Thursday, August 10, 2017

Vacation Ramblings

I never really claimed to be a writer. True, I write, but I'm not sure any of it is good or entertaining. However, I wrote a little on this trip. I tried to capture some of the more precious moments. I felt so connected to this trip. I can't explain the feeling I had, the need I had (see not a great writer). Anyway, here are some of my ramblings... Good... Bad... Indifferent. Probably more for me and my recollection later in life, but maybe you'll enjoy them too.

Many times, its the small things we miss. The little details that dont amount to anything. However, on this trip, i happened to be reading a book about being happy. A book that just happened to point out the things we wish we'd have done the first time around. Like dancing in the rain, picking daisies, and just living in the moment. And so, I stopped reading and I read. I read billboards with their advertisements for adult care facilities, local liquor stores and fast food eateries. With Looney Toons as the soundtrack, I watched as cotton ball type clouds slowly transform to turtles and dinosaurs in the sky above me. Trees and grass flew by in blur as flatlands of Florida turned to rolling hills of Georgia. I broke into song, to the dismay of the rest of the car, the moment we passed the Georgia state line singing "Georgia on my Mind". I daydreamed while passing pecan trees of laying under them basking in the shade that their leaves provided, feeling the breeze tickle my cheeks. You see, it had only just started, but the end was so near. I knew this week would fly by, but I wanted to savor it all.

Looking into the back seat, I see flush cheeks and flittering eyelids of a sleeping toddler, the sun soaked chestnut hair and mirrored sunglasses of a teenage girl who has no idea how beautiful she is and the look of concentration on a little boys face as he's trying to watch his vintage cartoons on a very modern Mac computer while eating yogurt pretzels.

As if to further drive home the point, we passed an accident involving an RV. The RV had completely rolled over, windshield shattered, parts and pieces scattered all over and a fire rescue truck with a wench trying to pull it out. In a split second, their vacation was over. No more "are we there yet"'s, no excited fits of laughter as they approached their destination, just over.

In a moment, it all makes sense. In a moment, I realized how much we need this, how much I need this. I'm starting this trip with a desire, no physical need, to imprint it in my memory. To love every minute of it and not sweat the small things that may happen. I feel this overwhelming pull to just be present. Ironically, as I write that, I'm not actually being present because I'm writing. Or maybe that is being present and mindful, because I'm documenting it.

Crunch crunch crunch
"What are you eating?" I asked
"Carrots" mumbled Amber
"I thought you didn't want veggies." The only reply I got was two brown eyes rolled in my direction.

"Hayden kiss" is heard from the backseat. "Mama hurt. Hayden kiss," the sweetest little voice ever begs. "Where does it hurt, bubba," Hayden asks. At that moment a little foot was flung into the air and Hayden leaned over to kiss his brothers foot.

Winding back country roads with mountains painting the back drop are one of my favorite things, besides beach sunrises and river sunsets. We're passing cute little country mercantiles selling jams and jellies and run down salvage yards with lined with cars from a far away time. Then quickly the scenery changes to gated subdivisions with lavish entry ways and even more extravagant houses, but quickly back to corn fields and "See Rock City" signs painted on tin roofs. Cleared valleys peppered with cattle lay beautifully between the mountain ridges.

Giggles of pure joy radiate from the back seat as the toddler figures out how to spin a fidget spinner on his knee. I look back to see the wonder and pride on his face as he taps it to spin it more. Joyfully he exclaimed "woooow!! I did!!"

It's a lazy morning. Sausage sizzled in the pan, bacon filled the house with its glorious aroma and bread browned in the toaster. Plates are made, coffee is poured and we enjoy our breakfast on the back porch in the 66 degree weather. Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

10:30 and we are all still in our pj's. I couldn't ask for more. The one draw back is the yellow jackets flying around. "They won't sting you if leave them alone." Hummingbirds and butterflies fly by with the mountains in the distance. Hud proclaims "Mountains good!" while a gentle breeze blows. Hayden sits with his favorite book, Animal Encyclopedia.

Old school rap fills the air. Songs like Me, Myself & I from De La Sol and Paul Revere by the Beastie Boys fill me with nostalgia for my childhood. Ironically, this trip has brought us back to a simpler time. No phones, no internet, no social media. The black out has been nice. We've been filling our time with coloring, board games, reading, family movies and primitive cabin games. Laughing and each other as we try to sing songs from memory has been my favorite. It's like we are living on our own musical. We cheer as Oowa gets the ring on the hook after numerous misses. The toddler stomps and dances his way down the porch. Oowa starts singing "Free falling, now I'm free falling" as Jon sweeps a spider off the porch.

