red hair and something from my heart

Today has been a super day.  I woke up early and went to a bodystep class at 8am and then to the grocery to get some teething tablets and diaper cream.  I had been thinking of making some changes to my hair and going red has been one of those things on my bucketlist for quite some time.  Since I was childless I took a little extra time and found my self in the hairdye aisle.  I found a shade I liked and thought, "why not?"  So I came home and dyed it all before the first session of general conference started.  After Evie saw me she said, "Ooooh princess hair mommy!"  That has got to be the best compliment.  So, here are way too many pictures of my new hair.

There is something else on my heart I'd like to share.  A couple weeks ago a man came to our church and spoke.  The topic of his talk was "Unapologetically Christian".  Since then I have not been able to get that phrase out of my mind.  I've been wondering what I can do better in my life to adopt that motto and apply it to the way I live and go through my days.  So I'll just share a few things.

This weekend is a special weekend for members of my church all around the world.  I'm sure most of you who read this blog know that I am a Mormon. My faith is such a big part of me and has helped me to cultivate a relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ and has brought me so much joy in my life so far.  

So twice a year we have General Conference and our prophet Thomas S Monson speaks to us, 15 million Mormons all around the world, as well as the apostles and other leaders of our church.  This is such a unique opportunity because we can hear what the living prophet has to say to us and what The Lord wants us to know about our day.  

I look forward to these all year and they are such a strength and nourishment to my soul and spirit.  Today there were 3 incredible sessions of conference and tomorrow there are two more.  

I would like to invite anyone and everyone I know to watch these conference sessions and see if they bring a peace and good spirit in to your heart.  Hearing from the prophet and his apostles has changed my life for the better and has encouraged me to live a happy and meaningful life.

If you are interested in that for yourself the sessions are from 12-2 and 4-6 eastern time.  You can go to lds.org to watch it live! 


"phone, mama."

About two and a half months ago I was sitting in the living room on the couch watching Avett kick around on the floor while Evaleigh walked around playing with different toys.  I was having a breather from the crazy day and I'm sure I looked pretty checked out.  My two year old came up to me, looked in to my eyes, pushed my phone in to my hand and said, "Phone, mama."   
It was a turning point for me.
  It was a moment where I realized that she was much more knowing than I thought.  All of those times where I was aimlessly scrolling facebook or instagram throughout the quiet moments in the day someone had been watching.  To know that she noticed it was odd for me not to have my phone in my hands at all times was heartbreaking.  I felt an instant sweep of guilt and knew that I needed to make some changes.

As someone who enjoys blogging and sharing bits and pieces of our lives on the Internet, social media has really become quite a part of my every day routine.  I have seen its positive and negative effects in my life.  I have become friends with a community of people who I respect and admire.  I've come in contact with people who I seek out their opinions and rely on for support.  I have been blessed to share many special things from our lives and have enjoyed people rejoicing with us.

But I will admit, with a hint of shame, that I am known to put more effort than should be given in to taking the perfect picture for my instagram feed or staging something that is not exactly natural just because I think it will get a good response.  I find enjoyment in capturing beautiful things but in exchange I have often intruded on sacred moments of my kid's childhoods. 

 Obviously as a mother I want to capture every thing my kids do and preserve it so I'll have it to look back on when they are older.  Infanthood and toddlerhood is such a special time.  Having those moments frozen through pictures are priceless to me and I find myself staring at those pictures mere minutes after my children have gone to bed.  Their childhood seems so fleeting that I feel an urgency and anxiousness to capture it and immortalize it so I'll have it for years to come.  

I had a moment back in January when it snowed and I was outside with Evaleigh for her first snow.  I kept pointing my phone at her face and telling her, "Smile, smile, smile, make a funny face.  Evie look at mommy!"  She put her hand up and said, "No picture mommy."  I was a little embarrassed and realized that what was more important in that moment was letting her experience snow for the first time and me to experience it with her.

Throughout most days I would wander from room to room following my daughter while holding my son and juggling anything else I was trying to carry while holding my phone too.  I realized it had become a natural extension of my hand.  I would look for it frantically when I couldn't see it, almost like it was a third child I had to keep close.  Checking my phone had become a habit instead of a help.  It was an addiction and not a simple device.

