Tuesday, November 30, 2010


We have an elf that comes to our house. He keeps an eye on us. He started visiting my mom's and my aunt Carma's children close to 45 years ago. Now, all the grandchildren get the joy we experienced when we were little.

We are visited each night in December (that means it starts tonight!) until Christmas day with a treat left by the advent calendar that hangs on the wall. Sometimes it's a box of crackers, a piece of saltwater taffy for everyone, a special book, a candy cane. If we are lucky, he leaves a handwritten note. His handwriting is getting a little shaky, nowadays. He's taken lots of notes to Santa for us throughout the years.

We don't quite know what Twinky looks like, but we think we've spotted his tiny footprints on the carpet and also out in the snow. There is no guarantee that he will visit everyone, though. Sometimes he leaves nothing. Boy, that's a devastating thing. Twinky is a busy guy; he goes all over the place. It's amazing how he gets around. He's been to Portugal, Brazil, the east coast, Wisconsin, California, Arizona, all over the state of Utah~all in one night! How does he do that?

We are a lucky family to have his visits!

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Kitchen Table

** I thought it would be fun to post some of my favorite writing or "greatest hits" from the early archives of my other blog, Blue House Blessings. I think most of you maybe hadn't stuck with me since then and I thought it would be an interesting way for you new friends and readers to get more of a feel for my home life. I might pull some of these up every once in a while**

around the dinner table last night~
Potato latkes (pancakes), black bean, corn, and avocado salsa with corn chips, chopped broccoli salad, and a super good apple upside down cake that Keith made.

I love my kitchen table. It's been a big part of my life. When I was first married and really poor, all we had was a card table. Soon after, my mom gave us the table that I grew up on. I think my parents got it after our family had moved to Heber. That would have been almost 35 years ago. It's a dark brown colonial style trestle table with long benches on the sides. It's great that it has leaves that can shorten or expand to fit different needs. It's a type of table that is classic and really fits in my decorating scheme. Maybe my decorating "scheme" was formed from my sub-conscious love of this table. The benches are worn and have an "antiqued" look with scars and marks from shoes and knives. At one time I thought that maybe it would be nice to have something new and updated, but I know that this table means so much to me, has so many memories tied to it, and has taught me so much that there is no way I could ever part with it. It is a treasure to me.

Let me tell you about some memories I have of this table when I was growing up. I remember walking home from the old North school for lunch when I was in the first grade and eating Bean and Bacon soup and drinking milk my mom set out for me. I remember sitting around the table laughing at our Brazilian foreign exchange student, Louis, talking about "cutting the cheese" and how funny he thought that expression was. I remember coming home from school so many times and seeing my mom cutting out fabric for the clothes, pajamas, and dolls she made for all of us. Getting a "talking to" from my parents when I hit the teenage years, all the wonderful meals that we enjoyed that my mom would fix. My favorites were the "meat and potato" kinds, like beef strogonoff, mashed potatoes and gravy, and spaghetti and meatballs. I didn't get too excited about "soup dinners". I liked something "substantial", as my mom would say.

We squeezed all of us kids around the table with one of the babies in the highchair off to the side. Sitting on a hard bench was sometimes uncomfortable (especially during Dad's notorious long prayers) and sometimes we got bumped with each other's knees and feet. Dad sat at the head, mom to his left and I to his right. I remember that as my spot. Maybe someone will argue that, but I have clear picture in my mind of dad's plate. There were always matching, clean placemats on that table, with milk always poured in the glasses at dinner- maybe water on Sundays. Mom didn't believe in serving out of the pan; everything always looked beautiful and was presented as if company were coming. I appreciate that now, knowing it's not easy and often unappreciated little things that make the ordinary, everyday meals special. I think my mom took pride in that and it was a way for her to create beauty. I guess my mom thought we were just as special as guests.

