Things I Love {part two}

things i love part 2

More on the Things I Love… It is so refreshing to walk around each day and capture pictures of those things in my life that make me happy. Sometimes it is the simple things in life that bring us pleasure. Other times, it is a complex feeling of love or friendship so deep that you honestly cannot fathom living without it.

Things I love part 2 pics.jpg

The view of the backyard shed… with the homemade bird houses from the boys and the wisteria. Memories from the past with great friends and music from Woodstock ’99. Transplanted hostas from people you love. My oldest Green boy and his blue eyes. CrossFit and the change it has made in my life. Blooming irises by the front door. The youngest Green boy and his strive to be like his older brother. My husband and best friend, Mithra. Rose buds.

And, in honor of Mother’s Day and the woman who has made such a enormous influence on the mother and woman I am today, my mother Susan! She has always been there for me and has taught me how to be the best person I can be. She comes to the boys’ sports games and school events; she is their second loudest cheerleader right after me. She makes it a priority to show her grandchildren that they are loved unconditionally. She is giving. She is kind. She loves. And, she is humble. 

things i love mom.jpg

Continue to look around you for the things in your everyday life that make you happy. The search is fun and enlightening.  You may be surprised by all the little things that brighten your day.

Things I Love…

Things I Love Title2

Being happy is so very important for your health — mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is an essential element in making a difference around you. 

So, I have decided to document the “Things I Love”. I am certain that once these are identified your happiness will literally fall into your lap, soul and heart.

I started by observing those things in my home which make me smile. I share these with you now in hopes that they will inspire you to also find those “Things You Love.”

Things I love collage

My striped cat, Maximus. Peace hearts. Cacti from Arizona to remind me of my family living there. Starfish! Glass door knobs. And, beautiful indoor nature.

Things I love 4

Simple glass jars catching the sunlight. My kids, especially the Middle Green Boy’s smile. Coffee and all forms of said caffeine. Seahorses and shades of blue.

Things I love 3

Hobbes, a fluffy furball that loves to sing the song of his people at 4am. My new front door wreath made of coffee filters. Me! It has taken me years to find a true love for myself. I can honestly say that I am happy with who I am and what my future holds. Family photos on the wall in DIY frames. Seashells collected on each and every beach we visit. Chester, our old man pug.

Take time to embrace those around you and find the “Things You Love”. I did and it is amazing.

Please comment below on the “Things You Love”. Feel free to post links to your own blog as you take time to document “Things I Love”.

Holiday Traditions. Don’t got ’em? Get Some!

What are your Holiday Traditions? 

Traditions are important. I love them. They are tied into my fondest memories from childhood. I try my hardest to build traditions with my boys – unique to our family- and instill in them traditions from my past.

Traditions give symbolic meaning and special significance to our holidays… they keep us connected to our origins and our pasts. Fall heralds the holidays… These holidays are filled with tradition in our family. This past Thanksgiving we made a paper “Thankful” banner. Each person in the family wrote on the banner exclaiming what it is they are thankful for in life. We hope to add our “thanks” each year and build upon these blessings. What a wonderful reminder of what we have and those around us to share these “thanks”.

thankful banner

Every Christmas season my family <meaning the girls and the kids> gather and bake cookies. Lots and lots of cookies! My favorite sugar cookie recipe is here at Martha Stewart. The kids decorate the cookies and gorge themselves on sugar. Then we package the cookies and mail them to family far away. We consider it a box of homemade love. It seems stressful and chaotic in the moment. That is mainly because there are 3 cooks in one kitchen. But, as my sister’s family prepares to move cross country to Arizona, this tradition will have a more important impact on the family. Next Christmas we will be sending each other these boxes of love. This tradition will mean more to my kids and me.

We also spend weekends watching our fave Holiday movies. Here is a good list for movie ideas.  Not all the movies on the list are kid appropriate. Our must sees each year are Elf, A Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Christmas Vacation, and Home Alone. These movie days are excuses to slow down and just chill on the couch. With a fire in the hearth, cookies in our bellies, and snuggles under shared blankets, those movies are made special by the laughs from the boys.

Come Christmas morning we have fun opening presents that repeat themselves each year. There is always a wrapped gift with a humorous T-shirt for each person in the family. The funnest part is picking the shirt for the person. The kids also know that there will always be a pair of socks from the cats and pajama bottoms from the dogs under the tree. 

