Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What We Ate: Skinny Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

For dinner last night we made this delicious recipe. It makes for a perfect hearty winter meal, but is a little lighter and lower in calories than traditional pot pies. Here's the recipe:

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4-8 hours
Yield: 9 servings

Serving size: 1 cup

6 small red potatoes, peeled (optional) and cubed
1½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders
2 – 10.5 oz cans Campbell's® 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup skim milk
1 cup water
1 small onion, diced
½ cup celery (about 1 ½ stalks), diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp parsley
½ tsp thyme
10.8 oz bag Birds Eye® Steamfresh® Frozen Mixed Vegetables
1 can Pillsbury® Grands! Jr. Flaky Biscuits
*Optional ingredients are not included in the nutritional calculations.

1 Placed the cubed potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place chicken on top of the potatoes.
2 In a small bowl, mix together the soup, milk, water. Pour over the chicken and potatoes.
3 Throw in diced onion and the celery.
4 Sprinkle in seasoning.
5 Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
6 About 30 minutes before you are going to serve, remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and shred with fork. Place back in slow cooker and stir in frozen vegetables. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
7 Make biscuits (optional) as directed on package. For each serving, split a biscuit and place in a bowl. Stir chicken mixture well. Top biscuit with the chicken mixture.

We made ours with half the potatoes, added more frozen veggies, and upped the chicken.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Leaving a Lasting Legacy

A year ago, today, my Grandpa passed away. But don't be fooled, this is anything but a post filled with mourning. Sure, we all miss him like crazy, but I usually don't feel sadness when I remember him. My Grandpa was an incredible man of faith who has set an example for our family on how to live, and how to die, and for that, I am SO thankful. I miss his big hugs, his wit, and his ability to make a meal last hours, but what I remember most is what he taught me through being a living example.

Put God First - There was nothing he put between himself and his relationship with God. He served Him. He studied Him. He obeyed His commands. You knew that when he woke up in the morning, that was his goal for the day. This is the big reason I don't feel sad when I think about his passing. I know he is exactly where he always longed to be, and is reaping in heaven what he sowed while on earth.

Treat People Well - This one seems like a "duh." We all know it, but very few of us truly live it, day in and day out. But my Grandpa was the exception. He treated everyone like they were family. For him, that meant being willing to give you the shirt off his back, share a joke, and never expect someone to do something he wasn't willing to do himself.

Live Below Your Means - My Grandpa was about as frugal as they come. We are talking to the point that it was a bit painful to watch at times. But the part I find the coolest, is that he was so frugal, not to store up money for himself in his old age, but it was so that he could leverage all that he could for the Kingdom. He tithed faithfully, supported missionaries, supported charities, you name it. Perhaps the most telling is that the last check he wrote, was to the church!

Love Intentionally - My Grandpa never let a visit or conversation go by without verbally acknowledging how much he loved you, how proud he was of you, and how much he appreciated you. But I don't think this came naturally to him. He was raised during a time when dads weren't all mushy gushy with their kiddos. But he made the effort as he became the head of his own family to switch that. I have never heard anyone so intentionally shower their loved ones with love and praise. In fact, my Grandma had a difficult time making the transition herself, not able to verbalize "I love you"...so he would actually speak FOR her...that's just how intentional he was in showing us all love.

Live Boldly - In the last few months of his life he prayerfully made the decision to move from his longtime home out to Arizona to be near all of us. His was scared of the change and feared the unknown. But he felt God answered his prayers telling him to "GO". For an old man who's lived in the same pace for 20 years, it is not an easy move. But I am so thankful he chose to live boldly. It gave all of us 2.5 months together, in the same city. It gave us his last Christmas together. It gave us countless visits. It gave us the opportunity to hold his hands as he took his last breath. That bold move is a great reminder to follow God's answers, even when we are afraid. His choice to live boldly was perhaps the best thing he did for himself in the last few months of his life, and for us.

He was an incredible man, and I cannot wait to see him again!

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Favorite Cardio Exercises

As we've mentioned 3942803 times on this blog previously, we do a class at the gym that does primarily High Intensity Interval Training. Every class is different, but many of the classes integrate similar exercises. We have some favorite exercises that really get our heart rate going, so we figured we'd share the wealth in case you're looking for some awesome ideas to integrate into your workout.

