Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Like the Honu

We have some special places our family likes to spend time at, playing and exploring.
What makes a place special, is that, no matter where it is, or what we end up doing, everyone has fun for hours.
Waiakea Pond is definitely one of those places for us.
Sometimes we come to feed the ducks and watch the Nene Goose swim.
Other times we come to run along the shoreline, play Follow-the-Leader, and hunt for hidden bird eggs.
One Sunday afternoon, while we were traipsing over the bridges that look like rainbows, we stopped to see a great, big, sea turtle, or Honu, swimming just beneath the surface of the water. It must've come in from the ocean, to enjoy the calm of Waiakea Pond. We stopped to stare down at it, in awe, from the top of the bridge. Honu's are very sacred to the people of Hawaii and are protected by the Hawaii endangered species laws. It is illegal to hunt, harm, touch, or even come close to a Honu, hence they are protected and secure in their environment.
This particular Honu was gliding so peacefully beneath the bridge that nobody even noticed it was there. It swam right past families and children playing along the shore, and right past fisherman casting their nets into the pond. It was staring straight ahead, slowly paddling its great, big flippers through the water, unanxious by everything surrounding it. To me, this Honu looked so carefree and happy, that I found myself lost in a trance as I watched it. Time seemed to stand still for this Honu and me. I continued to stare, and stare, totally captivated, until it disappeared into the deep end of the Waiakea Pond.

Our family had a busy week ahead, as usual, but also had a trip to Kona planned for Saturday. We don't get to Kona too often, since it is 2 1/2 hours away by car, but we try to go as much as we can to visit our favorite sandy beaches and the LDS Temple. I had thought about my captivating Honu encounter throughout the week, until it, too disappeeared into the deep-end of my thoughts, as we were planning our trip to the other side.
This particular week had been really difficult for me, so I was especially looking forward to going inside the Temple. The Temple is a place where I can sit peacefully and feel close to my loving Heavenly Father. It is a place where I can pray, and meditate, and receive answers to my prayers.
Although I won't go into too much personal depth about the things I was struggling with last week, it basically came down to feeling isolated and lonely as a homeschooling Mama. As the day for public school In Hawaii was approaching, and many of our friends were sending their kids back to school, I started feeling overwhelmed with the social expectations to send our kids to school, plus consumed with thoughts about following my own dreams.
This seems silly, I know, because since when do I care about social expectations? Ha! But, we happen to live in an area where homeschooling support is hard to find, and furthermore, I can get caught up in the dramas of my own mind.

Last week I had been reading this woman's parenting blog, where there was a post about how wonderful it is to finally get her last child off to kindergarten, and finally get live her own life! She was praising all the Moms out there for putting in all that hard work of raising their young kids, and then encouraging them to start using this time now to catch up on their own goals and dreams. In a lot of ways it is wonderful advice and I couldn't agree more! There is a time to sacrifice and raise young children, and a time to spend more time on us; it isn't really possible to have it both ways! There are a lot of moms out there who look forward to this time, and I commend them for all their hard work!
However, as a homeschooling mom, it doesn't end. When everyone around you is placing their kids in school and getting on with their lives, you are still as busy as ever, still sacrificing in a lot of ways, still spending your time and energy towards raising and teaching your children at home. For me, this is what I want to do! I don't see homeschooling so much as a sacrifice, but as a chance to enjoy, and serve my children; to give them an amazing opportunity to be educated and to thrive in a loving and liberating environment. Yet, it still gets hard for me when I feel alone in these thoughts, and I admit, I need a little more mental support here!
So this past week I started to question and ask myself what I would be doing if I wasn't homeschooling our children? My mind started spinning as I got caught up in all the possibilities for my own life. Would I go back to school and finish my degree? Could I get certified as a Lactation Consultant? Could I take classes I've always wanted to, like watercolor painting, ukulele, or computer logistics? Would I have more time to surf, more time for Zumba, more time for running, and writing on my blog? Would my house be cleaner, and more organized? Would I have more time for friends? Could I get a part-time job and earn extra income for my family?

Yes, is the answer.
If I sent my kids to school, I could do many of these things, and more, and pursue the dreams I have for myself.

