Pages

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Last Day of "Normal"

Today is my last day of "normal".
Princess P just got on the bus and Hubs left for work.  This is my last day of just me and the boys and a guaranteed "quiet time" this afternoon.  However, this also means that this was the last crazy morning of shoving kids in coats and scrambling to find socks to make it out the door to catch the bus.  This was the last morning of throwing food in a lunch box and debating school appropriate outfits. 
Tomorrow Hubs starts a glorious 9 day "staycation", which is perhaps the best Christmas present he could have ever given me.  Tomorrow he will be home to help me wrangle our crazies and a week of leisure will begin.  When his staycation is over, our new homeschool venture will begin and a new "normal" will begin.  I'm equally sad to see my normal leave and excited to see what new normal looks like.
Now, the big decision is; what to do with my last afternoon of quiet...movie? nap? workout? wrap presents? eat lots of cookies?


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Seeking help

Princess P "helping" daddy carry the tree

I've been praying this past week that God would show me opportunities to help others around me.  This season is full of helping programs, from Operation Christmas child, to Toy for Tots, to Adopt a Family.  While I fully support these programs, I know there is need right in front of me.  My prayer is that I would take my eyes off of myself and see the need that is often starring me right in the face.

Yesterday, just 30 minutes after praying over this, I got a text from a friend that just made me stop.  She asked if she could take my kids for a morning so I could go Christmas shopping by myself.  Sounds so simple, yet it spoke volumes to me.  I was just praying how I could help someone and here someone was asking to help me. 

But sometimes, letting someone serve you is a bigger blessing to them.  This is a lesson that has taken me a long time to learn.  It would be easy for me to respond with "You're so sweet to offer, but I don't need any help".  My pride shoots up when someone offers to help and sometimes I'm embarrassed that they recognize my need for it.  But the truth is, letting someone help you is allowing them to love you.  Opening up a vulnerable space in your life can be a blessing to their life too.

Now, seriously.  I need to see opportunities to serve because my kids need a big dose of "Christmas is not about YOU!".  Would appreciate your prayers :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sick-a-phobe

You know a tornado is sick when he stops moving.  He laid in this spot all afternoon...not talking or eating, just sipping water and watching Curious George.

 

Bubby thought it was great because I let him watch insane amounts of George.  I, on the other hand, hate sickness.  I suppose there isn't a mom out there who loves sickness, but I believe I despise it more than the average person.  I definitely overreact.  A slight fever or sniffle and my brain goes into overdrive.  
"Who have we been in contact with in the last 24 hours?" 
 "What plans do I have to cancel"
 "Should I take them to the doctor?"
"What if the doctor thinks I'm crazy because nothing is seriously wrong?"
"I'm sure the doctor sees far worse than this."
"Maybe I should give him lots of juice to keep him hydrated.  But what if all that sugar in the juice makes him more sick."
"Maybe I'll just call my nurse sister and ask her for the millionth time what I should do."

Sickness makes me feel like a failure.  It's sad, but true.  And, as much as my rule follower Princess drives me crazy, I'm the same way and it kills me to cancel plans.  There's the ugly truth.  So if you make plans with me this winter, you can pretty much guarantee that I will have to cancel on you.  I wish I was more laid back and went out with sniffles like the rest of the world.  But I don't.  I feel like if you aren't feeling well, you need to respect your body's way of fighting germs and give it rest.  I also feel like you should respect others by not infecting them with those germs your body is fighting...just my 2 cents.

The silver lining to a not so great sick day:
I made ham and cheese melts, roasted broccoli, kale chips and pomegranate for dinner.  Charlie at 3 bowls of kale chips and perked up.  It really is a superfood!


Plus, I must get some kind of brownie points for feeding my kid kale chips.  Nevermind that it was in front of the millionth episode of Curious George.

Also had to soak in the fact that all 3 of my kids love watching George.  I know this will pass quickly.

Princess P devoured her dinner that night.  She said, "I'm eating extra fruits and veggies so I don't get Charlie's sickness."  She's a smart one :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Raisin' a Tornado


I've started to feel like I'm raising a diva, a turtle and a tornado.  Have you ever tried to dress a tornado?  Or take a tornado to the library?  I dared my husband to take our tornado to the grocery store, when his speed ramps up to high volume.  He has a fascination with grocery carts and if he can get his hands on one, he'll push it full force into the nearest object.  Just yesterday, while I was paying for our groceries, he grabbed the woman's cart behind us and rammed it into her.  Good times.  This morning, I was attempting to buy some Christmas decorations and he jumped on the side of our cart which tipped it all the way over and completely blocked the entrance of the store.  This is one reason why I run...I have to keep up with a tornado!  THEN, add a turtle next to the tornado and you have this momma going in two completely different directions.  One is slowly meandering along and one is sprinting away.  THEN the cherry drops.  The diva enters and sighs exasperatedly.  "Mom, would you stop embarrassing me?"

I am constantly reminding myself that God gave me these 3 completely different children for a reason.  He gave me a tornado for a reason.  Maybe He's trying to teach me to be more fun.  Or maybe I would be too lazy without having to chase after him.  All I know is that I am thankful for them and thankful for the momma that they make me.

Any advice to keep tornadoes contained in grocery stores?

when you give a tornado a cup of milk...

