Springtime has just been one of the most bizarre this year in Colorado. Our winter was so warm and beautiful, but our spring has been wet, and flooding, and grey. Those few days that have produced even a hint of sunshine have been met with us racing out of doors with boots, and sweaters, and smiles. Mother’s Day saw an epic snowstorm, with howling wind, hail, snow and sleet. This was the second year in a row that we were sidelined by little white flakes on this day. Thankfully we had the best time celebrating a little one’s 5th birthday. My girlfriend Heidi threw her daughter the funnest party ever, as she wanted a Halloween/Thanksgiving/Easter/Christmas party with wedding bell balloons. Somehow it was the perfect combination, with her presents sitting under a fake tree adorned with a giant spider on top. We wore Christmas pajamas, and the kids were in costumes. We listened to a combination of Christmas music, old school rap, and Halloween songs. How all of this worked, I have no idea, but you would have to know Heidi. She is the master of fun, and it certainly made for a great Mother’s Day.
Landon and Elwood have been spending time at the farm, enjoying goats and mud and natural egg dying. Emma Jeanne has been finding her way down every slide across the city, rain or shine, cold or warm. That child has no fear. I see her zip-lining across some foreign country in the near future in search of her next adventure. She is just too much fun for words. Thankfully she lets me knit and sew whatever pastel, ruffle infused combination that I can think of. She is a bit of a trooper with my girlie issues, and I appreciate her patience as she puts on yet another dress. Her latest sweater was one of my faves. The structure of Bloomsbury Kids is so neat to watch come together, and I love the way it sits on the shoulders. This is one of the first things that I have made for her where I was thrilled that they had the pattern in adult size. I think that mama has found her ski sweater for next year! Her Momo has also been getting a ton of use in this chilly spring weather, as it just goes so perfectly over any dress, and she seems to love wearing cardigans most of all.
The other day we ventured out in the cold and grey to take Emma Jeanne to her first little craft class. Oh my, how I loved that moment! The kids read a book about spring, and then made the sweetest May baskets to adorn the doors. Fresh cut flowers filled them, and Emma Jeanne carried hers all over the gardens, in her car seat home, and from room to room in the house. She wasn’t willing to part with it, and it even came to bed with us that night. It was so neat to take her to a place where the boys had all done the same classes, read the same books, and walked the same gardens. It is hard to believe that so much time has passed that my boys could teach those classes now, but also so nice to be able to experience all of this again with Landon and my little girl.
We are looking forward to the warmth returning, the sun coming out, and a lot of outdoor play to ensue, but for now we are content with the sound of rain on the windows and the smell of warm cookies coming out of the oven. I have discovered a new favorite recipe, and we just can’t stop ourselves from making them every few days. My girlfriend Misty introduced it to me, and it is a great recipe to modify as you see fit.
1/2 C smooth almond butter (or other nut butter of your choosing)
4T melted coconut oil
1/2 C brown sugar
2 T maple syrup
1/2C almond milk (regualr, coconut, or other nut milk will work fine too)
2 C flour (I used Cup4Cup)
1 t baking soda
1 t celtic sea salt
3/4 C rolled oats
1/4 c raw sunflower seeds
2 T ground flax
2 T chia seeds
1/2 c mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
Preheat oven to 400*
Combine the first five ingredients until smooth. Add the baking soda and salt to the flour and whisk. Add the rest of the dry ingredients together, and add to the wet until just combined. Drop by the spoonful onto a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes of until golden brown on the bottom.
These cookies are thick enough to be made like a scone, or gently pressed down to make a more traditional cookie. If the dough seems to too dry, add more nut milk until you reach the consistency you desire.
It has been a little over a year since we closed the doors to Rhythm of the Home. That was a tough moment for Bernadette and I, and I remember staring at my computer screen a few days later, a blank “what do I do know” look on my face, when an email came in. It was from Debbie at Tend Magazine, asking if I would like to do some writing for her publication. The writing became a position as the preschool editor, and as of yesterday, my third edition with the magazine has gone live. It has been an easy transition, as Tend is a beautiful publication that is so full to the brim with things that I believe in wholeheartedly.
