Friday, September 20, 2013

A Birthday Post To Myself...

I'll be 29 in a couple of days....i know...chilling. The last year of my 20's. I could care less. 
I don't feel like I'm 29. I would say (this might seem egotistical or like I have a VERY VERY large head...bowling ball size...LARGE bowling ball size) but I feel like I'm older then 29. I kind of feel like I've experienced more trauma or something than most people haha (not true, but hey...everything is relevant. Not sure what that means?) No but really, most of my friends are in their 30's and 40's and I have more kids than them and have been married more years. Married should equal "grown up." I digress. 
My point being a few days I will be 29 and I don't feel like it matters...except that I'm pretty sure I can expect some pretty hefty body changes and hormonal issues in the next few years. Pretty hefty
I was cleaning out Trinity's room tonight, listening to music and sipping a glass of chardonnay and my thoughts went to what I have learned over the last year of my life. My last birthday we had been in Colorado just a couple of months and I was going through the "new place, new life" syndrome and I wasn't really sure what to make out of life...I was literally spinning and just THANK your lucky stars I didn't write a post about what i had learned. It would have been vile I tell you...vile. 
This year though, I think I can tell you. I think somehow I will be able to verbalize what I've actually learned and  you won't come away from my blog maimed and wishing you had spent your time and reading hours elsewhere. My mind is a bit more clear, my life in a better place.... So here it goes, for better or for worse...what I have learned in a year :

1. My life is no good without my husband. Our life can get pretty stressful ( read that as 'stressful all of the time' ) but I don't feel like "Alyssa" if I'm not with him. When I say "with" I don't just mean "beside him"...I mean connected to him, serving him, happy to sit quietly next to him or tickle him until we are both laughing and almost in tears and we roll of the couch and make out like two young love birds (I mean...we are. I'm only 29 for pity sake.) Living with someone and being connected to someone are two entirely different things....I have to be connected to Zac in every way. I'm glad that he doesn't find me needy...I'm absolutely THANKFUL he doesn't think that I'm weak because of this...I'm absolutely in love with the fact that he LOVES it and that he finds it sexy. I love my man...13 years later...more than ever.
2.  Autism stinks. It still stinks and it will always stink. Every person in the world who comes up to you and says "yah, but your child is so special and different and funny. They know so many things...they are a pure delight." These people obviously don't have an autistic child and have no idea how to relate to someone who does. I feel like saying "you know what's pure delight? A breakfast with no one yelling at you because you served it 10 minutes late. A piece of FUDGE is pure delight. " Yes, all of those things are true...they have great different gifts that set them apart. But it still stinks....and I still wish deep down inside that my children would wake up one morning autism free. They won't. I know this. Nothing is awesome about your kids being separate from other kids. Nothing is awesome about your child not even having ONE friend.  The word "apart" is lonely...right?! I love my littles....but I wish I could take autism away. I wish I could give them enough betonite clay baths to just suck out all of the autism...but I can't...and it still feels crappy.  
3. I can do other things to try to "fulfill" me as a mother BESIDES taking care of my kids - but if ever the kids don't get the best of me...then that other things has to stop immediately. My choosing to be a mother...even though I was just out of my teens and didn't TOTALLY grasp the concept of mothering (do you ever until you actually push that baby out of ya?) was my decision and it should come first before anything else...before me. I have a lot of people who would tell me differently - just the other day I was talking to a woman in the park who told me that she works and her husband is a stay at home father because she just wasn't fulfilled being a stay at home mom. I don't think that's bad...I just think that if mothers are going to do both...whether it be a hobby or a job...that they had better make darn sure their family is still first. Darn sure. I would like to add that it doesn't always seem fair to stay home all day cleaning up after mostly ungrateful people. I have tried to get into several different hobbies over the last year. Each time, I enjoy myself but I start taking it too far... where I actually get frustrated at my kids for needing me WHILE I'm doing my hobby or writing or exercising. It makes me rethink my priorities. Should my kids...little bitty kids...need me to get them a drink? Yes. Should my little itty bitty kids need me to help them with social issues. Yes. Should I get annoyed that they want me to do my job? No. Problem solved...I will paint when they are older...when I have those hefty body issues and hormonal changes.
4. I love Jesus so much. I didn't think I did for a while least I thought maybe I didn't need him. Maybe I was just mad at Him? It doesn't matter - David screamed and cried at God through the entire Psalms and I'm SURE had a little bit too much wine...And God didn't turn his back on David. God loves me, and I Him. Period.
5. I have lots and lots of dreams and really hope they come true...still. They seem a little unrealistic, but I'm learning that that's okay. It's okay for me to want's okay for me to want to write someday...maybe it will happen. 
6. Having a little girl scares me. I love love love it...I love love love her. It's scary though ... and I worry about her. I'm so glad that we named her Trinity...hopefully she will come to know that she has the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit available to her ALL of the time. Hopefully she will know that she is never alone.
7. Autism stinks and it's okay that I feel that way. Oh...I already said that?
8. There are some days that I feel like my family needs me too much and no one else needs me at all. Being a stay at home mom with special needs kids can be very isolating...yet crazy busy in a different type of crazy that really can't be shared. 
9. I still wish I lived in a commune, pretty much naked...with daisies in my hair ...eating hummus and watching my barefoot children dance to the sound of my dulcimer (that I don't currently play.) Like I said, dreams can be fun. Maybe it will come true?! 
10. Alyssa Spring is a pretty cool name and my parents are awesome for giving it to me. I learned that that this year after hearing some pretty lame 29 year old and older names.

