You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2013.

3.5 = miles I ran on the first day I broke in my new running shoes last week. I hardly buy anything for myself (mostly I spend on items for the kiddos, the house, etc.), so has been a treat to run in proper gear.

29.5 = pounds I’ve lost since June. Hit my lowest weight yesterday.

1000-1200 = calories I limit myself to eating on a daily basis. Okay, 1500 if I am having an extravagant day or need the protein after a run. I see food in a totally different way than I saw it last year at this time.

123 = pounds Bill has lost on his weight lost journey. A whole (small) person’s worth!!!

5 = people in my daily life who have been sick in the past two weeks. Currently hoping I have dodged Bill’s cold this weekend. I swear by  almost-too-hot baths for myself and lemon-ginger tea, along with zinc and my normal green tea.

3-4 = hours of my least amount of night’s sleep last week. I need to rededicate myself to the discipline of clean and healthy sleep. I’ve been up too late streaming a TV series on Netflix, violating several of my personal rules for my health. TV is such a time sucker for me at night when the children are sleeping, and I usually relegate it only to time on our stationary bike (thanks, Sana, for that strategy). I do indulge in Downton Abbey, but earlier this year I was watching no personal TV…and loving it, getting so much more done and getting better rest, too. Time to tighten up on myself again.

4 = sweet children at the park on a picnic date with sweet and kind friends

picnic with bergons

 

(Thanks for the beautiful afternoon, Bergons)!

1 = toe vacuumed up and crunched/sprained/bruised after running around like a madwoman (what else is new?) tidying up the house for company. Still running on it though (yay, sturdy shoes). Yesterday hurt more than today, so we’re headed in the right direction at least with the healing.

6 = years I have had the pleasure to know this superstar student:

meeting with matt

 

(I taught Matt as a 9th grader the year I gave birth to Katie, and he came over today. Handed off a letter of recommendation and talked with him about his next pursuit. I am so thankful for a bond that still continues with my former students, and I love that so many of them still know so many years later that they can rely upon me to be rooting for them and writing on their behalf. The fact that they know this means that I did my job. I have written several recommendations (for internships, special programs, post-grad work, jobs, etc) since leaving my classroom. I only once had to turn down a student who happened to ask right as I was about to give birth to Eric and pass my real estate test, and I hope he knows still how much it pained me to have to decline due to circumstances. Anyway, I loved visiting with Matt today, and I cannot wait to see how his next adventure pans out for him. What a great guy this one is, universally adored by my colleagues).

2 = nights it took us to watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers as part of our McGaugh Family Movie Night: Month of Musicals Edition. Katie and I love that one…

3 = fires in our fireplace this week. Eric is finally old enough this year to be cautious (under supervision) about the fire. I’ve been missing them!

1.5 = approximate number of years since I have seen Mrs. Cutler in person:

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(So thankful for our visit on Friday).

4 = days taught so far in our second semester at The McGaugh Academy

4:30 = time we went to the ice cream social at River Springs last Wednesday to celebrate Katie’s achievement of her I CAN goals in ELA and math. She was so pleased as punch to be there and to see her hard work paying off. She got to meet more homeschooled students and even played a little ice breaker game with them. Can you find her?

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1 = night this weekend of a great philosophical conversation with my husband about the nature of causality, statistics, language, agency, predeterminism, and physics. I love his amazing mind. Our minds love to play together as we seek to understand this place.

I am so completely thankful for all the good this week (or so) has brought: a chance to deepen friendships, time with my husband and children, cozy rainy days full of learning and warmth, a sense of self-control and health. We’ve been learning about polar bears (among other topics), and I just love homeschooling so much because I get to keep learning, too. I always found myself learning from my students as a public school teacher, as well, and I am thankful that as we get older we never know everything. Life is so much richer when we realize how much we do not know.