This year we are adding the Pickle Ornament to our fun traditions. Here is what contributors say on Wikipedia. I bought it today at Target for $4. A Google search finds many buying options if you can’t find one locally. I chose lots of sparkles. Cause, who doesn’t like a sparkly green pickle ornament? I have already prepped the kids, too. Here is how it will go at my house… We will hang the ornament in the tree until Christmas Eve. Then, the kids will take it down and place it by the cookie and carrot plate left out for Santa. They also plan to leave a note asking Santa to hide it well. Santa will then rehang the ornament but in a hidden location in the tree. The first kid to “eye spy” the pickle will be able to open a special family gift from Santa and that kid will get “good fortune” for the new year. The middle Green boy exclaimed, “I will find it first, then I will go out and buy the lotto-ry and win millions!” I like his go get’em attitude – most of the time. And, great minds think alike. I was actually considering Lottery tickets as the special gift. One for each family member.

Put some simple and fun traditions into the Holiday mix! 

merry xmas picture

Photography by Stacey Pryce of Cute E’s Photography. 2013. Lynnhaven Fishing Pier, Chesapeake Bay.

Go To Breakfast: Egg Muffins

Mornings are not the best time of day in my house. Getting three boys up and out of bed by 6:20 a.m. is no easy feat. And, it’s not just them. I can be grumpy and am known to hit snooze too many times.

See. This is what I have to deal with Monday through Friday. Cuteness. But, waking up the youngest Green boy is like poking a bear during hibernation. He should come with a warning sign.

See. This is what I have to deal with Monday through Friday. Cuteness. But, waking up the youngest Green boy is like poking a bear during hibernation. He should come with a warning sign.

But, mostly it is them… excuse my #mom0f3boys rant <deep breath in> They eat a ton of food. I mean lots. I have friends with girls and my grocery budget is about triple theirs. I am also certain that they have hollow legs that must be filled with food before it even begins to affect their stomachs. Don’t even get me started on 11 year old boys. Ravenous pit monsters when it comes to eating. <and, exhale>

To make the most of the rushed mornings, I have taken my favorite breakfast food — EGGS— and made them into easy to grab, three-bite, filling, protein-packed sanity. Hence, my hybrid Egg Muffin Cups recipe. 

Spinach and ham egg muffins with 1/2 an avocado. A great breakfast.

Spinach and ham egg muffins with 1/2 an avocado. A great breakfast.

This recipe is a great one because it can be altered easily depending upon leftovers and picky eaters. Treat them like mini-omelettes. Make them vegetarian. Make them a meat-lover’s dream. Then store them in the fridge for a week and grab one on rushed mornings, on the way to the box, as a midday snack, or to fill up the bellies legs of hungry boys.

egg muffins collage

Remember that protein and vegetables are what kids and adults need in the morning to jump start their brains, metabolism, and body systems. These Egg Muffin Cups are the perfect solution.

Use the recipe below, but be creative when it comes to the ingredients… Our favorite additions are kale, onions, bacon/sausage, and gouda cheese.

egg muffin cups recipe

Back to Reality

Long time no blog….

I just returned from my very first vacation <by myself to see my brother> in over 15 years! Crazy talk, right? My wonderful hubby and some amazing friends made this possible. But, now it’s back to reality. And, not just in one way… The one I am having the hardest time adjusting to is the weather. I left Virginia and it was Fall (October 31st) and came back to Winter. Brrr!

Virginia Cold. Tucson Warm.

Virginia Cold. Tucson Warm.

I had such a great time bonding with my new niece Camillia Rose. New baby snuggles are the best!

Camillia and I snuggling.

Camillia and I snuggling.

 

My brother Jim is an amazingly talented tattoo artist in Tucson. He owns Istari Studios, the best place to get beautiful tattoos! So, yes, I got two new pieces done on my forearms. Anyone who has played around on the blog may notice my fascination with starfish. Hence, the new starfish tattoos on my left and right forearms.

My sister-in-law Rachael is also a talented Aesthetician at Ooh La La Lashes in Tucson. She used her red LED therapy lights to heal my tattoos quicker and with less pain. Gotta love family!

We also tooled around Tucson and I got to be a tourist for 9 days! We took the time to shop at La Encantata (an outdoor upscale mall), checked out Buffalo Exchange (awesome consignment style store), dressed up for the All Souls Procession in downtown Tucson, ate out at some amazing local restaurants, hiked in Sabino Canyon, and drove up Mt. Lemmon to be awestruck by an Arizonian sunset.

tucson collage

Rachael and I on the tram in Sabino Canyon. A must see in Tucson.

