Friday, March 27, 2015

Grey, Hair, and Biscuits


Sickness has made itself quite comfy at our house. When a cold/fever staggers it's way through a family of six it seems to last forever. Two weeks is forever. I think we are at the end of it though with my hubby being the last to get the chills. I've made at least 20 cups of a tea a day, pints of raw honey mixed with freshly squeezed lemon, we've gone through a whole bottle of apple cider vinegar, and finished of my bottle of eucalyptus essential oil. It's been a quiet time, a reading time, a play doh time, a Food Network time. It's been a time I'm happy is over. 
I was talking to Squirrel yesterday about how we never know what's going to happen in our lives. We make plans and dreams and some of them come true, some of them are put on hold - some things are canceled because of sickness or other reasons. It's so easy to feel frustrated at change, at time, at long cycles of hopelessness and exhaustion - and it's okay to feel the "tired." It's okay to feel the overwhelmed. In the long run what matters is that you are kind and that you talk to the One who hears. I love having little conversations like this with my Squirrel - keeps me in check too! 


My "cycle of exhaustion" ended yesterday THUS my blog post and to my family's GREAT pleasure - a basket of biscuits. What says love more than biscuits? Not much in my book (with the exception of good Lemon Curd...)


And while my man slept downstairs, all burrowed up in my daisy duvet, with the blinds drawn - every now and then a shake from the chill let me know that he was still with us - I chopped off our Bug's hair. He was none to pleased to have the buzzing clippers close to his little ears. I cooed and went on and on about how "mommy is so gentle, she isn't going to get your ears" but he still wasn't impressed. For a little one, scared of bath water, reading glasses, butterflies, the color blue (for now), having his hair cut seemed to be a major trauma. We worked through it though, and in the end...my little boy looked five inches taller and like a big boy instead of a giant cherub. I will miss his long blond curls, but I love seeing those little ears and the crook down the back of his neck. His rosy cheeks seem even more kissable now (if that's possible) and gone are the long dreaded detangling sessions before Sunday morning (we limit our baths to Saturday nights before Sunday services around here yall...just kidding - that bit of wit just popped in my head and I had to write it for fear of depriving others from my humor - anyone else read Farmer Boy when they were a child and become obsessed with the picture of him taking his Saturday night bath?) 


All the kids said they really liked Finn's hair, and after he was calmed and had a sucker in hand he was fine. He did ask me before his nap "mom, you put it on?" I couldn't at all figure out what he was trying to communicate and then I asked "your hair?!" He nodded his little head "yes" and I assured him that there still was hair on his head and it will grow. After nap he didn't miss it - as if he woke up feeling the same way he went to sleep and there wasn't a problem. 


Before I close out this post - I wanted to show a little bit of change about the place. After almost all winter of sitting on my couch and facing towards a grey wall, I realized that if I could reconfigure the living room to have the couch face the window - it could possibly lift my mood. So, one afternoon my muscles and I pushed around furniture, rearranged a couple pictures, brought my Himalayan Salt Lamp upstairs - and I haven't felt blue ONCE since facing the window. The little white dresser with just a simple plant and that beautiful glow just make me feel happy, warm - zen? 


Also, we found this amazingly sturdy coffee table at the Goodwill Outlet for FIVE dollars. With a little bit of dark stain it turned out really beautiful.
 I love taking care of our home. It can be tasking - dirty dishes and matted toddler hair and grey walls and fevers...it can be tasking. But at the end of it all, I'm content here in my little rental, trying to make the best of what we have with the people I love the most.

Blessings,
Alyssa Spring *

“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” 
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Avonlea

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hello Spring...and Friends


O the green things growing, the green things growing,
The faint sweet smell of the green things growing!
I should like to live, whether I smile or grieve,
Just to watch the happy life of my green things growing.
- Dinah Maria Mulock Craik 


The sun finally came out, and as I do every spring...I try to remember what it is that I love. Lemonade? Oh yes - I do love you. Good bye hot beverages! Light layers and freckles and sun kissed shoulders - oh yes, I do love all of those. Good bye thick wool and flaky skin. Colorful crafts and sitting outside with incense burning, my yoga mat laid out, wood wind chimes clanking - i love spring. 

  
I'm on a mission to get crafty again - who knew you could make a fairy skirt out of bath loofahs and artificial flowers? The library told me so and I took it's word on it - squirrel wasn't disappointed. 


The days are longer and warmer offering a little more peace and space to play. Nights don't feel as rushed as they did even two months ago and sometimes, if we are blessed, we can see bits of orange and pink from the sunset peeking over our neighbors houses. 


My littles have all grown leaps and bounds since the last time I visited this space. Brady has gone from being shaggy chic to short and slicked back (hair) and his legs are at least two miles longer. Trinity and I both chopped our hair off to the shoulders and have decided that we want to be musical together - she wants to learn violin and I would love to find a second hand piano. Tristan is still working on learning to read and is doing awesome. He feels insecure with his speech impediment and at first is nervous and says he doesn't know how to "do this" and then he is brave...and he sounds out the letters and I cheer as if he just scored the winning goal and he smiles and is confident. He is such a beautiful soul. My little Finn bug isn't so little anymore. In fact, he's not that much shorter then Tristan but is still very much the baby. Finn will be four in about five weeks and I'm feeling shocked about it as I always do when a one of my little's birthdays are near. 


