Tuesday Taste – The Art of Sharing

Sharing is on my mind a lot these days …

Gracie, please share ONE of the THREE sippy cups you are guarding with your life.

Harper, please share the odd piece of fur that you have just stolen from your sister, she is now crying.

Quinn, thank you for sharing your half eaten, soft from being chewed waffle bite and avoiding your meal again- can I share with you now?

AT LEAST WE SHARE KISSES??

So with sharing on the mind and Tuesday in full swing – here are three great foodie websites I would like to share with you.  I have included a link to the website, a brief description of what you will find within each blog as well as a little personal opinion on why I think the author and her content are worth sharing. 

(And I probably don’t need to keep telling you – but I have NO affiliation with these sites other than I simply like them and like to share…hoping my kids will learn by example.)

The Pioneer Woman

Ree, the author of this website, as well as two tasty cookbooks and host of a Food Network show, is a really cool chic that talks about and celebrates her transformation from sushi eating, heel wearing business girl to the wife of a cowboy and a mother of four living on a working cattle ranch. She shares stories from the simple life next to simple recipes you will recognize, with twists worth trying – like cilantro slaw on BBQ chicken or grilled corn in guacamole. She also has a 2nd page called Tasty Kitchen that has tons of great ideas from “kitchens everywhere.” I love her celebration of a life slowed down!

GOODLIFEEATS,etc

I’ve never met Katie, the author of this blog, but I feel like I know her because she is a down to earth mom that has worked hard to organize her interests and family recipes into one spot – her website! She talks about travel with her family, reviews great books and offers specific advice for moms like tips for your little picky eaters. Her website is friendly and a good “go-to” for holiday or family recipes. Her food photography makes me want to try all of her concoctions and her visual recipe index makes picking out new dishes way more accessible than a simple list of recipe archives. My favorite thing on this website is the ingredient index that allows you to find recipes based on what you have in your fridge or a new ingredient you are wishing to try!

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef 

Ok, I won’t keep your interest long enough to SHARE with you how much I love this gluten free girl, turned dream follower, Shauna and her chef, turned love story prince protagonist, Danny – but can I try? First off, I am not on a gluten free diet, but have two close friends that have had found serenity in body and mind by discovering all they needed was to say “no thank you” to gluten. Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease affect so many people, so you may find solace in Shauna’s story if you suspect you have dietary issues, or you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with the disease. Some argue none of us NEED or benefit from gluten…but I won’t go there. Not now, not like this. Shauna inspires and entertains as she discusses her love for the trinity of food, life and culture. She is right there with Kermit THE Frog: Finding that “Rainbow Connection” with “the lovers, the dreamers and me…,” and beams as she shares her life story and recipes with us. In addition to her blog, her romance with food and life are found in the pages of her two published cookbooks. She is an example to all of us dreamers that desire to follow our gut (quite literally), exhaust our quest for the rainbows as well as breathe in the sweet life … quite possibly by taking her lead and strolling the streets of Italy…gelato in hand (amen). A girl after my own heart…gluten free or not. Did I mention she and her family in TUSCANY right now…soaking up the lemons and life as the Tuscans know it??? Oh my, oh my. You can follow her trip & beautiful images at her twitter handle @glutenfreegirl.

If you find a recipe or idea that inspires you beyond chicken nuggets and Cheerios – please share in comments below or post a link to my facebook page .

Thanks for reading and sharing with your hungry circle of friends and family.

Be nourished!

Trophy Wife

Completing the Geist Mini in 2009. Just baby girls here, before we had our babies. Every step worth the sweet taste of reward after the work. Everybody loves a medal/ trophy - don't you? (Or the beer after the race...whatever, same thing)

 

Someone once told me, or maybe I read it somewhere, that you should take compliments the same way you take criticism. To internalize a term of endearment, equally, as you would a ridiculing remark. To remain even keel and unwavering in confidence and ability, no matter what the wind may bring.

I get this, but come on. We all want a trophy. We all want to be rewarded for the long hours of behind the scenes martyrdom we perceive ourselves engaging in everyday. Wouldn’t it be nice if a man dressed in a suit showed up at your doorstep with balloons, like a Publishers Clearing House commercial, and announced that you have WON!?? You, our damsel in domestic distress, have won the award… the trophy… the title… for the best unloader of dishes while roasting beets, wiping noses and refilling sippy cups simultaneously!!! He and his big smiling teeth team are here to say THANK YOU, to you, our unloading, nose wiping, cup filling and roasting over achiever!

DING-DING-DING-DING-DING!!!!!! Show her what she’s won, Bob!!!!

Well, if you are waiting for that man, you may wait awhile.

When I was in the throes of ATTEMPTING to breast-feed three newborns (it’s kind of like how Jesus fed 5000 men with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread – only he is JESUS and I’m not), my sister-in-law sent me a text message saying, “Keep up the great work, Mama, breast-feeding is a THANKLESS job.” I loved that text message, and clearly still do.

THANKLESS job. Meaning no trophy. No balloons. And probably no men in suits to say thank you.

How true it is. Not just breast-feeding…but all of it. The other feeding, the when they won’t eat feeding, the throwing cups at you feedings, the no napping, the worrying, the exhaustion, the laundry, the wanting to have patience and you don’t, the dressing, the diapering, the bathing, the…you get it.

So why do we do it? Because we know deep down it’s right. It’s our calling. And one little giggle, wet smooch or first word can pay it all back in a nano-second…(and often only lasts a nano-second, but hey.)

I feel the same with my other “baby” – my hobby turned weird, real life thing I can’t define: writing.