As I sat in the Temple, sadly pondering these things in my heart, I thought of that Honu swimming beneath the bridge. It's life seemed so simple, so carefree and happy. It knew exactly what it needed, and lived in the safety and peace of it's own thoughts and dreams. I felt a sudden twinge of jealousy for that Honu; that perhaps he had the better end of the deal, being an endangered species, rather than a confused, human Mom.
I sat there thinking some more, but began feeling more and more upset, until I was in tears. I prayed to God that I could receive the answers I needed today, that I could feel at peace like the Honu. "Whatever I do, please let it flow naturally,"I asked,"Please let it be exactly what I need to feel happy, that I can glide through life in peace and joy."

Pretty soon I was descending the steps of the Temple to meet my husband and children who had been waiting for me outside. I looked down to see my three kids standing there on the grass, running towards me shouting excitedly,"Mom, mom, mom!" Each one of them ran up to meet me, with a great, big hug, and a radiant smile, so happy to see their mommy who was away for a short time! Time seemed to stand still for a moment as I soaked in my children's angelic, little faces.
That view before me was something I will never forget and will be forever stamped into the forefront of my mind. I knew right away when I saw them, that the answer was right in front of me, that my dream right now is to be a homeschooling Mom. My heart confirmed it.
"No", I thought,"I don't want to do anything else right now but be with our 3 young children, spending my time, my energy, my talents, and all the love I have in the world on them." I had never seen this so clearly as I did at that moment, and knew that If I put my whole heart into it, it would prove to bring me the most joy in life.

My heart felt at peace the whole rest of the day. I felt like I was gliding peacefully, and flowing naturally with the plan God has for me. I could feel myself swimming into a calm place again, safe and secure, full of carefree happiness and joy. I could feel my loving Heavenly Father telling me I was still on the right path; that no matter what happens around me, homeschooling our children is right for me.
I felt just like the Honu under the bridge, yet here in the protected and sacred environment of our family's home.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Centipede vs. Chickens

This is by far the biggest centipede I've ever seen, in all my years living in Hawaii. They definitely grow them BIG on the Big island!
We found this buggar lurking on the wall separating our house from the back neighbors house, and quickly caught him for the kids to have a look.

We thought we'd put it's stature and strength to the test by battling it up against 9 large, insect-eating chickens, in our backyard.
So, I asked the family,"Who do you think will win if we put centipede in the chicken coop in a battle of centipede versus chickens?"
6 year old's answer: "The chickens will win because they are many and they are way powerful. "
4 year old's answer: "The chickens because they can peck, peck, peck!"
2 year old's answer: Points at centipede and grunts. (He still doesn't find words very necessary.)
Husband's compassionate ex-zoo-keeper answer: "Don't you think we should remove the stinger first?"
My answer: "No way! This is going to be fantastic!"

We lined up at the coop and watched anxiously as Micah dumped it in through the top wiring, stinger intact. It fell to the ground, landing right smack dab in the middle of a group of voracious hens! Suddenly before us was one of the fastest, most entertaining athletic events of chicken proportion!
Who do you think won?
Stay tuned for the answer.......

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pioneer Day Baby

Today is Pioneer Day.
Pioneer Day is an official Utah holiday celebrated on July 24 in commemoration of the first Mormon pioneers that settled in Salt Lake City. It's a big event in Utah, with festivities throughout the State, like parades, rodeos, and firework displays!
Coincidentally, this was also the estimated due date of our third baby.
So, two years ago today, when Pioneer Day rolled through our small town of Cedar City, I was large with child, and ready to pop like a firecracker!