Monday, December 1, 2014

The intentional mom

I mentioned that I've been reading more books, since my break up with social media.  One particular book really hit home for me.  It had been sitting on my shelf for years and I know I read a little of it at some point, but saw it in a whole new light this time around.  The book is called 'Regret Free Parenting' by Catherine Hickem, LCSW.  As with marriage books, I am weary of parenting books because they can leave you coveting a picture perfect life.  You can be a mom for 1 day and realize that there is nothing perfect about it, but I loved this book and it was a huge eye opener for me.  I wanted to jot down my favorite points as a way to remind myself later the things I learned and a cheat sheet for other momma's who don't want to read the whole book :)


The biggest lesson I learned from the book was about being an intentional mom.  I was reminded to not coast through motherhood, but really work at this job that the Lord has given me.

~When I follow Christ, His purpose becomes my purpose.  His purpose for me is to be intentional in loving my children the way Christ loves me.

~Believe that God loves me and He will be my confidence in motherhood.  Intentional moms understand that their purpose in being confident is to create an atmosphere of value and love for their children. 

~Be intentional in telling my kids positive things.  Tell them that they are kind, gentle, loving, funny, wise, friendly, patient and with God's strength, they can do anything.  Tell them every day that God loves them and I am so thankful He gave them to me. 

~Study my kids.  Know them and tell them what I like about them.

~Don't fight the differences and difficulties in my kids.  God had something in mind when He gave them to me. 

Charlie-2,  Bubby-4,  Princess P-7

I was really challenged on this one.  So often I live in daily survival mode instead of looking at the big picture of my children's lives.
~What characteristics do I want my kids to process and how will they develop these?
~What do I want for my kids/what vision do I have for them?:
-no entitlement
-delay gratification
-love reading
-be in the Word
-communicate openly
-servant hearts
-grateful, humble, generous
-compassionate
-healthy
-independent
-confident
-capable


~"Sometimes mothers allow pride, selfishness and other people's opinions to override what their children need most; unconditional love."  Pride is our attempt to cover insecurity and most of our  insecurity is in how our kids behave.  Selfishness=idolatry of ourselves.

~Teach them in the midst of mistakes, not just reprimand them.  Allow them to make choices, even if they have natural consequences.  Don't get frustrated when they are having a problem, but take time to talk and understand.

~Be consistent, lovingly consistent in discipline.  Don't get upset or argue and show grace.  Let them know that you will love you no matter what.

~Praise in public, correct in private.  Do not a perfectionist on how they should behave.  Kids need to be praised and lifted up instead of always put down and felt like they can never measure up.

~It is normal for children to test limits and be ornery and disobey and it is not a reflection of me!  My attention needs to be on my child, not how others see me.

~As you keep the focus on the best interest of your children, you will find yourself making better decisions about yourself.

~*Pray for help in all situations

~The more I depend on God, the more I enjoy mothering and the less I care about others opinions.
1. Enjoy quiet time with the Lord
2. Have a thankful heart
3. Get to know God's heart
4. Find time for praise and worship
5. Pray for another mother
6. Practice the presence of God.  Look for Him everywhere

~My interactions with my kids has a greater impact on their future relationships than my words.

~Give them time to talk...uninterrupted time to share their heart.

~*Be present!  Don't be distracted by other moms at events.  True presence means you're fully engaged emotionally, listening intently, and respectfully interacting.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Homeschoolin'

There are times in our life that we plead for God to show where to go and then there are times that he lays things in our path that are unexpected and make us turn in the direction we are supposed to go.  Our kids schooling was certainly a path that I never foresaw this future.  I always pictured them in public school, just as me and Hubs had grown up in.

Sending Bubby to a "real" preschool was a big deal for us.  I never wanted to pay the outrageous price for preschool, but this summer, I felt that they could offer more for our middle child than I could.  I was convinced that our quiet child needed help coming out of his shell and this was just the place to help him learn to speak up to others.  However, I became unhappy with the school even before school actually started.  I received phone calls and letters saying we owed more money for miscellaneous things that hadn't been communicated before.  It wasn't about the money, I'm all for supporting our child's education, it was this awful feeling of being nickled and dimed for everything and they wouldn't tell us clearly what the money was going towards.  Then, things like this started happening:
I can't believe I'm even posting this.  But this was the point that I started questioning whether they really could do more for my son than myself.  His teacher was sweet but could never answer a question.  Anything I asked her was responded with, "I don't know."  In my short professional career, it was a big no-no to just say "I don't know".  At least give me a "I'll let you know tomorrow" or "Good question, let me figure it out and get back to you."  The day my son's teacher left him in the classroom alone to come get me out of the parking lot to ask me to take him home early from a party, was the last straw.  I wrote a letter to the director informing her of his withdrawal.  There were several issues that lead us to this decision but Hubs pointed out that I would probably always look at the school in a negative light because I never let go of wanting to homeschool.  He knew I regretted sending him and unlike many others, I didn't see it as a daycare and a much needed break.

Shortly after, Princess P started asking me to pick her up early from school.  At first it seemed innocent; Hubs had just gotten home from a trip and she wanted extra time with him.  But when she continued, I began to worry.  This type A little girl never wants to miss ANYTHING...not a second of anything.  If she's supposed to be there, she will be there.  She started complaining of being extremely bored at school and began filling her backpack with extra books and paper so she would have something to do during down times.  She would tell us how much time she spent waiting for the teacher to get other kids to behave or help others with catching on to a subject.  Before I go further, I want to say that I LOVE her school and think her teacher is fantastic.  I think he does a great job with 23 students at a varying educational level and I don't think it is a horrible thing that she has to wait.  But, these complaints from a little girl who adores school made us stop to think about the education system as a whole.

Our school system focuses a ton on standardized testing.  There's practice tests and weeks of real tests and if a couple of kids don't do well on the tests then the whole class stays on that concept until they all get good scores.  My daughter is blessed with her daddy's ability to soak information in very quickly, so to hold her on a single concept for an extended period of time is overwhelmingly boring to her.  I don't like that they are teaching kids for the test, to pass the test.  I want our kids to learn information and soak it up to stay, not to just leave after they get an acceptable grade on a test.

