Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Greens for Grandma

 I'm a huge fan of the green breakfast smoothie. Not only because it makes me feel really good to eat vegetables for breakfast, but because it reminds me of my Grandma Lois who lived to be 100.
She used to blend Dandelion greens in water and drink it straight, yo. Not even a sweetener to chase it down with! Now that's hardcore. 
Her other keys to health and longevity were a daily dose of Cod liver oil, sodium-free foods, and only eating meat in the winter. She died in February of 2011. I think about her all the time, mostly because I do a lot of things that remind me of her, like blending green stuff up in the blender and drinking it. Only I add sweetener. My Grandma didn't have Pinterest growing up, but if she did, she might've loved collecting recipes for green smoothies, like me. 
I printed out this Green Smoothie Formula and taped it onto my kitchen cupboard. It's been a lot of fun concocting different smoothie recipes by following this guide: 

You seriously can't go wrong with this! I've thrown some really odd sounding ingredients together in the blender, yet everytime my smoothies come out tasting delicious!
The other day I added:
 2 cups water, a handful of spinach, a handful of zucchini chunks, 1 frozen banana, 1 green pear, 1 Tbs of Peanut butter, 2 Tbs of soy protein powder, 1 Tbs of flax seed, 1 tsp stevia, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. 
I blended til smooth, then found myself in super-smoothie heaven. MMMMmmmmmm.

**This next ones for you, Grandma! Maybe someday I'll even be brave enough to try Dandelion greens.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Progress Happening Here

Sometimes it's hard for me to see the progress of things as we busy ourselves from day to day, week to week. The days start to blend together, as I'm running about trying to meet and balance everyone's wants and needs. (including my own!)

I wake up and make breakfast. I feed the baby. I drive Odin and Jonah to school. I drop them off then use this time to exercise. Baby goes into the jogging stroller, we jog around the loop. Zadok rides his bike alongside me, or stays home and reads. We pick up Jonah from school. We run errands. We go home and make lunch. We play games. We do chores. We read books. We pick up Odin from school. We go to the pool. Then there's Cub Scouts, and friend play dates, church meetings, and park days.
Laundry gets done, dishes stack up, laundry stacks up, and dishes get done. And round and round it goes....
Until in the midst of it all I realize that progress is happening: 

Odin is reading really well! In fact, he's reading entire books when several weeks ago he couldn't really read at all. And little Jonah is happier than he's been in months, as he's become pre-occupied with his fun, new pre-school. And Zadok is growing more social, making new friends and involving himself with Cub Scouts. He made a special new friend at church that he loves to play with each week. And Malachi is starting to Coo and make baby GA-GA-goo-goo noises, and when he smiles he throws his head back and smiles with his entire body. He isn't spitting up as much, either.
And Micah and I are happy. We love being parents. I have lots of activities, meaningful projects, and friends to connect with. My pants are getting a little looser everyday and I am feeling energy come back again. Micah is doing awesome at his job as a science teacher. He can also ride his bike 50 miles at a time without being completely  wiped out afterwards. And our family calendar is full. Our lives are full, and we are making progress. We've been here in Cedar City for one year now since we moved back from Hawaii, and life is not only flowing along, but there is also an overwhelming feeling of happiness and progression as we go.
It's a really good feeling.

Sometimes It's hard for me to see the big picture of what it means to my children to have me for their mother. I can get down on myself and feel like I'm going to miss some very important piece to their childhood-- that perhaps I'm overlooking something essential that will come back to haunt me when they are all grown up and gone: Did I give my middle child enough attention? Did I listen to my children enough while they were telling me stuff? Was I patient enough? Did I teach them correct morals and values and be the example they needed? Did I feed them healthy foods and teach them how to eat intuitively? Did I teach them how to find their path to happiness?

It's so easy to start worrying if I am....mom enough.

Today as I was sitting on the floor in the living room and watching my little children dance, and roll, and jump, and couch hop, and do all the crazy kinesthetic things they do when I sit on the floor, I had a time-freezing moment. It seriously felt like time stood still for a few seconds, and I was in a bubble of perfect awareness. And in my bubble of perfect awareness I saw myself from the eyes of my children. And from the eyes of my children I saw a mother who was enough. 
Because in the eyes of my children, I am the center of their entire Universe. Micah and I are the foundation of their existence! They came into this world with nothing but their bare baby butts, and here they found a mother who loves them. I was able to see today in this vision of absolute truth, how lucky they are to have ME. 

