A Little ‘Crazy’ Doesn’t Hurt

I’m sure you’ve all seen those spouting water fountains where kids love to play. We have a popular one here at our local outdoor mall and my son has always wanted to join in and splash around with the other kiddos. But since I’m a self-accepted germophobe, I’ve NEVER let my son play in that water because I always thought the water was not clean. Who wants to play in recycled water?!?

Even when Evan would plead with those adorable eyes and respectfully ask me, “Peas, Mama, wata peas!”, I always stood firm and told him that he couldn’t play in the water fountain and explained to him that the water was dirty. It broke his heart every time.

But I did something crazy recently. Something totally out of character. Frankly, I don’t even know who that mother is in the picture above, who seems to be having a BLAST playing in that same “dirty recycled water”. Who is that crazy woman?!?

Oh, that’s me : )

When we arrived at the mall that day, my son already knew where he wanted to go. He led me by the hand to the water fountain area where sure enough, there were already a dozen kids playing and having a blast. Evan of course begged me to let him go in. I was feeling especially generous on that beautiful warm day so I thought, okay, a little “toe dip” would be fine.

But as soon as I let Evan’s feet touch the mini water geyser, that was it. I had lost my battle against avoiding that darn dirty water fountain. Of course, some of the water sprayed onto me too and before I knew it, I was in on the water fountain party. Evan was soaked, I was soaked, and we were running rampantly all over that water fountain. We went under the shooting water, over it, through it, around it… and my goodness, playing in that recycled water turned out to be so much fun!

While all the other (responsible and prepared) mothers were sitting on the side, shaded under the tables with umbrellas, prepped with sunblock, towels, change of clothes and sunhats, I on the other hand was running around with my son and playing IN the water fountain with all the other kids.

Even though Evan had a change of clothes and a fresh diaper handy, I myself had no change of clothes. I had to recruit my cousin (Thank you Ninang Mo) to go to Macy’s and find us a towel to dry off. Then I had to quickly shop at H&M completely soaked and dripping wet to buy new and dry clothes. I’m sure just like the moms who were leering at me at the sidelines, the other shoppers and workers at H&M probably thought I was crazy too.

But you know what? I did have a moment of temporary insanity there. But that’s alright, yeah it was crazy, and I’m glad it happened because my son had so much fun and I’m so happy I was able to give him that gift. I learned that day that sometimes it’s okay to be unrestrained, it’s good to be spontaneous. It reminded me how important it is to have fun WITH Evan.

Being a stay at home mom doesn’t always have to be about complying to the daily routine and tedious schedule of cleaning, cooking, laundering, etc… I can’t forget that while cleanliness is important, creating fun memories with my son is more valuable and meaningful in building a close relationship with him.

I love seeing my son’s face when it’s filled with complete joy. But I love it even more, when I have the same look on my face because we’re experiencing that same thrilling moment together.

So mommies, I encourage you next time you schedule a fun activity for your kids, get your hands dirty and join in on the action. I assure you, you won’t regret it : )

DISCUSSION

  • What was a spontaneous and fun memory you had with your child(ren)?

Share your story, your story matters.

Stickin’ It Out

Recently Randy and I have been battling deep anxieties about determining the next “big step” in our lives.

Although Randy is dedicated to working with at risk youths for a non-profit organization, he is eager to work in his field of study, IT Management. He would love to find another job in IT, but we know how difficult it is in this recessive economy to land a job, and it’s even more challenging to switch careers.

For me, being a stay at home mom living in a small studio has slowly taken its toll on me and Evan. We often find ourselves feeling so confined in our small home, also because we don’t have a second car to get us out of the house. The restrictions of living in such a small space for me and my growing energetic toddler becomes more difficult every month.

There’s only so much freedom playing in the backyard or a walk around the neighborhood can give you.

If we reveal the dreams in our hearts, you will see that our family’s goals are for Randy to work in an IT department, to move out of California, and to settle our family in Colorado, where the lifestyle is slower and the cost of living is more affordable.

However, we understand that it’s just not logistically reasonable to uproot our family at this time.

My husband initially thought of looking for another job now, but that would mean he would be competing with all the recent college graduates who are willing to accept jobs for lower pay.