There is my long uninspiring list. Tomorrow my husband is taking me to Evergreen for breakfast and a birthday hike, and we will be lovers in the beautiful green mountains. Then we will go to my nephew Peter's 19th birthday (Pete and I are almost exactly 10 years apart...very strange and that makes me actually feel like I'm a baby) and enjoy family time and alpaca love. 
Happy Birthday Alyssa are loved. ;) 

Friday, September 13, 2013

When Life Gives You Rain

 We have not floated away in the 11 inches of rain that have FREELY fallen for the last three days or so. Part of me wanted to drift away (imagine four kids in a house for three days. Ready...go! Anyone own a life raft?)

 No boats around here. I did the next best thing... I made fudge. Delicious raw fudge - the kind you don't have to feel tooooo guilty about because it's all pretty much good for you. It takes 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 1/4 cup of raw honey, 1/2 cup of cacao and a little bit of vanilla and 1/2 cup of peanut butter. Mix, pour into a 9x9 pan lined with wax paper and pop in the freezer or fridge. Stay tuned....the perfection is purely awesome.

 The littles did some school and skipped some school...they did some crafts and some running up stairs and some couch jumping....a little bit of whining and a whole bunch of grazing....

  We created this little button tree - a super simple idea that kids can do (it takes a LOT of buttons though.) All you need is a tree form (floral department at craft stores), a sack of buttons and some push pins. Easy peasy.

 And here's the before mentioned "perfection." Absolutely delicious and decadent and mildly sweet and so full of good fats it makes me swoon. I love that it's cold and it starts melting on your fingers as it reaches room temperature.

 Today there was sunshine and hopefully some relief to all of our flooded neighbors in nearby counties. Our roads were closed all Thursday and some of them still closed today. Brady said to me "when is this rain ever going to stop?" I told him I wasn't sure but soon. He growled. I said "listen here buddy, I can't stop the chill and enjoy - this ain't a battle we can win." I know, I'm so brutally blunt - but truthful right?
 Here's to sunny skies and orange trees here in the near future!

“Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.” 
― Vladimir Nabokov

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Farewells and Hellos

   This morning is chilly...the temperature dropped from a record high of 94 degrees on Sunday to today a high of 62. I am in heaven. Last night I took a quick trip to Hobby Lobby to pick up some supplies for our first fall project...hopefully to start today while Zac is at work. I made my first pot of "fall soup" last night...and also my first cup of fall Vanilla Chamomile tea. Ahhh...I just love firsts that later become *regulars.*
 And then in the last hour of daylight, a stroll about the yard and a farewell to the roses...

 ...a good bye to the summer tomatoes and a quick "hello" to the fall tomatoes...

 ...and then bright blue eyes, a happy boy that got to spend a much needed afternoon with his mama at Starbucks and then at the library...we love dates!

 .... and then opening a package from my parents and finding pretty earrings for their "Springtime" and a little box that says "I'm happy you're my daughter " .... a nice reminder when I look at my kitchen windowsill that someone very far away loves me. 