Kettlebell Clean and Press - These are a great way to get a bit of strength work, while getting your heart rate elevated. It works your legs, shoulders, and back. As well as your lungs. If you're not panting like a dog after 1-2 minutes of these, I promise you're a robot.

Squat Jumps - These blast your legs. We are talking complete exhaustion. It'll kill your legs and leave you gasping for air. 1-2 minutes straight of squat jumps and you may decide your workout is over. Be sure to squat low and jump high.

Sprints - For obvious reasons this one will work the ol' windbags. Doing sprints between exercises (cardio or strength exercises) is a great way to get your heart rate up there. Sprints for 1-2 minutes should be as fast as you possibly sustain for the time period.

Frog Hops - I think anything with jumping is a good bet to kick your behind. Frog Hops are no exception. Pick a certain distance, we do between 2 speed bumps in the gym parking lot, and do 2-4 lengths of that distance. It takes about 2-3 minutes to complete the 2-4 lengths. It's good to get your heart rate up and works on your balance too.

Burpees - Oh Burpees, how I love thee. Burpees are a good exercise that you can do anywhere and they pack a punch. Be sure to add a push up at the bottom of your burpee so you get some good chest and arm work in there at the same time.

Give them a shot...all in one workout! I dare ya!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Early Bedtime & Toughness

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for an early bedtime…and I’m not talking about for the kiddos (although they have early bedtimes also). Ronnie and I have been getting in bed super early the last few nights, and it feels SO nice to get to sleep early. We are usually in bed at 9PM…and the best part? I’ve been falling asleep on the couch BEFORE getting into bed. #Winning!

I’m thankful for booty-kicking classes at the gym. There is nothing better than being in and out of the gym in 45 minutes and feeling like you got a great workout. We occasionally stay a little longer and do additional things, but it’s nice to be able to have gotten a complete workout in 45 minutes.

I’m thankful for fun with friends. Last Friday night, we met some friends at the park by our house, had our kiddos dawning bathing suits, brought sand toys, and had the girls build sand castles in the volleyball court sand. For hours they played like they were on the beach, even running through the water that sprays out to keep the dust down on the court. By the end of the night, the kiddos were sandy, and filthy, but SO wound up from all the fun they had playing “at the beach.” I’m so thankful for fun friends and fun times!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for Nyquil. I've been downing the Nyquil at night to get to sleep early while battling what might be three consecutive colds. I've been hacking it up for almost three weeks now and I'm just hoping this thing runs it's course very soon. Honestly, it's getting a bit annoying at this point :)

I'm thankful for cereal. Sometimes, when I'm not feeling so hot, I fall back on some "comfort foods". For me, that usually looks like bowls of cereal. I just had a bowl of Raisin Bran and I must say, it was deeeeelish. I still make sure to get my protein and fat in for the day, but sometimes carbs covered in milk is just right.

I'm thankful for a tough little girl. Mckenna is tough. No doubt about it. She wiped out on her bike yesterday and after a short cry, her next words were, "Can we try riding down that hill now Daddy?".

What are you thankful for today?  

Monday, February 16, 2015

An Interval Workout Worth Trying

Last Monday I said I'd post different workouts we do in our class. They are all pretty good, but I figure I'll post the ones that are good that would be easy to do at home with little to no equipment or at a gym with what most gyms have around on the floor. All you need is a jump rope and kettlebell for this workout.

Warm up (each exercise 40 seconds) - DO WARM UP TWICE
Jumping Jacks
Jump Squats
Push Ups - with a cross-shoulder tap at the top.

