Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summer with the Meyer Three

A new method of containment. I managed to touch up the living room paint thanks to this.


Big Sister setting the babies up for an outdoor banana snack. 


(the dirt patch is from my garden-shrinking project - very exciting - I might actually be able to manage this now)

Shakespeare in the park (see the very cultured Shakespeare mask)


Beep. Beep.


Two wheels since July 1!



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Down the Mountain

I've been in a bit of a funk lately. Two babies and an energetic five year old take their toll, but most of it has been me. I keep looking for some direction and focus but haven't stayed focused long enough to find my direction. At the end of the day, I'm tired and end up burning through the quiet evening hours pretty quickly and unproductively, often going to bed late and unsatisfied.

Today I wanted to do something about it, so I thought I would sit down and write a few words about accountability and how I was going to take charge and make things better.

And then the babies took every pair of shoes out of the mudroom closet.

Then they discovered me and closed the laptop on my hands at least 8 times.

I put the laptop down and decided to do a couple of the things I was going to write about and then sat down to try again. I didn't get far before the laptop was closed on my hands and toys were piled in my lap.

I wanted to have a post written here that I could reference and say that I've checked the boxes. Done the things that need to be done to make myself happy, so I could tell myself that I am. The truth is I know the simple things I was going to write down wouldn't actually make a big difference. I have to push myself more than just going to bed early and cooking more meals at home. I should do those things, but this restless feeling is my soul calling out for something more.

The changes that make an impact are also the hardest things. I need to make gratitude a part of everyday. When I am deep in a cranky mood (which is more often than I'd care to admit), I feel very justified in every bit of that crankiness. I don't really want to be pulled out of it, I want to feel validated. I want someone to soothe me and tell me that my life is so very hard and they cannot imagine how I do it all (and look so fabulous while doing so). I want them to let me rest and fold the laundry and change a few diapers. I don't want to look up from where I am at and count the blessings around me. I just want some peace and quiet and for someone else to appreciate what I'm doing.

After a few interrupted trips to the computer today, I finally had my peace and quiet. I got to think more about gratitude and looked back on my day with that lens. See, it's easy for me to feel grateful and peaceful and motivated when I'm sitting in a sunny, quiet room. It's so easy to tell myself how I will make my days different moving forward. I'll have this gracious way of finding blessings amongst the chaos and will simply radiate peace and joy to those around me.

O_O

The reality is that feeling grateful and smiling through the morning's 8th diaper change does not come naturally to me. I don't feel at peace when my living room looks like a tornado played with dolls, and I certainly don't easily find the motivation to put dinner together when I feel like I just cleaned up from lunch.

I've always appreciated these quiet moments to myself, but I don't think I have been making the most of them. I left this post when I took the kids to church today and the gospel was on the Transfiguration. I missed the actual words of the gospel because the twins were throwing stacking cups around and screaming so I excused myself for a few minutes. But I did catch the homily where he focused on Peter's desire to build tents in the mountain and stay in this moment of glory with God. Father told us today that these transfiguration moments, these moments of sanctuary and spiritual growth, they are so important. They should change us. However... 

We cannot stay on the mountain.

Somehow we need to take the light and peace from the sanctuary moments and bring them down to brighten the daily rituals of our lives. I'm going to try and be more intentional about recognizing sanctuary moments throughout the day and making the most use of them. I'll try to report back.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

6 Things you can do TODAY to lead a less wasteful life

I'm always on the lookout for different ways to generate less waste and use more natural products where I need them. Here's 6 ideas that work for us. Have any more ideas you'd like to share?

1. Make some homemade deodorant. I have tried so many store bought natural deodorants ranging from at the grocery store to uber-expensive Etsy purchases. This simple recipe works better than anything I've tried. It's also inexpensive and simple to make. I even brought this on our trip to Puerto Rico. It really works!

2. Stop buying paper towels and napkins. We use kitchen washcloths to do counters and a quick wipe of the floor, towels for drying hands and dishes, and a stack of baby washcloths for hands and faces and tiny messes. We keep a bucket under the sink to collect the rinsed out used cloths and wash them every couple days.

3. Buy a reusable menstrual cup. There's a learning curve to these, but it is more than worth it. You save tons of plastic and bleached paper waste. It's cleaner (seriously, it is) and saves you tons of money. This is the best for traveling. All you need is a tiny bag and a pack of pantiliners.


4. Use a foaming soap dispenser and large refill bottles of hand soap. Refills for foaming dispensers are pretty much all water! Buy the concentrated stuff, add about 3/4 inch of soap. Fill the rest of the bottle with water leaving about an inch of space at the top. Replace the foaming push top, shake it a bit and reuse. You'll go through refills much more slowly without sacrificing cleanliness.

5. Skip the sunscreen and wear a hat and long sleeves when you can. Grab a lightweight long sleeve shirt that you can wear comfortably on a hot day and a wide brimmed hat that covers your neck and face.

6. Drink water instead of soda, juice, sports drinks or enhanced water. Plain water that you filter at home or drink from the tap. Bring a water bottle with you when you're out. You're saving money as well as saving all those shipping costs of bringing cans and bottles and boxes of mostly water across the country.


Monday, June 16, 2014

To Little C

Dear Cecelia at age 5 1/2.

You're funny and you know it. You love to tell jokes and have gotten pretty good at it too. One of your favorite jokes is to knock loudly on the wall or ring the doorbell. When I ask you if it was you or someone, you very seriously tell me it was someone. You're so serious, in fact, that I usually believe you and check the door. I'm on to you though. All I have to do is look you in the eyes and ask if it was really you. You can't lie to me yet (let's keep it that way!). It starts with your eyes widening and then travels down to your smile and then you've collapsed into giggles.

