Saturday, May 28, 2011

AMAZING!

_MG_8248-1These were not done by a professional for a book or anything… these were done by my nimble-fingered 14 year old.  How incredible is that?  He used his fingers, than he used chopsticks, and for the last one he used a sewing pin.

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Flippen’ awesome!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sorry to be absent…

I have been dealing with some pretty serious health issues.  On the 18th of March I stopped my post partum bleeding.  Just 13 days later, on the first of April I got my first post pregnancy cycle.  Then 12 days later, I got another.  14 days after that I started a third.  19 days after that (on the 24th of May) I got period #4. 

Last week (just before period #4) I started having trouble with being really shaky.  It wasn’t that I was weak… I could engage my muscles when I thought about it (and have continued to exercise every morning through all of this)… it was the fact that I had to think about it.  I would start to get up out of a chair and I would have to think about moving my legs to get me out of the chair without being shaky and feeling weak.  It was the oddest thing. 

When this phenomenon got worse and then I started period #4 I decided that the help of a naturopath was necessary. 

She said:  “So it seems that everything that is going on is centered around your abnormal periods and recent diet changes.  If you are not currently severely anemic, you will be.”  She then took a blood test for iron, vit D, Thyroid function, and other deficiencies. 

Soooooooooooo…. I have been giving up everything that isn’t essential (unfortunately, that means things like this blog when you have 4 homeschooled kiddos).  I am on two different herbal tinctures for female hormone regulation, several different vitamins and oils to give me the boost I need and I am trying to get lots of rest (although, once again, that means very little when you have 4 homeschooled children). 

During my rest breaks this week, I have gone through a whole season of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix… and I may continue on.  Between 7 seasons of that and me sticking to my herb and vitamin plan, I am hoping to be feeling just great in two weeks… and hopefully period #5 will come LONG after that.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What I love about you ~ Alex 14 yrs, 10 mos

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I love that you do jobs well.  You often make me proud when I set you to a job that I usually would have to do.

I love watching you solve problems.  You are getting to be a very logical, reasonable person. 

I love that you occasionally win arguments because you actually know the answer.

I love that you love to cook!  Sharing a passion with you is very special to me.

I love watching you turn into a man, my son.  It’s a pleasure to watch your transformation.  What a wonderful father and husband you are going to be!

Friday, May 20, 2011

{this moment}–Beach Moments

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nothing ends a good vacation like panic.

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I must start at the beginning to keep from looking completely idiotic.  So here it goes….

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Our last day at Ocean House was a wildlife day.  We saw this sweet raccoon climbing up the porch first thing in the morning and he hung out (probably wanting us to feed him) for about an hour, looking down at us from the balcony, peeking in the windows and just generally being cute.

About 10 am we decided to take a walk down to the beach.  We watched as a small herd of deer (4 of them) crossed the street in front of us and then headed to someone's back porch.  They stood there as though they were waiting for someone… and low and behold, this sweet lady came out and started feeding them corn and apples. 

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She saw us watching and called us over.  She said that many of the deer in this little herd were born in her backyard!  She said that they are still wild, but she feeds them breakfast and they will eat right from her hands.  She offered to help Logan feed the deer.  He was thrilled!

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As Logan was feeding the deer, she and her husband told us about this wonderful wildlife spot on the beach where you can see tide pools, sand dollars, etc.  She said there are hundreds of sand dollars and told us it was a ways down the beach… So we should drive as far as we can.  And then get out and walk.

I thought, since we were having a wildlife day anyhow, that that would be a wonderful end to our vacation.  Don had his doubts.  I talked him into it… after all, locals said we could and I knew it was legal…

We got about a mile and a half down the beach away from the road.  The sand started to get shifty.  Don said he didn’t feel safe.  I said we should turn around.  He went slightly down the beach (closer to the surf) to do a loop… and bam….  we stopped moving.  We stopped doing anything. 

