It will never cease to amaze me that Eloise went from this, a tiny baby with a replogle tube in her mouth and throat all day and all night long...living in a hospital.

She transformed into this:


Reading: an Enduring Interest

My children are still young enough that when they see me actively reading something, anything, they have no issue with interrupting me. How I typically respond is, "Hold on honey -- let me finish the paragraph....okay, what's up?" But how I want to respond is, "OH MY WORD CAN'T YOU SEE I AM READING?! GET OUTTA HERE." Such is my love and intensity of reading. Therefore, I don't visibly read so as to invite my children to harass me, instead I listen. I listen to audiobooks, podcasts and NPR constantly. Otherwise my brain would fall out of my ears and I would fall into a puddle of dark gray melancholy.

I started reading In the Woods two days ago, and all I want to do is FIND OUT WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON IN KNOCKNAREE. I want to walk around with an earbud in one ear constantly to find out what happens next. But I don't want to set a bad example for the kids. So instead I've been listening to it deep into the night, and I find myself inventing reasons to be in the kitchen so I can put it on the radio and listen. "Oh, raspberries are on sale, I better buy a flat and make raspberry jam. Even though I have made 14 jars of it already this week. Gotta love summer produce! (And a reason to spend an hour in the kitchen!)"

Its shameless really, but I am glad I can still be swept away in a good story. Its comforting to know that even though the method of reading has changed for me, the enduring interest has not.


Baby Bread

School starts again in three weeks. What's that? Is that...angels singing? I think it is. This is the first year I will pack lunches for my girls, and they are (of course) picky eaters. I've had my eyes out for good lunch packing ideas that my kids will actually eat, and are somewhat healthy. I decided I should start blogging about my finds, because I know there are lots of other moms who need help with this! 
My win for Team Mama today are mini bread loaves. My girls get tired of sandwiches, and all they really want is bread with butter and my homemade strawberry jam. So when I saw a six mini loaf pan at Target yesterday, the lightbulb went on.
They are cute, tasty, mostly healthy, my kids will gobble them up, and they fit perfectly in a lunch box. Score! Here's my recipe:
2 cups flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
Mix these together in a bowl with a whisk.

Two shredded wheat biscuits
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/4 cup boiling water

Place the two shredded wheat biscuits in a bowl. These are the old-fashioned shredded wheat, the large, unsweetened biscuits. Pour the molasses, the sugar, and the butter over the biscuits. Then pour the boiling water over that. Let it sit until the whole mixture comes to room temperature. If you put the yeast in before then, it may be too hot, and kill the yeast. So give it a good half an hour or so. Once the mixture has reached a nice lukewarm temperature, mix in the yeast. Let the mix sit for 10 minutes. With a bread dough hook on your mixer, combine the flour and yeast mixtures and knead for 10ish minutes. Cover the bowl with seran wrap, and let it rise for 2 hours. 
Once the first rise is complete, punch it, and place the dough on a cutting board. Cut the dough in half, and put one half in a regular, greased loaf pan. The other half cut into six equal pieces. Grease your mini loaf pan, and place the little dough sections in it. Let it rise for another hour or two.
Preheat your oven to 350°. Place the mini loaf pan and, after 15 minutes cover it with tented aluminum foil to avoid over-browning. Bake for another 15 minutes, et voilá! Baby bread! The same instructions go for the regular loaf, 15 minutes and then the tented aluminum foil, and then another 15 minutes.


Try something new fearlessly!