I've missed all of you here in blog land and now that it's warm and there is life to take pictures of - I will see you again shortly. Hope your evening is full of golden light and sweet smells and love. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Snippets


... squirrel helping koala prepare for daddy's upcoming birthday...


... Clementine and Azul catching some rays (is it nice of me to let them have some sunshine and fresh air or am I torturing them by letting them have a whiff of freedom?)...


... freshly laundered summer clothes (I'm preparing - only about 3 months to go)...


... a sunny day and a light breeze, a "new" coffee table just awaiting good weather so he can be stripped and stained (sounds painful)...


... lettuce, lemon juice, chickpeas, cucumber, just mayo (vegan), salt, pepper and dill - my new latest obsession ... throw in some walnuts and black olives just for spite...


... first viewing of The Wizard of Oz (on VHS no less.) I waited until they were 7 and 9 because I didn't want them to freak out - turns out they are both much braver then their mother. They loved it and didn't think it was scary in the least. 

Happy Last Week of January Friends, only 51 days till spring.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Intentional


My habits are changing this year (my habits are TRYING to change...) 
"What habit?" might you ask. Let me tell you. 
NOT Taking care of me every single day. 
Yep. That one. 


I've always been against the whole "take care of yourself" mantra that I feel like our society screams at us on a minute by minute basis. I know self care is healthy...needed, I think for me the reason why I have always stood against the idea is because I've kind of witnessed the whole "going overboard" with the notion. Instead of self care we have a lot of people who are just plain self absorbed. I would rather not be like that - I would like to focus my life on loving and serving and taking care of others. 
But - I've noticed this little teeny problem over the last 3 years. I've gotten to a place where I actually don't feel like I have much of a choice anymore in taking care of myself. The last few months of 2014 were rather hard for my body - I noticed that my once high energy levels were completely gone and instead I felt fatigued almost everyday. I didn't feel creative, my skin started breaking out and my scalp got all flaky and disgusting. I had other problems but a little TMI. 
I realized that in an effort to put others first, I had completely neglected myself and then because of this...I was no good to anyone. I didn't feel like playing very much with the kids (like, at all...) and I was extremely up and down emotionally. So, then because of the fatigue and the moodiness and the bloated belly and the bumps on my face  and not being able to sleep and yada yada yada - I became self absorbed because all I could think about is how crappy I felt...which then became a cycle of not being able to see the light, not feeling hope, not feeling ANYTHING except for "poor me." 
When Mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy. 


So, 2015 brings a lot of self care for me...without neglecting others. That's what I would like. 

Self care for me starts in the kitchen. I'm a strong believer in getting out the bad and replacing it with good (mind, body, and spirit) and so I'm going after health in a whole new way. My diet gradually started getting worse and worse towards the end of last year - I was eating a lot more salt, a lot more gmo corn, a LOT of cheese - I ordered pizza at least twice a month. Yah - cravings were getting out of control. I definitely needed to change basically EVERYTHING about how I was fueling my body. 

So - my focus this year is nutrient dense foods. The most nutrient dense foods on the planet are plants - so I'm gonna eat tons of them.  I'm trying to juice everyday even if it's just carrots and apples with spinach (a little cheaper then other juices.) I like to add beets sometime, ecspecially after my cycle because beets have a TON of iron in them. I also make smoothies almost everyday with lots of bananas and almond or coconut milk - these smoothies give me instant energy and almond milk has way more calcium in it then cows milk. 
 I've cut out all gluten and dairy - almost all sugar....I have been vegetarian for over 3 years and I'm still cutting out meat. I had a doctors appointment and they did extensive blood work and they said ...shock of all shock..that me, a non eat eater...has perfect iron, cholesterol and I have no deficiencies in any of my B vitamins. Thank you and thank you. 
 One word about cow's milk - when you have a cold what to doctors tell you? Take out dairy...it's mucus forming. When you are constipated...what do doctors tell you? Take out dairy. When you have cancer what are you not suppose to drink EVEN if it's organic? Dairy. Yet everyone says to drink dairy. Interesting. Dairy causes inflammation and for most people is very hard to digest - it's got a ton of fat in it and not the good fat that you would find in avocados, coconut, or olives - it just has fat. You can't really absorb the calcium in dairy - and in order for a milk cow to be able to produce enough milk to meet our standards at the grocery stores they are having to be given hormones and antibiotics, and then are being milked ALL day long - a good milk cow now days in a milk factory only lives about 4 years at most and then is ground up for beef. That's just plain sad. 
Oh...and just to finish the cycle - most people these days have candida. Look it up and see if you might have any of the symptoms - there is a pretty easy spit test you can do to test for it. Guess why most people have candida? Well, besides sugar consumption it's because of antibiotic.Now...what's in milk again? Oh yes...
Sorry - that paragraph was way more than "one word." I get carried away sometimes. 


