Acceptance

It occurred to me this morning, as I was in my own head digging away at all of my faults, that as much as I preach to my kids about accepting others that may be different from them, I haven’t taught them the importance of being accepting of who they are.  I certainly still struggle with accepting who I am, simply because I am not the woman who I pictured in my head when I was growing up.  I honestly do not have my “stuff” together half of the time.

I do not have a spotless home, I have a very lived in home that is occupied by 3 curious home-schooled boys, 1 DIY husband, 1 dog, 1 cat, and currently 1 rescued bird.  I need to accept that my home is a reflection of the love that happens here and not a reflection of the organized homes I drool over in magazines.

I am not a “put-together” Mom/wife that looks great every time she walks out the door.  I am the Mom who is most comfortable in her yoga pants or running gear (note to self: find your running mojo again, the clothes have a purpose and are not a fashion statement) with her hair piled on top of her head.  That’s not the Mom that I had envisioned in my head when the title of “Mom” was bestowed upon me almost 13 years ago.  However, instead of being that always with the current fashion trend Mom in the awesome boots, skinny jeans and gorgeous sweaters/jackets/shirts/etc, my boys know that I will, in a moment’s notice, jump rope with them on the driveway, throw them in the van and head for a favorite hiking trail complete with a stream to trudge through, throw the football or frisbee with them, or sneak up behind them for a game of tag.  I think they will remember that much more than they would remember a Mom who can’t get down and dirty with them.

While I count my blessings everyday, I can’t help but turn to my “fault lines” and pick away at them.  I have found that when I do this I become less and less of accepting of who I am and where my life is.  Those” fault lines” become bigger and I shatter inside.  Sometimes, a good long cry helps center me again and I rebuild as a stronger version of myself that is ready to accept what is and embrace it to the full extent that I am able. Sometimes, it’s a good friend and a cup of coffee or a glass of wine that helps bring me back together.  Still other times it is a long, solitary run that will renew me. More than anything, at this point in my life, I need to learn acceptance of who I am and who my family needs me to be (lucky for me, these are the same right now!). It may not be what I pictured as being my perfect life, but it is perfect for me; chaos and all.

Who doesn’t love free stuff from Target?!?!

Yes, folks, the FALL TARGET BEAUTY BAG GIVEAWAY is live right now!!

These little bags come out every season and are stuffed full of samples and coupons (and the bags are super-cute to boot!)!  They go pretty fast, so you have to sign up quickly!

Be sure to LIKE Hip2BeMom while you’re on FB to stay up to date on “hip happenings” in my world!

Self-proclaimed Geek

This was totally not what was on my mind this morning until I had a text conversation with one of my best friends. In the time span of 3 minutes we had 2 obscure sci-fi late 70’s and 80’s references.  I’m not sure many people can pull that off (well, I think the 4th Frog’s husband might be able to pull it off).

You see my friend has been selling off a lot of her household items so, naturally, I asked if she was going to be moving back home.  Her response was a sad one as she is not able to move back home yet, and she said she felt like Scott Bakula hoping that every jump would take her closer to home.  I lost it when she texted that, not only because I was HOOKED on “Quantum Leap” (thanks, Mom!), but because simultaneously I was sending her a text about our youngest’s (her Godson) First Communion being scheduled for May 4th next year (yes, she is someone that I have to give dates to as soon as I know them!) and said “May the 4th be with you!”  What follows is where our conversation went after that:

And that, my friends, is one of the reasons I love this girl so much.  If you can’t be a geek with your friends, who can you be a geek with?  By the way, I do think this “geek-stuff” is hereditary.  Again, I must thank my Mother for that.  Boys I’m sorry, but with 2 geeks for parents, and a Geek-Ma (as you lovingly refer to your Grandmother) I think you are doomed for geekiness as well!!

