Trashed

img_4527.jpgThere’s nothing like an elementary-school field trip to make a parent feel like trash.

I went to the dump yesterday with my son. Technically it’s not a “dump” it’s a landfill, but hey I have always called it the “dump”. I thought I was good a recycling. I thought I was good at minimizing my trash production. But that field trip changed me.

The people in my local area have produced more garbage in the past 16 years than the 50 years prior. We, as a general population, are garbage machines!

Why? Because we have so many modern conveniences that we just trash. Fifty years ago people didn’t have paper towels, swiffer mops or disposable diapers.

Now we have it so easy. We clean something up. We throw the paper towels in the garbage. We take the can out to the curb and it’s taken away once a week.

It’s gone. Right? WRONG. It’s sitting in a dry tomb in a 70-acre landfill 10 miles from my home.

I have been so naive when it comes to my trash. I thought for sure it was compacted then it magically decayed. Nope. I found out that the landfill lines the trash on top and bottom with plastic. In a way it preserves it and houses it forever beneath the soil.

Sure there’s a tractor that runs over top of the trash with spiked wheels. It breaks it up a little. But Utahns on average produces 8 pounds of garbage per day. Per day!!! That’s 3.5 pounds higher than the national average. It can’t be breaking it up THAT much.

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Why does this matter? Because eventually we will run out of room to dump our trash. At the current rate, my landfill has 15 years until it will be too full. Then they will have to ship my trash an hour and a half away in a location in Utah County that took 20 years to secure.

That’s going to cost more, take more time and produce more pollution than I want to think about.

So what can I do? What can you do?

The answer is the same thing I learned when I was in elementary school – reduce, reuse, recycle.

Stop using so much trash. Honestly, I don’t know if I would ever switch to cloth diapers but it bothered me that 2 percent of the waste of the dump is made up of disposable ones.

That is a lot of poopy keepsakes entombed forever in my neighboring town!

So what can I do to reduce waste? I feel like recycling is my number-one goal. I know it’s a pain to rinse out things like plastic containers and metal cans, but it’s one way I can lessen my trash output.

Second, I’m going to try to stop cleaning up spilled milk with paper towels. Sure it’s not as convenient and sometimes the rags I’m using smell milky after (especially because I do laundry as infrequent as possible) but simply using items I can reuse will drastically decrease my trash output. Tupperware instead of sandwich bags, cloth grocery bags instead of plastic ones, those are they types of things I can use to help reduce my 8-pound-a-day amount.

Third, I’m going to look into purchasing a composter for my food scraps. I love to garden. This should be a no-brainer for me. If I can figure out how to use the nutrients from my leftovers to benefit my plants it is a win-win.

Finally, I’m going to make sure no one would want the things I dump before I dump them.

I found out yesterday that before the items are pushed off of the unloading dock at the dump, workers sift through the piles looking for hazardous waste as well as items that can be recycled like tires, metal and glass.

They also search for treasures – things that are in good condition that can be resold.

They have actually opened a second-hand thrift store on the grounds similar to the DI or Savers. They employ workers who may have disabilities and teach them to work while selling things that don’t need to be trashed. They call it the Pioneer Adult Rehabilitation Center. It’s really cool.

The dump was an amazing place. They are taking my trash – many of it I really shouldn’t even be producing – and they are trying their best to make it smaller for me.

They sift through the trash to remove items that can be disposed of differently and they also help mulch down green waste into wood chips. They actually lose $350,000 a year by taking people’s green waste and smashing it down. But they do it because they want to keep it out of the landfill.

They do a lot. Now I’m going to give them a hand. I challenge you to do the same. That way my great, great, great grandkids won’t end up on a spaceship orbiting earth like the people in Wall-E. They deserve better. I’ve got to do this for them.

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72-Hour Kits Part 1

20170928_110545I’ve been meaning to revamp our family’s 72-hour kits ever since my mom and dad’s house fire. I remember the first night they were homeless. There were several things that they didn’t have – contacts, medications, C-pap machines, undergarments.

I realized that if I were swept quickly from my home, I’d need and want similar items.

It took me a couple years since their fire, but I finally dug out our old kits and started over.