My favorite part of our day is cuddling with my two little people in Katie’s big bed. We snuggle, read lots of books, and always end by sharing everyone and everything we’re thankful for each day. If there is anything I hope those two little ones learn from me it is this: to cultivate a spirit of gratitude, to choose kind words, to promote what is positive and good, and to leave the world a kinder, gentler, and less judgmental place. We will always be works in progress as far as those ideals go, but we can always choose to do the right thing and make choices that lead to greater peace in the world. We often talk about ways to make good decisions and using this question as a litmus test for our actions: If everyone in the extreme were to do what I am about to do (or want to do), then would the universe (across time and space) be a better or a worse place? By testing actions at the extreme, we often get a clearer sense of their moral nature. (No, we cannot know all of their ripples, but we can look out many moves ahead as in a chess game). When my babies and I are in our little nightly nest saying what we’re thankful for and talking about what we can do in the morning light to think about others and promote graciousness, those are the moments when I feel like all is right in the world.

In the past two months, I have been pondering what to do with this blog. I know several bloggers who ponder this from time to time. What began as an efficient way to keep in touch with family and friends and to give myself a creative outlet has turned into a means of unexpected connections and blessings. One of my best friends gave me a beautiful journal for my birthday, and it has enticed me to return to handwritten diary entries, daily gratitudes, and a simpler and less public form of existence.

But then every once in awhile, a friend from long ago will find the blog, or will read it (I never assume I have any readers except some of my family, and the other handful of friends I know about, LOL). My site stats reveal a different story, and I am always surprised and humbly touched that anyone would care about and connect with my words. I received a message just last week from a high school friend, C, who connected with something I wrote, and I realize that I keep the blog going because I would never want to miss out on the chance to connect with someone and get to know that person better. Threads of connection are so precious to me, when we are given the chance to see the light inside of someone else. If any of my simple (and sometimes downright silly!) words somehow become the means for me to see inside of someone else, then that is magic. What can be more of a source of wonder than the lives that are around us?

So whatever your numbers are this week, or whatever it is you are thankful for, I want you to know that I am thankful for the chance to connect with you, friends. I hope you all have a great week!

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“We stood

Steady as the stars in the woods

So happy-hearted

And the warmth rang true inside these bones

As the old pine fell we sang

Just to bless the morning…” 

~Ben Howard, Old Pine

This has been a month of goodbye.

But that has not been everything. As I continue to live I grow ever more certain that life is a balance. We lose, but as we are losing, we also gain. We may not be sure of what we’re gaining, but we have to have faith that some happiness or next beautiful adventure is just around the bend. If we can stand with tears running down our face and look fear in the eye, then we will find that inner strength and hope that carries us through. Anyone who lives long enough on this Earth knows that loss is part of the bargain. We can spend our lives dreading it, or we can make up our minds that we will adapt and try to find the good in those moments of letting go.

Mary Oliver explained in her poem In Blackwater Woods:

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Not only people are mortal; every experience and each place and all moments of time in this life are mortal. No phase or place or feeling can last forever. We are mortal creatures subscribed to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Yet we must, as Oliver suggests, press to our very bodies and essences what and who we love when we have them. The act of love preserves their memories. We must live and love fearlessly, knowing that part of the love is to be able to sad goodbye with graciousness of spirit. When the time comes to let go, we have no control over this and I believe we cause ourselves more agony when we struggle. A little struggle is a beautiful and natural thing, and we aren’t human without it, but we are continually invited toward transcendence when faced with loss and the pit in our stomach that comes with loss. We have to believe that love never really can be lost and that we can transform the energy of our grief into something else productive and ongoing.

sadness

Last week my dad’s side of the family said a sad goodbye to the family property in Valley Center. The land was in our family for over forty years; my children represented the 5th generation to play on that land. It was a humble place: a mobile home on several acres that used to produce an avocado crop but which has not since Grandpa Don died in 2008.

I knew this day would come. A day of finally putting more closure on a wound that I had not fully closed. Our journeys always await us, until it is time…don’t they? I lamented the way my children would never have the same memories there that I had. Whole family sleepovers with all of the cousins and aunts and uncles. Hide and seek in the grove. Lemonade and orange juice. A blue moon through the avocado trees. Ghost stories at Grandpa’s Rock.

Last Friday, I took the kiddos out to say a proper farewell. For me, love is watching the process of letting go and standing by with a patient heart as the pain fills up and then ebbs a bit away. Among other rituals of goodbye, I took a walk along a well-worn path, the same walk so many of us would take (sometimes with Grandpa) on New Year’s mornings with a mug of coffee in hand as the light would come up. Grandpa used to watch the birds and eat his chocolate donuts. There was a promise of forever, in a place that was mortal.

