September 30, 2013

Self Discovery I: Writing

I made an important self discovery the other day. I need to write. It's not a want or desire. It's necessary for my emotional health.

I think I was under the impression that I wrote for future generations. For my family to remember the things that we did. Or the thoughts I was thinking. Maybe for me to remember the place where I once was...emotional, physical, intellectual parts of me. 

It's not true though. When I write I discover what's most important to me. It balances out my thought process and keeps me centered, heart and mind. When I don't write, I'm not happy.

I've been considering personal happiness over the past couple of months. Am I happy? With my family? With my career path? With my company? With my religion? With me? And after these questions, I dig in further...assuming that what I'm doing doesn't satisfy...and ask more. Who else is happy? What are they doing? Should I be doing something different?

To be sure, I have what most people think will make them happy. I have a large family. We read scriptures and pray together every evening. I live in a large home in a beautiful neighborhood...everyone waves to each other when we cross paths. My brothers and I own a thriving business. I serve in my church and get to be with my sons as their cub scout den leader. I read both as an escape and also to allow the deep thoughts of others grow into a part of me. I learn new things about health and nutrition and try them out on my family. We don't suffer from any chronic disease. I volunteer as an art docent in my children's classrooms at school. And yet the question remains, creating a bit of unrest, does my life make me happy?

I'm feeling a pull. Something deep down within me. A longing to make the lives of others better. I could go somewhere, do something, make a positive impact in the world. The pull seems to say, go to another place. At a future time. Be amazing. You are more than your current situation.

My life if full of first world problems.

Meme credit: ? - It's all over Google.
Part of me likes that these are my issues. The worst thing about cooking yesterday was Jocelyn trying to make a smoothie and spilling water on the the wet sock part of the meme above really was my problem. Another larger part of me knows there are much more important things to worry about. 

What is hard for me to see, in the middle of the parenting forest, is that I am making a difference. Right here. Right now. In the lives of those who matter most to me. My family. If I can't find happiness in the here and now, I won't find it anywhere else.

And I definitely won't recognize it when it comes unless I'm writing about it.

September 29, 2013

Jocelyn's 5th Birthday

We took the family to Chuck E Cheese's yesterday to celebrate Jocelyn's birthday. She chose that over a party with friends. Yes! Parties are not my forte. Imagine if they were, I'd be planning one just about every month.

We convinced Jett not to do a party in August, but to wait until September when school was back in session. Then his friends could come. Then our weekends filled up and Jocelyn's birthday loomed. Then we asked him if he just wanted to invite a couple of friends to the movies after school on Friday and to dinner. He did. Yes! Another easy party.

Now, let's see if we can get Graeden to something similar as his birthday is less than a month away now.

I planned on making a cake this afternoon, but then Graeden wanted to make Jocelyn cookies. So I convinced him to do chocolate chip cookie bars, call it a cake, and then I took a nap. They were pretty sweet. Literally. The recipe called for a pound of brown sugar. What?! That's a lot of sugar. It turns out that a pound is just two cups. They would have been great with just one.

I'm grateful Graeden likes cooking and baking. And that he knows how to turn on the oven. And set the timer. I think his real motivation for baking may be that he can use white flour (if I'm not looking) instead of whole grain flour. Ha ha ha.
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September 25, 2013

Homemade Sauerkraut: Non-Dairy Pro-Biotics

I've thought about making my own Sauerkraut for a while now. But was never super motivated because it's so cheap to buy already made. Not that I've ever bought it. But I like it on my Costco hot dogs. You know, the ones I only buy once a year because it takes me that long to forget how I terrible the experience was. I'm pretty sure re-live my hot dog experience every time I burp for about seven hours after eating one. But that's not the sauerkraut's fault. So I don't hold it against him.

 A month ago, while at the Pike Place Market, Jocelyn found a ginormous cabbage and she had to have it. Seeing that it was only $3, I agreed. And then had to tote it around. But seriously, when a kid begs for a vegetable, I think I should encourage that and that old homemade sauerkraut seed started to grow.

We came home with it and a few days later I looked up YouTube videos on making sauerkraut. What surprised me was that the nutritional value of cabbage is not only enhanced by fermentation but that your body can access the vitamins easier. And your gut health increases with the pro-biotics and enzymes. And here I had no idea I could get those anywhere besides yogurt. 

