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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

......bloom where you are today.......

.....I have always loved big adventures with my children. Some of my greatest memories of NYC when we just had three little ones, was corralling together a bunch of neighbors and we'd go grand.....We'd throw all of our gear in our double strollers, strap on back packs, load our real cameras to get awesome photos and we were off.....most people looked at us as if we were crazy......usually it was a minimum of 5 children, sometimes more......that number of little people sure seemed like a lot to us back then......today, I had 6 children in my house for several hours and I hardly batted an eye........until I found glue all over my brand new furniture......
....but those NYC adventures......
......we'd bounce our strollers down subway stairs, push ourselves onto trains and travel to far away places on the island.....we explored old bridges and tunnels, we traveled to neighboring boroughs, we toured museums like visitors, and we hit the top rated playgrounds in NYC no matter where they were.......we showed our children Fleet Week, Lady Liberty and every ferry ride around the island that was possible......all of those adventures were hard, but at the end of the night I was so, so full with gratitude and adventure......
....today was not crazy adventurous like the NYC days, but it was an amazing adventure with my little tribe......stress of our fall schedule and back to school to do lists are starting to nip at me.....my Beachbody business is incredibly busy right now......but all I can think about is that I don't have much of this summer left with my children......in a week and half, this summer will be over and as so many mamas know, there are a lot of mixed emotions that go with that......
.....so we packed up and drove to the fruit fields......we picked apples and peaches and fed a ton of dirty animals at the petting zoo.....we had the entire field of fruit trees to ourselves......Mae sat in the grass and studied each of the many apples she devoured.......Elsie and I found trees that had the best hidden fruit......Callie and I held hands in the shade.......Brody begged for more quarters and I gladly obliged just so I could hear him giggle again when the llama or the goat licked his hand full of corn meal......it was a perfect day......there were beautiful moments weaved in between the girls cat fighting and Brody crying over the heat; all while I changed a dirty diaper on my lap, balancing on one leg in the parking lot......I would do these types of days that require a lot of effort any day of the week, because as my children get older, they get harder to plan......and that has me longing back to those NYC days when we complained about how hard it was to have small children in the city......
.....savor where you are because some day, you will wish you were right back where you are today.......







Wednesday, August 12, 2015

......the last IT.......

Just having a moment of mama reflection tonight.

.....do you ever look at your child and wonder when "it" will be the last time?......."It" can come in many forms or fashions......."it" can be the last time that you are on your hands and knees cleaning food off the kitchen floor because sooner or later, your child does stop throwing food......it can be the last time you nurse your baby, the last time you strap your baby into a bucket seat or the last time you get to push your toddler on the swing..........because one day you wake up and that little baby has grown immensely over night and no longer fits in the bucket.......just as one day, your 3 year old hops on the swing to show you that they can pump themselves into a high soar on the play ground alllll byyyyy themselves......

.....there have been countless moments for me as a mother when I had no idea that "it" was my last.....

......I had forgotten this until this past summer......most recently, my "it" was Mae's wave......she does the cutest hello and goodbye wave......she waves vertically, instead of horizontally......she thrusts her little hand up and down, up and down......and it can stop me in my tracks......I can be stressed, tired, or ridden with anxiety about something I shouldn't be worried about; but when I see that wave, I am engulfed with endearment and laughter......

......days and weeks passed and each day I said to myself that I needed to capture it on video because I wanted to archive this little gesture of hers for the years to come......so I went to capture it on video while we were in Texas, begging her to wave to her cousins and you know what?.....she waves the "correct" way now.......no more vertical shimmy......no more up and down jostling.....no more stopping me in my tracks to laugh with her about the cutest wave I had ever seen......

......and the last time she did that sweet little wave, I had no idea it would be "the last time".......

.....all the mamas of the world can be worn down by summer........there is a lack of schedule, bedtimes are off, the days can be long, the children all seem to have boundless energy and we can get tired, fatigued, and weary......so weary that we have thoughts of summer needing to end quickly and desires of getting back to a school schedule, opposed to a lack of one......

......try this perspective......look at your babes in a different light.....recognize something they do today that they may not do in a week, a month, 6 months from now or next year......focus on it, inhale it, cherish it, love it and love them.......they are changing by the second and once that second has past, we won't get that moment back because it will have been the last of "it"......