Tend released their Spring issue on March 1st, and it is a feast for the senses. It is the type of magazine you want to take time out to read, to fully absorb and immerse yourself in. I found myself reading each piece over my coffee this morning, dreaming of small flowers beginning to bloom, while simultaneously wanting to knit up a gorgeous new hat. I don’t know about you, but I crave beauty, order, and peace, and I always find it when a new edition comes out. It leaves me feeling hopeful for the season ahead, and ready to jump in on a new project or creative pursuit.
My contributions to this edition included a springtime yoga routine, a sensory garden box, and a very easy way to play tic tac toe in nature. Tend is a magazine open for contributions, and I would love to see so many of you grace their pages. If you would like to contribute in the preschool category, simply send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope that you will find your way over to Tend, and enjoy all of it’s pages.
Tend has a 20% off sale going on through this week, simply use code QALV21
Our Spring Focus: TRASHED
An Uncomfortable Truth
What Can We Do?
Toxins in Our Home
Make Small Changes
Regrowing Vegetables From Scraps
Grey Days and Gratitude
Wholefood and Herbal Health
Food For Free
Fermented Foods: Kraut Chips
Freshen Your Home
DIY Cleaning Recipes
Grow Herbs Indoors
Celebrating Earth Day
Back the Farm
Insects and Things to Do!
Indoor/Outdoor Sensory Play
Nature Tic Tac Toe
Spring reading list.
Beeswax Food Wrap
Jenny Wren Lampshade
Green Your Wardrobe
It is an odd statement to hear that we could most likely hurt each other more through our words than through our actions. When I look at my children, I think that they would rather take a punch to the gut than to be cut down through someone’s statements or words. Our speech is not something to be taken lightly, but yet so often words coming flying out of our mouths or off the keyboard or pen without much thought. They are simply our opinions, and therefore can not do any real damage, right?
The blogging world is an interesting one, at first a place to come to share happy moments, a sense of community, a piece of ourselves. In doing so, it opens us up to a world of both incredible positivity and the threat of incredible negativity. It brings up so many wonderful questions about where lines are drawn in our world, and what is safe or necessary to reveal to the world around us. It also brings us a moment to reflect that peace is not only in our actions, but in our every day speech as well. It is not only in the steps that we take, but in the words that we share. The world is not a place where beauty is inherent in all things, it must be created by each of us. When I say my prayers at night, silently whispering into the universe, my greatest hope is that my children never face the darkness that we all know is present in our world. That they will forever be the bearers of light. It is a choice, our words, just like our actions. Somehow this lesson feels so vital to pass down to our babes. As their mom, I am trying hard to find a way to create a line of trust through positive speech. There are so many moments when we disagree, when I can not understand where their minds are, but I am trying to approach them with a sense of respect for who they are becoming, and using my words as a powerful jumping off point for discussion, rather than a place to just cut them down in exasperation.
Taking this practice out into the world around me is tougher than I thought. There are moments when I want to yell at my TV, or the person driving next to me, or the person who cut in front of me in line. It is so easy, isn’t it, to throw our words around, even in our own minds. It is so hard to let go of a negativity that is so ingrained in us as our right that we barely give it a passing thought. We hear about children who have taken their own lives from the words that are spoken at school, or on the internet, but as adults we do not give the same consideration to ourselves. We think we have thicker skin, we can take it, but we rarely acknowledge that negativity in words and thoughts leaves us a little emptier, a little less willing to share.
I respect those people who choose to walk away from negativity at every step. Whose words and actions match the life they want to create and the children they are hoping to raise. As my oldest children begin to walk on a more independent path (am I really facing teenagers here soon?), I hope that we can teach them that their words are their most powerful tool. That if they truly want to create peace, to a create a better world, it simply starts with the words they choose to use.
Peace in every step, peace in every thought, peace in all our words.
Valentine’s Day. The day of love, cupid, chocolate, flowers, stress. Why do I never know how to get a grasp on this particular day? The boys seem geared up to celebrate this year, maybe because Jacob is busy getting his Valentine’s ready for his school mates? Something that he has never thought about in the past. Last night we made warm beeswax candles, a treat from Heather’s Hibernate course that I have loved this past month. What is it about the smell of warm beeswax? It is so soothing and perfect for cooler winter nights. It just beckoned for a long bath and a good book.
Landon and Emma Jeanne spent the day yesterday surrounded by bubbles. Love bubbles to be exact. Could anything be simpler or provide more hours of fun? A glittery pipe cleaner bent into a heart shape, and homemade bubbles that we keep in a jar and constantly pull out when the weather permits. Emma hasn’t quite gotten the grasp on how to blow the bubbles yet, but it is darn cute to watch. Elwood often blows them for her, and she chases them with giggles and glee. Oh this last little one of mine, she has the wildest of spirits, and the heart of an angel.