This analogy is no joke, either. This was by far my most difficult pregnancy, as far as explosive emotions and fiery hormones go. I was a walking time-bomb most of the time, spontaneously stressing and crying over everything I could. To further add to the emotional chaos, I was constantly sore, miserable, uncomfortable, and could barely walk. I had gained a considerably huge amount of weight this time, causing my feet to crack from the pressure. My ligaments were stretched to their limits, so I had to wear a tight belly supporter, and to add insult to injury, my husband was working away from home 4 days a week, leaving me with 2 young boys to care for.....alone. Looking back on this time in my life, it's no wonder I found myself later on experiencing some post- traumatic stress and anxiety. This was WAY too much for one person to take on!
It was two years ago today that I found myself hunched over in the grass having sharp back pains and contractions while watching the Pioneer Day parade march by.
I don't think anyone noticed there was a large, pregnant woman, heavily breathing on all fours, next to them. As my boys ran along the curb to collect candy with their friends, I called Micah to tell him I was coming home to have this baby!

However, It wasn't until 11 o'clock that night, and after we put the boys to sleep, that my contractions started up again. But this time they were so strong and so fierce that I was caught by surprise. Like fireworks exploding inside my belly, I erupted over in pain. I screamed hysterically, until Micah came and calmed me down with his gentle voice. He reminded me to allow my uterus do all the work, to let my body relax, and to allow my mind to wander free.

Our midwife arrived at midnight. She took one look at me and said softly, yet quickly,"Maybe it's time to get in the birthing tub..." She had seen enough women in labor to know I was getting closer than she had realized over the phone with my husband. I had been hesitant to get in the tub, as I feared my labor would stop progressing if I was too comfortable, but she reassured me that it was okay now.
And sure enough, our baby came bursting into this world exactly one hour later!

I won't lie to you and tell you this home-water birth was gentle and beautiful like the last time. It wasn't. It was hard, and painful, and explosive in every way. By the time Jonah's head started emerging through the "ring of fire", I was emotionally spent, and physically exhausted. I felt that every ounce of my sanity and energy had gone into carrying this child, and after 9 months of hell, I was now forced to go through the most painful experience of my life. I was hunched over the side of the birth tub, screaming out in agony, pushing as hard as I could, and crying out in vain.
No one could help me, and no one could take this burden from me; It was mine alone to experience, as much as I hated it, it was all mine.

Our midwife whispered gently to turn over onto my back and push one, last time. The babies head was already out. I looked down to see this soft, purple, squishy thing with black hair sticking out between my legs. I wondered quickly if it was the little girl I had imagined. One last push, and I screamed our baby out into the world.

A little boy.

I could still feel the burning, I could still feel the pressure and tension at the surface of my skin, then all went numb.
I sat calmly in the pool and held our baby boy for the first time. Micah was beaming down at him, a proud Papa. I picked him up out of the water and felt his soft, new skin against my belly. He was so perfectly beautiful.
I suddenly felt the powerful love of a mother rush through me, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, I loved this baby boy with all my heart and more. Every explosive contraction, every painful push, every agonizing month I spent carrying him, became completely worth it. I thought to myself,"I would do this all over again, just to have you in my arms, although, I'm really glad I don't have to because it really sucked."

Jonah turns 2 tomorrow. He was born one hour after Pioneer Day ended, in Cedar City, Utah. Three weeks after he was born, we had to move our family 5 hours North, which was really stressful for me. But to make things easier, he turned out to be everything I needed a third baby to be! He was peaceful, calm, quiet, and predictable as could be. He ate when he was hungry, slept when he was tired, and rarely cried as I was packing boxes and moving my life around. Our family has thoroughly enjoyed the calm of our sweet, angel baby Jonah. The boys still dote on him every chance they can get, hugging him, kissing him, and calling him their little "Pootie baby."
Happy Birthday, baby Jonah, our darling Pioneer Day baby. (okay so he was born an hour after midnight, but still...)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens

Just south of Hilo, down a winding, jungle-road, there lies one of our favorite family hang outs:
The Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens.
Once you turn off the main road, drive about a mile and 1/4 til you reach the parking lot and entrance of the zoo. It's about a 5 minute drive from our house, which makes it more than just a hang-out for us; It's almost like a second home!

