9.30.2012

happy birthday baby

you know, once you have kids birthdays just aren't that fantastic anymore. or maybe it's just us. yesterday was ty's birthday. he came home from a scout camp out, ate grandma's chocolate chip pancakes, took a nap, and then we went out alone thanks to grandma and grandpa leavitt. it was his night out so we did whatever he wanted. what did that include? picking up some tools, going to ace hardware and eating chinese food.  man, i wish i was a dude sometimes. so simple right?


anyways, happy birthday to you ty (when you eventually read this).
i can't believe you put up with all of my crazies and still come home everyday. 
you are a rock.

 ty and rodney, october 2011
 ty and rodney, june 2012
ty and phoebe, september 2009

something about ty has always drawn me so deeply toward him. from his low key demeanor that balances me out, to the way it felt when we held hands the first time (major electrocution, i'm not even kidding you), and the smile he gives when he holds our babies.


 ty is an awesome dad, an awesome husband and an awesome friend. 
and i'm not just throwing awesome in there lightly. 

9.28.2012

giving up sugar...is hard.

things have been difficult since i quit sugar. i feel like i'm in middle school all over again, everything is new. i don't really feel like i fit in, and i'm trying to figure out who i am.  all of my old recipes make me sad. all of the new recipes seem overwhelming. people keep offering me sweets, all. the. time. i know they mean well, but somedays it really hurts.

some people think i'm being overdramatic about not having refined white sugar at all (which, for me, wouldn't be a long shot). but most people don't know the truth behind my sugar addiction, and how absolutely fabulous my life is without it. i feel like i've been let out of prison without parole and can do whatever i want now.

have i gone 100% free? nope. i had 2 smores when we went camping. a few sips of lemonade. sometimes the kids don't finish their ice cream and i've had a few bites. little things here and there, but i haven't beaten myself up about it. i don't want to fall off the wagon completely just because of a few slips. and honestly, the little bites here and there don't even taste that great anymore. 

i still am sensitive though, and learning how this new lifestyle is going to be. holidays, birthdays, celebrations are different. making a treat takes a lot more preparation and moolah that's for sure. learning how to deal with daily parenting stresses is still a conundrum.

but something else weird has finally started happening, i'm losing weight. it kind of surprised me, because i had given up on that as a goal. when i first cut out sugar i didn't lose anything. not one pound. it was depressing for sure, but as that wasn't my main reason i just let it slide. i stopped weighing myself and paying attention, because i didn't want that stopping my hard work. but people started saying things, and i just brushed it off. they are just trying to be nice. nothing has really changed. but then i started paying a little more attention, and, well, all of a sudden my shirts are a baggier, and my pants are starting to fall down. and my old "skinny" clothes are fitting just fine. and i'm not even kidding you, yesterday i started to freak out because i weighed myself and i have lost weight. "i'm losing weight but nothing has changed!" i cried.  i was sure something was wrong, and even called dr. brother to confirm my paranoia.

but then after thinking for a minute (really, why didn't i do this first?) i realized that  i'm not up at midnight eating an entire bag of peanut m&m's anymore. and i'm not hiding cake from my kids so i can eat it anymore either. i'm not eating an entire costco package of cinnabon's by myself no mo.  i've also started eating smaller portion sizes, not on purpose, i just don't crave things like a used to. it's such a strange feeling to not feel hungry all the time, hence the paranoia that something is wrong.

it's been 4 months of no bingeing, and it's finally started to show up in other places other than in my brain. and you know what? it's really nice.

*i have to add that i have only been able to give up sugar through the twelve step program, and learning how to love myself first. i don't think you can hate yourself healthy.

9.25.2012

recipes for fall

no cute pictures here guys, just two recipes that you absolutely must make in the fall. (thanks mel! and your welcome steph!)

Grandma Gold's Bran Muffins
(as my mom so famously says, these have "go power") hehehehe

Ingredients:
4 cups All Bran
2 cups Nabisco 100% Bran
(Total 6 cups. Sometimes I just use 6 cups of whichever of the bran cereals I can find.)
2 cups boiling water
1 cup buttermilk (1 Cup of milk + 1 T vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes.)