This writing gig, unpaid and unrecognized, is real for me. It’s not a hobby standing alone, but a leisure-pursuit that is paired with a heart-song, a career path and a deliverance from evil. I show up to my store-front everyday ready to make the doughnuts, totally in the dark of whether or not anyone is in line, or ever will be in line, to in fact desire/buy a doughnut. And I try hard to revisit the advice, “take criticism (radio silence on your blog), the same way you would a compliment (40 comments or new ‘likes’).” Grrr. Hard.

I sit in coffee shops or in our home office in the early light writing/pouring my heart out. Kind of like opening the clear plastic valve on a child’s floaty device and then sitting on it until all the air comes out. It’s deeply distracting from reality and profoundly emotional when I let these crazy rambling thoughts filter through my mind to fingers to page. Sometimes I will be sitting here at my office (my favorite local cafe – Hearthstone) in my own trance, writing about anything and nothing, and then I’ll get up to go to the restroom and hear a CCR song…”I wanna know…have you ever seen rain… ” and I will cry… not because I haven’t seen the rain, but because my heart is so porous from being open to what is bigger than me, that just about anything will make that heart bleed, in a good way. Similar to when you see your kids do something innocent and pure and real, something that you didn’t teach them, like come and kiss you for no particular reason or smile without being prompted. And you have tears because you just got a glimpse of why we are here…why we participate in monotonous rounds of groundhog days…adding up to this thing called life. Knowing without a doubt, and without a thank you, you are doing all that you were intended to do. You have a purpose and all these little things are really the big things.

So, I sit here this morning, crying at everything and nothing. I have tears, not because I am sad, or because that man in the suit didn’t show up this morning. Or because I didn’t get a trophy. And not even because I am happy I “won” a spot in the contest I was in this last month. I am crying because last night I decided to bypass the advice to take a compliment with an even keel approach. Every “vote” I received in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Moms of Multiples Blog contest felt like a vote of confidence, a push of “YES!” and a pat on the back. I am full of joy and gratitude for the support and love offered to me and my endeavors…this blog, these words, these connections. You guys, whoever you are, when you read these words and when you feel emotion or gain a small sense of assembly, I feel like my work has already been done. Signed, sealed, delivered. Yes, we have been named a Circle of Moms Top 25 blog, but bigger than that, we are connecting.

And I thank you for that. Thank you for your vote in more ways than one.

Thank you for being my man in the suit. With balloons. With a trophy. You make me feel full. You make me feel trophy-fied.

And would you believe that as I wrap up this blog post, with tired teary eyes, CCR is in the background, asking me if I’ve even seen rain. True Story – I wouldn’t make that up. Love when hearts are open and coincidences don’t exist. Enter more tears.

Today I vote for you. Whatever you need voted for. I think you deserve a trophy. What would your vote be for? What is your hobby turned “could be more?” Tell us…if you aren’t sure…think about, and then tell us. It will feel good to tell someone, promise.

 

Tuesday Taste – Popeye

I’m strong to the finich’ cause I eats me spinach …

So, admittedly, I never really liked spinach as a kid or young adult … unless it was soaked and stirred into globs of mayo and nestled within a bread basket of Hawaiian bread in the form of creamy spinach dip. However, in the past few years, I have grown to really like the earthy flavor of spinach. With the opening of farmer’s markets this time of year – it is a perfect season to add some green to your table…even your toddler’s table! Spinach is really high in iron and folate (great for pregnant mommies and toddlers), is a soluble fiber and boasts a crazy amount of antioxidant properties. Why wouldn’t you eat it by the handful? (Or in cream…that’s good too..)

Some quick facts on buying spinach: Go to your local farmer’s market & buy!

I think Gracie is pointing to the spinach booth at the Farmer's market

It’s a fun trip for the family …you know you need new things to do??!! Here’s another reason: According to Bob Cannard, a pioneer in organic farming in California, with spinach, there is a loss of vitamins within hours after harvest. So ideally, we should buy direct from someone who is growing, harvesting and delivering the spinach right away. Cut, bagged spinach has fewer vitamins and nutrients.

Crisp, dark colored spinach is highest in nutritional value. Do wash spinach thoroughly, but do not soak it too long, it’s water-soluble nutrients will leach into the water. (Experience Life June 2012)

So, what to do with bags of leafy green stuff?

I’ve previously mentioned my desire to try the green monster and challenged you to try it … did you?? I finally did and I have to say, it’s delicious! I am going to make a version for the kids this week and see how they like it. I will report back…if you brave the green goo, let me know what you think. Here is Angela Liddon’s, of ohsheglows, famous recipe:

*Green Monster*

- 1 cup almond milk

- 1 ripe banana, preferably peeled + frozen ( I just peeled & threw in freezer in the morning so it was ready for an afternoon snack. I am going to try with frozen strawberries in place of the banana this week since bananas are so high in sugar)

- 2 handfuls organic spinach

- 1 tbsp chia seeds or 1 tbsp ground flax (I prefer the chia)

- 1 tbsp nut butter (the best part, in my opinion!)

- 1-3 ice cubes

- protein powder of choice, optional (I used chocolate Jay Robb whey protein powder)

Starting with liquid, add in 1 cup of milk of your choice (I prefer unsweetened vanilla almond milk). Now add in the chia or flax and nut butter. Next, add the spinach followed by banana on top. Blend until smooth. Add in your ice and blend. Now drink and feel healthy!

 

This sneaky spinach for toddlers is an easy one, and I can’t consider it a recipe since it’s just basic ingredients thrown together. The important part is that 4 out of 5 times, my toddlers will eat it. Good luck to you, toddler short order chef.

