podcast, Wellness, Young Living

Episode 4 – Releasing Emotions with Oils

If you’re looking for the list of resources, here ya go!

Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils by Carolyn L. Mein, D.C.
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
The Heart Code by Paul P. Pearsall
Molecules of Emotion by Candace B. Peri, Ph.D.
The Emotion Code by Dr. Bradley Nelson
The Aroma Freedom Technique by Dr. Benjamin Perkus
Switch on Your Brain Every Day by Dr. Caroline Leaf
Heal Your Body by Louise Hays
Feelings Buried Alive Never Die by Karol K. Truman
The Bible – 66 books by 40 authors over the span of approximately 1,600 years with (by some estimates) over 2,500 prophecies, 2,000 of which have been fulfilled, and all of which has the same amazing and cohesive message–God loves you.

Hi! And welcome to the Cultivating Abundant Life Podcast! I’m Kait Palmer, and I am passionate about helping women cultivate better lives physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

For this next series we’re going to be focusing on that last aspect – emotions. You might feel emotions control your life, or you might put the thought of them over in a dusty corner as some mushy stuff that you don’t really deal with. But regardless of your attitude towards emotions, they color our lives–what would a wedding be without love, a birth without joy, or being helped without feeling gratitude? We’re going to talk about how emotions affect your body, and four emotions–anger, fear, sadness, and joy–that you can release with essential oils. You don’t need to be a certified aromatherapist or psychologist to do this–you can literally grab an oil today and work on releasing emotions!

I began writing this podcast more than a month ago and since then my dog–my faithful Roy Boy we’d had for 13 years and was 16 years old–crossed the rainbow bridge. He was my dog soulmate–there in a new city forcing me to get outside and move my body, there during a move to a new state, during 2 am feedings and early  morning diaper changes, there as a furry playmate for my kids,

and there for adventures as we moved to Oregon and traveled all over. This dog and I could have conversations with our eyebrows! I can’t tell you the number of times I’d hear him woof or huff from another room and yell to my husband he needed to go outside or was hungry and be right–we just had a strong connection! So needless to say that despite him being the equivalent of 120 years old, I’m still heartbroken. So the oils I have relied on heavily these past few weeks are Joy, Frankincense, and Acceptance. I’ll use either over my heart, or apply Frankincense to my face at night before bedtime. 

Back to emotions! Time to open up your notes app or grab a notepad and pen if you’re old school like me, and let’s start learning!

Just a reminder, I am not a doctor, and information provided in this podcast has not been evaluated by the FDA, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information provided here is in no way intended to replace medical care. Consult with the healthcare authority of your choice and remember–you always have a choice! 

The truth is that emotions are far more powerful than you may realize, and can affect our mental state and physical state directly. There is so much to this and I’m just going to skim the surface, and at the advice of a friend I’ll be making this into a series of bite-sized chunks to help you understand why and how emotions are so important. My hope is that each of these episodes will pique your interest to dig deeper into these topics and give you action steps to take and use today! This first episode is going to talk about real ways they affect your physical body.

Emotional stress is a major contributing factor to the six leading causes of death in the United States: cancer, coronary heart disease, accidental injuries, respiratory disorders, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. According to statistics from Meridian Stress Management Consultancy in the U.K, almost 180,000 people in the U.K die each year from some form of stress-related illness (7). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States estimates that stress accounts for about 75% of all doctors visit (7). This involves an extremely wide span of physical complaints including, but not limited to headache, back pain, heart problems, upset stomach, stomach ulcer, sleep problems, tiredness and accidents. According to Occupational Health and Safety news and the National Council on compensation of insurance, up to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/

Aaaaughh, right? On the other hand though, being able to acknowledge, process, and release negative emotions frees your mind (and body) up for more positive emotions. Research shows that DNA actually changes shape according to our thoughts. We’ll dive deeper into the study of epigenetics in the next episode, as it’s fascinating and a lot to bite off at once! Experiencing and releasing emotions in a healthy way leads to a balanced mind, contributing to a healthier body and happier mind. 

A happier mind carries more advantages than just…well…being happy. According to a study done by Shawn Achor, who wrote The Happiness Advantage, they found that people with a positive mindset:
Had 37% greater sales

Were 3x more creative

31% more productive

40% more likely to receive a promotion

Had 23% fewer fatigue symptoms

Were up to 10x more engaged

39% more likely to live to age 94

Obviously carrying around trapped or negative emotions, or having a mind that you’ve unwittingly trained towards negative thoughts can have a direct impact on your physical health. 

So, what are emotions? Emotions are what we feel–joy when our kid brings us a flower, frustration when we have to unball stinky, sweaty socks for literally the 10,000th time (two years into my marriage I actually did the math on approximately how many socks I had unballed and it was well over 1,000…we’ve been married for 14 years now and I don’t even want to think about how high that number it), anger when we are accused of something untrue, relief when we find something that was lost. 