.....and then you'll be wishing for the days of summer to be back again.....

Xx



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

.....shining star.........



Since Monday, Callie has been asking me for a swim cap so she could be like Elsa who just started the swim team. After the tenth request for a swim cap over a day and a half, I stooped down and looked her in the eye and asked, "What's with the swim cap question over and over again? Mama already told you she would get you a swim cap the first time you asked."

I knew what she wanted without her telling me, but I asked her if she wanted me to see if she could do a late try out for the swim team. I struggled with the question because I knew I was potentially setting her up to fail. She doesn't have as much stamina as the bigger kids. Her stroke is still a bit uncontrolled. She pops her head up instead of doing side breathing. But she has the desire and the passion; and when our babes have these intrinsic emotions, we've got to rally around them.....

So I watched her jump in and swim with the team today. My heart pounded the whole time and I watched her swim well and I watched her struggle. I watched the coaches who were watching her. And the whole time I relived the conversation in my head we had last night about success and courage and bravery. Those virtues can come in the form of "you still are not ready to swim with the team. Keep practicing." Those virtues do not always come in the form of what we would normally perceive as "success."

For today, though, those virtues arrived in a resounding, "Congratulations!" Today, the coach told her she was fantastic because sometimes it is desire that is way more important than form. It's such a blessing that our children can be such shining reminders to us that life without risk is a life without pure, good, unique, joy filled celebration. I don't know if I have ever seen you this proud, Callie Anne. I am so proud of you for jumping in head first, even though you knew there was risk in trying.

What a blessing that our little people can teach us such great lessons! I was prepared for failure today because you are the littlest one on the team. But regardless of the outcome, there would not have been any failure whatsoever. You were a shining star just for putting yourself out there!

So proud of you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

.....colorful eating- BBQ style......

BBQ is a staple in our lives. I married a Texan who contemplated for days who was going to be the lucky one to inherit his smoker when we were preparing to move from Texas to NYC. To me, the old smoker looked like a hunk of black metal junk with a rusty pipe attached to it and it was a mortal sin to repeat my opinion out loud. Fast forward 11 years since we moved to the northeast and I have gladly accepted the role of determining where and how to find creative recipes to consume all of the meat that Stefan pulls off his (new and improved) smoker. There are plenty of benefits to being in the burbs!

It has been close to a year that I have been keen on trying to find ways to change our eating habits in my family. We have made a lifestyle change to fresh, colorful meals. Sometimes it's a big win for me and the kids to eat color.....



Sometimes it's a huge miss.



See the hot pink and bright yellow? 
(Both colorful ideas were fun eating projects at Bambi's house).

 We believe just about anything tastes good with a little BBQ sauce on it or a special BBQ rub that Stefan has yet to share the actual spices he mixes with even me. This past weekend was the first beautiful spring day we have had, so it was no surprise that Stefan was preparing his smoker to kick off the season. When he smokes, he goes big; so three pounds of pork shoulder later and I was searching for recipes that would help us keep our eating this week clean and appealing to our tribe. 
 So behold: a creamy, cheesy casserole full of tangy, ooey-gooey goodness.

Cheesy BBQ Pork Pasta Bake

    Servings: 4


Container count per serving: 1 red, 1/8 green, 1/2 purple, 2 yellow, 1 blue, 1 tsp.
INGREDIENTS
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/3 cup shredded 2% sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 cups cooked whole grain pasta (I used rotini)
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped, plus more for topping (optional)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked pork, shredded
  • 3/4 cup clean BBQ sauce (no sugar or corn syrup. If you can’t find any at the store you can make your own (other recipes for this casserole bake call for 3 cups. I went very light and figured we would add our own if we wanted more. The amount I used was the perfect amount for our taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat 2 tsp. of the oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, whisk in the flour until it becomes a paste. Cook until the flour becomes a caramel color, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn.
  2. Add the almond milk slowly, whisking until it thickens. Mix in the salt, pepper, and ground mustard. Next, add 1 cup of the cheese and whisk until melted and well combined.
  3. Heat a small pan over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tsp. of oil. Add the chopped red onions and green onions and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the onions to the cheese mixture.
  4. In a casserole dish, add the cooked pasta, chicken and all of the BBQ sauce. Mix well until combined. Next, add the cheese sauce and mix well. Top with the remaining drizzle of your BBQ sauce and 1/3 cup of cheese.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted on top. Top with more green onions, if desired.
This was a huge hit with the family and we also had enough left over for Stefan to take some to work. It was definitely a nice break from the standard pulled pork sandwiches that we were eating last spring. For those of you wondering what my serving size looked like, check this out.