And to end the night, football and embroidering with this handsome gent....feeling slightly sad that he wouldn't be next to me when I wake up the next morning but so thankful he is with me and will love me for the rest of my life. I love my faithful hunky husband.

 And last but not that a squirrel up in that tree? 
 Nope...just my cowgirl. 

 Happy ALMOST fall everyone. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Day in a Post...or..What One Does When Her Husband is Away

  So, pinterest has been my friend lately. It isn't that I've been using a lot of the ideas I've been finding...but browsing all of the craftiness has been inspiring me to be creative - to get back into my "Alyssaness."
  Today was a good day...a good mama day. It's the evening and my little are all tucked in and I feel like I did my job...well. It's one thing to be a caretaker - to take care of their simple needs (that don't always feel so simple) ..the food, the brushing teeth, the reading lessons and the addends and sums and differences. Sometimes it's just about all I can manage...the simple/grinding sometimes pleasant sometimes not stuff. Then there are days where I just do the simple stuff because I don't feel inspired or energetic or creative or I just have the "I don't want to's." I admit (not readily) that often I don't push myself enough to be more than a caretaker. A mama is just's the truth...a mama does more than just "be". A mama listens to their hearts, a mama is patient and consistent, a mama holds hands and reads stories and giggles. A mama dances in the kitchen and takes the time to fill their bellies with nourishing YUMMY good food...a mama teaches her babies about God's love and how much He loves He knew them and pieced them together and made them exactly the way He wanted them to be. A mama takes time...sometimes for things that are boring or tedious or not on the schedule. A mama praises and encourages - a mama points out flowers and airplanes and birds and butterflies. A mama find rolly pollys. A mama cherishes more than the just the physical child but the child's heart, the character, the mind.
 I heard once that the mother is the spirit of the home -and I believe it. Generally, it's up to the mother what kind of family life there is, what kind of food everyone eats, what kind of hobbies can be pursued - like in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding "the man may be the head of the home, but the woman is the neck...and she can turn the head which ever way she wants it to go." A woman decides the tone of the home.
 I've been praying for love...lots and lots of love and patience and kindness. I've been praying for respect for my speak to them the way EVERYONE deserves to be spoken to. This morning I woke up, and I was just so excited about the day and what could be done. And so it is our day in pictures. :)
  School work first..the kids knew their spelling lists already so we went ahead and did spelling tests two days early...stickers on charts and smiles all around and a new list started. Bible Memory...same story. The kids knew their verse early so stickers on charts and smiles all around. Then math and reading and a you tube video on Dr. Martin Luther King....and I decided that was enough. On to better things ... like pear deliciousness. Trinity and I found a recipe online and we cooked up snack. It was pretty yummy and simple (don't you just love recipes that use ingredients that you already have on hand?)
  We made a pot of tea and all sat down together ... fun conversation and another opportunity to work on manners. We used this recipe - it was tasty and perfect and light to go with our English Breakfast.
  Trinity and I had found a rather large canvas at the thrift store this past weekend and so we decided it was time to brave a project that we had found on pintrest. This project made me fall in love with my hot glue gun all over's a good love. To do this project you need a whole bunch of crayons (we ripped each crayon paper down about a quarter of the way), some tacky glue or hot glue, a canvas, a piece of contact paper and a hair dryer. We cut a heart out of contact paper and stuck it to the middle of the canvas. I put a little hot glue on the top of the heart.....then we turned on the old blow dryer and melted the crayons just enough so they would start dripping down the canvas.