Block 1
Jump Rope - 1 Minute
Inch worm push ups (Start in a pike position, walk hands out until in a push up position, do push up, walk hands back) Repeat for 30 Seconds
Jump Rope - 1 Minute
Mountain Climbers - 30 Seconds
Jump Rope - 1 Minute
Burpees - 30 Seconds

Block 2
Kettlebell Swings - 1 Minute
Flutter kicks - 3o Seconds
Kettlebell Swings - 1 Minute
Bicycle crunches - 30 Seconds
Kettlebell Swings - 1 Minute
Toe Touches (On back, feet in air, reach arms to touch toes) Repeat for 30 Seconds

Do Block 1, Block 2, Block 1, Block 2 (or flip it if you're so inclined. Just do each block twice)

Core Work
Plank hold - 1 Minute
Praying Crunches - 30 Seconds
Russian Twists - 1 Minute
Double Crunch - 30 Seconds
Spider Plank - 1 Minute
Reverse Crunch - 30 Minute

And there you have it. It's an awesome workout. If you don't have a kettlebell, you can do air squats or jump squats instead of kettlebell swings. Same with if you don't have a jump rope, just do some kind of squats or lunges - essentially you can do anything for those two as long as it's using your legs and gets you breathing!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"God made us small sometimes..."

Ronnie shared this story on Facebook, so some of you may have seen it. But for those not on Facebook or that missed it I'll share it again and give the full story.

Lately Mckenna has been taking offense to people calling her small, little, or tiny. Sometimes we are there when it happens. Usually we are not there, and she reports it to us later. I have to say, I am very sensitive to the fact that girls are prone to body issues. So I am always very careful in how I talk about her body. When she says, "look how big my tummy is..." (usually said while blowing it out or after a big meal...and usually said giggling), I just respond with something like, "it looks perfect to me" or "God made it just right for you." It happens all the time that she will mention something about her body, and I'll usually respond with one of my stock answers. Sometimes I randomly make note of something on her - her eyes, her freckles, the fact she has two legs - and I'll mention how perfectly God made her, for who SHE is.

Here's Mckenna next to a peer for comparison:
Mckenna with her BFF, Harlow...who's on the other side of the growth chart

But this experience of others saying something that she takes offense to is new, and has been interesting. It's been happening for a couple months now, so much so, that I actually ordered a book on the topic (a kids book about being (too) small...which in the book ends up not being (too) small at all. So anyways. Back to the topic at hand. Mckenna usually tells us it has happened in a sad or frustrated voice, which as a mom, tugs on my heart. Now, please note, Mckenna is small, little, and tiny. That's just reality, so my response cannot be that her stature is not as such. Because, well, it is. That's how God made her. And it's not debatable. I think she sits around the 5th percentile for height, so she, in fact, is one of the smallest kids her age. What I feel my job is, is not to argue with the truth, but to make her comfortable with it. There will always be things about her body or appearance that may bug her from time to time or be dependent on a life stage. Some things are subjective or a matter of opinion, other things won't be. For example, I have freckles. You can't argue that. It's fact. I need to be comfortable with that. So each time she mentions it, we talk about how God makes everyone different. That height is all relative to who you're standing next to. Her friend Harlow is taller than she is, but her other friend Taylor, is taller than Harlow. God made each of them a different height, a height that is perfect for them. It helps that her mom is a shrimp, so I usually compare myself to one of my friends, who is a solid 8 inches taller than I am. I say, "just like God made mommy short. Think about mommy and Ms. Steffi. Ms. Steffi is WAY taller than mommy, right? Because God made us each perfect for who we are." (Thank you, Ms. Steffi, for being so much taller than me, it helps that there is no question regarding the fact that her mom is a pip-squeak when I barely come to your shoulder...PS, will you come help me put away my dishes on the top shelves of my cupboards? Lol!)

