Mi Familia!!

Mi Familia!!
Roscoe, Sophia, & Emily(across top) and then I think you can figure out the rest!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Life is just a tumblin' along around here!
I come by almost everyday to read the blogs I follow... but today I just realized I hadn't put up a post in TWO WEEKS!!
WOW!! Sorry, that I have been so absent.

here's a list of a few of the cool things that have happening lately....

My oldest has finished school for the summer, and had a big promotion ceremony, where she ended up getting a scholarship that we didn't know her name was put in for! It was a scholarship given to one female and one male for having exemplary citizenship, caring, compassion, and general all around good kid qualities. Yay, Emily! I was very shocked, and of course proud, and emotional, and all that good stuff. I am often amazed that I have been blessed with a daughter who people take notice of, in a positive way. I know that I am a proud Mama, but so many people see that she is special. I don't know how it is that I got so lucky. I am very proud of her, and really can't say enough good stuff about her... with out sounding annoying or like I'm gloating... so I'll just say this.
I love ya, kid! Thanks for being such a cool kid!

The day that Emily was promoted to being a HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT.... sorry I just had to put my head between my knees and breath slow calming breaths. I'm so not ready to have a high schooler! .... anywho, we went to the local amusement park. They have a "ride" that puts you in a harness pulls you up VERY VERY high and then let's you go... like a pendulum. Emily has wanted to do it since she was a little kid, but it is kinda pricey and we just never got around to doing it. So we did it! Al, Emily, and I went without the little ones to the park, so that it could be all about her... and we flew. It was so incredibly scary... but soooo awesome! Talk about an adrenaline rush! I was literally shaking for almost half an hour. My hands were quaking and I had a perma grin plastered on my face for the rest of the night! We all ended up enjoying it greatly! I don't know when we will do it again, but it was the best 45 second $50 I've ever spent, for sure! : )

ok, I'm not being dramatic here.. I was really questioning what the heck I was thinking when I came up with this plan!

All of us rigged and ready to go, and getting excited!

This was right after we got off our flight! : ) Can you see the crazy glint in all our eyes?

It was, of course, Father's Day yesterday. I made my husband a special dinner and splurged myself and ate it with him.(I took pictures throughout making it.. but then forgot to take some before we ate it all! whoops!) I made him stuffed steaks, with red potatoes and garlic, and some mixed veggies. It was the first time that I ate extravagantly since Mother's Day... so I figured I was due! Plus, it made him so happy that I made dinner strictly for his tastes... because there hasn't been much butter in my cooking for the last 2 months or so! I also made him a(n awful) Coca-Cola Cake. That is a sign of love if nothing else because this thing has nothing good in it. It is butter, lots of sugar, cola, marshmallows, and cocoa. Good, but sinful! I can't eat it... I hate to admit that I LOVE it... but I was very proud that I didn't indulge. NOT worth it to me... but super hard to resist so I hope that it is gone soon! ; ) I have been doing very well on my quest for better health! I have been exercising almost daily... some days I just can't find the time. But on the days when I do go I often do way more than I "need" to for my daily goals... so it works out fine that I miss a day here and there. I have been tracking my food daily and have gotten my portion sizes under control. I have lost 64 pounds as of yesterday. I hate putting my numbers up... BUT I am now only 2 pounds from being under 200 pounds for the first time in over 5 years. I feel better than I have in years, and I'm not stopping anytime soon! : )

Yay, motivation!
I have been walking a lot... speed walking mostly. I have also been playing badminton.
I had to stop playing for a few weeks because I got so into it that I hurt my hernia repair. I played for hours, several days in a row, and then noticed that the cap over my repair was filled with fluid. Since that hadn't happened for a few weeks at that point, I knew that I had pushed a little too hard. Today I played again for the first time in a I think two weeks... and I'm pretty sure that it will be ok now. I'll keep aware of whether or not it is feeling good
I have also added walking steps into my work out routine. I am lucky enough to live in a city that has AMAZING parks and trails and is HILLY... so there are steps EVERYWHERE!!! My all time best (so far.. but stay tuned) has been 3.5 miles and 774 steps in an hour and 20 minutes. I was so proud of myself that day! It felt so good! I had made a little bet with myself about how far I could go, going up and down every set of stairs I saw on this particular walk. I really surprised myself. It was fun! I worked my way up to that last walk/stairs session, so I am hoping to push it that much further the next time! : )