There's progress happening here, and I am a huge, important piece of it.

Thank you God for giving me this sweet reminder. The end.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Feeling Amazed

I feel amazed this morning at all I have. 
A family to love.
A husband with a job.
A home to live in.
I am amazed that we have this home to come back to, to retreat from the outside world. I don't have to go out there If I don't want to, and I love having that option.

I am grateful for the options our family has.
We have the option to send our kids to school or keep them home for homeschool.
We have the option to birth with a midwife at home or birth in a hospital. (or both!)
We have the option to attend church and worship God as we please, or choose whatever belief system we want to.
We have the option to grow our own garden and eat from the bounty of our harvest and also shop from a store to get the things we need.
We have the option to see medical professionals when we're sick, or gain knowledge and treat symptoms on our own.
We have the option to wear what we want and dress how we please.
We have the option to voice our opinions and be heard by our government.
We have the option to make things--create art, write books, paint walls, and decorate.

Our streets are clean.
Our children are healthy.
Our soil is rich in minerals.
Our stores are stocked with necessities.
Our water comes out clean from the faucet.
Our toilets flush.
Our windows keep out heat and cold.
Our neighbors are friendly.
Our neighborhood is safe.

I don't take these things for granted. Not one tiny bit. I am amazed everyday that I live in a situation like this. That these blessings are available to me at this time in my life. 
I feel gratitude every single time I run the washing machine and dryer, that my children will have clean clothes, and all it takes is the push of some buttons. 

I have a lot to be grateful for and I feel amazed today that this is my life.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Dropping Awesomeness in my Bucket all Week

Every now and then I run across a something on the Internet that totally affects my life for the good! Maybe it's a blog post, or a news piece, or a spiritual thought, or a thoughtful essay on a parenting website, or something someone posted on my facebook newsfeed.... This one came to me through my facebook newsfeed from a friend and it's called Drops of Awesome. Please read it! The idea is simply wonderful. I've been thinking about it all week and applying it to my life and it really works! I've been able to combat so many negative thoughts with Drops of Awesome and have been filling my positive bucket to overflowing. I've noticed a real difference in how I see myself, especially how I've been able to build myself up instead of beat myself down when I want to feel good.
The first day I tried this concept of Drops of Awesome I caught myself off-guard. It was just last week. I had just finished a great exercise jog around my neighborhood, where the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was filled to the brim with happy endorphins!  I felt so good I was grinning from ear to ear!  However, right as I was floating on Cloud 9 my negative mind chimed in with: "Why do you feel so good? You're still fat! The jog didn't change a darn thing. You gained too much weight this pregnancy and you still have 30 more pounds to lose and all you did was run around the neighborhood! You don't deserve to feel good until you've dropped all this weight," said my inner demon-monster.
Right as these negative thoughts were barging their way into my mind I immediately remembered Drops of Awesome and filled myself up with positive. Yes, I am bigger and more out of shape than I want to be, but I feel great right now! My body is healthy and strong, and my baby is beautiful. My amazing body grew this beautiful baby and I get some drops of awesome in my bucket for jogging around the block!
Kathryn says in her post,
"When I started thinking about my life in terms of adding these little Drops of Awesome for every tiny act of good, I found that I was doing more and more of them because it’s a lot more fun to do good when you’re rewarded with joy, rather than being guilted about every failure in your past." Kathryn Thompson
So I started rewarding myself for more things I was doing well all week. Things I had put off forever, things I hated doing, and things that I needed to change about myself. 
I jogged around the neighborhood after not jogging for 9 months. Drops of Awesome!
I finally bought my son his scout shirt who turned 8 in march, and sewed the patches on. Drops of Awesome!
I mowed the backyard lawn and picked up dog poop after never doing it, ever. Drops of Awesome!
I swept under the kitchen table this week. Drops of Awesome!
I started reading my scriptures everyday....again. Drops of Awesome!
I was patient and loving with my four year old when he threw another tantrum at the breakfast table. Drops of Awesome!
 I've been able to see how these Drops of Awesome really move you forward and help you to be a better person, even when you've failed miserably in the past.  I wasn't patient with my four year old yesterday. Not at all. His illogical freak-out episodes were driving me insane and I lost my temper more than once. But today is a new day! Instead of me getting upset with him about eating his breakfast when I asked him to, and him crying about his food, and us both being angry, I made a Lion den under the computer desk where we ate our breakfasts together. We laughed, and roared, and ate scrambled Zebra. I didn't beat myself up for not doing this yesterday because I was an awesome mom today. Drops of Awesome!
See how this works? 
"In the end, it’s really about allowing yourself to feel joy and allowing yourself to be proud of the small victories of life. This builds momentum and you want more drops in your bucket and when you don’t get as many, you pick yourself up and say, “What can I do next?”
What I can do next is keep exercising, keep feeling good, keep being patient with my challenging son, keep serving my family, keep being happy for who I am, keep enjoying my new baby, keep combating negative thoughts, and keep remembering that I am not perfect, but I can do better each day.
** Seattle-based blogger Kathryn Thompson just came out with her first book, a journal based on this blog post. It's called, "Drops of Awesome: The You're-More-Awesome-Than-You-Think Journal." From Amazon: If you aren’t rooting for yourself, who will? Drops of Awesome is that unique discovery journal about celebrating the amazingness of you. Based on the viral blog Drops of Awesome, this book helps you become your own biggest cheerleader and tells your inner critic to stick a sock in it.
And I want it! I want to pre-order it from Amazon here and start my own personal Drops of Awesome journey! I'm so excited!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

