Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yoga and Hot Meals:

two things I like to say, are for people who don't have small children. Both require a great amount of concentration, focus, and active participation, in order to get it just right.
I can't count how many late nights have I popped a yoga video in the DVD, relaxed my breathing, prepared and stretched my body, and found my mental Zen, when suddenly I'm interrupted by my waking kids. "Mooooooooom, I neeeeed you!!!"
It just doesn't feel right to start all over again, once the concentration's been broken. And forget about doing it during waking hours! "Up dog, down dog" turns into horsey, horsey ride-my-backey, for two giggling little boys.

As for a nice, hot meal for dinner, I often find myself in the same scenario. It's about 4 O' clock when I start thinking about what healthy dish I can cook up for the family. I make mental focus of what ingredients I have, prepare my counter top with pots, pans, spatulas, and spices, and find the mental energy I need to cook a fabulous meal...When I'm suddenly interrupted by two little boys who need cuddles at the same time, or two little boys who need to be broken up from the same toy...or something to break me away from that kitchen. It happens so much that we've gotten used to apple slices and cheese sandwiches for dinner, more often than we should.

Although Yoga is definitely on the back burner these days, I think I've found a solution for those daily, healthy, hot meals I so crave to cook. Are you ready for this? It's one of the oldest cooking methods used in the history of the world, turned into a revolutionary modern convenience. My latest obsession---the Slow Cooker. Yes, that's right, my Crock Pot is going to save my family from hot meal deprivation.

First, let me tell you about the Crock Pot so you can see why I am so optimistic about this.
I went to the book store looking for a new cook book when I saw "The Complete Idiots Guide to Slow Cooking." I've read it cover to cover, and now feel like I am the "Idiot Expert" of slow cooking. The book boasts over and over that slow cooking methods are perfect for people who work full time, or have busy on-the-go schedules.
The ideas being, that they can prepare the meal ahead of time, start the cooker, and walk away. Then later they come home to a house full of pleasant aromas and delicious foods. Slow cookers are not rocket science. They are simple, uncomplicated devices that are also energy efficient. (A Porcelain pottery insert, surrounded by metal)
The food will not burn, rot, or heat up the house, in the slow cooker.
My most favorite thing about the slow cooker: I can prepare a meal when the kids are happy, and time it to be done when the family is hungry.
I think slow cookers are so perfect for mothers with small children, who often have to work around their children's temperaments and moods.

We eat pretty health conscious around here,too, which means not a lot of canned or frozen foods, or instant box meals. We prefer to eat from scratch, using whole foods, herbs, and fresh ingredients. The slow cooker is the prefect compliment to our diets, because it will allow us to eat all the foods we love. It's just less work for me, overall.

We've owned and used a Crock Pot since we got one as a wedding present, but now I am taking this up a notch. I'm getting serious about this slow cooking business!
Today I made Chicken Cacciatore in the slow cooker. I set the timer before church, and when we got home it was ready to eat. This meant no fussy, empty stomachs, and no grumpy, hungry, cooking parents--just a hot meal on the counter! Mmmmmmmmmm.





My goal is to continue experimenting with the "Idiots Guide" until I feel comfortable in finding other Slow cooker cook-books out there. I would love to cook some Ethnic Cuisine in my slow cooker. How about some "Asian Honey-Glazed Walnut Shrimp" slow cooker style?

Who knows-maybe now that I have all this free time I can do a little Yoga.
(uh, huh)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Flashback Friday-Kahuku Graduation

Since school is out and graduation is in the air, I just thought I'd reflect on the night I graduated high school. My senior year was a funny one. It seemed all my friends had graduated and moved on and I was stuck there for one last year of torture. Luckily I had my favorite sidekick Crystal B, and together, we made it a fun and memorable year. There are two things I think of when I reflect back on Kahuku High 1997: Crystal B, and coming up with ingenious ways to ditch out of classes early.

(Crystal and I on grad night--)



Here I am, accepting my diploma. Truthfully, this isn't actually the real diploma, it is a blank piece of paper. When I went to go pick up the real copy I was told I owed $12 for Student Activity Fees. What? I refused! I never attended any student activities! My diploma is probably still in some cupboard somewhere at Kahuku High School. Whatever, I haven't needed it yet.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Perfect Pet

Do you:
Live in an 800 square foot apartment or condo?
Your Landlord says you can't have no pets?
Want something small, affordable, and not technically a "pet"?
Tired of animal dander on everything you own?