I added a side salad, but next time I think I would add a side of cucumber, tomato, onion and a splash of balsamic vinaigrette.

Have it, fellow BBQ lovers!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

......Yummy (CLEAN) Quinoa Chicken Enchilada Casserole.......

After coming off a week of splurging in Florida, I was in search of comfort food (because it's still cold up here) that was healthy and delicious. Our family needs to get back into clean eating ASAP! This meal is so easy to make, it hardly requires a recipe. I purchased an antibiotic free range rotisserie chicken, pulled off the meat, mixed in the ingredients and it was done! In less than 30 minutes you’re enjoying a healthy and filling meal that’s perfect for a busy weeknight or weekend lunch. 

Quinoa Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Container count per serving (for you 21 day fixers): 2 yellow, 1 blue, 1 green, 1 red
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (I used organic, non gmo pre-cooked, but any kind is fine)
  • 3 cups cooked and shredded chicken, seasoned with Southwest Seasoning
  • 1 3oz. can of green chiles (I skip these because my kids won't eat them, but Stefan and I add them to our individual bowl)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (I like to use a purple onion for this recipe)
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add chicken, quinoa, green chiles (mine is missing them, but the green color would be pretty in this dish), corn, onion, and enchilada sauce. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.


2. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and top with cheese, and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with fresh cilantro.


.....the kids were excited to try a new casserole and I am thrilled that they are getting a good dose of healthy food groups.....



.....I served tomatoes, whole wheat tortillas, avocado and strawberries on the side for the kids and it was a hit with the girls.......Brody, on the other hand, ate an apple for dinner, but that is our new normal these days......

....Enjoy the clean eats!.....

If you are looking for a cleaner way of eating and getting your nutrition back on track, email me at thebalderachs@aol.com or click here.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

.....for every season change, change, change, change........

.....some of you may or may not know that over the last 9 months I have somehow found myself spending anywhere from 10-20 hours per week "working"......it wasn't intentional to add "something else" to the family agenda, as life with four little ones already keeps us movin' and shakin'......but when I decided to change my fitness routine and overall nutrition 9 months ago, this beautiful pebble was thrown into a huge body of water and the ripple effect has caused waves......lots and lots of waves....

.....I somehow found myself as a Beachbody coach and the name does not even begin articulate all that is entailed in this role......I will save that for another day; but I will tell you that every time I prayed about it as the opportunities were arising; seeking God's will, asking for direction.......another door was opened.......another life was changed.......so I have been walking through multiple doors with my eyes fixed on Him......seeking for more reassurance because I did not think that starting something like this was a good idea for a new mother of four.....but, God's plans for me were different......


.....It is God's light that has lead me down this path the last 9 months and He continues to provide more opportunity for me to use my gifts for His glory......my blog posts have been few and far between and I have a lot of catching up to do.....but part of the delay has been because we have been working on a make over......

.....very soon, this blog will have a new look, a new feel and a new vibe......the focus will always be on my family, as this is an archive for them......but it will also include this journey I am on, too.....I am looking forward to spending more time here in the near future combining my family, faith and fitness journey and hope it will inspire you too.....

....stay tuned......

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

......lucky seven, Elsa Grace.....

.....I didn't intend for it to happen, but as I was gathering photos for this blog post, I came across a "recovered file" on my MAC......as I sorted through it, I found all sorts of old videos and pictures off an iphone that I used to have when both girls were one and two......I got lost in the pictures and videos; simultaneously longing for those days when the girls were so little and also appreciating the conversation and enjoyment I have with them now......and then the videos appeared when sweet Brody joined us......the snapshots and video clips quickly reminded me how living in such small NYC quarters in that phase of life was a blessing and a stress at the same time.....so now I am back to the present and enjoying it five years later.....