So yesterday the beginning of the story was no different. We left the gym, and as I was putting her in her carseat, she disappointedly said, "some kids called me small at the gym again. I'm not little!!" To which I responded, "Well, Keni, your body is kinda small! And that's awesome! Was it big kids when you were looking to play with them?" (usually is) "Yes, they said I was too small," she told me. "Honey, God made your body little...and compared to older kids, they're that much bigger because you grow as you age. That doesn't mean that you're not a big girl though. They said it just because they were concerned that you may get hurt." "But mommy, I'm not small." "You're not a little girl, you're a big girl, but your body is little...that's how God made it, and it's perfect for you. Think about mommy..." (and then I launched back into mommy is so much shorter than Ms. Steffi) Then I began comparing many of the other adults in her life. "Think about daddy! He's smaller than Mr. Rhett" (that's steffi's husband...clearly they tower over the Sharpe clan). "Think about Papi and Uncle Josh...they are way shorter than Uncle Grant and Uncle Shmeegs..." (enduring nickname for Ronnie's brother, Andrew). "...Think about Nana...she's pretty short too...We are just a small family, honey, so you will probably be pretty short compared to your friends. That's just how God made us!! And you know what? One day I think you'll like it!! I like it!! Think about it...mommy can still fit in the little cars with you (those little electric ones that you pay a quarter to ride) and I can fit in little hiding spots so you can't find me even as a grown up!!" That seemed to lighten her mood a little bit. I kept driving home from the gym, and from the backseat I hear a made up tune:
"God made us small sometimes. God made us small sometimes. But He is always in our heart. But He is always in our heart."
My heart exploded. "I love that song, Keni!!" I told her and began to sing along. "No mommy, I'm singing it, you don't know the words..." she snapped. That was my que that our sweet mother-daughter moment was over, and she was back to being her sassy, "threenager" self! Problem solved, for now!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Fun, Fast Workout

Ronnie and I post all the time about our classes at the gym that we love, so I'm sure this will be a bit repetitive, but they're so good they merit another post.

We take two classes:

The first is Force: Training full Force at a High Intensity is proven to be the fastest way to reach your goals. Our Afterburn coaches motivate you to give your all with advanced movements designed to challenge your entire body during this team training session. High intensity anaerobic exercise burns more calories than simply doing cardio so join us in Force to blast the fat faster!
The second is Power: Designed specifically to build strength, POWER will take you through timed intervals that focus on quality and increased power through the movements. Participants will be challenged through multiple levels of load while perfecting their technique in order to achieve the optimal amount of strength through all ranges of motion.

One is more focused on cardio, while the other does more strength. They are both 45 minutes and have you doing 45-120 second intervals of each exercise. They are serious tush-kickers. But the best part, is that it's just 45 minutes and even though it's brutal, it's non-stop, so it goes quickly. We will start posting some of the workouts on the blog so you can re-create them yourself at the gym...because they don't require much equipment, and most gyms have the equipment needed. I'd also encourage you to look at your gym for classes like this and sign up if you're not taking classes now...it is really the best workout you can get in 45 minutes, in my opinion.

The other cool thing is you choose you weight and pace...so the class can be modified for anyone. And as you get more fit, you just pick up your intensity.

Watch for workouts to come!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

It's heating up in Phoenix

A funny glitch on the weather segment of the news. It's not this hot yet, but wait til June!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Soup & Baby Swings

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for enjoyable coworkers. No everybody can say that they enjoy all the people they work with, but I’m fortunate enough to be able to say I work on a team of really great people. They are all good at the jobs and fun people to be around…it’s a great combination. 

I’m thankful for a fun husband. He keeps things really interesting around here…in a good way. Us girls never stop laughing at all his shenanigans.

I’m thankful for soup. In the wintertime, nothing quite hits the spot like a hot bowl of soup. Chili, Clam chowder, corn chowder…you name, I’ve been eating it!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for baby swings. I forgot just how much of a life-saver a baby swing can be to a not-so-happy baby. Once in a while Baby N gets a little cranky and if all else fails, it seems like the baby swing is just what the doctor ordered. It's also in my office much of the day, so it's nice to have a little office companion.

I'm thankful for the new Apple earbuds. I got the newly redesigned earbuds with my iPhone upgrade a couple of weeks ago, and I absolutely love them compared to the first model. I always purchased different earbuds to avoid wearing the Apple brand, but after giving these new ones a shot, I'm sticking with them!

I'm thankful for Superbowl energy. The Superbowl is back in Phoenix this year and you can definitely feel the energy in the city. From the different activities to celebrities visiting hospitals to everything going on around the stadium, it's a good time to be a Phoenician.

What are you thankful for today?  

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Helpful App

This post will be a totally random one, but there's an app we love, so I thought I'd share it since I have nothing to post about. I'm not sure if we have previously discussed this app on the blog, but there's an app that we love around our house. It's called Myfitnesspal. It's an incredibly helpful way to track what you're eating/drinking. You add your meals and snacks, and it will tell you how many calories you consumed, and even cooler yet, all your macros (protein, fat, carbs), as well as vitamins, etc.