2 and 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
4 eggs, beaten
5 cups flour (i used fresh ground whole wheat and it added a beautiful nutty flavor)
4 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Mix sour milk if needed. 
Combine 6 cups of bran cereal, water, and milk in a separate bowl. Put aside.
Cream shortening, sugar and eggs in a different bowl.
Stir in baking soda and salt.
Slowly add bran mixture to creamed mixture.
Slowly add flour to mix.
Do not over beat.
Putin cupcake liners in muffin tins, fill 2/3 full.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Can leave dough in fridge for up to two weeks.
***post edit**** when an old recipe calls for sugar, i just subsitute 1:1 ratio of sucanat, that is sold at our local health food store. shortening i usually substitute with coconut oil, but didn't this time : (.

Mexicali Elk Chili
if you just went, "ew, elk!" you have to try this chili. you would never know the difference, and you can easily subsititute ground turkey.

Ingredients:
4 tsp olive oil
1 large, seeded and diced green pepper (i omit this cuz i never have one on hand)
1/3 c onion, diced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 tsp chili powder (or to taste, i usually half it)
12 oz ground elk or lean ground turkey
1 1/2 cups tomato chunks in liquid
1 can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup cooked kidney beans (or canned and drained)
1 tsp granulated fructose or sugar
1/2 tsp salt 
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (i usually half this too for the kidlets)
2 oz shredded monterrey jack cheese 
1 1/2 oz tortilla chips

Heat olive oil in skillet on moderate heat, saute peppers, onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder. Add ground elk (turkey) and cook, stirrying frequently till browned. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, sugar, salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a slow boil. Add up to 3/4 cup of water to thin sauce. Add tomato sauce. Simmer for 20 minutes. 

Add chips and cheese in individual servings. Enjoy!

I triple or quadruple this for large family gatherings or camping trips. It's easy peasy lemon squeezy and fills you up.


9.24.2012

phoebe is three

 every few days phoebe still likes to play in rodney's bouncer. it's awesome, she still isn't growing up too fast in my opinion. this is her in the morning while i vacuumed.

 the frei family graciously lent us their horse for phoebe's birthday. because, you know, she's is obsessed and all. we felt a horse birthday was perfect for her.
birthdays don't get any better than this, and this is when we enjoy having 2 acres.
 cousin ari and rodney. the little babies loved the horse just as much as the girls. everyone got to ride twice and was in heaven.
 audrey lytle made the cake for phoebe. i'm still trying to find my ground on birthdays, the older girls expect a cute cake, but i don't have any sugar in the house anymore. audrey's fundraiser saved the day.
 so stinking cute.
 i had to put in this picture. you could tell phoebe was the 3rd child. all those girls scrambled for every present and she didn't even fuss. it was hilarious watching them topple over each other. and look, there's jenni taking care of rodney. love.
many people know that phoebe was a lot of work to get here. they say it takes a village to raise a child, and it's true. but everyone we know (and even don't know!) love phoebe just as much as we do. she has an amazing way of captivating your heart. it will be exciting to watch her life unfold.

9.23.2012

a cluster

yesterday was the full on wedding. all day long.

we survived! and nothing horrible happened! and there was a goat at the reception!

all stories coming soon, it was a fabulous day.

but tonight we celebrated my dad's birthday, tomorrow is phoebe's 3rd birthday and ty's b-day this weekend. so i am jam packed to the brim (plus i'm sick on top of that all too).

ty's aunt corinne sent me this picture from yesterday (i didn't bring my camera. dur) and ty and i just laughed and laughed. 9 and a half years ago ty's cousin ari didn't like being a flower girl too much either at our wedding. we almost have an identical picture of her running away like this.

ps-isn't little rodney a total stud? i swoon. 

9.22.2012

big day today

 happy birthday dad! today is your 73rd birthday. thanks for always being the best dad for me.
and today is little aunt taryn's wedding! except she isn't so little anymore, i swear yesterday she was 8.

