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"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."— William Butler Yeats
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Ethereal Memories

Today is one of those days when the weather can't decide if it's winter or spring.  Heavy, gray clouds rolled through, as the sun rose somewhere else this morning, opening up intermittently to shower the bright green hills with a light, misty rain.  In the last hour, however, the lights in our home have been alternating on again and off again as the peek-a-boo sun tries to make a stand against the steely, billowy giants.  The delicate, white flowers scattered over our backyard hill of verdant succulents have bravely sprawled their petals wide to welcome what little warmth and light they can absorb from the sun.  They are stalwart though they shiver and tremble against the blustery wind.

The boys are in the living room building with the Marbulous construction set.  The baby is asleep.  And here I sit in front of the friendly computer, effectively avoiding thinking about all I have to do to prepare for our upcoming trip to Utah.  Instead of being responsible, I rest and wax poetic about the weather, feeling contemplative about life in general.

{Image courtesy of AllPosters.com}

Have you ever longed for a place you can barely remember?  I do.  Frequently.  For me, that place is the Sea of Galilee.  I can vaguely recall the stillness and reverence of a morning on the shores of that historic lake.  I was a child when last I knew that place and as I think back to our family retreats there, I feel them more than I remember them; like looking at a memory through mist and fog and heart, not mind.  I reach out and tenderly gather pieces from here and there, hungrily trying to fit together a puzzle, the completion of which promises peace and fulfillment: gentle waters lapping hypnotically at the mildly-sloping shore; soft bat wings fluttering between heavy-laden date palms; light, downy grass leading to a splendid, pebbly shoreline; distant, muffled splashes of delighted, frolicking children.  The mornings I can remember at the Sea of Galilee were hazy and muted, the cool air heavy with moisture.  It was a richly inspiring environment, ripe for contemplation and philosophizing, subdued, hushed, insulated.  It must have been so, else my sub-10-year-old mind would not have walked away from its experiences there carrying these impressions through life, nay, clinging to these impressions through life.  Sometimes, if I rise before the sun and greet the day without the walls of my home, I can sense the Sea of Galilee right here in San Diego.  I breathe deeply, look closely, listen carefully, and feel fiercely, with my whole body and mind, and suddenly, there it is - the same moist air, the same reverence and stillness of a morning uninterrupted by the sounds of civilization, the same smell of brilliantly purified oxygen and dewy greens - and my soul heaves a sigh of relief and ardently expresses gratitude to my mental faculties for their dogged retention of this most special of memories.

And now that I have finally finished this post (despite frequent interruptions for diaper changes, snack breaks, meal times, bath time, and laundry duty), the sun has won the battle for the sky and the flowers are fluttering happily in the breeze.  The day is drawing to a close and I am, at last, feeling motivated.  I think I'll go prepare curried lentils and rice for dinner and make my house at least smell like the Middle East.  Oh what I wouldn't give for some Baklava right now.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

P90X Recovery Drink Alternative (aka the BEST shake ever!)

{Saturday was Kenpo. We let the boys join us.}

So, The Chief and I have been doing P90X for two weeks now and we love it!  We bounce joyfully out of bed every morning at 4:30am.  Say what?!  Yeah.  I know.  It blows my mind, too, I promise.  Turns out that all we had to do to be blessed with the determination and drive to adopt this routine and stick to it was to start with a prayer.  Duh, right?  Totally.  (Well, okay, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the little bit of encouragement we received via threat of another extended family picture in April hanging over our chubby bodies.).  So now that we've invited Heavenly Father to give us the strength we need to accomplish this goal, we're actually having fun with this.  Don't get me wrong, P90X is kicking our little heinies, but we're seriously loving every second of it, especially the awesome hurt that strikes the day after a killer workout and leaves you hobbling about like an 80-year-old.  Love that pain.  I also really love the hour I get to spend each morning with The Chief before he gets swept away in the daily raging torrent that is life and all its demands.  And last, but definitely not least, is the wonderful, amazing, awesome ability I have to start my day off with all the things that really need to get done but never do when I wake up with my children instead of before them.  Now I can read my scriptures, daydream in a hot shower, do my hair, put on make-up, and brush my teeth.  When they wake up, I can be busy in the kitchen making them breakfast.  (Well, I could be anyway, but more often than not they just jump into bed with me as I read my scriptures and then we end up cuddling under the warm blankets for a while before tackling breakfast.)

But, that's enough of that.  What I really wanted to do with this post is share our shake recipe that we have mastered over the years.  It's chalk full of all things wonderful.  And the kids love it, too!  On these P90X DVDs they are always talking about drinking your "recovery drink" right after your workout.  Well, The Chief did his homework and discovered that Beach Body's (the makers of P90X) recovery drink would cost us way more than we were willing to spend each month.  It didn't take but a split second for us to know that we would not be going that route.  We decided, instead, to just find an all-natural whey protein that we could incorporate in our favorite family shake recipe.