*Spinach and Meatloaf Melt*

What you will need:

- Whole wheat bread

- Meatloaf with lots of low sugar ketchup (Whole Foods has an affordable organic option. When I am lazy, I buy premade meatloaf at the store…shhhh…as in, I always buy premade)

- Fresh organic spinach

- Frozen or fresh peppers, chopped (I buy a big bag of frozen peppers to have on hand to throw into anything that melts)

- Cheese, sliced or shredded

What you do:

Toast the bread. Meanwhile, saute fresh spinach and peppers in 1-2 tbsp olive oil. Saute just until dark green and soft enough for your toddler to eat. Layer the spinach and pepper mix on toast, followed by slices of meatloaf. Now, add the cheese to the top of the mixture. Broil for 1-2 minutes, just until cheese is bubbly. And voila, dinner is served! I use kitchen shears to chop into smaller pieces making sure the spinach is not “stringy” for their little picky mouths.

*Mama Bear Spinach Base*

If you’re like me, you eat a lot of the same things. It’s easier, takes no planning and can get you through to the next minute of the day in an orderly fashion. I often eat a BIG salad for lunch because it’s a way for me to feel healthy when everything around me feels like chicken nuggets and goldfish crackers. Plus, I know I am in a stage where I can have three basic squares loaded with all the vitamins and nutrients I need, so this is how I get some of those. Here is a list of “throw-in” items I buy at the beginning of the week and just have on hand, ready to go at noon when the kids are down for a nap. I usually place a black bean burger, a piece of Gardein “chicken”, a piece of tofu or beans and quinoa on top – you could place grilled chicken or turkey and call it a complete meal!

Throw-in goodies (I don’t use all of these at the same time, of course. This is just what makes the basic rotation from week to week)

Raw:

- Carrots

- Peppers

- Avocado (never miss a day)

- Red onion

- Broccoli and or cauliflower

- Walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds

Roasted (I try to roast on weekend so they are ready for our meals for the week. Key word try…): 

- Beets

- Grilled or roasted asparagus (in season and SO yummy right now)

- Roasted brussels sprouts (you should try, better than you think)

- Roasted butternut squash or sweet potatoes

Dairy/Protein:

- Scoop of cottage cheese

- Shredded cheese

Goodies on Top:

- Generous scoops of mango or other fun flavored salsa

- I mix greek yogurt with a defrosted cube of frozen cilantro to use as my dressing. You could use any herbs, fresh or frozen

- My favorite dressing – Bolthouse Farms yogurt Ranch dressing (you can find different refrigerated, yogurt based dressings in the produce section.)

- For a crunchy twist, I crunch up a few tortilla chips and sprinkle on top…tricks you to think you are splurging on a taco salad or something…

Be nourished!

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Today, YOU are YOUNG

The other day I was driving home from a rare 6 am appearance at a heated yoga session, where I left half blind, drenched and soft in spirit.

It was approximately 7:15 am as I drove back to my home – to my office and my safe place - that is often as safe as a dark Chicago alley full of rats. I felt a conflict in my settled soul as I journeyed towards the responsibility of the day… knowing sunrise yoga only lasts until the sun comes up and the mom gloves come on. 

And then this song came on. I turned it up, put my windows down and played it so loud that I forgot I was driving a minivan.

If you feel old and laden with doing, diapering, feeding, ”no-ing” and all of the above , play this song (in link below) and remember…just remember a time way back when.

Turn it up, minivan mama. Happy Saturday.

We are Young by Fun.

 

** Thanks for voting daily. ONLY 5 days left until Circle of Moms Top 25 blogs are announced. VOTE HERE. As always, grateful **

 

My Why

I have been at a crossroads this week: Why in the hell am I getting up and spending so much energy on writing everyday??? (It sounds very troubled and tragic in a Hemingway sort of way, doesn’t it?  Am I EVEN allowed to compare myself to Hemingway? No. No, I am not.)

So, I scanned my past, “un-published” archives and found this post.

Oh yeah, this is why. This is why I write.

What is your why behind your what?

(Written in March 2012. Against my will, I have not gone back to edit – so it’s raw, but it’s true.)

Why I Write

Well, one of the reasons is because it’s like dialing down the treadmill from a fast, chronic sprint of 8.5 to a nice, slow and gentle jog of 4.5, maybe with a little incline for spice. Only that treadmill is my brain. Most of the stuff that gets from my brain to text is escaping in hopes of slowing my roll. I see these thoughts, or shared perceptions, as intentions floating in the air like the feather on Forest Gump. On a journey to nowhere in particular, but to those who find it, with particular precision. Letting the story invoke stories in others. To spark a torch with another spirit. A someone that wants more, is sometimes OK with as is, but is usually plagued and blessed with aching, celebrating, giggling, jealousy and is sometimes peaceful but is often in a state of just trying to figure it all out.

So, I write, because it feels right. It is something that just showed up in my life like a surprise guest at my front door. If opportunity knocks, then I think purpose just shows up, unannounced.

I’ve tried many, many avenues of purpose, and they always didn’t quite fit the mold. That’s because I didn’t make the mold, and since I didn’t make it, I wouldn’t have known the proverbial cake mix to fill the mold. It’s from something bigger than me. And its scary and its comforting. I don’t call myself a writer because that makes me have butterflies in my stomach like I’m turning in a term paper for grade. No, I just like to connect. Get it out and get on. I feel that purpose at 5 am when I’m up before everyone else, just to write. To no one and everyone. The same sort of feeling after completing that sprint turned jog on the treadmill. Although, mostly I just would feel bored getting off a treadmill. So lets say that kind of Rocky Mountain High after hiking on a crisp, clear spring morning with the birds. The kind where your nose is cold, your back is sweaty and you know you earned a coffee with cream and a bagel. You end with a feeling of all is A-OK in my world and the big world. And you finish something… and that something fills your cup. It is brimming. With purpose.

I challenge myself,and in turn others, to take a look at why you do what you do. Why do you believe what you believe? What do you, or will you, or would you tell your kids about having a little faith. Opening up to your mold and letting yourself melt into what feels right. Do you spend more time focusing on what you don’t believe in rather than blossoming what you choose to believe in? Do you participate daily in your surrounding with the same actions, expecting different results? We all know what that gets you = insanity. Forgetting to wake up and go to sleep in gratitude of what you just know is real?

