Holy Week

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As Catholics, Holy Week is a very important, reflective time for us. Of course, Easter preparations are underway, and we even had an early egg hunt. However,  we try not to let the joy of Easter come prematurely. I know, that last sentence totally hammers home the Catholic guilt and our infatuation with suffering, right? Well the truth is, without Good Friday, the day we fast and reverently remember Jesus’ crucifixion, there would be no Easter Sunday; furthermore, there would be no Catholicism.

This is why we aren’t afraid to hang crucifixes in our churches. it is the crux of our faith. Had Easter never came, and Jesus never raised from the dead, then there would be no Catholicism either. After all, His rising is what solidifies his victory over death and evil. But the crucifixion can’t be so easily dismissed.

This week has brought on a lot of struggles. I have had a double ear infection for the past two weeks, been trying to pave the way for a potential photography business, and I’ve had 2 energetic children begging me to go outside. It has been a huge temptation to be irritable, throw pity parties, and give up on taking care of others. I’m not saying I never gave into this temptation, if I did my husband would surely rat me out, but when I DO fall, I try to make an extra effort to re-attune myself to the needs of my family and friends.

So, I will continue to be reflective and some what solemn for the rest of the week, as I navigate my daily chores and prepare for the upcoming holiday. I hope you all have a safe and happy Easter!

Spring

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Even though the past few days have been dreary (gearing up for April showers, and all that…) We are still trying to make it outside during the small intercessions of sunshine. This winter was tough for numerous reasons, so I am pleased and relieved to see Spring on the horizon.

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We are tying to hit the potty training a little harder with Sophie so she will be totally comfortable to use the bathroom at school this fall. She will be 3 at the end of May and I can hardly believe that she is this walking, talking little person with her own ideas about the world.

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I am also eager to see Cora begin walking. She has such an adventurous spirit, that I am surprised she isn’t already walking. She can take a few steps at a time, but she knows crawling is more efficient at this point, and chooses to do that most of the time.

I’m hoping more time outside and spent with other kids will both help them to overcome these developmental milestones.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

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I tried dieting and cutting out cookies and other treats… that just led me to crave and then binge on said treats. My new plan is to simplify and make healthy a few treats that I can enjoy in moderation. These oatmeal cookies hit the spot, are gluten free, and contain less sugar than your average cookie.

What I used:
1 stick of butter at room temp
1 egg
1 bag of Pamela’s oatmeal bar mix
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/4 c. Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Mix ingredients, bake at 350 for 10 minutes, AND THAT’S IT! Simple, quality ingredients.

I enjoyed 2 with a mug of my favorite tea this morning. Some people can completely restrict certain foods from their diets. I do fairly well avoiding gluten, but I love baking, and of course I love sweets. Finding a healthy balance for these foods in my diet is a better solution for me. I’ve found success replacing white refined sugar with organic coconut sugar. Some sweets, like an apple tart for example, are sweet enough on their own to not even need sugar. Anyway, I have found that you can alter recipes and your favorite foods so that they have a more appropriate place in your diet. That way you don’t feel deprived and end up bingeing on oreos instead.

If you’ve never tried Pamela’s gluten free products, I highly suggest you do! (This post isn’t sponsored, I’m just an enthusiast)

I’m Back!

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My last post was on self-care which is ironic because we slowly slipped into a week of unhealthiness. The kids got sick with various ailments, one of which led Cora and I to urgent care on Sunday morning, and we definitely indulged in some early Easter treats and sloth. I don’t think the latter did our immune systems any favors, so now that we are on the mend I am recommitted to the health and over all wellness of my family.

The good news is, our weather is warming up which means more running around outside with the girls and going for strolls before nap time. It no coincidence  that my health thrives when the weather warms up. Not only am I more motivated to maintain my healthy habits, but my kids encourage me to because they want to be outside and I enjoy the sunshine as well.

In other news, I have decided to focus more on my photography. The picture above was taken by a professional in a studio, and it was a very stressful and embarrassing session. My mother-in-law and husband both agreed I could get similar results with my own skills, and the kids might behave better in the home environment. I have been looking for an excuse to buy more gear and learn programs like photoshop and lightroom, and I think I have found my chance. I hope to be doing portraits professionally by the summer. I’ll keep you updated on the blog, especially because I think I will be using this blog’s namesake as branding for my potential business.