And, without further adieu, here is what we blend up in our Bosch.  It has a 6-cup capacity which we always fill to the absolute brim.  In fact, sometimes it even overflows a tiny bit.  But that's no biggie.  That's what your tongue is for.


Here's your ingredient list:
1 cup milk (cow's milk or soy milk or rice milk or almond milk or goat's milk or camel milk or whatever kind of milk you prefer)
2 cups 100% pure fruit juice (we use Apple Berry from Stater Bros.)
1 frozen banana
1/2 avocado
2 scoops whey protein (we use Jarrow Formula's 100% natural unflavored whey protein powder purchased from Henry's)
1 and 1/2 cups frozen fruit (we use the island festival blend from Costco)
1 sandwich-size Ziploc bag full of spinach (we buy the huge bags from Costco, rinse it, and portion it out into sandwich baggies to freeze)

Start by putting in your milk and juice.  Break the banana in half and add it to the liquid.  Cube the avocado into the blender.  Scoop in the protein powder.  Sprinkle cinnamon over everything liberally (you can do this to taste, obviously).  Toss in the fruit and spinach and turn on the blender.  I start at the lowest notch on my blender (1) and work up fairly quickly to 3 and leave it there for a while.  You know you're finished blending when either the mixture pumps out over the brim (:D) or the tornado you see swirling around in the center of the blender remains constant.  This is when you add the honey.  I squeeze it in during the blending process (don't stop the blender or the honey will just sit right there on top and get shoved up into the lid when you start the blender again).  Counting for about four seconds while I squeeze gently gets me just the right amount of honey flavor.  Honey has many health benefits and heightens (without overpowering) the mild fruit sweetening perfectly, so don't forget this last step!


We make this shake twice a day.  Once right after our workout (The Chief lugs the mixer/blender combo out to the garage for me so we don't wake the bambinos) and once at lunchtime for the kiddos. It's thick.  It's creamy.  It's packed FULL of vital nutrients.  It's sweet, fresh, and delicious.  It is a huge hit in our home; something we will probably continue to make daily for the rest of our lives.  What can I say, we are shake lovers!


On a final note, here are some of my reactions after two weeks of P90X:

- It really is an amazing workout program.
- I'm in terrible shape.
- It's so varied from day to day that I never get bored.
- I'm in terrible shape.
- The P90X instructor, Tony Horton, is a goober.
- I am not flexible in the least bit.
- YogaX wants me in my grave.
- I'm in terrible shape.
- Arms and Shoulders is my favorite workout with Plyometrics coming in at a close second.
- And have I mentioned that I really am in terrible shape?
- Pull-ups are a joke, but if I put a chair beneath me like they recommend, at least I get a good quad workout.

Really, if you're thinking about doing P90X (or any exercise program for that matter), just say a little prayer and give it a try.  It's amazing what we can accomplish if we invite our Father to help us.  Remember, when our cause is just (and I'd say wanting to keep up with my three holy terrors darling angels is a fairly just cause), He wants us to succeed.

{I love The Chief's ingenuitive garage set-up which recycles our old portable DVD screens.}

{This is how The Pipster gets in on the action.}

{Bugga kicks way higher than his mom and dad.}

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Rash of Doctor's Visits (Pun Intended)


Will it never end?

We spent the night at the ER with Pip last night.  I put him down to bed around 8pm and he kept waking up and fussing.  Finally, at about 10pm, I went in, grabbed him, and brought him through the dark into bed with me.  But, oddly, even that didn't work.  He kept rubbing his face in the sheets over and over and over again.  Finally, I realized his repetitive actions were indicating the presence of a problem beyond fatigue and exhaustion.  I took him out to The Chief in the living room where the lights were blazing and, sure enough, his skin was absolutely exploding with the strangest sort of rash I've ever seen.  He had big red splotches all over with raised, white skin in the middle of them.  His ears were puffing up ridiculously.  The Chief commented that he looked like a little wrestler with cauliflower ear.  And this rash wasn't benign by any sense of the word.  We watched it move from his head and torso, around to his back, and down his legs all the way to his toes and out to his fingers.  His hands were constantly in motion, clawing at his itchy ears, and his eyes were red and puffy.  It was so, so sad.  We stayed on hold for 30 minutes to be able to speak with an after-hours nurse, but finally decided to relinquish our position in the holds queue and opt for a trip to the ER instead.  We called our trusty babysitter and headed down south with our little puffy marshmallow in tow.