We started to think about how our kids time is spent. So much of our day is filled with getting ready to leave and driving and then they spend their school time just sitting.  By the time Princess P is home from school, she has about 30 minutes of play time after her home work and before dinner and then it's time for bed.  She asked Hubs one weekend why he cooks so much (we do enjoy cooking more on the weekend together, but clearly it was bothering her).  Digging a little deeper in the conversation, she said that she feels like it takes away time from her during our short weekend together.  That little comment made us realize how little time we really have with her.  On the flip side, it made me think about how her time was being spent in school.  What was being poured into her during all that down time? 

Sometime in this continuous school conversation, I had a lightbulb moment.  I wish I could remember what lead to that moment, but I have the worst memory ever...hence the blog to document.  I realized that I've let a lot slide with my boys.  I've had legit excuses; #1 they are boys #2 they are second and third children #3 I have far less undivided attention to give them.  These are my excuses for Bubby not being able to recognize 1/4 of the alphabet and Charlie's vocabulary being below the par.  Eh, they're just slower to catch on, right?  This is what I've been telling myself to make my laziness seem not so bad.  My lightbulb made me see that I want so much more for my boys.  I want them to be smart and successful.  I want them to love reading and more importantly, love learning.

While on a run, I told Hubs that I felt like God was putting it on my heart to homeschool.  He said, "You know, when we're 70 and looking back on our life, I don't think we're going to ever regret spending time with our small children". 

I fear that it sounds crazy, but I really do feel God putting it on my heart to homeschool.  It's not a path I would have chosen myself and I know it will be hard, but I'm so excited to feel his guidance.  I have to honor and obey what He is telling me and by faith I will follow.  I know he will supply the strength that I need.  Just looking at Noah's example gives me encouragement.  I'm pretty sure at some point in building an ark, he thought "I don't have enough patience to do this!" but by faith he obeyed God.  Can you image the comments he must have heard from people.  He definitely got some "you are crazy!" and "you should leave ark building to the experts".   When God called Noah to build an ark, I know he did not feel 100% capable, but God gave him a plan and guided him along the way.

I'm not Noah, but by faith I am following God's calling for our family.  There will be plenty of people who think we are crazy and not capable of teaching our children.  There are definitely people who don't understand and who don't want to understand.  But in the midst of the feathers I am ruffling lately, I pray that the Lord's name with be glorified.

This post was not the best organized, I know.  But I wanted to jot down how I'm feeling now and what brought us here, so on the hard days, I remember why I'm doing this. 

Homeschooling, here we come :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Were I've Been

It's been 4 months since I quit; 4 months since I took a break from everything.  I'll catch you up on what has happened in our life since the last post throughout this post.

Nana taught us how to sew
God had been telling me to take a break for awhile, but in honesty, I didn't want to obey.  I felt like a toddler, kicking and screaming in defiance.  But he kept pressing it on my heart.  He was trying to teach me so much, but I didn't want to accept the change that would mean.

 
Daddy coached Bubby's soccer team
He had been revealing to me over the past year that I had a strong addiction to social media.  Perhaps even stronger than my addiction, was my desire for friendships, acceptance and fuel for my pride.  I entered the social media world as a way to have interactions with other adults while I was isolated at home with a newborn in a snow laden state.  It started out innocent, but as the children multiplied it became an escape from a crazy world.  I used it as an excuse to sit down and unplug, ignoring the things I didn't want to deal with...like whiny kids or cheerio filled floors.

Grandpa taught Princess P how to ride her bike

I'm embarrassed to admit how much I was addicted and even more embarrassed to share how much my kids were ignored.  I spent a lot of time praying over sharing this.  It's easier to hide it, but the truth is, many mom's can relate.  There are so many things I wish other women would have shared with me, like how to take care of yourself after having a baby or how acne is worse in your 30's than in your teens or how the week before your husband leaves for a trip is far worse than the actual trip.  There are many hidden things that mom's don't talk about and I'm ready to break that barrier.

We took a trip to the beach with my parents

At first, I tried to set limits on my social media use.  I would tell myself that I would only get on when the kids were sleeping, but the thoughts of "just check it really quick" always popped in my head.  It was so easy and convenient to jump on and I would inevitably get sucked in for at least 20 minutes.  I heard myself constantly saying to my kids, "just a minute" and was more distracted than present.


Princess P started 2nd grade

Bubby started preschool
Every time I got on social media, I felt like poo.  I wished my thoughts were "that's so great that she did that with her kids" and "She really is so blessed to have that husband".  But they weren't.  They were more like "Why didn't I think to do that with my kids and why don't I have my kids in matching clothes all the time?!" and "Sheesh!  My Hubs should know to do that really romantic thing for me too!".
Princess P started Girl Scouts
God began peeling away layers of my heart.  First showing me my struggle with pride and then showing me my search for worth in worthless things.   He was trying to tell me to find my worth only in Him and to love others, instead of judging them. I needed some time to stop worrying about what people thought of me.  I needed to not try to be someone, but just be and see who that is.  I knew the truth that He was calling me to, but I was scared.  I felt like I would disappear if I got off.

Soccer ended and Bubby made great progress over the season
Then there was a pivotal day.  I was extremely frustrated with a "situation" through facebook and was venting it to Hubs, almost in tears.  He looked at me so gently and said, "It's time to stop.  I think you should post that you are taking a break and delete all your apps."  His support and accountability was what I needed.  Though I had done a great job hiding my struggle, he knew my heart well and he knew what I needed.  Praise the Lord for husbands who love you enough to say the hard things and love you through it.

