I'm working on my drill skills.  I'm told by my dad that I'm a little "drill challenged" and Josh saw me working a few days later and came over to give me a few tips...and told me "This was going to take you all day!" haha.  I really am getting better--thanks to the patients of my power tool teachers.

31.

Last week I turned 31.  A full DECADE has gone by since 21.  A full decade.  How in the world did that happen?  While I’d be lying if I said that aging and the cycle of life don’t frighten me a tad (okay, a lot) I  know that I am so much healthier and happier than I was at 21.  21 was the year that I moved to Arizona (a couple weeks before my 21st birthday).  21 was the year that I got my heart broken by a boy.  A boy I thought was “the one”.  21 was the year I struggled BIG time with depression, being over medicated by doctors trying to help me feel better when what I really needed was to just heal and allow myself to settle into the things that made me feel alive. So much has happened since I was 21.  I’ve married, lived on three continents, finished two degrees, become a mama, bought a house, started ultra running and marathoning and so much more.  I’ve also began the journey of saying “No” to things that do not feed my soul (even doing the dishes feeds my soul since I LOVE a clean house).  I’ve learned that I can create the life I want to live and that even when something doesn’t go the way I planned or something I perceive as negative happens, something good will come back to me.

What did I want for my 31st birthday?  I wanted to build garden beds with my dad, eat my favorite foods with people I love, and have my house professionally cleaned.  All of those things and more made my birthday very special.  Let me tell you a little more about these garden beds I built with my dad.

Usually when I get a project idea in my head, I over simplify it and underestimate the time needed to complete it.  These garden beds were the opposite though.  While I’m glad my dad helped, this is something I probably could have done on my own (it would have taken much longer and maybe not come out quite as square).   It really was simple.  I used Pioneer Woman’s tutorial and she made it very easy to follow!  Even for someone like me who is pretty clueless when it comes to tools and what have you (I’m learning though!).

Leif and I hit the hardware store in the morning.  I loaded my purse with snacks and tried to play the perfect balance between “I belong here, dammit” and “I’m going to need a helping hand” and by that I mean, the lumber department was overcrowded with contractors, I didn’t really know what I was after, I couldn’t find a lumber cart, and Leif was being his normal wild man self… I flagged down an employee who got me a cart, we loaded the boards on and then I sweetly said, “So, these won’t fit in my car, can you please cut them into 5 and 3 foot pieces.”  And just like that, all my cuts for the day were made while I went and grabbed some wooden garden stakes and browsed the plants.

TEHEHE. I stocked up on hippie suckers.  They have become my secret weapon for getting shopping down.  I still have to move quickly though.

TEHEHE. I stocked up on hippie suckers. They have become my secret weapon for getting shopping done. I still have to move quickly though.

Lumber carts are great for snacks!

Lumber carts are great for snacks!

My dad, in his life as a retiree is pretty much always late these days.  So, while we waited on him, I marked all the boards and pre-drilled them.  Then my parents showed up–1 crazy chocolate lab puppy and my brothers basset hound and my niece Lily in tow.  It was quite the crew in my back yard.  There was also a small kitten taunting the dogs turning my parents’ dog into a crazed monster.  It was a little bit of a circus but two raised beds were built and a yummy lunch was had.  I spent the day after my birthday shoveling gravel to fill in between the beds.  I’m so fed up with the crazy weeds.  I splurged and purchased weed block and pea gravel. I know, I’m pretty wild.

The only changes we made to Pioneer Woman’s tutorial were the dimensions and we decided to screw the garden stakes to the bed before hammering it into the ground.  We used 24 inch stakes which we found to be way to long.  Hammering them in was a HUGE pain.  With the second bed, we about 6 inches off the stakes before screwing them to the bed.  I feel so empowered now!  Like I could just build garden beds all day long!

I'm working on my drill skills.  I'm told by my dad that I'm a little "drill challenged" and Josh saw me working a few days later and came over to give me a few tips...and told me "This was going to take you all day!" haha.  I really am getting better--thanks to the patients of my power tool teachers.