There is so much knitting going on right now. Do you all have knitting bursts? I often find that I can work on one project for months, and then all of a sudden I have made three sweaters in a week. There must be something to that. The fair isle is the Leftovers Cowl and I am in love. Seriously, I don’t want to ever put this down, but I have so many other things to finish up this week that I must. I am starting a weaving class tonight with my friend Stacy, and I can not wait to get my hands moving through the loom. Something else new and exciting to adventure with. I have had the strongest desire in the last few months to get out of my comfort zone and explore new techniques. I love learning new things, it makes me feel like I can always be young, always be relevant. I need that.
I wish you all a weekend full of love, of calories, and of many new adventures.]]>
Oh these days of February, they have been so strange. Some days we see near 70 degree weather, while others 6″ of snow will quickly fall. It is an odd balance of rushing outside to soak up as much Vitamin D as possible, while alternatively hibernating inside. There has been so much going on through these days; abundant play, new projects, and a new found respect for breakfast preparation. I was never one to fear the mornings, until ours dramatically changed. After my husband’s health issues this summer, my oldest decided he wanted to head to school. I think that it was a combination of fear of me not being able to give him what we needed, as well as a simple desire to spread his wings away from home. There was so much going on in the moment, I never really stopped to think about the implications. That is strange, isn’t it? Homeschooling had been such a predominant part of our lives, and then in a blink I just turned around and it was gone. I quickly signed him up, just days before the year began, at a school I heard great things about. Then, while he was far at the bottom of the list, he managed to snag a spot on the second day of school. Elwood chose to stay at home, and of course the younger babes are still here with me as well. There is a missing piece that is so very strange to be without, but at the same time Jacob has jumped in with both feet, and is loving this new experience. He joined the choir, went out for the school play, took on a leadership role, and made some friends that I think will be with him for a long time to come. There are good sides, and ones that I would rather he not experience, but in reality that is the story of life. I promised myself when I first gave birth to him that I would parent each of my children based on their needs, not my own, not my preconceptions of what should be, but on them. So long as they were safe, in an environment that could foster positive change, and a place where they could be happy, the freedom of choice was theirs. There are moments when I want him to tell me that he wants to come back, and they are getting less and less. When I look at him, and I see that strong, confident, social smile, I know that he found the place that he needs to be.
His decision bears little weight on what the others will choose. Each of them is so different, and with each passing year I change as well. My ability to meet them where they are is becoming greater, and I hope that we can always find common ground on what works for them as individuals. I certainly enjoy watching each of us take on new challenges, be it singing with 25 other students, or diving into fair isle knitting. Speaking of which, how come no one told me how awesome fair isle is? I can not put it down, and I find myself staring late into the night at Pinterest board after Pinterest board on the subject. I have been knitting for many years, and fair isle always freaked me out. I have no idea why it took me so long to take the plunge, but look out, because there is a lot of fair isle knitting coming off these needles.
That is the joy of life, right? we get past our fears, and find that we love something that we thought we would never take interest in. It is a joy I uncover often, and something I hope that each of my kids can embrace.
Of course, Emma Jeanne seems poised to take an interest in riding on the back of boy’s motorcycles, as we witness each day as Landon takes her for a spin on his bee bike, and I can assure you that all the growth and change in the world will never get me over that fear.]]>
Someone turned 40 last week. I am not saying who, but it was my husband :).
We decided to celebrate by heading deep into the mountains to ski Crested Butte. It is a bit of a risk, since Joel still has to take large doses of blood thinners, but he promised to stay out of the trees and not fall. Not sure if he held up his promise on the falling, but he had a smile on his face for four full days, so that helped. Our boys have been skiing since they were still in diapers, and this time was so important to them. They have been very careful with their dad, not rough housing or jumping on him, not pushing him to do anything. I think that it was good for them to see that he is not going to break, and that he is the same person he has always been; a big, fun loving goof ball.
As has been the case since we started having children, I always find myself at the bottom of the slopes, nursing a babe, chasing a toddler, and secretly wishing that I was up there with them. It will happen again soon, as I will be the one to take Emma Jeanne up to learn, but for now I have to make do with lots of knitting, warm fires, and a continuous flow of Irish Coffee (whoever combined coffee and alcohol together very well may be my hero).