I was so embarrassed to see what I had in the old kits – granola bars and diapers. I guess that would help. Sort of!

My boys and I made an extensive list of all the things we want to buy for our kits. We decided to start off with the food, then work toward other personal and survival items.

So, here is my part 1 of our 72-hour kits.

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We have enough food for our family of 6 for three days. I found ideas of what to buy online. I ordered my items online from Walmart.com. I spent about $63. I tried to buy items that were light weight, easy to open and high in protein. I also bought a few small bottles of water and some toothbrushes and toothpaste.

I also bought a Life Straw water purification device. I hope to buy one for each family member to have.

There are so many other things we want to get but I feel like this is a great start!

Here is the breakdown of the meals and food:

Breakfast: Granola Bar and Gogo

Lunch: Tuna pouch and Cracker Roll

Dinner: Ramen Noodles and Fruit Cup

Breakfast: Granola Bar and Gogo

Lunch: Animal Crackers and Peanut Butter

Dinner: Tuna pouch and Cracker Roll

Breakfast: Granola Bar and Gogo

Lunch: Animal Crackers and Peanut Butter

Dinner: Ramen Noodles and Fruit Cup

Sick

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NyQuil. NyQuil has quickly become my new best friend.

Thankfully I don’t get sick very often, but when I do it’s bad. This time has been bad.

On a scale of 1 – I can do everything I normally can – to 10 – I would pay the $12.99 to have my groceries delivered to my house – I would say I’m an 11.

I’ve been struck with a terrible head cold and infected toe. I finally caved over the weekend and went to instacare. But the doctor on duty couldn’t help with my foot. So I went back on Monday.

It was too infected to work on so I had to wait a couple days for the antibiotic to kick in.

Yesterday they fixed my toe and I stayed in bed all day. Thank heavens my mom and husband helped with my kids.

Because moms don’t get sick days.

Which is probably why I get so sick. I keep going and going, hoping that it will pass me by. There are meals to make, floors to vacuum and homework to check. And then I have all the extra projects I want to get done like canning and painting.

I keep checking stuff off my to-do list while not feeling well – overdoing it all the while. Then I find myself unable to get out of bed I’m so exhausted. Ugh.

As I lay in bed yesterday I realized that none of it matters. Who cares if my floor needs mopping? Who cares if the dishes aren’t clean? Heaven only knows how my boys’ bedrooms look right now.

When you’re laying in bed so sick you don’t know what day it is, none of that matters. Sure it will probably start driving me nuts when I finally get my strength back. It will get to me eventually. I’ll most likely spend a good day or two catching up on my housework and projects.

But until then I’m going to rest. Rest from my housework. Rest from my chores. We all could use a little rest sometimes – even if it is because we are sick.

Potty-Training is the Pits

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I totally stink at potty training. Why? Because it’s HARD!

We take perfectly trained, pure, innocent babies who cry the second their diaper is wet and teach them that it’s all right to stay soggy for a while. (Well, at least that’s how it goes at our house.)

Then, a couple years later, we try to teach them that it’s not all right anymore.

Then all heck breaks loose.

I find myself with a bathtub filled with wet undies and a half-naked toddler sprinting in the other direction.

It’s exhausting.

Potty training is also hard because I don’t have the attention span. I try to set timers. I try to remember to get my little one on the potty. But I forget!

And I’m not in love with the timer. Deep down I know that is training me, not her. I want her to figure out how to go when her body needs to, not at the sound of our oven beep.

Ugh. This is so hard. You’d think that I’d be better at this by now.

My daughter turns three next month and I’ve got to bite the bullet and focus on training. (Who knows if that means training me or her lol.)

If anyone has a tried and true training program, I’m all ears.

Wish me luck. I’m going to stock up on toddler undies and chocolate incentives.

Zucchini Fest

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Every single September I do the same Pinterest search: Zucchini recipes.

I figure I’m not the only mormon gardener with an excess of the green squash so I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes I’ve tried, or want to try. Please let me know if you have any amazing, kid-friendly recipes you love too!

Here is an easy recipe for lemon poppyseed zucchini bread. I made it into muffins instead. I also peeled the zucchini so that my kids wouldn’t see any green stuff and act suspicious.