Exciting opportunities lie ahead, and I hope you all will join me for the ride!

Self-Care

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Every once in awhile I take time to write on self-care. In this fast paced life, it is hard to slow down to take care of ourselves. Self-care is viewed as sloth, when in reality, it is the practice that helps us work harder and longer.

A few of my close friends and I were talking about self-care in terms of a gas tank. Motherhood can often leave our tanks on empty, so going out to get our hair done, or taking a zumba class helps to fill it. However, when our tanks are SO depleted, we need to fill them multiple times before we are ready for another road trip. Maybe a trip to the gym makes the tank go up one gas gauge, but going out for drinks later that night makes it go up another. We have to stack these moments and even set aside time for them DAILY in order to keep functioning within the endless road trip that is life and motherhood.

Last week, there were multiple events that had me “on call” with certain members of my family. I love them, and happy to give them the 24/7 care that they some times require, but it was time to fuel up. I painted my nails, made banana bread, put out some candles and bought myself my favorite flowers. Those are all tiny things that boost my mood and can make a big difference in my day. Later tonight, I am going to zumba with a friend, which is another way I invest in being a better mother. You don’t have to only chose one solitary thing that you are “allowed” to make yourself feel better; and it isn’t selfish to need multiple activities or social interactions before you start feeling like “yourself” again. It’s not selfishness, it is mental health care and mood nourishment. Do it, and it may even help you become more productive in other areas of your life.

originally posted on my column at mytrendingstories.com

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Carrying 2 Kids

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Sophie was my independent, introverted child, who was content to go in her tee-pee and play by herself while I did my chores. This drastically influenced my expectations for how children behaved, and I was completely jarred when Cora began crying and holding on to my legs as I did dishes. This is when people began baby-wearing to me. I know I have written on it several times, but I just received this gorgeous Oscha in the mail today and so I wanted to reflect on how baby-wearing has helped me bond with both Cora and Sophie this year.

Cora’s dependence on my close proximity emphasized to Sophie just how independent she really is. However, this led Sophie into a slight regression. All the sudden she wanted to be held too. Just as I was selling off my carriers, I found myself in need of them again. So, I bought this beautiful ring sling in colors that reminded me of sunsets where I grew up in California. I still needed some thing to carry Sophie in though. I had spent a pretty penny on my slings and couldn’t afford another carrier, until a dear friends gave me a carrier for toddlers. Sophie has been happy to ride on my back while I make dinner or do chores when Cora is sleeping. I’m hoping this will re-instill her trust and confidence that I will always be there for her, even when life gets busy, or if I have multiple children to juggle.

 

Daniel Tiger Birthday

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I have to say, I think I out-did myself. Not only was our downstairs perfectly decorated for this party theme, but it cost us next to nothing. PBS kids website had lots of great, thrifty ideas in addition to having free printables with Daniel and his friends on them. We made a trolley out of a diaper box, tissue paper, and a template from PBS, and we also made tissue poms and felt crowns with supplies from the dollar store. We strategically placed printables to go with these items, and they really complemented each other.

Food was another great way to tie in the theme. I had purchased orange candy melts for Cora’s cake already, so I decided to also use some for making “tiger tails” an idea I saw on pinterest. Speaking of pinterest, I had seen around Halloween that people were drawing on clementines to make them look like jack-o-lanterns. Well, I thought you could use the same concept to make them look like tigers. It was a big hit with the kids. Then there was the cake itself, which is what I am most proud of.

It was a little crazy with 10+ kids in the house, but it was also crazy fun! It was my pleasure to host some of the awesome kids who have played so nicely with Sophie and Cora over the past year, and also to create an environment where the parents could relax a little too. We have made so many more “parent friends” in the past year and it has been invaluable. We need people who understand, and who can help us in our current life situation. Every one who came to Cora’s party had helped us in our time of crisis this year, and it was really rewarding to get to celebrate with them all. Cue Daniel’s “A Neighbor Is Here To Help,” song…

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