You gotta believe in something. You just have to.

Maybe spend a little time believing and a little less deciding, challenging and trying to make a square peg fit in a circle hole. That answer just may show up. Out of the blue. Ding – dong. A package, just for you.

Again, I ask you, what is your why behind your what? Do share…?

**Thank you for reading, I really appreciate you making my “why” worthwhile. If you have a few seconds, please click on this link: VOTE HERE  to cast your vote for our blog to be included in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Moms of Multiples Blog Roll. You can vote daily for SIX MORE DAYS. You may also click on the pink logo in the right sidebar. Gratitude to you.**

 

Innocence

I have been trying with the “one day at a time” diligence of a newly proclaimed alcoholic to meditate daily. For me, it is truly one silent minute at a time or else I get overwhelmed and don’t do it all. I go in to the babies’ room nightly, settle back into the melted butter position of child’s pose, say a few direct prayers and then sit there in the dark, inhaling the shared breath of innocence. It does wonders for my blood pressure, monkey brain and the tight grip of control I have on the world around me. The three almost seventeen- month old spirits offer simplicity, joy and goodness freely, just by breathing and sleeping in my presence. They have been in this twisted, over-thought and anxious ridden world for ONLY SEVENTEEN MONTHS. How sweet that is.

Last night after my nightly nursery meditation, I came down to bed to read a bit of my current bedtime flavor: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I have read this book before, but it is one of those pieces of literary wonder that changes with seasons of your life and always has something new to say within the unchanged pages of text. Tonight, as I was beating myself up on how pointless my writing has been, much like Evander Holyfield would his opponent, I read Anne’s section on Giving. She talks on the importance of marrying yourself to writing (you could insert ______ ) and how once you say your vows to the art of sharing your inner voice and crafting content, that it isn’t about you anymore. It’s about giving. Giving freely to the world, what has been given to you – to give. Giving with childlike innocence.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt taken from Anne’s chapter on giving from Bird by Bird. (I have also read this story in Chicken Soup for the Soul). It certainly doesn’t only apply to writing. It applies to life. To breathing. To being.

Here is the best true story on giving I know, and it was told by Jack Kornfield of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre. An eight-year-old boy had a younger sister who was dying of leukemia, and he was told that without a blood transfusion she would die. His parents explained to him that his blood was probably compatible with hers, and if so, he could be the blood donor. They asked him if they could test his blood. He said sure. So they did and it was a good match. Then they asked him if they could test his blood. He said sure. So they did and it was a good match. Then they asked if he would give his sister a pint of blood, that it could be her only chance of living. He said he would have to think about it overnight.

The next day he went to his parents and said he was willing to donate the blood. So they took him to the hospital where he was put on a gurney beside his six-year-old sister. Both of them were hooked up to IVs. A nurse withdrew a pint of blood from the boy, which was then put in the girl’s IV. The boy lay on his gurney in silence while the blood dripped into his sister, until the doctor came over to see how he was doing. Then the boy opened his eyes and asked, “How soon until I start to die?”

 

 

*photo credit:greenearthchoice.com*

Tuesday Taste – The Sweetest Thing

Last Sunday for Mother’s Day brunch, we went to a really cute Euro style cafe called Eggshell Bistro. It felt like we were stepping back into the streets of Paris from our trip three years ago…only now we had three toddlers and the world really was an eggshell – one that was about to be broken by 30 tiny fingers. It was a tight space with eclectic old Euro style replete with GLASS, GLASS and more GLASS.

Even Harper was nervous her little hands would break something shiny

The Real Life Mama's Day - Parking Lot. French Toast. Coffee. Not Bad.

 

We left before the cream even came for the hand crafted, drip style made by the cup coffee…needless to say this place is for ADULTS but the sweet creme brulee french toast was just right for kids of all ages. Even if we had to eat it from a to go box with a concrete backdrop in a parking lot above the cafe. Such is life as a mom and nothing is sweeter. Not even those sweet and buttery, flakey chocolate laced croissants at the bistro’s storefront…

 

 

 

Speaking of sweet – there is nothing more like rich creamy butter and sugar than holding a brand new baby in your arms. Or, for that matter, getting to bear witness to one of your loved ones spending some of those magical, romantic first days of holding that precious being in her arms for the first time, saying, “I am your Mama!”

Meet Mr. Charlie Rudis Weaver: You may remember meeting his mom here. Charlie came a little early…but arrived on Mother’s Day, as did Laura, his mommy, 32 years ago. A precious story for a precious miracle. 

Charlie is welcomed by his big sister Raya…which happens a lot…2nd,3rd, 4th or more siblings appear in homes near you. And we are left wondering – what can we possibly give or do for these families since they have everything from the first, second or third times they did this? Well…good question. Maybe a few of these hints will help in 9 months when all of your friends are giving birth from the “50 Shades of Grey” baby boom. (Not my joke, but very hilarious all in the same).

