Orange Rhino- Day 1

I did a lot of deep breathing yesterday. I have noticed lately that I’ve been having trouble taking a full, deep breath sometimes. It felt like constantly being on the verge of an anxiety attack. I’m happy to report that I do not feel that way today! I’ve been trying to recognize more of my triggers. Noise is definitely one of them. Now, I don’t expect my children to be quiet little church mice all the time. In fact, I love the sound of them playing, especially if they are playing together. Sometimes, though, it seems as if they feel the need to compete for my attention using noise. They deploy this strategy usually when I’m trying to get something done (dishes, dinner, brushing my teeth). One of them gets upset and starts making noise about it then the other one gets upset and starts making noise because the other one is upset and making noise. Then the first one feels the need to make more noise so I can hear them the best and it escalates from there. All the while I am unconsciously holding my breath (something else I have recent discovered myself doing). All these events lead to me yelling at them to be quiet (ironic) and leave me alone. These outbursts always make me feel guilty and wondering how I could have handled the situation better. Reacting that way always sets us up for another episode in the very near future.

Day 2 is going well so far. I did have a close call but I caught myself just in time and took a deep breath. I do feel like they are testing me though.

I want to be an Orange Rhino

I have a confession: I am a yeller. I hate this about myself. I get frustrated and then I get loud. I desperately want to change. No, I have to change. For my girls, for their girls. I’ve also noticed that Fern has started yelling at Amelia a lot lately. I tell her, “Gentle voices please.” Then I feel ridiculous because I know that I’m basically saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” I recently read a post by The Orange Rhino. It made a huge impact on me. I also sort of felt relieved that I wasn’t alone, that I didn’t have to deal with it alone. I realized that there were people like me that had changed or were in the process of changing. The Orange Rhino also has a wonderful facebook page where you can get help and support from other orange rhinos. I wanted to share this here because I need to be accountable. My goal is to not yell for a whole week. It’s sad that that sounds like a long time to me. If I make it a week my new goal will be a month. I hate yelling. I hate hearing it no matter who the victim is. I hate doing it. Not only is in ineffective, it makes me feel guilty about the emotional damage I am doing to my children. I have left situations where I lost my patience and yelled thinking to myself, “What the heck is the matter with me? Why would I react that way to my small children?” Of course, my inner monologue uses stronger language. I have a million reasons I give myself for why I yell: I didn’t sleep well, I need to eat something, they are not following directions, I am frustrated about something completely unrelated to my children not following directions. The list goes on. I am certain, though, that NONE of these reasons are good enough to use as an excuse. Nothing can excuse my yelling. My children are precious, delicate gifts and I must treat them as such.  So here I am, about to become an orange rhino.

My precious gifts that deserve a gentle voice

My precious gifts that deserve a gentle voice

Bulbs, bulbs and more bulbs

I have a brown thumb. I’m trying to change this but it is definitely slow going. My thumb doesn’t have to bright green, I would settle for olive green. One thing I am good at is planting bulbs. For me bulbs are so satisfying- you plant them and then you don’t have to give them a second thought until the next year when they pop up and beautifully decorate your yard! Then, they come back again and again!!! I planted many different types of bulbs last year and by spring this year I had forgotten where and what was planted. I also never payed any attention while I was planting them as to when they should bloom so all spring long I have these wonderfully colorful surprises dotting my yard.
Imagine my excitement when I entered Lowe’s today and was greeted by a large selection of bulbs! I grabbed a couple of bags with many bulbs in them because I love having a high concentration in one area (or as my grandma put it, “You certainly planted them close enough together.”) and I grabbed several special varieties of irises. The ones I am most looking forward to are the Dangerous Mood irises they are lavender on top and black on the bottom. I also grabbed some Jurassic Park Irises because I liked the name.

So, while I might not be able to keep a house plant alive or grow anything that is actually edible, I can drop a bulb in the ground and be rewarded for my effort.

Glow Party!

I found some really great glow stick wands at Target. They come with cute shapes on the end like butterflies, stars and devil’s tritons. I bought some along with the skinny ones that connect to each other and I let the girls go crazy. I waited until it was dark outside so they would get the full effect. 

They had a great time running around the house in the dark and Fern even tried her hand directing air traffic.

Strawberry and marshmallow pie, OR A welcome home dinner

Bob went on a short business trip to preview some equipment auctions. A few days before he left I told Fern that I want to make a special dessert for when he got back. She said that she wanted to make strawberry cake with marshmallows. Bob doesn’t really care for cake (crazy, right?) so I told her we would ask him what he thought about a strawberry pie. When I said strawberry pie I had visions of a flour-based crust filled with strawberry filling and baked until it was bubbling. When I mentioned it to Bob, Fern made sure to add that it was going to have marshmallows also. I was still trying to reconcile the marshmallows with the image of a baked pie but I was willing to go with it for the sake of not stifling her creativity. When Bob heard strawberries and marshmallows he asked what the salad was called with the fruit and sour cream and marshmallows.