Finish half marathon in 1:54

I cut it cold turkey and the first few days opened my eyes to how much I really was addicted...they were so hard!  Social media had consumed my thoughts for so long. "What should I post?" "Did someone look at my picture?"  "Did anyone send me a message?" "I can't believe so and so said that!"  "Hmm, maybe I should make that for dinner too."  Breaking habits is hard and even harder when you have 3 reality checks starring you in the face.  My escape was gone and I had to face life.

First field trip

So what did I do?  I broke up with my phone.  I cut off my third appendage and made it a home on my kitchen counter.  I even left it there when we went out.  I missed phone calls, text messages and picture opportunities and emails were responded to at a much slower rate.  I also turned off my computer and iPad and left them on my desk upstairs, turning them on only to update our family blog and respond to emails.

As much as this may seem like a social media bash or "poor lonely girl party", quitting was a last straw for me.  The months leading up to this, I felt like God was "clearing my plate" and I didn't understand why.  In the midst of a potential military move, I quit all ministry involvement.  I also stopped teaching at the Y and the pursuit of personal training lead to a big fat closed door.  Several relationships dissolved over that time.  Social media was the last distraction in my life and now that was cleared too.

trip to the pumpkin patch

So what was left on my empty plate?  Something very beautiful.  In honesty, it took me awhile to see the beauty.  There were tears and there was anguish to get there.  Everything that I thought defined me was gone.  But the months of "emptiness" gave me a clarity like I've never experienced.   What was left was my family and that is beautiful, crazy beautiful.

Daddy and Princess P ran the local 5k

It didn't take long for me to see who my real friends were and those relationships got so much sweeter.  Friends actually called to talk or would come over to hang out.  Conversations didn't begin with "I saw on facebook..." but rather we knew what was going on because of our face-to-face discussions.  I savored the true relationships instead of longing for fake connections online.

pumpkin design by the kids

I redefined my down time.  I found a love for piano music and baking during nap time.  If I needed to relax, I would turn on a funny show on Netflix.  One particular week, the kids were extra crazy and I hid a chocolate bar Hubs had brought home from Germany in my bathroom.  I would lock myself in there for just a few minutes and savor the sweet treat.  A little quiet and German chocolate is way better than any social media high.  And I actually read a book!  Several actually.  More than I've read since college.  I reread books that I only half read and learned so much more.  It's amazing the things you can do when your time is not filled with idleness.

Potty trained Charlie

I'm so excited to be here now.  It's awesome to see God reveal things in your life and have clarity.  I'm thankful to be back to blogging; it's an outlet that is often refreshing for my soul.  Coming soon: specific plans for our life that God has revealed to me.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Long Run Saturday


My week did not go how I planned...I guess it never does.  Hand, foot and mouth disease invaded our house and we were at the doctor 3 times!


By the end of the week I decided that I was never going to run again if I didn't go early in the morning before Hubs left for work.  Yesterday I was out the door at 6 am and ran 4 miles in the glorious coolness of the morning.  It felt wonderful to get out in the quiet and even have some time to stretch before the kiddos woke up.  However, when it came time to run 6 miles today, my legs were not so happy that I had just run 4 the day before.  But Hubs and I were able to run together and I was thankful to A.) be back on the trail and B.) to be able to keep up with Hubs the whole time (he's been running quite a bit faster than me the last couple of weeks on his own runs).  Today's run was different because we actually talked during the run. We don't usually say anything and just sign to each other about the route.  Today we talked and it made the 54 minutes of running go by much faster.

After our run, we hit the farmer's market and ran a few errands to get ready for Princess P's big birthday this week.  Then this afternoon, Hubs took the kids to the pool while I cooked; Indian lentils with basmati rice for dinner and fresh blueberry muffins for the morning.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Praying for my buns


My morning started with an egg-catastrophe.  I was whippin' up some eggs and sausage for the littles when a giant bug landed in the middle of the eggs.  I tried to scoop it out but bits of it only got stirred into the eggs.  YUCK!  Being the sanitary mom that I am, I dumped the eggs and started again, using the remaining farm eggs in our fridge.

Then I ran 4 miles in the rain.  The rain and I seem to have a thing lately.  I braved the trail and only saw one other person...creepy

Burgers were on the menu for dinner so while the kids napped, I started on making the buns.  We are firm believers that homemade buns make any hamburger 10 trillion times better.  We use this recipe...which of course calls for 1 egg!  Big. fat. sigh.  But thank you to Jesus, Pinterest and a college degree, buns were still made.  I researched some egg substitution ideas and found mayonaise as an option.  1 egg=2 Tbsp of mayo.  Did I have mayo?  Yes.  But only 2 Tbsp total and I needed those tablespoons to put on my buns!  So I turned to pinterest and found a Pin for plain Greek yogurt substitutes.  Bottom line, I put 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt in my buns instead of 1 egg and prayed really hard through the whole process that they would be edible. 
 

They were so moist and super yummy!  Hubs even raved about them, which says a lot because he is the bread master. 

Praise the Lord for a successful dinner! 
(Burgers with grilled onions, mayo, lettuce and bbq sauce; kale and sweet potato chips; sliced peaches)



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Long Run Saturday

5 miles.
The start of our long runs.

