After four kids, ten moves and nearly two decades, we are still blissfully in love (most of the time) and I found myself back in the state I was born and raised in. It has definitely been a journey. In fact, on our 18th anniversary we pulled the last of our stuff up over the pass and into Montana, leaving our surprise love, Idaho, behind. But Montana is a great place. The last best place according to some. And we fully intend to explore as much of it as we can! Join us on our continued adventure through life, love and other stuff that comes with it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween!

This year I tried something a little different. The kids bought their costumes with their OWN money. I think that's going to be something we just do here. Makes sense to me.

The Butterfly Princess:

We pinned her wings on and they looked really pretty great.

The Gypsy:

She wanted this costume last year, but they were all sold out.  And she was just as excited about it this year.

The Love Bug:

The antennas hurt her head, but she's really pretty darn cute without them.  Plus, then daddy and Carsten got to wear them.

The Puppy Dog:

His tail wags when he walks.  Makes me giggle.  And Grace made sure he had a proper tag--a piece of paper that has his name on it pinned to his collar.

And I'm hoping for this same miracle at Christmas time:

Honestly, I think this whole they-are-in-charge-of-their-own-costumes thing is the most brilliant idea I've had in a while.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gone Primal--and apparently it shows!

In the last three days I have gotten at least six "lookin' good, Heidi!" comments. 

I feel like that's a huge deal.  Not because I'm excited that people noticed my behind, but because THEY NOTICED! 

Thank you!  Yes, I have been working at it! 

And one of my new favorite foods is green cabbage and bacon sauteed in bacon grease.  Another one is sweet potato fries--but really they aren't fries.  I just peel the thing, cut it into discs, drown them in olive oil, salt and pepper and bake them until they are almost crispy.  It's kinda like candy.

Today was day four of the 21 day transformation (but I've been at it for nearly 8 weeks) and I realized today that I really don't think I eat nearly as much as I used to.  Not nearly as much.  And food isn't nearly as important as it used to be, either.  One concept that he uses is intermittent fasting.  Just skip a meal because you can.  And really, I can skip a meal, or two, without getting that ravenous feeling I used to get.  Or the headache or the crabbiness.

And check this out.  I've been doing the workouts.  And I've had progress.  Granted, I'm only on level two on most of the exercises and I haven't even attempted a pull up.

The first number is from my first workout on 10/12/11

Push up: 36/30 TODAY: 40/30!

Plank: 60/1:05 TODAY 1:48/1:31

LS Plank 1:22/1:15 TODAY 1:45/1:15

RS Plank 1:10/55 TODAY 1:45/1:15

Squat 30/30 TODAY 45/40

Overhead Press 30/28 TODAY 44/30

These numbers tell me that someday I will be able to do a REAL push up.  And if I stick at it, I might even be able to do a REAL pull up. 
Someday.  Though right now I have no idea how much I've lost, or even where I started.  I guess that happens when the scale is in storage.  But the new jeans I got are starting to get loose enough that I'm hiking them up quite a lot. 
And that wine colored velvet dress in my closet that I've had all these years hoping that someday I might be able to wear it again???  It's looking like I might get to wear it.  Some day.  There's hope.
I feel like there's hope.  Before I found this I just kind of felt like getting old and falling apart and dying of some horrible disease even though I did all the "right" things was inevitable.  Now I feel like I can go live my life and enjoy my health and my husband and my kids and teach them how to do the same and it's all going to be awesome.
I might have gotten the golden ticket and beat the system.  And won the lottery.  And the trip to Hawaii.  And the new car.  All at the same time.
And I don't have to go to meetings.  Or pay any fees.  Or buy anything special. 
All I did was buy a book and read it. 
Can you tell I'm excited?  And honestly, I think I would be just as excited if nobody noticed my shrinking self.  That's just a bonus.
Gone Primal.  Still working it out, but loving it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Going Primal--MY BOOK CAME!! I LOVE IT!!

My book came!  And FYI, it's the best $13.90 I've spent in a LOOOOONNNGG time.

This guy, Mark Sisson, is 58.  His wife, Carrie, is 55.  I want to look like her at 55.

Obviously I'm too cheap for a real book mark, but this one works.  And it's an envelope that Grace was using to sound out supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, which is a pretty good word to describe how I feel after "Going Primal" for nearly two months now.  I love Mary Poppins. 

This little quote here pretty much sums up the what I love about this "program."

"The Primal Blueprint is about getting the greatest health and fitness benefits you can with the least amount of pain, suffering, and sacrifice."

Can I get an "AMEN!"

Check out these Primal guys.  I seriously doubt they "work out" and I seriously doubt they eat what we consider "health food." 