* The Sisterhood of the Traveling Labor Box*

Well, since my other best friend and I couldn’t keep our grubby hands away from the hospital once our friend was admitted, we decided to show up with some random things we had on hand at home (think old Aunt Bethany in Christmas Vacation showing up with her cat in a box as a present.) However, Laura loved it so much, we sat around and talked about how we are going to keep the box going as the babies keep coming in our circle of friends. Here is what we brought:

- Exercise ball to, you know, labor with (I’m clueless, I had triplets, I never had to work to get them out, I worked to keep them in)

- Lavender in a small, handheld diffuser (I bought essential oil and small diffuser at a hospital pharmacy)

- Anti stress sinus pillow that can be warmed for headaches and used to cover eyes for rest (they have at Kohl’s)

- Gel pad with cloth cover that can be heated for pain and discomfort (also have at Kohl’s) 

 

 

 

 

- Happy quote book

- The brand ‘Motherlove’ nipple cream (Laura’s lac consultant says it is the ‘best of the best’ – all natural)

- Snacks for the nursing mother! (My personal favorite would be a big barrel of peanut butter pretzels or trail mix, you can’t eat enough trail mix out on the ‘hikes’ of those first few days)

 —

And for the baby…

*”You will get out of the house someday again” gift (for the new baby that has everything because big bro or sis already has everything to hand down to them. Or great for multiples because well, it’s sort of like an assembly line everywhere you go)*

When you do eventually get out of the house with more than one child (it gets, in my opinion 50% harder for each additional child as you venture out), follow these simple steps: 1) Find the loudest place you can think of 2) Take outdoor seating or a table way, way in the back (maybe the kitchen has a table?) 3) Order your food before you order your drinks 4) Get a box for your food, you won’t get to eat it. 5) Get your check with your food 6) Pray and don’t make eye contact with other tables AND 6) Bring this eating out kit – it will help for a smoother ride:

- Insulated and lined bag that is easy to wipe clean and stores cold milk (got this one for under $10 at Old Navy)

- Take n toss cups

- Take n toss silverware

- Plate

- Face and hand wipes

- Disposable bibs

- Sticky placemat

- Kitchen shears (to cut up food quickly and efficiently – no time for knives with more than one kid)

- Snack cup (while waiting for food)

Now enjoy, you don’t have to sweep the floor. Learn from me the first few times we went out to eat, I actually got down on my knees and wiped up the floor and highchairs. Dumb, dumb, dumb…

*Spread the Love*

And finally, I think this would be a really cool little gift for a new mom or mom to be. After I had finally put my security blanket (AKA big hospital cup and straw) away after a month or two of giving birth, I still needed a lot of water with me at all times when I was pumping and feeding enough for the neighborhood. Something that is great to have on the go, will fit in  your diaper bag, won’t spill easily or open easily by your older child AND won’t have bad contaments if left in a hot car is…

The Love Bottle.

My minivan traveling companion

I really love this thing. I love that it is glass so the water tastes like water and I love that it is called a LOVE bottle. It makes me feel cool, and every mom should feel cool. I know, I know it’s glass…maybe not the best for throwing and beating everything six year old boys…but is nothing sacred anymore?? I really like this one anyway.

I bought my bottle at The Yoga Center in Indianapolis, but you can buy bottles online. Here is the website: Love Bottle . (Nope, still not getting paid for my big mouth.)

This post is dedicated to all the 2nd or 3rd or more time new moms – after all of your panic attacks and neurosis with your first go at mothering, may you sleep a little easier and breathe a little more this time around – you’ve earned it. Be nourished mama. Be nourished littles.

A Mom’s Mom

A bright star around which many lives orbit… 

That’s You. 

Happy Mother’s Day to you, you shining star. 

(author unknown…found on a beautiful Mother’s Day card from my mother-in-law)

I couldn’t think of a better way to honor my own angel today than to ask her to share her thoughts on being a Mother and now, a Mother to 2 Mothers and 1 Father…and Grandma to 10 grandchildren.

I am so lucky to call you Mom and to watch my children call you Grandma. Happy Mother’s Day, we all love you.

And Happy Mother’s Day to YOU – mothers, daughters of mothers, mothers yet to be and just plain lovers of mothers.

Meet Patricia Jo Richards, my Mom.

   Relections on Being a Mom’s Mom

10 tiny, beautiful toes!  10 tiny, beautiful fingers!  She’s perfect!  Joyful words from a brand new mom.  All mothers have said just those words, or something very similar.  With that first look at that helpless, precious bundle, we’re totally in love!  We feel that joy and happiness that brings us to tears.  We just know that we could never feel happier!  So true – until we become a grandma (or mamaw).  Well – let me tell you – take that feeling of love and joy and double it!!!  You now feel so much love and excitement, you think your heart is literally breaking in two!  You are just bursting with pride and happiness for your own child who is now a mother herself.  She is experiencing that feeling you told her she would know as soon as she became a mom.  She now becomes the teacher of love, having learned  from her mom’s love.

Being a grandma is indescribable! And I should know.  I am fortunate to have 10 grandchildren.  And I wear the title Grandma proudly!  A mom always knows that she lovex her child more than anything in the world – but then you experience a new kind of unconditional love.  As your grandchild grows, so does your love, acceptance, and pride.  I’ve learned just how true that phrase is that you often see on little T shirts: “If all else fails, see Grandma”.  Because, even if your mind tells you differently, your heart tells you that you can never say no to a grandchild.  As amazing as your love is for your grandchild, your love for your own daughter is now beyond what you could ever have imagined.  How heartwarming it is to hear her echo things you said, use mothering skills you used, and, most of all, feel her pride and joy at now being a mom. And, you just about lose it when she thanks you for being a good mom and for loving her, protecting her, guiding her, and sacrificing for her.  She now gets it!  How many times do we say:  “When you are a mom you will understand”?!

God blessed me with three amazing children.  Our first born (a girl) and our “baby” (also a girl) have grown up and become awesome mothers.  Our middle child (a son) is grown, is an awesome daddy, and is married to a wonderful woman, who is also an amazing mom.
And, I should add that our two sons-in-law are also awesome dads.  Trust me – I am not overusing the word awesome.  It fits them all to a T.  Remember that incredible love I mentioned that you experience when you become a grandma?  Well, I have that love times 10.  My husband and I have the ten most wonderful grandchildren ever!  And we felt double the love when our son and daughter-in-law became the parents of twins – and, unbelievably, we felt that love tripled when our youngest 3 grandchildren came all at once as the miracle of triplets.