Until we vacation again...

to the moon and back,

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Do Gooder

In a world where being cynical, critical, and even hateful is glorified, we must be do-gooders.

But more importantly,

We must raise do-gooders... Strong, compassionate, loving do-gooders.

We must raise our children to stand up for the little guys.

We must raise them to not be bullies but also not be pushovers.

We must teach them to listen... by listening to them.

We must teach them to speak up... by letting them be honest with us, even when it's not easy to hear.

We must teach them to spread sincere compliments like sprinkles... by truly complimenting them.

We must teach them to be helpers... by helping them when they need it, by taking them to places where they can help, charity events, churches, homeless shelters, etc

We must teach them to be encouragers... by not only encouraging them, but also others you encounter.

We must teach them to not measure their worth by what others think... by not comparing them or ourselves to classmates/co-workers/people/celebrities/etc around us.

We must teach them to take initiative... by showing them that they have the power to do things, they are smart enough, strong enough, bold enough...

We must raise them to be confident in who they are... by demonstrating confidence.

We have to teach them to get involved, to make a difference... by helping them choose something they are passionate about and getting them out there working towards it.

It's cool to find fault in every little thing, to not ever admit you like something. Is it because we are afraid to be embarrassed? Are we afraid to be vulnerable? Are we afraid of what others may think? Let's love more - openly, let's speak more kind words - to everyone, let's like what we like and not worry what anyone else thinks - ever. Our littles learn not only by doing, but also by what they see. What do they see in you?

None of are perfect, certainly not me, but we have to start somewhere. We have to start making changes where we can because, until we do, nothing will change.

Be a do-gooder... Raise a do-gooder... Make a generation of do-gooders.


to the moon and back,

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

21 Day Sugar Detox - Day 9

Here's my quick day 9 update on our 21 Day Sugar Detox journey.

It's going so much better than I had expected. I think I had built it up in my mind as completely unattainable for me and that's really not the case at all. I mean, I am only doing the least restrictive level, so maybe that's why.

Here are a few answers to questions that I'm sure you are all wondering about:

How easy is it? It does take prep time, I'm not going to lie. The first week took a LOT of prep, but this week I'm more comfortable with it, so I can wing it a little more. However, lunches still need to be planned out because there are no "convenience" stops for food unless you just pick up veggies at a 7-Eleven. Dinners are home cooked, if we eat out, its based on what we can eat. Ruby Tuesday and their "garden bar" has been fantastic so far.

What do I miss the most? In short... coffee creamer... That has been the hardest to give up, but I'm starting to get used to the taste of coffee with half and half. I mean, sure, a donut would be nice, but really, there's nothing I'm dying to have. Believe it or not, I don't feel like I'm depriving myself. I'll let you know if that changes.

Do I notice any changes? Yes, first off, I have so much more energy. It's crazy. I can actually work a full day and still come home an get stuff done around the house, cook dinner and play with the kids without feeling like I need a nap. There have been days lately that I can't function without a nap of some sort, but now I don't feel like it. I actually feel like getting off the couch and doing something. That reason alone makes it worth it for me.

I haven't weighed myself, so not sure about that. I'm going to wait until the end.

I will say, the end of day 2 until about day 6 or so, I didn't feel well, but it came in waves.

What's the cost? It's slightly more expensive than normal groceries if you buy the food to make their recipes, however, you could totally make your own food (basic proteins and veggies and approved grains) and probably not spend anything additional to your grocery budget. I like it because the whole family eats it. I'm not making a bunch of different meals for everyone. Or purchasing premade food for my self and then still buying normal groceries for everyone else. Or buying shakes and supplements and then still purchasing food.

What did you eat today?

  • Breakfast-Ham Egg & Cheese Sandwich (on the drop biscuits), coffee with half and half
  • Snacks-green apple, trail mix (homemade), hard boiled eggs, babybel cheese
  • Lunch-Ham & cheese roll ups, avocado with lime & sunflower seeds, mixed raw veggies
  • Dinner-Pork & pinto bean tacos with lettuce shells (onions, tomatoes, sour cream, avocado)

Have a question that I didn't answer here? Ask it in the comments and I'll answer it next time!

to the moon and back,

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Goldfish's Hero

Save me!!
The other day I was cleaning a rental move-out with Ms G. When we got there, the renter walked us through the house and pointed out the things she wanted cleaned. We all chit chatted for a little bit making small talk and then the renter said she needed to get going. However, as she was walking out, she said, "Oh, there's a fish tank in the back room with a goldfish in it. Don't worry about it, we've just resigned to the fact that he's going to die."

Oh, uh, ok, you know, just ignore the fish on death row in the back room.