As Dr. Bradley Nelson writes in the book The Emotion Code, “They are what we experience in the moment, and information stored in our bodies and minds from past experiences.” They are powerful, even if they seem silly (like balled up socks), and can galvanize one to action. 

Dr. Benjamin Perkus, the psychologist who wrote The Aroma Freedom Technique, writes, “In the most basic sense, the purpose of emotions is to express our state of being so that we can get our needs met. So-called negative emotions especially should be seen as a way to communicate something that needs attention.” 

He goes on to give a simple example. Say that an acquaintance of mine stands too close while talking and is stepping on my toe. I might feel frustration and could say, “Ouch! You’re on my toe!” The acquaintance would most likely step back and apologize. I’d say it’s no big deal, and we’d move on with the conversation. I had an emotion, expressed it, and it was attended to in a very basic sense. The anger or frustration wasn’t a bad emotion, it was just an expression of something that needed to be fixed. 

Now let’s say I don’t say anything. I think they might think I’m rude if I say something, or maybe I grew up in a house where I wasn’t allowed to express anger and so I just grimace and finish the conversation. By the end of the exchange my initial feeling of anger or frustration might turn into thoughts of, “how could she not see what she’s doing? Isn’t she aware of how close she is? People like this are so aggravating! I can’t wait to get out of here!” Now I’m feeling not just angry but resentful. 

This is where the cycle of emotional imbalance starts–you carry around unresolved emotions, and the next time I see this acquaintance I might notice she bumps something over and think, “my goodness she’s clumsy!” Or I make a catty or snide remark that leaves the acquaintance wondering what in the world went wrong! 

We’ve all been in a scenario where someone (maybe us) reacted in a way that was completely disproportionate to the situation. You probably realized that they weren’t really that upset about the situation, but about something else.

Dr. Perkus writes, “This type of scenario is all too common in some relationships. It is the result of failing to allow a natural emotional expression to accomplish what it was designed to do – meet a need.”

Expressive emotion is that rush in the moment–someone stepping on my toe and I react and express frustration or anger because I have a need to be met. “Reactive emotion,” writes Dr. Perkus, “ is when an unfulfilled need from the past gets triggered by a present situation that is similar in some way. It is fundamentally a distortion of reality.” 

When we don’t express those emotions, those negative emotions can get trapped in our physical bodies. 

Here’s where it gets interesting. 

Emotions are stored in your cellular memory in your physical body. They have been found to be encoded within the DNA of the cells and passed on from generation to generation. Do you have a temper similar to your grandfather’s temper? That’s not just chance–it’s a genetic emotion code passed down. Not only this, but individuals have the opportunity to change their DNA not only by diet and lifestyle choices, but emotions as well. This is the study of epigenetics and it is fascinating–we will dive more into this next time!


Events, scent memories, and even visual memories are stored in areas of your body, like vital organs. An obvious example of this is recipients of an organ transplant. Recipients report memories, taste preferences, vocabulary, desires, and emotions that were those of the donor. 

Ready for some goosebumps? 

In one case, an 8-year-old girl was the recipient of a heart from a 10-year-old that was murdered. The recipient began having such vivid nightmares the parents took her to a psychiatrist who after several sessions concluded that she was witnessing actual physical incidents. They decided to call the police who used the detailed descriptions of the murder (the time, the weapon, the place, the clothes he wore, what the little girl he killed had said to him) given by the little girl to find and convict the man in question.

For further reading, look into “The Heart Code” by Paul P. Pearsall and “Molecules of Emotion” by Candace B. Peri, Ph.D.


Oftentimes, major emotions get stored in specific organs. Some examples are depression or grief being stored in the lungs, fear and self-criticism can be stored in the head, the liver stores anger and primitive emotions, the heart–your center of love and security– is the place of long-standing emotional problems, the stomach holds dread and fear, and your skin–which protects your individuality–projects your anxiety and fear.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it may help to give you a beginning understanding of where common emotions are stored.



To get more in-depth, looking not just at body parts but various diseases, I HIGHLY recommend the books Heal Your Body by Louise Hays and Feelings Buried Alive Never Die by Karol K. Truman.

Have you ever noticed that a smell can trigger a memory or feeling? Like brownies baking in your grandma’s house, or the cologne your high school boyfriend way overused? This is known as the Proust Phenomenon, after the literary example given by Marcel Proust in Remembrances of Things Past. 

A fascinating example of how powerful our sense of smell is is from a study done where patients who lost their sense of smell were frequently depressed. The opposite has also proven true, in one study patients who were diagnosed with clinical depression had a reduced sense of smell, and that their sense of smell improves when the depression was properly treated.

