Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm grateful.

I cannot let November pass me by with out a post of gratitude.

I feel so blessed. We have so much to be grateful for. Often times I feel a little sheepish thinking about all that I have to be grateful for. Is it really fair? Nonetheless, we feel humbled to have so much - the knowledge of Jesus Christ and his teachings, each other, three babies, a roof over our heads, food on our table, and so much more. We. Are. So. Blessed.

We spent Thanksgiving in Idaho with my family and now we are back home enjoying a visit to the states from D's parents.

A few days before Thanksgiving we made our thankful turkeys

This is the view I woke up to every morning growing up and it still takes my breath away.


If you ask me, my mom is the master of Thanksgiving. She has it down to a science and in turn has the most relaxing day!
Lets zoom in on that schedule....

These two accused each other when we woke up Thanksgiving morning and half of one of the pies was gone. There was a note on top of the pie clearly in my dad's hand writing that read: "Hi Donny, please save some for turkey day! love, mom." This is Donny defending himself. :)

An after dinner mallow roast.
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Its dreamy isn't it?

I cannot imagine a better life than one with family and those we love so dear. And that is precisely what we have.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Our latest adventure.

It was my first full semester at university and I was moving into an apartment with five other girls I had never met. I was the first to move in. My mom took me grocery shopping and we filled my portion of the fridge and freezer. During this time of my life I was a vegetarian. We stocked my kitchen with vegenaise (non-dairy mayonaise), soy milk, veggie burgers, and lots of vegetables. I left to visit my sister across town and my roommates arrived. One look in the fridge and freezer and they were sure I was some anorexic nut job. Then they met me and realized I was not stick skinny, not a radical, and not a hippy. I was normal.

And now years later I am on round two as a vegetarian and still normal.

You see seven years ago I met and married a carnivore. Over time we have compromised and made adjustments. We pretty much let red meat go and stuck to chicken, ground turkey, and fish.

Our latest adjustment is going 95% vegan in our house. D eats all the meat he wants at restaurants and lunch at work.  But at home I make delicious, filling, and nutritious meals that do not involve meat and dairy (for the most part...that is where the 5% comes in...)

It wasn't a big change for us, in fact I made the change and D didn't notice for two weeks! Once the cheese was gone, it was gone. Once we ran out of milk I replenished with almond milk. My kids had no issue (which was shocking because they were cows milk addicts!) but Donny told me the other day that he wasn't sure he could do almond milk any more.

The change was subtle because we already had limited meat. We rarely ate red meat. We've often done veggie burgers and we only had meat 2-3 times per week. It was easy to cut out those meals. I typically make everything we eat from scratch, so it is easy to alter what goes into our meals.

The 5% happens to be the part that keeps us from going all out. Occasionally we have a treat and if there is some dairy in it, so be it. D would like ham on his plate for Christmas. If I am going to my favorite places to eat (Jimmy John's and Cafe Rio) I can easily skip out on the meat and cheese and not lose any of the goodness, but i'm not going to stop going over a little dairy that might show up, say in the dressing. Or the fact that the rice is most likely cooked in chicken broth. And occasionally I'm going to have feta cheese because I don't think I would survive without it! If we had dinner at someones house (which never happens since we have no friends), we wouldn't insist that it be vegan, we could dish up what works for us. And we do eat fish.

We do it less for the morale of it, and more for the health of it. Most of my life my weight has fluctuated and the times when my body has been the most stable was when I was off meat and dairy. I've done a lot of research as well and there are so many health benefits (less heart disease, less diabetes, more energy, etc....) to an animal free diet.

After about a month of a mostly vegan life style the result is my body is singing my praises! I feel great, my kids have been sick less (even with cold and flu season.) I don't hear many complaints, and it fits in with our lifestyle. Plus we are eating so many more vegetables and fruits because I am more aware of it. I have to fill tummies with nutritious and delicious food, without what would typically be the main part of a meal.

So, there you have it.  Our latest adventure. If you feel so inclined try it yourself, or don't. We won't judge.

** Post edit: two FAQs I'm sure I'll get, answered here: We get plenty of calcium and protein in a vegan diet!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A stroll down Main.

Yesterday we ventured to a little town on the outskirts of Salt Lake City and visited their main street. When we arrived V exclaimed, "This looks like England!" Last time we were in England she was in heaven. No really, she was in in not born yet. It must have made a mark on her memory. When I told them it was time to get in the car to go home she was so disappointed and cried saying, "I thought we were going to another country!" A girl after my own heart.

We spent about an hour strolling along and visiting a used book store. We scored two great books for $3.00 and the kids were glowing.

I'm trying to figure out when she turned 10?!

The quaint little used book store.

And a close up of their sign.

He was pretty excited about his new (used) book.

Uhhh....don't stand under this sign too long.


Cute Christmas windows

An art gallery.
Advertising the artist on site.

Intrigued by the ballerinas inside.

She is always along for the ride. And always happy about it.

I love old Main streets of towns. They always have character.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How to: get the most out of a snow day.

Well, since my last tutorial went over so well (just go with it...) I decided to post another one.

Wait until the first snow fall to purchase snow clothes. Then when you discover that every store in town is sold out of snow bibs pull out sisters old pair.

Make snow angels. However, if you are not willing to demonstrate accept the fact that when you tell them to lay down and wave their arms, they will do just that.

Nibble on sweet cold cheeks.

Remove all hats and gloves to ensure you get the full effect.

Find a buddy.

Buy everything two sizes too big. That way you don't have to buy new snow clothes for a couple of years.

