Hello FriYAY: Week 12 (two weeks at once)

The summer has felt like this. 
A breeze! I don't mean it's necessarily felt easy, but it's just whizzed right on by and now we have two weeks left until Anna starts kindergarten.  I just simply cannot believe it. 

I intended to blog last week but then Brett surprised me with a date (yay!) and by taking the day off so we could start our family camping trip in a leisurely manner.  It was totally unexpected (the time off) and I didn't even realize how badly I needed all four of us to be together, having fun until it came. 

It's hard to know where to even start in these long posts of mine.  Food is always a good place. I'm deep into some major changes in my health and diet and feeling the good consequences of my choices.  Most days it keeps me pretty motivated.  I always eat breakfast and prefer something with protein.  There are only so many days you can eat a fried egg though. This particular weekend morning Brett made omelets and they were absolutely delicious.  Really good use of our garden veggies!

We continue to try and get outside first thing in the morning, even taking our breakfast eating outside.  It just gets so darn hot here in the afternoons. I'm purely a summer gal and don't mind the heat but lately it's been dangerously hot.  But today as I'm writing this we have a gentle breeze with rumors of a weekend cool down! 
I spotted this dreamy patch of light one morning when I was laying down, doing some yoga stretching.  Something about it just totally captivated me. 
:( This is oh, so sad.  One day we came in the house after having been on the porch and Betsy started talking about a tiny bird she saw.  I peeked through the window because honestly I thought she was making the story up! You never know with kids and their big imaginations.  But sure enough, this frail little bird was laying underneath our ferns, where I'm positive its mama has a nest. 
We never could figure out how it landed on the porch like that but it sure did make the girls sad, especially Betsy.  I watch her do life and know exactly what it feels like to walk around feeling like the heart you've been graced with is bigger even than your body.  Being a sensitive soul is a special job. 
The girls and I are really into chalk drawing.  This is Queen Lucy from the Chronicles of Narnia, can't you tell? 
Oh my word, adorable! I spotted this cutie one of the girls drew. 

I really love to walk around the yard and house and stumble upon little scenes the girls have set up. 
My mom-in-law brought us the BEST, juiciest peaches from a local stand, Vanzant's! 
We recently made coconut macaroons that had the leftover chickpea brine in the recipe.  Sounds strange and I suppose it is, but we whipped it into almost a meringue first and boy were the cookies good! They fell apart so we ate them with a spoon out of a bowl, with some homemade chocolate sauce drizzled on top. 

My favorite way to make chocolate sauce is to combine coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa powder, a bit of pure maple syrup, and a splash of vanilla in a pot on the stove.  I then stir very carefully until the chocolate just starts to boil and then remove it from the heat. I never measure any of this. 

Walking sticks are so much fun! 

My sweetie starts kindergarten in two weeks! I keep getting asked if she's ready.  The answer is yes and a bit nervous because it's such a change.  She's so excited and so I am.  I obviously liked school so much I grew up and became a public school teacher. But there is that anticipation of change, when it always feels like the uphill climb on a roller coaster.  

We're praying daily about school, so very excited to see what God has in store for Anna, and ready to squeeze every last bit of fun out of summer that we can!

My watering routine is so calming and relaxing to me. The girls still like to stand under the ferns and catch the drips as if it is a shower. I also give the porch a good spraying off weekly during the summer.  Our country porch just seems to stay so dirty with bugs and moths. 
These two weeds were blooming and even though they're just weeds I thought they looked so pretty.  They got moved to a cute spot on the porch.
You know me and my hearts! We made our own slip-n-slide one Sunday afternoon and it was the most fun ever.  Afterwards I moved the giant piece of plastic we'd had down because I didn't want it to ruin the grass.  We looked out the next day and saw a giant heart shape left in the grass where we'd been sliding.  I shouldn't even be surprised by this kind of thing anymore, yet it still delights me every single time a random heart shows up. 

I wanted to make sure and capture the last bit of green grass before everything turns the predictable brown shade we usually see this time of year.
Despite the lack of rain we still have some real beauty blooming in the yard! 
Gathering my own bouquet from the garden and yard doesn't ever get old.  The girls are getting old enough where they like to get their own bouquet too. 

