Thursday, January 28, 2010

Green Smoothies

I am planning to start up my green smoothie regimen again (hoping to get a juicer though, so its less... chunky).

I recently found this recipe from Dr. Oz (ala the Oprah Show).

1/2 lemon
1 lime
1 bunch parsley
1 head celery
2 cups spinach
1/2 inch peeled ginger
2 cups cucumber or 1 medium cucumber
2 apples

Do you have any favorite green smoothie recipes? I like sweet, and will probably add juice of some kind (orange, pineapple, etc) to help even things out a bit for me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Sometimes it is the little things that you just know in your heart you will never forget... like dressing up as a princess in a too-small dress and a foam crown leftover from a birthday party gone by.

I love following her around, and living for a few short moments in her world of pretend and magic.

Its a world where anything can happen and there is nothing to stop you but the limits of your imagination.

I want to be like her when I grow up.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Inspirations for a Friday

Its a beautiful rainy day outside, and I thought it high time to visit some of my favorite blogs and share with you some of the people and things that are inspiring me.

First up is this gorgeous wrapping and a bar of carrot soap made by a Haitian woman named Berta. Rebecca Sower is selling it to help make money for Berta's artisan group, Haiti by Hand. I love the look of the soap itself, and of course the organization and people it will be going to support, but creatively, I am really inspired by the wrapping. That felt tag, especially is amazing.

It does make me think about what I have to offer the Haiti people, even if I don't have a lot of funds to be able to donate. I will have to think on that. So far it seems the best option would be to donate items to Craft Hope for Haiti on ETSY, to help fund things that way. It is amazing what crafters can do to impact the world, and I really admire what this group is doing to help with the crisis in Haiti.

Canvas Word Art has been inspiring me a lot lately too. This snippet from A Spattering just really draws me in with the mixture of text, colors, and texture. *SWOON*.

Rachel's Wall Art has me inspired as well!

I have been trying to get more into understanding and using herbs in various ways throughout my home. I love the smell and look of herbs, and I love that they go straight from nature to you without all the processing in between. This Celendula Eye Compress by Angry Chicken is really making me happy right now.

Loving this necklace from Lisa Leonard. Wanting to have something like it with mine and Kevin's initials on it (K&K)

It reminds me so much of the heart Kevin carved into the tree back in Lawton. I would absolutely wear something like that every single day. I think it is one of the most gorgeous and unique pieces of jewelry I've ever seen. Here's our tree heart. :)

This beautiful afghan from Posy Gets Cozy is inspiring me to pick up the yarn and needle/hook and get busy. I have a few WIP's in progress, though I'm itching to start something like this as well!

This little woven quilt by Spirit Cloth really inspires me with texture as well, which seems to be a big thing for me lately. I can just see this hung up on the wall in a small reading corner.

Finding myself inspired by the beautiful valentines goodies over at The Cottage Gals

So... that's a big chunk of what has caught my eye lately... I hope you enjoyed it! What is inspiring you these days?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sticking Together.

Its been a crazy time for us lately. We got orders last month for Kevin to move to New York and then deploy to Afghanistan for 18 months, followed by another 6 mos in NY without us. While we have always known that deployments and separation are part and parcel to military service, the issue right now (aside from us not wanting him to go) is that he was supposed to get out of the Army this summer so we could go home to AZ.

Being able to get out of the Army at the end of his contract this term would give our family a chance to have a more stable lifestyle where we don't move from state to state, or have to worry about being separated. Both of those things are vital to Abbi's success. This would also let us get Abbi on a wait list for long term medical care and not have to worry about her losing services because of us moving state to state.

Kevin discovered that because of the amount of time he has been in service (8 years) we fit into the rare window of those who are able to decline a set of orders. Kevin put in the declination statement, and after a shaky couple of weeks, we got news yesterday that everything was canceled. He won't be going to NY or deploying, and the real joy that I can't seem to shake from my heart is the knowledge that we'll be together. Our family will stay whole.

Because of the way this particular dec-statement works, we will actually be going home earlier than anticipated. It means some big changes, fast, but we are doing our best to be prepared, and are excited about a new phase in our life.

Moves are always a little bittersweet. It means a fresh start, exciting changes, and new (in this case old) friends, and opportunities we wouldn't have otherwise had. It also means leaving behind those who we have grown close to here, and for that, we are very very sad... but, we know this isn't the end. We have plans to visit, call, and generally harass our loved ones who won't be with us in person every day. They'll always be with us at heart.

We know how lucky we are that he won't be going, and are just counting every blessing we have right now. We're sticking together, and we couldn't be happier about that!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Decluttering with the Littles

First off, thank you, everyone, for your amazing comments and support here, on facebook, on twitter, and on the RTH message boards. The last post about Abbi saying mom for the first time was a big one, and even through the joy, was at times, hard to write. Thank you for sharing in my joy with me!! I'm a lucky woman indeed. :)

I have been busy as of late trying to declutter and organize. It is one of my resolutions this year (*cough*one-step-at-a-time*cough*). I started with one of the biggest problems we have had in this house... toys. I wound up getting rid of *8* bags of toys, and more that wouldn't fit in bags. Each of the girls now have two totes that they can use for toys in their respective toy closets (one each for stuffed animals, and one each for non-stuffed-toys). I am hoping to get it down to one tote each before the move, but we'll see.