The book is also full of success stories.  This is Tara.  She lost nearly 90 pounds and no longer suffers from PMS, depression, Polycysic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), metabolic syndrome, endometriosis, or hidradenitis suppurativa.

I' m miffed that blogger turned my photo sideways and I can't figure out how to fix it, but whatever.

Hey, look!  A day's worth of primal meals!  Complete with a glass of wine!

And a Standard American day's worth of  meals, complete with a bowl of oatmeal and bottle of beer.

Stuff you don't need once you go Primal.  Hmmmmm . . . . I still have some work to do.

Here's the Primal Food pyramid.  It's got some great stuff in there!

One of the things I love about this is the 80% rule.  Basically 80% of our body composition is a direct result of what we EAT.  Only 20% is exercise!

AND, if you are 80% Primal, you STILL get incredible results!!   I find incredible hope there.  Especially since my jeans are getting so baggy they are going to be falling off here soon.

And the husband is on board.  Basically I read the book, cook and tell him what to do.  He has been making comments like, "I haven't felt this good in a long time," and "I think I even lost a few pounds," and "I don't feel like I have to work out like a maniac," and "This is pretty easy," and "I really enjoyed that dinner."

Green cabbage with bacon pieces cooked in bacon grease IS pretty yummy!

It's all there: the what, why and how.  Including a journal for your 21 day journey.

All good things.  I really think I found the answer I've been looking for for a long time.  And if I had money to buy 25 copies of this book, I'd give it to everyone I know for Christmas.  SUCH an awesome tool!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The shopper

Yesterday we were at the babywearing meeting.  It's held at a local children's consignment store.  There is a little play room in one of the rooms in the back.  My kids like that and go entertain themselves while I get to talk about babywearing. 

Violet fell down and hurt her head and came out crying.  I made sure she wasn't bleeding, kissed it and tried to help her move past it.  I looked across the room and spotted a pair of cute fleece pajamas.  So I asked Violet if she wanted to get a new pair of pajamas.  She said no, which was good because they weren't her size anyway.

But Calla kind of got excited.  "Can I get some pajamas?" 

"I don't see any your size."  That was true.  I didn't.

And then I left because Violet was settled down enough now that she could be left in the room for a bit.

Calla apparently went to work because about ten minutes later she showed up with a shirt on a hanger and asked very sweetly if she could get it.  "It's even my size," she said.  Sure enough, it was.

"Maybe."  That's the standard non-committal mom answer you know.

And then about another ten minutes later she emerged again with two little hair clips that matched her shirt.

"Can I get these, too, mom?  They match perfectly."

She was making a good case and being so sweet about it.

In the end, she got her shirt and her hair clips, which cost a total of $4. Carsten got two pairs of pants that he's been needing. And Violet got a dragon fly hair clip. 

Today Calla got all dressed up for school in her new shirt, new hair clips and her size 4 skinny jeans that are long and baggy on her.

She's so cute.  And so proud. 

I love this kid.  I really love this kid.  She's coming along nicely.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Finding Family Health—Living Primal

I bought this book today.  The Primal Blueprint 21 Day Total Body Transformation.  Why?

In the last three years I have been working hard to figure out what “healthy” is and what it looks like in my family. This is hard because if I were to ask 100 people to define “healthy” I’d get probably 125 different answers. And if I were to go to the grocery store, which as a mother of four I do quite often, I would get 5,000 different answers from products and publications.

I’m 36, soon to be 37. I have four kids with my amazing husband of 15 years. While there are not any major diseases that would be considered genetic by main stream standards in our family, my mom and two grandmothers have arthritis, my husband’s dad has diabetes and there is breast cancer on both sides.

So, as my children grow and I’m making an effort to learn more and more about “healthy” I am feeling pressure to figure out how to get healthy and stay healthy. In the winter I tell my kids that it’s easier to stay warm than it is to get warm. I think the same thing goes with health. It’s easier to stay healthy than it is to get healthy.

My journey has led me over and over to the connection between real food and real health. No, my kids don’t eat Cheetos and Oreos all the time. But they do definitely like them. And that’s an easy one anyway. Everyone knows that Cheetos and Oreos are not good for you. But what I've learned is that even the vast majority of food products that claim to be healthy are just as bad as Cheetos and Oreos. I’ve learned more and more about these and what they are vs. what they claim to be.

I also have many friends with gluten issues. I haven’t had an issue with that—like no allergies and no Celiac disease and such. But I was beginning to wonder if we do have issues and I'm not making the connection.