I have been practicing yoga for about a year now, nearly everyday. I've worked hard at it, and gave my all to about 60 classes taught by the fabulous Jen Liddiard. Yoga is here to stay for me, and I've been reflecting on the changes I've noticed because of this great new part of my life!
  • My feet are bigger. I'm not kidding, my feet are a size bigger than they were a year ago. They have so much more muscle. Its all those down-to-up dogs and chaturangas! Its made my feet thicker from the balls of my feet through the arches.  
  • Not all instructors are created equal. I've now practiced yoga everywhere in Utah Valley at least once, and even driven an hour away to try antigravity yoga. I've also followed several prominent teachers on YouTube, and on cable. I only have two favorites, Jen at Explosive Fitness here in Springville (how lucky we are to have a gem like her in town!), and Lesley Fightmaster on YouTube.
  • I wish I could wear yoga clothes all the time. Not only because they are the single most comfortable clothing in the history of womens wear, but because I love the way I feel practicing yoga. 
  • But I'm over Lululemon. Its just not worth the big bucks. My favorite yoga clothing brand is Teeki, and of course anything sold at Anthropologie.
  • My yoga studio. I now have a 12' x 12' outdoor yoga studio. Its lovely, and my favorite way to practice yoga is late in the evening, after the kids are in bed, and I can hear the crickets. 
  • Doing a real headstand is a real desire. I want to do a headstand so badly. I did it once perfectly, but fell hard. So hard I had a terrible headache for the next 12 hours. I'm trying not to let it stop me from trying again, but with a screechy toddler around the house, headaches are a guarantee for an cranky mama. 
  • My favorite daydream is to escape on a yoga retreat. But it feels so self indulgent I don't think I ever will!
  • I'm opening a yoga Etsy shop. I feel alright writing about it because I'm hoping to open the shop in September. When I started yoga, I wanted to find a more convenient way to haul around my mat. I never bought a yoga bag because they reminded me of trying to stuff my sleeping bag into the zipper bag at girls camp. Frustrating! In the spirit of trying new things fearlessly, I designed my very own yoga mat carrier. Its pretty brilliant, if I say so myself. Several are sewn and need to be printed, and I'm hoping to sew one bag a day this week. Trevor and I tested the woodblock design he made last night, and we are delighted with the result. I am so thrilled with this whole idea, and of course I'll post when I get the site up and running! For now, here's a sneak peak:


Small adventure

I needed to see something different, needed a small adventure. So I grabbed my mom and we drove south to Mona, to Young Living Lavender Farms. I was hoping they would allow visitors to cut their own lavender, and my hope was rewarded with a fragrant armful. 

My house smells fantastic. 
My neighbors will also benefit from some fresh baguette, lavender-zucchini bread and lavender pound cake!


Needed: a Space for Freedom

Last weekend I hosted a get-together with friends I knew in high school. Between just the few friends, we had 17 children. They were 17 happy children that evening, running and playing and climbing everything in our backyard. Folks lingered well past bedtimes because they were all so happy playing. One of my friends told me, "I feel like you're giving your children the kind of childhood we had, but doesn't exist anymore." I responded with my belief that children need space - space to be wild, space for imagination, space for independence, space to be kids. As I was reflecting on the conversation afterward, I realized so much of what I described to her was exactly what I need for myself, but haven't had in a long time.
Its been years since I feel like chance and possibility exist in my life. More precisely, that chance and possibility are benevolent forces. Ever since Eloise was born, I've felt like I've had to sacrifice my own potential, because I feel trapped. I feel trapped by my child's debilitating handicap. Its not an invented feeling either, because I literally am trapped by it. Eloise determines everything about how I live, from when and what we eat, daily activities and even my nights. Her blue spells are unpredictable enough to keep any outings in public to a minimum. Someday ask me about a recent failed trip to Joann's which involved Eloise having a complete laryngospasm. I can't drive very far, because of Eloise. And traveling with a feeding bag and G-Tube? Let me tell you, its limiting.
I don't suffer from a lack of imagination or gumption, all of these limitations are real. I often get the euphemism, "They grow quickly and this is just a chapter in your life." Yes, I know. However, it has been years already, and I have so many years to go. Imagining a future where I feel free seems so incredibly far away that it belongs in the realm of my daydreams, and its painful to have such a prolonged hope.
I feel like I can see how my life will unfold, and I'm not excited to live it. I feel like I'm only here for my kids, to be their great mom. I am craving some adventure and spontaneity, some fun. I miss the freedom and possibility I had as a child, teenager, and young adult. I never wonder what tomorrow will bring, because I can tell you what it will bring, and if anything unpredictable happens, its usually in the way of CPR or an ER trip.
Okay, I know this is a downer post. But it is what I'm living, and I don't feel like pretending to optimism I don't have today.