9.21.2012

to my little children,

i lie awake most nights wondering what you will remember about your childhood. will you remember the good little glimpses of each day? when you all laugh and tickle daddy, or help me grind wheat and are so proud of how strong you were? will you remember all the nights that we tucked you in, and read to you, and prayed with you and washed your hair? these are the moments i cling my memories too.

i know that you will remember the daily things that happen here that are not good. the sibling rivalry fights, the lost toy tears, the dirty shirt woes 10 minutes before the bus comes. the tired and cranky mom that yells when you dawdle, or yells when you aren't listening, or yells when you hit each other. the cereal dinners and the hot lunch days. the stressful sunday mornings. the crying, the crying, oh the crying in the car.

i worry about you the most lucy. i worry because i had to learn how to be a mom with you, and i'm still learning. i've made all my mistakes on you, and i still am messing up every day. you had to deal with my depression bouts and took all the heat. you had to be the one that i potty trained and i'm always sorry for that.  i expect so much out of you, because i know you have the capacity to be so good, so kind, so obedient.  i forget that you are a child and are learning too. i worry so much because your siblings love you and want to be just like you, the good and the bad. i think that's why i try to force so much good out of you.

i worry that you all will think that i didn't enjoy being a mother. because i'm always complaining about how tired i am, and how stressed i am, and oh, how i can't get anything done around here. i worry that you see my face when people say, "wow! all 4 are yours?" and i laugh and ask, "yes, would you like one or two?".  i'm just being sarcastic, that's something you won't understand for many years. mom's sarcastic and she's trying to get better, ok?

i do love all of you. each and every one of you. from each hair on your head to your toenails that grow freakishly fast.  i don't regret any of your pregnancies, or what you did to my body and my brain (both are mush now). i don't mind the wrinkles and stretch marks. i don't mind the grey hairs and the red eyes from late nights. i don't mind that you are all pukers whenever anything hits the house. i don't mind that you are all loud and rambunctious. i don't mind that i don't have nice clothes or nice hair. i don't mind that you all want my attention all the time, every day.

i do mind that you are good and kind. honest and thoughtful. prayerful and thankful. all your dad and i have ever wanted for your lives was happiness and kindness. we are tying to give that to you, but know that we aren't perfect and we are trying. and if you read this before you have kids, wait a few years and read it again. and then call me and forgive me for all the mistakes i've made. i'm pretty sure i'll lie awake 30 years from now still worrying about each and every one of you.

love,
mom

9.16.2012

last minute trips

i have to admit publicly, last minute things freak me out now. i used to love the freedom of something spontaneous and last minute. one of my favorite memories from college is when my roommate carrie and i decided to go to jackson hole, wyoming and were out the door in 20 minutes. we stayed in a crusty hotel along the highway and both ordered revo styler's from an informercial.  hahahahaha. we both have frizzy curly hair and were sure our hairstyling issues were over.

but short trips now, that don't include something mandatory like a wedding, funeral or graduation? the idea that the packing and unpacking and laundry will take more of my time and effort than the trip itself literally keeps me at home.

luckily ty's parents gave us some free tickets to a Dodger's and we decided to go (thanks again!). it was nice not to have to pack everything this time. i put two outfits for the kids (just in case), and one for ty and me. lots of diapers (cuz you never know, you know), wipes and toys and we were off. we picked up ty at work, ate some lunch and drove like crazy to beat traffic.

the game? perfect. home runs, scores on both sides, great seats, great food, fireworks in left field afterwards. the kids were in heaven. i probably only saw 10 minutes of the game total. if i wasn't trekking back and forth for food or water, it was a bathroom trip. if i actually was sitting in my seat, i was so tired i just phased out and stared at the grassy outfield field or the 3rd baseman's butt. so green! so firm!

the kids were great and went to hog heaven on the free food. and boy, did we pay for it that night. i achieved 90 minutes sleep somewhere between sharing the bed with rodney, him throwing up on me 3 times, phoebe falling out of bed, abby waking up and puking, and all of us coughing with a terrible cold ALL NIGHT LONG.