Unfortunately, Bubby was under the weather, so we had to take turns running.  Hubs went first, then we went to the farmer's market and I didn't get out until the afternoon which was a bad decision.  We ran into some friends at the farmer's market who said they just saw a bear on our usual running trail.  I'll save my sprinting from bears day until speed-work-Thursday.  Hubs suggested a route right by our house and I spent the entire run thinking "How did I not know this was here?!".  This little lake is only 1.5 miles from our house!



It was not an easy run for me.  The later in the day, the harder working out is for me.  Plus, I'm fighting a cold and had some major music issues along the way.  Music is huge motivation in running.  I got tired of my running playlist so I turned on Pandora.  But I accidentally hit 'Country music' instead of 'Christian music' and ended up stopping twice just to adjust my playlist.  My headphones were being finicky and I got hit in the head by a giant bug.  The last mile is always the hardest and this run didn't let me down.  As I entered back into our neighborhood I had to pee like no tomorrow.  I quickly missed the port-a-potties along the trail and realized that I need to get to know more people in our neighborhood!  I ran home as fast as I could, sprinted in the door, straight to the bathroom. 
Hubs: "Are you okay?"
Me: "NO! I almost peed on the sidewalk in our neighborhood!"
Hubs: "Well...it would have made for a good story"
Me: "Yea, not really the way I want to meet our neighbors.  Sorry I peed on your sidewalk"

Good times.  
If you are a runner who also struggles with this, please know that it is completely normal.



I read yesterday that wearing compression sleeves after a run is good for recovery.  Thought I would give it a whirl after my torturous run with them on.


Compression sleeves + your grandma's apron = the latest fashion

Another great source for recovery is chocolate milk.
 

They handed out chocolate milk after the half marathon last summer and I thought it was a repulsive idea...until I tried it.  Best.thing.ever.  I stocked up on some for our long runs and the kids do not think it's fair that these are not for them.  We're such mean parents :)  But as our runs get longer, recovery is essential, especially for our kids.  Last time I trained, I would be wiped out after a long run.  But with both of us training, we can't both be zombies for the rest of the day.  Don't believe me about chocolate milk?  Read this article for more.


We spent the afternoon canning our first batch of pasta sauce.  We blanched tomatoes from the farmer's market, skinned them and then simmered them with onions (also from the market), fresh garlic and basil and sea salt.
 

We learned this trick yesterday when blanching: 
slit an x in the bottom of the tomato and the skins fall right off.

 


Dinner was amazing...just had to share.
Cilantro lime brown rice, black beans, grilled salmon and guacamole.
Yumm-o.


P.S.  I'm writing this post a day later and so far, my recovery plan has worked.  I'm not sore at all today :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Breakfast cookies and Larabars

Charlie is back down to the 3rd percentile:(  The only thing that has gotten any weight on him is Carnation Instant Breakfast and our doctor recommended we try adding it to his food in addition to his daily drink.  So, today I adapted from a recipe to create "breakfast cookies".


Ingredients:
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ⅔ cup unpacked brown sugar
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup rolled oats (I blend these in the Vitamix first...because my kids insist they don't like oatmeal...thus I hide it :)
  • 1 cup Carnation Instant breakfast
  • 1/4 cup honey
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, vanilla and egg until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir until just moistened. Mix in the oats, Carnation and honey until evenly distributed. Drop by tablespoonfuls on to lightly greased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Yes, I recognize there is a lot of sugar in these puppies but I used raw sugar and sugar not used turns to fat and that's what my little stinker needs.  Thankfully, the kids liked the ones I let them try and I'll serve them with some yogurt and fruit in the morning!


On to Larabars.  These are great post workout snacks and a good source of healthy calories for Charlie.  With only a few real ingredients, it's hard not to gawk at how yummy they are.  We can get them for $0.79 at the commissary and after several failed attempts at homemade ones, I was purchasing a fair share of them per week.  That was until I found the right ingredients for homemade ones.  Let's just say, be careful what kind of dates you buy.  I am a to-the-T recipe follower, but this morning I eyeballed the ingredients and was pleasantly surprised by the results.  I should really think of a creative name for these, but my wittiness went to bed an hour ago.

Chocolate Larabars:
  • Half a container of Medjool dates, pitted
  • a couple of spoon scoops of almond butter
  • a handful of pecans
  • about 1/4 cup of dark chocolate cocoa 

Throw everything in a food processor and blend until it forms a dough.  Press into a pan and let sit in the refrigerator.  I wanted to save my pan and space in my refrigerator, so I just formed the dough on some wax paper, and put it in a baggie.  If I'm really ambitious, I'll put individual bars in snack baggies for easy access. 


This picture also gives you a glimpse of life with my boys.  First, Bubby was begging me all morning for a Larabar.  He watched me make them and then it was nonstop, "Are the Larabars ready yet?  When can I have a Larabar?  Is it time for a Larabar?  So, how about those Larabars?"  They were finally set, I cut one just for him, he stuck one little germy finger in the middle of it and said, "I don't like chocolate".  Second, every day Charlie climbs up in a bar stool, grabs an apple, takes one bite and places it next to the bowl.  But hey, they say some is better than none, right?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Love, Respect and Kids


I've been reading 2 excellent marriage books this summer: The meaning of marriage, by Timothy Keller and Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.  I would highly recommend both.  Sometimes marriage books can be real downers because they just make you feel like a big fat loser and your marriage will never finish the 10 steps to perfection.  These have not made me feel that way, but have opened my eyes to so many different things.  This past week, both books talked about our relationship with our kids and they were topics I've never thought about before.