Also, my biggest concern is that even if Randy could land a job, even in his desired field in IT, there would be a lapse in our coverage as he waits a few months to qualify for health benefits for our family.

After hours of heartfelt discussions, we ultimately decided that although our hearts are eager to move out of San Diego to relocate to Colorado, the most responsible move is for us to wait.

We have to wait for a better time to move. When Randy finishes his IT degree with CSU Global in a year and a half, or even maybe before that, when he has acquired a couple of IT certifications, we will surely be better equipped to face a job search, a career change, and an interstate relocation.

Randy and I in the end decided that retaining our family’s health insurance is more important than his desire to change careers and my desire to live in a less confining house. Especially because we’re trying to get pregnant again, protecting our health insurance is inarguably our bigger priority.

In the meantime, as we wait another year for our lives to transform, we continue to have faith that God has prepared a wonderful life ahead of us. We know it won’t be easy, and our patience and understanding will have to be rigorously tested daily, but we choose to believe that a better life is possible for us sooner than later.

We have to just believe, support each other, count our blessings, continue to work hard, be patient, and always, always trust in the Lord that He will never forsake us.

Like my good friend Rowena advised, “Have faith in the Almighty. He watches out for you, your friends and your family.”

We may not be at our desired destination, but every day that we work hard for our family continues to be a step in the right direction.

DISCUSSION

  • What are some of your family’s life goals that had to be put on hold for better timing?

Share your story, your story matters.

Meatless Meal Recipe #1: Tomato Basil Soup, Whole Wheat Quesadillas and Mexi-Carrot Slaw

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m testing the waters on becoming a vegetarian. I’ve been eating significantly less meat and surprisingly, it hasn’t been bad at all.

I was initially worried that not having any meat on my plate wouldn’t satiate my appetite but I’ve actually been able to prepare meatless meals that my whole family has enjoyed.

This was a dinner that my family and I shared the other night, I thought you might enjoy it as well:

NORDSTROM-INSPIRED TOMATO BASIL SOUP

(Thank you to Blake Royer at seriouseats.com for this awesome recipe!)

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
  • 3 28-ounce cans whole peeled Roma tomatoes
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedures:

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add carrots and onion and cook until beginning to soften, 10 minutes, then add basil and cook until vegetables are completely soft, about 5 minutes more.
  2. Add tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, or up to 45 minutes if time permits.
  3. After allowing soup to cool somewhat, purée in a blender or food processor until smooth, doing so in batches if necessary. For a much silkier texture, strain the purée before returning to the pot.
  4. Stir in cream little by little over over low heat, until desired texture is reached and soup is just heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm.

WHOLE WHEAT QUESADILLAS

Ingredients:

  • 2 large whole wheat tortillas (I like Target’s Archer Farms Whole Wheat Tortillas)
  • 2/3 cup reduced fat Mexican Blend shredded cheese (I like Target’s Market Pantry Reduced Fat Shredded Mexican Style Four Cheese Blend)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Procedures:

  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Place 1 tortilla onto the skillet.
  3. Sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly over the tortilla.
  4. Add garlic powder.
  5. Place the second tortilla on top.
  6. Cook until the bottom tortilla starts to develop a bit of color and starts to crisp, about 2 minutes.
  7. Flip the tortilla with a large spatula to cook the other side.
  8. Cook until the bottom tortilla starts turning crispy, about 2 more minutes.
  9. Slide quesadilla onto a cutting board, cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Feel free to add different ingredients to your quesadilla like corn, onions, spinach, zucchini, bell pepper, mushroom, or whatever veggies you have on hand!

MEXI-CARROT SLAW

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups finely shredded carrots
  • 1 cup crushed Tortilla Chips (I like Target’s Archer Farms Blue Corn with Flax Seed Chips)
  • 1 handful of pepitas seeds
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro-lime dressing (recipe below)

Mix shredded carrots, crushed tortilla chips, pepitas and dressing and place in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

CILANTRO-LIME DRESSING

  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 3/4 pkg dry ranch dressing mix
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth and creamy

I hope you and your family enjoy this meal as much as we did. We certainly did not miss not having any meat with this hearty meal! You must try the carrot slaw, it’s so good : )

DISCUSSION:

  • What were your first vegetarian meals?

Share your story, your story matters.