We were completely and utterly stuck.

A mile and a half from the road. 

8 ft from the water.

With the tide coming in.

Don and I got driftwood to put under the tires.  It was no use.  The car just kept digging deeper and deeper.  We sent Alex to run back to the road.  About 5 minutes later I left to go try to find a jeep we had seen about half way between us and the road.  I ran 1/2 mile up the beach, and then found the tire tracks and realized the jeep guy had left.  I came back and the baby was crying so I stopped to nurse.  As I was nursing, a wave came up and nearly touched our tire.

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We evacuated the kids and all of our valuables (which was a lot… we were all packed to go home!) to the top of the beach and then frantically tried to dig the car out.  I called our insurance roadside assistance.  They were located in Georgia.  They had no idea what to do and I finally ended up hanging up on them and calling 911 when another wave got even CLOSER to our tire.  911 called a towing company and they said it would be 15 minutes.  We waited with our hearts pounding until they showed up.

IMG_0298This picture just doesn’t do it justice.  This entire picture was less than 8 ft (like those crashing waves at the very top right were less than 8 ft from our car).  It seems SO much longer…  esp considering the waves are not moving closer and closer to us and I am not packed full of panic while looking at it.

The surf line was where the waves hit nearly every time… sometimes they were much much closer.  Like just after I took this picture and we were moving backwards again (getting winched out by the tow truck) the wave came and filled the spot where my feet had been. 

It took hours for my heart to stop pounding.  We were never in any danger of being hurt or anything… and thankfully we have almost paid off our van, but to nearly watch your van get taken by the ocean… well it is an incredibly humbling experience!

I spent the next two hours being very thankful for pavement.  I even posted on Facebook “Dear Pavement, how I love thee….” which made many of my friends laugh.  But I was truly feeling the pavement love at that moment.

Nothing ends a good vacation like panic. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Learning to Fly… kites

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The first three days we were here at the Beach House was pouring down rain.  We have spent much of our vacation relaxing, making s’mores, sipping tea, running to the beach for half hour long jaunts (until it started raining again), and playing endless board games….

Cyan playing with Dominos during a very rainy trip to the beach

So when we saw sun yesterday evening it was a VERY exciting event.  :)  We immediately went to the beach to fly kites.

At first, Alex and I tried.  Our kite smashed into the beach over and over and over again.  We both got small injuries on our fingers from the spinning kite string holder and by the time we were done we were both sweating and super frustrated!  We called in local help:

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This is Hailee…

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…and within minutes she had her kite flying so happily that she tied it to a piece of driftwood and came and helped us fly ours!

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Between her and Alex it wasn’t long before our kite was flying happily too.  I look forward to learning how to fly our kite this evening from these 14 year old experts!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fun at the beach

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We are spending our 11th anniversary week at the beach!  We are having tons of fun in the sand, although it’s been raining so far.  We are hoping to end our trip with a bit of sun.  ;)

Here are some of our pictures so far.  It’s beautiful here with my wonderful family.   This is truly a blessed life.

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What’s hiding under my coat?

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This sweet little guy doesn’t know what to think of this new environment… but he’s curious and enjoys peeking out and seeing what his siblings are doing.

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Hope you all are having a wonderful week!!

Blessings,

Val

Hold the wheel and drive…

I have had this song on my queue for years… I have always liked it but not really heard it until these last few weeks.  Now I LOVE it!  These lyrics are so true to my life right now…  Lots of changes.  Lots of conviction.  Lots of new direction and yet, simple changes. 

Drive by Incubus

Sometimes, I feel the fear of,
uncertainty stinging clear.
And I can't help but ask
myself how much I'll let the fear
take the wheel and steer.
It's driven me before, and it seems to a faint,
haunting mass appeal.
But lately I, am beginning to find that I,
should be the one behind the wheel.

Chorus:

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there,
with open arms and open eyes, yeah.
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there,
I'll be there....