7 weeks Mally Pie

*He weighs 15 lbs and is 23 inches tall.
*Everywhere we go people tell me how adorable he is...and how big!
*He's wearing 3-6 months outfits now.
*He spits up a lot after he eats. Sometimes the milk comes spilling out the side like a fountain. Then he burps and eats some more.
*He shoots milk out of his nostrils sometimes. It's freaky.
*He started to genuinely smile at 6 weeks old. It's the biggest, most happiest baby smile, and always makes me want to cry because he looks so happy! He does it once a day.
*He loves to be held and will only take a nap in his swinging swing or if I'm holding him/wearing him. 
*He likes his mom to hold him best. :)
*When I smell the top of his head I am filled with happy, loving, nurturing happiness. (someones needs to bottle and sell baby head smell!)
*I noticed that at 2 weeks old he would get excited when he heard my voice. i.e. he would start chewing on his fists or look around the room with wide eyes and move his head from side to side. He knows his mama!
*He's always so warm. And squishy. 
*We call him Mal-Mal or Mala or Mally Pie. 
*He sleeps right next to me in bed, between Micah and I. 
*He sleeps like a rock for 7-9 hours straight then wakes up grunting for milkies. (none of my babies have ever slept this long at night!! 2-3 hours MAX. I'm reeeeeally loving this!)
*His dad gave him a baby blessing on Sunday. It was a beautiful, powerful blessing just for Malachi.
*He's loved and adored by his family.

We are so blessed to have baby Mal-Mal. I can't imagine our lives without him. He completes our group of boy children perfectly! 
My house may be a disaster, all my projects pushed aside, and personal hygiene in question, but there is a whole lotta love for this baby, which makes it all worth it. 
At the computer with mama.

Sleeping with his pinky held high.

We take him on dates with us.

6 week photos

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Homeschool,public-school, pre-school, Mom-school

I just got home from dropping off my first grader at elementary school for his third week, and my pre-schooler for his first day of pre-school. I wasn't expecting to cry as I walked to the car as I've been really excited for this day to come, but tiny tears came anyways. What a big, grown up kid he is!! We are sending him to preschool for 2 1/2 hours, 5 days a week, to give him extra fun stuff to do while mama gets my ducks all in a row. Of course I forgot my camera today so here's a picture of Jonah in our backyard on a random day that isn't the first day of pre-school:
Family dynamics are such an interesting thing! When my kids were younger I pictured us doing the same things forever: we'd wake up whenever we wanted to, cuddle in bed and read stories while I nursed a baby, eat a leisurely breakfast, then go play outside at a park for hours. Our days would drift blissfully by as we laughed, and played, and explored the world around us.....
But alas, our dynamics have changed! Each of my boys has an innate desire to learn and grow in different ways, which has taken our children in several different directions, each on a unique path which they need. 

