Friday, November 28, 2014

Acknowledging the Inevitable

     Too true of a quote from one of my favorite funny guys, although for me, it wasn't a mirror it was a photo. I will be the first to admit that I am that crazy mom who takes a bunch of pictures on every imaginable holiday. Yesterday, on Thanksgiving, was no exception. We did some of just the kids, some of J and the kids, and some of me and the kids. Wham bam, easy enough. They know the drill and it took less than 10 minutes. As I was looking through them to decide which ones were worthy of  Facebook and Instagram (yes, I am that mom as well) I could not help but feel so disgusted, ashamed,and embarrassed of the ones with me in it. Needless to say, none of those ones made the cut for social media.

     Seeing this photo awakened in me something that I think has been a long time coming. Over the years, I have steadily put on the weight. At first, it was stress weight. Always eating when I was stressed about nursing school. And now it has turned into eating because I am happy and comfortable and content. I am realizing how much food and my emotions go hand in hand. How have I never realized this?? Anytime anything is going on in my life my first thought is, "What are we eating?" Ugh. That is going to be a terribly hard habit to break.

     Going forward, I'm not even sure what my plan is, but I know I need one. Starting this morning I exercised a little (which is a whole other issue for me, the issue being I hate it), had a good breakfast (oatmeal made with soy milk and a banana), and have only had water to drink. I figure it is a start. I am going to just be conscious, day by day. J and I have talked about doing the Whole 30 to reset our bodies but I don't know if I am ready for that kind of commitment. All I know is that next year I don't want to be embarrassed to be in pictures with my kids on Thanksgiving.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Role Model {Mindful Mothering Mondays}

The alarm goes off at 5:30 am. I grab some clean scrubs and stumble to the shower. I always mentally prepare myself for the day when I'm in there by praying and thinking. I pray for the patients I will be taking care of that day, their families, and doctors. I also pray for my family that I will leave behind for the next 12+ hours.

6:30 rolls around and I make my rounds. The twins are already up, pouring cereal in the kitchen. The oldest and baby are still sound asleep in their shared room. Jase and the other 2 sleep peacefully in the bed I left not so long ago. I get into the car with a smile on my face. I know they will have a good day, a fun day, and I can't wait to hear all about it when I get back home.

Sometimes I wonder if the kids think it is weird that their mom works and their dad stays home. I know for a fact NONE of their friends are in a similar situation yet it is just life for them.

My hope is that it opens their minds. I hope they don't think they have to do something just because that is what everyone else does. I hope that when my boys grow up they know there is nothing wrong with staying home and raising your kids if that is what works. Just as there is nothing wrong with working your butt off so your wife can stay home. I hope my daughter knows that she doesn't have to stay home if she feels a distinct calling from God to do other things, but it is just as ok if that calling is to be home with her babies.

When I walk in the door at 7:45pm that night, I am bombarded with hugs. "Missed you mom!" "Yay! Mom's home!" I sleep well at night knowing we are doing just what we are supposed to be doing.

*Come over to Small Town Simplicity for more of Mindful Mothering Mondays!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quinoa and Black Bean Lettuce Wraps

One of the things I find absurdly amusing is when people find out you are a vegan they all of the sudden have their PhDs in nutrition!

"How can you be getting enough protein with no meat?"

"But, but, but....don't you have to drink cow's milk to get all your calcium in?"
           -Nope. Not at all.

I find it pointless to try to argue or reason with people who have already made up their mind that they are right and you are wrong. So, yeah...

Tonight was another quick, easy, and yummy meal. I like stuff like this on the nights I work!
(Original recipe found here:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tostadas on Corn Tortillas w/ Re-fried Beans, Salsa, and Lettuce

We used to eat a LOT of flour tortillas. A Lot. We used them in place of bread. We are working on liking corn tortillas. They are definitely better when cooked! The beans are vegetarian. I was surprised to learn a lot of re-fried beans have lard. Gross. We always have a huge jug of salsa around so this meal came together very easily which is good since I work tonight!

Monday, April 22, 2013

How Did We Get Here? A Vegan, Gluten Free Family.

I'm going to start keeping track of our dinners. I want to do this for a couple reasons. One: I want to be able to look back and see what meals I have made so I can reference them when making future meal plans. Two: maybe somehow someone on the vast Internet will come across this blog and be in the same situation and find some hope. So how did we get here? How on Earth did we become a vegan, gluten free family? It is not something I ever imagined doing but here we are. Here is out story:

The bug first bit me in my Nutrition class during nursing school: around November of 2010. It suddenly hit me that being a vegetarian was something I wanted to try not only for me, but for my family as well. The trick  was going to be getting my meat and potatoes husband to go for it. When I came home and presented it to him, his response was, "Ok. I will eat whatever you cook." Fair enough! It was on! I started by making things we ate anyway (tacos, lasagna, etc) but replace the meat with other things or just eliminated it all together. It went over well and everyone was fed and happy.