I suggest you get yourself some Ants! I never thought they could be so fascinating! They dig tunnels, they build mounds, they carry large loads on their backs! You only need to feed them once a week, and they only live for 3-4 weeks. Then you can get yourself some new ants and watch them dig all over again!



WARNING: Don't collect ants smaller then the air holes, or they will escape. I know, I tried it.

You can get ants and ant farms at www.Anstalive.com and they will actually send the ants in the mail. Or you can be frugal and go collect your own, BIG ants, outside somewhere.





If you click on the picture it will magnify the ant farm so it feels like the ants are right there in your room with you! It's okay-I don't mind E-sharing our pet ants with you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Matching Phenomenon

There is something called "The Matching Phenomenon" that I read about in a human psychology book. It stated that, when looking for a mate, people will almost always choose someone who is as equally attractive as they are.

This was a breakthrough for me at the time! For a single, husband-seeking college student, all I had to do was rule out all the way too attractive, and way too unattractive guys I knew, and narrow it down to the ones that looked like me!

There were a few questions, though.....
I mean, are we judging by the attractive criteria already set by our society? Because what most people think is attractive I might think is horribly homely. What if two people fall in love and they live in a society that doesn't have attractive ideals? That must be the exception.
Also, are we saying that the match we find will be as attractive as we are to ourselves? Purely subjective! Some people might find themselves more or less attractive than they actually are, and end up choosing the wrong-attractive match. That might make people say, "She married above her." (Or below her, depending on who's judging.)
Or, that might make her question her motives somewhere down the line when she hears about "the matching phenomenon."
Or how about a blind person? Will they follow this natural phenomenon and match themselves with someone they can't see, who is equally as attractive as they are?
Hmmmmmmm......

I was obsessed with this idea for quite some time and would tell everyone about it. It was one of the many monologues I carried with me when I wanted to strike up a conversation? "So, uh, heard of the matching phenomenon?"
It never landed me a date with someone I thought was my equally attractive match, because honestly, I didn't know for sure what that was.

Years passed and I forgot all about this phenomenon. However, I found this photo of me and Micah and the first thing that I thought was "Matching phenomenon!"
We look perfect for each other! We aren't twins, we don't dress alike, we have different facial features and cranial structure. We smile different, walk different, talk different and think different. But when I look at us there is a something in the universe that says we are the perfect match.

Without even trying, we ended up being another statistic in the matching phenomenon.


Micah and me, before marriage and kids, 2004

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bike-truck

Yesterday evening we went to a nearby park and Zadok rode his most favorite tricycle up and down the bike path. As the sun was going down I buckled the kids up in the car and accidentally left it there. When we realized it the next morning and went back to search, it was long gone.

I don't know who was more heartbroken, me or him. This is the tricycle he's been riding since he learned how to ride one. This is the tricycle, which he wakes up every morning and first thing asks me is, "Can I go outside and ride?" This is the tricycle that he zooms up and down the sidewalk, with me jogging after him, every day. This is the tricycle that he so adorably nicknamed his "bike-truck." This is the tricycle that lights up his face each time he jumps behind the wheel. Get the idea? This tricycle was a big part of our lives. We are so sad.

I put an ad on craigslist, but who ever checks those? I don't.

Oh well. Maybe there's a bigger lesson here that needs to be learned. Or maybe the person who took it home should get 100 years bad luck. Or maybe the person who took it home needed it more than we did. Wait, that's impossible.


We miss you bike-truck.

Flashback Friday-9 months, 9cm's

Where each Friday I will post a picture from my wondrous past.



I was in labor for 21 hours before Zadok finally squeezed himself out into the world. This is me when I was walking the halls of the hospital, trying to speed up my contractions. I had the nurse check me two seconds before I got up to take this picture and I was 9 cm dilated. The look here on my face is bored, anxious, exhausted, excited, confident, and extremely irritated that I was still in this dern hospital.

But hey-look what we got! A sweet baby Budgie cakes!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Free time for Mom

I heard a quote today and I couldn't get it out of my mind.

"What we do with our free time reflects the values of our society."