I'll never forget a lesson that I learned from my mom that has to do with this table. Like I told you, my mom was a meticulous house keeper and one of my jobs after every meal was to "grease the table". That meant that I would go to the hall closet and get a rag that had lemon furniture polish on it (it was stored in a worn out plastic bag and I'll never forget the smell) and then I'd scoot off the centerpiece and table runner onto the bench and proceed to polish that table. I would use all my upper body strength to form shiny connected lines, back and forth all across.

When I was in Mr. Olsen's 4th grade class at Northridge elementary, I either snuck out of the house without doing my "greasing" job after breakfast or I had come home for lunch, I can't remember. Anyway, I vividly remember sitting at my desk, probably coloring Utah's dinosaurs or something, and I heard a knock on the door. I looked up and saw my mother standing there, motioning with her finger for me to come over to her. She had a look that meant business. Oh, how embarrassed and mortified I was when she whispered, "You forgot to grease the table". I was so put out, I could hardly stand it. I couldn't believe she would come all the way to the school just to make me grease that blasted table.

As I look back on that experience, I can see that my mother wasn't really concerned with the way that the table looked as much as she was trying to build my character. She taught me a lesson I'll never forget. Dependability, work, and honesty...

I rarely grease the table now (maybe once or twice a year) and that's okay with me. I have realized that I'm different from my mom. This kitchen table has also been used as a "desk" in our home for all of the children. Playdough "snakes" formed by preschoolers, countless watercoloring and drawings, endless math and writing assignments, messy paper mache and dissections of mammal body parts- including the sheep's brain that rolled onto the floor. From building Iroquois long houses to worm farms to Nile river models, this table has seen it all.

Extended family dinners, Family Night game times, birthday parties, sewing work station, pumpkin carving, candlelight dinners with friends, disastrous missionary dinners, (burned chili, cranberry juice bursting out of my laughing mouth and nose plus a knocked over glass all happening at the same meal) endless breakfasts, lunches, and dinners... all these things have nourished and enriched my soul and they start and end with this wonderful table.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Where Can I Turn For Peace?

Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
Where, with a wounded heart
anger or malice,
I draw myself apart
Searching my soul?

Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know,
where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand
to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.

He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane
Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds
for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end.

~Emma Lou Thayne

I'm the president of our local church's women's organization. About a month ago I was talking to my two counselors and secretary about my upcoming lesson/class/discussion that I would give the first weekend in December. I realized then that it would be given on my birthday. "What do you want for your birthday" was brought up. I blurted out, "I just want peace!" It hit me, so powerfully, that this was what I needed to talk about in my class. This wanting, and searching, and needing peace has been the most important thing in my life this year.

I can honestly say that it's been the hardest year of my life. Thinking about the needs of most women in our church, the women and men all over the world, frankly, I see that we are all seeking this in one way or another. December is a really hard time to experience that feeling of "peace on earth" for a lot of us. I know it is for me in so many ways.

Last year on Christmas Day, coming home late that night from Nana and Grandpa's, we found that our house had been broken into and ransacked, with windows and the back door bashed in. (We were blessed that nothing was taken. Strange, but miraculously, true.) My beloved grandmother died two days before Christmas another year. A December six years ago, as I was frantically trying to decorate the house for incoming guests, running around like a crazy woman that whole month, burned out and hating and resenting the entire Christmas season, I fell through the attic ceiling, almost landing onto the garage floor below (another miracle) and ended up with bruises covering my entire thighs and an even more bruised and broken spirit.

So many expectations. The whole month seeming like one big to-do list. Feeling like you can't get off the runaway train. Pure exhaustion from all the baking, shopping, cleaning, entertaining, card sending, money worries, everyone- and- their- dog gifting, dealing with the loneliness of loved ones who've passed on or just loneliness in general...

We all need peace. Every one of us. Today, it's been on my mind a lot after having some honest talks and discussion with some people I care about.

Thinking about all of this, I do know that when I'm still enough, I know where I can turn to. The One who'll never fail. The Prince of Peace.

This December, with everything you do, in your home and relationships with those you love, trying to do all that you want and need and desire to accomplish and be...