Odin loves first grade. He loves his teacher, he loves his friends, he loves worksheets, and homework, and organizing his desk! He loves P.E. and drama, and art and computer class. He loves being at school, overall. When I pick him up everyday he is genuinely happy and excited about life. I overheard him telling his big brother the other day,"School is really fun fun! You should come to school, too- You would like it!" 
Since I forgot my camera on the first day of school here is a random picture of Odin roasting a hot dog in our backyard that is not the first day of school:

Actually, the truth is, Zadok would really hate going to school. Zadok is not cut out for any of that formal education stuff-and that's ok. I like him home with me where I know he's learning and growing in his happiest environment possible. We started Zadok out this year by doing an online homeschooling curriculum called K12.  (Basically third grade public school at home.) At first I thought it would be a positive thing for Zadok to have his own computer, his own classes,  and to answer to someone else besides me, but after a week 1/2 of it we realized that the overly structured, demanding schedule was putting too much stress on the both of us. 
So, we're trying to figure out what to do about that. I'm hoping I can tweak the program so we can skip all the "busywork," and get down to igniting the light of learning, because,

“A child is not a vessel to be filled, but a lamp to be lit.” – Hebrew Proverb

One thing that has been confirmed to me through this experience thus far, is that Zadok is truly a natural learner. He absorbs anything and everything he reads, and picks up on most new concepts immediately. He doesn't need to be told what to learn, he just needs to have resources put in front of him so he can. He's such a brilliant kid, I feel blessed to be on this journey with him. He has come a long way in overcoming his anxiety and shyness and is continuing to move in such a positive direction. There's still certain things he will NOT do, (like sing at church, participate in his primary program, put on bowling shoes, smile for a picture, or play team sports ) but there's a really long list of awesome things he DOES do, which makes this mama proud- (like reading advanced novels for his age, playing complicated card games and computer games, rocking at spelling and vocabulary, being a fun friend, being cleverly witty, writing books on dragons, helping his little brothers, making good choices, and basically being awesome.)
Z-boy working on a school assignment for K12. He mostly just likes wearing the microphone thingy.
I won't lie, I really missed Odin his first two weeks of school. I wanted him home with me. I wanted all of us together again. I felt guilty for sending him to school all day while I still had my other three boys at home. I started to worry that I was doing the wrong thing by sending him to first grade. Anxiety and fear started taking over my thoughts instead of peaceful assurance. I started worrying that my boys wouldn't be as close as they are right now. I worried that Odin would make new friends and then Zadok wouldn't be his best friend anymore. I worried that I would exhaust myself everyday packing Odin lunches, driving to school twice a day, and keeping on top of his homework.
But all those fears dissipated as I continued to pray.
 I've found myself easing into a nice routine that we're starting to enjoy. As it turns out, I like dropping Odin off at school! I  like saying hi to his teacher, meeting the other kids in his class, and watching him settle into his little desk. My little Jonah likes to walk in with us to say goodbye to Odin, and stares at everything with big, curious eyes. 
 I also like picking him back up! I like seeing his happy, excited face, and hearing all about the fun things he did on the drive home. He even started eating the healthy school lunches, which I thought he would never do! (This makes my life much, much easier.)
And I don't think I have to worry about these two boys not being as close. They have so much fun when they are together, and the space apart may give them time to recharge for their next round of craziness.  
So in the end, I know in my heart of hearts that we are making the right decisions for education/learning/growth right now-- For Odin, for Zadok, and even for little Jonah who is our pre-school pioneer. He had a great day at pre-school today, too!
So, my fear and anxiety is lessening as I read the scriptures and pray for guidance. I know that when we do the simple things that God asks us to do, everything else falls into place. 
I am also learning so much right now as a mom. I can feel the growth inside my soul stretching into new dimensions. My children teach me so much and give me the experiences I need to be a stronger, wiser, and overall better human being. I feel like I am deep in the depths of Mothering-101, and might even pass the class!

And did I mention I have a huge, chunky baby? 6 weeks old and growing. I love him!

On a side note, I might wonder someday how I was able to type on my blog with a newborn baby in my home. (A newborn baby that wants to be snuggled constantly, doesn't sleep without me holding him, and requires sustenance every 2-3 hours). Well, this is how:
He sleeps on my lap on a nursing boppy while I hunch over and type over his big baby body. It's not so good on my back, but that's the price I have to pay for wanting to write on my blog. :) p.s. Love the photobomb, Zadok.