....the timing of finding this "recovered file" was perfect, as it brought me back to the days when motherhood was still so new.....and here we are, seven years into it and both Stefan and I are still learning, still in awe at this incredible responsibility of parenthood and are even more joy filled then we were when the days were much simpler and slower paced......

......this past weekend and all day yesterday, we celebrated our fist born turning seven.....

.....she wanted pink, she wanted a pony and she wanted a petting zoo.....so we turned our backyard into a little haven for 18 of her best girl friends and we had a little show down that surely did not disappoint......


....I heard the rustling around upstairs before 6am when I was having my coffee with Mae.....and the duo emerged all geared up and ready to go.....the countdown for Elsa's fall fest was on......the joy and excitement about parties, cake, friends, goody bags, and holidays is contagious and I love the buzz that it creates it our house.......I could use a little less craziness with the running and jumping and yelling, but we are learning that's all part of it too.....so we take the it all in stride......


....the day was on the frigid side, but it was gorgeous......we had abundant sunshine and the children were dressed to play.......they are immune to temperatures below 40 degrees.......it made the animals a little livelier and the hot chocolate tasted that much sweeter.....




......friends were reunited, farm animals were dotted on, old school games were brought outside, we had dear friends stay and help us man the party and the girls were saying good bye in no time at all......






....and it dawned on me as we were setting up for the party that this very well could be the last "birthday party" we throw for Elsie......granted, we have not thrown 7 of them since we do the parties on the odd years......so technically this is our fourth one we have thrown......but will she want a party at age nine?.....when she is on the verge of tweendom?......probably not.....I am guessing she will opt for a sleep over with close friends or another event that isn't all about inviting your entire class.....so there was a part of me that lost track of details that no one would have noticed otherwise......and letting those go; like handing out bandanas or fussing over the craft that flopped, went to the wayside just so I could be still, step back and watch it all fully present.....

....I could be wrong......this very well may not be the last party she has in our backyard, but I have a strong suspicion that it was.....and so I irritated several little girls to stop what they were doing around half time just so I could capture the group at our Farm Fest.....the first grade wonder......the sweetness that all of these girls had toward one another......

.....it was such a great group of girls......all playing with one another, all including each other in events and games and all encouraging each other.....


.......my heart was happy and so, so full......
(and sweet Mae was napping by this time)




......and so as we came off the high of this weekend and celebrating you in a grand way, Elsa Grace; the timing of finding these old pictures was remarkable.....

.....you have always had a special sparkle in your eyes.....I so clearly remember this day at the park with you, as it was late summer and I was planning your first birthday with other friends in our building.....your eyes have gleamed with sheer joy since the day you were born and even as a bright seven year old, you still find excitement and wonder in all things.......


....you have aways loved being outside, exploring God's creation......and of course, you have always had such a dear affection for your Daddy......


.....you can be serious, goofy, inquisitive and silly all in one breath......
(and your resemblance to baby Mae is astounding- so I had to add a picture of the two of you at the same age!)

.....Elsa, 12 months.....

.....Mae, 12 months......

......you have set such an incredible example to your siblings on how to show love to others, how to be compassionate, how to laugh at mistakes, and how to find the wonder in all things......





......I know that God created you to be someone He has already intended you to be......He has a future paved out for you and has given you gifts and talents that are specific to you......


.....there are people in your life you will impact......there are people in your little 7 years you have already made better by just being you......you are loyal, loving and considerate......



.....and you love to have fun.....



.....we have loved every phase of parenting you, Elsa....and I only hope that we can help you grow into the person that God made you to be.....I hope we can encourage you, comfort you, love you, discipline you, teach you and protect you as best as we can......it is those things that I pray for when I seek wisdom on how to ensure we give you all that you need.....our love for you is so bountiful, so deep and will never waver.....


....and our heart bursts just as much for your siblings; as you are all so incredibly special and unique in your own ways.....


.....happy lucky seven, Elsie.....
(and can't wait to hear what the tooth fairy leaves you, too)


.....you will forever be the one who made me a mama.....


.....thank you for being you.....

.....I love you to the moon and back.....

Xx Mama

Sunday, November 9, 2014

......our beautiful, Mae......welcome to one.....