Lately I have been having a ball designing knitting patterns and pieces for my sweet girl. While I will delve into that a bit later, I do have a fun and super easy boot cuff pattern that I created while we were traveling. I have recently been told that I need to update my wardrobe, so long sweaters and leggings have come into play in a big way. I must say that while I enjoy the look, it is a bit colder than my sweatpants and mommy shirts I had been loving on for years. These boot cuffs were a way to prevent much air from getting into my boots, and are surprisingly helpful in keeping the bottom half of my leg warm. I, oh so horribly, named them the Crested Boot Cuff pattern in honor of our stay, and I hope that you enjoy making them as much as I have.
Crested Boot Cuff Pattern]]>
Sometimes putting one foot in front of the other is the hardest task. Baby steps, they call it. It is in the moment where you are so frozen in time that the next moment seems worlds away that those baby steps are the toughest.
A few weeks after my last post, two things happened that defined my summer. First, my daughter and last babe turned 1. I am not sure how that happened. Time flew by, and there we were. The pink cake, the banners, the rain, the singing and the food. It was all there, and it was glorious. Everyone I loved in one room, celebrating this child who still seems like a dream. We had created a new space inside; new paint, new furniture, new start. The day dawned with clouds and pouring rain, a trait of almost every birthday party I ever try to throw. It was still perfect, and every detail I wanted to make my own. As the day drew to a close, we exhaled. Months of work to restore our home were nearing completion, this big day was in the books, and we could enjoy the summer.
Then the unexpected. My husband began to develop chest pains. We thought that perhaps he had torn a muscle from all the house work, but as hours grew into days, something seemed off. Finally an eemergencytrip to the doctor ensued, and we were told he had a serious pulmonary embolism. It is weird, isn’t it, that one sentence can change everything? I knew it could happen, I knew that most likely it would one day, but not that day. That day I thought, as he did, that we were just overreacting. I thought that we would be home in a few short hours with the idea of rest and lots of ibuprofen. I didn’t ever think that I would be sitting next to him wondering exactly how to prepare myself or my kids for the worst, but there we were.
Those moments so often play in my head like a video on playback. Seeing his face as they called down to the cat scan room, knowing what was being said on the other end of the line, not knowing what was going to be said next, racing home to deposit my children somewhere, anywhere that I would not have to think of them for a bit, not understanding how it was possible that I needed to not think of them, anything of them, for a short moment in time. Calling his family, my family, his friends, our friends, and telling them that I wasn’t sure what was next. Then the wait. The needles, the medicines, the invisibility that so often comes with being the visitor and not the patient. The need to do something, anything, to make him comfortable, to just stop the wait. Anything to stop the wait.
I remember that I apologized for every bad thing I had ever said to him. All those frustrating moments of marriage that we all experience were gone, and in their place was a need for him to know that he was the most loved person in the world. Something that I wished, in that long moment, that I could have given in all of the other moments we had shared.
In the end, we were one of the lucky ones, as we would get him back to share many more frustrating moments of marriage and parenthood and life, and for that we were eternally grateful. The road has been long, and we still face the very real possibility of this happening again, and then again. But we aren’t the same that we were before. We live our lives just a bit differently, with a near constant reminder that every day is pretty incredible, and amazing, and full of the need to live it fully. That should have been there before this happened, but it wasn’t. When I look back, I realize that with four kids, we were more in survival mode than life mode. That changed this past summer. We are in full on living mode right now, and we are trying, in whatever we can, to impart that to our kids.
It is funny how much I have shied away from writing since all of this happened. As if putting it into words would make it more real than it already was. I haven’t been able to sit down and write a word since July, not one word. Today I just sat down and began. No edits, just a flowing trail of words strung together with all the emotions of letting go. I think that I needed this.
This is not the worst thing that is going to happen us, which is scary as anything, but it will rank as one of the hardest things we have had to face so far. Difficult moments, life events, they do not leave you the same person you once were. Why should they? Life is meant to shake us up and spit us out and see how the heck we handle what it throws at us. I am hopeful that we have faced the challenge with the strength that we were graced with, and that in choosing to look at life in a new way, we are taking more control of the happiness that we so often believe can come from something or someone, but rarely look inside of ourselves to find.