and something must be off balance in our brains, because despite all of that  we still had a great time. we stayed the night in chinatown (we needed something as close to the stadium as possible, and it was). but after that night we walked around the block once to sight see, picked up some sweet halloween costumes and got in the car before anyone puked again (too late- abby barfed on the 210).

 us stalking andre etheir and his physical trainer.
 rodney wanted to walk up and down the stairs the entire game. 
see that ball he's holding? bobby abreu's brother gave it to phoebe. crazy huh?
 abby and phoebe were brave enough to ask for andre etheir's autograph. phoebe's voice was so cute, "will you please sign my ball?" she squeaked out while holding it in front of his face. he even chatted (or tried to) to the girls and it froze them solid.  a really nice player in my humble opinion. and easy on the eyes too. : )
 daddy and rodney were  in heaven.
rodney kept pointing and  saying. "baball, baball, baball, baball" and "ba, ba ba" (bat) 
he's officially brainwashed now.
 guess what? it was mexican independence day, so we were treated to watching fireworks on the outfield after the game. and we're not even mexican! i even got some new song ideas for zumba too.
 it was pretty cool to be able to touch the grass and walk out there. especially for the dudes.

 chinatown...was hot and sunny. the girls kept asking, "why are they holding umbrellas, it's not raining?" hahahaha. i loved the little old china men that just sat, smoked and people watched on the corner. i guess that's their retirement plan.
 something about palm trees in a straight line really calls to me. 

everyone went from kind of sick before the trip, to gosh awful sick afterwards. but as of tonight, we seem (please be true) to be on the up and up and i'm glad i went. it's nice to feel like we can go places now, but i really really really don't want to go anywhere for a long time.  i'm tired.

9.11.2012

the ironic road trip

This past road trip was the best one we have ever taken, but it was also the worst one the kids have ever given us. I don’t know if that even makes sense. The first hour and a half the baby screamed at the top of his lungs. The entire 90 minutes was migraine splitting screams. How did we survive that? He settled down after that, and I think between the 11 hour drive up and the 14 hour back home, we gave him 299 bottles of almond milk (can’t really take goats milk with you on the road ya know). I stocked up on dollar gifts for the girls, one for each stop we would make. Each toy would last approximately 4 minutes, and then they would start arguing over whose marker was whose, and stop touching me, and don’t lick me, and Phoebe’s staring at me! (Rodney did not like one single toy we gave him, all he wanted to do was WALK OUTSIDE). Lucy’s forte was the quintessential trip question: When will we get there? When will we get there? When will we get there? As we were pulling a trailer, we couldn’t give her a definitive answer, “I don’t know Lucy, when we get there we get there”.

 It wasn’t your usual trip either.
We had 3 flats through the week. Everyone was hungry, all the time. Someone spilled their water, every single night. Rodney cried if he couldn’t be outside walking. Phoebe wanted to sleep with us every night (she usually does this on trips). Lucy and Abby, and Abby and Phoebe fought about everything if they were in the trailer. So we just kicked them outside and told them to figure it out. I don't handle small spaces very well.

So how could it possibly be one of the best trips we’ve ever taken? I don’t know, but it truly was. The second day of driving we were scheduled to get gas in Austin, Nevada. I hadn’t driven through Austin in years, it is one of my favorite little mining towns in the entire world. As we slowed down into town, we were so excited to see a brand new park there. “Ooh! A park!” I yelled to Ty and pointed. “Pull over!”  We took an hour break eating snacks, playing with furry catipillars, ty and I lying on the green grass while the girls ran around and Rodney tackled us. It was so quiet there, and life slowed down just enough for me to get a taste of it. And I must say, despite all of my whining and complaining and woismeing, I actually do enjoy my life right now. We are lucky enough to have four beautiful children with us. We left the ipad at home, and spent an entire week with each other and no cell phone service or internet. Not one movie was seen in 7 days, or cartoon, or episode of Arthur (the girls’ favorite right now). And we were completely content and peaceful.


lucy, with her eagle eyes, found the cutest, furriest catipillars i have ever seen.
abby, the champion car trip child of the century. 

rodney, walking! he had just started and pretty much learned how to walk on dirt and cactus. he is now a pro on carpet and tile.
that picture creeps me out.
rodney, really really really wanted lucy's catipillar. luckily, he never got it. can you imagine? squoosh!
the view from my mini-siesta on the grass
paradise, nevada had some pretty cool old buildings.
we had a full red moon the second night from all of the northern california fires. it was cool and creepy all at once.

