Sunday, November 15, 2015

Holden Gets an Answer

I'm staying home with Z from church today to help get her back to 100% before the school week begins. Holden, upon hearing that some of the household would not be attending church was optimistic the same fate would be extended his way.

"I don't want to go to Church," he moaned. "It's so boring and I don't ever get picked to do anything"

"We don't go to Church to be entertained, Holden," I say matter-of-factly. "We go to learn about God and to sit still and have a break to listen."

"In my class we don't even learn about God," he complains.

I raise my eyebrows.

"Ok Holden, we won't make you go. You get to decide." His face beams as if he's just got a free ticket from bed-making for the rest of his life. "I want you to go pray by yourself, and ask Heavenly Father what you're supposed to do. I want you to listen with your heart and your mind and really try to understand what you're supposed to do."  I said something about honoring his choice and left it at that.

He left the room and I heard his sweet soft voice coming from the down the hall. I was tempted to listen in and see what he was really saying...but I resisted and gave him some space. I think: What if he thinks God told him to stay home and watch TV? I get a mini panic in my gut, but remind myself to trust the process -- wasn't I in the same place on my knees just a week ago asking God if I should set foot in a Mormon church? (It had been a hard week, to say the least.)

A few moments later he returned with a somewhat sheepish grin on his face... I brace myself for my next move, take a deep breath and try to trust the process.

"He said I should go for the first part so I can do the songs I like, like 'Give said the Little Stream,' he tells me. "Just the first two minutes." Since I have often heard Holden say "we've been waiting for like 60 hours" when it's actually been less than five minutes, I took that as a go-ahead for the first block.

We talked about the importance of listening to what God tells you to do; and how he can speak to our hearts and our minds. I shared with him I went though a similar experience last week and that I had been told the same thing. I told him that having integrity was doing what God wants you to even when we don't want to (I'd like to point out, that I don't think this means I think everyone belongs in "Mormon church." I am definitely NOT saying that...that's another blog post, obvs.)

I told him I was proud of him for asking and for listening to an answer.

He said, "When I get older and am in Dad's position, can I use this story when I speak?'

Of course you can Holden.

Monday, October 5, 2015

That time I signed up to make soup at church...

Greetings blogosphere. It's been a while, eh? Instagram and FB make it really hard to blog.
But I wanted to share this great recipe for soup I'll be sharing tomorrow night at our church tomorrow night.

It's my Grandpa Tony's funeral tomorrow and I realized I wouldn't have much time to make good on my promise to bring pumpkin soup. So here's what I worked out today.

Hope you enjoy!

Busy Pumpkin Soup
You can make it ahead or serve immediately, depending on the errands you have for the day.

·       1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
·       2 TBSP butter (or substitute oil, if you’re vegan or adverse to things tasting amazing)
·       1 medium-ish sized butternut squash: peeled, seeded and cubed
·       1 largish apple: peeled, cored and cubed (preferably not red delicious)
·       1 can 15 oz. pumpkin (or a couple of cups of fresh pumpkin peeled and cubed if you’re feeling crazy-ambitious)
·       32 oz Organic Chicken Stock: you can substitute regular chicken stock – who knows if the organic chickens were even happy? Or stick with the vegan option and just use a veggie stock… but let’s be honest, it probably won’t taste as good. #justsayin.
·       ½ - 1 tsp of ginger (powder or fresh)
·       1 – 3 tsps of sugar / honey (sweetened to taste)
·       salt to taste
·       fresh cream to taste 

1.     Realize you signed up to bring soup to an event, and that you are supposed to have a recipe…but the soup you signed up to make, you haven’t used a recipe for in years… so you make due.