For now, we have enjoyed the holidays, we have celebrated the passing of another year, and we are in the quiet of the winter season. We are not waiting for the next big paycheck, to lose the weight, to have the time, or the house, or the space. We are living. We are doing things that we said we wanted to, we are taking chances, and we are moving forward, one baby step at a time.
Wishing you all a beautiful beginning to the new year.]]>
His reaction. The first sparklers were so much fun for everyone. Her desire to be included in everything. Their gentle love and care for another being. His love of play, especially in water. The cake that has graced so many tables this summer. Brothers. The golden light I love so much. Her first daddy back ride. His determination never ceases to amaze me.
I love photography, and capturing my family and our days is a special part of documenting the small moments that are so important. This begins a new Friday series for me, as we share our days, in whatever ways, through the lens. Happy weekend my friends.]]>
My favorite time of year to cook is summer. Growing up in Northern California taught me an appreciation for seasonal and fresh foods, and while I enjoy every season’s own taste and goodness, Summer has a sweetness, a freshness that is all its own. There is something magical about biting into the first local strawberry, or the last cherry tomato of the harvest. Choosing my menus based on what is in the garden or at the farmer’s market makes cooking a bit more fun and spontaneous.
One of the requests that I hear from my boys every year is to take all their meals out of doors. Picnics become the norm, and our kitchen table is replaced by our patio table as we eat breakfast and lunch and dinner under the sky. There are a few staples that I just could not go without, and this year flavored lemonade, veggie pasta with basil aioli, and raw vegan pie are just a few that will grace our table (or picnic blanket) often.
Making homemade lemonade is one of those sticky sweet traditions that I remember with such fondness from my childhood in the northeast. My tiny town in suburban Boston would be littered with stands selling fresh lemonade for a nickle, and there was never a hot day that went by that my mother did not allow me to indulge.
Today making fresh lemonade holds the same appeal, and adding pureed fruit has become a welcome addition. Cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are perfect for changing this up, and the addition of rosemary, mint and basil adds a special kick. Cherry lemonade is on our summer solstice menu, and steeping this drink with rosemary for a few hours creates an aromatic drink for both children and adults alike. It can also become the base for an afternoon cocktail with friends.
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 cup water
Juice of 6 lemons
4 cups cold water
1 cup cherries, pitted and chopped.
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
In a small sauce pan, combine sugar and water and heat on low until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool. Add the syrup mixture to the lemon juice and the 4 cups of cold water and stir. Pour the lemonade into a blender and combine with the cherries. Add the rosemary sprigs to a pitcher and pour the cherry lemonade over it. Allow to steep for 2 hours. Serve over ice.
No matter where a picnic is held, from our backyard to the banks of the Poudre River, I like simple and fresh cooking. Packing my basket should be simple, and clean up almost non-existent. Pasta salad has been a tradition in my family since long before I came along, and that tradition has come along with me as I have had children. Although a great pasta salad is always a hit, we are also a gluten free family who has had their fair share of misses in the pasta department.
Gluten free pasta tends to soak up sauce quicker than standard pasta, and so when creating a cold (or room temperature) pasta dish, I like to make a sauce that is thick, creamy, and will hold up to the GF pasta.
4 oz prosciutto
1 small zucchini
16 golden or red cherry tomatoes
Basil, torn as a topping
1 lb pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
Juice of one lemon
1 medium garlic clove
2 tbsp mustard
zest of 1/2 a lemon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup light olive oil-based mayonnaise
Pinch of cayenne
Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, add your prosciutto to a pan and sautee until golden brown. Set aside. Slice zucchini in ribbons, and cut the tomatoes in half. Set aside.
To make the aioli, process of all of your ingredients together in the bowl of a food processor, and set aside.
Once your pasta is done cooking, add to a large bowl, and toss with vegetables. Add the aioli and stir until the pasta is completely coated. Top with torn basil and prosciutto.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.
Of course, no picnic is ever complete without the addition of pie. Recently I have fallen in love with the creamy and incredibly good for you raw vegan pies. There is something so satisfying to eating a delicious and healthy treat at the end of each meal. I first learned about how to make this type of pie from Heather of Beauty that Moves, and her recipes continue to inspire many changes in our diet and well being.