  After all the crayons were partially melted we peeled off the contact paper and painted in our heart with blue acrylic (the heart on pinterest was white but ours didn't really show up since our crayons didn't run all the way down the canvas. Bug monitored Squirrels progress while stealing some of mama's leftover pear goodness (please note I didn't clean up our snack stuff before going on to the art project...I'm learning to let a mess just "sit. Three cheers for me are in order here.)
  This was Trin's first time painting with acrylics and she totally caught the painting bug.
  After the paint dried I wrote in the word "love" --- also not something done on the pintrest one. It was a fun project but the blow dryer was a little too powerful and caused some of the wax to mix together and kind of spatter all over the place. Thankfully I had put a drop cloth down...and now that I'm actually typing this out I realize I could have turned the dryer on "low." Oops. I still really like it.
  I found a place for it next to my "black and white" wall (another work in progress...I hope to have the entire wall covered in black and white prints of our family.)
  After the painting and lunch and clean up Trin asked me if I could please teach her to paint a tree. So, on to another project and she did very very well. Brady is modeling our family art gallery --- he is currently into making ghoulish expressions in his photos (he finds it humorous and laughs his head off at himself.)
  You can kind of see her tree in the corner there...isn't it good?!
  So then there was the kids rest time and I started to clean the kitchen and get to the laundry, and as I was putting away the dishes I started thinking about how I would love a bit of change in the I located the drill and took off the cabinet doors. I know I know ... it's just the way I am. I want to see my pretty dishes, I want depth, I want color...and I live in a rental and can't paint of tear stuff out of the walls - so this was my best option. When the kids got up they thought I had gone insane "you're taking the doors off?" Brayden cried "won't all the dishes just fall out on us?!" I assured him that , no, the doors don't actually hold the dishes in place, the shelves do. He relaxed.
  Then it was time to water Big Ike...
 ...and I was greeted with lots and lots of goodness. Bounty. Yes...I like that word...bounty.
  It's so pleasant having plants...especially ones that give you something almost on a daily basis. It's like if you're a bit lonely, you can just go visit your friend, the plant. Big Ike will greet you with a tangy scent and his weepy branches (my tomato plant is a him, because frankly...I just don't think a female plant should be that large)...and then will invite you on a treasure hunt...where you can lift up his long arms and search and search for bright reds and oranges and yellows. What he gives to you is good, it's a perfect nutritious gift and it's can walk away and say "I'll be back tomorrow Ike with a drink" and he will most likely welcome me with a gift. Someday when I have a garden with more than one plant I will probably be in a state of bliss all summer...and most likely I won't know *lonely*.

  And then, watching my boys play - rowdy loud play...the kind boys are good at. Oh, and goodness me, what happened to that little bug's pants?! His mother must have been off melting crayons or picking tomatoes or unscrewing cabinet doors or something. Excuse the nakedness dear readers ... kind of comes with the territory around here (and just between you and me, if not being "lude"  wasn't the law of the land...I would ditch my clothes too. It's been warm here folks.)
  Looks like  he also stole some one's hat. No shoes, no shirt, no problem.
  So, to end my rather long day in a post...this is how my kitchen came out. My Aubrey gave me that Audrey Hepburn poster awhile ago (the one you can barely see over the laundry area.) When we were growing up we both had a deep love for all things vintage, and Breakfast at Tiffany's was one of those loves. One  summer school break Aubrey sent me a mixed tape with the song "Moon River" on it...and since then it has remained "my song" between us. Thus...the awesome thrifted poster find. See that microwave area with all the clutter? That's my next project - stay tuned.
  See why I needed to see my dishes? Isn't it all shiny and colorful and full of ... depth? Yes, thanks...I agree.
  And since the day wasn't full enough, Trinity decided to lose a tooth during her watermelon/almond dinner. The boys were all very proud of her and applauded her bravery (Brayden was a little hurt that the tooth fairy wouldn't be visiting him tonight too.)
  Before bed I decided that I need to, errr...water my *stolen* moss as Trin calls it. I didn't steal it...I found it in a forest...that may or may not have been ...a  National one. I just love moss so's so very green and squishy and is the essence of "earth." I let Trin decorate it with pebbles and then sent her off for rest time. I wasn't quite satisfied with the moss lacked....something. hmmmmm.
  Ah...that's it. That's exactly what it was lacking. I can't help myself ... I get an idea and i have to go all in. There I was in the garage at 7:30 pm hacking away a long thick cardboard tube with Zac's saw, and then constructed a roof out of cardboard from our recycling bin. Then I had to find sticks and break them all in little lengths to THEN hot glue (remember my old/new love?) and then a fresh coat of paint and I was mostly satisfied.
The day was full...of just the right stuff. Home baked goodness and tea, naked giggling babies and smart blue eyed boys with special thoughts...fairy villages and new spaces and art ...and lots and lots of love. I am blessed by simple good things in a not so simple life...and I am thankful.
What did you do today?

