We left Friday afternoon and pulled into Aspen Grove Family Camp a few hours before dinnertime. Just Brandon and me!
We stayed in a rustic cabin (#2, to be precise), and we filled up the hours before dinner with Foosball, pool, air hockey, horseshoes, and a short hike. We found the "Love Shack," too! It had been moved from the staff living area to a new paintball "arena" up above the family lodges (those who worked with us or who have been there will know what I'm talking about). We laughed and Brandon took a picture (we lived in the Love Shack for two summers --8 months total --while we worked at Aspen Grove. Honesty? #1 was conceived there! Whoo-hoo!).
The next two days were a blur. We enjoyed more outdoor fun (I basically watched Brandon do the ropes course) and several lectures given by Doulgas Brinley, a professor at BYU (among other things --he and his wife just recently returned from serving a mission in Hawaii). He spent the bulk of his time teaching us the doctrine about marriage, and let me tell you, dear reader, it was deep. It was intense. It was AWESOME. He covered so much ground and talked, in depth, about so much gospel doctrine that I was literally soaring (and spiritually exhausted) after each session. Of course, he focused the last few sessions on practical/tangible ways to improve marriage, but here's the gist of everything:
1. We have Heavenly Parents. They are married. They have had spirit children (us).
2. Until we received our bodies, we could not marry or conceive children. Now we can. This is the first time ANY of us have been married.
3. If we are sealed and rock it here, our marriage will endure forever, and like our Heavenly Parents, we will be able to have all those billions of spirit kids. But we can't make it without the other person (spouse). We need each other.
4. We need to view our spouses in that light --as our eternal companion. As our co-parent. Our co-creator.
5. Perspective and "doctrine understood" will change hearts, and thereby marriages, and thereby, lives.
6. Three types of communication: Superficial, personal, validating. How we communicate to our spouses shows us what's right and wrong in the relationship --we don't need to "learn" how to communicate better (you somehow fooled that guy into marrying you, right?) --we need to change our hearts. If we focus entirely on superficial conversation in our marriage (weather, sports, yard work, kids' schedules), than something is missing --someone is scared to be vulnerable, someone is abusing, someone is holding back, there might be hatred, bitterness, selfishness, etc. Very few people get our "validating" communication --but the most important person to receive it should be our spouses.
I didn't even scratch the surface, dear reader! If you ever get the chance to sit and listen to Dr. Brinley speak --do it. But don't be surprised or shocked at his deliberate and unapologetic delivery. He tells it like it is --and it is fantastic.
After our awesome Aspen Grove adventure, we checked out and drove up past Oakley (Utah, not Idaho) to spend the night at a work retreat for Brandon's new job.
[Yep, Brandon has a new job. It's more in the consulting stage right now, but sufficeth to say, we are very happy about it, we're not moving, and the potential for growth is outstanding.]
We hung out at the cabin that was used for the retreat with several other couples (the owners, etc.) --and it was wonderful. Do you know how well I sleep when there are no children around? Do you? I'm sure you do. It was sooooo nice....
And the autumn colors? I about died at their beauty. "Gorgeous" doesn't even do the mountains/trees/colors/serenity justice.
And now, life is back. Just as quickly as we left, we came back, and we are here.
I'm facing some different challenges now. It's not that awesome, but it's not that unfamiliar. Neither is it as upsetting as I thought it would be. I don't want to get into details, but since it's affecting me a great deal, I'll just say, for now, that it does have to do with our employment change and reevaluating our finances. That is all.
I had a midwife appointment yesterday and guess what? I'm not quite 22 weeks, but I'm measuring 29 weeks. If I had been going to an OB or a "med" wife, I would be having an ultrasound ASAP to figure out why. But I don't. I have a rational midwife, who listened to me explain why I'm measuring so big (I always, always do) and listening to our hearts, we know that everything is fine. Now don't get all "haha! Listening to their hearts!" on me --because I'm so tired of the medical world thinking that they know everything. I was overJOYED that my midwife believed me! Nobody else ever believed me about my pregnancies --not my doctors, not my midwives, not the maternal-fetal-medicine people --nobody. Even after I proved them all wrong (and myself right ) over and over and over. But Sherri (my midwife) believes me! It's so refreshing. And peaceful --peaceful to know that I'm not crazy, that I know my own body (hello!? Seventh pregnancy, sixth baby!?), and that she is confidant in her skills as a midwife.