Whirlwind Week: Friday Fragments

Thanks to Mrs. 4444 for hosting “Friday Fragments” over at her place:Half-Past Kissin' Time

Musings I’ve had throughout the week:

  • 6-days in a row of competitive swimming, outdoors in 95+ degree weather will cause a 12-year old to have a complete meltdown due to exhaustion when he is awakened at 5am on day 7 for 6am swimming practice.
  • Taking time to pack a cooler full of healthy bites for said days of competitive swimming is time that is wasted because all 3 will just keep asking for $$$ for the concession stand.
  • Giving $$$$ to my swimmers without specifying what they are allowed to spend it on will result in blue mouths, sugar highs, and a massive sugar crash.
  • Having a husband that is a DIYer is VERY handy when it comes to improving your home!
  • Hosting an outdoor swimming invitational for 2 9-hour days kinda sucks the life out of you.
  • The power of prayer can do amazing things.
  • Comedian, Steve Martin, is a very talented author.  “An Object of Beauty”, is my latest read and I was amazed!
  • My boys must be having growth spurts, I can’t keep them full and they are eating everything in sight!
  • Having elite swimmers is a great feeling, but it sure makes championship swimming season looooonnnnnggggg.
  • Someone really needs to figure out how to put a “fold laundry” cycle on my dryer.
  • Getting a pedicure makes me feel like a new woman!
  • I become nervous when my 12-year old talks about modifying Nerf guns, and the fact that he looks up everything he needs to know on the internet kind of impresses me.
  • As much as we need the rain, I really am hoping for a clear weekend so that I can relax by the pool.

Bloom where you’re planted, Part 1

One of the joys I have of being a parent is watching my boys “set their roots”.  They do this each and every day in countless ways:  friendships formed, love of their sport (and sometimes hate, depending on the workout!) and the discipline/camaraderie/achievements that are met while they are in the water, new interests pursued, and making the most of the situations that they find themselves in. I was reminded of this when one of my favorite childhood songs, “Bloom Where You’re Planted” popped into my head, completely unbidden, earlier today.  Perhaps it was God’s way of having me sit back and count the blessings in each of my children…

Each one of my boys is unique, yet they come from the same “garden” with the same principles, the same love, the same gentle hand leading them through life.

It is my job as their mother and my husband’s job as their father to nurture them and help them grow into strong, faith-filled, respectful (and respectable) young men,  This path isn’t always easy. There are times that I want to jump in and be that “helicopter parent” and tell them they are managing things the wrong way, or that their decision is the wrong one, but most of the time I refrain.  You see, my boys are already figuring out the art of negotiation and compromise.  They are slowly learning how to deal with conflict in their own way, and guess what?  They’re not doing a bad job of it!  As parents, we have decided to let them continue doing this unless it really looks like they need our help.
I see so many people trying to direct their children’s play, their children’s friendships, etc., and it makes me sad to know that these parents aren’t confident enough in the way that they have raised their children to just let them be.  Kids are smart; they know when they don’t want to be in a situation and they will remove themselves from it, don’t force them to be where they don’t want to be or do what they don’t want to do (within reason, of course).  I have found, through mistakes I’ve made along the way, that by doing so you just reinforce to your child the idea that the can’t manage their lives on their own and that they need you to do everything for them.  It becomes a vicious circle.

While we may not always like or understand what our kids have rooted themselves in (I do not understand video editing or software at all!), as long as it is not a danger to themselves or others we will let them bloom where they are planted.  After all, if my parents hadn’t let me bloom where I was planted I wouldn’t find myself the hip(pie) Mama that I am today!!

 

Friday Fragments

Welcome to the first edition of “Friday Fragments in the “Hip(pie) Household” – even though it is Saturday morning…  Thank you to Mrs. 4444 for hosting this fun blogging topic!

  • “At least it’s a dry heat.”, is one of the most misleading statements EVER.

  • Three boys (two that are ‘tweens) may not mean PMS, but it means weird, funky smells coming from the bedroom.

  • Patriotic concerts without fireworks following aren’t entirely satisfying.

  • However, said patriotic concert with large cannons being used in the “1812 Overture” is pretty awesome.

  • Also, said patriotic concert with narrative explanations of the Civil War, a recitation of the Gettysburg Address, and a poem about the flag will be seen as “education in a not so great disguise” by your home schooled children and you will be called out for making them learn when it is supposed to be a fun event.

  • Spending the holiday with your family and your chosen family is a great way to celebrate.

  • Pudding shots are an even BETTER way to celebrate!

  • Coercing 3 boys to practice piano everyday is a whole lot easier when “Call of Duty”, “Skyrim”, and “Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean” video game time is withheld until the practice is complete.

  • Morning swim practice kinda sucks.