We love this zoo for so many reasons and come here as much as we can. It's small and cozy, and when we walk in, it feels like we're entering another country, like a rainforest community up in the jungles of India, or a quaint village nestled in the tropics of Brazil. To add to the exotic ambience, the variety of animals kept at this zoo are originally found in rainforests from all around the world, including Hawaii.
The first thing we do when we walk in is check for frogs in the frog pond. This is very important and can't be missed. You never know when a frog might be sticking it's head up out of the water!
Next we wander through the "monkey tunnel", as our kids call it, and search for the little squirrel monkeys climbing above our heads.
There are many peacocks along the path. This is when our toddler gets overly excited and starts screeching real loud, three times, just like one! He's really good at it! We thought the chick sitting on the Mama-Peahen's back was so sweet.
The exotic birds at the zoo are enchanting! Some of them can mimic talk, and one of them can say "Barbara" and also say "Bill", which are my parent's names. It can say a lot of other things, but the boys think it's uncanny that it can say the names of their grandparents.
We can walk around for hours looking at all the animals. We like to get there right at 9am when it opens, because a lot of the nocturnal animals are still active, like this one:
No really, the Binturongs from Southeast Asia are among our favorite! They are nicknamed Bear-cats because they seriously look like a mix between a bear and a cat! I couldn't get a good shot of one, but here's a google image to tickle your fancy. They are nocturnal, sleep in tree branches during the day, hunt small reptiles, and have prehensile tails. What's not to love about a Binturong?
There's a petting zoo every Saturday where the kids can come and scratch this pigs back. It's their favorite thing to do. There's other animals at the petting zoo, but none as cool as this pig, for obvious reasons.......
A morning at the zoo with our family is always relaxing and fun.
Sometimes we come just to play on the playground, which happens to be one of the best playgrounds in Hilo.
A few more awesome things about the Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens: There are over 100 varieties of palm trees planted from around the world, there's volunteers who put hours of work into making it a botanical garden with exotic flowers like Orchids and Rhododendrons, there's lots of nice, shady benches to sit and rest, and it's absolutely FREE to get in!
Odin took this picture below and wanted to make sure I included it:

I dug up an old photo of two of my siblings and I, posing in front of this very zoo in 1990. Our family had come over for a summer vacation from Oahu, and this was one of our many, adventurous stops. I remember falling in love with this zoo all those years ago, but never thought I would someday be living right here next to it! What a wonderful surprise!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Our Pet Gecko

We have a pet Gecko that comes to our kitchen table every day to lick his breakfast. We think he's pretty cute, but would prefer if he would focus more on catching large roaches.
We brought him in from outside in an effort to recruit more house-pets. He lives in our kitchen cupboards, but is trained to poop outside. (well, I wish...)
We also have two cats, Marshmallow and French Fry, who like to drink water from tupperwares on the ground. (Oh, and two, little boys with silly imaginations!)
I've always wanted a puppy, but I think we're good for now! Maybe a few more geckos and that's all the house pets we need.

*I realize you germa-phobes out there might be concerned about the spread of diseases. Rest assured I sanitize my counters and table-tops several times a day. That's just the nature of living in a place where bugs and critters run rampant in our houses. We also wash our hands thoroughly after touching geckos, and don't leave food out overnight. Are you happy now?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Going Strong Again, Breastfeeding a Toddler

My toddler is sound asleep next to me on the couch, sleeping peacefully after a painful episode of midnight gassiness. These night-wakings are all too familiar to my husband and I, as our baby started having terrible gas pains off and on after he was born on Earth.
His night-wakings are sporadic, spread out over months. He wakes up screaming and writhing in pain, and we still have no idea what causes it! We've tried eliminating whatever he ate the day before, whatever I ate the day before, and then try all sorts of new combinations the following week. The night-wakings have been so terribly traumatic for all of us, that I am willing to even cut out dairy if I have to, (which is a very difficult thing for me to do as a lover of all things yoghurt and milk.) However, I've never felt dairy was the issue. I think the poor kid just gets gas sometimes, and hates it! When an episode happens, my husband and I will usually carry him up out of bed, give him some Infant Gas Drops, walk him around the house (let the screaming calm down), and then I will nurse him back to sleep.
My 4 yr old took this picture of said toddler, but I thought it was fitting here:
Tonight as I picked him up out of bed and walked him around the house, I was groggy and sleepy, and in no mood for this. However, after he calmed down a bit, we sat on the couch and relaxed together. He cuddled up to me with his little, fuzzy head, snuggled into my chest, and smiled up at his mommy. I looked down at my big, 23 month old boy and felt nothing but love and patience for him. My grogginess faded away. I tried hard not to see him as a screaming invader, trying to rob me of sleep, but instead a human being, in need of love and affection at 12am. "He needs me," I reminded myself, and snuggled him a little closer.