But my iron is low. I cringed when she told me, because I abhor those awful iron supplements (constipation, man. Yuck). This is my "prescription" from her:
*Yellow dock (herbal supplement) --everyday
*Wheatgrass juice (8 oz) fresh --everyday
*2 TBSP black-strap molasses --everyday
*Beet, carrot, celery smoothie (about 8 oz) at least every other day
The beets and molasses will help my low blood pressure and my iron deficiency. The wheat grass helps build up the blood, too. The yellow dock helps with digestion.
Can I tell you how much I love this!? Why didn't I do this with my first five children!?
It's Fall Break in Utah tomorrow. And Friday. No school means... organizing the house some more? Yeah, probably. The kids might not like it, so I'll have to throw in some park visits or something to break up the despair.
I can't name names here, but I have an awesome friend who has just had a super shock. She went to the doctor and she is not doing well --if she doesn't change her diet and exercise and get herself in gear, we're talking about potential death, here.
It's actually more common than people realize. And since I love this woman, but I realize other people may need to hear this, too, I'm going to post some ideas she can implement immediately that will help her in ways she can't even begin to imagine until she tries them (and you, too, dear reader!):
*Walk briskly for 45 minutes, four times a week.
*Drink 32 oz of green smoothies EVERY DAY (break it up if 32 oz is too much in one sitting. Go to www.greensmoothiegirl.com for more details).
*Eliminate as much animal product as possible ASAP. Especially milk (drink almond milk or water), beef, chicken, pork, and cheese (if you're gonna keep a dairy, just eat a small amount of Kefir or Greek yogurt).
*Anything processed (man made) should be thrown out immediately. Biggest problems: soy-based products, corn syrup (of any kind), preservatives, fake sweeteners (aspartame, etc.), and dyes.
*Spend the bulk of your time shopping in the produce section. Vegweb.com has AMAZING vegan and vegetarian recipes (please ignore the use of vegan mayo, butter, etc. --these "fake" foods don't really give you any nutrition. They're just plant based instead of animal based).
*No more white rice, white flour, white pasta, etc. Go for whole wheat and try new grains --quinoa, aduki beans, pearled barley, oats, etc.
*If you HAVE to buy dairy or meat, PLEASE buy organic, non-hormone, range-free, etc. Adding pesticides to your food just makes a bad thing worse.
*Take all your old recipes and tweak them. It's VERY possible to do. I promise.
*Water, water, water, water, water. Don't even THINK about drinking soda (unless it's kombucha!) or sports drinks or caffeine drinks or sugar drinks or juice or...
*Download the app BodyFate on your phone --it's awesome! Great strength training for anyone with just a few minutes a day. Try to do it three times a week if you can.
*Seriously, consider some low impact yoga. Meditation. Extra time reading your scriptures/praying.
The GOAL: Health. Life. Vibrancy. Courage. Peace. NO FEAR. I promise you, if you do these things, you will get off of your meds (not you, dear reader, my friend! This is specific for her!) and you will heal yourself faster than you ever even imagined. It's not necessarily about weight loss --it's about cleaning out your blood, your kidneys, your liver, your intestines, your heart, and your mind.
In July, I stopped eating this way. I didn't completely stop, but I wasn't very vigilant. I figured it was okay. I ate what I craved --and craving pregnant women know those cravings are real! But guess what happened? YEP! Asthma got worse. Exhaustion got worse. Energy gone. I've been blaming it on the pregnancy, but here's something interesting:
In the last two days, I've had a green smoothie, veggie based meals (we started Bountiful Baskets --FINALLY!), and have been doing more housework (i.e. exercise).
Guess who's not tired right now? Probably won't even have a nap? My asthma is still not doing well --but I'm going to put that to the test over this next week, too.
Anyways, my point: We really are what we eat. Fill your body with awesome plant nutrition, and you will feel awesome. I promise. I keep testing it (mostly on accident), and it's always true. Always. Always.
Love you, dear friend! If you have questions, be sure to call! (you too, dear reader. Or write. Whatever). :)