.....why, hello my beloved blog.....boy, have I neglected you........it hasn't been purposeful.....life with four has been a juggle and then you add Beachbody, social activities, Stefan's travel and homework; just to name a few, and the days slip by without many visits.......but November was just what I needed- a milestone family event that has brought me back to you with an open mind and a clean white slate of virtual paper so I can capture the feelings of the here and now in our bustling home.....

.....our last addition to the family turned one on Friday and we celebrated her all weekend.....honestly, we celebrate her everyday.....her bright, loving, charming, sweet and peaceful disposition have most people stopping in their tracks to admire her and we don't mind it.....we all agree that she is the most precious baby who has every existed (except my other 3 children, of course) and the other five of us in the family are all love struck to the core......every single one of us......

......deep, deep love is what we all have for this child......she has made our family complete and I think each and every one of us appreciate that fact......

.....and so, Mae Elizabeth, I will do my best to capture the emotion of the here and now.....I will try to wrap up the last 12 months the best that I can because I want you to know how truly special you have been to our family.......




.....Mae, I prayed for you for months before we even knew you were coming......and my pregnancy with you taught both mommy and daddy a lot of about faith and love and trust and hope......you, my beloved baby girl, taught me more in 9 months than I learned in years of adulthood......you were knitted together perfectly in my womb and although God knew of your innermost being, we waited anxiously to know you too......



......when you arrived looking splendid and pink and perfect, it took our breath away.....you were everything and more we had ever dreamed of and your disposition was apparent from the very beginning......you were peaceful, affectionate, bright eyed and wanted to be in the center of the family action......



.....your siblings were ecstatic for your arrival and I will never forget your birthday afternoon when the troop rolled in to meet you......I could hear the squeals down the hallway 2 minutes before they arrived in our room......




.....and since I knew you would be our last baby, I savored every second alone with you......I studied your features, smelled your skin, watched your chest rise and fall over and over again.....I could have stayed at the hospital for several days just to have you all to myself, but I knew there were others who were chomping at the bit for you to come home.....




.....your first day at the house you fit in perfectly.....you went with the flow for every event we took you to and you we probably said you were the easiest baby in the world 10,000 times in your first 12 months of life......if you needed to sleep, you slept.......if you were hungry, you would politely let me know.......if you were bored, well, actually in this house I don't think you have ever been bored.....and when you have had enough of the crew, you let me know too and we make sure to give you some space to decompress......



.....you love to be silly, you love attention, you love to explore, you love independence and you love to be on the move......



.....we took a lot of photos of you.....gave you lots of hugs and kisses and I am pretty sure at the ripe age of 12 months, you know full well that you are completely and utterly adored......





.....and it just hasn't been your parents and your siblings who have loved spending time with you......you are doted on by the whole extended family, too.....











......and so when your birthday weekend arrived, we were ready to celebrate the beautiful first year of your life.....


.....so we planned a gathering with the Schallers.....the family whose four children all align up with ours.......all 10 of us planned a party to celebrate both you and Gracie.......the baby who slept next to you in the hospital nursery your first few hours of life......



......and the baby who would be your little sidekick for many months and years to come......






......around 7 months you two started to recognize and show interest in one another.......



.....and it is easy to tell that you are both fourth children because on spontaneous play dates in October, both of your mommies have you dressed in Christmas hand me down PJs at lunchtime.......you two didn't seem to care......


.....we celebrated big......lots of cake, lots of good food and lots of family......






.....and Michele and I did not miss a beat acknowledging that she and I made it though the first year as new mamas of four, too......


......Mae, you are an absolute joy.....I hope you know that everything we do as a family is so much fuller because you are here.....I wish I could capture you laugh, your little snort when you are proud of something you have done, your smile, your coos, your sweet voice, and your expressions......the time has slipped through my fingers so very quickly; but I promise you that I have inhaled every last second of you being such a little baby.....I am anticipating so much joy in getting to unwrap your little personality that emerges more and more each day......toddlerhood will hold so many other firsts for you, which will also be our lasts; but I am loving each moment of being a family of six.....


.....thank you for blessing each and every one of us.....we love you to the moon and back, sweet girl......

.....Happy first birthday......