The one small miracle of the trip? Through all of the chaos we didn’t fight one time. Now, maybe other couples have wonderful trips together, and don’t’ argue. But boy, if it comes to driving in traffic, parking or where to stop and eat or stay, Ty and I bicker a lot about those things on trips. (this is when i'm hoping that i'm sharing this because it's the norm. now i'm thinking all the married couples are going, "wow, they fight on trips? think they'll ever make it?"  You should have seen us at the T terminal in Boston in 2004. It was almost a knockdowndragout fight over which was the right subway line to Cambridge. Anyways, we didn’t argue at all this time.  It was so wonderful.
 ty wants to buy this old saloon some day, and turn it into a bed and breakfast.
 creepy fact: someone was living inside there, all unibomber style.
petting the unibomber's cat

When we came home I told Ty, “you know, we must have a really good marriage.” “Why is that?” he asked, while checking on his ebay account. “Because,” I said, “we were together for a week and I didn’t get tired of you at all.” “yeah, I didn’t get tired of you either.”  Now how does that not make it a great trip? Walking away I blurted,  “  I didn’t get tired of the kids either.” And for all 6 of us being in a pick up truck cab, or trailer or ranger for 6 days straight, that is more than a small modern miracle.

9.09.2012

a guacamole recipe

i've noticed i haven't been taking many pictures of the kids lately. or writing about the kids lately, but dear older self, don't think that that means nothing has been happening. an entire titanic load of full days have been going on. mostly good, some bad, some really bad, but i have felt so busy (and kind of blah lately) that there hasn't been time to write. but guess what? avocados are in season and i made my favorite guacamole today while everyone napped after church.

 it is such a great recipe i had to share, i've been using it for years:

3 ripe avocados
1/2 juice of a fresh lime (i don't have a juicer so i hand squeeze an entire one)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (can subsitute dried parsley if you are out of cilantro)
1/2 red or purple onion, minced well (i use whatever onions i have around)
1 garlic clove, pressed
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taster

*From Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet Book

**ps- ty and i tried to start watching 24 on netflix because of all the rave reviews. but we just don't get it. after 5 episodes we aren't hooked and there is a lot of stuff i would rather not see or think about on there (especially if it isn't based on a true story). i am getting old and boring very quickly.  so we watched Shaun the Sheep instead. have you guys watched those with your kids? HILARIOUS.

9.05.2012

switch a room

phoebe's room has always been the island of misfit toys. yes, her crib and belongings were in there, but they never quite...belonged. does that make sense? it was always messy, and i mean ALWAYS MESSY. yes, i just cyber screamed that.

for a few months i've had the idea of moving the two older chromosomal offspring into her room (it has a bathroom) and moving phoebe into theirs. a good old swaparoo. and monday, i decided around noon to just do it. i'm still sore today from it too, well that and weed eating the front lawn. yikes.

i can't tell you how delighted we are with the outcome. the girls have a beautiful room that fits them just perfectly. i'm excited to make some artwork and frame some of their new family photos for the walls.

phoebe's room is now the "nursery". you know, just like in marry poppins where they sleep and play in the same place? and without the two twin beds, it is ginormous! we still have the daybed and trundle, so when company comes (hint hint) we have the girls' guest room with a bathroom, and the girls have real beds to sleep in in the nursery. yes, i spent a lot of time planning this all out even though we've only had visitors a few times in 2 years.

it was just the needed change in the house that has set me back on the warpath. i am happy cleaning, and cleaning happily. i have my checklist of several areas left to "declutter" and "organize" and our house is slowly getting to be the home that i envisioned. (minus the white marble countertops i covet. i am an evil human being)

ps- phoebe's closet consists of two shower curtain rods. aren't we all better homes and gardens? try not to be jealous. you can bet your bottom dollar that the shelves will be put in "sooner" than "later".  love you ty! good thing his labor is free. hehehe.
the girls love their room. phoebe loves her room, but it's rather large and she has been a little scared the last few nights. nothing a little lullaby cd can't remedy though.