On of our family’s favorites is raw vegan lemon cream pie with blackberry coulis. The recipe is simple, the taste fresh, and the smiles plentiful. We hope that this recipe will be enjoyed by your family as much as it has been by ours.
1 cup pecans
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dates (pitted and soaked overnight)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 cups of whole cashews (soaked overnight)
1/2 cup agave nectar
Juice of two lemons
1/4 cup coconut oil melted
3 tbsp. cold water
Blackberry Filling Base
6 oz. Blackberries
Place the pecans and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients. The crust should just stick together. Press it into the bottom of a deep dish pie plate, and freeze until filling is ready.
Blend your blackberries in the bowl of a food processor or a blender until just slightly pureed. Pour into your crust.
For the filling, add all of your ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 tbsp of water at a time. Pour the filling over the blackberry filling, and freeze until firm. You can eat as is, or top with blackberry coulis.
Add one cup of blackberries and 2 tbsp agave nectar to the blender and blend until smooth. Pour over the pie and enjoy.
Summer in the kitchen is so very sweet, and from our table to yours, we wish you the best that the season has to offer.]]>
I was not an adventurous kid. I wanted to be, I really did, but it never happened. I wasn’t a wall flower, per se, but I also wasn’t the cool girl with the snowboard on the roof of her car. To be honest, I was jealous of that girl. The idea of being bold and brave enough to climb a mountain, snowboard down it, or climb it’s rocks. To bike a big trail, or surf a great wave, those are all things I wish I had done young. When I look back on my life as a young adult, I realize I didn’t take enough risks. I don’t mean being reckless, I just mean letting go and jumping in with both feet (or harness). Being adventurous was something I missed out on, it is really that simple. I spent most of my early life being afraid of falling, of failing, of being hurt or not being good enough. It was a bit of a curse, and one that I would love to go back and redo.
When I had kids I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t let them be raised with fear. Looking at life as an adventure to be lived fully each day was a goal that I had from the day they were each born, and it continues to be something that I push for. Living where we do helps, as everyone here seems to hike a mountain or ski a basin with incredible frequency. For me, as an almost 40 year old woman, I am just now getting up the courage to do a few of the things that my boys have been doing since they were in diapers. I rock climbed for the first time this year, which felt like an incredible challenge. I had to tell myself all kinds of things to get up that darn wall, but one thing that helped was knowing how proud my boys would be of me when I told them. Funny, isn’t it, when the mother becomes the child, even if just for a few seconds?
To me, being adventurous isn’t just about the moment you are in an adrenaline pumping activity, it is a mind set, a way to look at your life and really live it. I see my kids go after everything, from soccer to history with that adventurous spirit, and I never want them to lose it. They look at everything as a challenge, a new run to conquer, a new trail to blaze, and oh my I think that is such an awesome part of being a kid. They don’t fear anything, but they have a very healthy sense of self-preservation (thank goodness) that moves them in a safe direction.
As their mama, it is certainly a balancing act between letting their lives unfold in a way that opens up many new adventures, while also teaching them what it means to be safe in any activity they are in. Teaching them the skills that they need for each new activity they choose to take on is not just important when they are young, but will hopefully set the stage for them choosing to do the same as adults. Giving them the right skills, equipment, and guidance is essential to feeling as though I have done my part to ensure they are safe and smart.
We all have visions for who we want our kids to be, how we hope their lives unfold. It is a natural part of parenting to do so. Sometimes we call it right, and the lives we see become reality. Sometimes our kids blaze a trail we never thought that they would walk. Either way, for most of us their happiness is all that matters. When I think of my kids, especially my two older boys whose lives have been lived a bit longer, and who I know a bit deeper, I see the boys pulling up to the house, snowboards on the roof, bikes on the back, smiles on their faces. I see them coming in and telling their dad and I all about their adventurers, what they saw, the fears that they conquered, the challenges that they set for themselves and met. I see kids who will look in the mirror and see someone staring back who can do what their mind wants to do, who says yes to the challenges that life puts forth, and who choose the road that builds their character, rather than simply gets them to where they need to go. Yes, I do in fact know that this sounds a little bit too dreamy and wide eyed, but why not put it out there and then see where they take it? I could never be disappointed in my kids, but I could certainly risk being disappointed in myself if I didn’t set the stage for them to be the type of kids who could live a life like that. I want them to get to the end of their adventure and say, “I did it all. I really lived.” That would be a truly epic parenting success if ever there was one.]]>