Fill up on snow for lunch.

When things start getting out of hand...
enjoy the view from inside.

Pray to the snow gods that it will never end.

Finish up by warming your insides with some hot chocolate...
Share with friends.

Now go find some snow and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Since we are on the topic of tears, check out this video. It made my heart break and swell all at the same time. The devastation of Sandy is more than I can comprehend. I feel so humbled that while others have lost everything we are sleeping in a warm house with all our belongings in tact.

I'm glad there are good people in the world who can set aside differences and come together to lend a helping hand

Monday, November 12, 2012

What vacation?

First, thank you so much for your kind texts, emails, comments, and messages regarding my last post. I really love and appreciate hearing from people. It isn't easy putting myself out there like this. The encouragement is very much appreciated.
Second, last weekend I went to Bellingham. I'm still sad about it.
A couple of months ago we booked a flight for me to visit Bellingham, WA, our old home. I was giddy with excitement!  I decided to take Jewel along for the ride, since most of my friends there knew her the duration of her time in the womb, but never had never actually met her.

I had grand plans. I mean grand plans.

I thought about all the wonderful people we would see and how excited I was for them to meet Jewel. I thought about walking into our old church and seeing an entire room full of all the people I loved. I thought about lots of girlfriends and the amazing girls night out we would have. I knew every place I would take Jewel for a walk. I knew where i wanted to go upon arriving. I knew all the little outings I would take and all the food I would eat. This was going to be amazing. I planned to pack a lot into my four days trip, but I could rest once I got home. How many times do I find myself in Bellingham?!  I had to take full advantage.

Well, that didn't happen. Oh no, quite the opposite.

Indulge in my drama for a moment, if you will.

Two words: STREP THROAT.

I know, I know, you haven't had strep throat since you were 14, right? Yes, me neither.

To make myself feel better about the way that it completely knocked me down, I am going to say that it affects adults much worse than children.

Friday I arrived and everything was great.


Some of my my sweet friends surprised me at the airport and made me feel so loved.
Next, I headed to the bay and to have Kibby cut my hair. Then to Haggen and for dinner I ate at the Lunch Bucket.


By this point I was totally exhausted and Jewel was having a rough time. It was beyond time for her to go to bed. I had planned to go to a girls night out party with so many great people but,  for some reason totally beyond me I decided to get Jewel to bed and call it a night. WHAT?! I never say no to a party. This is the first proof that something was seriously not right with me.

Saturday I woke up feeling a little under the weather, but well enough to proceed with several photo shoots I had scheduled that day. Jewel bounced from friend to friend all day. That night I was completely bushed. But I justified it with the fact that we had had a crazy couple of days (who was I kidding?? Crazy does not keep me down.) A bunch of friends came over and we had dinner and watched a movie.
I was starting to feel rough so I hit the hay early and went to bed. At this point I should have suspected that something was seriously not right. I do not do these kinds of things.


I'm not sure whether I thought I was going to die or if I just wanted to die, but either way death was very much a part of my thoughts. To make matters worse it was daylight savings. I didn't sleep a wink. I waited and waited and finally at 5:30 AM I called my mother in tears and asked what I should do. She said she thought I had strep throat and suggested I call my old doctor from our Idaho days. I called his house (so annoying I know, but I was on my death bed) and after checking off every symptom on the list he confirmed that I did in fact have a bad case of strep throat (okay he didn't confirm the bad case part, but I did.) He called in an Rx for me. I watched the clock for the longest 3 1/2 hours of my life until the pharmacy in town opened. A friend went and picked up the prescription and a few other items for me (bless her heart).


All day long I stayed in my room with Jewel. She crawled from item to item and didn't make a peep the entire day. The friend I was staying with thought we slept all day.

Oh no...

I couldn't breath, I couldn't swallow, I couldn't talk, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't move, so I cried.

I pretty much cried all day. I cried about the fact that I was so miserable and the fact that walking down a few stairs took every ounce of energy. I cried because some how I was supposed to fly home the next day with a baby. I cried because I was in Bellingham, but I couldn't so much as leave my room. I cried when church started and I was still in bed. I cried because I had so many people to see and so much food to eat and I couldn't. I cried because I thought about everyone I had potentially infected. I cried in disbelief at the situation. And I cried, just because.

So needless to say, but I will say it anyway because that is what I do....

I never made it out to Lynden and the cute little Dutch bakery we once frequented (thank heavens for my sweet friend Amy who brought me donuts AND goodies from the Lynden Dutch Bakery to take home) I never got to the two donut shops I was sure I'd visit at least once, probably twice. I never ate at Packers and soaked in the views from the beach at Semiahmoo. We didn't stroll along the boardwalk in Fairhaven or make five trips to Starbucks. And the saddest part of all, I couldn't go to church or spend time with all the people I love.

And now I am sure you are wondering how I ever managed to make it home.

Well, I'm still not sure. Other than the fact that it was a miracle. And maybe it helped that a wheel chair carted me from one plane to the next in Seattle (oh, yes.)

My friend Paul came over with the missionaries and gave me a special blessing assuring me that I would be rejuvenated and have the energy to make it home. Thank heavens my sweet friend Catherine helped me out at the airport. And even though I was about to pass out going through security, somehow I was rejuvenated and I made it home. . It was a miracle because I was pretty much bed ridden for the next couple of days. D ended up taking a weeks worth of vacation for my little trip and then recovery.

In short, strep throat and all of its side effects kicked. my. butt.

On a happier note, I have another tutorial coming up for you! This one is really exciting!