I snagged some photos of Anna's room after the big-declutter. Here you see her Dora bed, and her dress-up basket (shh - I know its another bin - lets pretend we don't see it, k?). And yes, that's a blanket on the window. The blinds have been kid-ified and we figured until we replace them (next week), we would put up the blanket... and bonus, its added insulation.

In the corner you'll also see a chalkboard easel with a giant stuffed snake resting on it. The easel is Abbi's (it was a gift from Laura for Christmas!) but we keep it downstairs in Anna's room for them both to play with since Abbi gets overwhelmed by too much stuff in her room. She LOVES to use it though, and spends a lot of time in there during the day!!

What you can't see in this picture is that behind the bed is a reading corner with tons of lumpy pillows that we were about to throw away. We reused them as a snuggle place and covered them up with a silky pink sheet we got at the thrift store. As soon as I set it up, Anna grabbed an armful of books and read in her reading corner for over an hour. Love that!

On the right side of the room is her doll house that mom got her. SHE LOVES IT. It is her favorite toy of all time. Behind the doll house is a build a bear cardboard "house" that the bears come in, filled with my-little-ponies. Its their "pony house." Hehe. Too incredibly cute.

In the room picture you'll also see the therapy ball, the trampoline and the giant bear. Those are Abbi's too, though both girls use them.

In the corner, we have the vanity with the books on top. Shortly after the picture was taken we added twice as many books that we had organized and brought in from the other toy closet. Suffice it to say, the girls are not lacking reading materials!

Also, see those two flashlights on top of the vanity? They double as nightlights! When you turn them on and set them on their "face" - light down - the handle lights up with scenes from Dora the Explorer! Anna loves them!

Under the vanity is her TV and v-tech video game system for kids. She plays her "Dora game" on it for about an hour a day, while sitting in her Dora chair. We don't much like Dora in case you haven't noticed. We actually have 3 other games for the system, but she loves the Dora one so much that she hasn't even TRIED the others. Someday.... ;)

I am going to be working on finishing up Abbi's room over the next 2 weeks. She's getting a new-to-us bed and dresser, and an entertainment center for her TV and toys (thank you Mariah)! I'll be sure to post an update once her room is all set up too.

So, there you go - a quick peek into my home, and a look at how I'm doing with keeping my resolutions so far.

Have you made any resolutions this year? How is it going?

Friday, January 8, 2010

The best Christmas present.

I'm back after a long vacation while family was here. I'm sorry for the stall in posting, but I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic start to 2010!!

I have a lot of catching up to do and that means a lot of posting. That said, I'm going to try to focus on the important things and will get to everything when I do!

First things first.

If you've been reading this blog for very long, you know about my gorgeous and amazing Abbi girl. She is a joy and shows me everything incredible and beautiful that I would miss were it not for her presence in my life. She keeps me in awe every single day and I know I am the luckiest mother in the world to have her and Anna.

Still, there are struggles, because of her Autism and developmental delays... struggles that have nothing to do with HER, but with the Autism/Sensory filter through which she has to experience the world around her. A lot gets lost in translation and that can make it tough.

She is mostly non-verbal. She had a huge language burst this last fall when she started using a communication device we had on loan (we are trying to get a permanent one for her). The growth was phenomenal for her. 30 words in so many days, both verbally, and on the device. That more than doubled her previous vocabulary. AMAZING!!

The words were mostly functional things like "this," "drink," "play," etc. It opened so many doors, but still kept one shut... relationships. Because of her Autism she likes to stay mostly in her own world, with precious brief visits into ours.

Sure we have our moments, where she looks in my eyes, or sits on my lap and and snuggles, like this beautiful experience she had with my mom when she was here.

I love her more than my own soul, and even though she can't tell me she loves me, we have silent conversations like this as often as she is able.

Still, most of the time there is a wall between us that keeps me from being able to build the kind of bond with her that mothers so often crave with their children where I know SHE knows that I love her and would do anything for her. I wonder sometimes if she craves the opportunity for more too. It can be hard sometimes wondering if your child views you more as a caregiver rather than the comforter, nurturer, and mommy that envelops that deep connection that goes beyond anything external. Some days I swear I do nothing but get snacks, change diapers, and fix things for her. Some days she just doesn't want interaction, and I have to respect that.

After 8 years I was really concerned I may never be able to have that with her, like I do with Anna, and it breaks my heart because it is something I so very much want to share with her.

But then... completely out of the blue on Christmas morning... she called me Mom.

She called *me* mom. Not anyone else. Its not just a "word" - it means something. I'm her mom. She knows it. She knows who I am to her and she called me by name.

She did it again and again, and now... anytime she wants me or needs me she calls "Moooom" just like any 8 year old should and I come running. I come running and hug her in a big squeeze, which she loves, and I soak it in. I can never get tired of hearing that.

And I can't think of ONE better Christmas gift than that.