Friday, March 22, 2013

A letter to my Ellie Bean on her fourth birthday

To my sweet Ellie Bean,

Today you turn four years old. For months, you’ve been talking about your birthday. You’ve been telling everyone everywhere we go that it’s your birthday soon; at the store, at the bank, at the Y, and even while we were picking up mommy's medicine at the pharmacy. You happily exclaim that "Your birthday is in March!" Your excitement about your big day is pretty charming.

Almost Four

I don't know if you know this, but you’ve done a lot of growing up this year. You’re leaving the shell of your toddler years behind and you’re headed straight into kid territory. It’s kind of terrifying and exciting all at once.

As a mom, there’s this small side of me tangled up in emotions about the reality that most of your life lived so far you’ll never remember when you’re my age. And that’s kind of sad when I think about it. All the cuddles we’ve shared and giggles we’ve delighted in, you won’t remember when you’re older. Some of the best moments of my life shared with you, won’t really be a part of your memories.

One year

On the other hand, a few moments when I’ve really blown it, you may not remember those either. Like the time you decided to get into my vanity and splatter-paint our bathroom floor with seven different colors of nail polish. Oh yeah...flourescent pink, orange and green; midnight blue with sparkles, red, purple and of course...shocking pink. You were playing so quietly in your room while I was doing dishes after our day out together. I remember Lucas walking down the stairs and telling me that I "had to come upstairs"  I was surprised to smell nail polish in the middle of the staircase. I was shocked to see that it looked like someone took enormous amounts of paint and went all Vincent VanGogh all over the floor.

Ellie Van Gogh's Artwork

I should’ve laughed and grabbed a camera for one unforgettable picture (actually...I took a picture with my phone, but not until HOURS later), but instead I was frustrated and ticked-off. It was such a huge mess and I'm pretty sure that I was high from the toxic fumes of nail polish remover for three days. Truly, that was not one of my finer moments in parenting: scrubbing dried nail polish off of a linoleum floor with nail polish remover while you cried your eyes out. I’ve found comfort in thinking and hoping that maybe you’ll never remember that moment.

But now you’re four, and you’re bound to remember things. After all, I remember a lot of things when I was four: I remember climbing up onto a mantle and jumping off of it - landing on a brick, breaking my toe.

I remember my Dad decorating the best Wilton cakes for our birthdays. It was incredible to watch him transform those cakes into works of art. To this day, it is one of my best memories. Hands down.

I remember riding Mr. Banana-Man on the sidewalk in front of our condo with Uncle Kyle. Actually...I think that he was riding Mr. Banana-Man and I was pushing him with all of my might - praying that he didn't fall off and get hurt.

I remember curling up in my Mom's lap - just so that I could be near her. I always thought that I would remember the way her heartbeat sounded and the way that she smelled. While I can't remember those things, I do remember what it felt like to be wrapped up in her arms and to feel her unconditional love. 

Which makes me think, Ellie, that you’re about to do the same. At four years old, you’re going to remember some of these memories that we’re making right now – you’ll be able to recall details, like what you were wearing when you took a fall, or if your dad helped you pick out your birthday pan or if I responded in a way that made you feel loved and cared for.

Of course, there are memories that you and I have shared that are already impacting your world view, and they will continue to do so for the rest of your life, but it is unlikely that you’ll be able to recall the tiny details of those memories. Instead, like small candles, they cast a glow over your view of self and the world.

I hope I’ve been a good steward of your heart, so far, little dove. I hope I’ve lit good candles in your life. It’s my prayer. I breathe it out with a sigh every time I see you sleeping soundly in your bed (or Lucas'). The remnants of the tiny cherub-baby I held in my arms for the first time when I gave birth to you, me - overcome with love and crying uncontrollably till someone asked me if I was okay. That baby is still there in my arms. I see her in the corners of your mouth, in the tips of your fingers, in the way your arms fold around your face when you sleep.

The other night, when I was pondering all of this: the memories I’m leaving on the hearts of my children, I was absent mindedly getting Lucas ready for his shower. I was thinking about this coming of age that you’re in and how much I hope to do you both right. Exactly as I was thinking those thoughts, Lucas wrapped his arms around me, put his hand over my heart and said, “I know. I know.”

I gasped audibly and looked at him like a ghost had just spoken. How did he know?

Leave it to your spirited big brother to speak to me like a prophet about my own mothering.

Someday, when you’re a mother, you’ll know this to be true: the child is the prophet and the mother is the disciple.

I promise you, it is true.