To add food, you can either enter it manually, search for it in the database, or scan the food's barcode and it finds it for you in the database. It then shows up on the day's food log. It makes it really easy and quick to add food.

Our favorite thing about the app is it's ability to track your macros for the day. Once you add your food, you can see the break down of your protein, fat and carbs for the day. This can be really helpful for people in the CF community, since they often don't only need extra calories, but extra fat as well, it can help keep you on track.

It's a helpful tool to help gain weight, lose weight, and maintain weight. If you're looking to keep dips on what you're eating and what kind of calories and nutrition you're consuming, this is a quick and easy way to do it! Check it out!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Gluten Free Brownies & Meat Patties

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for gluten free brownies. I’ve been gluten free since the summer, and while gluten free brownies aren’t quite as good as regular brownies, they really hit the spot…pretty much all the time.

I’m thankful for sleep. Two nights ago Ronnie agreed to take all the feedings for the night, so I got some much needed sleep. The best part was I decided to get the shut eye in Mckenna’s bed (Baby N sleeps in our room, and still likes to scream after many feedings). It was really, really nice to snuggle her all night long.

I’m thankful for good fitness role models. My parents are both very active (always have been) and Ronnie’s mom has been working out a lot for the last few years. I am so thankful that Mckenna not only sees us as fitness examples, but that she sees others in her life living that way. Not to mention her uncles and aunts also lead active lifestyles! Hopefully she assumes there’s no other way to be, and by default is active herself!!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful sugar free flavored coffee syrups. I've been using my milk frothed daily since receiving it for Christmas, but just started adding syrups to the hot cup of joe for a more latte kind of a feel. I've never been a big coffee syrup kind of a guy before, but since I'm trying to control my sweet tooth, the carmel and vanilla flavored lattes seem to do the trick. And at 30 calories a drink, they are okay for my waist line as well :)

I'm thankful for the Mckenna's loving heart. Although I admit that sometimes her love can be a little overwhelming for Mandi, Baby N or myself, I'd much rather have it on that extreme end than the other. I love her random kisses, followed by an "I love you". Makes me feel like I'm not totally blowing it as her dad.

I'm thankful for frozen meat patties. I take full advantage of all of the frozen meat at Costco. Lately, I've been eating turkey burgers and salmon patties by the pound. Paired with a few heaping cups of vegetables and some hot sauce, it makes the perfect lunch or dinner for me!

What are you thankful for today?  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On the Sidelines

We had a fun-filled weekend with Ronnie's mom and brother up to visit. Since they came up from Tucson, his other brother and wife (newlyweds, woot woot) were also around much of the weekend. It was a fun way to spend the weekend, and of course Mckenna loved every second of their visit.

The real highlight for me, however, was getting to go cheer on my mom and her friend, Patty, run the Arizona Rock 'n Roll half marathon. It was on Sunday morning. Ronnie's mom was nice enough to watch Neylin so Mckenna, Ronnie and I could all race around with my dad in his car and catch them at points along the course. We got to see them at the start, missed them at mile 5 because they were blowing their goal time out of the water, caught them at mile 8, and again at the end. We drove around like maniacs tracking their progress and navigating all the road closures. I have never "watched" a race that way, and man, it's fun.

It was also another great opportunity to brainwash Mckenna in all things running. Running just to run sounds kind of boring. But knowing that people who run often get to go to a super-charged environment where men, women and children all cheer them on sounds a bit more appealing. The cute part was hearing Mckenna continue to chant some of the cheers we heard, long after the race was over. I think getting to drink a gatorade from Nana was the major highlight...gosh it's almost too easy to brainwash a 3 year old! Ha! By the end of the day she was asking about doing a race herself.

The major highlight of the morning was the fact that it was my mom's friend's first race of any kind, and they planned to run/walk it. Neither had run more than 6-9 miles before the race. Yet, they freaking rocked it! They didn't walk at all, and finished 20-minutes faster than their projected finish time.

How insanely packed is this start? Runners couldn't even all fit in the corrals!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Picked-up & Sweating

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for help. My mom and dad have been so sweet to chip in and help watch Mckenna and Baby N whenever needed (or whenever not needed, but just to give a little break). I cannot thank them enough for lightening our load more often than they have to.