I’m working on my drill skills. I’m told by my dad that I’m a little “drill challenged” and Josh saw me working a few days later and came over to give me a few tips…and told me “This was going to take you all day!” haha. I really am getting better–thanks to the patients of my power tool teachers.

Thank Heavens for my dad.

Thank Heavens for my dad. And Leif.

Not bad, eh?

Not bad, eh?

Pioneer Woman said you had to have a Basset Hound.  So I borrowed my brothers.

Pioneer Woman said you had to have a Basset Hound. So I borrowed my brothers.

In addition to building raised beds (I built a third using some scrap wood I had Josh cut up for me over the weekend), I also painted and redecorated both our bathrooms and moved 3 yards of gravel.  I suppose it was a pretty productive week!  I’m not sure what inspired all the painting but I love how it turned out.

Loving this funky rack.

Loving this funky rack.

My decorating philosophy goes like this--if it makes you happy- do it.

My decorating philosophy goes like this–if it makes you happy- do it.

Color and new bathroom fixtures can totally transform a bathroom!

Color and new bathroom fixtures can totally transform a bathroom!

My New Bathroom color!  Woo!  I love it.

My New Bathroom color! Woo! I love it.

It was also an emotional roller coaster in terms of who we will be sharing our home with this coming school year.  We had planned on two exchange students.  We were working with a local organization and had planned on hosting two girls–one from China one from Korea.  The Chinese girl decided she did not want to live with us due to our vegan lifestyle.  The Korean gal was scheduled to come next week.  I contacted another organization our mutual friend of ours had mentioned to me.  They wanted to to host a boy from China.  They said it wasn’t a concern that we were already hosting a female.  We rapidly went through the process of being hosts for them.  Leif had a full on melt down when I attempted to take him to the orientation at the University Place library.  I got yelled at by a man telling me to control my child.  We had a home visit and everything was set to go.  That night, I got a call saying we wouldn’t be getting the Korean girl because her parents decided last minute they didn’t want her living with vegans!  “Well, at least we’re still getting the other kid!  Glad I did that!” I thought.  Then, on Monday, they called to tell me it wouldn’t work because Stadium High School was full.  BOO!!! So, it appears that we will be renting a room to a med student doing a rotation at St. Joe’s for at least a month, maybe three.  WOW.  Within a matter of days our house dynamics changed about 8,000 times.  I’m fully enjoying this time with just us.  Wandering around in my undies at night and not worrying about having the house as tidy as normal.


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When Life Gives You Pumpkins…

I came back from Africa to a little pumpkin patch ready to be eaten. August seems a bit early to be busting out the pumpkin but I’m like, “When life gives you pumpkins, make pumpkin everything!” I think a lot of people are intimidated by the idea of cooking up a whole pumpkin and are much more apt to grab a can of puree from the store. In a pinch, maybe, but I’m telling you–its easy! I used to be a little scared of them too!

For every health benefit the orange goddess offers, so there is a different way to consume it. I mean, the possibilities are really endless here. I’ve been known to take spoonfuls of puree straight from the jar….but here are some other ideas that I love to use pumpkin for:

In oatmeal!
In a smoothie!
Pumpkin Soup with coconut milk
Pumpkin Curry
Pumpkin pudding
Pumpkin butter
Pumpkin cookies
pumpkin muffins/bread
and of course pumpkin pie (I’m actually not really a fan)

Benefits of Pumpkin:

  • Full of Vitamin A (all the better to see you with my dear) and fiber (keeps you feeling full and less likely to over eat as well as keeps you regular–lets face it–pooping is important).
  • Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols which help reduce bad cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease! Boo-ya heart disease.
  • Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotenes which may help reduce your risk of cancer and also keep your skin looking less wrinkly. Boo-ya Cancer and wrinkly skin!
  • Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan which helps boost serotonin levels making you feel gooood. Pass on the turkey–eat pumpkin seeds instead! Boo-ya pissy mood!
  • Potassium, People, Potassium. Bananas get all the credit but pumpkins (and dates and many other plant based foods) are full of electrolyte balancing potassium. Awesome after a workout. Perhaps in a smoothie? Boo-ya cramps.
  • Immune boosting power of vitamin C. Its almost cold and fiu season. Instead of taking vitamin c tablets, eat fruit and veg! Its natures way. Boo-ya cold and flu season.