But you’re not a mother just yet. At four years old, you’re in the cradle of childhood. I hope that you enjoy it all. I hope that I can help you gather up each carefree lesson of the day, and that you’ll enjoy the innocent happiness of your youth. I hope that I will help fill your years with insightful and beautiful memories.

I pray that I’m a good steward of your love, of your childhood, of your innocence. I pray this for you, I pray this for myself, on your fourth birthday, my sweet and dearest Ellie Bean.

With all the love a heart can hold,

Friday, March 8, 2013

Finding my groove...he was wearing orange

My emotions have been on a roller coaster today. I've been frustrated, down-right pissed, humbled and loved. And that was all within an hour!
My morning started off busy as usual - fifteen projects to complete without enough money, time and resources. And that's at my 7:30 - 4:30 big girl job.
Unfortunately, I was sent over the edge by a company that I did some freelance work for. I designed a marketing piece and created a branding standards manual, submitted the files and have heard crickets from the company. No response, no "I hate your work", no payment...nothing. Zilch. Nada. Zip. 
Um....ain't nobody got time to work for free! Pay me.
Anyway. I decided that I was going to go for a run to work off some of my frustration.
I headed over to the Huber Heights YMCA and hit the track.
While I was warming-up, I noticed a group from Montgomery County MRDD start walking on the track also. The coordinator that was with them made sure to keep everyone in a single file and along the railing.
During the middle of my run, I still hadn't found my groove. I was struggling, out of breath and thought that I was going to die. As I ran past the group, the gentleman at the front of the line gave me a thumbs up and the biggest smile ever - like I was winning an important race.
It was at this particular moment that I found my groove - he was on the track wearing a flourescent orange shirt and smiling at me.
I couldn't help but reach out and hold his hand - even if it was only for a brief second. I wanted him to know that his act of kindness didn't go unnoticed.
I'm not sure what his name is or what part of town he is from, but I want it to be known that he made a difference in my life.
In today's world, we use the word "retarded" so flippantly. Do you think that those individuals that use it actually know it's true meaning and definition?
To let it be known...I DESPISE that word. It's offensive when using it to describe someone or a situation. It makes you look ignorant when you use that word, so please...stop.
Each person has his or her own unique abilities. That's what make us all different, beautiful and quite frankly...US.
The man out on the track today didn't see differences between me and him. He saw an opportunity to show me compassion and seized it. Little did he know that I needed it at that exact moment.
You never know what struggles other people are facing, what battles they are enduring or what's going on in their life. Fortunately, LOVE is a universal language that we all speak and can understand.
So...thank you. Thank you for showing me love and compassion today when I wasn't able to give it to myself. Thank you for showing me that the way to inspire can be as simple as a thumbs up and a smile. And thank you...for allowing me to share your gift to the world.
When I grow up, I hope that I am able to touch the lives and hearts of those around me like you did to me today.
So...until we meet again on the track, this is adieu. xoxo

Monday, March 4, 2013

Beans, beans good for the heart...and chocolate chip muffins!

Yesterday, I hosted a 31 Gifts party. My girlfriend decided to sign up as a rep and sent me a text asking if I would host a party for her. Umm....OKAY!!!! I heart 31 bags - they are so practical and useful. And because this is my blog and I can do whatever I want, I'm totally going to shameless plug my party. lol. If you would like to place an order, here is the link:


I decided to make all of my guests test pilots for a new recipe that I wanted to try. (Don't worry...they thanked me later)

A few weeks ago I had a Vegan Mini Chocolate Chip Muffin that was to die for! It was made from garbanzo beans! I know...I couldn't believe it either. It just melted in my mouth and tasted like gooey cookie dough.

So...I decided that I wanted to make them. Fortunately, everybody loved  them! Thank could have been awkward if people were getting sick and spitting them out into my trash can.

The recipe came from Veg News ( Just in case you don't want to head over to their site, the recipe is below:

WW Points +
3 per mini muffin


1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons applesauce
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease mini-muffin pan or cookie sheet. In a food processor, process oats, garbanzo beans, applesauce, vegetable oil, vanilla, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and brown sugar until completely smooth.

2. In a medium bowl, combine batter and chocolate chips. Into mini-muffin pan, scoop dough. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin pan.

Makes 24 mini-muffins

Now...just in case you are like me (a complete visual), here are a few pictures of my process. And's okay to drool.

I don't have a food processor, so I used my blender 

The processed dough and chocolate chips 

Waiting for the oven to preheat. I really should follow the directions. 

Ta-da! Finished muffins! should make yourself some. They are delicious in your mouth.