My hope is that you can feel the peace you so desperately need, too.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Daybook for November 27, 2010

Outside my window: still pitch black, but the almost full moon sure gives off a lot of light. I just heard the newspaper being thrown on the driveway. Really frigid temperatures, still. It's hard to feel motivated to go out there and run or walk. Haven't done hardly any this week because of the cold temps. Hope things warm up a little soon.

I am thinking: about the fragility of this life. Within the past month, three of my children's schoolmate's parents have unexpectedly died. Eliza's math teacher who is the mother of two boys my oldest are friends with, lost their husband and father when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest while walking into Costco. Last week, Isaac's school friend's young mother who is a flight instructor was killed when her plane went down. Now, Gary's good friend from high school lost both her father and sister in a tragic traffic accident while on their way to Thanksgiving dinner. Her mother, sister, and brother are all in ICU. Gary spent all day at the hospital trying to comfort her.
Needless to say, there's been a lot of tears and sorrow around here. It's all just so hard to believe and with it all happening at once, it's making us all ask why. What are we supposed to learn here. It's making us think hard and talk a lot about death and the gift of life.

I am thankful for: My dear friend, Mane, invited us over to her house last night for dinner. She and I have known each other for years and I consider her a sister. She prepared some traditional Portuguese foods for us to enjoy: Bachalau no Forno (Baked Codfish), along with some good Caldo Verde (vegetable soup with kale). Just one bite took me back to my beloved country.


From the kitchen: lots of good leftovers. That's one of the things I love about Thanksgiving.


I am creating: I've always liked to give homemade gifts for Christmas. I need to get started and come up with some ideas.


I am going: to head to the rec center in a few hours for my yoga class. Need to run and get a few things from the store, get a hair trim, make a few phone calls, and looking forward to going out later tonight with Keith. Typical Saturday stuff. Oh, and there's the biggest state rivalry football game going on today.


I am hoping: for the Christmas spirit. I'm feeling kind of bah-humbug-y and I don't like it.


I am reading: I'm about ready to take back my stack of library books and need to get some new stuff. Just started reading a meaty Temple and Cosmos book Gary loves and he's excited to have someone to talk to about it. Very thought provoking. We've had some good discussion already.


One of my favorite things: starting fresh with this new blog. I'm so pleased with it's design and am excited about writing for a (hopefully) larger audience. I think my last blog, Blue House Blessings had two readers. Hoping things change here.

I am hearing: the quiet drip, drip, drip from the kitchen sink. Got it turned on and the cupboard doors opened to prevent the pipes from freezing.


Around the house: very quiet. All the kids but Gary are over at my parents for a sleepover with some of their cousins.


I am wearing: granny flannel nightie, plus these beauties right here. Warmth is the issue here, folks.


A few plans for the rest of the week: Wow, we're getting into the holiday season. That means life is going to get busy. The troops are asking when I'm going to "put up Christmas". I guess I better get in gear. Jane has her school orchestra concert this week. We got a phone call from the local art museum telling Eliza that she's one of 70 participants out of the 400 entries and also is one of the winners in a children's "Christmas Lamb" exhibit. The award ceremony is next weekend. So happy for her.

Oh, yeah. I'm turning the big 4-0 next Sunday. Whoo-hoo.

Friday, November 26, 2010

On This Thanksgiving Day

Hope your Thanksgiving was special. Ours was. We spent it with Keith's family. Poignant this year, with Nana's death and huge absence. Andre (or Bong as we call him) flew in from San Fran to be the chief chef. I would bring up the rolls, sweet potatoes, the traditional "Nana" stuffing, mixed berry and a choco- coco- almond pie.

It was his first real meal, he said. It was hard to believe. I don't think I could have enjoyed this feast day any more than I did this day.