My other change is I'm drinking a lot more water and even infusing it sometimes with fruit for a little treat. I love eating the fruit AFTERWARDS - so rewarding. 
I'm happy as a clam. 


I'm also having a lot of fun finding simple face mask recipes online and even figuring out how to care for long hair. I'm treating myself when the kids go to bed - instead of snacking on corn chips and salsa all night I'll make myself some cinnamon tea and put a honey cinnamon mask on my face. Simple but makes my skin super soft. I ordered a shower filter for our shower head to get rid of the chlorine that is soaking into my scalp and skin everytime I shower (supposedly once you remove the chlorine from your shower water your skin feels a lot softer) - I can't wait for it to get here and my hubby hook it up for me. I'm also excited that Brady won't be absorbing as many toxins through his skin every morning when he takes his ritual 20 minute soak. :) 


All of these things that I'm doing "for me" don't actually take that much time, and the goodness ends up flowing directly on to my littles. They drink the carrot juice, they eat healthier snacks, I'm more mindful of their skin when I think about MY skin - I'm not as tired so I'm in a much much better mood which means more smiles directed toward them. 


The last little bit for my self care is that I'm trying to focus on gratitude. I'm thinking of my blessings, I'm noticing what's around me more (whether it be a bird on the window sill or someone else's feelings) - I want to be intentional. I want to be intentional about what goes in my body, about where I buy gifts, about how I use my dollar as my vote, about the words that come out of my mouth, about the products I use in my home, about the time that I spend...I just want to be intentional. Balanced. Grateful. 


There you have it - my little changes that are having huge pay offs thus far. By the way, the top picture was of my lunch today - zucchini noodles with a mango, avocado, cilantro sauce. Pretty tasty - not gonna lie...it's no waffle fries - but my body feels good after eating it. :) 
What do you do each day to make sure you are being nourished inside and out? 

~ Alyssa Spring

Friday, January 9, 2015

What We've Been Doing - and a Message for a Special Reader


We've been cuddling, enjoying a blanket of flowers even in winter...


We've been being kids...being goofy and creative and growing mustaches (wait...can kids do that?!)


We've been having fun helping out around here, working hard, learning new skills...


He's been admired a few times through my camera lens...and off "lens"...


They've been playing...I've been watching...


...and playing some more...


We've been baking gluten free casein free yumminess - they've been saying things like "this isn't so bad at all" and "I love our new diet, we're so healthy!" I've been smiling. 


We've been twirling...


Boys and girls prancing and dancing and spinning and skipping - loving leggings and the feeling of movement when all cooped up... we've been fine with boys doing ballet (the hubby says ballerinas make the best soccer players. No sexism in this house.)


We've been experimenting with nature - keep your fingers crossed those pink flowers change color from their rainbow inspired drinks. 
We've been doing our best with what we have. 


* one of my dear blog readers asked me how it is that I don't get overwhelmed with having four kids. I would like to say in a blunt loud way (kindly of course) - I DO! I get very overwhelmed. I'm learning each day that motherhood is just a roller coaster of emotions, some days I want to spend every second with my kids, some days I would like nothing better than to fly the coop (and I have...just got in the car and sped off. Don't worry...there was an adult left at home haha). I've had the torrents of hot tears from "why can't I be more kind and patient? I'm so lonely...I want to have a conversation with an adult! One moment in the bathroom without explaining WHAT I'm doing in step by step fashion would be awesome." I have had meltdowns that I'm not proud of, I have hurt feelings, I have laid in my bed under covers just because I couldn't find a hole that was big enough to cover my body. I don't always know "how I do it."
  I think what it all comes down to is how we handle ourselves as moms when we are overwhelmed - but there should be no guilt in feeling anything. I think what we want to overall know is "how will our kids describe us when they are adults?"  Will they remember that mom sometimes got upset but that she also apologized and learned from her mistakes. Will they remember that mostly we smiled and played and were creative and that we were good listeners? Will they remember acceptance? I think what matters is the OVERALL picture of your motherhood style...not the teeny mistakes and the tid bits of actually being a real human and letting children see that we are just that - human.
 I will tack on to this just one more bit of advice that I'm also going to apply to my own life (starting next month)- when mom's are overly tired and hormonal it's never really a good time to teach or do crafts and things that are super hands on, messy, several steps...for me that spells disaster.
  There can be days when cups of tea, small treats, coloring and even long movies are perfectly appropriate - if you are a stay at home homeschooling mother you never have a day off...a hour off...a minute off. If you don't give them to yourself and also teach your kids EMPATHY towards YOU - they will miss out on the opportunity to be considerate. Have grace for yourself as you do for others.  There...that's it dear reader - if I come up with more I'll write a book. :)  We are all learning and usually the pics that I post are of the good times, not the meltdowns and the dirty dishes and the pee stains on the carpet. Blessings *
~ Alyssa Spring