He pointed to my chest and said,"Mamas" which is his way of telling me he wants to nurse. I pulled up my blouse and let him snuggle into his favorite curl on my lap. "He's so big now," I thought. At twenty five pounds, and 32 inches tall, he's not the little baby that once fit into the tiny nooks of my arms. He's now sprawled out across my entire lap, feet dangling off the edge of the couch. I re-position him, and gently remind him to hold still while he eats. He smiles up at me again, now with a silly grin on his face. When he's in a really silly mood he pats my face with his foot while he nurses, and looks up at me with big eyes, just to see my reaction. It always makes me giggle, and cherish him even more. He looks so happy, and so comfortable in this moment.

As Jonah will be turning two this month, I am excited to see what happens this next year, in terms of nursing an older toddler. Our two older boys both weaned at 2 years old, just weeks before their new, baby brothers were born. Nursing during pregnancy was such an emotionally and physically-difficult road for me to take each time I was pregnant, that I am eager to nurse Jonah freely and without worries this time. I know with all my heart that he is not ready to wean yet, and neither am I. Nursing a toddler is such a special experience, and one I am not going to give up until we are absolutely ready. It's so wonderful to be able to put Jonah at the breast when he's tired, grumpy, hurt, or sick, and know that he's not only receiving antibodies and nutrition, but receiving emotional security and validation for his needs. He is a wonderful little boy. Extending our nursing relationship is my way of saying,"Take your sweet time little Jonah, Mama has all the time and milk in the world for my baby boy."

Last year on his one year old birthday I said we were "going strong with nursing, and here's to another year!

Stopping for a milkies break at the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo here in Hilo.
If you yourself are thinking about weaning your baby, and are unsure about it, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, American Academy of Family Physicians, and essentially every pediatric health organization in the world recommends a minimum 24 months of human milk for human babies (with at least the first six months being exclusive breastmilk). If your unsure about weaning, perhaps it's because you and your baby/toddler/child are just not ready! There's absolutely nothing wrong with nursing longer than you think!

Sometimes I forget that people don't know this information (for whatever reasons,) and I get caught up in my own, little world of nursing a toddler. The other day a Mama I don't know very well stopped over at our house for a visit. I plunked down next to her and started nursing my naked toddler, then realized a moment later that he was doing some gymnastics at the breast, while tugging at his little-boy-parts, while poking me in the face. I'm sure she went home with something interesting and new to talk about! But honestly, I am happy to expose anyone to the joys, challenges, humors, and benefits of extended nursing!

This week at the Salt Lake City Breastfeeding Cafe Blog, they're doing a blog carnival, with daily posts about breastfeeding for the last two weeks in July. Today's post is "Wordless Wednesday" and I have four pictures on there. See if you can find us! (Warning to boob-weary-folks-There's lots of boobage)
Here's a few resources I love:
A Natural Age of Weaning ~ Katherine Dettwyler

Natural Weaning Age ~ Linda Palmer

Mothering Your Nursing Toddler ~ Norma Jane Bumgarner

How Weaning Happens ~ Diane Bengson

Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby To Love Good Food ~ Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett

Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond ~ Hilary Flower

What are the benefits of nursing my toddler?-La Leche League International

The Joy of Nursing Toddlers Photo Gallery-Peaceful Parenting

Happy Nursing!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Staying Present with my Kids

Our boys are outside eating popsicles and running around with a friend, so I thought I would take a moment to jot down some thoughts I am having.
Micah brought it to my attention yesterday that I haven’t been very present with my children lately, and he’s right. At first I tried to defend myself by explaining that I am trying the best I can with what little time I have, that I am with my boys all day long, every day, and that I have needs that are important, too. All of these things are true, yet this past month I’ve been going about it all wrong.
I have a tendency to get really distracted and consumed with things, and if I’m not careful, it starts to take away from my family.
I want to present two true scenarios that might be helpful in explaining my situation.