I let myself weep, truly weep, with each step of that walk. The walk was a metaphor embraced in a physical act. The path had already irreparably changed (water was turned off to the grove three years ago for financial reasons), but the path I was walking was the one in my head, the path in my memory with my family. The last part of the path goes up a bit of a hill back to the mobile home pad, and when I came back up through the opening where my cousins and I used to sit around the Coleman hearth and talk late into the night, I realized that I was walking into that opening with a faith that we would create new traditions.

Some walks we have to take alone for awhile, but when we come back, it is our family who will see us through: in shared memories, in love that is the closest thing to immortality, passed from generation to generation.

grandpa's rock
With Katie and Eric on Grandpa’s Rock, where their great-grandfather would go with his morning coffee to watch the sunrise, where we would tell ghost stories, and where some of my cousins and I gathered on the first anniversary of Grandpa’s death to pay tribute to him.
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The last picture of my lineage/generations on the Valley Center land. For one so sentimental, I expected to have some rocky moments, and I have. But I also know that grief is a process that turns out okay in the end.

“We look before and after

And pine for what is not:

Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.”
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, To a Skylark

happiness

mary poppins and burt

And this, too. As well as a reminder: “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Truer words…

meeting uncle eric

A few days later, it was the 6th anniversary of my Uncle Eric’s death. This is a picture of us first meeting. I miss him every day, and every day there is pain, yet I see and feel so many reminders of him… Every day I say goodbye, and yet every day he is still with me somehow. Balance.

lauren's shower

And one of my best friends is getting ready for a new hello…to her third child and first boy! Lauren’s shower was so much fun! The ladies who hosted it set up a “little camper” theme, which was just perfect. I love Lauren’s family and her longtime family friends so much. So many of their eyes twinkle with joy when they speak. I wonder if they know that..

stradivarius

And Katie and I had the joy of attending a piano-violin duo at The Merc in Old Town. She has never been to that small venue, needing to be student-aged first to get in. She was the youngest there, but she did well. The violinist had recently competed in a prestigious competition and had won the use of a 1689 Stradivarius violin for three years…so we got to hear the sound of an actual Stradivarius! Maybe I’m just a big music and culture geek, but that was definitely a bucket list item for me and the reason why we went. So, check!

true friend

And who can resist a feeling of mirth deep within when meeting Mater, a true and loyal friend, in Cars Land? So whatever else life is made of, I know that one of its axioms is a balance of joy and sorrow. It’s okay in the end. The larger question is how we go about constructing traditions and narratives that, in the words of Ms. Kara (the kiddos’ music teacher), “transcend a lifetime.” She has said that sharing music is one way to do that, and I agree. We have to keep creating magic moments with those we love, with our children, our friends, our relatives.

We create new traditions for New Year’s…
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The next generation loves one another…

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We share moments of joy with each other…
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Cousins likes brothers and sisters choose to keep the family legacies going…

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Older generations make sure the new generations benefit from the family structure and history…

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We create new moments and keep the energy moving forward…

And parting words from William Blake:

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”

Scenario #1: Running around happily, your toddler trips over a small hole, falls, and scraps a knee. Tears abound: he is hurt. What are the first words out of your mouth?

Scenario #2:  A friend of yours is going through a painful split with her husband and calls you with an emptiness in her voice. What do you say?

Scenario #3: Your family member has just suffered the death of her pet. What words of comfort do you offer?

 

*                                   *                                    *

What we say and how we say it reveals so much about our view of the world and our beliefs about the human experience. How do we each show empathy in these cases? What are our basic assumptions about human strength and individual suffering?

The friendships I value the most are those that ask everything of me, and by everything I mean: I cherish friends who push me philosophically, challenge my mind to examine life’s nuances, and enjoy working together through Socratic conversation to figure out (or get closer to figuring out) life’s deepest mysteries.

This post today stems most directly from a conversation I had recently with my friend Lauren, though it also indirectly correlates to a written discussion I have been having off and on with my friend Rosa as well as something Uncle George was talking about on New Year’s Day. Trying to explain how all three of these lines of thought connect would probably take an hour or two, and I do find myself wondering where to start…so we’ll see how far I am able to get and where this leads.