I got up early and got busy. Whole wheat rolls this year. Not as popular as my normal white Divine Buns, but I was trying to make things "healthier", I guess. (I think to help with my pig out and sugar guilt I knew would result from the day.) A smear of maple-cinnamon butter made them shine.
I told Bong that he needs to think about catering. He said he learned it all from the Barefoot Contessa and Paula Dean. Oh, my gosh. I couldn't believe how good this food was. My mouth is drooling still, as I think about it.
He started us out on some cute little Gruyere canapes with garlic oil and sun dried tomatoes
and a soup of pasta e fagioli. I had closely monitor myself, as I wanted to make room for it all.

After all that turkey, we went into coma mode.

We were joined by more family by pie-time.

The cousins had fun together. All sitting around in a circle on the floor playing Mafia.
Lots of happy laughter.
Good talk around the table.
Story telling.
Hugs until we meet again.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thoughts On School Lunches

I volunteer at Eliza's school once a week as a lunch monitor. I see many kids bouncing off the walls, not being able to sit still to eat and visit quietly with their neighbor. It's disturbing. With the yelling, screaming, and all around chaos, my nerves are frazzled. What's even more disturbing is what I see them shoving into their little mouths. I can definately see a connection between the two. I'm thinking: What's going on, Moms? Stop the junkies from taking over! Can't you see that a lunch of Doritos, soda, candy bars, Fruit by the Foot, and Gogurts is not going to help and nourish these children. Let's step up to the plate and think about what's going on with our kids. We're the ones in charge!

I don't want to come across with a "holier than thou" attitude. I really don't. I know that these foods are so convient to toss in a lunch bag. I know, through my own personal experience and with each of my kids, how enticing and addicting they are. It's a tough battle. If you think about it, these processed, oh, so popular, convience- type foods are cheaper than a grocery cart full of produce. It's hard to fit in the time to prep and plan and prepare wholesome foods in our already packed schedules.

Needless to say, this experience has made me think hard about my own children's school lunches. It made me think of what my kids are eating and about the role I play as the mother. It's made me want to do better. Up until this year, I lovingly dedicated my early morning time to making everybody's lunch. The schools my kids go to don't provide lunches. Even when we've had that option some of the years, I never took advantage of that. Maybe once in a blue moon. Seeing the junkie options and poor lack of nutrition for the most part supported my decision. Plus, I think school lunch is a waste. I already purchase loads of delicious, nutritious food, along with leftovers from other meals, all filling the fridge and pantry, why bother and let things go to waste?

I guess I burned out last year. Homemade bread for sandwiches that no one seemed to really like all that much. String cheese. Fruit. Carrots with hummus. Leftovers to warm up. Graham crackers. An occasional homemade cookie or brownie (of course, whole wheat.) Just the same old, same old ho-hum, boring stuff. To make matters worse, it got to be pretty irritating and discouraging to hear comments like, "Mom, I need food!" I felt taken for granted. Why bother? Why not let the kids learn to take some responsibility for their own lunch?

This year, I've backed off. They've done their own thing. But now, I'm not so sure that I'm liking what I'm seeing. Too rushed for time or making it a priority to pull something together. Missing mealtimes and then coming home starving and going straight for corn chips and leftovers. No appetite for the good dinner I've prepared. Also, not a lot of good choices when the lunches are made.There needs to be some kind of solution. Middle ground that we both feel good about. Still letting them take responsibility, but realizing I need to still take the lead in making sure my children are fed properly.

I've decided that I need to do a better job of making more enticing, yummy but still healthy options available for them. I need to follow through by checking to make sure that the lunch is made (by them or myself) mostly the night before. I can make lists of possibilities of things that are on hand for all of us to see when packing lunches.Let's make a list. Let's mix it up a little...