First scenario: I wake up at 6am to the sound of my four year old yelling to me from his bed because he’s had an accident in his sheets. I roll out of bed and get to the boys room to help him out of bed, put his soiled clothes in the hamper, and start him in a warm shower. My six year old is on the couch reading a book so I say good morning to him briefly before I notice that the bathroom trash is full. I take the trash to the kitchen, then notice the counters are still dirty from last night. I clean the counters off then notice there’s dust on windowsill, so I quickly wipe it off. I then see that my camera is on the table and stop to look at the pictures I took yesterday. My six year old asks me a question about his book but I can’t stop because I’m now thinking about the soiled clothes in the hamper, so I tell him to hold on. I haul the hamper outside to the washer where I notice the recycle box is full, so then I bag up the recyclables and place them in the back of the car. While I’m in the back of the car I see that my church bag is still sitting there from Sunday so I grab it and take it into the house to clean it out. I empty the contents on the kitchen table and then remember that I never called Sister Santos about our activity next week for Young Womens. I pick up the phone to call her then realize it’s 6:15am and too early to call so I quickly run to the back room to write her an email. While I’m on the computer writing an email I remember my 4 yr old is still in the shower so I quickly go turn it off. He asks me for a towel and I quickly tell him to please get his own because I’m in the middle of something important. I finish writing my email, then look to see that my toddler is up and collecting toys from around the house. He comes to me for milkies but I turn him away because the boys are getting hungry and I haven’t even made breakfast yet! I convince him to go to the kitchen and find a toy, while I quickly say my morning prayers. As I’m praying I remember I forgot to email my friend Breanna about the Babywearing meetup, so I quickly end my prayers and turn the computer back on. As I’m finishing my email on facebook I notice my other friend posted new pictures from her kayaking trip on Kauai and I am now looking at those. My six year old comes in and asks when I’m going to start breakfast and I tell him exasperated, “As soon as I can!” I then realize I haven’t brushed my teeth yet so I put on some clothes and brush my teeth, then notice my eyebrow hairs are getting too crazy, so I start to pluck them, after-all it only takes a second. As I finish plucking I notice my jewelry is disorganized, so I quickly organize it again in its box. My husband is leaving for work now so we do a quick family prayer, then I give him a quick kiss and goodbye.
Finally I find myself back in the kitchen where the table is cluttered with the contents of my church bag! I feel irritated and start to quickly clean it up, mumbling under my breath about all the messes around the house. I get breakfast on the table, and then tell the boys it’s time to do our morning chores. Toddler starts to scream and cry, then the boys start whining at me and complaining , so I shout at them with frustration,” I’ve been working hard ALL MORNING, the least you guys can do is get your important things done!”

They look at me with confused, sad eyes. I look at them with overwhelming frustration. I feel resentful and unsettled, and go back to my room for a computer break. I don’t even realize that I’ve spent the entire morning neglecting them and pushing them aside for other things.

Second scenario: I wake up at 6am to the sound of my four year old yelling to me from his bed because he’s had an accident in his sheets. I roll out of bed and get to the boys room to help him out of bed, put his soiled clothes in the hamper, and start him in a warm shower. While he’s in the shower I go sit with my six year old who is reading a book on the couch. We give each other morning hugs and kisses, and I answer any questions he has about his reading. My toddler gets up out of bed and happily runs into the living room. He climbs onto my lap and we have some morning milkies, and cuddle time. After a few minutes I get up and turn off my four year olds shower. I get him a towel and wrap him up in it. He snuggles up to me and giggles in my ears. He smells so yummy and makes me want to squeeze him more! We go out in the living room where my husband and other two children are waiting to have family prayer. We pray as a family and feel the peace of the Spirit enter our home. I excuse myself to the back room to say my own prayers, and come back minutes later feeling refreshed. I start breakfast, and sit down with the kids at the table to eat. We have a fun discussion and make plans for the day. After we are done I clean up the plates, wash the table and counters, and start helping my kids with their chores. Everyone is happy, cheerful, and ready to start the day. We hug and kiss Micah goodbye, then sit down to have scripture study. I feel happy, fulfilled, and excited to spend the day with my children, whom I adore.
Later on in the day when the kids are busy or my toddlers asleep, I sit down to check and respond to emails, write on my blog, or make phone calls. I also use this time to take out trashes, wipe up dust, pluck crazy eyebrows, or clean out my church bag. It doesn’t take me long, and I’m able to get it all done without many distractions. We all have a much better day, and feel a happy flow and rhythm in our home.