Sweet Relief for Allergies

I love this time of year; everything is turning green, leaves are budding, flowers are blooming, new life is in the air.  However, these are the same reasons that many (including myself) hate this time of year.  If you are one of the 50 million + people who suffer from seasonal allergies, then you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Seasonal allergies affect a large portion of the population, and the pharmaceutical companies take advantage of that little fact by marketing all kinds of medications that should  combat the allergens.  In reality, these chemicals relieve the symptoms of the allergy for a short time period.  Not only are we left with an unfavorable chemical in our bodies, but we have usually forked over a good amount of money for these products that only work for a short period of time.

When I was diagnosed with seasonal allergies (many years ago – in high school), I was given a prescription for one of these products, which I used religiously.  I DID NOT like the way it made me feel, I was constantly “cloudy” and felt like I was moving through a dream-world, I even made it to the top of a cheer leading stunt only to look down and wonder how I had gotten there before I became dizzy. Side-effects aside, I didn’t have itchy, watery eyes or a stuffy nose so it must not be a horrible product, right? WRONG!   This is just a partial list of many of the side-effects associated with OTC and prescription allergy medications: drowsiness, raised blood pressure, insomnia, light-headedness, or nervousness, and the list goes on.
Well, after the incident at cheer leading practice, I pretty much took myself off of the allergy medication and just dealt with the sneezing, itchy/watery eyes etc. for the time span of my allergy season (about 8-10 weeks).  I eventually outgrew whatever it was that caused my allergic reaction (or built up an immunity to it – this is the more likely answer) and forgot all about allergy season…until we moved to Virginia and lived there for one year.

One year after changing my address I began, once again, to experience allergic reactions to my environment. Apparently the Virginian flora and fauna had NOT been integrated into my system and was different enough from what was in my
Hoosier home state that I was doomed to the life of being a constant kleenex carrier again.  I remembered all to well how I felt when I had taken allergy meds before (even OTC ones), and I DID NOT want to deal with those side-effects again.  Not only did I not want those side-effects, but I was now nursing my second son and I absolutely did not want those meds crossing the breast milk barrier.  I started doing some research on natural allergy relief and was very surprised to learn that I could very easily combat my allergies (not the symptoms) with honey (maybe Mary Poppins was on to something with the whole “spoonful of sugar” idea)!  Now, this doesn’t mean that you can run to the grocery store and grab the squeezy bear of honey to use.  In order to help combat allergies, you need to use LOCAL RAW HONEY.  Here is the reasoning behind that: local honey is honey that is produced by bees in your area. This means that the pollen the bees are collecting are from vegetation in your area (the same vegetation that causes your runny/stuffy nose, and itchy/watery eyes). A teaspoon of local honey, taken several times a day, can build up your resistance to local allergens therefore relieving you of allergy symptoms over time.

Now, it doesn’t work immediately, but it DOES work (and at fractions of the $$$ that is spent on OTC and prescription meds!). I have been using this method of allergy relief  for a few years (with myself and my children) and I will never cease to be amazed at the way it works!

There are other great benefits of having local honey around your home, as well as the bee pollen that you can purchase from those local bee keepers, but I’ve got to “buzz”  (I know, horrible pun!), so that’s a post for another time.

To Peep, or Not to Peep???

As Easter approaches at an accelerated pace, my boys (and no doubt, my Dad) start craving those ooey gooey fluorescent covered confections that are a trademark of the holiday.  Any parent can start to read the ingredient list and just cringe knowing that their children will be ingesting boatloads of sugar and be bouncing off the walls in a short amount of time.  This behavior will be followed by a sugar crash that results in a meltdown of epic proportions (if your children are anything like mine).

Knowing that my kids love these, I started searching for ways that I could replicate the recipe.  I found a few, but all of them still included using a lot of sugar.  I had to adapt my recipe so that it included natural sweeteners (ones that do not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar), and this is what I came up with:

  • 1 cup  filtered water (split into half cups)
  • 3 Tbls gelatin ( I use grass-fed beef gelatin)
  • 1 cup organic honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Take the gelatin and put it into the bowl of a stand mixer, cover with 1/2 cup of the water.  Pour the other 1/2 cup of water into a pan, and then add the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat (stirring the whole time so the honey doesn’t burn).  Once it has reached a rolling boil, use a candy thermometer to bring to 240 F (it takes about 7 minutes), stirring occasionally.  After it reaches 240 F, slowly add this mixture to the gelatin in the mixing bowl.  You need to start whisking this on high (be careful, it may splatter at first and is very hot, I worked my way up to high-speed).  After approximately 5 minutes, it will begin to look like this:

 

This is about 10 minutes into the whisking on high speed…ummm marshmallowy….