For the main:

~Not just regular breads, but other things like tortilla wraps, pita, whole grain crackers, muffins, bagels, breadsticks, and buns.
~For sandwiches: Turkey slices, different cheeses and spreads, tuna, chicken, salmon, or egg salad mixed with mayo/yogurt. Nut butters, honey, agave, and jams.
~Meatballs or falafel
~Green, veggie, fruit, pasta, and grain salads. Taco salads are always a hit.
~Tacos, burritos (homemade)
~Leftovers (anything with rice is popular)

~Cut up veggies and dips (ranch, bean, Mexi, hummus)
~whole/cut up/dried fruits
~chips and salsa
~corn chips, pita chips, crackers, popcorn, pretzels
~granola bars or granola
~hard boiled eggs (my kids love them. Why don't I make them more often?)
~cheeses-string, cottage, spreadable, cubes
~homemade rice, tapioca, chocolate puddings
~cookies and treats baked with whole grains
~smoothies in a thermos or water bottle. (Sam is taking a green smoothie every day! Yipee!)
~milk, juices, or water

Don't forget sweet surprises like a:

~nice love note (written on a napkin) from mom. "Hope you're having a great day!" "I'm thinking of you." "You're special and I love the person you are becoming." "Let's do _____ when you get home." "Good luck on the ___ today!" "Make it a great day!"
~an unexpected, occasional sweet
~a new pencil or pen
~colorful, seasonal napkins
~frozen ice pack to keep things cool.

In the past, I've packed most of their lunches brown bag style. It's nice that we have the option of having access to microwaves at their schools. I've bought cheap plastic containers for the kids, but many times they get lost and forgotten, only to be discovered later, moldy and stinky in their backpacks or rooms. Last year, we tried these "Laptop Lunch Systems" that seemed to be okay. Everyone liked how compartmentalized the food was arranged. I liked that we weren't wasting and going through lots of Zip locks. As the kids grew, and some of their appetites did, as well, the compartments didn't seem big enough. Especially for sandwiches or for whole fruits. It seems the right size for Isaac, though. He loves to take his to the school for lunch duty and to Mama's and Papa's house. He's proud of it.

When I saw these lunch kits recently at Costco. I thought these might be part of the solutionto our lunch time dilemma. I was so happy to see how affordable these were, too, at $10 a pop. (The other Costco here in the valley had them at double the price.)

I like that the attractive, simple cloth bag is roomy and machine washable. Lots of durable snap- lidded containers to choose from. Enough room for a drink and a ice pack. I also bought a couple of thermoses and a few smaller dip containers. I think I might go back and get one for Keith and give that to him for Christmas, along with the gift of making him a lunch everyday. Well, at least most of the days.

So far so good. I'm excited and motivated. My kids seem that way, too. I yearn for a few hours to devote to making sure that we're prepared for the week. I know it takes effort and is not the easy way out. But, I want my kids to like their lunches. I want to feel like I'm being a caring, conscientious mom. We'll see how things go.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Hips Hurt

Last week I saw Jim, fun friend, physical therapist, and co-marathon road warrior. We talked and he asked how my leg was and how my running is going. I told him the sob story. He said to get my tail over to his clinic and we'd figure things out.
I spent a couple hours there Monday morning. He and another therapist looked, analyzed, poked, prodded, and pulled. It looks like my problem really isn't what I'd thought all along; the tight IT band running along my leg from my hip to my knee. There is a bit of tightness, but not enough to make them think that that was the real cause of the problem/pain.
Looks like my hips are screwed up. Like they are rotated and out of alignment. At one point, as they were looking and feeling where my hips and knees were, we all could tell that one leg looked longer than the other. That my problem leg jets in at a sharper angle below the knee than the other. That the same leg's foot is more flexible and goes in towards the center than the other.
Anyways... after doing some of what he called "muscle synergy" movements, (pushing in one leg towards my chest and pushing the other leg out) and pulling my legs almost out of their sockets... my legs looked like they lined up again. Now, if they'll only stay that way. That's the problem.He said that orthotics (little cork insoles) in my shoes would help. He cut them out and fitted them in my shoes "Sorry Jim for the stinkies", I said. "Make sure you disinfect your hands." "It's part of the game," was his good natured reply. He's so likeable, unassuming, and makes everyone feel so comfortable. I really appreciate that about him.
I learned that my problem was that I am lacking core strength. That I'll need to build up my muscles in my hips, abs, and bum. That my hamstrings are too tight. He spent lots of time showing me what I'd need to do at home. I'm glad to know, really, what the problem seems to be. It looks like it might take longer than I was hoping for to get back to running like I did.
Not sure why I didn't have the problem before now. Maybe the marathon just did my body in.That's okay, I guess. I'm making peace with that. I've learned that I've needed to slow down in more ways than just the running. Like Jim said when this whole problem started, "Maybe you just need to remember :"Be still and know that I am God."
Yes, I'm learning that. I'm finding more peace now than ever. I think that if I hadn't dealt with this problem with my not being able to run, I wouldn't have discovered yoga. That has been such a blessing to me. Since practicing yoga, I'm finding that other aspects of my spirituality have become easier. I'm finding that I yearn for stillness. Inner stillness, especially. That I can accept things for the way they are. That even in times of discomfort, pain, or stress, I can find ease. I want to meditate and listen in my prayers, which have become more meaningful. I'm attending the temple every week. I'm relishing more than ever my time with the scriptures. All this has happened since these changes have occurred. I know that they tie together, somehow.
Now, my only struggle is finding time to fit all this in. My walks (I'm really enjoying just those simple, invigorating walks, sometimes with a little bit of running. Adding the yoga and now these physical therapy exercises. Whew. That's a lot to fit in. I'm feeling muscle aches and soreness in my hips and bum and abdomen that I didn't know existed.
Just another part of the self discovery journey I'm on, I guess.
And that's good.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Early Sunday Morning