I’ll start, I think, with the conversation with Lauren a few weeks ago. I love those little nuggets friends bring up that stay with me for weeks, a vibrant part of my thought life. I saw Lauren today, in fact, for lunch and play time. It’s funny how many times Lauren has offered me something to think about in our friendship (going back now to our teaching credential days) that I continue to think about for weeks, months, or years.

We were sharing our feelings about labor and delivery, apropos since she is due toward the end of January with her third child, a son. Lauren had a homebirth for her first daughter and unmedicated labor in a hospital (as I did with both kiddos) for her second daughter. As my mom did for me both times, Lauren’s mom will be acting as her doula. We were deep into a conversation about unmedicated labor and how we each best work through pain and what we needed/hoped for from the coaches around us when Lauren brought up this idea:

When you are helping someone who is hurt, which of the following am I (or anyone) more likely to say: Are you okay? or You will be okay

There is a  difference between asking, “Are you okay?” and stating, “You will be okay.” What is this difference? We began to ponder.

Lauren is an “Are you okay?” person. I am a “You’re okay.” person. Not a flippant “You will be okay” person, but an earnest, I believe-it-with-my-gut-“You will be okay” person. After observing ourselves with our kiddos and collecting anecdotal data, we know that she and I represent these two approaches.

In her view, asking “Are you okay?” is the first step in getting the hurt person to self-assess and it shows a willingness to hear that perhaps the hurt person is NOT, in fact, okay. From there, if the person is not okay, we can better attend to her needs or an opportunity opens up for a deeper commiseration. All of these points are extremely valuable, and I have actually been trying the “Are you okay?” method very consciously the past few weeks to see what it yields for those I love and collect information. I am seriously considering that asking this question might, in fact, be a better way to communicate concern and love to certain personality types. As someone who dearly loves language and its nuances, and the way these nuances affect feeling and action in others, I am intrigued deeply by the ways in which transforming empathy from a statement to a question might have a stronger palliative affect than I had otherwise considered.

My gut reaction when one of my children gets hurt is to pick that child up, kiss, nestle, and immediately say, “You will be okay.” Or, its cousin: “You’re okay.” In no way are these statements meant to make light of the hurt and they are never said with a discounting or tired tone. When I say, “You’re okay” it is said with conviction and a matter-of-fact tone, as if I know for sure that it is truth. Lauren’s question has made me think, though, about why an empathetic statement is my go-to strategy versus asking how the hurt person is feeling.

When I have probed this in myself the last few weeks, I have uncovered this:

1) Making the statement “You will be okay” is my way of saying: I will do absolutely everything in my power to assure that you okay, and I will not stop until you are.”

2) I approach people assuming they have an underlying strength and that they will tap into that strength when they are down. In the past few weeks, I have thought about how different this assumption is from the assumptions that some of our politicians hold—which is that the individual has little to no strength, or should be held to very low expectations. “You will be okay” is my way of saying, “I know you will fight for yourself. I know you have the tenacity.” It is my way of acknowledging the respect I have for the innate strength within a person.

3) I want to be a buffer. I have known the kind of hurt that threatens to take a person down with it. Falling and getting a boo-boo is not that kind of hurt; a miscarriage, a death of a loved one, an unanticipated divorce or loss of a family member is. Some forms of hurt go very far back into dark tunnels and bottomless pits. This connects to what I wrote a few entries ago about wanting to be the catcher in the rye. To say “You’re okay” is to say, in Sarah-speak: I will throw down my life in front of you before I will let you cross over into those tunnels. You will be okay, because you have the strength to fight for yourself and to pull yourself up, and because if you start to lack the strength, I will do it for you. You will be okay because there is nothing else you can be. You will be okay, and I know this, because I will catch you if I have to. I will die to catch you if I have to.” If I ask the question “Are you okay?” might I be exposing the hurt person to the possibility that he or she will never emerge from the hurt? And what if that person’s answer is “no?”