Like apple sauce, it makes a great replacement for oil in many baking recipes! Don’t be shy, experiment! Here are the steps I use to bake and prep my pumpkin for use in recipes. I also try to save some for later use. I’ll show you how I do that as well!

Pumpkin Baking 101

Step 1: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice Pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds. Place seeds in a colander to be cleaned.

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Step 2: Place pumpkin halves upside down in a baking pan with about an inch of water on the bottom and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes. It will be done when you can easily pierce the skin with a fork.

Step 3: Scoop out pumpkin flesh into a blender. Blend until it it smooth.

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Step 4: Scoop into a jar to be used within the next few days OR measure out 1-2 cups to be stored in freezer bags. Remove air from bags and lay flat on a cookie sheet in the freezer until you have a nice flat pumpkin slab for easy storage.

As you can see, precise really isn't my thing.  This is about 2 cups.  My pumpkins make 3-4 cups each.

As you can see, precise really isn’t my thing. This is about 2 cups. My pumpkins make 3-4 cups each.

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Step 5: Clean seeds and lay them to dry overnight on a kitchen towel.

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Best done on cute owl towel but any will do!

Best done on cute owl towel but any will do!

Step 6: Preheat oven to 250 degrees Toss seeds with a smidgen of oil (coconut, olive oil, what have you) and some seasoning. I love Trader Joes garlic salt!

Step 7: Bake seeds for about 40 minutes stirring everyone 15 minutes or so!

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Cape Town, My Cape Town

I’ve been in Cape Town now since Monday. As the plane landed I got my first glimpses of Table Mountain, I felt simultaneously so at home but also so far away from Leif. I was at the bottom of Africa. So much has changed since I last set foot in South Africa. I’ve gone through a pregnancy and become a mama. We’ve bought a house and began putting roots down for the first time in our marriage. Yes, life is much different than it was 3.5 years ago but something remain the same. Table Mountain still stands watch over the beautiful city of Cape Town. My heart still flutters to life at the thought of running its trails or even just the roads at its base.

11755762_10105300697212191_3214751473326671806_nAfter 30 hours of travel, and a long time standing in line to get through immigration–in which I couldn’t connect to the wifi to let Samiya know about said line– I was so so happy to hear her call my name in the airport! Its funny, 3.5 years have passed since we have last seen each other in person and it might as well have been yesterday. She’s that kind of friend.

After a quick stop at Woolworths to make sure I had vegetables, we strapped on our runners and went for a brisk walk in the South African wintery sun… We talked of marriage (which she is embarking on this week) and babies and family and giggled like school girls. Life continues to change and we continue to age but in my heart, we are still the 25 year olds we were when we met. I think we always will be.

After an incredible sleep last night, I woke up and ran this morning. My goal—Rhodes Memorial and back. I’m not that familiar with Samiya’s families’ neighborhood so she drew me a map to get to my old turf. Of course, I got lost and just wove my way toward the mountain, under the train tracks, and finally to roads I recognized. I could run those roads in my sleep. By the time I got to the base of the road to Rhodes, I was already 5 miles out (longer than we had estimated) but thought, “well, I’ve come this far, I’m going to run to the top of this”. The hill is steep but so ridiculously peaceful and comforting to me. As my lungs burned and my healing hamstring tugged at me, I smiled. I couldn’t stop smiling. I think a few tears came down my cheeks as I ran up, up, up. This felt like home. This hill. These legs. The pounding in my chest.

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After enjoying a moment at the memorial overlooking the city, I ran quickly down the hill trying to make up for the extra time it took me to get there. I stopped at the bottom to ask for directions when I realized I’d dropped my map. Several times I asked kind people for help and finally, about 2 miles from home, I decided I’d better call for help. I ducked into a café to use their wifi and SOS’d Samiya’s mom to have her come fetch me.

The rest of the day was spent at the spa with Samiya’s female family members. Massages, pedis, tea, and a sauna. For all of you who imagined me roughing it in Africa, I’m not.