The ER was nasty.  I hate ERs.  I'm a little neurotic about germs in the best of times, so you can imagine how my mind was reeling in the ER, following germ paths from every corner and every patron that were all, of course, leading right to my poor, vulnerable baby boy.  Coughing children, women hanging over portable vomitories, men with bloody gashes; it's all just a little much for me.

We waited, and waited, and waited some more.  We went in so the nurse could take Pip's vitals, only to be shown right back to the waiting room to bide our time before the doctor could see us.  In the meantime, it looked as though Pip's rash was calming a bit.  Just a bit.  By the time we were shown to a bed in the ER, I had had it.  Pipilo was squirmy, tired, and fussy.  His rash was looking better.  And the nurse made the mistake of telling me that with only four people in front of us, it could be *just* a couple more hours before we'd be seen.

Nuh uh.  No way.

It was time to break out of the ER.  I informed the nurse that I was done; that I was sure the baby was doing fine.  Throughout the whole ordeal, he had never experienced any life-threatening symptoms such as difficulty breathing or anything like that.  I felt confident that with the blessing The Chief gave to Pip before we left, he'd be fine.

But the nurse wouldn't give up that easily.  She left to try to find us a better estimate as to how long we'd have to wait for the doctor.  And she came back with the good news that there was only one person left in front of us.


Long story short (too late, I know), the doctor came in and told me that they were going to have me give him a little dose of oral steroids to preempt a second wave of what they believed to be an allergic reaction* (apparently many rashes present in two waves, the second being somewhat worse than the first).  She also taught me the correct dosage of Benadryl to be able to administer to a baby.  After admonishing us to call Pipster's pediatrician and set an appointment to discuss allergy testing, she sent us on our way.

We fell into bed around 2:30am.  Exhausted.  Grateful for the power of the priesthood, Pip's strong constitution, medicine, and a warm, comfy bed at the end of it all.

Today we are zombies.

* The only thing that was new to Pip's body yesterday was the use of sunscreen.   And, sadly, I had gotten a little in his eye which I tried to clean out as best I could with a baby wipe (that was all I had handy).  That's it, though.  He didn't eat anything new or crawl around in any strange, new environment.  Has anyone ever had their child react so violently to something they applied topically?  I'm going to go out and find an all-natural sunscreen ASAP.

{The Pipster in happier times.}

Monday, March 14, 2011


I was cuddling with my Buggster in bed this morning.  He whispered to me that he didn't like my morning breath right by his face, so, chuckling, I turned to face the ceiling.  Buddha Boy was hopping around the bed, chattering away at us.  I interrupted him to ask why he had come running into my room early this morning, frantically demanding to know what it was I had called out (I hadn't made a peep).  He couldn't remember doing this and started to get upset about the fact that he is currently the only one in the family that we know sleep walks.

Buddha: "Why am I the only one who sleep walks?!"

Bugga: "I'll sleep walk with you, Buddha."

Me, cuddling my little guy closer to me, kissing him, and speaking into his ear: "Awwww, what a sweet brother you are!"

Bugga: "Uh, Mom?  Remember what I said."

Apparently I've passed along my sensitive olfactory system.  I hate morning breath, too.

Friday, March 11, 2011

No can do.

I posted a notice on Facebook earlier this week that I was deleting my Facebook account and my blog.  I was trying to get away from spending too much time on the computer.  And it worked.  But I found that I really missed sharing myself with my friends and family on my blog.  The Bagel Factory represents four years now (WOW!) of blogging and quitting that is no easy feat.  I'm glad I got rid of Facebook.  Maybe I'll be back on there someday when my kids are older and begging to have their own accounts, but for now, it's the right choice for me as a busy, scheduling-handicapped, mother-of-three.  But ditching the blog didn't end up feeling good.

So . . . I guess what I'm trying to say is . . . I'm back.  I probably won't be a blogging maniac, but I'll blog when the feeling strikes, the mood is right, and all my other wifely, motherly, homemakerly duties have been completed for the day (though that is not the case right now . . . hm . . . .).  And since, like I already mentioned, I am seriously organization-impaired, blogging will be sporadic and infrequent at best.

Because of my announcement of my attempt to escape my social networking addiction (Yeah, I said it.  It's true), I probably have no readers left.  But if, by some miracle, there is a die-hard Liz fan out there who happens to try to hop back on here and finds me back up and running, here's a shout-out to you and a big, BIG virtual hug from me.  :P

Love you guys!

P.S. Typing this seems so trivial in light of what happened in Japan this morning.  I am constantly being reminded of how pathetically small my problems and trials are in the grand scheme of this big, wide world.  I'm sending my prayers across the ocean to be with the battered people of Japan.