Here's the essence in my words:

A women's greatest need is to be loved.  A man's greatest need is to be respected.  If a woman doesn't feel loved, she won't give respect.  If a man doesn't feel respected, he won't give love.  So both need to give unconditional love and respect to each other and always believe that the others intentions are for the good.  So now the kids come into play.  A woman is naturally loving and freely gives love, but when love is not poured back into her, her well begins to dry up.  Children give back only a small percentage of love.  A mother will get a smile or hug or maybe even an "I love you" but that's only a fraction of all that she's poured out.  Thus, when a mother's well is dry, her tone becomes sharp and her patience is minimal. 



However, a mother is still extremely gracious to her child.  The baby has a cold?  A mother stays up all night making sure she can breath, makes several special trips to the store to buy whatever it is that could possibly make her feel better and spends the entire day snuggling and wiping a snotty nose.  The toddler throws a giant tantrum?  A mother calmly says "I'm sorry you're having a hard day.  You must need a trip to the park to get your energy out."   
But, if our Hubs has a cold, we tell him to buck up and while you're at it, we could use a back rub because we've been holding a fussy baby all day.  If Hubs is upset, fiery is thrown back and how dare he be upset when we've been listening to a whining toddler all day. 
Mother's sacrifice personal birthday money for kid's shoes but quickly get angry when Hubs expresses a need for new socks.  We move around schedules and appointments to do the activities the kids want to do, but Hubs better not watch that football game or turn on Angry Birds.

Need an example?  Sunday morning I stepped out of the shower to find Charlie covered in poop.  He was standing in our room and had pulled down his dirty diaper, thus wiping poop all down his legs and leaving poop on the floor.  I scoop him up, getting poop all over me, and plopped him in the tub.  He started screaming bloody murder because apparently it's cool to go to church smelling like poo.  Hubs walks in and says, "Bye Honey!  I'll see you at church (he was leading worship)".  Seeing the poop scene, he asks if he can help before he leaves.  I shot him a frustrated look and gave him a sharp "Just go to church!".  Yes, yes...happy Sunday!  See?  I was willing to cover myself in poop, but couldn't give Hubs the respect of saying "I really appreciate you offering to help but I can give him a bath so you can get to church on time".

It's really interesting to me how differently we treat our husbands from our children.  I pray that we can change it.  I pray that women will start to give their husbands unconditional, sacrificial love and respect.  More than that, I started thinking about how we can make sure that our marriage comes before kids.  It is so easy to let raising kids consume conversations and daily life and time for your spouse slips away.

As I was thinking about this concept this week, I realized what we have...we have dinner time.  Every evening, Hubs comes home and jumps into what I'm cooking for dinner.  We love cooking together and hanging out in the kitchen.  This is what we have and we decided to make it a little more sacred.  I started giving the kids activities to do while we're cooking dinner: playdough or coloring or maybe even save screen time for this time.  It might seem harsh for us to say "We're cooking dinner and this is our time" but I think it actually really good for them to hear.  It's good for them to know that we're making time for each other on a daily basis and are enjoying our time.

We started the adventure of canning this week, because we like to live on the edge :)  And the perks of being married to a foodie= they spontaneously whip of peach cobbler.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Big News!


Hubs and I are running the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon, October 5th!!!
Training started today!

You may be thinking this is not big news at all.  
Babies are big news.  House purchases or engagements are big news, but to us, this is big.


A year ago, I ran my first half and it was an experience I had to do for myself.  I needed the running time to process the previous hard year and the journey was healing for me.  I know it's sounds crazy, but it was just something I had to do.  But Hubs was supportive and encouraging through the whole thing and respected the time I needed to be alone.

And now, I am so crazy excited to be on the other side of it.  Hubs and I are running together again and he's started running more distance with me.  This is huge for him.  These summer runs have been hard and now he's the one pushing me through the last few painful miles.

This week we decided to make our running relationship official.  We committed to train and run a half marathon together.  For some reason I think about blogging when I'm running, so I will be documenting our training.

Our training plan is brought to you by the Hubs:
Monday and Wednesday= 3-5 mile "easy" run
Tuesday= cross train (Ripped or weight training)
Thursday= speed training
Friday and Sunday = rest days
Saturday = Distance!  adding a mile each week

Today was cooler than normal and rainy.  I was running slow for some unknown reason, so I decided to make it a longer run and just enjoy the time soaking up God's creation.  This is what keeps me running:

the trail we run for training

Funny how things change.  A year ago I was scared to run in the rain and today I was excited and loved every minute of it.  I did however learn a few things when running in the rain.

1.  Wear a hat!  Rain dripping down my face + sweat = I could not see and had to run with my eyes closed.
2.  Don't wear mascara!  When I could not see, I wiped my eyes with my shirt and had mascara streaks all over my shirt.  I was a site to see.  In case you were wondering, Cover Girl waterproof mascara is a complete fail.
 3.  Keep a dry shirt in your car :)


Today's run was full of thankfulness.  I read Philippians this morning and was reminded to give thanks. always.  So that's what I did for 4.5 miles.  I'm thankful for a God who takes care of me and meets needs I didn't even know I had.  I'm thankful for my Hubs and that he loves me when I don't deserve it.  I'm thankful for feet to carry me through a beautiful path.  I'm thankful that our surprise baby #3 is now a big boy and does cute things like wear backpacks that are as big as him.


So, the race is on.  Anyone want to join us?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The summer of "no"

I've declared this summer, the summer of "no".  Why, you may ask.  Because we are spoiled... and I am included in this equation.  I easily deceive myself into thinking that I am deprived.  We never eat out, we don't have cable or go to the movie theater and it is a rare occasion that any new article of clothing is purchased (thank you hand-me-downs!).  It hit me one day in the grocery store, as I was throwing in a harmless, probably even healthy, item that my son requested into the cart...I say yes way too much.  So Hubs and I joined forces and have begun the detox.  Our theme is "no" and the simplicity is freeing.  Grocery shopping is quick, quiet and a whole lot cheaper!  I spend far less time debating about whether we should grant a request because it's already decided.  Self-control is something that easily slips away, but the blessings from reigning it in are bountiful.

