Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries Vol. IV: Adventure


Dear Ava,

"To live would be an awfully big adventure." -- J.M. Barrie

You should read that in an English accent, because that brilliant author is English and I think it sounds more beautiful that way. ;) Aves, I love that quote, it's simple but powerful. I interpret it as saying that truly living and appreciating each day and each experience makes for an adventurous life!

Your adventures and life experiences do not have to be perfect or go just as planned to be wonderful. Sometimes the ones that have uncomfortable bumps or unexpected left turns are the ones we treasure and never want to forget! They shape and mold us. I'd say being a mother has been one of those adventures for me. You and Brooks are my greatest adventures yet, and I know your Dad agrees. We've felt a rainbow of emotions because each of you have stolen our hearts--the highest of highs, moments of pure peace, and lows that are hard to describe. But you are allowing us to live life more richly! And loving you gives your Dad and I a taste of how much our Heavenly Parents love us. Being able to experience and see life through your ever-learning eyes has been such a gift.  

You have turned mundane moments into pure magic. I can only hope that you continue to soak up and appreciate life's little and big adventures...

Dance in the kitchen--it's our favorite dance floor. ;)

Pick funky ice-cream flavors.

Be brave and be kind to those whom others are not. And introduce yourself to the "new kid" at school.

Go on trips and talk to strangers along the way.

Never take a sunset for granted. Or cool sheets in the summer time. A warm house in the winter time. Or true friends that will always have your back.

Be weird. I promise, everyone else is too. :)

After you find your other half and get married, keep dating him.

Rock your babies to sleep.

Soak up nature! On short walks take your shoes off to feel the grass on your feet. And on multi-day backpacking trips take time to be still and pray to God out loud in His creations.

Laugh when you feel like it, and even when you don't.

Cry when you're sad, and when you're happy.

Write down spiritual experiences you have.

Add as many stamps to your passport as possible.

If you get to visit Niagra Falls and you take the 'Maid of the Mist' tour, stick your tongue out when you're getting sprayed by the water's mist. It's kind of gross, but kind of awesome. Trust me. ;)

Forgive. Yourself and others. It can be insanely hard, but is insanely liberating too.

And wear your babies Ava. Being able to wear you in our slings, at home or on our travels, has made for some of my most treasured motherhood moments.

I love you. And I love our adventures together.

Love,
Mom


PS - These photos are from last night's adventures into the city--the Salt Lake City Capitol sure is gorgeous! Loved wearing you for a bit, and I'm grateful Dad took the photos he did. I treasure them. :) It was such a lovely spring evening with you guys, my favorites.


*** In all of these photos I am wearing Ava in our Simple Silk Sakura Bloom sling, in Bittersweet.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Honey Cilantro Lime Chicken & Mango Avocado Salsa



We're trying to be better about what we put in our bodies over here. Goodness it's not always easy, we all love our baked goods and ice cream. haha ;) But I know it's what we need! Cheers to whole foods. Tonight's dinner was all sorts of delicious. I especially loved that it included blackberry honey my sweet brother and his partner got us for Christmas, local from their Whidbey Island home. :) It was fun creating in the kitchen tonight and I wanted to share the recipes...



HONEY LIME CILANTRO CHICKEN
(adapted from food.com's Cilantro Chicken)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
1 1/2 Tbs honey
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Trim and rinse chicken breast then place in a shallow baking pan (I used an 8x8" glass dish). In a small pan, melt coconut oil and set aside. In a small bowl, mix lime juice, cilantro, garlic, honey, melted coconut oil, salt, and pepper. Pour over chicken and turn pieces to coat evenly. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes (I marinated mine for about 7 hours and it worked great!). I cooked my chicken on our George Foreman at the lowest setting (300 degrees) for about ______ minutes, until there was no pink in the middle. Grilling them would be amazing though! Enjoy!

MANGO AVOCADO SALSA

1 mango
2 avocados
2 roma tomatoes
1/4 orange bell pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
juice of 2 limes

Chop, dice, and mix it all together! Put in a bowl with a lid or plastic wrap to seal it, then refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!

PS - I posted the photo below on instagram last summer, but in case you want a fun and easy way to cut a mango, here ya go! I'd just cut the squares/cubes much smaller for the salsa.



Monday, March 31, 2014

Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries Vol. IV: Listening

Listen with ears of tolerance.
See through eyes of compassion.
Speak with the language of love.
-Rumi


Dear Ava,

I can remember the first time Dad and I listened to your heart beat while you were growing inside my belly. It was quick and strong, yet it made the rest of the world around us slow down. Whether it's your heart, your voice, or your eyes talking to me, I will always listen. Sometimes it takes a few "mom-mom-mom"s and a tug at my pants while I'm doing dishes in the kitchen, but I want you to know I feel so blessed to be able to look at your sweet face and really listening to what you're wanting to tell me.

As you grow you'll have opportunities to listen, learn from, and help those around you. I hope you take time to really be there when your siblings or friends need someone to talk to. Sometimes they'll just want a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on...and that's when you have the chance to hear more than just the words they are saying. Being a good listener is such a gift.

Another gift is your intuition--the feelings in your heart and the promptings you get from your Heavenly Father--always listen to that. "The value of persistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will hear Him." I love that! Whether you pray throughout the day, or pray once a month, your Father in Heaven is always listening and aware of your desires, whether you express them vocally or not. Ava, the beauty of that "persistent prayer" is you have that open line of communication, and if you take time to be still and listen, you'll feel what He's trying to tell you.