As a young mother on the journey of raising little children, I'm often faced with the question of, "What is my free time? When do I have time for me? How much time do I spend on myself and how much time do I spend on my children each day?

I don't really know the answer to all these questions, except what my heart tells me to do each day. When I wake up and see my little ones next to me, I know that they are really my reason for being right now, and I'll figure the rest out throughout the day.
I can't help but turn to them and want to be with them.

There are so many distractions in our world today which could so easily take me away from my kids. When I stare at this computer screen, I am instantly sucked into a world where I don't have to face responsibility. Suddenly the dishes, the laundry, the needy children, can fade away in the background. It's a dangerous line to cross for many people. There are so many times in the day where I could easily slip into this chair and keep telling my kids "5 more minutes, 5 more minutes..." Until suddenly all they remember from their childhood is a mother on a chair, looking at a screen.

I always like to remind myself that one of Satans (that evil guy who wants us to be unhappy) biggest lies is that women can have it all. We are in the "me" generation, where opportunity is at our fingertips! We can have a career, raise children, get an education, be in perfect shape, have everything material we need, and still have time to do the things we love to do. I say, this is a big fat lie, and if we tried to be this generations women, our families would suffer, and us, too. No, we can't have it all. But we sure can try to be the best mothers we can be, and that is more important than anything else.

There are so many things that could take up our free time.
What do we do with our free time?
As I thought about this quote I realized that my free time doesn't really exist. Free time to me are those small spurts of time that I find throughout the day. A quiet moment to pray and mediate while the kids are napping, a burst of energy to run up the hill with little ones in the stroller, a quick chapter in a book while I'm watching a child bathe, a few moments to relax while I'm nursing a baby.

All these things just add up and make me a mother.

"What we do with our free time reflects the values of our society."


I know I am still learning to put my values in the right place. However, I just wanted to say that I value being a mother over anything else in the whole world. I know that society doesn't always appreciate this, but it's the truth.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Flashback Friday

Where each Friday I will be posting a picture from my wondrous past. :)





Laie Elementary School, 2nd grade, Pajama Day, Student of the Month.......again.

My teacher had called earlier that morning to tell my mom I was going to receive an award that day. She suggested I "do something with my hair", as I was known for showing up to school with bed head. I guess she thought I might want to look nice when I receive my award up in front of the other students.

"But duh", I thought, "It is pajama day!"

(Okay, so I know nobody else in the photo looks like their dressed for pajama day, but I swear it was pajama day! Yes, I realize there is a kid in jeans, and a man to the right that appears to be wearing a hospital gown, and some ladies in the back not in pajamas, but really...it was pajama day.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Philosophy that makes a Difference


"Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.

Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.

In the early years the baby has an intense need to be with his mother which is as basic as his need for food.

Breast milk is the superior infant food.

For the healthy, full-term baby, breast milk is the only food necessary until the baby shows signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.

Ideally the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.

Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start.

Breastfeeding is enhanced and the nursing couple sustained by the loving support, help, and companionship of the baby's father. A father's unique relationship with his baby is an important element in the child's development from early infancy.

Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.

From infancy on, children need loving guidance which reflects acceptance of their capabilities and sensitivity to their feelings."



These are La Leche League's statements of philosophy on breastfeeding and parenting. When I first read these statements back in 2006, pregnant with my first son, I knew they were the truth. I knew I wanted to be that mom. I knew that I wanted to be a part of LLL. You might be thinking, Well, duh--these are simple and basic parenting principles!" You'd be surprised how much new moms come and learn, and leave changed forever. I did.

LLL's philosophy statements are further developed in THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, the most comprehensive handbook on breastfeeding and parenting ever published. It has provided needed answers to three generations of nursing mothers on every aspect of breastfeeding.

Yours in Happy Mothering,

Sally

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mom's Day, Mama Llama!

Every time I get a box, or a letter, or a card in the mail from my mom, she signs it, "Love, your Mama Llama." (well, usually it has like 10 kid stickers surrounding it, a million X's and O's and 20 exclamation points)

This is just ONE example of the kind of FUN person she is, and how every experience in her life is usually followed by 20 exclamation points anyways, weather it be good or bad. (Sometimes I like to refer to Mom Stokes as the Drama Mama Llama. Oh, and she also likes Obama, just to be rhymey)
Here's some great things that I like to think of when I think of my Mama Llama drama who likes Obama:

1.Fun! My Mama likes to dance and loooooooves music. She likes to boogie down like no Mama Llama I know.