Anna, age six. 
One morning the girls woke up and requested that I draw them some shapes so they could have some cutting practice.  They really do love any kind of creative challenge.  After they cut out the shapes which included a circle, square, triangle, hearts, and a rectangle, they began putting the shapes this way and that to make characters, objects, etc.  

I like watching their brains at work! 
My cooking has been at an all-time low, as I'm sure everyone's has been in the heat.  
I do still enjoy a cup of tea at night, no matter how hot it is outside. 
Lately I've been trying chicory tea. Have you heard of it? I bought it at Natural Grocers and it almost looks like instant coffee granules.  The smell slightly reminds me of coffee, but the taste doesn't. Yet the tastes is more like coffee than most teas are, if that makes sense.  I brew the tea, add a bit of goat's milk, a drop of maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon.  Then I blend everything together in the blender and out comes this frothy goodness. 

Zinnia's, I love you!  I keep wondering what will cheer my soul once winter comes and there aren't any more flowers? 
I can't even bear the thought. 
Maybe indoor plants? Succulents? Maybe I'll paint more? 

We have our little pop-up camper that we just adore.  Usually by this time in the year we would have camped a handful of times but this year we'd only been once so far.  Between the spring floods and rains, Brett's job, and the farm, we just haven't gotten out there for one reason or another.

This past weekend we sure changed that! 
We went camping at a favorite spot that is only about 30 minutes away, called Withrow Springs. 
We ate the most delicious food, enjoyed spontaneously seeing a couple of my friends, had company out for dinner, slept really well, and just had the best time! 

For a treat I brought along some store-bought kombucha, my current favorite brand being LIVE. 
This was the timely message on the bottom of the glass bottle.  
There is truly nothing like waking up to sun and shadows at the campsite. 
And the webs! Pure magic in the morning. 

A little early morning kombucha for a happy gut. :) 

The girls aren't quite old enough to ride their bikes around the campsite independently so while they waited for us to take them on a ride they set up "exercise bikes" and biked in place. 
Betsy is always finding little bits and pieces of beauty. 
Saturday Brett took the girls and I to Eureka Springs so I could visit my two favorite shops there.  Wilson and Wilson Folk Art and the Daily Roast.  The folks are just lovely at both places.  The art at Wilson and Wilson is simply dreamy.  It is folk art and so colorful and I wish I could fill my walls with everything I see there.  The coffee at The Daily Roast is just as dreamy.  I don't even know how they make their coffee so good.  But it is good. I always get a frozen latte', no whipped cream. 

We also made our way to the White River.  Most years we go several times a year and set up a picnic on the bank while the girls play for hours and hours.  This year has been different because of all the rain we had earlier in the year.  It's just simply been too flooded and full for the girls to get in the water much.  Brett dove in and could hardly breathe the water was so icy cold! 
So naturally I had to try it for myself! 

The water almost knocked the breath out of me it was SO cold.  But then I got out and stood in the sun and my body felt tingly and so ALIVE and awake.  I'd do it again. 

Sunday evening a line of rain decided to go past us, but we still had incredibly cool temperatures for late July.  We took advantage of the coolness and worked out in the garden, weeding and tending the plants. 
And now to end this incredibly long post with some phone pics! I'm taking snaps with my phone way less often than I ever have but there are still a few captures that I really adore. 
Smoothies for the win for lunch this summer!
I let the girls try out Pinterest and thought Betsy looked just like me here! 
My kombucha is on the fritz so I'm trying to read up on how to improve it/start over. 

Do you drink or make kombucha? 
I'll write a bit more about my health journey further down but one thing I've done this summer is incorporate an apple cider vinegar drink in my daily routine. 

Here's how I make them:
In a large mason jar I smash fruit down in the bottom with the back of a spoon.  Then I add 1 TB apple cider vinegar, 1 TB lemon juice, ice, and seltzer water.  
This is my favorite store-bought kombucha I mentioned earlier! I enjoyed this one by the pool while the girls did their swim lessons. 

I captured these at a favorite wading/swimming spot of ours we visited while camping. We were the only ones around in this beautiful spot! 
Does anyone else get a thrill out of visiting a different grocery store than normal? 
I do.  Perhaps this is another sign I'm in my 30's!
Always on the hunt for heart rocks. 