We went about our morning, cleaning when I finally made my way into the back room and saw the fish tank. The water was a murky green that was no longer transparent. I yelled to Ms G, "I feel bad for this fish. It's either going to suffocate or starve to death."

She continued to clean whatever she was working on, but a few minutes later, being the animal lover she is, she walked in to check out the fish. She peaked around the corner and said, "This poor fish! I don't want to see it die!"

Me "Well, what are we supposed to do? It's not our fish."

Her "I don't know, do you think I could catch it?"

Me "And do what with it?"

Her "Take it home? Maybe? I don't know, I don't want a fish, but I can't let it die. Do you think the pet store will take it?"

Me ".... I don't know"

Her "What could I put it in? A garbage bag? Do you have a bowl or something? I could go to the pet store when we are done and get a fish bowl."

Me (thinking about the random items floating around my car) "I don't have a bowl, but maybe a bag would work, like they do at the fair?"

Her "I don't know, don't they pump special air into those bags before they seal them?"

Ok, this sounded like a ridiculous question to me, initially, but she said it with such sincerity, that I began to question everything. I mean, what do I know, maybe they do have special fish air...

Me "Um, I don't think that's a thing. I think they just don't squeeze out all the air."

We bantered back and forth for far too long about this doomed goldfish. Finally, Ms G proclaimed "I'm gonna save it." She grabbed a cup and armed with her gloved hand, she approached the tank. he immediately became grossed out by the water, but as any good hero would do, she didn't let it deter her from saving the fair goldfish in distress. After about 15 minutes of "fishing" with a cup in green water while her glove filled up multiple times, she actually caught the thing!

She found a bowl in her own can and dumped the fish in. We continued cleaning, but then I had a thought, what if the owner was joking and comes home and her fish is missing? Is kidnapping a fish illegal? Would I be an accessory? I decided to text the owner. I asked her if she minded if Ms. G took the fish. Her response? "Not at all! She'd be doing me a favor! In fact, tell her she can take the whole tank, the other fish that is in it and every thing that comes with it. There's even a 55 gallon tank of the side of the house she can have (a bit of an overkill for one tiny goldfish, but hey, whatever)."

I told Ms G and we nearly died laughing, here she "fished" in nasty water for 15 minutes and braved the chunk of slime that landed on her arm, only to find out that she could have just taken the tank. She said "What am I going to do with a tank? I don't even want the stupid fish, I just don't want it to die!" I explained to her, that with the big tank, she was less likely to spill that water all over her car.

So we dumped most of the water out of the tank. I dumped goldie back in and we loaded the tank in her truck. Both fish then needed to survive for 3 more hours hanging out in a trunk, in the heat of the day, in Florida.

I checked in with Ms G the next day to see if they survived. She said they did and she gave them to her mom. She then said "Goldie keeps trying to eat all of my moms fish so I don't think he appreciated our heroic efforts." You're still a hero in my eyes, Ms. G!

to the moon and back,


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Billy Ray

Do you see this beautiful boy here and his gorgeous, blonde locks? Isn't he amazing and perfect? So innocent... Ethereal.... Ok, I'm biased, but come on!

I love his hair. It's messy, curly, soft and wild like him. I have had so many people say things like "His hair is so great, but when are you going to cut it?" "Doesn't he need a trim?" "Does SHE get along with her brother?"

She? My precious baby boy, who is almost always dressed in blue to bring out his eyes, has been mistaken for a girl. More than once. I didn't want to cut it, but even Junior kept fussing with it, pushing it out of his eyes.

I don't do milestones. I am the sappiest person ever and it seems like it's even worse since having Junior. I mean, shoot, I've been known to cry at commercials.

So, I succumbed to peer pressure and here we are, the first haircut milestone. While I was getting Moose's hair cut, I asked the lady doing his, if she could just trim up a little around Junior's face and the top. She said "I could, but So-and-so is better with curls, let him do it. HEY, SO-AND-SO, she'd like you to cut her boys hair."

And just like that, before I could process what was going on, I was sitting in the barber chair with Junior on my lap and the guy coming at us with scissors. I kept saying, "just a little off the top." "I just want it out of his eyes." "Don't cut too much."

But Junior was on my lap, and I couldn't really see what was going on. As he was finishing up, he said, "oh this is great, he's going to look just like that country singer." I didn't know what he meant at the time, nor when we got to the car because of the way it was combed. However, after Junior messed it up some, I saw it... Billy Ray Cyrus. My sweet little boy was sporting a mullet. I cried. He's a toddler, there's no need for him to have business in the front and a party in the back.