I have to tell you that I thank God every day for the gift of being a mom and a grandma.  And so the circle of life goes on.  Someday I hope to be blessed with getting to see our great-grandchildren.  The eternal love of mothers just goes on and on and on.  I once read a touching story that tells about God making a mother.  An angel is watching and asking about each part God puts on the mom.  The very last thing the angel notices is a wet spot on the mom’s cheek and asks what that is.  God answers by saying He did not put that there.  But He gives mothers that deep love that often comes pouring out in tears of joy.  So, especially today, thank you to all the moms and grandmas out there.  And I want to say thank you to Jennifer, Steve, and Kristin; and to Jessica, Jenna, Cody, Zack, Ella, Cohen, Colsen, Gracie, Harper, and Quinn. Mom, a.k.a. Grandma, loves you all more than you will ever know!

MOTHERHOOD DEFINED – PART 2

 

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” - Rajneesh

And… Day 2. I’ll be the one over here mourning this project. I have truly enjoyed receiving and reading so many straight from the heart responses. Thank you again. And well, I guess there’s always next season, right?
 
P.S. If for some ODD reason (I usually work on my blog in the wee hours) you sent me a response and I somehow dropped it in the cracks where a lot of things live, PLEASE tell me and I WANT to still share it. It doesn’t mean I didn’t like your quote, it just means my mind went monkey. I’ve only diapered 2 out of 3 babies before, and I truly do love them all the same. I do hope you understand…
 
 
WHAT DOES MOTHERHOOD MEAN TO YOU? 
 

“In turn joyful…scary….humbling…exhilarating…and without a doubt, FUN! I consider it a privilege to be a mother to my daughter, even now that we have conquered the teenage years and she is a college student. We have traveled through life together, and truly learned from each other, growing by experiencing life through each other’s eyes. For this, I am forever grateful.”

- Janette Trent, mother to Andrea, age 19.

“Wet kisses, snotty noses, peanut butter messes, discipline/training, tiny giggles, belly laughs, goofy faces, kitchen dancing, teaching in every moment = pure joy each and every day. “

- Julie, mother to Adelaide (18mos) after 14 months of prayer and “schedules”, God is GOOD and blessed us beyond what we could’ve imagined.

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“Heart-consuming, heart-breaking, heart-filling, heart-bursting, heart-wrenching. With the birth of each of my littles, my tidy & emotionally controlled heart expanded wildly and now walks around, as they say, outside of my body, possessed by these sweet little souls who fill it with so much love, joy, & sunshine I can physically feel it — their pain is mine, their joy is mine. I’ve learned that with becoming a momma, I now ‘get it’. I completely understand it, this profound unconditional love, and it is amazing.”

- Sara, momma to a four-year-old wanna-be mermaid, Tatum, and 18-month-old boy/girl twins, Tyson & Reese, whose sloppy kisses and all-consuming hugs make everything brighter. Our two pregnancies couldn’t be further on the spectrum; the first, it seems, happened by simply looking at each other; the twins, however, came after a difficult (but worth it) struggle with infertility.

“Letting go of my expectations and trusting the Lord, feeling overwhelmed with joy and just plain overwhelmed at times, and experiencing a love so intense you would move heaven and earth to protect those little ones.”

- Bethany Hart. Mom to two sweet boys, 2yrs and 2 mos. and one sweet babe that I only carried for a few weeks. Our brave oldest has been through several challenges in being born with a cleft lip and palate.

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“To Beatrice, Walker, and Eleanor: I’m in love with each of you and thank God that He chose you for me. Thank you for loving me back! Your precious smiles, stollen snuggles and rotten stinkers get me every time! To God: thank you for giving me these precious gifts. I’ll cherish, protect and love them always–no matter how stubborn or sticky they may be.”

- Jennifer Knepp, mommy to Beatrice (6), Walker (3), and Eleanor (15 months)

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 ”Three times the blessings, three times the fun…three little miracles instead of one”. That was printed on a shower invitation my sister threw for me during my triplet pregnancy, and I cried when I read the invitation, coming to the sudden realization that after struggling for years with infertilility, we were actually going to be blessed with 3 baby girls – how incredible! They bring me more joy and more frustration than I’ve ever known, but there is simply no greater love, no better gift and nothing in this world better than being a mama.”

- Whitney – mom to Addison, Parker & Isabelle, 4 years, and our sweet surprise, Olivia, 5 months

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“What motherhood is to me is the gentleness of kissing cheeks and cuddling anytime of day. The patience to teach and the pride in watching a tiny baby grow into an individual person. It’s knowing when to hold on tight and fearing the letting go. Seeing a smile and hearing a laugh makes even the 3 a.m. sheet/PJ changes, thanks to poo explosions, worth it.”

- Megan Zepp, mother to Molly, 13 months old. Truly blessed with a beautiful, sweet, smart and healthy baby girl after 14 long weeks of bedrest.

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 ”Goodnight stories and bedtime prayers, good morning snuggles and hugs, butterfly kisses, holding hands, innocent laughter that brightens my world, the huge smile that makes my whole body smile back in return, being greeted with total love, adoration, and excited hugs after a brief absence, the feeling that motherhood is truly life’s greatest blessing and I simply cannot imagine feeling more important, fulfilled, and greatful than I when I am called mommy:)”

- Aleasha Shipman, mommy to Hudson (4) and baby girl on the way. After several years of believing I might be unable to get pregnant, we were surprised with our first love-Hudson and our world grew 10x bigger than life as did our hearts. Four years later, many prayers later and a few failed fertility attempts, we are finally blessed with our second surprise pregnancy and second child on the way. God works in in mysterious ways and has given us with so much love in his own timing despite our will to try to make it happen in our time. I am indescribably blessed and eternally greatful to be able to play the most important role of my lifetime-mama!!!