My kids are loving all the time we spend outside in the garden and at parks. We have been going and going... it can get a little tiring but I think that it is good for all of us to be outside and enjoying the weather while it is here! Soon it will get a little hot to play outside, at the times we are out right now... so I don't want to waste any opportunities to get out and be active! They have noticed a happier healthier Mama, and are loving it too!

The one hard thing that has been happening is that my hubby has been having a hard time adjusting to all the changes that have going on. He is not big on change and truth be told a little self-centered, so if it is not making his experience immediately better... he's not that into it. We are going to an amazing woman to talk through things, with a moderator there to help us when we run into a roadblock in our communication, and I am seeing some progress. But sadly it is much slower than the positive things going on with me personally... so it is a little disappointing that while I am feeling better than I have for a long time... he and I are struggling more than I would like. It is hard when you and your partner don't see eye to eye... and at this point... I'm not willing to change my course at this point. I need to be doing what I am doing right now for myself... for my family and for my relationship with my hubby. Me, becoming a healthier person is not something that I am willing to compromise on right now. It's hard for my hubby to not get offended that, whether he is happier or not... doesn't matter that much to me right now. He would rather I stay fat and depressed... as long as it means Shepard's Pie and a clean house... Me, not so much... I'm just not willing to do that anymore... so as you can see... we're working on things!
I think that there is definite hope for us... there is no lack of love between us... it's just finding the middle road, that we are both happy with, that is the struggle right now. I had a psychology teacher once who would always say...
"No one has everything. You can't excel in all things at all times. You just have to choose your priorities and do the best that you can."
Well for right now, I need to get an upgrade on my own health and happiness... and in my happier visions, my hubby and I are walking this road together. On my harder days, sadly, it is possible for me to see my life without the man that I love more than anything else. I know that right now I am doing what I have to do for myself. I am being as kind and considerate as I can be at any given moment... and the rest is out of my control. I can only control the way that I choose to act. My actions, and RE-actions are the only thing within my control... the rest is up to who ever else I am interacting with. I have had a huge release of responsibility (at least in my own head) lately for the happiness of others. I can only be responsible for my own joy... coming to that realization has been very freeing. I hope that this all turns out the way that I would like... but I guess that we'll just have to let time tell the tale!

Here's to that tale matching up with the (happy) one in my head!

Today I am grateful that my journey to a healthier me is going so swimmingly!
I am thankful that I have a great therapist! ; )
I am thankful that my family is doing well and that we are all feeling the positive effects of healthful food and exercise in our lives, in one way or another!
I'm grateful that I have been given glimpses of my inner strength recently that I might have forgotten about for a little while! : )