Rachael and I on the tram in Sabino Canyon. A must see in Tucson.

 

My brother, Jim and I at one of the vistas on Mt. Lemmon at sunset.

My brother, Jim and I at one of the vistas on Mt. Lemmon at sunset.

 

All in all this trip was a wonderful reset. It was a time to reconnect with my brother and spend invaluable time with my new niece and beautiful sister-in-law.

I secretly think that this trip also made my role of mom, taxi driver, chef, and wife more precious to my 3 boys and husband.

Now back to reality… #momof3boys.

I will dream about those relaxed days in Arizona for months to come. Maybe one day we can all go visit.

 

 

 

 

 

31 Days of Beach Living: Days 23-29 Busyness

31days day 23-29

 

 

This writing a new blog post every day for 31 days is tough! I knew it would be but I did have a hard time visualizing the impact on my family. And, since I spout sage advice on “family time”, I listened when my oldest stated bluntly, “Mom, you are on the computer again. It’s all you do lately.” That was an “Wow, Okay!” moment for me. Hence, the long break in blog posts. 

Here is what I was up to during those days of no posts:

1. Football practice and a really awesome football game with the oldest Green boy. The GN Buckeyes are heading into the last game of the season with a 7-1 record. This upcoming Saturday we play the #1 seeded team. This means practice very night except Halloween.

2. Running errands in my new favorite outfit: lululemon athletica Wunder Under Pants and Contempo Jacket with an awesome black skull scarf from Target. I could seriously wear this everyday… it might become a problem.

3. Hanging with my family. We even WOD together on the weekends and odd weekdays. Just this past week the middle Green boy set a new bench press PR. He only weighs 74lbs but benched 35#. The oldest Green boy has been programming his own WODs to increase his leg strength and explosiveness.

4. Baking and cooking for friends and family. I have this thing… I bake cakes and desserts for my close friends and family members on their birthdays. On Monday, I baked a GF version of a pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap-almond crust. Find the recipe here at Tried and Tasty. I substituted almonds and GF Gingersnaps from Trader Joe’s in the crust. I also made her some grassfed beef chili and GF green chiles cornbread.

5. Watching football. It’s a family hang out time. We also use it as our cheat meal day.

6. Visiting with my mom and lots of FaceTime with my brother and new niece.

7. Sewing a quilt for my new niece.

8. Oh, I pulled my hamstring muscle. I decided to do the splits (which I used to do in yoga frequently). Yes, I still managed the splits but hurt myself proving that 38 year olds can still do them.

9. And, the best sister in the world surprised me with an 90 minute massage this week. Gotta love sister’s with a CMT license and an opening in their schedule.

I learned this week that it is okay to take a break from your blog… And, that writing a post everyday takes time.

day23-29 collage

31 Days of Beach Living: Day 16 Is a Bucket List Really Just a Fear List?

 

31days day 16

This summer our family found ourselves with a free weekend… Yeah, a weekend with no sports, no summer birthday parties, no family gatherings, no Holiday BBQ’s. Weird, huh?

So, what does a family do with a whole day free?

We check something off our fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants bucket list <you know the list you make up as you go>. We can’t be the only family to have one of these. It’s also your go to rainy day gotta get out of the house list.

!!!!!ROCK CLIMBING!!!!!, yell all three Green boys and the hubby.

Oh man, as a mom afraid of heights this is not a good rainy day bucket list activity.

So, what does a mom afraid of heights do? She sucks it up and joins in the excitement of the Green boys. In order to bolster up my scaredy cat nerves, I decided to wear my new lululemon athletica shorts and tank top. That’ll totally make me feel brave. Yeah <with enthusiasm>!

We headed over to the local rock climbing gym, Virginia Beach Rock Gym. We spent 30 minutes learning to auto belay. This rock climbing technique is a mechanical device that rock climbers use to control the climbers fall or descent from the climb. Our instructor picked me to go first and “demonstrate” to the kids how to belay. Yeah, I fell on my buttocks. Pretty sure the oldest Green boy took video and posted it to Instagram.  After this short lesson, it was on to rock climbing. I have to admit it was fun. I still got scared to climb up to the top of the courses. But each time I ascended, I did climb a little higher. It is also amazing to see how little fear kids have in life. They see the fun in the adventure, not the failure. We can learn something from kids. Have fun, not fear!

fear quote

Facing fears is tough. It’s uncomfortable. And, it can be slightly embarrassing in front of your boys. It is also a great lesson for your children. Our kids need to witness us facing fears and how we react or overcome those fears.

