Behind starburst eyes

Chocolate Hummus Recipe

Well dear readers, I am always on the look out for another delicious recipe to try and this one was a hit as an icing for my cupcakes and even better it was also a hit with the wee ones as a dip for their fruit slices! YAY for children eating fruit! ūüėĬ†

Chocolate Hummus:

Ingredients:

1 can (14oz) of Chickpeas (drained)

1 cup of cocoa powder 

1/3 cup of honey

1/4 cup of coconut milk powder

Instructions:

1) Blend chickpeas in a blender or food processor until smooth (or as close to as you can get) 

2) Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again until thoroughly mixed.

3) Refrigerate until needed

 

The above recipe is my adaptation of the following:

http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2011/06/chocolate-hummus-so-decadent-that-you.html 

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Our Epic Camping Trip: Chapter 2 (Growing our village)

When¬†N was born 2 months early and had to stay in the NICU one of the hardest parts was that I couldn’t hold him all the time, he’d get¬†too cold no matter how he was bundled and he’d have to go back into his incubator after the smallest amount of time, and that was when he wasn’t under the lights for such severe jaundice when we couldn’t touch him at all. I swore that once he was home with us I’d cuddle him every single day for hours and hours. Until he was¬†about a year old he was okay with that,¬†but then slowly day by day, little by little it changed. By the time he was 18 months he hated being touched at all, he wouldn’t¬†allow cuddles and he’d have a complete meltdown if I tried to hug or kiss him. It was at the point that I’d cry regularly to my sister-in-law that it was SO hard to raise a child that would¬†hit¬†me and scream if I tried to offer affection.¬†I’ve written about the pain and struggles of loving a child and not being able to show them love through cuddles and touch here
Perhaps it was the lack of additional stimuli, perhaps it was that a bond had been formed between them a year prior when N had his horrific allergic reaction and “D” was his medic, perhaps it was cause¬†D was L’s dad and N knew this. I don’t know, and the whys really don’t matter.

What does matter is the picture I have imprinted in my mind of watching, heart bursting as my youngest son asked someone intentionally for a hug, received it and kept on holding on until he was picked up for a full on cuddle!!! N cuddled into D, resting his golden-haired¬†head upon D’s shoulder, one little arm slung across his other shoulder and a clump of brown shirt gripped with chubby fingers completely content with being held, with resting upon him. MY son was content being held, and I was trying¬†not to cry. There was the man who¬†had saved him a year before, doing something almost as amazing, he was cuddling with N, because N wanted him too!¬†He wanted to be held, and I didn’t give a rat’s ass who he wanted it from. I was trying not to cry because it was so beautiful to see, it gave me hope that one¬†day he¬†would be okay with physical affection on a regular basis. Not just from me, but from others too. He felt safe, I could see it pouring out of every fiber of him, and I was almost brought to my knees, I was so humbled to be¬†gifted with this sight.

Then it just gets better, cause honestly this camping trip was truly and utterly epic in the fact that I wondered when I’d wake up half the time, so singularly beautiful were the scenes woven into my family’s tapestry those 3 weeks.

My husband and I went to the fire pit ___ feet from our tent (I use ___ cause I’m terrible at guessing distance, but suffice to say it was super close, close enough that you could hear the wee ones while at the fire pit if they woke,¬†and you could hear the people from the fire pit while in the tent) Someone was playing a guitar and I was sitting beside them and so I didn’t immediately hear N wake up the one night. M (D’s¬†phenomenally stellar wife) came to tell me N was awake and D went to him while she came to get me.¬†I felt so blessed that D had not chosen to “respect my privacy” by not entering my tent, that instead he’d chosen to enter¬†so that my son could be immediately comforted. That alone was so incredibly heartwarming for me.¬†I¬†understand that in our day and age people often won’t do something like that out of concern that they would upset the owner of said tent with what¬†would often be viewed as an invasion of privacy. While I understand that is why¬†many would¬†not enter at all, when it comes to one of my children being upset I don’t feel that way about my tent at all.¬†I appreciated GREATLY that my child’s emotional wellbeing was the only concern of D and M and that they made the choices they did!