Thank you Micah for reminding me of what makes me happiest. It’s so easy for me to fall victim to that first scenario; to run around thinking I am getting all the things done that I need to do, and that if I move fast enough and work hard enough, everyone and everything will be taken care of.

It’s simply not true.

Happiness and peace comes to me from doing what I love most, which is spending time and energy with my husband and children. Afetr that, everything falls into place beautifully.

Today and forever I promise to be present with my kids.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Delicious", Nutritious, and a Zucchini snack!

The downtown Hilo Farmers Market is one of our favorite places to shop for local produce. (It's so fun, even Flat Stanley likes to go!)
Not only do we buy fresh, locally grown produce like papayas, bananas, garlic, kale, zucchinni, string beans, and dragon fruit, we also occasionally indulge in some sweet, Asian treats! This picture below is of our 3 boys stopping for a snack of Biko and Mochi, a.k.a. sticky-sugary-fried-coconutty-rice-flour-treats. MMmmm...

One of my absolute favorite snacks to make when we get home from the Farmers Market is something I like to call "Rebekah's Sauteed Zucchini" because I had it for the first time at my friend Rebekah's house a few years back. I've been hooked ever since! Here's the super-easy recipe:

All you need is 2 large zucchini's, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and as much minced garlic as you can handle! (I like 4-5 cloves)
*First mince your garlic into tiny pieces.
**Next chop your zucchini into bite size triangles.
**Now heat your pan to medium-hot, and add olive oil and garlic.
**Let garlic sizzle then add zucchini pieces immediately.
**Stir around for several minutes until zucchini is coated thoroughly with oil and garlic.
**Cover for ten minutes with a lid, to let zucchini steam and soften, turning heat down to low..
**Take the lid off and stir for a few more minutes.
**After about 15-20 minutes of total cooking time, zucchini should be soft, infused with garlic, and ready to grind!

Speaking of nutritious, healthy food, I was the lucky recipient of a blog giveaway last month, where I won a personally autographed CD from the band Orange Sherbert! The giveaway was from the Cherry Blossoms blog, and you have no idea how stoked I was that I actually won! (Thanks Cherry Blossoms!)
When I read about the contest, I clicked right away to the Orange Sherbet website to check it out. The album is called "delicious" and the music definitely lives up to it's name! At their website, I listened to the songs, read about the inspiration behind the music, and fell in love with this band immediately! Not only do they deliver a delightful array of jazzy melodies and sweet lullabyes, perfect for children, but their music is all about the celebration of eating foods in their seasons! It’s genius!
I've been playing it in the kitchen as our kids wait for morning breakfast. I look over to see them rocking and dancing to the rhythms of "Waffle day" and "Farmers Market." I hear my four year old shout out excitedly,"I just heard them say pumpkin and garlic, Mom!!" We all love the cute, little ditties about the four seasons, too. We made up a game where at the end of each song we try to name as many fruits and vegetables as we can remember. I can't get these tunes out of my head throughout the day and find myself rapping to the beat of,
"Tomatoes on the vine, tomatoes love to climb, tomatoes smell delicious in the warm sunshine!"

I would recommend this CD to anyone who loves music, loves kids, and loves teaching them about the natural cycle of eating healthy, local foods, in their seasons. Although we live in Hawaii where a lot of our same foods are grown all year long, I think my kids can appreciate the educational value of learning about growing and eating a variety of foods. Thank you Orange Sherbet for a wonderful contribution to the world!
Sincerely, the Jacksons in Hawaii who eat a lot of avocados.