2.     Realize you have a pretty busy day the day the soup is “due” so the following steps are done 24 hours prior to soup’s actual debut.

a.     Sautee onion and butter until your kitchen smells divine
b.    Try to distract your three year old as she asks to watch T.V. for the 5th time today
c.     Add in the apple for some sweetness and let things almost caramelize – it will smell like the Autumn Fairy sprinkled magical Fall-dust in your home
d.    Cave and turn on a show for the 3 yo.
e.    While the onions and apples are sautéing, start peeling the butternut squash and ask yourself why you didn’t just buy the pre-cut variety from Costco. Remind yourself the drive was too far, and vow to do better next time.
f.       Add the squash. If you’re using real pumpkin – prep the pumpkin and then take a picture for social media of your awesomeness because the world should be validating your major skills in the kitchen. #masterchef #pinterestworthy #homemakingSKILLZ
g.    Drizzle in a little of the chicken stock. Add a bit of the sugar and ginger.
h.     Mix in the remaining stock and add the pumpkin puree.  
i.       Let things simmer (in the pot, and in your home if need be) until the squash is soft and can be easily blended. Grab a glass of water because you probably need to hydrate.
j.       Put your Blendtec / Vitamix to work and create something akin to babyfood… remember to have space for the heat to escape or there will be explosions (just sayin’ for a friend).
k.     At this point you can either chill the soup over night, or get ready to serve.
3.     (Reheat) or add liquid (water, or more stock) and seasoning (sugar, salt, ginger, cream) to taste.

4.     Pat yourself on the back and think about ordering take-out next time.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Three Reasons I Love Being Your Mom: Holden

Dearest Holden,

Mother's Day is approaching and I wanted to take this unique opportunity to thank you for being such an incredible son. There are so many things I love about you, but I just decided I would narrow it down to three main categories. So, here we go.

1) Your Insatiable Thirst for Knowledge and Truth
People are telling me all the time "He's so smart." I think a lot of people says kids are smart because they are good readers, or can do complex math problems at a young age. And while you are progressing brilliantly at school, it's really how your brain works that makes me swell with pride. You're always asking how and why and where. Because of you, my interest in the Humanities has once again been sparked. You've said your favorite composer is Mozart but Tchaaikovsky wrote your favorite song. I learned about the causes of the Vietnam War from you (because you asked about it, and checked out a library book) as well as the Spanish American War (that apparently was fought via Cuba).  You want to know who came first: Adam & Eve or the Dinosaurs and if we really evolved from apes (because there are skeletons showing it!) And you're the first I've heard of to hypothesize that the Virgin Mary was like an earthworm -- having both Male and Female "parts."

You know we don't keep secrets. And you try really hard to make sure we are all telling the truth. You value knowing. Yours will be a hard battle Holden. The balance between Religion - Spirituality -  Philosophy & Science is a hard one. You will have to search your mind and your heart to find a place of peace... I'm glad I have you to help remind me that it's ok not to know all of the answers, but as we grow -- more light and truth can be gained.

Sometimes I wish we were like Thor, where he says (paraphrased) that in his world, religion and science are not two separate things -- but the same thing.

2) You're Commitment to Fairness 
It's a hard lesson, but this life -- it's not fair. All you have to do is look around and see that the social and economic injustice run rampant. I'm glad you know who Martin Luther King, Jr is... and that you think it's crazy that some people weren't (and aren't) allowed to do things just because of the color of the skin or their religion.

I like that you see the beauty in people's differences. And that even though we are all unique, where it really matters we are the same. You're love of fairness and equality will often be met with pushback in your life. But continue to follow your heart. As yourself "What would Jesus do?" But ask yourself what Martin Luther King and Ghandi and the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa would do too. God is light, and truth can be found in so many places. I have to believe their is a fairness that exists somehow in the Universe -- but it is our responsibility to do what we can to help bring that fairness and peace to our world. Which brings me too....

3) Your Relationship with Peace
I say "relationship" because you are a boy. You love Superheroes and learning about Wars and the atom bomb and guns and so many things that make me sad for humanity. But at the same time, your heart is good. You adopt whales, and chose the child with Downs Syndrome in your class room to help with your birthday snack and tell me "He's my best friend." (The demarcations of "typical" "special needs" and "gifted" mean nothing to you.)

You help your sister and say you "need to protect the girls at recess." You recognize when something is bothering me and do your best to be a comfort.
Everyday you sharpen your skills of diplomacy having sweet Zoë-bug as your little sister.

Even with agression-obsession moments, you have the exact opposite moments...tender, loving, thoughtful moments. Making sure the toys you pick out don't have guns because you know I don't approve of them in our house. When you learn about war, it is already with a peace-makers heart -- asking "why, why why?"

