The Happiness List.

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I have been slowly working my way through Mo Gawdat’s book Solve for Happy. One of the things he says that has helped him to be happy, even in times of immense loss, is a happiness list. His list is forever growing. When I started my list last week, it had things like coffee, the post run high, my kids’ smiles. There’s one BIG thing though. There’s an experience (or 2 actually) that so fully flood my body with contentment when I think about it. It has happened twice to me but in two very different ways– The moment when I finally met my babies. With Leif, the labor was painful and long. The labor itself was not peaceful but powerful, painful, and exhausting. The emotions that reached every corner of my body when I pushed him out were absolute Heaven.

Rein, was different. My labor was peaceful, even zenful. I enjoyed the waves of contractions that rang in my hips. I enjoyed working through each one. Then, as we know, the birth took a quick turn (literally, he turned transverse) and I ended up with a traumatic cesarean. I can still hear my own voice sometimes, the screaming– “Why isn’t he crying?!?!?!?!” Yesterday, while running, I remembered this. I felt my heart racing and tears pooling in my eyes. And then I said to myself, “He’s alive. It’s okay. He’s okay.” When they placed him on my chest, the experience was much different. It was relief. It was “Oh My God, we’re both still alive…” It was “Welcome home, how was a I complete without you?”

When the world feels really dark, this is where I go. I go to those first moments of holding Leif and Rein. Their wrinkly bodies on my bare chest. My lips, between joyful cries, telling them how much I love them and kissing their heads over and over while midwives and doctors sew me back together (I needed to be sewn up after both births–just different places).

This is the feeling I pray ushers me into the afterlife when my time on earth is done. This is the sacred space where I will always feel at home.

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The In Between Moments

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Motherhood is nothing like I expected it to be.  Its dirty, exhausting, and sometimes maddening.  Its the baby eating the dog food and the dog eating the baby’s poop.  Its a toddler tantrum in the middle of a parking lot.  Its eating your dinner on the toilet because you just need a few moments alone. It’s the baby trying to bite your nipple off and refusing to sleep unless your bodies are touching.  Its dog hair fluffs flying across the living room, even though you literally just mopped.  Its always having food on your shirt from the kids.  Its someone using your leg as a snot wiper.

But in between these moments, there are moments of pure gold.  Its the baby sleeping soundly while and you’re 4 year old joining you for yoga.  Its a kiss on the lips from a little boy who thinks you’re the best.  Its those kicking legs and joyful grunts your baby makes when you return to him.  Its all of these things and more.

It will probably take years off my life in stress but add even more back in love.

Sigh, Motherhood.


Turmeric Almond Pulp Crackers/Flat Bread

Easy Peasy.  You need a food processor and some parent paper to make this operation run smoothly.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup wet almond pulp (after making almond milk…mine is a bit sweet because I use dates in my almond milk)
  • 1/3 coconut oil
  • 3 TBSP ground flaxseed soaked in 1/4 cup water for about 10 minutes (chia will also work)
  • a few dashes of sea salt
  • a few dashes of turmeric powder

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process in food processor and then smooth onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Depending on your desired thickness, this will be different for everyone.  Places in oven for 15-20 minutes.  Checking every 5 minutes after the 10 minute mark.  You can make these softer like flat bread or crispier if you’d like more of a a cracker!

We use ours for PB sandwiches, hummus, crumbled on salad, topped with krout… the possibilities are endless.


May, Lovely May.

And now it is May. Rein is 10 months.  How did that happen?  Leif is a little man, and its wonderful and heartbreaking and wonderful again.  He makes me laugh every day… He also makes me crazy at moments.

I have some big dreams for May and for the summer.  I want change the way we do finances.  I want to be smarter about where I invest my resources– time, money, energy.  I want to spend more intentional time with my kids, my family, and my friends.  I want to grow my business in a way that is both serves the women I work with but also honors the place I’m at in this motherhood gig.

So, this month, I’ll be processing some of these things out loud (via the internet).  I hope it encourages, inspires, and maybe’s opens new areas of your heart.

Let’s start here.  These are some things I’m doing to reduce our food bill, but still eat like a freakin’ vegan boss.

I started volunteering in at Wildhare Organic Farm in March.  In exchange, I go home with local organic produce and a bunch of cardboard each week (for my garden, you know). I also get the privilege of spending Tuesday mornings with Katie, one of the owners, who is beyond lovely.  She’s genuine, understanding, and a bad ass farmer and business owner.  I have also met other volunteers and employees that have done nothing but add to my life.  My dad and sister-in-law have mostly been helping with the childcare to allow me to do this but starting this month, I’ve worked out a trade with a woman who will watch the boys for me in exchange for coaching! It feels like a good fit.

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Why Hello Fresh Organic Greens… how wonderful you’ll be in my smoothies and salads.

I’m grocery shopping less and using CASH.  I’ve tried the cash method before and always failed but I’m committing to paying for groceries and little things like coffee or outings with cash.  I’ll reserve my credit card for things like gas and any online purchases.  By online, I’m talking about ordering things like diapers and bulk gluten free oats because it saves me money (and time)…also, I’m able to get a lot of things I would typically get at Target on Amazon Prime…and I save myself like a billion dollars by not going to Target.  You know what I’m talking about, ladies.

I’m not buying extras like $4 bottles of kombucha.  I plan to start making my own or finding a trade with someone who home-brews.  I also haven’t been spending money on wine. Sad, but true.  I am trying to reserve alcohol for when we have special outings or for Sundays at my parents house (Thanks Mom and Dad for hooking that up).

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Sunday Night Dinners are the best.

I’m mixing my protein powders.  I usually use a more expensive VegaSport protein after my hard workouts.  It’s formulated to help with muscle recovery and I really notice a difference but I am choosing to not use a full scoop and I’m supplementing with their less expensive product from Costco.

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I’m also eating my smoothie out of repurposed peanut butter jars these days..

I’m learning to “get buy”.  Its Saturday and I don’t restock the kitchen until Tuesday usually… so I say, “Okay, we’re having dinner at my parents tomorrow night, so we just need food for Monday…What do we have?  We have onions, grains, beans, and purple cabbage… I can make a meal with that.  We are out of bananas but I can survive one day without bananas in my smoothie.  I’m picking up 30 pounds of them from the farm on Tuesday!”   It forces me to get a little more creative with our food and use what we’ve got instead of making a special trip to the store.

 

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I downloaded the ibotta App.  I haven’t used it yet but look forward to trying to get some rebates with it!  Have you used it?

My garden!  While I’ve only been able to harvest rhubarb and herbs so far this spring, I have kale, cabbage, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and squash in the ground with several trays of starts slowly growing on the deck.  This will provide for a lower food bill this summer!

Waste not want not– I’m making sure to use the almond pulp from our almond milk to make crackers each week.  This makes for awesome PB sandwiches for the boys (and me).

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What do you do to lower your food bill while eating as healthy as possible?