*post edit* i just realized that this sounded like moving rooms was full of sunshine and roses. it wasn't, lucy helped me a lot in the beginning and then fizzled out. typical 7 year old. i found stashed messes of garbage and toys in hidden corners e v e r y w h e r e. i did find the last state to our US puzzle! i also got stuck moving the daybed, in the middle of the hallways. and i'm not even kidding you, i had to get the screwdriver, squeeze out from under the frame, and take it apart right there. i was that stuck. and i was hot a sweaty and cursing a little under my breath. all the hard work was worth it though.  life is so funny that way.

seen and heard: texts at 5pm

none of these texts were edited and were sent between my sister sarah and i from 4:40 - 5:00pm while making dinner:

me: i wish we could go work out at gold's together tonight

sarah:ditto : ) that would be so fun, especially if you fell off an elliptical. : )

*funny story. let's just say some people can wave while they are on an elliptical, and some people can not.

me: or hit myself with a skull crusher.

*another funny story, and true.

sarah: um yes, that would be pretty awesome right now : )  (she really likes the smiley faces eh?)

me: who knew that someday i would prefer smacking my forehead with a dumbbell over making dinner?

sarah: i am laughing so hard right now. you have to write that one down.

me: who knew that someday i would prefer smacking my forehead with a dumbbell over making dinner? ....was it funny a second time?

sarah: oh yeah. you are so stinkin funny.

me: i am to please. happy tuesday.

sarah: well thanks honeybunch. have fun tonight.

me: oh i am going to have a blast at 9pm when everyone is asleep and zumba is over.

sarah: you know it.


i love my sisters. there's nothing quite like them is there?
December, 1987 Phoenix
me and little dog! (i loved that stinkin dog), grandma gold, katie, edith, sarah and shanna. 

9.04.2012

under-qualified


in one of ty's business classes he read a book about higher level management. one statement said that most CEO's, CFO's and whatever whatnot upper head boss people were actually severely under-qualified for the job. they had just played their cards right and climbed the ladder. most of them should have stayed one or two levels below their job.

i feel like our last two babies were two job climbing levels that put me at a really high management level for our family. and i am, most definitely, without a doubt, not cut out for this CEO position.

how on earth did you raise 7 kids mom?

oh well, happy tuesday!

9.01.2012

did you hear?

one of the main reasons for our camping trip is that we were going hunting.
ty has hunted since he was 12, it's a very strong family tradition.
this year we made a huge compromise, and i put in for hunting. (i'll let you know what i got of the compromise later...hehehe)

i have been on multiple hunting trips, but never witnessed any "shooting" part of it.
ever.

i've always been anti hunting when it comes to it as a "sport".
i feel a great responsibility to be respectful to animals and harvest for meat.
we have been eating only wild game meat for the last year.
i haven't cooked or purchased beef in forever it seems.

and  so, in some unfortunate mischance, i drew a tag.
ty was ecstatic.
i was "meh".

we left on the trip. i was super excited for the "camping" part, that comes to me like a duck to water. but the "hunting" part? no clue what to do whatsoever. i wasn't worried, as ty would be there to help me out.

well, that's not how things worked out at all. and the "Hunting" experience was completely different than i imagined. it was crazy stressful and crazy with 4 kids in tow.

i'll write the whole story soon. but for now, know that i surprised everyone, even myself. 

the main part i am proud of is that i provided a years worth of jerky for ty's lunches.
look at me. i'm a provider.

*ps i thought i would feel remorseful over killing a beautiful wild beast.


i didn't. at all.
 (what does that mean? ahhh!!!)
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