While this continues to whisk into ooey gooey perfection, grease a jelly roll pan (I use coconut         oil, but butter will work as well) so that you  will have it ready to pour the mixture into.

 

 

 

 

After 15 minutes of high-speed whisking, you should be able to lift up the attachment and have a nice “stiff peak”.

This looks perfect!  now it is time to grab that greased jelly roll pan and scrape the whole she-bang into it.  It should spread out, but you may need to coax it a little bit by spreading with a greased spatula.  Cover the pan with an inverted pan for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

After the mixture has settled for the amount of time you were able to leave it alone, turn it over onto a surface that has been lightly oiled.  You can then take any shape cookie cutter (we used a bunny head), dip it in a cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture, and start cutting away!  Once you have all of your shapes, the fun of decorating begins!  There are so many options to choose from!  You can use dusting sugars (made specifically for baking confections), coconut, nuts/seeds.  The sky is the limit!

These were dusted with palm sugar that had been tinted with a few drops of beet juice.

 

I can’t say that my boys will always stay away from the commercial brand, but at least we have an alternative now…. and I can’t wait to use the marshmallow recipe for s’mores this summer!

Running on Faith

I woke up this morning, earlier than usual,   to overcast skies and 50 degree weather. Perfect for getting in a nice, long run in to start my day. That way, I could be showered and have a good breakfast made for the kids by mid-morning, and my exercise for the day would be complete which would leave the rest of the day to get chores done and hang out with the family.  I fired up my music on my iPhone and took off, feeling a bit apprehensive about the overcast skies, but knowing that it was perfect weather for an 8 mile run.

I had done so well all week following my scheduled runs calendar and I knew I’d be able to check this one off with no problem.  A few sprinkles started to fall 2 miles into it, and I was still on my way, no worries.  Well, due to my music, I must have missed the chuckle from above before the heavens opened up on me.  It wasn’t torrential, but it was enough for me to cut my 8 mile run to a 4 mile run and make it back to the van soaking wet, shivering, and bummed that I wasn’t able to do what I had planned for myself for this morning.

As I sit typing this, it is now dry outside, with the sun peeking through intermittently and about 65 degrees outside.  Not bad running weather for those that haven’t had their workout yet…

While I should be upset that I didn’t wait for THIS time of day, I’m not.  You see, while it was raining, I was completely alone with my thoughts/prayers, my music, and my God.  Even at Mass last night I didn’t feel this close to Him, He knew that I needed this time and He knew that I needed it to be cut short today.  I currently have more energy and am in a much better mood than I have been in all week, even after sloshy shoes and soaked clothes.

Next time I head out for my “long run” I need to check first to see if I hear laughter from above.

Pi Day!!!!

I am , admittedly, something of a “geek”.  That being said, I love (and my boys love) March 14th.  Why?  Well, it’s Pi Day!  You see, it is 3.14 on the calendar and THAT is the beginning of 3.141592653589793238462….  (Sorry, I really don’t want to have all 1 million digits of Pi on my blog.) What makes this year’s Pi Day even more “useful” in the Hippie Household is the fact that our oldest has been studying the area of circles, which happens to be Pi times radius squared.  Pi is the ratio of the circle’s circumference to its diameter, and it is incredibly useful in everyday math (I say everyday math, because I do still know this equation from my youth and it has proven useful when we have done various projects around the house – see, it is something that I use as an adult, don’t tell my high school math teachers!)

Yet another reason we celebrate Pi day is because it is also Albert Einstein’s birthday (if it wasn’t confirmed that I am indeed a geek before, it is now!).  We have also enjoyed studying Einstein and his theories in our home school and all of the experiments that come along with that studying.

My interest in Einstein began in high school, all due to a romantic teenage girl stumbling upon this poster:

This poster hung in my bedroom for many years.  It wasn’t until the past few years that my romanticizing of Einstein turned into a curiosity that had me reading this biography: Einstein: His Life and Universe Wow, what an amazing journey this man had!  One of the biggest impressions I received (and one reason we are so thankful that we home school) is the importance of independent thinking and utilizing the “thinking outside of the box” concept.  Thank you, Einstein, for your contributions!  Happy Pi Day to you!

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