Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Little Excitement for These January Blues

Does anything random ever happen to you?
Whom do you tell when it does?
Your BFF? Your Neighbor? Everyone you know?
Well, this is me telling everyone I know about this random thing that happened yesterday.
The good news is that it did not happen to me, I just watched the events unfold.
 Granted, at the time I felt I was a little too close for comfort.
Then, after the ordeal passed, I had enough adrenaline to power 10 Energizer Bunnies.
I had a few errands to run after lunch.
Abby likes to practice babysitting so I've been leaving the children home alone for short periods of time if I know I'm staying near by.
They actually do really well, I could not be more pleased with my children. 
In my most humble opinion, I have some of the best kids on the planet.
While I was driving up Riverdale Road a siren caught my attention.
I looked in my rear view and saw a police SUV behind a white SUV, advancing quickly.
I did my duty and pulled over to the right side of the road until they passed.
As they passed I noticed that the white SUV was still in front of the cop.
"Pull over, DUH!!!", I was thinking to myself.
I wondered how this guy could miss the fact that the police man wanted to get past him.
The more I watched I noticed that the police car was literally inches from the SUV's bumper.
It became obvious.
This guy wasn't going to stop.
Just then the light turned red.
I few cars in font of the SUV stopped, so he did too.
I have no doubt that if those cars were not there, the SUV would have gone through the red light.
That's when all the action started.
The police officer was out of his car like a flash, guns drawn, running to the driver-side door of the SUV.
I could hardly believe my eyes.
Just then I hear more sirens, then more. 
Within seconds 3 more police vehicles had arrived on the scene.
Since the light was red, all I could do was watch this all unfold.
I prayed the biggest prayer I have ever prayed that no shots would be fired.
Nervous adrenaline, anyone?
I watched as the cop kept his weapon pointed on the perp all while he yanked him out of the SUV, slammed his face against the back of the wet glass and handcuffed him.
I have never been more grateful to see handcuffs in my life.
 It meant the danger of any stray bullets coming my way was most likely gone.
Then the light turned green.
I was sort of frozen for a moment.
Was I just supposed to keep going? Yes, that's it! Green light means GO!
Nothing left to see, just get on your way.
Sometimes it helps to listen to the voices inside your head.
I could hardly believe what I had just seen.
Had I really just witnessed a real live police chase?
 Indeed, indeed I had.
And I lived to tell about it, to boot!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Million Flecks of Light

photo by
Last Saturday it snowed.
Considering it's January in Northern Utah, that's not at all surprising.
It was a very light snow, hardly a flurry.
It was not enough to pull out the snow shovels or the plows. 
If you weren't paying attention you may have missed it all together.
It was barely enough to cast a glittery shimmer over the already snow covered ground.
As I was pulling out of the driveway (long before I even wanted to be out of bed) in the early morning light, a gleam caught my eye as I looked over my shoulder and into the rising sunshine.
Glitter was literally falling from the sky. 
I sat and marveled for a few sweet moments before I went about the busyness of the day.
An hour later I found myself waiting outside in the car for my kids to finish their piano lessons.
As the minute snow flakes fell I watched as they landed intact on the windshield.
Each snow flake fell individually, perfectly, beautifully.
We all marveled at the detail as we studied their minute structures.
It was a frigid 5 degrees outside, so the tiny ice sculptures were in no hurry to melt.
We spent a few more sweet moments lost in their trance.
They held us spellbound, in complete childlike wonder.
But to me, those 6 pointed masterpieces were more than mere snowflakes.
You see, Someone upstairs knows I like it when the snow looks like glitter.
It makes me smile, and He knows it.
It was a gift from Him to me.
It could have not been more personal a gift had He wrapped it and left it on my pillow with a big red bow on top.
The glitter snow is quite literally what got me through the hard, dark, frozen winter in Mascouche.
We'd drive along the open fields all glowing with glitter snow and it brought the light to my soul that He knew I needed.
Two days later and the temperatures are as frigid as ever.
The cold makes me feel hopeless.
Spring, the promise of going outside without the Michelin Man coat, is still light years away.
Winter has only just begun, the reality hits me like a brick.
These long winter days, separated by a sheet of ice from my mountains and my sunshine that I need like breath, put me in a very bad mood.
I get restless and irritable, cabin fever at its worst.
Yet, as we drove past the open fields near our home after a peaceful Sunday service, the glitter snow made me smile.
It said to me, "I am here, I hear you, I am your light."
That sweet glitter snow, it makes the winters bearable.
It brings light into the darkness.
"Darkness can not drive out darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that."~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 He is my light, my million flecks of light.
He is my comfort, my peace, my warm apple pie, my snuggle from a sleepy babe.
He has lit my life in innumerable ways.
As I watch the open fields all swimming in glitter snow, all I see is His love.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Banana Milk