You have an insatiable desire to learn. You'll stop me as I am speaking to ask what a word means. Then I'll hear you put that word into conversation throughout the day. You ask questions throughout the day. Thoughtful questions that I sometimes cannot answer.

I like being quiet with you. When we walk or sit quietly together, these are the times where your deepest thoughts and dreams and troubles come to surface.  I tell you I love you. You tell me you love me too. You remind me that silence and peaceful moments are important and we should protect them always.

For years you have called our first meal of the day "breaf-kast" and while we always said it properly back to you, we never corrected you directly. It was one of my favorite things that reminded me of how little you really were. Someone else recently told you that you were saying it wrong, so we practiced "breakfast" together. Now each morning I hear you practicing "BREAK-fast."

You love being a big sister. You pick up your baby brother and sister and kiss them and do all sorts of silly things to make them laugh. You play with them and sometimes even fight a little bit with them.

You still want to be snuggled like a little girl sometimes or crawl into bed with me. You don't jump on  me much anymore and it's a much more comfortable time for both of us. You've gotten so long and tall that each time I hold you I'm reminded that I won't be able to do this much longer. And that at some point, you won't want me to.

Thanks for being you, little one.

Love,

Mama

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

I am having an affair with pancakes. Now, I know that sounds extreme but the term rings true. I have a gluten sensitivity. My excema flares up and my stomach gets upset. But I still keep coming back to pancakes despite their gluten-filled-ness.

So it is with a mixture of glee and defeat that I share a new recipe from my arsenal.... No it is not gluten free but it IS high in protein, so yay!

I found a recipe online and tweaked it. Many Greek yogurt recipes use the sugar filled low fat type, so it needed to be adjusted a bit for the plan whole-milk kind that we buy.

Ingredients:

2/3 c whole milk plain greek yogurt
2 tbs whole milk
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup flour - I used whole wheat

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with a fork or whisk. If it is still too thick, add a bit more milk. This should still be thicker than a typical pancake recipe. Cook like a pancake :) Use your favorite topping. There is no sugar in the recipe, so I used maple syrup on top. (side note, I also put maple syrup in my iced coffee so I didn't have to grab the bag of sugar... YUM!) These would be great with fresh fruit though for a sugar free breakfast!

I don't have a photo because I ate them already. Double this if you are feeding more than 2!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Little Things to Remember - v.1

Things are going by so fast with the babies and Cecelia. I want to take a bit of time to remember the mundane little things.

The twins love their baths. All you need to do is turn on the faucet to the tub and they both crawl as fast as they can to stand at the side of the tub, banging and cheerfully yelling until you put them in. Of course then they just want to stand up the whole time... so I guess they really like wet feet :)

Felicity has been rolling her eyes at people. Giving a great grumpy face and then when you laugh at her, bursting into a big grin.

Damian's belly is at least three times bigger than his tiny bum. Such a hilarious, sweet disproportion. He's such a squishable little thing.

They laugh with each other all the time. It's one of the most magical parenting things I have ever experienced. I can't make it happen and I have stopped racing for the camera to try and capture it (they always stop to try and eat the camera). It happens at the oddest times and usually when my back is turned. Those big laughs come mostly from one another rather than some grown up acting silly.

They both have the brightest blue eyes! Just like their big sister.

Cecelia... she amazes us every day with her creativity and knowledge. She's so open to talking about anything and everything on her mind. She's forthright and persistent, loving and kind. She is a bit hard to wrangle sometimes. We hear about how well she follows rules at school and wonder if they have the same girl there ;)

She's perceptive and curious. She listens carefully to us and when she hears a word she does not understand, she asks for the definition and then uses it in a sentence. She connects experiences from different areas of her life to books and other situations.

Cecelia teaches us about love and fairness. She came home from school with stories about girls not wanting to play with boys because they were "gross". As we talked about it, she told me with sad, serious eyes that she would be nice to the boys because it would make her so sad if someone treated her brother Damian that way just because he was a boy.

I love them!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Andromeda White Granite - Kitchen Saga Phase 3

Once we had our tile laid and the cabinets leveled, we were very excited to get the countertops installed. We were scheduled to get our counters instlaled on a Wednesday morning. We had already been without a kitchen sink for a whole week, so we were anxious to get moving!

I drove out to the warehouse with all three kids to tape out a template.



Pretty, right? It's called Andromeda White and I was nerdily excited to have something that looked a bit outer spacey in my kitchen.

The first piece went in and I was snapchatting away, sending photos to Jonathan and my sisters.



Spoiler alert. This was the only piece of granite we had for the next several days. Anyway.

The second piece arrived and I was still super thrilled. And then the third one popped into place....




Our kitchen is only 115" at the longest point and the short end of our "L" shape is only 54". This means, in theory, that the L can be delivered in one piece preserving the pattern and making it look very cohesive. The company we chose to install the granite said they would charge us extra to install it in one piece, but they were experts at seams, so it would be very minor. They verified that the pattern would still be consistent across the seam. A very obvious seam because the fabricators rotated the short end of the L around before polishing.

It didn't look awful, but it wasn't what we paid for. They put those two pieces back in their truck and promised to do it right the second time.

It was a long extra few days without a kitchen, but so worth it in the end!







I love the andromeda white! We went with a light color to help transition between the dark lower cabinets and the white uppers. I am also very happy that we opted for a small single bowl sink to increase our countertop space. The 23" wide sink is definitely wide enough and we are getting so much use already from the extra 6 or so inches on either side. (Not to mention... the undermount sink is so much more user friendly!)

Backsplash is going in as I'm typing along with the rest of the finishing touches.