One of my biggest problems is that I’m not a huge fan of exercise. I think of myself as a pretty active person, but I don't "exercise".  If I do, it needs to be something I can do with my kids or in spite of my kids. As a family we do get out and go on adventures. We hike and walk and play. I’d say that we’re on the above average end of activity. But I’m not going to Shred and I use my husband's P90-X videos for about 20 minutes of Yoga.  Lots of people I know have had success with Weight Watchers and programs like that. But for some reason they just never really rang my bell. So I have pretty much avoided stuff like that.

I read The Fungas Link—fabulous information. Made me feel SO much better. But missing the support and the such.  However, I did lose about 15 pounds.

I read Good Foods/Bad Foods and made an awesome connection between Good food, bad food and fake food and what our bodies do with what we give it. 

In the last year, the husband lost about 50 pounds by changing his eating habits and exercising like a crazy man. I could not in any stage of my life exercise like he did for that year.  I'm super proud of him and supported his efforts, but it's not for me.

I tried Atkins—The New Atkins for a New You. I gave up grains and sugar and felt great. But again, it was missing something.  But I lost about another 15 pounds.

So with arthritis in my pinky and thumb on my right hand, the stress of moving for the fourth time in three years and feeling pressure from only myself because of this desire to feed my family right, I began my search again. I want so badly to be VIBRANT and healthy.  I want to have FUN with my family.

Then I found The Primal Blueprint—Reading it, the first thing I realized was that every time I gave up grains and sugar I felt SO MUCH BETTER. The second thing I realized was that I could TOTALLY do the exercises he recommends. The third thing was that I need to get my family in on this!  And fourth, NAPPING AND PLAYING ARE PART OF THE PLAN!!!  (By the way, if you want a FREE intro, just sign up for the newsletter and download a free PDF full of all kinds of great info!)

It also went right along with all the previous theories that I had bought into.  Bonus.

Bingo! I feel better. I feel stronger. My figure is different (I don’t have my scale because it’s in storage, but my clothes definitely fit better!), and the inflammation in my hand is GONE.  The "program" is so comprehensive and really quite impressive.  Plus, it completely makes sense to me.  Basically, feed your body what it expects and move your body the way it is designed to move.  Well, duh.

Mark Sisson’s goal is to help 10 million people get healthy. I’m going to add six to that list. I'll keep you posted.  And if you get this book, he'll send you a bunch of free stuff.  (For the record, I'm not making any $$ off this.  I just think it's the best thing I've found in FOREVER and have to share it!)

I'm also requesting he make a babywearing Mama Grok for mamas like me.  Maybe I'll work on that.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The race is ON!

About a month and a half ago a cyber friend of mine pointed me to a pretty awesome website--Mark's Daily Apple.  It's one of those "diet" things, except different.  I'll go more into that later, but for now I will tell you that I've been going Primal, as they call it, for nearly six weeks and I have not felt this good for a long time. 

One of my very favorite things about this "program" (I will refer to it as a program grudgingly since I don't have a better word for it--maybe lifestyle) is that it is so comprehensive.  And it's easy.  No 2 hours of exercise a day or going hungry because you used up all your points or whatever.  I like it and it makes sense to me. 

And he encourages people to take naps.  I'm totally on board with that.

Anyway, I have the food thing pretty well and I decided that I need to figure out the exercise.  One of the exercise recommendations is to sprint once in a while--like once every 7-10 days. 

Today I decided that since it was so nice out, we were going to give it a shot.  And I got Grace on board pretty easily.  Recently she has been setting up family races, so I kinda jumped off of that.

I figured that if we all did one staggered start, everyone would have a pretty good chance.  So Grace and I drew a course and made a chart so she could track who took what place in each of the five races.  We figured out that the lowest score wins.  (Nothing like a little math/science lesson on this harvest break.)

Then we needed starting blocks.  So she went out to the wood pile and got five blocks. 

I gave her a Sharpie.  She went to work.  And it absolutely made me smile when I saw what she came up with.  Her dad had much of the same reaction.

Then we got the course all set up.  Basically we staggered the start so we thought everyone would have a decent chance of winning at least once.  Grace would say "GO!" and we'd all run around the pole and back to the starting line--which was really pretty imaginary, but worked for our purposes.

Calla dressed for success.  A cape and tie-dye socks completed her outfit of a champion.

My starting block.  And the chart, even though it's upside down.

I think they are ready.


We put dad at the neighbor's house.  He's really fast.  Even with a 24lb baby on his hip.


. . . . GO!!!!!

I really was running, but I got some pictures of the kids running, too.  Personally, this on is my absolute favorite picture, cape and tie-dye socks and all.  This is Calla to the core.