In many ways, this goes back to the Greenville farm values of the old Matics and McLain families that my Uncle George first shared with us at Grandpa Don’s funeral in one of the eulogies. Uncle George is one of the keepers of our family history and relics, and he shared with us on New Year’s Day the basic family tenets going back over a hundred years—including the idea that many of the Maticses and McLains would have rather died than complained about anything they faced or not performed their hard work. They were a tough breed and expected strength. I know that many of the Amish Yoders were the same way. I have often said that I am not surprised that I am the product of farm stock, dappled with a bit of German-Austrian stoicism and the good humor and youthful look (I still get carded buying certain kinds of paint at the hardware store) of the Norwegians.

Yet not everyone speaks the language of the farm, with its more silent forms of commiseration. I am not sure I always spoke it, either.

I am thinking back now to that afternoon when my high school boyfriend (R.R.) was in a car accident, hit from behind on an off-ramp as he was coming to pick me up. I remember that my first question when he called me really stood out to him. Whereas someone else close to him, he said, had asked about the status of the car, my first question to him had been, “Are you all right?”

I guess my default was to ask a question back then. I wonder what changed. Maybe life changed…maybe I saw how truly unforgiving and unyielding life can be. We need to have strength to make it through. My greatest fear is that my children will not tap into their strength or know it is there when they will need it the most. Because they will need it… We all do.

One other difference between 18-year-old me and 33-year-old me is that, when it comes to my children, it is utterly inconceivable to me that they wouldn’t be all right, no matter what they face. They have to be….just like I have to breathe.

Lauren’s point about the nuance of language has, however, made me reconsider. Perhaps the first step in cultivating strength in someone else is to get them to self-reflect and find it there herself or himself. As a teacher, I used self-reflection as a tool often in my classroom. Should it be any different as a mother or a friend? Yet when it comes to the people I love most…well, I never want to them to get close to the kind of hurt that would make them not okay. I feel like I have to stop them before they get to that crushing place in their minds. Perhaps, though, that isn’t my choice to make.

And for some, asking instead of assuming is a much more accessible display of empathy. I am thinking of relatives I have, and of friends like Lauren herself, who prefer the question and the open ears to hear about the pain that is happening. Lauren said that she would not want to be told “You’re okay” during the labor process, but would want the chance to express herself. Being in charge of one’s own narrative is a sign of inner strength: expressing the hurt and then choosing to deal with it while having the support of friends is courageous.

I am so curious about what you all think: what is the difference, as you see it, between “Are you okay?” and “You will be okay” as expressions of empathy and comfort? Have you noticed if you are more likely to use one over another? What does that say about your beliefs with respect to human nature? When you are hurt, which expression of empathy would you rather have someone use with you?

 

I can’t quite part with Christmas this year. Usually by the time we celebrate my birthday, see the Rose Parade, and gather with family for the New Year, I am more than ready to return my house to its clean lines and less-cluttered (never fully free of clutter with kiddos, but that’s part of the joy) state. In fact, I usually take it down on the 27th (we always play in jammies on the day after Christmas). I am usually ready to embrace our January traditions, which include house upkeep, organization projects, Chinese New Year, and my personal favorite: January Musical Movie Festival. We watch all of our favorite musicals in January. These traditions help us to wean off the holidays that have kept us abuzz since October 1st without feeling cast into the void of a holiday-less winter.

The tree is gone, and believe me, it needed to be. It was brittle before Christmas this year despite constant watering and a dose of Christmas tree preservative. There’s something about a dull and fire-hazard tree that starts to be depressing, so I had to let it go. In fact, all of the downstairs decorations are put away. But the kiddos’ artificial room trees… I can’t bring myself to put them away this year. Every night of December, we would read our nightly stories and then sing around each room tree. We spent hours looking at the ornaments, cuddling, holding hands, and hearing Eric categorize ornaments as “break-bull” and “un-break-bull.” They would fall asleep with their trees glowing, and I would sneak in and unplug them later. I’m just not ready to let the magic go…

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Letting go of Christmas requires a leap of faith. The season is not without its ills and spills, but Christmas is a sort of sacred time where everything feels so magical and right, when my children and I can be childlike together, when so much family is near. The putting away of Christmas always makes me realize that—the next time I get out these special decorations and crafts and traditions—my children will be one year older and one year closer to leaving this magical time of their childhood. I start thinking about how much can happen in a year, both good and bad. We realize that people—family—can be lost in between now and then. As I put our special things in boxes, I think: Will all the people I love still be here next year? Have I pressed this year closely enough to my heart yet? What will my children be like next year—will they still believe in Santa and our elf Trata? I think about how life may not be better, or worse, but it will be different...and I like how it is just right now. When I see these relics again, how will life be different? And then I become profoundly grateful for just the way it is right now. Putting away Christmas… What else are we putting away with it? Time, memories, precious moments with our children and family that we will keep with us forever but that we will never have back. I have to have faith that no matter what comes, we will feel the same magic next year.