“Ambrosia Salad?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he replied, “Why don’t you chop up strawberries, mix them with some sugar, mini marshmallows and sour cream and put it in a graham cracker crust?”

I tell you, I married a genius! As soon as he suggested it, I knew those elements would come together nicely.

So, the afternoon he was supposed to get home I sliced some strawberries and mixed them with some sugar, vanilla extract and a dash of salt. After all that rested a bit I dumped in an unmeasured amount of sour cream.

Fern had been napping (notice the post nap hair) but she got up just in time to help me put the marshmallows in the bowl. I asked her to sprinkle them in slowly but she chose to put them in one at a time to avoid over pouring. We finally got enough marshmallows into the bowl to call it a strawberry and marshmallow pie.

We put the mixture into a store bought graham cracker crust and made it fancy with a strawberry fan and marshmallow garnish.

So with the pie, some pesto chicken and a Lemony Asparagus Tart, we had a proper welcome home meal for Bob.

Ack!

I’ve been gone so long! Not actually gone,  just not blogging. Things have definitely changed. I will certainly post those things later. Amelia had her first birthday, I cut my hair, summer started, Fern’s third birthday is almost here (I have a very fun theme going on for that!), Bob got involved with local politics ( :-D :-D :-D), and I really (really, this time) want to start blogging again. My blogging has been a swinging pendulum: I started reading blogs, I started my own blog, I stopped blogging, I stopped reading blogs, I am going to start blogging again, I am going to start reading blogs again. Starting with this one! I am still in love with my husband, my kids and food. I’ve also made a few new friends while I’ve been “away”, which any stay-at-home-mom of non-preschool-going-kids knows is not an easy thing to do;-)

I’m trying to come back

I miss my blog and I’ve been trying to find the time and the energy for it. I figured I would just do a small little post to get me back in the blogging mindset. That might sound a little silly but when I am consistently blogging I feel like I look at things and experience things differently. I think about the words I might use to describe something or I try to take a picture that I feel best depicts the situation. When I’m blogging I also feel a little bit more accountable. I shared my list and now some of my goals are out there for all to see instead of them staying in my head (where they most likely would have shriveled and died from neglect). I feel like I somehow owe it to my readers to accomplish those goals. Not because I will be ashamed if I don’t cross everything off my list but because all of you are pulling for me and want to see me succeed. I guess that is one reason I shared my list: it’s nice to have cheerleaders.

I love my blog. While it is not quite all that I know it can be, I still enjoy it. I started my blog so I could share parts of my life. Also, I hoped that someone would see a project or recipe I posted and have the courage to try something new too. In the beginning I tried to post fairly regularly. Once the holidays came I all but stopped. Now that we are well into the new year my posts are still infrequent. They are going to stay that way for a while. I am still trying new recipes and new projects but I am also working on getting healthy and organized. In order to achieve my health and fitness goals I am trying a few things. I signed up for a whole foods online workshop. I know how to eat healthy I just haven’t been lately and sometimes it’s easier to get going if someone lays out a plan of action for you. I’ve also started going to a gym called Crossfit. It’s not like any gym I’ve ever been to. They don’t have treadmills and elliptical machines, they have huge truck tires, chin-up bars, and kettlebells. They focus on getting stronger and faster instead of skinnier which requires a more intense workout than I’ve ever done. I already feel stronger which I am loving and I am looking forward to getting even stronger still. Either that or it will kill me. Joking… sort of. Now, as far as getting organized I decided to start with keeping my house respectable looking on a regular basis and throwing junk away as I come across it. When I am satisfied with the amount of stuff I have gotten rid of I will then be better able to put it in order. I figure that there is no point in finding a place for something that will be leaving my house anyway. I found this on Pinterest and it definitely makes me feel a lot less overwhelmed when it comes to the housework. I am still working on my list and I’ve actually been able to cross one more thing off of it. I will share that soon.

Tea for two

 This morning I was thinking about how much I love being a stay at home mom. I feel very blessed to be able to stay at home with my girls while my husband works. Fern wanted to have a tea party so we had one. If I had to work outside the home I would miss out on spontaneous tea parties and that would be very sad indeed.

6. Try Sea Urchin

I got to cross something off my list! We are in Arizona visiting Bob’s daughter and granddaughter and today we had sushi for lunch. When I saw Sea Urchin on the menu I thought that it was the perfect opportunity to try it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in person but I’ve seen pictures of it and I’ve seen people try it on T.V.. I’ve always heard it described in an appealing way which is why I’ve always wanted to try it. I’m not sure if the one I got was not as fresh as it should be or what but it was not a pleasant experience. I was really hoping that I would be able to say that it was awesome and that whenever it was available I would partake. Over all it was cold and spongy and taste reminded me of the way a seashell smells. It was slightly firm on the outside and very squishy on the inside.  Bob tried it too and his evaluation was the same as mine. We gave it two thumbs down.One of the reasons I love and married him is because he is adventurous. He actually ate his before I ate mine.

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