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Green Hummus

My decision to eat better for me food, was one that was not too difficult for me. I already ate like a stinky hippie! : ) But I have been trying to really push out all the highly processed foods completely now, which means having healthy food ready at all times. When I don't have healthy food ready and waiting, it is much harder to eat well, because good food takes much longer than the convenience options. That being said, I am no where near done working on this goal, but having a lot of exciting food choices has made it much more fun than I feared it might (not) be.
Because of this I have been making up a lot of new recipes in the last few weeks.
Tonight I made up a new one because I had a lot of fresh spinach to use. It is a very easy and pretty fast recipe too! Although it does taste better if made a day ahead of time. I am very lucky and have a farmer's market on the corner every Monday night. The produce is so fresh and local, some of it is organic, but I'll take local non-organic over the grocery store any day. When you eat food that is grown in your area, I swear you can feel the difference. There is more energy or something about it, that makes me very happy!
So with that I give you:
Green Hummus
I use my food processor to make this. I can tell you from experience that, yes, you can use a blender... but I can also tell you it is WAY easier(and smoother) with the processor. If you do use a blender than make it in batches, two or three, and then add them together at the end and process again.
I have another little secret for you, too. When you drain off the garbanzo beans, you can save the liquid and use it if the hummus needs to be thinned out at the end, but I didn't use any because the spinach has so much water that I didn't need it. I also rinse the beans under running water to remove some sodium content. If you use the liquid from the can you are adding more back in, of course, just as a reminder. : )
2- 15 oz cans Garbanzo Beans (yes I know I was just talking about processed stuff... but I will be honest it is much easier to make hummus with canned beans. I like dried beans in soups and salads, but for hummus I will usually choose canned. You can use soaked and cooked beans if you want, I'd say about 3 cups.)
3 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves
*** ok here is where I say that all the following will have wiggle room to your own palate.. feel free to improvise as necessary! : ) But just so you know I measured this time just to try and get it the same next time, since I sometimes have a problem with that! ; )***
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Cup onion, red or white
2 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Course Sea Salt
Freshly Cracked Pepper
3 Dashes Cayenne Pepper (I like heat so if you're nervous start off with 1, because you can always add, but not take away the heat!)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Tahini
6 Tbsp Lemon Juice (this is usually the juice of one large lemon, but if you get a stingy one you can add bottled and it's ok)

1. Add one half of the garbanzo beans to your processor along with the garlic cloves, pulse until coarsely chopped.
2. Add the onion and the rest of the beans, pulse until coarsely chopped.
3. Add the fresh cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin, and dash(es) of cayenne pepper, pulse until worked through.
4. Add fresh spinach about 1 cup at a time, pulse until it has all been worked in.
5. Add the olive oil, tahini, and lemon juice.
6. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

You can eat this right away, but it is usually even better the next day(or two or three) because the flavors marry more. We eat this with carrots, celery, assorted crackers, pita, pita chips, on wraps as a condiment(like with turkey, lettuce, red onions, & tomatoes, or thinly sliced cucumber, red onions, tomatoes and arugula... yum!), on sandwiches, and even just with spoons! The sky is the limit and the more creative the better. I find that my kids will eat more different things if they seem exciting or new. Honestly my kids will eat just about anything I make for them if I do it with a smile.. oh yeah, and cut it into bite size pieces... all sandwiches are in quarters! :) I am pretty lucky that my kids love to eat my cooking... but they are used to it and have always been good eaters.
I hope that you try this, and if you do let me know how it went! : )

Today I am grateful to have my food processor. It is an amazing little machine!
I am thankful that my kids love my cooking! I wish my hubby would get on board!! : )

** I just realized that I don't have a single picture. I need to do a quick alteration for Emily's promotion dress, but I will try to take a picture tomorrow and post it. have a good night! : )***

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Sanctuary

My sanctuary is nature.
I have always felt very connected to the earth and its beauty. When I am stressed the best thing for me(and anyone in contact with me) is to go connect with nature. The smells, sights, sounds, textures, everything about it makes me feel an inner peace and calm that is difficult for me to explain. This time of year is my very favorite because you get to watch the word awaken and be reborn again. The garden that we have been working on is becoming a beautiful thing. The herbs are all looking plump. The tomatoes are growing, we have green cherry tomatoes already. The peppers are started to flower. The squash have gone from teeny little seedlings to big fat leaves going in every direction... and I am living in fear of the end of the season because I think we put to many to close together.... oops! : ) The bush beans have all sprouted and have a second or third set of leaves, and the soybeans have finally sprouted. This year I got a plant that I have never had before. It is a bush cucumber plant... very interesting! They are small 5-6 inchers. The sweat peas are taking a long time to get very far... but I keep encouraging them and hopefully they will take off soon.

We spend a good amount of time in our own backyard right now and I love it! The kids are filthy every night.. but I don't mind so much, besides Daddy gives them a bath! ; ) They are happy and sleepy at the end of the day because of our adventures! Sophia is picking up some color(although I am diligent about sunscreen being whiter than the average wall), so it seems like she'll have a bit more of her Dad's color than me... to which I say thank goodness! I think poor Roscoe might be out of luck... but he is a baby and I don't remember Sophia getting dark last year... so we'll have to see.