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Tonight, Samiya’s mom made me vegetable biryani and we laughed with her parents, brothers and their wives and all the aunties, uncles, and cousins that trickled through the house.

More Stories and photos to come!


This one--so happy to be running barefoot in the forest. He has my heart.

When Heart Break Hill Comes Early– And How I’m Coping With It.

So sometimes the only way my body can get in attention is to make it come to a screeching halt.  That is exactly what it did a few weeks ago.  I had been running beautifully, feeling strong and lean and mean (okay–not mean–but fast!).  As I prepared to go on a long weekend trip to see my girl in Juneau, I decided I would front load my heaviest work during the week so I could enjoy some relaxed runs and hikes with my friend.  Monday–I ran 10 miles with the stroller and then did a 3 mile VO2 Max workout in the evening.  I was still tired from the previous week.  Tuesday, I ran 6.25 miles to a boot camp in a park, did a ton of sprints, and then ran the 6.25 miles home.  Wednesday, I ran again.  The whole time I was thinking, “hm, my pelvis area does not feel so hot…” but I ran on.  By Thursday I was walking.  My hamstring, gluteus, and hip flexor nagged at me all weekend (but I still got to do some hiking in beautiful AK!) and by the time I got back to Tacoma on Monday I was feeling like trying to run.  Monday–8 miles…Monday night. HELL.

I love this lady.  We met in Korea.  We've adventured on 3 continents together.  I finally got to visit her in her beautiful home.  I LOVED Juneau.

I love this lady. We met in Korea. We’ve adventured on 3 continents together. I finally got to visit her in her beautiful home. I LOVED Juneau.

Emily has celebrity status in Juneau so she was able to hook up a helicopter ride to the glacier!  HOW COOL IS THAT?  It was pretty amazing.

Emily has celebrity status in Juneau so she was able to hook up a helicopter ride to the glacier! HOW COOL IS THAT? It was pretty amazing.

I called Jannine–a bit frantic– “I’ll do anything!  Fix it, please!!!!” She speculated some tearing–probably inevitable as my body adjusts to my new post surgery stride and as I up my work load.  Rest (the hardest), stretching, heat, massage, acupuncture and PRP therapy were recommended.  This all went down 3 weeks before the beloved Wild Woman Marathon I was feeling so prime time to run.  Now, I’m just trying to get my body feeling decent to run in Cape Town.

Here’s the good news–the PRP injection in my glutes was successful.  My right ass cheek was SOOOO swollen for about 8 hours after (I looked like a one sided J-Lo).  The pain deep in my bum seems to have subsided.  Really, the only culprit now is the hamstring pain.  Its moderate or maybe moderate to severe if I push it too much. I go back and forth between completely laying off it to alternating running and walking days.  Mentally, its a real struggle.  Running keeps me sane.  Really.

The other day on one of my walks, I was listening to the Nomeatathlete podcast.  He was interviewing the founder of Altra–the incredible zero drop, foot shaped shoes I run in and love so much.  The dude is an ultra runner and has worked with a lot of athletes.  Something he said made me laugh out loud/feel better about the fact that I overtrained and ended up with an ouchie.  He said that one of the reasons runners get hurt is because we are hardwired to over train.  Runners–ecspecially ultra runners–love to run.  Most of us are probably addicted to running, in fact.  There is only so much a coach can do–work on form, muscle imbalances, making the perfect training plan, but chances are we’re going to over train because we are sick in the head–I mean constantly challenging our boundaries and looking for that sweet sweet runners high.  So there you have it– I can’t be blamed for over training.  Its just part of running.

Here’s what this little bout of injury has taught me:

1) Slow the heck down Melissa.  Leif is growing up so fast.  Lately, he does not want to stay in the stroller.  “I do! I do!” he proclaims as he wiggles out of the straps and jumps out. Today, he walked a portion of 5 mile drive and then later took off barefoot down the trail when I told him it was time to leave the playground and go home.  A quarter mile later, I convinced him we could watch Fireman Sam for a bit if we went home.  At first I was frustrated with him for disrupting my plan.  But then I was like, “MY KID WANTS TO RUN! HELL YEAH!”

Reality Check-- who the heck cares if I miss a couple miles? He was so happy.