2. Caring! She would give you the shirt off her back. When I was younger I remember waking up to this large, homeless, Rastafarian family sleeping on our living room floor. I think she even cooked them breakfast before sending them on their way.

3. Crazy! One day after school I went to drive home and my car was stolen. I was in the principals office about to call the police when someone came running in yelling, "We found a note on a tree in the parking lot!" The note read, "Dear Sally, I had to take your car. I hope you can get a ride. Love, Mom" I was pissed and laughing at the same time. Who does that?

4. Adventurous: We went camping on Maui once for YW's camp and woke up in the deepest, slopping puddle of rainwater. My Mamas stuff was all drenched, but her Spirits were sunny and happy as usual!

5. Great Mama! My Mama always had time for us. One of my favorite kid memories is roller-skating basketball with Mama. I also loved our many early morning walks exploring the tide pools. In high school she used to drive me and all my friends to dance clubs downtown, and wait in the car until we were done. Sometimes we were in there til 2 or 3 am. What Mom does that?

6. Grandma! Mama loves her grand kids and sings silly songs to them over the phone. Our son calls her the singing grandma.

7. Nomadic! My Mama hasn't lived in the same house for more than a year in soooooo long. You never know where she'll end up next.

8. Beautiful! My Mama has the warmest smile of anyone I know.

9. Gifted teacher! My Mama has been teaching young kids for over 20 years, and I know that she has made a difference in so many lives. Everyone loves her, no one can forget her, and she just keeps on doing what she loves, because of the kids.

10. Fashionista! My Mama has a funky and unique style. I think she's part hippie, part Gypsy, part Tropical beachy, part vintage, part thrifty, part--you just never know what she'll be wearing because she does whatever she feels. I love it!


So, there's something I've been meaning to do for a long time. This picture below is of my Mama Llama holding me when I was a wee one. Look how cute she is! It was my blessing day back in 1979. Well, I've been wanting to re-create this photo and so I did.




Here it is!




Okay, so there's some subtle differences I might mention. First of all, it's not exactly the same dress, but it is a 70's Vintage hand-me-down from my Mama's closet. Secondly, I couldn't get my hair to look the same. Thirdly, I'm not sure what she was holding in her right hand so I didn't copy her every look. Oh, and lastly, I didn't have a 1 month old baby girl so I put my 1 year old son in a dress.Other than those things, I think it captures the image perfectly! (he he he)

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MAMA LLAMA! YOU ARE THE BOMB!

get dirty

"WHAT THIS WORLD NEEDS IS DIRTIER FINGERNAILS AND CLEANER MINDS."
--Anonymous

This quote pops up in my head every time I'm outside getting muddy or pulling weeds. I always think, "wouldn't it be nice if all those perverts surfing porn on the internet could get up and go plant something?"

It's a small dream I have.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Serendipity

We came home early from our wild camp-out with sickly children.
In fact, I'm typing this one-handed, with a sleeping sick baby on my lap, with a Nebulizer aimed at his face, with Arbutirol shooting out of it, with a smile on my face.
Not because I like having sick kids, but because it's been really fun pretending we're still on vacation, at home.
We spent the whole day mucking around with our garden, digging in the dirt, and letting our sickies roll in mud and play with worms. We ate ice-cream cones, lounged on the grass, and talked about plans for building our future house a bit. It's just really fun hanging out with my lil' family, sick or not. And p.s., camping with small children is A LOT of hard work. Fun as it was, I will never call it vacation again. And I don't know why they got sick. They just picked something up somewhere and it got to them about 5 days into our campout. oh well.

Some camping pictures. (We hit up Moab, Arches, Goblin Valley, and Capitol Reef)

Baby O exploring textures


Big Z hiking at Arches Nat'l Park




The Goblin Valley of goblins!




Cccccccold..... Some river that looked too enticing to pass up.




Those little specs on top are Micah and Zadok.
Zadok was pretending to be a lizard most of the trip.


Road trippin....Micah did all the driving.
I think mostly because he doesn't like how slow I drive.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Off we go

The fish has a babysitter. The mail has been put on hold. The timer is set on the sprinklers. The house is clean. The bags are packed. We really need this vacation.

Off we gooooooooooooo!