I have noticed device dependency more and more in our society.  It is evident in probably every public place we go.  I see it at play dates, family get-togethers, restaurants, my own home, and even stop lights.  It's no secret that smart phones and hand held devices have revolutionized the way we exchange information and have it readily acessable at our fingertips.  There are so many positives to this advancement and I can testify that I have absolutely benefited personally from those changes.  But I have also suffered from them.  I wonder how many moments I may have missed out on because I had my head hung down in a phone screen.  How many people have been ignored or tuned out because of this 'luxury of technology'?

I'm so grateful to my husband who is much smarter than me. About three weeks ago I was so frustrated with myself and I was ready to sell my iphone and go to a simple flip phone.  After spilling to him my desires and feelings about technology and it's influence in our lives he suggested I continue to keep my phone and just set limits for myself.  He said that instead of completely eliminating the phone that I should give my chance the opportunity to succeed and that if I did so I would feel so much better about myself. So I did.  I came up with a plan to set aside a spot for my phone and to leave it there on silent throughout the day.  I taped a piece of paper to the bar and drew a spot for my phone to sit.

So far I have experienced many more meaningful and productive days.

Our days before were filled with some phoneless moments and memory making but these new boundaries have enhanced the good that we have and have eliminated an unnecessary distraction in my life.  

I suppose it all comes down to priorities.  My battle with technology leads to finding a balance.  Will it be a text or time? Facebook or face to face?  A picture or a private moment? Sharing or experiencing? 


61 years

I just spoke with a woman who lost her husband yesterday morning.  She called to speak to me about singing at his funeral.  The moment I answered the phone she could hardly make it through her first sentence.  

They had been married 61 years.

She said, "I don't know how I am going to make it through this," and then jokingly she said, "of course we didn't talk much any more because we'd already said it all."

I couldn't finish our conversation without being in tears my self.  I couldn't imagine loosing your companion after a lifetime together.  I feel so honored to go through this life with John by my side.  He is my best friend.  

In two months we will be married 4 years.  With 4 moves and two babies, loosing loved ones and celebrating successes, making and writing music, many date nights on the couch and rocking and singing and bouncing to babies to sleep together I feel like our four years is a lot.  But when I think about what our lifetime together will bring I know we've just begun.  

Today I am grateful for our life together building and raising a family and being husband and wife.


i want to call john

I am loving this age.  Evaleigh is every bit of a two year old.  The things that come out of her mouth are amazing. I want to record some of her regular phrases we are hearing so often.

"I wanna washa my hands!"

"OHHH, nank you mommy"

"I need a dand-daid mommy, my booboo hurts really bad."

"I love you o much!"

"Ima keep it safe."

The other day she tried to get her Barbie to bend her knees and then made her say a prayer.  

Lately she has been calling John by his first name.  Today we were riding in the car on the way to my visiting teaching appointment and she said, "I want to call John." 

She has been telling us when she wants to take a nap.  After lunch I'll ask if she is ready for her nap and she will ask for choclate milk and start walking towards her room and say, "I'm ready for my rest."

She is really into expressing her love to us and she never misses an opportunity to tell us she loves us. 

She will absolutely not let me do anything with her hair.

I feel like we have been in bandaid rehab lately because I've had to ration how many she gets per day.  She would put a bandaid on every bump she gets if I let her.  After she puts one on she will tell me, "Oh! I feel bet-or!"  Most of the time she will kiss her own booboo better and when I try she will tell me, "No! I do it." 

I bought her a box of princess bandaids the other day and after spotting Ariel in her shell bra she asked me if she was going to excercise.  At first I was confused then I realized that on the Jillian Micheals DVD we have, the backup workout girls only have on sports bras.  I'm pretty sure that was the connection.

The other day she was sitting up at the bar and she started, "ho ho ho" -ing like Santa Clause. There was nothing Christmas related anywhere in sight but I went along with it anyway.  I looked and looked and after a while I spotted a Chinese man with a long white beard on the box of Johns green tea. 

She loves to ride 'Bob', the gator my mom brought over to the house.  This past Sunday John had the idea to take a family ride on Bob and pack a snack and go eat it under the holly trees by the barn.  We sat up on the railroad ties and John started throwing a few peanuts for Nikki to eat.  Every time she would catch one in her mouth Evaleigh would laugh so hard and say, "Nikki funny!"