Reality Check– who the heck cares if I miss a couple miles? He was so happy.

These two buddies.

These two buddies.

2) I get to walk with my non-running friends!  I miss walks with the neighbors and their sweet pups.

3) I’m rethinking training.  I’m in the pool using the pull bouy and getting a great upper body workout, I’ve developed a full body strength and flexibility workout that is runner specific and hits on my weak areas (ahem–glutes), I’ve committed to a pre and post run warm up, core and stretch routine.

4)  I’m rethinking goals.  Racing is a lot of pressure.  To pay money and then hope that I’m “on” for race day is pretty anxiety provoking. Sure, racing can be fun and a great way to measure progress but I’m really not in love with it.  Solo runs and runs with a friend are where it is at for me.  Instead of having a goal race, I think I’m going to come up with some really gorgeous, challenging trails I’d like to cover.  Maybe some short ones but mostly some longer runs…maybe even some multi-day races (Although I won’t be pulling a Scott Jurek and running the Application Trail any time soon–but maybe a portion of it in the next few years?).  This allows me to do things as my body is ready and to listen and adjust accordingly.

5)  I’m focusing on nutrition.  I haven’t cut out all treats but I’m hitting the fruits and smoothies even harder than normal.  I just got my body to a place it feels strong and lean.  I don’t want to lost it after all the hard work!  Still, I’m reminding myself that I’m not going to turn to mush with a few weeks off and that I can work my way back quickly.

In other news:  My brother is getting married 10 days.  Leif and I are both in the wedding so the next week will be a whirlwind of bridesmaids brunches, nails, hair, makeup, rehearsals, and getting down with our bad selves on the dance floor.  Oh yes, and packing for Cape Town because I leave the day after the wedding.  I’m stoked. I’m scared out of my mind to leave Leif for 2 weeks.   I’m worried my body will still hurt.  But I’m mostly stoked.

When I return from South Africa, I plan to soak in the last month of summer with my family and prepare for my new venture in home schooling one of the girls I currently tutor.  We’ve already transformed our downstairs bedroom into a an adorable little classroom.

Life is good. But please, send healing thoughts to my lower limbs.  Pray the PRP therapy is successful on Friday night and that my body uses the platelets to heal.  Sometimes it feels selfish to ask for healing energy and prayers over such a minor thing. But to me it is more than just a bum leg.  Running is a huge part of my spirituality and emotional well being.


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Leaning Out

With my mileage increasing and my strength training remaining fairly consistent, I found myself frustrated last month that I seemed to be holding on to some extra fat.  I was by no means over weight but not at what I consider to be my healthiest, happiest weight/size.  As I continue to add mileage and recover from surgery, I don’t want any unnecessary weight wearing on my joints.  Also, I want to feel my sexiest.  No shame in that.

So for the past couple of weeks I have been making a very calculated effort to lean out in the healthiest way possible.  Here are some of the commitments I have made to myself Monday-Friday at 5 PM.  I relax a bit more on the weekends while still holding to most of my weight loss principals.

Melissa’s Lean Out Plan (It’s working):

  • Upon Rising– Drink a glass of  warm lemon water with a dash of cayenne pepper to stimulate my liver.
  • Follow with a vegan probiotic.
  • Next is a cup of green tea to rev up my ability to metabolize fat and provide me with a healthy dose of anti-oxidants.
  • Once I have had a cup of tea, I allow myself coffee.  Normally, when I’m cleansing, I do not. But I’m also trying to stay sane and I freaking love coffee.
  • Coffee is followed by home made green juice before my run
  • Post Run Protein and greens smoothie
  • My lunch and dinner are very similar to the norm.  There difference is
    • I’m not consuming any oil.  I’m getting my fat from whole food sources–either half an avo or a tablespoon of tahini on my salad/dinner.  I am doing water and coconut milk satees and finding that my food still taste delicious and is very satisfying–without the added fat calories.  I could see myself sticking to this no oil thing at home and allowing for it while we’re out.
    • Between lunch and dinner, I’m sticking to produce only.  I allow myself as much fruit and veg as I want but I’m not eating anything else during those hours.
    • No alcohol during the week.  I’m avoiding wine/alcohol during the week.  I was getting in the habit of having a glass every night and while I do not think this is a bad thing, it doesn’t help if you are trying to drop weight.  I do indulge in a glass Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening.
    •  No eating after 7 PM.  This is a hard one for me!  I’m not even typically hungry after dinner but often find myself eating more!  And it is usually something like chocolate. I’m trying to get in the habit of enjoying tea after dinner.