If you never face your own fears, how do you support your children and facing their fears? Bucket lists are good for facing fears. Encourage your kids to write down things they would love to do in their lives. And then do them with your kids! 

But, I am here to tell you if any one of those boys writes down swimming with sharks… They are tough out of luck! I don’t do sharks and that is okay, too.

rock climbing collage

31 Days of Beach Living: Day 13 DIY Chevron Floor

31days day 13

Who knew that Chevron would be the decorating trend in 2013? I could totally be wrong about the year of this trend, but that’s when it pinged my radar. Clever to change zigzag to Chevron, though. Whoever did that was genius. Makes it more appealing like Target to “Tar-zhay”. Totally changes the feel from old school zigzags to upscale, trendy zigzags. I couldn’t imagine convincing my husband to let me paint a floor in zigzags. Instead, I confused him with the fancy Chevron word and it was green-lighted with a slightly perplexed look. He gives me those often. I think he does it to make me double think my actions. It doesn’t really work. To me paint and DIY decorating can easily be changed.

Just to prove my point about how trendy Chevron is Google provided me with this cool graph displaying its rise and fall in popularity.

The late 1800's and early 1900's were a bleak time for Chevron. Maybe zigzag was the trend?

The late 1800’s and early 1900’s were a bleak time for Chevron. Maybe zigzag was the trend?

I decided to use this pattern for our poor neglected front porch. Yep, I jumped right on the Chevron Stripe train. And, front porch is a generous term for what we actually have; it is more a catchall for anything sports related and #momof3boys related. Lots of things with wheels and all types of balls. I, of course, would like it to be a relaxing Southern wrap around kinda porch. It’s not very relaxing and too small for my dream, but it did need to make a better first impression.

I asked Google, again, for the best chevron template and found a free printable from The Creativity Exchange. It was easy to download, super quick to print, and simple to assemble. I did modify mine, so it would keep the sharp edges and points of the pattern. Once I had it cut out and taped together, I took packing tape and covered the entire template. Basically, I turned the template into a cheap DIY laminated version. Worked great for me!

chevron template

Next, I began trying to figure out what color to paint the zigzag stripes. The month before I had finally repainted the front door from barn red to a light sea green, re-frosted the glass, and added some more beachy decor to the porch. We also invested in some awesome wire storage bins for the boy gear. This is where I searched Pinterest. I looked up painted chevron floors and got a load of results. I choose a turquoise marine color—see former post about Turquoise here. By the way, what did we do before Pinterest? Before the color could even be added to the floor, I had to scrub the old concrete floor and repaint it bright white. I used all exterior gloss paint for the project. I did not feel the need to use a concrete floor paint since our porch is fully covered and does not get wet or icy by the elements. If your porch is not covered or offers little protection, I would highly recommend paint that would provide a non-slip surface and weather well.

You can see a glimpse of the old porch floor. Ugh.

You can see a glimpse of the old porch floor. Ugh.

So, two coats of bright white paint later I began to pencil on the chevron pattern. After much deliberation, I chose to have my pattern run horizontally. It made the porch seem bigger and looked more like an area rug. I tried taping off the pattern, but the tape pulled up some of the white paint. I made the decision to just trust my steady hand and tediously hand painted each stripe. I did a pretty good job and am pleased with the look of the porch now.

Stripes in progress.

Stripes in progress.

I was super pleased with the color. Bright and beachy! The entire project took about 1 1/2 weeks. It was late July and early August, so I let each coat of paint dry for one whole day. Humidity can wreck your painted projects. I also put a clear coat of polyurethane to protect the newly painted Chevron. My family was not too happy that I continued to make them use the back door for several days to be certain that all the paint was dry. Oh well, it was good exercise for them.

View of the floor and front door.

View of the floor and front door.

 

Maximus and the new floor.

Maximus and the new floor.

 

31 Days of Beach Living: Day 9 Slow it Down

 

31days day 9

Every now and then, several things happen to me in a row. More than just the rule of 3’s. Although, that rule has visited me way too many times in 2013. That rule posited it’s authority with 1) slicing off the tip of my thumb with a mandolin as I began my “Primary Under Supervision” role as an apprentice midwife, 2) breaking my knuckle and the middle phalanx of my left ring finger during flag football, and 3) breaking my right big toe 8 days post broken finger while running and unsuccessfully trying to do parkour so as not to trip on a rock. You know things have gotten bad when your husband gives you that knowing look and asks you if you are paying attention. Another sign things have gone too far is being laid up for the better part of 6 weeks letting bones heal and having appointments with an orthopedist.