My throat constricted at the scene before me as I entered my tent:¬†D on his knees with his arms¬†gently cradling N, and¬†once again¬†my sweet boy had his head resting calmly upon D’s shoulder. His eyes were already shut again, a tear track the only trace of¬†upset left upon his serene face. While I was saddened that he’d had a bad dream and had woken up upset, what transpired with D and M and him will always be a memory I treasure, in part because again there was N, totally and utterly¬†accepting of this other person as someone he could trust,¬†and also because there were 2 people who cared enough¬†about N, not¬†just in a vague “all children should be valued” way but in a concrete, “N is important to us as the individual he is”.¬†He was in essence taken in as a¬†part of their village for the duration of our camping alongside them, and for that they both will always be a part of the village of¬†my and my family’s¬†hearts.

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Our Epic Camping Trip: Chapter 1 (Growing our village)

It’s been a couple of weeks since we returned home from our epic camping trip. We camped for¬†1 night shy of 3 weeks¬†in tents as a family of 5 and it has taken me these last two weeks to be able to put into words just how monumental that trip was for us as a family.

I am still struggling to be able to paint with words an accurate picture of the precious moments we had as a family while camping. To begin, we started our camping trip with a friend’s handfasting and we stayed until the end of a festival we go to every year called Kaleidoscope Gathering.¬† After the handfasting we picked a spot and started to set up our campsite. We were right beside a gentleman’s site that my husband has known for many years. He’s a fantastic man full of a keen wit, massive intelligence, and charm. He also does not suffer fools lightly and has quite the cutting tongue should one get on his bad side (or so I’m told) He is the first chapter in our growing village story. I have met “M” a few¬†times and always enjoyed his company, but for different reasons we’ve never really gotten to converse much. One of us has always been in the middle of something, or on our way to somewhere else. This year our timing was wonderful and we spent several evenings captivated by the lively company we found with him¬†once our wee ones were asleep in our tent¬†just a few feet from his own.¬†He opened his heart as well as his space to not just my husband, but to me as well. An honor I was¬†grateful for as I enjoyed myself greatly¬†during our conversations¬†both those¬†about mundane and those about esoteric things.

However I was not the only one in my family that found myself seeking out his company and conversations, my eldest son adored popping over and having chats about a plethora of topics. I listened (okay I eavesdropped lol) and at one point my heart ached with gratitude as this man with so much knowledge patiently focused on my eldest and conversed WITH him, not at him, explaining all sorts of fascinating things that C was apparently curious about. Some I had no idea he thought of, but there he was asking all sorts of things and M smiled as he answered with brilliance in ways that C totally understand some very deep and introspective questions.

Then there was the time that M moved his campsite around! I’m not kidding, N has not fully learnt yet to not touch things that are not his, and because M wanted our whole family to feel welcome he removed an entire table with all of it’s accoutrements from his site, rearranging them so that they were out of N’s reach. Touched? More than I could say! M had¬†no need to change his site, he was certainly happy with how it looked prior to his moving of said¬†table, but he wanted N to be able to come over to his site with us and not get into trouble with me for¬†not being able to resist touching the various items on M’s coffee table.

M’s kind words of support and encouragement about my boys, about G, about my parenting of the 3 were lovely gifts that I hold¬†dearly in my heart.

We’ve been home two weeks now and I know the connections¬†built between M and our family will always stay as deep as they grew during our time as neighbours, a fact I¬†smile about as I type this. I find myself thinking of him often and sad that we are not as physically close to one another as we were during our epic camping trip.

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9 Years Ago

9 years ago today my entire world changed as my eldest son drew his first breath.

To try and capture the awe I have felt all these years watching him grow, watching the changes in him is as difficult as capturing the sun’s warmth in words. It alters everything, gives new life and vision to the world and so did my son’s birth for me.