So if I, decide to waiver my,
chance to be one of, the hive.
Will I, choose water over wine
and hold my own and drive?
It's driven me before, and it seems to be the way,
that everyone else gets around,
But lately I'm, beginning to find that,
When I drive myself my light is found.

Chorus:

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there,
with open arms and open eyes, yeah.
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there,
I'll be there....

Would you choose, water over wine?
Hold the wheel and drive...

Chorus:

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there,
with open arms and open eyes, yeah.
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there,
I'll be there....

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Down with sippy cups!

I know it seems logical that the larger the chemical load in your system, the higher the likelihood for certain diseases… scratch that… for all diseases.  But I had no idea how uncommon of an idea that was until this study was put up as a brand new idea:

   Presidents Cancer Panel says ‘Eat Organic, Avoid Plastic’

I thought that logic was what separated us from the animals... apparently it's apathy.  Who knew?  But in honor of that jump in human history, I have, once again, gone through my kitchen getting rid of plastics.  I didn’t have much left.  Lids mostly.  But I have often seen the last things to go be bottles and sippy cups.  To me, sippy cups were the first plastic things I wanted out of my house and yet one of the last to go.  It just seemed so wrong that our smallest, youngest humans were being tested on in this new ‘lets turn oil into products to hold food in’ experiment.  And yet, they are so very very convenient.  It was really hard to let go of the wonder of the spill proof cup!

About a year ago, a friend of mine and I were discussing plastic cups driving home from Ikea.  We were chatting and both of us were frustrated because we both had kids that were either very young, prone to spilling things, or both.  We wanted something spill resistant, that would fit in a cup holder, that was not plastic(That conversation was recapped in this post from January.) 

The next afternoon she called me to tell me how proud I would be of her for using the drill as she made her and her children sippy cup lids for the tiny glass jelly jars!  It grew from there.  I found the perfect 10 oz jars,  she found (guaranteed not to break!) glass straws, I found stainless steal straws (the glass ones are prettier, but my kids like the normal straw width of the stainless ones).  We morphed our idea again and again, but all the while getting closer to exactly what we wanted.  A not plastic cup that fit in a cup holder that was resistant to spills. 

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This is the final product.

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Glass sippies in action!

(Yes I bribed him with a sucker to get him to sit in the ‘baby’s stroller’.) 

We haven’t broken one.  And we use they every day.  Mostly we drink water, but we have done smoothies, juice, and even coconut milk shakes in them and the glass doesn’t hold a smell like sippy cups either!  Another bonus!

So now my kids have these awesome travel cups that are not plastic… but what about me?  I was still adding to my body’s chemical load with my favorite Starbucks cup-with-straw.  I am constantly drinking water out of it.  I needed a bigger jar than 10 oz.  Finally (after lots of searching!) I found this company:

CPS Container and Packing Supply Company

And they have this…  a 16 oz jar that has a small base.  To top it all off, they will send me a sample for free of each of their jars that may fit my requirements and one of each of their lids.  They are currently in the mail coming to my door.  I am in the process of making a tutorial for these sippy cups (they are super simple, promise) and am hoping that one of the metal lids will work to get the plastic out of them entirely.

Here’s hoping!

Technical issues

I am so sorry for missing posts, missing comments, changed posts…  I am not really sure what’s going on, but I do know that Blogger is having technical issues…. and I am going to the beach for my 11th anniversary trip today.  (YAY!)  I set up posts, but I am not sure if they will work as all of the posts I have done in the last week have been changed or just not shown up at all.  I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and beginning of your week!

Blessings,

Val

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Another kind of Mother’s Day gift ~ Giving myself some grace and getting real

IMG_1504-1(This is a picture taken by my 4 yr old last week.  Notice the screaming baby, the reflux meds on the counter, and the dishes behind me in the sink and on the stove.  This is all completely normal.)