Lately, things have happened to me that make me wonder if I am going too fast. Every New Year I make that resolution to “slow down and smell the roses.” But, then school starts, sports start, I take on too many house projects, and all that smelling goes out the window. Before you know it the days feel like they are over and you never got to sit down.

Here are some tips on slowing it down and clues that you should be slowing it down:

1. Your six year old starts reading the speed limit signs and your speedometer. He then proceeds to use brilliant math abilities you didn’t realize had developed and tells you that you are in fact speeding. Take my advice slow down. It’s not worth the embarrassment of getting that speeding ticket. Not too mention, your kids will gladly spout to strangers and your husband that you speed and cops pull you over. Save yourself the embarrassment. Slow it down. I am making the very conscious decision to only drive the speed limit or 5 miles over.

2. You can’t possibly be your best when you are going through life toooooo fast!

IMG_2186

Do what you can do perfectly. Perfection comes with having the time to perfect. Slow it down. Be you, perfectly!

3. This one time at a birth… you don’t arrive in time to catch the baby. Yes, it happens with planned home births. Some women are just too dang efficient. And yes, I am jealous of that ability. I am the type of birth-er that likes her midwives to be there for several hours before popping them out. But really, when you are speeding to a birth and get stuck behind a cop on a two lane road. Just slow it down. The universe is giving you the clearest message — pass the cop get a ticket and probably one for reckless driving or slow down, breathe and you will get there when you get there. The safety of my being is important too. The birth will play out as it needs to. Getting into a car accident is harder to recover from than missing that “catch.” Slow it down.

4. Slow it down and take the time to read with your kids. I love, love, love to read. My kids struggle with it sometimes. But, when I slow my day down and sit with reading to me or reading to them, we all enjoy ourselves. Reading is also a great way to get your busy kids to slow down.

5. Slow down your commitment to others. Take the time to hang with your hubby. Take the time to have a slow leisurely lunch with your bestie(s). Quick, jam-packed days make life go by too quickly. So, slow it down and spend life with those that make you a better person.

P.S. Sorry this post is a day late, but birth happens. I decided to spend the evening with my family instead of rushing through a blog post. I took my own advice and slowed it down.

31 Days of Beach Living: Day 3 OMG Football

31days day 3

I write this post as a #momof3boys. Football and I have a shaky past. I have faked football fanaticsim in past relationships. Nothing like pretending to like a team for some random boyfriend. Girls out there— don’t pretend that I am speaking Greek. We have all done it for that one cute guy. I didn’t even understand the rules. I was even one of those girls who believed that “yellow line” on the TV screen was actually on the field for the players. Yes, it took a dear friend’s fiancé to inform me that it was added by the TV companies. What?!?

As a #momof3boys, I have tried to ignore football and the natural testosterone driven need of all little boys to play football. That fantasy has come to a very dead end. It all began when a few certain ladies from my CrossFit Chronic family insisted that I could join an indoor flag football team. It of course did not end well for me. I didn’t even make it to the first game of the season. Broken knuckle and finger stopped my budding football career. Fast forward to the present. How do you say “No” to your son who wants to play football for the first time? My argument that the Green family doesn’t play football flew out the window. I might not have been good at it, but I did play briefly. Dang, broke my own rule! Now we are 2 1/2 months in to a 125lbs tackle football league with the oldest Green boy.

This #momof3boys has spent 4-5 days a week watching said oldest Green boy practicing, drilling, conditioning and playing football. And yes, I am that #momof3boys that yells and screams, jumps and cheers, and takes numerous pictures of her boy playing said sport(s). Most of the time <according to oldest Green boy> I don’t yell the right things, but I am getting better. I know what specialty teams are now. I know what that “yellow line” meant. It is the first down marker. I know what a fumble is now. I know what conversion points are and why they do them in this league. I know the rules. Ugh!

But, my biggest confession is… I kinda like football. No faking here. You may even witness me sitting on the couch watching football with all the Green boys on Sundays. 

But, every now and then, I wish they would just surf, so at least I could get some sun and sit on the beach.

My blueberry playing football. Egads!

My blueberry playing football. Egads!