I changed the day he was born, in ways that I am still learning, and realizing. He painted flames across my belly, they look like they encircle my belly button and rise up to my heart. Each one is a mark from the precious moments I carried his body within my own, safe from the world, wrapped within my body, cradled by my energy, and lulled by my heart that from then on would beat because of him. He (and his siblings) are my world.

His birth was beautiful, I was surrounded by love, peace and support from the womenfolk closest to my heart. My mother held her first grandchild moments after he was born. My best friend since childhood was there with me throughout the entire thing, just as we’d been together through many major changes in our lives. A dear friend of my mother and I sang songs of welcome to my son and you could physically feel her joy emanating from her very being. As she held him¬†I finally rested after 2 days of labor, wrapped in my own mother’s arms as she offered her own strength to me.¬†A gift I have called upon many a times since that day to help guide me through the¬†waters of motherhood.

Already I see the foreshadowings of the man he’ll be,¬†it whispers from the crook of his smile¬†sometimes, it glints in his eyes as he watches over his brother playing¬†in the fading golden light of¬†early evening, it¬†floats upon his shoulders as stands up for what his heart and mind say are the right choices.¬†He is a good boy, and he’s on this way to becoming a good man.¬†The last 9 years have passed ever so fast, and I know the next 9 will as well. So I¬†shall do my best to stay¬†firmly planted within each moment with him, to relish in the now as the now is so¬†precious in¬†part¬†due to it’s very fleeting nature.

Happy Birthday C, you’re my dude, always and forever¬†¬†¬†¬†

 

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Fantasy Hair Colors

I understood that upon becoming a mother that I would most likely do things I’d never imagined prior to motherhood for the sake of my children, having pink hair wasn’t one I expected.¬†I am now used to the looks I receive upon first seeing me with my variety of bright hair colors, ones that are commonly called “fantasy colors” because there is no way that they could ever be natural. My favorite is bright pink, almost a fuchsia really. For years I dyed my hair various shades of Auburn and I loved it the vibrancy of them. (Naturally I’m simply a dark chestnut brown)

When my eldest son was about 3 years old I started taking him to our local library’s pre-school story time program. It was once a week for 45minutes and he loved it. The part he did not love was “pick-up time”, which was when the¬†grown-ups who were to¬†wander the library during it but to stay away from the actual area the kids were in came back to the children’s area for their child. He didn’t like that time because he had trouble with facial recognition skills and would get anxious trying to “find” me in the throng of moms standing in a row waiting for our kids. I tried to figure out what to do to help him as he couldn’t just quickly scan the area with his eyes and spot me. It would take him time, enough time that he’d get upset thinking that I wasn’t there. I tried pointing out what I was wearing before we’d go in so he could look for a certain color of shirt or whatnot, but that did not work. I tried making sure I was at the beginning of the line, but then he’d start looking at the end first those days and vice versa, I tried calling for him from the moment he started looking, but still he wasn’t sure where my voice was coming from as he’d already be nervous…And that is how my fantasy hair colors started. I dyed my hair a brilliant fuchsia and of course I was the only adult with such hair color at our little library and so it was very easy for him to glance for the hair color and then take the few seconds he needed to verify my face in his mind. The nervousness on his part stopped, and overall it was much happier and better for him as he could be excited about the library program (which he LOVED) and still feel safe and secure that he could find me when he wanted too.

His facial recognition has gotten much better over the years, to the point that I don’t need to dye my hair anymore for his sake. My younger son also associates the fantasy hair colors with me though, to the point that he automatically assumes when seeing them on someone else that they are me, and will try to follow them if I’m not with him calling out “momma”. Once he’s able to recognize my face immediately, and does not need the visual cue of a unique hair color will I stop dying my hair? No, probably not. I started doing it to help my eldest, and eventually my youngest as well, but over the years ironically enough I too have started to associate those hair colors¬†with me.

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