Do I have the perfect treat for you!
Only if you like bananas though.
I have a weird relationship with bananas.
I can not and will not peel a banana and eat it.
They make me gag.
But I LOVE banana bread and banana pancakes.
Artificial banana flavoring is probably the nastiest thing man has ever created.
Those banana Laffy Taffys? I'd rather eat dirt than one of those horrendous things.
But this banana milk is splendid, and probably the easiest thing to make.
It's perfect for a quick breakfast when nothing else sounds good to eat.
It's perfect for an afternoon snack when you know it's still 2 more hours until dinner time but you are starving right now.
It's perfect with a peanut butter and honey sandwich at lunch time.
It's really just perfect any ol' time.

Perfect Banana Milk

1 Cup milk (I use local raw milk from cows that have not been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones and are grass fed)
1 large banana
1 splash vanilla

Place all ingredients in the blender. In my Blendtec I push the whole juice button. Blend until smooth. Enjoy. I usually quadruple the recipe for my children and myself. When Mr Bird's home I make two batches.
For an extra tasty treat I peel bananas when they are getting too ripe and put them in the freezer (in gallon size freezer bags). Then when we want an all natural healthy dessert we pull out the frozen bananas and they make the best banana frosty you'll ever eat. My kids beg for these a couple times a week. And since we almost always have frozen bananas (I buy 15 pounds of bananas every week!) it's perfect! Totally guilt free and delicious!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The REAL New Year's Resolution

It's January 7th, exactly one week into our New Year's resolutions.
So, how's it going for ya?
Statistically speaking, if you made a resolution to lose weight, you've probably already cheated.
You've gotten really hungry by now and you've caved to temptation at least once.
Your body thinks it's time to go into starvation mode and it's just too much to resist. 
Plus, who can blame you? Food, the wrong kind specifially, is literally everywhere, 24/7.
There's literally no escaping it.
That's precisely why I never make my New Year's resolution to go on a diet.
I do, however find a certain aspect of my health that I can improve.
I do that all the time, even in June.
It's a daily decision for me.
In case you don't know me, I'm a huge health food fiend, but I'm also a huge sugar addict.
If you live in America, most likely you're addicted to it, too.
I struggle daily, hourly, practically every minute.
I am constantly thinking about when I can get my next sugary treat.
It's time for change!
A friend of mine posted about this documentary on facebook.
I love health food documentaries.
They light a fire under me and motivate me and inspire me to do better.
Some of my favorites are Super Size Me, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, and Food, Inc.
This one is a new favorite. 
It's called Hungry For Change.
No more diets, pick one thing you can do tomorrow to improve your health, just one.
Drink 8 glasses of water, cut out white flour, eat 7 servings of veggies and fruit.
Then in a week or two pick another thing. And then keep on doing that until you are perfect.
Crowd out the old habits with new, healthier ones, one at a time.
Make it truly your lifestyle. 
Guess what? That could take quite a while.
I have been doing that for years and I'm still not perfect.
But I keep on trying again and again and again. 
You know why I love this last one so much?
It's real.
It's honest and goes down to the root causes of overeating and even why we crave and eat the foods that are so bad for us that we do.
It gives simple solutions, maybe too simple, but they're worth a try.
Many of these things I've incorporated into my life over the past 7 or 8 years. 
Many of the things I'm still working on and struggling with.
I honestly believe my lifestyle is the one and only reason I am not on heavy duty antidepressants. 
Listen to what the doctors say about it in the movie, I could not agree more considering my family history. 
So take an hour or two and relax and be prepared to be inspired.
Who's ready to be healthy and happy and literally start glowing?
Let the real change begin!

P.S. Most of the aforementioned documentaries can be found in their entirety on Netflix.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top 10 of a Dreamer

2012 was a great year.
Full of ups and downs, highs and lows, joy and heartache.
I don't want to forget a thing, but I know I will, it's inevitable.
So in the spirit of remembering and keeping these things close to my heart, here are my top 10 memories from a life that is oh, so blessed.