My workouts are getting stronger and I see my legs turning back into runners legs.  My last long run was 22 miles on trails at a quick 8:05/mile average.  Not going to lie–this hurt and it took a week, 2 massages and acupuncture to recover but it was fun to run with my neighbor and to see what I was capable of.  It got me thinking about running a Boston qualifier at some point in the future.  My VO2 Max workouts are getting faster as well.  I can do my repeats in 6:30-6:58 min/miles at a 6% incline and I’ve even added an extra 60 second repeat.

Strength training remains the biggest challenge for me.  It just isn’t as much fun and I can’t do it while pushing a stroller.  I’m finding times to sneak away and when I feel like quitting I think of the woman that told me in January to “rethink my goals” and “stick to half marathons”.  Want to motivate me?  Tell me I can’t do something.

What drives you?  What helps you stay on track with eating and training?


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Baltimore on my Mind.

When Josh and I were looking to buy a home, we knew we wanted to be on Hilltop. We love that it is diverse, lively, and ever changing. Hilltop is an area of Tacoma that was known for gang violence and drugs in the 80’s and 90’s.  It was pretty brutal for a while there.  Crips ran the show.  Shoot outs were common and white kids like me from the burbs were not allowed to pass through.  While visiting St. Joseph’s hospital to see a friend in high school, I was instructed to “just roll through the lights after dark, don’t stop.”

We now own a home within a stones throw from the hospital (okay, you’d have to have a really good arm).  I can see the window of the room I birthed Leif in from our front porch.  We have the most incredible block of neighbors I could have ever dreamed of.  We are diverse in color, socio-economics, religion, and interests.  We are made up of African Americans, Native Kenyans, Asians, Native Americans, Caucasians and Latino. We are artists, lawyers, nurses, teachers, runners, mountain climbers, gardeners, dog lovers, cat lovers….  We take care of each other and celebrate each other.

There are several “mixed race” families on my block.  There is a white woman who is raising 4 compassionate, intelligent, and gorgeous children with her black husband.  Every time I see these kids, I’m inspired. They are seriously some of the sweetest kids I have ever met.  There are 3 boys and 1 girl.  All of them are a delight to be around…I’m counting the days until they are old enough to babysit!  Their parents are incredible.  This is why they are such wonderful kids, I am sure.  I’ve been watching closely as their mom responds to the recent events in Baltimore.  I’ve been trying to empathize with what it means to raise black children…black boys in particular, in a country where black people continue to be systematically discriminated against, targeted by police and murdered at their hands.  Its hard to grasp.  In addition to all my anxieties about Leif’s future– his physical and emotional well being– she, along with other mothers raising black children, must also worry that they will treated poorly…or even killed… at the hands of the system.

I have mostly stayed quiet about the killing of black people at the hands of the police.  Sure, I’ve talked about it with close friends and family,trying to work through the mess in my mind.  But the murder of Freddie Gray has left me with a gut wrenching feeling and the need to speak out more publicly about my thoughts.  You see, it is the same “oh my god I’m going to vomit” feeling I had when studying in South Africa and learning about police brutality under the Apartheid Regime.  It was so easy to be critical of the South African government and the lack of action from every day white South Africans.  Yet in my own country, I find it so much harder to speak out.  I do not know anyone within my circle of contacts that would justify the Apartheid governments brutality.  But its happening in our own country.  In our own cities.  And it leaves me feeling disgusted.  We can and MUST do better, America.