Looking through these old photos of Dad and me wearing you in the sling, I smile thinking of the times you fell asleep and I could hear you breathing, in and out. Or when we were exploring somewhere new, and you'd either snuggle in close to Dad's chest, or you'd point excitedly and babble about something that made you happy. :) I've been grateful to be able to wear you close, listen to you, and feel your heart beat next to mine. I'll always listen for what's in your heart Ava. I love you to the moon!

Love,
Mom

PS - The photo below of you wearing and kissing your baby doll will forever be one of my favorites!


*** In all of these flashback-photos we're wearing Ava in our Pure Linen Sakura Bloom sling, in maple.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Finding the Birthday boy's "Magic Tower"

Last Friday was Brooks' birthday! That sweet boy turned 4. Where did the time go?? Well, while Daddy was at work, I knew the littles and I needed a birthday adventure. So after seeing my friend Caroline post about the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Reserve, I knew we needed to explore that gorgeous place! It did not disapoint. We walked on a wooden path way through golden grass as far as the eye could see, with snowy mountains to the east, and a "magic tower" to the south. Brooks was so excited to get to it! Upon walking to the top of the tower, we (as in I;) sang "Happy Birthday" to our new 4 year old. I wish I could've bottled up that moment! On the way back, Ava had a bit of a melt down (haha oh girl), but for the most part the afternoon was pretty perfect. Love my little explorers. And we're excited to go back through out the summer and look for birds, as it's a reserve for some amazing species!
^^ They're hard to see, but there are two ducks in the water by the grass, to the right of Ava's head. The kids loved when we spotted them! ^^
^^ Kisses for my birthday boy! ^^
^^ The lookout from the tower. ^^

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries Vol. IV: Education



Dear Ava,

"If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you." -Unknown

I love that quote! Two people came to mind after reading it--your Dad and your Grandma Stum. Ava, your Dad is always wanting to learn more! Whether it's learning how to better his skills on the job, learning to be a better father each and every day (he's such a good one yet keeps improving!), or learning about the Gospel. He's not okay with settling with what he knows now, he want to educate himself and know more because he knows knowledge is power. His desire to learn and grow as an individual is inspiring. And your Grandma Stum, her passion for learning is contagious! Looking back, I was pretty lucky to grow up with a set of Encyclopedias at home, thanks to her. :) And she loves books, just devours them. I don't remember a book I was assigned to read in high school, and some in college too, that she didn't read also. Then she was able to share her thoughts and her perspective with me--she's so generous with her knowledge. Her thirst for knowledge is incredible!

Ava I hope you look to them throughout your life as awesome examples of how gaining and seeking education will benefit you. I feel blessed to get to watch you and your brother learn new things every day! As children you have an innate desire to explore and learn about the world around you. I hope to help keep that desire and flame burning bright in you! I know learning, in and out of the classroom, has its hard moments. But conquering those difficult lessons and gaining an education will truly give you wings to fly, and like the quote said, "no one can stop you."

I love you my sweet girl. You are kind. You are smart. You are important.

Love,
Mom

PS - I loved exploring part of the Salt Lake City Library with you, Brooks, and Dad the other day. And I'm so grateful that our sweet and talented friend Lindsay was able to capture it in these photos!





*** I'm wearing Ava in a Simple Linen Sakura Bloom sling, in silver. Again, huge thanks to Lindsay of Lindsay Dee Photography!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fresh out of the tub...


Jumping on the bed, fresh out of the tub...
Playing with the animals their Daddy played with when he was a boy...
Stealing kisses...
Awesome half-wet hair dos...
Telling Mama what the gorilla and lion both say...

...all made up a small part of an afternoon that I never want to forget.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries Vol. IV: Confidence



Dear Ava,

"No woman is a more vibrant instrument in the hands of the Lord than a woman of God who is thrilled to be who she is." --Sheri Dew

Thinking back over different stages of my life...I can remember times when I wasn't "thrilled" to be who I was. My confidence was fragile--whether I was struggling with my physical appearance, not believing in my ability to accomplish my goals or try new things, or not having confidence in my spirit being able to get through hard times. I hope you come to know Ava, before I really did, that being confident in your own skin and your body's abilities is awesome, but it's not everything. That no matter how many times you try and fail, you can always always always try again! And that through different stages in life you will be stretched far beyond what you're comfortable with, but I promise that you'll learn through it all and come out stronger and more confident if you remember that you're not alone.

As your mom, I am with you and your sweet brother all the time, and yet I can feel so lonely at times. Honestly, motherhood has thrown more blows at my confidence in myself than I'd like to admit. But Ava, your unconditional love for me--your trust and your forgiving, little heart--is what always builds it back up. You and your brother are daily evidences that I can have an impact on the world. Takes me breath away just thinking about it!

You'll be two this March, and you're already miss independent...as long as you feel comfortable in your surroundings. ;) When we're out and about, you are passionate about either being worn in your sling or walking and exploring all by yourself. I appreciate both! Aves, I think that wearing you from the start has been a beautiful way to instill in you a comfort and confidence that you are loved, which has helped you feel good about venturing out and trying things on your own. I'll wear you as often as you'll let me. Seeing the world from similar points of view never loses its magic. It sure added to the magic we experienced at the Ice Castles in Midway this past weekend!

And back to the quote I shared with you at the beginning...I am thrilled to be your mom Ava. I am thrilled to be your sweet Daddy's wife. I am thrilled to be a sister and a friend and a woman of God who makes mistakes but tries to learn from them. And I am thrilled to be able to watch you become an instrument in His hands. I love you Ava, always. 

Love,
Mom


** I'm wearing Ava in a Simple Linen Sakura Bloom sling, in silver. Thanks to my sweet Adam for taking these pictures. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...