Lately, I have been having these thoughts… these thoughts that I should really have everything together.  After all, I have a really wonderful life… so I should be able to be wonderful and pulled together in it.  I should be able to do my workout in the morning, remember to take a shower, look nice, make full meals, and plan fun things for my kids school days, bake my own bread, make sure that everyone brushes their teeth, read bedtime stories and grow nourishing incredible food.  My inability to get all of these things done each day (and more) was weighing on my self-esteem.  I spent weeks wondering why I just couldn’t keep up with the laundry.  Why every time I walked out of the house for even just a little while to myself, I came home and found 25 things I should have been doing?

I needed to get real.  The truth is, as much as I get done in a day, I still can not ‘do it all’.  My kids nails go unclipped, we miss whole school days because I haven’t done laundry in a week and it is threatening to take over the school room, sometimes my kids eat nothing all day but apples and granola bars.  Often I wear a shirt with baby spit up on it because I am avoiding putting the one I have on in my laundry Mt Everest.

So, In honor of my ability to pull my hair into a pony tail so I can skip a shower, I will share with you my daily uniform. 

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Hair up, t-shirt over tank top over industrial strength nursing bra, a pair of jeans, and Cons. 

Does anyone else have a daily uniform?  If you do, please share! 

Friday, May 06, 2011

{this moment} ~ science center

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

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Hope you all have a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

DF/SF me ~ Almond ‘Whipping Cream’

In the joys of being dairy free there are a few major drawbacks.  Whipping cream being one of them.  Luckily, I always have raw almonds on hand and I learned a trick in our tighter budget days.  If we were without the quickly perishable whipping cream, I would make this smooth almond ‘cream’ instead.  We all love it, I already know how to make it, and it is completely dairy free.

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Ingredients:  Raw almonds, almond milk (water works just fine), and maple syrup.

This is my strategy.  First I soak the almonds in water overnight.

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Then I peel the almonds.  The skins come off very easily.  With just a little pressure they ‘pop’ out of the skins.  Be careful… a few could end up flying across your kitchen!

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I just cover the peeled almonds with almond milk or water and add 1 Tbs of maple syrup (add 2 Tbs if you are using plain water).

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Then I stick blend away!  It takes several minutes to get the right consistency, but it is completely worth it.  With in a few minutes, you have sweet ‘cream’ that you can put on pancakes, crepes, etc. 

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You can do this easily in a blender or a Vitamix, but I love my stick blender because it doesn’t dirty up another dish.  Just the mason jar, and I can store it in the jar too!

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Kids tested, mother approved!  ;)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I thought this was fantastic!

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What I love about you ~ Luke, 10 weeks

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I love how you coo and kick your feet at me when you want me to pick you up.  And how serious you get if I don’t do it right away.

I love how your bottom jaw jiggles when you get nervous or over stimulated.

I love it when you lay your head against me when I hold you.  And how you hold on to me when we dance.

I adore the way you tuck your head into the sling when you want to fall asleep. 

I love the way you want it dark when you fall asleep, and that you are sensitive to everything.  Noise, sights, light, sounds…  sometimes it’s overwhelming for you, but I know that this world isn’t going to take you by surprise.  You are going to see it all.

You are such a gift, my sweet little man. 

Sunday, May 01, 2011

What I love about you ~ Logan, 4 yrs & 3 months

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I love your spirit.  You have SUCH personality.  You can make anyone laugh.  And you don’t mind laughing at yourself.

I love your wit.  You are quite the smart little cookie.

I love your view of the world.  It’s all a game.  If I set a timer to make you go faster, somehow, that is the sugar to your spoonful of medicine. 

I adore the way you draw!  Your creatures that you create are so alive and full of fun. 

I love that you eat three breakfasts most mornings.  My sweet little Hobbit.

Most of all, I love that you are not afraid to be you.  Ever.  You will ask for the things you want and fight for what you believe in and I can see that carrying you through many of the trials of life. 

You are beautiful, my sweet little boy!