Tonight in the bath she had the toots and that was probably the funniest thing she'd ever experienced. I don't know if I've ever seen her laugh so hard barring her daddy tickling her. She is wonderful.


the first day of spring

Yesterday morning I woke up in a horrible mood.  I was up at 4am the night before to nurse Avett and then couldn't go back to sleep.  I had finally caught the cold my kids had been fighting all week and I couldn't breathe.  So at 5:15 I made the decision to take some NyQuil.  Worst. Decision. Ever.  I was hungover all morning.  I was so sleepy and irritable and impatient and I let Avett cry much longer than I would have on any other normal day.  It was not my greatest day as a mother that's for sure.  But somewhere around 10:30 we decided to go outside.  Outside is the cure for a lot of things in our house.  I decided to turn my morning around by picking a big bouquet of flowers with Evaleigh.  Spiraea, forsythia, camellias, yoshima cherry blossoms, and some unknown purple thing.  After 5 minutes outside we were all much happier.  Later we came inside with muddy feet and washed up in the bathroom sink. Happy first day of spring. (Yesterday)


5 months

Avett Murphy!  I just don't know where to start with you. I never knew I could be so in love.  I am sitting here in the bedroom in the old blue rocker holding you while you sleep.  I don't get to do this very often because I am so busy during the day with your sister that when you do take your naps I have to lay you down in your crib.  You are SO heavy.  You are just a really solid mass of a baby.  You are so strong and you always like to do things early and fast and much too ahead of your age.  

You smile all of the time.  You are just about the flirtiest baby I've ever seen.  I love it.  You and your sister started laughing at each other about a month ago.  You watch her every move.  When she notices you looking at her she will start dancing or making noises and then you guys just start giggling together.  She wanted to hold you today and so I let her.  You are so big that she wanted you back off about a minute later.  But she said, "I love brother.  Teeny ears. Cute baby." I hope you will always be close.

You love to play with the baby wipes.  I can never keep you on your back.  You must be on your tummy at all times.  You started sitting up last month.  You put yourself to sleep for almost every single nap.  You love to pull the blanket up over your face when you are falling asleep.  It makes me so nervous so I always come back in after you fall asleep and take it off.  You are so good and easy going.

Everytime I pick you up from a nap you nuzzle in my neck and make an 'mmmm' sound.  I swear it sounds like you are saying mama sometimes.

I'm sorry I'm 3 months behind on your videos.  You and your sister keep me so busy that when nightime comes and you two are finally asleep all I want to do is hang out with your dad and relax.  I'll try and get to them soon.  

I am finally getting used to your bald head.  It strangely makes you look more like a baby as well as more grown up.  

You are such an amazing addition to our family. I can't believe we ever lived without you.  We are all so crazy about you and we love you.


cauliflower crust pizza

 Many of you asked about the recipie for this Cauliflower Crust Pizza.  I'm sure you could find many recipies all over the Internet but I based mine off of Paula Deens recipie.  I made one small change though.  Which I'll share down below.

Ever since my sister inlaw visited back in January and introduced me to Cauliflower rice, I always keep a head of cauliflower on hand.  We make the rice about once a week and use it for a side with meals or we put it in to a whole wheat tortilla with fresh sliced peppers, pepper jack cheese, and some light ranch.   So since I was feeding the missionaries last week and I had a head of cauliflower I needed to use up I decided to try an experiment and make cauliflower crust pizza.  Besides, who better to try out food experiments on than hungry 19 year old boys.  Plus they have to eat whatever you fix, I'm pretty sure that's a mission rule.  

It turned out great! I actually really loved it and it is such a better alternative when those pizza cravings hit.  We topped ours with turkey pepperoni, roasted squash, zucchini, and yellow and red peppers.

Cauliflower Crust

Process 1 medium size cauliflower head in food processor until finely grated.

Microwave for 6 minutes.

Let it cool for about 10 minutes then stir in 1 egg, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.  I also added 1 tablespoon milled flax seed.

Spread crust out on a baking sheet and pre cook at 425 without toppings for 12 minutes.  Take it out and add your sauce cheese and toppings and then cook again until cheese is melted and bubbly.

I've made this two times. The second time I didn't let the cauliflower cool all the way from when I microwaved it and it was definitely a fork pizza.  The first time I made the pizza when it cooled from coming out of the oven we were able to eat it by picking it up.  All in all it was an experiment gone well!


another day

There was nothing really special about today. 

I think that's what made it special to me.  It was just another day.  A day full of giggles and tears and requests and wardrobe changes and messes.