Fast forward to February of this year. I was feeling really crappy, really tired, and really worn down all the time. It got so bad I actually went to the doctor. My vitamin D level was critically low and I was referred on to a Rheumatologist. At that point, I decided to go ahead and make the jump to vegan. I had witnessed my brother's amazing success being vegan (check out his awesome and hilarious blog: Fat Kid Chronicle) and had been doing some of my own research about it as well. For us it came down to 2 reasons: cheap and healthy. Cheap: people like to think eating healthy is expensive. Really, it is not the case. A bag of lentils and a box of quinoa does not cost much at all. You know what is expensive? Meat, cheese, and milk. Healthy: you cannot deny the health benefits of this diet. Is it the only healthy way to eat? No. Are there many other healthy diets out there? Sure. Do I care that you are not a vegan? Not really. I am in the school of thought that most people do things in their life because they have done research and are doing what is best for them. I respect that about you so please respect that about me.

Now, let's throw another little monkey wrench in. At our youngest son's 1 year well child check we discovered that he had been consistently loosing weight since he was 6 months old. He only weighed barely over 15 pounds at 1 year old. We started keeping a food diary and found that he was eating plenty and the weight loss did not make a lot of sense. I started using my nursing knowledge and the wonderful Internet and came to the conclusion that the poor baby in gluten intolerant. Once we removed the gluten in his diet, he started gaining some weight and some of his other symptoms disappeared! Wonderful! But finding things that are gluten free as well as vegan is quite a challenge. In fact, it is overwhelming at this point. I'm hoping that by keeping track it will become easier. That is the goal anyway. So that is how we got here. I will try and post what we have for dinner every night but I am a full time nurse and a mom of 6 so bear with me if I miss and night or two!

Chickpea Patties with Curry Mayo and a Side Salad with Apples and Red Peppers
(adapted from original recipe found here:

Monday, March 18, 2013

It's hard, and that's okay. [Mindful Mothering Monday]

This is hard. This whole mothering thing. I don't think many of us really like to admit that. I know I don't. The internet is not our friend is this area. I see Facebook and Pinterest plastered with reminders of what I'm not doing for my kids. St. Patty's Day came and went this year with barely a mention of it in my house and certainly no shamrock pancakes or anything like that. There are times I try and succeed at these things but more often than not I don't. And yet my children have thrived up until this point. It's just SO hard not to compare. I always try to tell myself though that what I see online is the best of the best. That mom who made hand felted Valentine's for her kid's classroom parties most certainly also dealt with a meltdown or an argument at some point and a mountain of laundry that day as well. See, we seem to only put our best selves out there for people to see and that is when people get the impression that we have it all together. Just because I had homemade cupcakes and hand made toppers for E and F's birthday this past weekend, in no way says that I know what I'm doing or have it all together, To me it was saying, "Hey, look what I had time to do. I hope they like it!". I've been told by people before that they look up to me or that they don't know how I do it. I usually try to answer and honestly and humbly as I can but saying I DON'T have it all together, not even close. And some days I honestly have no idea how I do it, I just put one foot in front of the other. Even 6 kids in, I'm just figuring things out! So here is real:

The kid's laundry that will hopefully get washed and dried today but surely not folded or put away.

The kitchen. Neglected all weekend since we were out and about most of it.

I doubt you will see many pictures like this on Facebook. So let's all just be gentle with each other. This is hard, it's hard for all of us. And that's okay!

*For more encouragement head over to Small Town Simplicity

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stay at Home WHAT?? {Mindful Mothering Mondays}

It's true. My husband is a stay at home dad. And an amazing one at that! It took me several years and about 3 kids in to come to be okay with the fact that he is better at "all that stuff" than I am. For so long, I felt like I should want to be home and I wondered why I felt that constant pull (a pull I'd honestly felt since childhood) to be in the medical field taking care of the least of these. It took me so long to realize that God matched Jase and I up for just that reason. So often, early in our marriage we sat and talked and struggled and fought about what Jason was going to do to support us. What career should he pick? Where should he work? Nothing ever really jumped out or seemed to be the right fit. While always in the back of my mind, I knew nursing was my calling.

So, I am the one who has the education, the drive, the want to work out of the home and better myself and my community. I'm the one who pulls on those scrubs and Danskos 3 nights a week to go and take care of the sick while my babies sleep at home without me.

He is the one who gets up while it is still dark, (me having just dropped into the bed from a long night at the hospital) to make sure kids are fed, hair is combed, dog is let out, etc. He's the one who chiefly drives kids around and drops them off where they need to be. He's the one who bathes 6 kids and puts them to bed at night. And you know what, he's GOOD at it. He's better at it than I could ever be.

We definitely don't fit the traditional husband/wife rolls. And there are still times I get that twinge of, I don't know, a case of the "what ifs". Sometimes it's hard to explain it to people and watch their faces twist up in confusion. "He stays home? How do you manage to pull that off? Why?" No one would EVER think to say some of those things to a mom who stays home, but for some reason it's different for a dad.

The most important things we have learned is to make the best of the strengths and gifts God has given us instead of trying to force ourselves into a mold that just isn't right for us. Him being home and me working 3 nights a week also allows for LOTS of family time where all 8 of us are together and that is something I would not trade for anything.

For more encouragement, head over to Small Town Simplicity