It's quiet here. Everyone is still in bed, asleep. At 5:oo, I woke up feeling fresh and ready to go. It's like clockwork for me. Sometimes I wish I could just sleep in, but it's almost impossible for me. I do like, and need this quiet time alone. I love the stillness. I creep down the stairs and relish in the stillness. Finding some alone time is difficult in a large family like mine

Feeling thirsty, I walked into the kitchen and drank a tall glass of lukewarm water with lemon. I'm usually so thirsty, and I know that adding the lemon gets right to my liver to help clean things up. I thought that an apple pie for dinner might be nice. A special treat for my family. Isaac has been asking me often when I would make an apple pie. I knew that with church and visits in the afternoon, I wouldn't have time to fit that in. I sat down on the bar and peeled apples. Alone with my thoughts and those apples.

I like to read in the morning. Scripture, the newspaper, blogs, email, Facebook. I also got out my notebook and the dictionary and started thinking of my "N" list for today. It seems like doing this exercise everyday is keeping me more mindful and aware of all the things in my life that bring me joy. A grateful heart.

I've been thinking of other things, too. I've been thinking and wishing for peace and hope. Peace amid conflict, struggle, problems, life's busy-ness.

I've been thinking about the upcoming holiday season. Thinking that I don't see the need to buy more stuff. More stuff that no one needs. I'm just tired of all the stuff. Wanting to give meaningful gifts, memories, or experiences instead. How can I make that happen? How can I do all that I do and have done without becoming exhausted and resentful. Wanting and wishing for meaning and peace during this often stressful season. Hoping for quiet, simplicity.

I've been thinking of school lunches. Wanting to feed and nourish my children better for this meal. I'm gathering my thoughts and will post my plan soon. Also, now that detox is done (I felt body aches and "ugh" for most of the week, I think from the daily quart of green smoothies), I feel so much better and awake and energized. I know this will be so good for me. I'm committed to this new habit.

Been thinking this weekend of all the things I wanted to get done. Wanting to make some cookies. A batch of granola. Wanting to clean out my closet that is driving me crazy. Saturdays, really, seem like the only time to do these types of projects. Instead, I filled it with morning yoga, shopping for food and other needful items, a church training meeting, today's Sunday School lesson preparation.