Scent accesses the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system is a system of nerves and networks in the brain that controls basic emotions and drives. It is the emotional brain. It supports five major functions: emotions, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and sense of smell.

Essential oils can be used to tap directly into the limbic system to stimulate memories and emotions. As you inhale essential oils, the tiny molecules enter the nasal cavity and pass by the olfactory bulb. Your olfactory bulb is a part of your limbic system and therefore your response to an aroma is going to be emotional before it can be rational.

Also, a study at New York University proved the amygdala gland (the gland in the limbic system that stores and releases trauma) does not respond to sight or touch but ONLY releases trauma through the sense of smell!

Not only this, but did you know they are discovering smell receptors all over your body? Your skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, testes, colon–all of these are found to have smell receptors as well! Essentially, they are specialized chemical receptors. These are stimulated by certain chemicals (like…you guessed it! Essential oils!) to transmit messages to the organ.

Essential oil molecules are so microscopic that one drop has approximately 40 million trillion molecules! That’s enough to cover every single cell in your body with 4,000 molecules! They are so tiny they permeate every tissue in your body–including the blood-brain barrier. This is a powerful tool when it comes to unlocking emotions on the cellular level.

This is great news! That means you can use essential oils to recall memories, both good and bad. If they are bad, you can use the oils to help you release cellular memories stored in the body, allowing you to process and move past them.

So the oils I’m going to talk about here are in no means exhaustive! If you get only one book on emotions, get Carolyn L. Mein’s book Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils. Not only will it give you more in depth ways to release those trapped emotions (we’ll cover more on this later), but it includes fantastic lists of essential oils and the emotion and alarm point on the body they correspond to. You can look up by oil, or by emotion. Often when doing zyto scans the results and this book are so accurate people think that the software analyzes them on social media to pull results–I promise you it does not! 

In past episodes we’ve covered what essential oils are and how to use them. When using them to help with emotions, the best ways are aromatically and topically…and really the topically is because you are still smelling them! (I will say there are studies done that taking a capsule of lavender vitality oil has the same effect as taking a certain medication to help you feel relaxed! Look that one up!)

The first step in all of this is identifying the emotion. Sometimes you know exactly what you’re dealing with and that makes it easy! Other times you may need to do a little digging. That’s where things like muscle testing or the zyto scan can really come in handy.

Robert Plutchik created a wheel of eight basic emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger, and disgust. 

Some psychologists boil all feelings down to love or fear. 

I’ve read (and tend to agree) that anger is usually a secondary emotion–you are angry because…someone betrayed you and you are hurt, you are fearful of losing your job, you are sad about an event and portraying it through anger.

So how exactly do you use essential oils to help process and release emotions? I’m going to give you the most basic way that you can use right now, and in later episodes we’ll cover other ways to help identify and release those emotions. 

So you identify the emotion. Let’s go with anger. Notice where you might feel it in your body. Close your eyes and find a snapshot of the time that instigated that anger. Allow your body to focus on that, and then smell an oil. 

One of the best oils for anger is Purification. Open a bottle up and take some deep breaths. Allow whatever feelings surface to just pass through you as you smell the oil. Give yourself permission to ride that wave of emotion and let it pass. 

Notice any new emotions beginning to emerge. 

Think about releasing that emotion, and what the other side of that emotion might be. In this case, the other side is laughter. 

There’s even an affirmation phrase associated with this emotion–My Direction is clear. 

You can go a step further and apply the oil to the corresponding alarm points found in Mein’s book like the fleshy part of your hand on the pinkie side, or just under your left chest. 

Repeat this as often as you like. In Mein’s book she suggests anywhere between once a day for a week to 18 times a day for 7 weeks for deep seated emotions! The point is, you can’t do it too often. And don’t get hung up on the exactitude of this! I like to put the oil I’m using out on my kitchen counter or by my bathroom sink to remember to use it. I’ve even made an alarm in my phone to help me remember to oil up! If you want to work on a certain emotion and forget for a day…don’t beat yourself up! Just crack that bottle open, inhale, and pick up where you left off.

Today I’m going to cover four BIG emotions and essential oils that can help release those feelings. We’re going to talk about Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Joy.

We’ve already talked about Anger–Purification is a great one for that. Other oils I’ve found that can help with that secondary emotion of anger are Stress Away, Release, Peace & Calming, Frankincense, and even good old Lemon. 

What’s great is you can use these on kids! When you’ve got angry or frustrated kids, open up a bottle to pass around and see if they’ll take a deep inhale. Then try (calmly) talking about the issue. I’ve done this personally for myself and my kids–for some reason being in the car is conducive to talking. You’re not directly facing each other, you can take a pause and play some relaxing music and give everyone a break from talking. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve used oils to calm down or elicit healthy conversations while on a drive.