I pulled Avett in to bed to nurse around 6:30.  About 10 minutes later after dozing back off we awoke to Evaleigh crying for her daddy.  John sleepily got out of bed and pulled on some sweat pants in the dark.  I love hearing him tell her good morning on the monitor.  A few minutes later he returned to let me know she had soaked through her jammies and that we needed dry clothes for her.  I drifted back off to sleep and Avett and I woke back up around 7:45.  We got to snuggle and smile at each other in the morning light and a diaper change is in order.  I go to join John and Evaleigh and I find them curled up on the couch and Parker is also snuggled up under Johns other arm while they all watch Frozen.

I take my chance and start lunch prep while the kids are occupied and Avett is happy.  Boil vegetable pulp.  Chop carrots and celery.  Grill chicken.  

Meanwhile Evie wants milk.  

Bekah and I get ready to go to excersize and I realize I have a huge hole in my leggings so I have to change and put on 3 sports bras.  I realize the sports bras were all a bit premature because I have to feed Avett before we go.  He eats and then his eyes get heavy and there is a successful transfer to the pack and play. Thank goodness.

Off we go.  Zumba was fun.  I felt silly but it was fun.   When we get back home I am excited to see the kids and John is bouncing Avett on the ball.  I finish throwing the soup together for lunch and I put it on to boil.  

I shower and it's time to nurse Avett again. He is so ready to eat and squeals with impatience.  It's pretty cute.  Meanwhile Evaleigh is falling asleep drinking her milk on the couch while tugging on her ear like she always does.  I text John for help in the other room, as he has gone back to work after so sweetly watching the kids all morning.  He scoops her up and takes her back for a nap.  She cries as he carries her down the hall and after a few minutes he tries to leave the room but the creaky wooden floors wakes her. So it takes another attempt and then she is out. 

We all eat lunch.  The soup is good. I finally get Avett down for his second nap and just as I do Evie is up from her nap.  She is clearly not ready and asks to lay back down.  So I sit in the rocking chair in the room and she keeps closing and opening her eyes to peek at me.  5 minutes pass and she is ready to come out.  I feed her chicken and carrots and she wants me to feed a stuffed animal puppy too. 

While the boys are asleep Rebekah, Kate, Evie, and I all share a sweet girls moment.  She keeps saying "I miss you Kate, I love you Kate."  Kate smiles at all of us crowed around her on the ottoman.  Evaleigh says phrases and sentences I've never heard her day before,  "did ya ek-er-size yet?"  She has a long conversation with Bekah about the boo-boo on her finger and she shows a lot of concern.  She asks her all sorts of questions and I just sit there in amazement learning about my girl and bewildered at all of the things she knows.  There is nothing but bright eyes and a smile on my face.

Avett wakes and he burrows in to my neck and he feels so right right there.  Ashlyn comes over and she and Bek stay inside while I play with the toddlers on the trampoline outside.   Evaleigh is not interested in sharing the trampoline with Parker and we battle that on and off for at least 30 minutes.  At some point John comes running outside and jumps on the trampoline and we get so excited that he is finally done with work for the day!  Evaleigh asks him to get off.  Ashlyn eats some of my soup and she says it's the best soup she's ever had, it makes me feel like a million bucks.

Some time passes and it's yet again nursing time for the boy.  We go back in to the guest room and I prop myself up on a pile of pillows.  The fan is blowing hard and it pushes an unruly curl across my forehead over and over.  Evaleigh comes in to join us and spies a dress I have packed for her.  She wants to wear it so bad so I try to change her one handed while I keep nursing Avett.  I look down at him and know that this moment is simple and mundane but that someday I'll think of it and it will be one of my favorites.

More playing.   Dragging Evie around the hard wood floors on a towel and she loves it.   Dinner time.  Egg salad wraps, Evaleigh helps me put in the pepper and salt while sitting up on the island.  Bed time.  Family prayer by her bedside, it's my turn tonight. 

And here I am, at the end of another normal day. Oh so tired and oh so happy.


bye bye mangy

I was not ready for this. A couple of days ago we shaved Avetts head.  His hair was full, dark, and precious when he was born and it hung around for a little while. But once he started rolling and wiggling around he started loosing most of it and all that was left was a long awkward Mohawk on top and a mullet down his neck in the back.  I tried to hold on as long as I could but the greasy comb over that always managed to work its way down the center of his forehead just wasn't working any more. 

So, it was with a heavy heart that we razor-ed it all off.  He sat perfectly still almost the whole time and shocked us both.  He seemed to be memorized by the sound of the buzzer.

