I Love the Mountains, I Love the Rolling Hills

In this week of gratitude I would be remiss to ignore the natural beauty of the world. Living in the mountains has been an amazing adventure for the last three years, but the beauty of the mountains would not be as amazing without all the variety in the world. Desert, plains, hills, mountains, oceans, rivers, lakes, forest – the options are endless for outdoor exploration. I am especially grateful for this nation’s National Parks and the outdoor opportunities they present.

I’m Thankful for Snow, But I Wasn’t Always

I used to hate the winter. Shoveling snow, treacherous driving, the cold, the layers – it seemed like there was no redeeming part of being surrounded by snow and ice.

Growing up on the flat lands of Nebraska and Wisconsin didn’t allow for much exposure to downhill mountain sports. One of my first downhill skiing experiences was down a converted garbage dump and I wasn’t very good at it. So as an adult when I moved to the Wasatch mountains in Utah they seemed surreal at first, like a set on a movie screen. Nothing could be that big.

Years passed. I got married. I still disliked the snow. Then something changed. I watched the Winter X games on TV. The snowboarders, skiers and snowmobilers blew my mind with their tricks, flips and wide faced smiles. I wanted a piece of that joy.

At that time my husband and I desperately wanted a baby. We had tried for 6 months, then a year, then a year and a half and couldn’t get pregnant. After watching the X games I decided if I couldn’t have a baby like I wanted then I would do something else that really wanted. Learn to Snowboard.

Thanks to a Womens Workshop at Brighton resort I did just that. The first lesson I didn’t even make it on the lift. I fell a lot and was sore by the end but I came back the next week and did it again. Then I signed up for the following month.

Something changed in my attitude. Suddenly I had a reason to love the snow. The joy and thrill of gliding down the mountain was new to me and I relished it. That thrill was only possible if the storms kept coming. Snow created so much joy that eventually I became a snowboard instructor and moved my whole family to live within walking distance of a ski resort.

Now my kids are learning to ski and I can hardly wait to see them catch a bit of that joy. Since I’m pregnant this season I will have to sit out. I’m so sad to miss out on the best thing winter has to offer. Snowboarding.

Yummy Yummy! I Love Food!

Given that this week is Thanksgiving I thought it only fitting to express my gratitude for food. I am five months pregnant so food is often on my mind, in my hands, in my belly. The other day as I ate an entire veggie pizza at three in the afternoon I thought about how great it is to eat good food.

 I used to work at an inpatient eating disorder clinic where I learned the value of intuitive eating. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Honor your cravings. It’s amazing that being a little more mindful about food intake allows for a much healthier and happier relationship with it. It’s good to have variety in your diet, including desserts and fried food. It’s best to listen to how your body feels when you eat and evaluate how the food tastes.

I wasn’t always able to do this – in fact just a few months ago the thought of food my my stomach roil. Morning sickness (which is an inaccurate moniker to say the least) morphed my perceptions about food so that I despised it. It was fuel, nothing more. Now I am grateful to have the joy of eating back in my life. There are just too many tasty things out there not to love.

My family is not without obstacles related to food. Big E has serious food allergies to wheat, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts, meaning our family meals have adjusted drastically to accommodate. The stress of stabbing your child with an EpiPen is something I don’t wish on anyone and although it has taken years, we are now at a place where his allergies don’t affect our daily lives much anymore.

There have even been benefits. I learned how to bake gluten free recipes. We eat home cooked meals daily. Since he’s not allergic to any fruits or vegetables we eat more of those than cheap snack foods.

With Thanksgiving just a day away I hope you all can find joy in the food you have to prepare. I’m grateful for our little garden where we can grow our own food and for the amazing variety of meals available in this modern world. What’s your favorite food? Happy Thanksgiving

A Week of Gratitude

This Thursday is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. I like that the roots of this holiday are about being grateful, not wearing scary costumes, lighting fireworks or buying lots of gifts. Thanksgiving is about remembering what is most important in life and taking a moment to be grateful.

So this week I want to focus on things that I’m grateful for. I encourage you all to do the same, either by leaving a comment or reposting these posts. Being thankful for the blessings in life is a message that can’t be over done.

The biggest thing I’m grateful for is family. I grew up the middle child of nine and love my huge, loud family. My parents lives revolved around rearing healthy, happy kids and their sacrifice is one worth emulating. Through their example and those of my siblings I learned how to love, share, pitch in and work. Now we are a clan of close to fifty with all the grand-kids and in-laws and get-togethers are always crazy fun.

Although my family of origin is wonderful and taught me many important life lessons, I’m even more grateful for the family I’ve made. Mountain Dad is my partner in life. If I could express how much I love him without sounding cheesy I would. Suffice it to say he’s the best.  With him by my side we’ve had two great kids with a third on the way.

Big E is in kindergarten, a good reader, energetic and full of life. When he learns something new I can almost see his brain make those connections that he will use through out his life. He’s my buddy with outdoor adventures always willing to put a little make believe into whatever hike we’re on.

Little g isn’t really that little anymore. At three years old, she’s making her own decisions about what she wears, what she plays and what she says. She’s learning how to get along with her brother and play make believe. When I look at her smiling face it makes me glad to be a mother.

Being part of a family is the best part of my life. I’m grateful for them every day, but especially around Thanksgiving.