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Sickness - and Healing

   September is here ... my most favorite month of the year. It is the gateway to apple goodness, to flickering fires, to slippers and crisp night air, crafts and crafts and more crafts. It's also my birthday month, which isn't something I greatly care's just on my "to do" list of each year. You know....Alyssa must turn 29 years old this year...get er' done.
 The top picture is of my little baby doll last September...bundled up in his favorite blanket.
  And here is this year, all of little boyishness still draped with his favorite blankie, an Ikea awesomeness. Such a little man to fall asleep with his hands under his head, his little feet crossed at the ankle, sweetly dreaming away his fever.
 Oh last five days has been taken over with them. Tristan surprised us this last week with coming down with a rather severe case of croup. His coughing was really rough and I had to stay up at least two nights almost ALL night long with him, holding him over a humidifier, taking him out in the night air...rubbing eucalyptus oil on his chest and garlic oil on his feet. It was kind of scary because there were a few times I was kind of unsure of if we needed to take a trip to the ER. But, I looked up what they would do to him at the hospital and wasn't totally comfortable with all of the treatments and didn't feel like having a long conversation with doctors over Tristan's vaccination records - and I knew almost everything they COULD do for him Zac and I could do at home. So, we just took his vitals rather often, listened to his chest with a stethoscope and I used every bit of my herbal mama knowledge. I gave him wild cherry bark tincture for the mucous...for a bit he had rattling in his chest. After only two doses he threw up almost all of the sliminess (sorry for the tmi) and then I just let his fever run. I gave him ginger baths if he seemed really really uncomfortable (ginger regulates your body's temperature) and then I chopped and chopped up garlic and put it in oil for about 4 hours and rubbed it on his feet. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and the feet is one of the best places to apply gets into the blood stream quicker where the skin is soft and thin. I also combined eucalyptus essential oil and coconut oil and used that on his chest and spine. Our house smelled like a pizzeria in the Outback. If he was having a really bad coughing fit I would turn on the hot water in the shower and put peppermint essential oil in the bathtub and we would sit in their together. It was around the clock care for sure but I was in just a little bit of heaven...except for my baby being sick and me being secretly terrified from time to time.  I came away with two thoughts.
First....staying calm and confident is a challenge...and I was able to do both.
Second ... i LOVE herbs. Most people don't have the patience to use them...they take a bit longer then pharmaceuticals but I think in MOST cases the herbs actually heal and the drugs just cover up symptoms.
Third (I always have more thoughts) I would love to learn more - I feel like I NEED to learn more. I will.
  The other kids and Zac have all just had a one day fever with congestion. They haven't been very comfortable and Zac has already finished off a box of kleenex and then got started on our toilet paper rolls today.
  I started a raw food regimen about a week before the sickness took over the Corley clan and...knock on wood...I think it may have saved me from catching this bug. We will see what happens in the next few days...but eating a watermelon a day, loads of grapes and greens and chugging down lemon/mint water has made me feel rather giddy and kind of on a "high." I have so much energy and I haven't even really had coffee lately - it's pretty awesome how good food can heal the body. Besides eating mounds of fruit, we've just been resting.
  Resting and resting and resting so much I've begun to go stir crazy. Today we were watching a Walton Movie marathon on the Hallmark channel and i just jumped up and started doing squats just because I couldn't stand watching Olivia sweep her porch and the Walton clan hiking up the mountain every ten minutes and me on the couch with kids draped over my body. It's been good healing time though and the kids have been troopers...but I'm ready for the sickness to be gone, the school books out...and the normal routine ticking away again.
 As a parting thought, if any of you have any awesome history craft type ideas I can do with my kiddos, will you leave me a comment? Brady is obsessed right now with the presidents, especially President Obama and JFK .... I would like to come up with a project he could work on that doesn't entail a lot of writing. We were able to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. library the other day (I got a library card for the first time in ages) and Brady was really wanting a book on Martin Luther King Jr. Well, we searched and searched and then a librarian helped search and the man finally looked at me and said "well, this is embarrassing but we don't actually have a kids book on Martin Luther King." Embarrassing indeed. I told Brady that libraries were a lot of fun but we better go our normal route and wikipedia Dr.King - sometimes being a techno mom is helpful.
 Until next time friends...