I hate it and can't wait for it to grow out. I trimmed up some around the back myself to make it less mullet-like. That helped a little, but the guy cut one side so short that it's hard to hide it. If I comb it and try to "style" it, it's a little better, but seriously? He's 19 months, he immediately rubs his head on the sofa or car seat and messes it up again. I'm traumatized and not sure if I'll ever cut it again. I'm also not posting an after picture. Sad face...

Detox update: Today went well. I have had a dull headache all day and around 2:00, I crashed hard and had to lay down for a little bit. The food is still great. I made Sweet & Hot Ginger Chicken with broccoli bacon salad, coconut lime quinoa and even drop biscuits. They say that through day 5ish is the worst, so we'll see!

to the moon and back,

Monday, February 27, 2017

And so it begins

My dinner was better than yours.
Let the days of no sugar commence.

Today my hubby and I began our sugar detox. So far so good. I figured that I would write a little something every day about it because I'm sure it will be fascinating. But really, I'm doing this for two reasons; 1. To keep me accountable. If I have to report to my millions of fans, then surely I can't cheat. 2. So maybe I can inspire someone or assuage someones fears of trying.

I'm going to be honest about it all. No "sugar" coating, this is a sugar detox after all. (bu dum ching)

Now, not every blog I write for the next 21 days is going to be be detox centric, some may just have a blurb if theres not much to report. I still plan on being my hilariously, sarcastic self, for the most part.

Here's what my food looked like today (this is riveting stuff here, folks):

  • Breakfast
    • Coffee with half & half (missed my flavored creamer)
    • 2 Mini egg quiches (pretty good, but I made it a tad too salty and hubby didn't like the "squish" of the tomatoes)
    • Babybell cheese (I'm doing the version that allows full fat dairy)
  • Snack
    • Homemade trail mix (walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pepitas, almonds)
  • Lunch
    • Tuna salad made with homemade mayo in lettuce cups
  • Snack
    • Green apple
    • More trail mix (my go-to, cause its convenient)
  • Dinner
    • Shephard's Pie (pictured above) with cauliflower mash (recipe from detox book) DELISH!
    • Brussel sprouts, asparagus, onions, mushrooms sauteed in bacon fat & coconut oil with balsamic vinegar (pictured below) So good!
    • Coffee with half & half (still miss my flavored creamer, but it's better than nothing)

I did drink a few seltzer waters today, but water is clearly where I am lacking. Why can't I hydrate with coffee?? I swear, I am probably perpetually dehydrated. It's sad really, but honestly, I don't drink a lot in general. It's not just water, it's anything really. I may drink a coke zero or two and obviously coffee, but that's really it. Definitely need to work on that.

Anyway, like I said, so far so good. I do have a headache as I write this, but I'm also a mom, business owner, wife, homemaker... so really that could be a number of things.

to the moon and back,

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Carrot Pumpkin Muffins or are they?

These are not the muffins, just a prep pic.
Today consisted of more prep. Now I don't want to scare you away from trying this detox because it seems like too much work. I'm putting this much time in so I have no excuses because I tend to be the queen of excuses when it comes to quitting. I prepared mini bacon (yes, bacon!) tomato spinach quiches, homemade mayonaise (second attempt), tuna salad and carrot pumpkin muffins.

Yes, you heard me right, carrot pumpkin muffins! I'm on a "diet" that allows carrot pumpkin muffins! I quickly envisioned this glorious carrot cake/pumpkin muffin hybrid, moist and decadent but probably "lightened up" with applesauce or something of the like. I mean, not only can I have bacon, I'm encouraged to have it on this diet, so a delicious muffin didn't seem far fetched. I thought "man, this will be a great pick-me-up when I'm craving something a little sweet after a few days. Ok, let's be honest, I'll be craving something about 8:45 tomorrow am.

I figure, I better make up some of these so as not to be tempted by the tasty treats I drive by on a daily basis. I quickly start gathering up the ingredients (I'm totally a gatherer, not a hunter). I make it about 4 ingredients in and low and behold, what do my wandering eyes come upon? 1 Banana mashed....

Ummm... excuse me? In what universe does a BANANA ever belong in either (pronounced eye-ther in this sentence) a scrumptious pumpkin muffin or a cinnamony carrot cake? A banana is the devils fruit. There are no two ways about it and anyone who likes them isn't right in the head. Mind you, I'm including my entire family in that sweeping generalization.

Blah... there go my dreams.

But I made them anyway. Blah.... Hubby and Moose liked them and Junior SCARFED them down. So, I guess it's a win.

I'm pretty sure I'll resort to trying to gag down one later this week.

It starts tomorrow...

to the moon and back,