Because of you, I am learning so much more about life.

Thanks you for your amazing mind and your HUGE heart. I love being your Mom.

Thank you for being the guinniea-pig of my experience. Please forgive me as I do my best to try and help you dream, work, love, fly and be there when you fall.

I love you Holdencito.

Happy Mother's Day to Me, ZoëBug

Thanks for the darling (early) Mother's Day present, Z. This year, I'm trying something different and writing letters to you nd Holden about why I love being your mom.

There are so many reasons why I love being your Mom, Z. But here's the first three that came to mind:

You're Strongwilled and Driven
Forget having to be worried about you being a doormat or not having a spine. It was apparent in your not-so-terrible two's that you knew what you wanted and wouldn't hesitate to do what it takes to get it. You don't let gender or size be any indication of who should be in charge.

When brother is doing something -- it's what you want to do. Be it piano, soccer, riding a bike or going to school. You'll find a way to make it happen. (Even though you're "done" with soccer by the third quarter -- you are only three!)

You're Fearless (with reason) 
You've been a climber since you could walk. And you set an example of "how-to" at the climbing gym for Holden every time we go. With few exceptions, you don't get yourself higher than you can get yourself down...and even as a toddler, learning to navigate playgrounds you had a keen spatial awareness of what ledges to stay away from and how to be safe.

I'm not saying you never fall, or get hurt. You totally do. But you're tough. And you don't let an accident get in the way of getting what you want. Last week when you fell 7feet on the playground trying to grab the zip-line; you cried and said "I want to try it again!"

You've learned to ice-skate and taken snowbording lessons -- and Dad even took you skiing (because you have to be four at Snowbasin for skilessons).

You're My Little Nursling
When your brother and I failed to have the breastfeeding relationship I had hoped for the two of us, and I found out I was pregnant with you, I committed at that moment to God that if He would help me be able to breastfeed you, I would let you self wean. Well, at three-and-a-half, it looks as if you may finally be finished. It hasn't come without challenges: a few bouts of mastitis, a nursing strike from you and obviously countless naysayers & critics (friends, family and strangers) because of our choice to keep nursing. We don't care. We connect and what we do has absolutely nothing to do with them...

It didn't happen because you never had chocolate milk, or because you're not independent... it just happened because you kept wanting too --even with me taking a week long cruise to Caribbean. You just weren't ready to let go of the connection -- and it's been a special part of our relationship.

Thanks for helping me see I could really "do it."

I love you for these and so many other reasons. Thanks for being my little Zoe-bug.

Love- Mom

Monday, April 27, 2015

Three Year Old Pectoralis Majors

Our laundry room is directly adjacent to the playroom... that hardly ever gets used unless friends come over -- my kids thankfully prefer our Art & Science room to the toys. (They also prefer watching shows to a myriad of other things, so don;t think I'm trying to brag or anything).

But today, the proximity of play-to-laundry-room provided a conversation I really wanted to document.

Between two three year olds....

A: Hey Zoë-bug, do you want to play dress ups? (She's clad in an awful peptoAbysmal pink number I caved and got for Z for her birthday last year.) You want to be a princess?

Z: No, I be Spider-man!

A: You don't want to be a princess?

Z: No, I be SpiderMan. He fight bad guys.

A: SpiderMan is a bad guy?

Z: No he shoot webs. He fight bad guys.... Oh I help baby crying.

A: Well I'm a special Aurora. I have a bow.

Moments pass. And then Z's friend, points to the built in chest muscles of Z's Spiderman suit.

A: You have boobs.

I interject, "They're called pecs... they're chest muscles."

Z: I have pecs.

A: I have pec muscles too.

Z: No you don't have pecs.

A looks down, realizing there there is nothing resembling pecs or boobs on her outfit.

A: Well I have muscles, but not pec muscles. (Flexes her biceps). But I have muscles without pec muscles.

They both seemed to think this was a fair assessment and SpiderMan and Aurora lived (somewhat)  happily ever after (well, at least through the playdate).

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day

Tuesday, March 24, 2015