  • Soft sandy beaches in Florida with my baby girl and the best niece on the planet.
  • Seeing my Doodle sicker than I've ever seen anyone. Overnight vigils, hospitals, wheelchairs, loads of fluids. And a full recovery!
  • Celebrating our sweet baby's first birthday. Full of smooshed cake and sweet snuggles and lots of laughter and joy.
  • More sandy beaches in San Diego with the whole clan. Not to mention Sea World and Knox Berry Farm and the U.S.S. Midway. Fun, fun times and not wanting to ever come home (Guess what? I totally forgot to blog about San Diego! whoops, I'm a total slacker!)
  • A hundred hikes and horse rides in my mountains, basking in the sunlight with amazing friends and family.
  •  Sending the oldest 2 to charter school, then taking them out 6 weeks later. Realizing we are home scholars through and through and that there's not a thing wrong with that.
  • One minor house fire in which they saved the baby, even though I was not home.
  • A stage 4 cancer diagnosis to one of my most favorite brothers-in-law ever. 
  • A magical Christmas season having Mr Bird home tons for the holidays and enjoying new Christmas memories with my children.
  • A thousand and one precious moments spent holding my children and watching in awe and wonder as they grow right before my eyes. Wow, what a ride!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake

It's a brand new year.
Full of hopes and dreams and possibilities.
I love the energy and endless optimism of a new year, new beginnings.
For the Weaver family it's also a time to account for the goals of last New Years.
Remember this post?
Well, shortly after I wrote this a dear friend of mine, and fellow health food addict, emailed and said her husband (who completed a 90 day water fast this year and lost 100 pounds) offered to sponsor my year of no sugar. 
Not only did he offer to pay me $100 for not eating sugar, but another $100 if the kids would join in and another $100 if Mr Bird would as well.
300 clams if the whole family would do this together.
They did add another stipulation though, no food coloring.
That one was pretty easy since we've been avoiding that for years already. Funny how most of the food coloring we got came from candy anyhow.
As soon as I proposed paying the children $25 each for a whole year without sugar they were thrilled, on board in an instant.
Mr Bird on the other hand laughed in my face and said, "not a chance!"
So there we were, the kids and I with a whole year ahead of us with no sugar or food coloring what-so-ever.
So, now is the time for reckoning.
The big question, how did we do?
My kids have totally amazed me.
Their will power was truly something to behold.
They all learned to read labels and their favorite question of the whole year was, "Does that have sugar in it?"
Samples at Costco, birthday parties, Easter egg hunts, treats in primary, parties, Valentines Day to Christmas and every single holiday in between.
They were die hard.
They fed off each other, willed each other along.
 I heard stories from their church teachers about how they would ask if the treat had sugar and then reject it if the answer was yes.
All on their own, without mom in their ear saying, "don't eat that!"
They amazed their teachers and friends and cousins and me.
I have been blown away by their commitment and I could not be more proud.
Dubs did slip up once at Easter time.
He snuck a tiny foil wrapped chocolate foot ball from an Easter egg into his pocket and ate it while no one was looking. 
Then someone smelled chocolate on his breath and his secret was out.
He and I had a long talk about how hard this is, especially when it's just right there, and especially when it's chocolate.
Turns out watching out for each other played a huge part in their success.
Another part of their success was the fact that every time one of them refused a treat with sugar in it, we would come home and make a healthy treat we could all eat, one made with a whole foods and natural sweeteners.
They became the hero when they said no because then the whole family would get to enjoy something together.
One of our favorites became a coconut oil, honey and cocoa powder concoction that tastes amazing.
Tropical chocolatey paradise on a spoon, yum-o!
As for me, sadly, I did not do as well as my kids.
I did make it all the way to June.
I was on fire.
Then, during our anniversary dinner at our favorite restaurant the waiter brought us a complimentary dessert.
We tried to tell him no, but he would not take no for an answer.
I guess I still did not have to eat it, but he caught me at a weak moment and I did eat.
After that it was all over for me.
I had messed up, no use in trying any more.
Sounds silly even as I type this.
I still did better than before, but I would eat sugar when my kids were not watching.
I became the worst closet chocoholic ever.
Shameful, I know, but they were doing so well and I did not want to derail their success.
Still, I have to be proud of the 6 months I did make it.
That was huge for me, HUGE!
I am choosing to celebrate my success rather than feel like a total loser for not being able to keep up with my kids.
I feel like now we have the keys we need to make healthy along with tasty food choices.
I still want to strive to make good choices and to inspire my kids to do the same.
Or rather, be inspired by them to continue to do better. 
And now the next big question, will we be eating sugar this year?
Well, let's just say we all stayed up until midnight and had a bowl of store bought ice cream.
So ya, occasionally we'll have a sugary treat.
I'll continue to live the lifestyle I live. 
I don't buy sugar or candy or soda.
I'll make our food with natural sweeteners. 
But if we're at a party or a celebration we will eat cake.