This might sound silly, I know. But then there are moments like this:

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This is my Uncle Eric’s Christmas tidbit tray, something my mom, aunt, and Nana passed on to me when he died. Every year I use it on “Christmas Tree Day” (the day we get our tree!) to serve our boiled cookies after our lasagna meal. I typically cry when I get it out, and I typically cry when I put it away. This year, while putting it away, part of the box was weakening to the point where the tidbit tray was in danger of falling out the other side. Oh, I will get some tape to reinforce it, I thought. And then I realized what that remnant of a yellowed piece of old masking tape was already doing on part of the box. Uncle Eric must have had this problem, too! I pondered. I thought about him putting the tape there—so even, so precisely in the center of the box. Just some little link to some time gone way by…Except it isn’t so little. His tape represents a course of thought, a decision, a solution, a moment when he was alive during a Christmas we had shared. Was he putting away Christmas when he noticed the box needed repair?  What was he thinking about? I couldn’t bring myself to put my piece of tape over his piece…so my new piece is just side by side with his.

So much can happen in a year…

If I leave the kiddos’ room trees up, will I preserve something in them right at this moment in time? Or are the memories already passing into new moments?

When I haven’t been awake pondering this weighty matter (I say, definitely tongue in cheek), we’ve been playing with some of our new goodies:

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The juicer! Oh my goodness, we love our juicer and have been juicing nearly every day. So far of all the juices we’ve made, the carrot-apple-celery juice is the favorite around here, followed by parsnip-pear-celery. So fun! And healthy!

And here we are on a walk to the local market for veggies:

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We’ve made it through the holidays and all the food temptations fairly unscathed (I actually lost weight during Thanksgiving week), but it is time to return to our clean eating. I’ve had some solid 3.5 mile runs this week with Bill off of work, and we ate almost entirely plant-based (okay, with a bit of real cheese and butter I do confess—but totally meatless) for the week leading up to New Year’s. I have enjoyed bits and bites of our traditional family food and even sugar—but I am so ready to get most of that processed sugar back out of my system again. I have zero moral qualms about what people eat and don’t view meat eating as a moral issue (in fact, many of my family’s traditional foods and meals involve meat, and family tradition is a big deal for me); I only know how much better I personally feel when I am mostly eating plant-based and whole foods with low sugar and fat intake. Over the past six months, I lost 24 pounds and my plan is to continue my methods and see where I am at next year. I am now a bit smaller than when we got married… And for those who haven’t seen my husband in person lately, he’s a LOT smaller than when we got married, LOL!

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Here is a recipe (chana saag) that we tried out of our Forks Over Knives cookbook (highly recommend both the documentary and the cookbook). We’ve also been cooking out of The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook—love it! The kiddos and I had gingerbread smoothies for New Year’s breakfast (almond milk, Medjool dates, fresh ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg and ice…) So good. My goal is to make as many different recipes as possible out of both cookbooks in the month of Jan.

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Of course, we’re not without our occasional treats: in this case, cups of frothy Williams-Sonoma salted caramel hot chocolate and matching mother-daughter jammies.

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Eric helped to put together our rack for our TV trays. He is really using the tool to tighten the screw in this picture! We love the retro feel of TV trays for our family movie nights. (Hello, January Musical Movie Fest)! Also, they are going to come in soooooo handy when school starts back up again. Katie is already eager to do her work at them. Something new and cozy I guess! Like individual desks you can use while sitting on the soft couch…

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Building a log cabin with our Lincoln logs.

I suppose I will have to take their trees down this week. It goes past a certain point, and I might want to leave them up forever… The only choice we have is to keep moving forward and to trust that, though we might have our sad days, the overall judgment at the end of our lives will be that the happiness and magic outweighed whatever sorrows we had to face.

This has been a beautiful season for us… And I am so thankful for it.