Violet is quite the runner, too.  Those shoes are her "ballet" shoes.  She loves them.

Mr. C got in on the action even though his diaper was pretty heavy.  I am that mom.

HERE COMES DAD!!  I took this picture and then took off running the other direction.

I beat him on this heat.  Even though I didn't go all around the pole, I did touch it.  He called me a cheater. 

Tallying the scores.  Apparently a cape helps with the math here.

And the winners!!

Fifth and sixth place goes to . . .

Tied for second and third are . . .

And the winner, sporting a cape and tie-dye socks is, CALLA!!!!!! 

Just and FYI, this kid really is fast.  Even without her tie-dye socks and her cape.  She's a runner.  And she's good at it.

 I love this crew.  And their daddy.

By Primal standards, this wasn't much of a workout.  We only did five heats and we probably could have been more intense.  But it was a good, fun start.  But, on the flip side, we didn't get a lot of sleep last night. Went to bed late and then up with kids several times and then Mr. C was up at a stupid dark hour for a couple hours, and by the time daddy got home, mom was pretty tense.  Not at him, just tense.  But this totally saved our evening.  We got out in the front yard and ran around like the crazy people on the other side of the tracks, because now we are on the other side of the tracks, and I believe I have pretty much established that we are crazy.  We laughed and joked and had a great time.  It saved our evening and we all felt better.  Every single one of us. 

Going Primal.  Having fun.  Saving the evening, with a cape and tie-dye socks.  Because we can.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy International Babywearing Week!

If there's one thing you know about me, it's probably that I carry my babies in all kinds of contraptions.  Some of the contraptions are homemade and some of them are not.  But they all do the job and my life and the lives of my children (and husband) are better for these contraptions. 

One of my first carriers and my first carries over FIVE years ago with my little Calla. 

This week Babywearing International is celebrating International Babywearing Week as they have since 2008.  Along with The (which is a website that changed my life), they host contests and bring together groups from around the world to celebrate.  This year Idaho Babywearers --aka BWI of S. Idaho--got involved and so it looks a little different.

One of the things I am most excited about is the newsletter.  I may have had something to do with it, but I am so excited that so many people jumped on board with some great content!  There is a great article in there about Tummy Time and how carried babies don't need tummy time.  And there are a couple articles about some great groups around the nation.  BWI is doing some great things.  I love Ann Marie's line in her letter (she's the president) about how BWI's goal is that every parent has a carrier and knows how to use it.  A lofty goal, but why not??  The sky is the limit when it feels right all the way down to your core.

And then I got a phone call from a friend yesterday.  I may have screamed in glee when she told me she was on her way to pick up a foster baby.  And what did she need to know and what did she need???  Well, she needs a carrier.  Check.  I gave her the short list.  Because that's really all babies need is a short list.  Food makes the first two, too.

Speaking of food, I read this great book recently.  The Primal Blueprint.  It's changing my life.  In it he talks about what our genes are programed to need and how we can maximize our genetics by eating the right food and moving our bodies they way they are made to move.  It completely makes sense to me. 

He creates these two fictional characters--one of them primal and one of them not.  The primal guy lives off the land with his family, foraging and hunting and such.  AND HIS WIFE NURSES THEIR BABIES UNTIL THEY ARE THREE AND CARRIES THEM IN A SLING!  This guy who has built his life around fitness and health gets that wearing and nursing our babies is a part of how we are made.  Awesome.

Happy Babywearing!  And happy International Babywearing Week!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall is so awesome

Today a friend of mine and I took our kids (all NINE of them) and headed for the forest to see the fall colors and have a picnic.  So much fun!

But first, we had to jump on their trampoline. 

Confession: As fun as those things are for my kids, I still think it's going to have to be something they do not at our house.

Then we piled into my friend's Excursion and headed for the mountains.  The fall colors did not disappoint.

Indian Lake, full of the lily pad-like plants.  So pretty!

Proof that we were crazy enough to take nine kids into the woods and call it fun.  Here they are saying "Millie pad!" because the little girl is named Millie and we thought it was cute. 

For the record, my friend's level of crazy surpasses my own.  She's currently pregnant with number six. 

Playing in the creek rather than eating their lunch. 

They kind of ate in waves.  One would come up and announce she was hungry and we'd hand her half a sandwich and she'd head back down to the creek.  (We had seven girls and two boys.)  And then another one would appear up the hill requesting food.

The sand/mud was fun.

So was throwing rocks.

However, as all but I think four kids found out, falling into the creek was NOT fun.  Mostly because it was wet and they landed on their behind on a huge rock. 