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 ”Most mornings when I walk into my son’s room…I am greeted with the biggest, brightest smile and him saying “‘good morning sunshine”.  It melts my heart!”

- Pam Jeffares — mother to Beckham, 2 years. The arrival of and being mommy to Beckham has been the biggest blessing of my life!

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“What motherhood is to me – “Priceless, many kisses and even more hugs at first by my initiation and then spontaneously in toddlerhood which is even more priceless.  Laughter – hers and mine together, that first look, that first smile and the first time Mommy comes from her sweet lips.  Its like having your own heart walk around outside your body, when she needs me, nothing else in the world matters.”

- Tracey Bernstein, mother to 2 yr. old Lyla and soon to be arriving son Landon. My first pregnancy with my beloved husband Brandon ended in sorrow at just 10 1/2 weeks along with fraternal twins.  6 months of neurotic behavior by me, trying to get that joyful feeling of life growing inside of me to return, I finally realized what was missing.  While always a christian, I never really trusted God in this instance to just let it happen.  July 2009, I wiped away my insanity and just gave it to God.  I didn’t give it another thought, just let the big man take the wheel.  August 2009 God said thank you for trusting me and we received our “positive” news that our sweet angel baby Lyla was on her way.

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“Motherhood is: finally ‘getting’ my own moms neuroses and irrational fears, having my heart walk around outside my body and peeking around the corner to watch 3 little girls dance when they think no one is watching.”

- Laurinda, mummy to Caitlin 2 1/2 yrs and Isabelle and Charlotte 16 months. The career girl who realized the brood mare paddock is a pretty good place to stop and smell the roses.

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“Seeing the beauty of the world through a child’s eyes, the importance of the simpler things in life, unexpected hugs and kisses that melt my heart, and the feeling that you had had no idea you could love a person so much.”

- Danielle Kennedy mother of Lleyton almost 14 months. After 10 years with my husband, 4 of which we have been married it did not take us long to figure out we wanted to start trying for kids soon after we were married. On March 31, 2011 at 40 weeks and 2 days Lleyton Alexander was born.

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“The quote reads ‘it is better to give than to receive.’ While I agree that there is something that warms your heart when you watch a close friend or loved one open a gift that was handpicked just for them, in some cases, however, receiving a gift can be superior. The most amazing gifts I have ever received arrived on July 9, 2010. I waited in anticipation for months wondering how these gifts would change my life and how I would impact theirs. I dreamed about holding these gifts for the first time and wondered how I would feel the minute I earned a new title- mom.” 

- Lindsay Williams, mommy to Noah and Elyana, almost 2. Although my route to motherhood didn’t follow the textbook journey of “normal,” with pre-term labor at 21 weeks and 3 months of hospital bedrest,in the end, I was blessed with 2 tiny miracle babies. Noah and Elyana bring a joy to our lives that can’t be described. I watch them change and grow every day and feel so lucky to say that I’m their mom.

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“Big blue eyes peeking over the crib wall, a smile that takes any worry or frustration away, singing “You are my Sunshine” (almost) every night before bed, innocent giggles, curiosity that never loses energy, to know and feel love in its most unique and pure form.”

- Tara Fleck, mother to Molly (age 11 mos). Several years of feeling the urge in my heart but wanting to complete a Master’s degree first and then very blessed to get pregnant upon wanting to try…a general uneventful pregnancy until the end..an “aged placenta” caused a forced induction at 38 weeks with a somewhat eventful labor but despite epidural complications and added measures needed to help complete a vaginal delivery in time…Molly was thriving from the moment she came out on 6/4/11. And I will always embrace the gender surprise with each lil’ blessing I get to deliver…it’s priceless.

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“Seeing this big scary world through the big, brown, curious, innocent eyes of Miles. He has taught me to love bigger, look a little closer at nature’s beauty, and dance like nobody’s looking. He teaches me just as much as I teach him. I’m looking forward to a lifetime of adventure, learning, and love with my “all-boy” son!” 

- Abby McKean, mom to Miles, age 2

*photo credit:jwhill*

MOTHERHOOD DEFINED – Part 1

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” – Jane Howard, “Families”

When you ask a mother to do something, she doesn’t just do it. She smashes it. These women knocked it out of the ballpark when I asked for a simple answer to the question, “What does motherhood mean to you.” Every single response gave me a peek into their long days and short years as a mother –  inviting me into their heartbreak on the road to motherhood, high event pregnancies, 3 am living room nursing sessions, 5 pm sweet potato faces in highchairs and 7 am wet kisses in the bed. Thank you super human women. I am proud to be part of this tribe called Motherhood, because of you.

Part 2 coming tomorrow. Told, you they smash it…I had to split quotes into 2 blog posts!

WHAT DOES MOTHERHOOD MEAN TO YOU? 

“My heart is full of joy that they are confident in my love to walk away from me but beyond excited to shout my name when I return!”

- Stacie Vetor, blessed to be the mother of Ryan (our first miracle, now 6 yrs old), Allie, Norah and Olivia (our 28 week preemie miracles who are now 2 1/2 yrs old). By the grace of God we overcame infertility and He undoubtedly has a plan for them.

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“Being their safe place from bad dreams (and bad days as they get older) no matter how much advice I was given to not let your children into your bed! It’s looking into their eyes each night and begging for God’s mercy to let me see their smiling faces in the morning and the next, and the next…”

- Beth Satterfield, wife of the sweetest man alive, and mother to Carter (10), Mariella (7), and Sophia (5)

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“Motherhood has shown me that God truly does know our most secret selves…for only He could have known that she was my heart’s deepest desire. I am continuously amazed at how she grows my heart and stretches my soul, and that I would try desperately to imprint each moment, each face, each funny word, every laugh, into my memory for the inevitable day that she is no longer my baby but my girl, grown. She is perfect proof of His goodness and creativity.”