I was glad for Friday night. I had to take Eliza to a party in Provo and thought that it would be best if I hung out around town instead of having to go back home and go get her again. No one wanted to come, so I went alone. That was nice, actually. I meandered in the library. Checked out Jude the Obscure for me and a few chapter books at Eliza's request. I killed time at the health food store and treated myself to dinner, as well. I was so hungry. I sat in the car and read and thought. When we got home a little after seven, Keith asked if we could go out. Even though I was a little tired and kind of wanted to stay home, I knew this might be our only chance to have this time. Just a simple jaunt to the bookstore with a 25% off coupon that went towards Mad Gab (the game) for Christmas for the family.

Now, you know what's on my mind this Sunday morning.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Getting Back On the Bandwagon, and It Feels So Good

A quiet Sunday evening at home. Jane made some rice pudding. That was nice. Somehow, we all seemed to gravitate up to our bedroom. The kids seem more talkative when we are hanging out in this room together; some lying on the bed, some lying on the floor. Keith and Isaac were playing a game of Sorry.

It made me so happy to have such a nice, peaceful feeling in our home last night. I've been really concerned with the tension, arguing, and negativity that has been going on a lot lately. Just having that one hour like that was such a breath of fresh air and I know, an answer to my prayers.

While on our date on Friday night at Barnes and Noble (the usual place to hang out after dinner), I picked up this book that I've been wanting for a while now. I've been looking lately at the GreenSmoothieGirl website and getting motivated to get back on the green smoothie bandwagon. I was pretty consistent with making these nutrient bombshells part of my life, but lately, I guess I've been lazy. From making these from scratch, then going down a notch with buying freeze dried powder to mix in water, to finally picking up a Green Machine Naked drink every once in a while.

I've felt the need to get back on track and knew it was the time. I need to get out of the sugar habit. I need more energy. I need more minerals. I want to eat more whole, power packed greens and I know that blending them up and drinking a quart a day first thing is the easiest way to make this all possible. Saturday's shopping trip ensured a fridge packed with chards, kale, spinach, vegetable protein powder, and lots of frozen and fresh fruits. I was ready to go.

Anyway, last night I pulled out the book and started reading aloud to everyone all the good things about these drinks. Everyone's ears pricked up, especially, when I read the "testimonials" and experiences of how drinking green smoothies improved so many people's lives and the dramatic changes each person experienced. Sam is the pickiest eater in the house. He lives on white rice and corn chips. He's really trying hard to make the school basketball team. He's been working and getting in shape since the summer. He meekly said, "Mom, do you think that this would help me get stronger?" My jaw dropped. "Sam, I'll give you a dollar if you take a big, and I mean big swig of my drink that's in the fridge." Well, he gave it a go. You should have seen the look on his face before. Then his reaction after: "Gee. It's really not that bad." Hallelujah! I've got him hooked, I think, as well as Jane and Keith. They all committed to join me every morning on our green smoothie habit.(Now I just need to work on the others!)

Each of the kids asked for a turn to get a relaxing essential oil massage on the floor. (I think doing this most nights with each of the children is adding to the feeling of harmony and warm feelings between me and the kids.) Then Isaac asked if he and I, with everyone watching, could do some yoga together. That was fun. I think that Isaac is sensing from me the peace and enjoyment I've felt and he is also wanting this for himself.
Later, we headed down to the kitchen and I whipped up a blender full for Keith and Jane's breakfast for this morning and a water bottle full (at Sam's request) to take school. Basketball tryouts begin today. He's excited and willing to try anything that will help him. Hooray! (and hooray that basketball is the motivator.)
This morning, everyone agreed at how good they really are. I feel so much better knowing that we are getting the nutrition (and more) that our body's need and crave. I can already tell how much "cleaner" I feel since I've been drinking a quart a day since Saturday.
After everyone left, Isaac again asked if we could do yoga together. He told me that "it just makes me feel really good." He's feeling in tune with his body. He's liking the quiet. He's aware of his breath. He likes to feel his muscles gently stretching. He likes to practice his balance.

I'm finding out, or realizing again, just how much our children watch us and learn from our example. Our examples can be a powerful tool for good or bad. Our feelings about health, exercise, how we view our bodies, and especially our attitudes and interactions towards others. Especially in our homes. This is where it all begins.