We see images in the media of the riots in Baltimore–the looting, the destruction of property.  Officials call for “peace”.  And while I do not condone the looting and violent rioting, I see the hypocrisy in calling for “peace” when a community member has just had their spine severed by police.  I also understand how there are some who might not know how to express their anger, grief, fear in a less violent way.  But let’s be honest–smashing a window is not the same as smashing a spine.  If we want to talk about peace–let’s start by talking about how to put an end to systematic violence by our police.  Let’s also look at the 10s of thousands people who are protesting peacefully and the gang members themselves who are “united as black men” as one put it to help keep the peace and also seek justice for Freddie Gray. You do not have to be a cop hater to hate the fact that people are being murdered at their hands and no one is holding them accountable–Although, I just heard today that the 6 officers are being charged.

It was a difficult week indeed.  And I’m white! I can’t imagine what this week would have been like if I was black or raising a black child.  I have the privilege of being of European dissent.  When a police officer speaks disrespectfully to be and I tell him there is no need to be sarcastic (this happened last year when I was pulled over for not having my lights on) -I get a shocked look and then politely told to remember to keep my lights on.  I don’t get put in a choke hold or my spine snapped.  I don’t worry about Leif being illegally arrested (I also heard today that Freddie Gray’s arrest has been proven illegal) and killed by police.  I don’t have to beat Leif over the head with my purse and chase him away from a riot in fear that he will be killed by police (because let’s be real, that viral video of the woman chasing her son from the riot was not a “go home” message as so many people portrayed but rather a mother’s fear–she’d do anything to keep her baby out of the hands of police…because so many black men have died in those hands).

This week, a familiar emotion came over me.  It was shame.  The first time I went to South Africa, I was so ashamed of my white skin. Now, just as I did then, I must figure out what it means for me to respond to this feeling of shame in a productive way because shame is not productive.

Longing for my country to be truly free.


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Immune Boosting Popsicles

Love that he loves to help me in the kitchen.

Love that he loves to help me in the kitchen.

A few weeks ago I was making my way through Marlene’s Natural Food Market when I stumbled upon some “natural” immune boosting otter pop like thingys.  I was intrigued.  Leif has had a constant goopy nose (thankfully no infections) this year and I am trying to get as many immune boosting herbs and foods into him as possible.  I wasn’t 100% sold on the ingredients as they did have a few “extras” but I bought them anyway to let Leif try and also to inspire myself.  The next week, I ordered some Zoku Classic Pop Molds and some Sunsella Might Pops Silicone Molds (think re-useable otter pop style).  I’ve been playing around with different recipes and so far Leif is digging it big time. He loves the whole process–from blending it up in the vitamin to pouring, to waiting…okay, maybe not the waiting to so much…to taking the popsicles in and out of the covers and of course eating them.  I don’t mind him eating them for breakfast…lunch… or heck, even dinner as they are loaded with good for you goodies such as bananas, berries, pineapple, greens, cucumber, spirulina, hemp protein, echinacea, golden root, and Oregon grape root.

Just blend ingredients and pour into molds and freeze!

Here are a couple combos Leif has really been enjoying:

“Mucus Breakup Antibiotic” Pineapple Berry Delight

1 banana

2 cups chopped pineapple

2 cups blue berries

2 large handfuls greens

a few dashes cinnamon

1 tsp spirulina

1 dropper of Oregon Grape Root (Herbs for Kids is a good brand) per popsicle mold (I don’t blend this but add it to each mold and stir after I fill the mold)

1 dropper of Echinacea/Golden Root Combo (same as Oregon Grape Root for mixing)

Just enough water to make a smooth but easy to pour consistency (about 1 cup)

Chocolate Almond Butter Protein 

2 bananas

2-3 Tablespoons Almond butter or nut butter of choice

3 Tablespoons Hemp Protein Powder

1/4 cup raw Cocoa powder

3 dates

Cinnamon

1 dropper of Oregon Grape Root (Herbs for Kids is a good brand) per popsicle mold (I don’t blend this but add it to each mold and stir after I fill the mold)

1 dropper of Echinacea/Golden Root Combo (same as Oregon Grape Root for mixing)

water or nut based milk to blend

He likes to take a few licks of all of them and then start over... soo if you're at our house and I offer you a popsicle...know that Leif may have tested it for you.

He likes to take a few licks of all of them and then start over… soo if you’re at our house and I offer you a popsicle…know that Leif may have tested it for you.