Do you have a treasure you seek out? 
Eureka Springs has so much beauty tucked here and there.  
I bought this Lord's Prayer print at the thrift store and have it hanging in our dining room.  We say this together each week at church and never have the words meant so much to me.  I remember in college at the Wesley Foundation we also used to say these words together as a congregation. 

Ok friends, I have been on the BIGGEST memoir kick this year.  In fact, I actually read a lot more books than I ever share.  I think I've read like 17 books so far this year? I keep a running list on my computer.  I often don't share because I just find reading so subjective.  Take this memoir, The Glass Castle, for example.  It wasn't a rosy book by any means and certain parts some of you may read and then either be shocked, disappointed, judgmental, or something else that I liked this book so much.  Generally it's just easier to talk over my book picks with Brett. :) BUT, I will say The Glass Castle is on my nightstand currently after having read it earlier this year and I just saw it is coming to theaters! 

I am almost never excited about a book becoming a movie because the book always feels better in my mind than it does on screen.  Except for maybe The Help.  But I saw the trailer for the Glass Castle and I must say I can't wait to see it. I hope they have given the book justice. 
Now a bit on my health.   Back in November I was diagnosed with endometriosis, after suffering with side effects for years.  The solution given was surgery or other very invasive procedures, which I opted out of. 
Instead I chose the chiropractor and diet/lifestyle change.  Since November to now I've shown MAJOR improvement when I've steadily stayed on top of my diet and exercise choices.  But I haven't always stayed on top of these.  There have been weeks and months I've let those choices go and ended up in pain, feeling sick, and very depressed. 

After my last low I just had enough.  Had enough of feeling sick and tired.  I also read "Made to Crave" and really began to make this destructive cycle I was in a soul issue, not just a weight loss or feel better issue.  Changing my focus inward has changed my outward, my spirit, and yes, my physical body.  Now when faced with a diet or health choice I immediately ask myself "How will this make me feel afterwards?" instead of wondering what this will do to the scale. Because quite frankly before I was just too sick and tired to even do my life.  Now I'm understanding the connection between my gut, my soul and spirit, my energy, and my happiness.  It's all connected! I'm also praying much more about this part of my life than ever before. 

I am feeling amazing.  Pain-free from head to toe and (tmi) even cramps and the endometriosis symptoms have DRASTICALLY improved.  Here's what I'm doing:
I daily exercise, mixing it up between my own routine of crunches, squats, push-ups, jump rope, etc, and the treadmill. 

I include YOGA in my life now and it has made all the difference for my back and neck! 

I take a multivitamin.  This has made a huge difference in the endometriosis. 

I daily drink an apple cider vinegar drink. 

No snacking past dinner! Generally, no snacking at all. 

I drink a ton of water. 

I eat clean/healthy/non-processed, however you want to put it. MOST of the time. I love the 80/20 "rule". 80% of the time I'm making great choices, 20% of the time I'm treating myself. 

I'm still not perfect.  Obvs.  I text my sister the most honest look at my health journey, like "I ate FOUR truffles from Natural Grocers!" when I feel like I've slipped off.  She is gentle and reminds me to move on and that treats aren't bad.  I also text my workout daily to Brett and he does the same with me.  We are really keeping each other accountable.  I am feeling strong and like I've been given a second chance at a strong life.  

(the icing on the cake-I've lost 10 pounds!)
And we'll end with this lovely shot. 
Whew, this was a long post wasn't it? 
That's my life lately. Totally rich and full of little girls, being mama and wife.  Waiting for another little one to join our family for foster care.  Not sure at all what the future holds, not even a little.  Yet feeling strong and learning to go with the flow.  I'm including self-care in my days to keep from letting my anxiety get the best of me in this unknown season.  Self-care for me looks like lighting candles, reading a book, exercising, laughing!, watching t.v. occasionally, doing something creative, having something fun to look forward to, and deleting a bunch of stuff off my phone. 

I recently deleted Safari, Instagram, and Facebook off my phone.  Mindless scrolling does such bad things for my spirit and body.  Just too much noise for this INFJ, highly sensitive gal. 

What season are you currently in? Full of answers or unknowns? 
Are you reading a book I should know about? 

Any tips for me as we transition to having a kindergartner? 

I have tried responding to your comments and blogger wasn't cooperating! I'll try again, but I didn't want you to think I was ignoring  you! 

xo Rosy Life friends! 

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