There's been a continuous stream of activity going on around here lately. Which has been an incredibly pleasurable thing for us all!

We LOVE the weather right now, and have been taking every possible opportunity to be outside in nature and PLAYING!!
The garden is starting to flourish.
The grass seeds that we replanted have finally started to come up.
I am simply bubbling over with gratitude and joy right now.

It is almost scary how completely full filled I have felt lately! It has been a lot of work but I can not tell you how pleased I am with deciding to truly live a healthier lifestyle. I still have grumpy days. Yesterday was one of them. I just woke up on the wrong side. I felt sensitive, hormonal, and grumpy. But I was aware of it and after my hubby got up told him, and that we should all go to the park. We did and I got to go exercise while he and the kids played, investigated all the beautiful flowers and then headed over to the amazing wooden playground that they adore! I went up to walk the reservoir and as I got started could honestly feel the stress and grump fall away from me. I did a fast mile and then started another, when I got to an area where there were stairs I went down and back up them four times without stopping... I wanted to do them five but my butt was on FIRE!! : ) So, I'll go for five next time!

I feel so incredibly lucky to be here where we live. I LOVE my city! As I was walking off the funk, getting really sweaty because it was humid as all get out, I looked across the water lightly rippling in the breeze, with a backdrop of beautiful trees in sweet-smelling, flowering bloom, against the baby blue sky casually strewn with white fluffy clouds... I took a deep breath and laughed at loud with pure happiness. Then I remembered where I was and looked around to see if anyone thought I was crazy! ;) I then picked my pace back up to the right level, but continued to be aware and grateful for the amazing surroundings that we have here.

I've been doing a lot of internal work lately, and I can't begin to describe how good it feels to uncover myself down there! I think that all the roles we have as mothers, wives, secretaries, accountants, cooks, cleaning woman, friend, lover... that we can lose touch with the true self, deep inside, but that is not good for anyone. To be strong and capable of full filling all the needs of the family you must take care of yourself, sometimes even first! ; ) I am finding that am becoming more capable of being completely present with the people I am with, because my core is much more at peace. The additional time for my own private thoughts has been an extra bonus that I hadn't thought about before hand!

I miss my bloggy buddies, but I just have to be out and about right now.. and by the end of the day I am WORN OUT!! I have been doing so much yard work, walking, playing badminton...man I LOVE to play badminton! I atually hurt myself, and can't play for a little while, and it's killing me!! But I play like I think I'm Venus or Serena or something! : ) I truly can't help myself... it's fun... Emily looks at me like I'm crazy (I have been playing with her) because I grunt when I serve or jump high, or lunge forward.... but I tell her to shut up because I'm old and kind of creaky right now... but at least she knows I'm really trying! :) ...but sadly all the said lunging and jumping and so forth has involved a little more extension than my belly was ready for. : ( I got really sore and kept playing, but then the cap over my hernia repair filled with fluid and I realized that I pushed a little too far. That hadn't happened for a few weeks now. So I will give it a week or so... maybe more... I'll have to see. I REALLY enjoyed playing so I am disappointed that I can't play right now... but I have to give my body a break. It's been two months, but it's only been eight weeks and they said 6 weeks to 6 MONTHS... so I have to back off a little. It will be ok, but I look forward to playing again. Emily said to me.."why don't you just not get so into it Mom" add necessary obnoxious teenage tone of voice. I just openly laughed at her and after a second she joined right in with me! Yeah right, I'll just wait a week or so! ; )

So I hope that everyone out there in blog land is enjoying the spring and looking toward the summer!

**oh and I just need to get my hubby to take a picture of my new tattoo and I will put it up. It's on my back so I can't just do it myself... : ) The only shot I have of it is from the second day...with a sunburn... yeah I know yikes! ...soon though!

Today I am grateful that I have a better outlook on life, without trying for now!
I am thankful that my husband and I have been achieving our shared goals together, that always feels good!
I am thankful for my garden and all the pleasure it gives me!