This one-pan chicken and vegetable stir fry is delicious. I swapped out some of the other veggies for some zucchini. Yum!

My kids aren’t huge casserole fans, but my husband and I love them so I keep trying lol. This one is really good!

These zucchini rounds/chips aren’t probably the healthiest, but gosh they are good.

I made this a couple of weeks ago and it was delicious! We ended up putting it into tortillas and eating it like tacos. So good!

Finally, everyone already knows how I feel about fries. Who could go wrong with zucchini fries?

Let me know if you have any great ideas. I’m going to try a few more new ones and I’m always looking for new recipes!

Luca Is A Tree

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“Luca is a tree, right mom?” my innocent 2-year-old asked me last week.

She was playing with her best friend when they stopped to look at our angel baby’s picture in my bedroom. She was telling her friend that she had a brother who died. And that he was a tree.

I couldn’t blame her. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy planting a tree for Luca the past couple of years. There have actually been a few trees planted in the same spot because we haven’t had much luck in them surviving.

So it’s probably normal for her to associate Luca with a tree.

I smiled and told her that he was a baby, not a tree. Then she and her friend went on playing.

And I sat back and sighed.

At that moment it really hit me that she has no idea who Luca is.

Sure she’s seen his pictures. She knows we are sad that he isn’t with us. We tell her he’s in heaven and that we’ll see him again. But she has no memories of being with him. She wasn’t born yet. Neither does my 5-year-old. He wasn’t around yet either.

Honestly, my 9-year-old probably doesn’t have any strong memories either even though he was there the day we said hello and goodbye to his baby brother. He was less than two when Luca died.

My oldest can remember bits and pieces, but he was only three. Also too young to have those images and memories cemented into his mind.

It’s amazing to me that something that has impacted me so strongly, something that has changed my life, and therefore my family, is something they won’t remember directly.

They’ll only remember him through me, through pictures and through the acts we do in his memory each year.

I try not to let Luca’s death weigh me down. I try to look at all the good things in my life. But moments like this strike me and make my heart ache. How can one member of our family only be a faded memory?

It’s sad.

I wish he were here. I wish we we making constant memories together; that he was playing and causing mischief with his siblings. I wish he was an active part of our lives.

But since he isn’t, I’ll have to be the one to keep his memory alive. Keep his pictures around. Keep serving in his memory.

Otherwise my children won’t be able to remember their brother – who is just as important to me as each of my living children.

So today I’ll take my kids to the park for play group. We’ll walk to the edge of the play ground and stand under Luca’s tree. I’ll tell them how much I love their angel brother. I’ll tell them about his round, chubby cheeks and his curly red hair. I’ll tell them how he would kick and play in my tummy whenever I sat near the piano and music was played.

I’ll tell them how I kissed his face and said goodbye. And I’ll tell them how I can’t wait until we all get to see him again. Until we are together forever.

Waking up Walking

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Peer pressure.

The only thing that could get me up before the sun.

Positive, inspiring, friendly peer pressure.

And I’m glad I’ve been pressured.

A couple of months ago I started walking with friends every morning. We started going at 7 a.m. before the sun made the day too hot.

But with school coming we bumped up the time.

These days I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. Something that I NEVER thought I would be happy about doing. But I set it so I can get my butt out of bed to go walking with friends. And it’s changed my morning outlook.

I love being able to get out and get moving.

I’m not looking to lose weight or slim down, heaven knows my nightly ice cream bowl is counterproductive, but I love getting my heart pumping. I know it’s making me a healthier person.

And it’s definitely helping with my mental health.

I get one hour of active exercise as well as one hour of active social life. I have 60 minutes with my friends. Other moms who are struggling with similar struggles. Other moms who are tired when their alarm sounds before 6 a.m. Other moms who let me vent my frustrations and share my embarrassments.

We laugh, we yawn and we walk.

It good for my body and soul.

I still relish the evenings. The quiet times when my kids are in bed and I can get some work done or just sit quietly reading or watching a movie. I think I’ll always be a night owl.

But I have come to rely on these morning walks to help me through my crazy life. I can’t imagine sleeping through them.

Thank heavens for good friends and positive peer pressure. I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, leave my warm, comfy bed for anything else!

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