Saturday, October 31, 2015

Scott's Wedding Trip in Washington

In August we flew to Washington to celebrate Scott's wedding. We hadn't visited for several years (since 2011).  I thoroughly documented our trip on Instagram, but not on the blog! Here are some highlights:

Kinza Teriyaki
A trip to Washington isn't complete without a trip to the Himmer family's favorite: Kinza. We got take-out four separate occasions before we returned home. Penny and Eloise had no complaints with the cuisine.

Chickens and the eggs
The months leading up to our visit, Penny would talk with Grandma on FaceTime about all the things they were going to do and see. None were more important than tending to the chickens and collecting eggs. Within minutes of arriving at Grandma's Penny found herself to the coop. Penny gladly collected eggs throughout the trip in her basket.

Astrid and Eloise
Penny and Eloise love animals as most kids do. Penny will often times feel timid with animals larger than herself. Eloise is quite the opposite. Eloise had no problem taming Astrid a large Great Dane. Astrid seemed to feel overwhelmed by this tiny kid and tried to avoid her the rest of the week. The only exception was when Eloise had left over dinner on her hands (licked from a safe distance).

Andrew and I had one ambitious bucket-list item on this trip. We both wanted an opportunity to spend some time in the water kayaking. Fitting this into the trip's schedule was tricky and we were afraid we wouldn't be able to do it since it required someone else watching our kids for a few hours. It rained for the first 20 minutes, but the harbor was gorgeous!

Thanks Scott and Elyssa for the opportunity to visit the PNW.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lindsay Unedited

For that last three years, this blog has revolved around my beautiful girls. I have in some ways, been hiding behind them both online and in person because I was ashamed of some of the changes physically and emotionally, that have happened as a result of becoming a mother. I lost a bit of myself for a while and put aside my own needs for the good of my girls. However, in neglecting myself, I was not adding more to them, but less, because I was not taking care of myself.

About a year ago I joined a CrossFit gym. This seemingly insignificant choice was the catalyst for much greater changes in my life. As I began to take time each day to work on Lindsay, I felt myself returning and I had a greater desire to change other areas of my life. 

Because I was gone for an hour or two in the evenings attending CrossFit, Andrew had more time alone with the girls. At first, this was rough on him, but he has grown immensely and is a much more confident dad. And I was able to return home a better, more patient mom.

Instead of being drained by the workouts, I was energized by them. I soon took on the Whole30 and went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. A lot of good came out of those and interestingly, even my marriage became much stronger. Finally we had a firm control over our finances and I wanted to take control in other areas of our lives. 

I have always enjoyed food. But I came to realize that it had started to control me and I was using it like a drug to help make myself feel better when the stresses of my life and being a parent weighed me down. For the last four months, I have been actively fighting my emotional eating by applying the twelve steps of recovery and attending Addiction Recovery Meetings.  This is such an immensely personal thing, that I am a bit shocked that I am opening up about it on my public family blog, but I feel like it is something I need to share. 

I had an awakening today. For months I have been a bit discouraged that my weight loss goals have not been happening how I would like them to. In fact, the actual number on the scale has hardly budged. I realized that I was still trying to measure my self worth according to a number on a scale and it was clouding my ability to notice more significant changes happening in my life.

First, food does not have the hold on my that it once did. I still enjoy good food, but it no longer controls me. I attribute this entirely to daily scripture study and working through the steps of recovery. On the few days I have neglect my scripture study, the temptations return and my ability to fight them vanishes. 

Second, I feel much better about myself. I enjoy getting dressed and feel comfortable in my clothes.  I no longer dread looking into the mirror. I finally had the courage to cut my hair short, something I have been avoiding because I knew Andrew preferred it long. I thought that by keeping it long, I would also feel better about myself, but that is not the way it works. I cannot rely on how Andrew feels about my looks to help me feel better about them. Just as with a testimony, I cannot "borrow" his version of me to add to my own self-esteem. I have to feel beautiful independently of how anyone else feels about me.

Finally, my inward changes are showing outwardly, even if not on the scale. I have never received so many complements on my appearance as I have the last few months. Many of them tell me it looks as though I have lost weight. I think that my inward changes are translating to others as beauty. And I have stopped spending so much effort thinking and worrying about how I look.