After enough of them had fallen in, we headed off to a second adventure.  The meadow.  So pretty.  And we both got a picture with all of our kids.  And a pretty good picture at that. 

And I managed to get a decent one of my kids, too.

Some of the girls gathered these huge bunches of a grass.  They actually had pretty good potential as a decorative piece.  But we really didn't want it in the car.  So we took pictures instead.

As pretty as the fall colors are, I think that the two very best things about fall are that there are no biting bugs and it's not blazing hot.  It was so very pleasant out playing in the forest.  Everyone should have a harvest break so they can spend two weeks outside enjoying fall.  Seriously.

And everyone should have babies as cute as these two. 


Sunday, October 2, 2011

We took the wrong tong. But . . .

We never did make it to our destination, but we did have a great day!

Destination: Terraced Falls at the south end of Yellowstone Park.  This particular destination is WAY off the beaten path of what people generally consider to be Yellowstone Park.  You don't even go through one of those major entrances.  You just pass a sign on your way down the trail.

Here we are at the beginning of the hike.  I'm glad we took our photo then (thank you camera timer!)

Here is the little sign we hiked past.

Then a little farther down the hill, we encountered a fork in the trail.  And we took the wrong tong.  Oops. 

But on the other side of the little creek we waded across, I found this:

I do believe that it is a bobcat, or some other cat.  It's about 3" in diameter and was in the sand on the other side of the creek.  Then the kids sloshed ashore and washed it away.

But farther down the trail, we found these! 

Two perfect black bear tracks in the mud.  I was TOTALLY kicking myself because I had neglected to bring the track kit and it was sitting in the car back up at the trailhead,

Grrrr . . .

But we continued down the trail and found this river.  SO pretty!

The fall colors along the river were amazing.  And we hiked along for a while just enjoying the forest and listening to the kids talk and sing and whine that they are hungry. (We'd been feeding them pretty much constantly since we had fed them breakfast.)

And we even saw a waterfall.  A little one, but a waterfall nonetheless.

And then we turned around and headed back.  We were pretty certain by that point that we'd gone the wrong way.  And then we went past the bear track again.  The thing was killing me with my kit in the car. 

So we crossed the creek again and had a snack and then my awesome, loving, patient husband headed up the hill to the car to get my track kit.  I love that guy.

In the mean time I discovered the sign that said, "Terraced Falls" and just kind of shook my head.  And then I went and sat on the rock bar and told the kids to throw rocks into the stream. It really isn't every day that my kids get TOLD to throw rocks, and they were VERY compliant when it came to that directive.

Carsten especially.  He started out throwing one at a time.

And soon he realized that he had two hands and most certainly could use both of them at the same time.

The bigger the splash, the bigger the smile!

The two big girls went down the bar a little way and found big rocks to throw.

This one did her three-year-old thing and wandered around talking to herself and examining everything she found that caught her attention.  I love this kid.

And then the awesome and patient husband returned with the track kit.  The kids were happy and rested and refreshed and ready to go find that track again.  Yes, we would have loved to go see the waterfall, too, but they were kind of excited about the track. 

It was about 20 minutes back down the trail.  We made it, found it and went to work.

Check out the meadow we were right by. What a beautiful view to enjoy for the half hour we had to wait for the plaster of Paris to set.


Check it to see if it's ready yet. 

Not quite, but it's getting there!  And so we poked around and the kids poked in the mud and walked on the logs and examined the grass and talked and sang and waited really quite patiently.  Carsten especially.  He fell asleep.

And it was ready, so we dug it out using sticks and went on our way back down the trail.  It was still pretty soft so I didn't dare to get the mud off and check it out just yet. 

After crossing the creek for the fourth time, Calla found this gigantic mushroom. 

She wanted to ruin it, but I reminded her that we were still in Yellowstone and she was still a Junior Ranger.  She smiled, gave the mushroom a pet and skipped up the trail.

Now I don't have a picture of it, but there is one spot on the trail that is basically a little 3' rock cliff that we had to climb up.  Brent asked Calla if she needed help.  She said no, "I'm a rock climbing genius!"  I have no idea where she picked that up, but it completely cracked me up.

I think we pretty much wore the kids out hiking probably over four miles.  This is what Violet looked like when we pulled into the driveway.

The bear track after we got it home and rinsed it off some:

I will tell you that while I am somewhat disappointed that we didn't actually get to the destination we set out for, I'm thrilled to pieces with our day and the bear track.  We'll try to go up there again in the next month if the weather holds.  And now my kids have something for share at school when they go back after our two week potato harvest break.  Those potatoes are coming out of the ground fast and furious around here!

Let the adventures continue!