- Jenn Harper, mother to Brynn, age 2

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 ”It’s the moment I pause and look at my children, all running through the house wearing only their diapers, laughing and squealing, and am reminded that the only things that really matter in the world are right there in front of me. They are MINE. Paige is my giggle & smile, Sam is my sensitivity & emotions and Jack is my personality.”

- Jennifer Wilson, Mama to Triplets – Paige, Jack & Samuel 17mos.I am immensely thankful for the joy of motherhood! After waiting 40 years to become a mama, surviving 5 infertility procedures, mourning 2 miscarriages and a high-risk pregnancy, God blessed me with 3 babies. I’ll never forget my OB/GYN saying as he finished closing my c-section, “See those people leaving the surgery room Jennifer? They are the NICU doctors and they are not needed. All 3 of your angels are going into the nursery”.

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“Being a mom is experiencing a love so fierce and wonderful I know I will never be the same, it is little hands in mine, little arms around my neck and an I love you whispered in my ear. It is truly the most wonderful thing I have experienced.”

- Cassie, mom to Halie and Addie, two years old. We were completely shocked and surprised to learn we were pregnant, let alone having twins. But as I will tell our girls as they get older, God knew I had so much love to give them, He had to make two.

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“Listening to “Over the Rainbow,” or as my daughter references it, “the oooooo song” on repeat during every car ride…not once or twice, but over, and over, and over, and never tiring of it. Motherhood is…believing that the word “poop” is the cutest word to come out of my daughter’s mouth…especially when she says it after my husband farts. Motherhood is…wanting to protect Remy from the harsh realities of the world in which we live. Motherhood is…like nothing else in the world. We welcomed Remyngton Parker Mraz into our lives on June 25, 2010, after discovering that we had conceived one month exactly after my father’s passing. We call Remy our “little Jeff miracle” and are blessed with her presence every day.”

- Brooke Mraz, mother to Remy, almost 2  (Green Bay, WI)

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“Motherhood is…tears. nightmares, headaches, no sleep, no showers, cold dinners and driving a minivan. All these things are forgotten when your child falls asleep in your arms or you stand over them watching them sleep or they tell you how much they love you and when they are so excited to see you at the end of the day. Motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me!!!!”

- Erin, mom to Sean (3 years), Evan, Bryn and Ryan (18 months). Through many attempts with fertility treatments to have a family of 4 God and medicine have graced us with a healthy family of 6 and I couldn’t imagine anything better.

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“Wow, how do I sum it up? I think motherhood is when you finally figure out that you don’t know as much as you thought you did. You are constantly worrying and feeling guilty for something. Your wardrobe becomes like 3 pairs of sweats that you rotate between. But it’s the BEST job in the world! When my kids go to sleep and they know they are loved and safe – there is nothing more important than what we do everyday.”

- Jody Rediger , Monique (12), Serena (8), Mariah (7), and Anthony (5). We are almost finalized with our adoption of a sib set of 4 through LA county foster care system. They have been in our home 8 months. We are very blessed with such awesome kids. Yes, they can be challenging but overall it has been a wonderful experience and they are feeling more and more comfortable in our home

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“A love like no other,  X3″

- Missy Ayala, mother of Nia, Isa and Maximus, 15 months. Our journey to triplets included cancer, 2 rounds of fertility treatments, and me sitting next to a woman getting my toes done , who I introduced myself to, not knowing that she was anticipating finding out she was pregnant with triplets… while we were sitting relaxing in those vibrating chairs! Even more ironic about this woman was the day she did finally find out she was pregnant with triplets was also the day of my implantation of my 3 eggs! What a monumental date! She was one step ahead and I probably drove her crazy through the whole process even in her own difficult time but it was amazing to have her there along the way and to now call her my friend! (Thanks Missy – so glad we found each other in the craziness!!)

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“A job with the weight of responsibility wrapped up in immeasurable joy.”

- Kristin Smiley, mommy to Jenna, 4, Katelyn, 2, & Megan, 3 months. Infertility challenged my timelines, but God’s grace was more than sufficient to give us three beautiful daughters in His perfect time.

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“Loving someone so deeply while only knowing him through kicks, hiccups, and ultrasounds; fearing for his life for months and watching him arrive too early and live life through a plastic box hooked up to tubes and wires; having him surprise us all and develop normally and watching him learn that life IS beautiful and so much more than what was in that box; excitement in waiting for him to hit is developmental milestones and last but not least loving every exhausting moment of it all.”

- Kera, Mommy to Luke, born November 23, 2011 at 25 weeks after 2 years of infertility treatments and spending my ENTIRE pregnancy on bed rest. He is doing great!!!!

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“Knowing a love and joy that I’ve never known before-feeling my heart “smile” everyday-and learning, growing, and accepting how perfect life really is.”

-Erika O’Rourke, mother of Lincoln, 13 months- after a ridiculous amount of initial morning sickness- out came our perfect blessing on 4-21-11, induced-one day after his due date.

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 ”To me, motherhood is putting all of my needs and wants aside to make all of her needs, wants, hopes and dreams possible. Just of few of the many moments of motherhood I will always remember involve reading books before bed, arms wrapped around me tight with her head on my shoulder, the way her face lights up when I walk into the room, and listening to her say “momma.” Many more memories to be made…..”

 - Kristin Shirrell, mother of Josephine (22 months) and 33 weeks pregnant with miracle #2. After several years of waiting for God’s timing and much fertility help, we were blessed with Josephine on our very last attempt with IVF (pregnancy including preterm labor, a 10 day hospital stay, and 9 weeks total of bed rest). Miracle #2 has been less dramatic (so far); we are looking forward to our first glimpse of that sweet little face we’ve been watching on ultrasound!

*photo credit:motherscirclebirth.com*


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