Ultimately, I feel really comfortable in my body. In fact, I don't think I have ever felt this good about myself. Definitely not in High School, when I had what I now consider to be my perfect body, but which, I loathed and saw nothing but flaws. Now, the number on the scale does not matter. I feel good! I feel pretty! And I can leave the house and forget about how I look and enjoy my life without obsessing over it.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Penny's Third Birthday Party

Over the last year, Penny has grown increasingly chatty and imaginative. I think three is going to be a good age. She likes to chat with us before bed and recount her day and spent one playdate arguing endlessly with her cousin over who got to be the "daddy" in their little imaginary game. (I guess they mistakenly think that being a dad is more fun than being a mom!) Frozen is still the best movie ever made with endless renditions of "Let it Go" at all hours of the day and night. Penny also likes to make new friends where ever we go, often yelling things like, "Good MORNING!" from the top of the playground to complete strangers as they pass by on an evening stroll.

We had Penny's birthday party this weekend. It was a casual party with a playdate feel, with the exception of the giant chocolate sprinkle cake that Penny as been dreaming about for weeks on end. All discussion of her birthday centered around having a big cake with sprinkles. A few days before her party, the doorbell rang--which usually indicates a package has arrived--and Penny perked up and excitedly exclaimed, "My Cake!", mistakenly thinking that the mailman was finally bringing her long overdue birthday cake. I am happy to report, that the cake I made lived up to her expectations! 
(The inspiration for Penny's cake came from Sweetapolita and I used this recipe)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Penny Turns Three

"My birthday is coming up!" - This is what Penny has been saying for weeks to anyone who will listen. Her birthday has been the topic of many conversations in our home. Whenever I would ask her what she wanted for her birthday she would say. "Cake! With sprinkles! And candles!" And today, her birthday finally came!
Our little Penny, who would have been happy with just the donuts and balloons, was spoiled with presents today. We got her a little play kitchen and dishes and Grandma and Baba Himmer got her a cute wooden mixer to go with it. Also, her Auntie Stephanie picked out a darling Minnie Mouse jeep that she knew Penny would go nuts for and convinced the rest of my siblings and parents to go in on it with her.
Andrew and I set up the kitchen the night before and let Penny come out and discover it this morning. She was so thrilled! So much so, that she didn't even notice the big plate of donuts waiting for her on the kitchen table.
Penny didn't end up taking much of a nap today, as she was too busy cooking playing with her new kitchen to stop for something as trivial as a nap!
In other exciting news, we had a tornado watch turned tornado warning that resulted in me throwing some water and food storage in our walk in closet and getting the girls up from their naps to hunker down during the storm. Andrew thoroughly mocked me for taking the warning so seriously. Thankfully, the storm passed and left us untouched.

All in all, it was a birthday to remember! And the celebrations aren't over just yet, we still have Penny's party to look forward to! And the much awaited sprinkle cake!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Schools Out!

Preschool has been such a good thing for our social little girl. Penny has thrived! I never planned to start her in preschool so early, but this small, once a week preschool in the teacher's home was the prefect fit. It fills the gaps of my abilities, like having music and craft time. Her teacher, Miss Natalie, would always comment on how intently Penny would work on the craft that particular day. Her little art projects have covered our fridge all year long.
Penny adores Miss Natalie. As do I! She is so sweet and patient with all the kids. She made an adorable little scrapbook with pictures from the year and had the preschoolers give them to their parents after the end of school performance. I nearly started bawling on the spot as I flipped through the book.
I snapped a few pictures of Penny on her last day of school:
And just for fun, here is how Penny has changed over the last year:

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bluebonnets 2015

In my experience, beautiful staged family pictures tell more lies than truths. Sure, we love one another, that's not a lie, but no husband or toddlers have any interest in having their picture taken. The whole process is stressful and painful. And there is no bag of marshmallows big enough to tempt Penny and Eloise to sit next to each other long enough to get a good shot.

I left this photoshoot feeling dejected, convinced I wouldn't have a single shot worth using, but thankfully, that wasn't true. It might not have turned out the way I envisioned, but I love the shots we got.
Sigh. Somethings are beyond hope. (Like getting a decent picture of these two next to each other)
Despite the pain, I love the Texas tradition of bluebonnet pictures! You can find last year's pictures here.