calmer and all full of life – just what you would hope for on Easter. But I left with something else. A call to action. One of the clear messages yesterday was this:

According to resurrection, you have a calling to discover despite your failure.

Pretty simple statement, pretty heavy meaning. I get it but I can’t grasp the “action” in the statement. I feel moved, but am not sure when to move?

Well, as many times before in my life, God sent me Oprah for clarification (OK, that’s a little dramatic, but I do love my girl O). I was driving out to teach Pilates in a minivan carrying only me, and I happened to remember to turn Elmo off and tune into Oprah Radio. She was interviewing Bishop T.D. Jakes on her lifeclass series on Oprah Radio. And what do you know, they were talking about purpose. I came home and found this interview along the same lines. I thought I would share. Enjoy. And may you be closer to your calling. Or if you are lucky enough to be living your calling, may you claim it and cuddle it. Happy day after Easter to you. (Link to interview below:)

Link to Bishop T.D. Jakes discussing finding your purpose

 

The PERFECT classroom

I woke up this sunny Saturday morning, the day before Easter, thinking how wonderful it would be to go do something as a family. Something brilliant, full of fresh air and educational too. I shall plan the PERFECT day.  The kids will experience a PERFECT classroom of life. Life at the farm. Who needs “How Now, Brown Cow” when you have the real cow?

I had it all mapped out. First, we would drive out to the country and I would sip coffee as we drive over the hills and through the woods. Dear Dad would the lead the kids in song (which he truly often does: only he’s just leading himself – in 2 years they’ll laugh, in 10 years they will cringe from embarrassment). We would pull up to Traders Point Creamery and walk leisurely over the green and serene farmland where the cows, roosters and chickens are on free range. The kids would “moo” at the cows and watch in wonder as they “moo” back. They would chase the roosters and “cock-a-doodle-do” in concert. They would gain culture, feel free and be, you know, PERFECTER.  And then we would walk back to the van as the sun shines down on our backs to warm us. All five of us in harmony, holding hands and feeling all PERFECT.

In reality:

What we all learned at the PERFECT classroom today was:

 

Sometimes, POOP happens

 

Yep, lost a little balance going to see a cow and toppled over, face forward in a mud pie of manure. Don’t worry, we cleaned him, right after the PERFECT photo.

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