So, now you're thinking that our summer is now no fun.  But here's what we do say yes to:

Playing outside with friends.
Afternoons at the pool.
Riding bikes and eating fresh peaches.
Library trips and reading endless books.

Our first run together!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mixin' it up

I pulled a back muscle last week while participating in a high impact class.  We were doing a bent over tricep move and I remember thinking "it would be really easy to hurt your back during this move" and was extra careful to watch my form.  So much for that!  I could barely walk for 3 days and was stinkin' mad at the whole injury.  I've never injured myself like this and did everything wrong to take care of it.  Here's what I learned:

1.  Do not use heat or stretch pulled muscle!
2.  Give adequate rest to strained muscle, but keep moving so it doesn't get stiff
3.  ICE!!!  20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.  DO NOT keep ice on all day long.
4.  Take Aleve and drink lots of water. 
5.  Ease back into exercise after muscle is feeling better.  Don't do too much too soon or you will re-injure it.

Of course my injury happened while Hubs was out of the country...naturally.  Let's just say, it's a miracle that Princess P is old enough to change diapers and loves being a little momma.  I've been nervous about working out this week, but want to keep moving so I've tried to mix things up. 
Here's my 2 new 'recovering from a back injury' workouts:

1.  The stair climber.  I've always looked at these machines and thought they were pointless.  Who wants to climb stairs that go nowhere?  But, it's a workout that requires no bending over!  I was so surprised by how quickly time flew on this thing and how sore my tushy was the next day.

2.  Pool running.  I'm not a swimmer and the pool, quite frankly, is intimidating to me.  But after 2 recommendations to give pool running a try, I jumped in this morning.  Just put a floaty belt on, jump in the deep end and "run".  I know I looked ridiculous, but after only 10 minutes, my legs were on fire.  The suspension felt fabulous on my back and it was nice to be in cool water instead of drenched in sweat.  Plus the resistance from the water gave an extra boost to the running.

I will definitely be keeping these new activities in my routine even after the back is all healed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A little secret


We picked our very first tomato of the season yesterday.  Unfortunately I let the kids pick it and the plant split in 2.  We've been watching our prize tomato for weeks and I had plans for a really yummy caprese salad...but the kids won again and Princess P ate the whole thing in a matter of seconds.


So here's my little secret to share:  the past 2 weeks I've put plain Greek yogurt on the table instead of sour cream for our Mexican meal...and no one has noticed!  Ha!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Farmers market

Hubs and I have committed a portion of our budget this summer to shopping at our local farmers market.  Our goal each week is to buy eggs and produce there, but will pick up meat if our budget allows.  We've been testing the difference between organic and farm fresh and it's been really interesting to see the difference.  Here are a couple of things I have found really interesting.

1.  Chicken.  Huge lesson learned! When the lady at the farmers market told me the price, I thought she meant total...nope, that was per pound!  Yikes!  I paid 17 stinkin' dollars for a chicken!  Although,  I talked to a friend of mine who raises chickens and she said they normally sell around $20, so apparently I got a good deal.  I think it's crazy, but I suppose that's just because I don't understand what it takes to raise those kind of chickens.  But, $17.00 later, 3 meals and lots of chicken broth later, I can tell you that I could not tell a difference from an organic one at the store.

2. Spinach.  Huge difference in produce from the farmers market!  The spinach we've been buying is so fresh that Princess P will eat it plain out of the bag.

3.  Eggs.  Biggest difference.  We weren't able to make it to the market this weekend, so I picked up some organic eggs from the store.  I made Hubs breakfast this morning and had 2 farm eggs left...it was crazy to see the difference.
Top egg: store bought, organic
Bottom egg: farm

 Farm eggs are bigger, have a richer taste and the yokes are a deep orange.  They usually run $4 a dozen at the market and you can easily spend more than that for organic eggs at the store.

Wondering why my farm eggs is in a mason jar lid?  Hubs loves breakfast sandwiches, so I was attempting to make a circle egg to fit on an english muffin.  It was a good idea in theory, but the egg stuck to the sides and was a flop.  I'll save the time, just order a silicone form from Amazon.

The kicker with eggs is, if we don't get to the market early enough, they run out.  We've considered joining a local co-op, but there's a substantial membership fee.  So we're debating if it's worth it...what do you think?




Friday, June 13, 2014

1st grade....check.

 Princess P had a fabulous 1st grade year.
Now I just have to make summer last for forever, because I am NOT ready for a 2nd grader!!!


Leaving school for the last time as a 1st grader



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Things I can't handle


There are a few things I have a hard time handling as a mother.  Snot is at the top of that list.  Open wounds come in at a close second.  But this week, Princess P has handed me 2 that are high on my list: fevers and loose teeth. 

We were having a lovely evening picking blueberries and eating the world's best strawberry ice cream as a family.  It was a warm evening and we were all sweating, hot and tired from the day.  Princess P was exceptionally quiet on the way home and when Hubs picked her up out of the car, he was shocked to find her on fire.  When fans and ice packs didn't cool her down, I grabbed the motrin and that sinking feeling of mommy guilt set it.  Why didn't I know she wasn't feeling good? How could I traipse her through the farm when she was sick?