I’m thankful for “I love you.” Mckenna randomly says “I love you” to me, several times a day. It never, ever gets old. In fact, my heart always explodes a little each time she thinks to say it. I often wonder what spurs it on because it is truly very random, but whatever triggers her little mind to say it, I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for a picked up house. I’m a bit of neat freak…not so much a clean freak, but a neat freak. I function best when our house is picked up, but, as anyone knows, a house with a toddler can come undone very, very quickly. Every evening Ronnie and I take 10-20 minutes to pick up so that we end the day, and start the next, in a little less chaos. There is nothing like a house that is picked up!!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for sweating. I've been pushing hard at the gym lately and the best reminder that I'm making progress is when I have to stop my workout due to my eyes burning. Those of you with CF know the feeling of pure salt water being poured into your eyes, and under these circumstances, it's awesome!

I'm thankful for the "winter" weather. I've been walking home from the gym after the sun goes down a couple times a week and no sweatshirt has been required. There is a fantastic crispness in the air that actually feels like a perfect compliment to my sweaty body after my HIIT class.

I'm thankful for my milk frother. I'm back on a pretty strict nutrition plan, but that doesn't mean my sweet tooth is gone. To satisfy that sweet tooth, I've been making "lattes" at night and throwing them back as I decompress for the day. Sometimes I add sugar-free sweetener and sometimes I do not. Either way, it tastes deeeeelish!

What are you thankful for today?  

Monday, January 12, 2015

"Character Trumps Talent"

Yesterday at church the pastor gave one of those sermons that rang a little bell in my mommy heart. The pastor was talking about David, and the fact that he was chosen to be king, even though he wasn't the most talented. The pastor said a phrase that made my heart leap:

"In God's eyes, character always trumps talent."

This is something that we know, right? Growing up in church that's something that you kind of know. We all understand the value of good moral character. But people rarely phrase it in a way that is so obvious. That little catch phrase set off bells in my heart and mind. I am forever keeping my ears open for little phrases that are easy to plant in Mckenna's brain. For example, "God is always good," or "no matter what you do, I still love you" (from a book, it's a good one if you haven't read it). With the attention span of a gnat, she doesn't always have time to listen to me preach, but when she does, I like to leave her with a little nugget at the end that she can remember (in case she forgets all the rest...which I'm 99.99% sure she does). "Character trumps talent," is one I will hold onto and start pulling out to embed in her brain. Yes, I fully support brainwashing your kids!

It's easy as parents to emphasize doing a good job. From the time our kids are born we are encouraging them crawl quickly, start walking, speak well. And I don't care who you are, moms, we always feel a sense of pride when our kid tackles a skill, and even more thrilled if we know they did it the fastest or the best. Admit it moms...it's ok, no one is surprised! It's bad even when they're infants, but I found as soon as Mckenna entered preschool, I had to fight to urge to push her a bit to help her be good at all the skills they were working on in school. And not because I shouldn't help her with skills, that's what parents should do, but because I knew it wasn't coming from a place that was totally kosher. It was less about tackling it for HER sake, and more about tackling it so she wasn't "that kid" in class. Ha! Mckenna is a smart cookie, but I wouldn't say she's the "best" in her class at most things. Somewhere deep in my mommy heart I found having to fight the desire for her to be the best. The sermon was an incredible reminder of what matters. And I couldn't help but get a flash image in my brain of Mckenna's report cards. The feedback is always that she is pretty good when it comes to the skills, but great when it comes to helping others, manners, etc. The teacher has said she's always the first to thank parent helpers; she's known by most of the parents in the school because she approaches all of them to make conversation; and she's always eager to help peers.

When her little report cards came home, it always made my heart happy that she was loving and kind at school (She knows I ask her teach at the end of each day if she was a good listener, loving, kind and had a happy heart). But this sermon was a great reminder to always keep that in focus, and to actually verbalize that focus to her... and them let the skills fall where they may (to some extent, obviously you have to try your hardest and practice...but beyond that...ours hearts should be satisfied).

Anyways, there's really not a great point to the blog. No hard hitting final points. Just a little insight into my ever-evolving mommy brain and heart...it's a scary place in there sometimes ;-)