 I liked this video for its simplicity and not needing a $150 fermentation crock. We just shredded the cabbage with a mandolin slicer into a food grade bucket and every couple inches or so we sprinkled some Himalayan Sea Salt on it. Then we added a few cups of water and put a plate on it. The water came about an inch above the plate. We weighted the plate down with a jar of water.

Mold will grow on it, but the cabbage is safe without air under the plate. No bad microbes can get to it there. The cool thing about this mold is that it's all connected. Not like a spore here an there. I just dipped a clean fork in and lifted it off. It all came off in one or two chunks. I ended up taking off mold maybe once a week. The sauerkraut has been in the bucket on my counter for a month. Let me warn's a little stinky. But when I tasted it this morning, I got excited. It was good and sour. If you want a milder flavor then you can let it sit for 2 or 3 weeks instead of 4.

This morning I put it into pretty jars. Mostly for the pictures...but also because now that it's going in the fridge, I wanted smaller containers.

Jocelyn had a bite to eat for breakfast this morning. "Yum, Mom!" She thought it was apple sauce. What the heck?! Ha ha. I ate some for lunch on a piece of bread. That was pretty good. Tonight we're having some for dinner. I've got my pork roast in the crock pot and am thinking about doing some sauerkraut mashed potatoes to go with it. I guess I better get on that. It's just after 6 pm now.
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September 23, 2013

Angel Day 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Me: Kids, it's a special day tomorrow. Does anyone know what it is?
Kids: Jocelyn's birthday?
Me: No, that's next Sunday.
Kids: (they guess everyone else's and their dog's birthdays)
Me: No, it's Angel Day
Elliott: You mean the day Evan died?
Me: No, it's the day Evan became an angel.
Elliott: Oh, you mean Dead Day.

Monday, September 23, 2013
Angel Day

It's been five years since that morning when I woke up to the words, "Bridget, I just found Evan under the bean bag and I had to check his pulse." Time dulls the ache. But the longing never stops.

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September 9, 2013

Summer Round Up

Ehem. Hi, I'm Bridget.
I'm a blogger.
And while I've been super busy this summer,
Our family has done some cool stuff.

Like the Balloon Glow.

Leading teens at Girls Camp in the challenge course.

Doing pioneer activities (paint ball) at Pioneer Days.

And my husband quit his job...
To work with me at the driving school.
I love it.

We've been on a few hikes.

And had a few visitors.
Jocelyn and Tymon's mom look similar.
Not the expressions so much.
But the hair and shape of the face.

We went bowling with cousin Breanna.

I chaperoned a church dance and got my nephew to dance with me.

Jett turned 7.
We celebrated with red velvet cupcakes.

Some friends came from Canada,
And we visited Pike's Place Market.
Jocelyn found a $3 cabbage...
Bigger than her head.
We made sauerkraut and will post about that when it's done.

We visited the flying fish booth,

And the gum wall.

We went to the fair and Monster Truck Rally...
Which wasn't as good as the ones in my memories.

But the demolition derby was cool.
Four cars smashed into each other until the cars broke down.
The last car moving is the winner.
Some Aztec Indians danced.

 We did our annual summer camping trip with Tymon's cousins.

Summer is over. Phew! I graduated from answering phones in July to teaching driving lessons in August. I taught in four different cities for several weeks. And while I love the one-on-one interaction with my students, I'm also glad it's over and I don't have to commute to West Seattle or Redmond anymore. Those involved quite a commute for me.

All the kids but Kira started school.
Jocelyn made it off the waiting list
And into the Spanish Immersion program.
She's so excited to be learning another language.

That reminds me of when we were driving from Serbia to Slovenia.
Croatia is in between the two countries.
So we stopped to show our passports leaving Serbia,
And entering Croatia,
And leaving Croatia,
And again entering Slovenia.
Then the same thing on the way back.
And Jocelyn asks me at one crossing,
"Mom, are we going to a new language?"
Yes, honey. Each border is a new language.

Last week she told me that she made lots of new friends.
What are their names?
"I don't know."
Oh, you better work on that.
"Well, there is Mario, Mom."
She would remember a video game character.
Ha ha ha.

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