She battled a fever for several days, never showing any other signs of sickness.  Even when her temperature spiked, she would only complain that she was thirsty.  I hate how mysterious fevers are.  Yes, I understand they are the bodies way of fighting an infection.  But what kind of infection?  When should I take her to see a doctor?  How often should I alternate tylenol and motrin?  There's so much gray area that it just drives me crazy.  I would much rather her vomit all over the place and I clean up and know she has a stomach bug.  Give her toast and gingerale and we're good.

But the real kicker with kids and sickness is keeping them quarantined.  Why is that siblings are constantly fighting, but can't stand to be apart from each other?  I don't get it.  I guess it's kind of like the forbidden fruit...the second I said, "You cannot be around sissy today" the boys instantly thought it was their mission to get as close as possible to her.

Second kicker of sick kids, is getting them to rest.  Hubs and I remember laying on the couch all day, watching TV as kids.  What happened to our kids?  I even rented a special Barbie movie for the Princess and she couldn't even finish it.  I found myself shouting today "I told you to rest!"  "I should not hear arguing, you aren't supposed to be playing together!!!"  "For the love of all things, just lay down for 10 minutes!".

Positive side to mysterious fevers, she's still had a good appetite.  Down side?  She was eating lunch today and began to ask me a question.  I looked up from my sandwich to find blood flowing out of her mouth.  Praise the Lord I am not pregnant or I would have puked.  Her front tooth is hanging on by a thread and I cannot handle it.  I called Hubs at work in a frenzy.  I told him we had an emergency and he needed to come home pronto.  Keep in mind that there was a real emergency on base today, but I felt it necessary to bother him because that's how much I cannot handle teeth falling out.

Notes to myself:
~ Fevers spike at night, try not to freak out and put her in cool shower
~ Princess P will not drink any flavored drink no matter how many different kinds you try.  Save your money and give her water.
~ Next time duct tape her to the couch and send the boys outside!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

You know you're a mom when...

You may have noticed that I haven't posted preschool stuff for a long time.  We finished the alphabet with our preschool co-op and have been doing worksheets/activities here and there.  But the big news is; Bubby's going to a real preschool next year!  I'll save the why's for another post, but this week we had to take his medical papers to the school to finish up his application.  I've only been to the preschool once and am just getting to know the people there, so I was feeling a little weary as we ventured in to find the office.  I carried Charlie on my hip and Bubby stayed close behind me as we talked to the receptionist and she verified all of his information.  I was loading the boys back into the car when I gasped.
This is what my child looked like the entire time I was holding him:


Apparently the blueberry juice I gave him in the car exploded all over his face, thus making him look like he had measles.
Great.
I can only imagine what the preschool people think of me now.

I sat in the car and had a good laugh at myself.
How could I not have noticed his face?!

We headed to the gym from there.  I dropped the boys off at the childwatch and opened my gym bag to get ready for my run:


What?  You don't have spanking spoons in your gym bag?
 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pregnancy workouts

A friend recently reached out to me to ask my advice on pregnancy workouts.  First, it all depends on the pregnancy and what your body is used to doing before you got pregnant.  In my first pregnancy, I just walked when I could, but in my second, I was able to run, lift weights and kickbox until 6 months.  With #3, I was teaching at the gym but definitely could not run.  I walked when I could or did the elliptical.  My advice is to just keep moving, in whatever degree you can.  Whether it's a stroll through the neighborhood, a Pilates DVD in your living room or a light swim, just keep moving.  And most importantly, give yourself lots of grace.  There will be days when you just need to rest and that's okay.  There will be days that the only you can hold down is ice cream and that's okay.  You have you're whole life to be in shape, but only 9 months to grow a baby.

I read the most refreshing article last night about pregnancy workouts.  I was looking at Jamie Eason's workouts and found an interview with her during her pregnancy.  She is a fitness icon and I was expecting the article to be full of "I only ate carrots and lifted 50 lb weights every day", but was pleasantly surprised by her.  She said that when she had energy to workout, she would do a short and light workout.  And when she was tired, she would take a nap.  Cravings?  She gave into cravings and didn't stress about it.  She knew she had the tools to get back in shape after the baby, but for now her focus was on growing a human.  I can only imagine how hard it was for her to see her body change and be taken over by a baby, but it was refreshing for me to see her embrace the season of life she was in.  I think women often try to convince themselves that their body/pregnancy will be a certain way and think they can control it.  But you could eat celery all day long and if that baby needs more room in your bum, you will grow some more room.

Congratulations to all my baby-carrying friends!  Eat something yummy for me!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Compression Sleeves


Happy late Mother's Day to me!  Hubs was gone for Mother's Day so I asked if I could order myself a little present.  Sure, normal people would have gotten a pedicure or new earrings...but I splurged on some Pro Compression calf sleeves (I actually got a really great deal, but they're still more than any person should spend on socks).  After struggling with constant soreness, I read that these help in workout recovery and give great support on long runs.  Ironically, I have not been sore this last week, dispite the 13+ miles I ran on top of weight training.  I just said to Hubs last night, "I need to find a new challenge"...hello new challenge!  I went out for a quick 5K run this morning and quickly found that the compression sleeves made my legs work in a whole new way.  After a few minutes they were screaming "Why are you doing this to us!", followed by "We'll treat you to a big diet coke if you stop now!".   I was so very tempted by them to mosey over to Sonic instead of finishing, but I am not a quitter.  By the time I got back home, I was pretty sure I was dead.  I collapsed on the floor and Hubs said, "So good run, huh?" and assured the kids that I really was not dying.

Charlie mesmerized by the pink
Moral of the story?  Never tell your hubs you are looking for a new challenge...God is listening!  And if you see me running in these things, have pity on me and bring me a drink :)