I'm still not used to it.  The awkward hair was just sort of his thing, and honestly I miss that mangy do.  


kale, carrot, chickpea, & ham soup

This soup turned out better than I ever thought it would be! I had several requests for the recipe so here it is for you folks!

I have been trying my hand at finding uses for my leftover pulp from juicing.  So far I have made bread, fiber chews, and vegetable broth out of the pulp.  The broth is by far my favorite thing to do with it.  

I think part of the reason it is so satisfying is because I get use out of my fruits and vegetables THREE times.  1st time: juicing  2nd time: soup broth 3rd time: compost.  We are going to have some great soil to use in our garden this year.

I save about 4 days worth of juice pulp.  This weeks collection included pulp from carrots, beets, kale, spinach, ginger, red and green apples, lemon, yellow peppers, and celery.  I dumped all of it in to a pot and put 2 parts water to one part pulp.  Then I added garlic, bay leaves, cumin, red pepper flakes and salt and set it on medium-low heat to simmer for about an hour.

When it was done I strained the broth from the leftover pulp in to another pot and pressed it down and let it drip for about 30 minutes to make sure I got as much as I could.  Then I dumped the remaining pulp outside in our compost pile.

The night before I made Kale Chips with some Mrs. Dash chipotle seasoning and coconut oil.  Right after they came out of the oven they were amazing!  But I must not have stored them properly because come morning they were a bit soft again.  In an effort not to let any of our produce go to waste I decided to use them in the soup.

In to the big pot I combined the broth, the kale chips, 4 sliced carrots, 2 cups diced ham (leftover from our weekend dinner with my dad!), 1 package of lipton soup mix, and 1 can of organic chickpeas and some spices.  I let it simmer for about 40 minutes until the carrots were soft. 

We were shocked at how delicious it was and even my two year old ate up the kale, chickpeas, and carrots and had it all again for lunch today!

Recipe:  Kale, Carrot, Chickpea, and Ham Soup

8 cups of juicer pulp vegetable broth. (see recipe above) or other vegetable broth
4 large chopped carrots
6 stalks chopped kale
1 can organic chickpeas
1 package Lipton soup mix
1 tbsp Mrs Dash Chipotle seasoning
2 tsp chicken stock granules\
2 cups chopped cubed ham

Combine all and simmer about 40 minutes or until carrots are soft.


in with the good

Last night I made Kale Chips.  After I put them in the oven to bake I thought, "Who even am I?!"  

I used to be the kind of person that when offered a salad I thought, "Have I angered you somehow? What did I do to deserve this horrible excuse for a meal?"

I've never really been the healthy type.  I pretty much ate and did what I pleased through high school, college, and up through the first 3 years of my marriage.  A few happy pounds and two beautiful babies later I found myself wanting to make some changes.  In the past I had halfheartedly made some commitments to exercise or eat better and they all ultimately ended up falling through within weeks or even days.  

The truth is I was content with where I was.  I didn't hate my body or have low energy.  I loved to eat sweets all of the time and every night was treated like it was a celebration and I would allow myself to give in to whatever craving I had. (mostly because I'm an adult and thats one of the perks after all!)  When things got hard there wasn't necessarily a big motivation for me to continue on.  

After experiencing the exhilaration of natural childbirth with Avett I literally felt like I could do anything.  I remember the moments right after I pushed him out I kept repeating, "I can't believe I just did that!  That was amazing!!"  I mean I was practically yelling it.  Childbirth was the highest of the high feelings I had ever felt. It made me want to do more things to push my body to new limits.  Giving birth to Avett was the positive driving force that gave me the confidence to know that I can do hard things.

So, when 2014 rolled around I made the cliche resolution that this year would be different.  I adopted the motto, 

"In with the good."

We have been eating a lot of good lately.  And I am proud to say that I have lost 17 pounds so far and John has lost 19.  We've lost 3 pounds more than what our two year old Evaleigh currently weighs.

I feel like we have become accidental occasional vegetarians.  We eat meat sparingly and have vegetables with every meal.  Lots of water.  Juicing.  Soup from Juice Pulp.  Greek Yogurt.  Cauliflower rice. Morningstar burgers.  Exercise.  Boiled Eggs.  Roasted peppers.  The occasional bowl of ice cream because we are human after all.  Coconut Oil.  Flax Seed.  Nuts.  Apples.  

So, hello kale...we are so excited about our new changes.

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