And remember, emotions are a signal that something needs to change, to communicate something needs attention. Maybe you’re angry over injustices in the world. Even Jesus was mad at people who were charging exorbitant prices so average people could worship at the temple. He overturned some tables over that one! So anger itself isn’t bad if it’s impetus for change. The Bible even says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”(Ephesians 4:23)  Let the anger transform into a positive emotion–determination, resilience, resolve–and let the negative aspect pass through your body like a wave. It’s the hanging onto anger that is detrimental to your mental and physical health. 

Next up is fear. So many emotions have fear as their underlying emotion. Situations that cause emotions like fear or terror make a profound impact on our body (remember the little girl with the heart transplant?), so while they are important to recognize and act upon for survival, we also need to process them so that we can release them. 

Often when we experience a traumatic event, other–less dramatic–events can trigger the same emotions as the traumatic one. For instance, fireworks can be a trigger for our veterans. It’s that reactive emotion versus expressive emotion. 

Let me give you a (slightly humorous) personal example. I grew up camping every summer and we often would camp in Yosemite Valley. That area sees a lot of bears, and one year after we’d gone to bed in our tent we heard snuffling and snorting in our campsite. My mom woke up my dad, who proceeded to stick his head out of the tent, look around, and loudly proclaim, “Nope! No bears here!” At that exact moment, the giant shadow of a bear lumbered across the wall of our tent. Without hesitation my mom, brother, and I let out blood curdling screams which proceeded to scare the bear off. From then on we slept with pots and wooden spoons and banging on them and screaming to scare away our nightly visitors became a regular thing. 

Now, I love camping, but for years afterwards when the lanterns would go out I would lie awake for hours…just waiting for the bears. Even later in Oklahoma and Oregon where the bear activity was not nearly so high it would take a long time for me to be able to relax and fall asleep–those feelings of terror so tied with nights sleeping in a tent and being woken up by bears (or a bear and a raccoon in a battle in one case!). 

So–did the expressive emotion of fear and terror turn into action (making noise) that kept us safe? Yes. But does lying awake in the tent with those same reactive emotions benefit me at all? Nope! I would just wake up feeling tired and worn out! I feel like this past summer I was finally able to release those emotions and go to sleep much easier in a tent than before. We’ve got 3 camping trips scheduled from summer and I’ll let you know how those go!

When those feelings of fear or terror are triggered or you are remembering those events or feelings, try deeply inhaling one of these oils…and remember this is not prescriptive! If you only have one oil–use that one! As Gary Young said, there’s no wrong way to oil.

For Fear, Sandalwood or sacred sandalwood in the middle of your forehead with the affirmation I face the unknown

For feelings of being scared, Peace & Calming over your throat with the affirmation I am still.

For terror, again use Sandalwood about 5ish inches below your belly button with the affirmation I surrender.

For fear of the past repeating, the blend Forgiveness is so effective, as there can be so much to forgive. Yourself and others. Apply this oil under your right chest with the affirmation I learn from all of life’s experiences.

Lastly if you are apprehensive about going into a situation, Valor on your spine or the back of your neck is amazing. 

What does the Bible say about fear? It says “Fear not.” A LOT. Fear not, be strong and of good courage. Fear not, you’re of more value than many sparrows. Fear not, perfect love casts out fear. Fear not, there’s good news! Fear not, God is on your side, He is your shield, your fortress, the One who helps you. As opposed to anger and as we’ll see next, sadness, which we are to feel, Scripture tells us repeatedly to cast our cares on the God of the Universe and fear not.

Let’s move on to sadness. Sadness or grief touch everyone at some point. Whether it’s losing a loved one, seeing the plight of those in need, leaving friends and family for a long distance move, or even losing a pet, your body will feel that sadness. And that’s ok. It’s ok to cry. To mourn. Jesus cried, and even said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” He didn’t say, “Stiff upper lip, you’ll get through it!” Our Creator repeatedly acknowledges the need to name, feel, and express big emotions. Go read the book of Psalms to see the high highs and low lows that King David felt and expressed. 

Much like playing the video game Tetris while recovering from emotional trauma can help you sort those memories into the proper “places” in your brain, smelling an essential oil can help you process and release grief or sadness. Try using these on the alarm points on the bridge of your nose or on your neck where your chin and neck meet. Personally I also feel that over the heart helps so much with sadness as well.


Lemon or Orange are good oils for sadness. The Affirmation is I see the humor in the situation. Now, this is just my perspective and I’m not the doctor or psychologist here, but often there are situations where there is just no humor. In this case I find the affirmation for grief to be more appropriate–Change brings growth

Joy is the best oil for grief, and coupled with that affirmation can be very soothing.

For the feeling of depression, use Peace & Calming behind your ears with the affirmation I am glad that I’m alive

For feelings of sorrow, try the blend Acceptance right in the center of your chest and the affirmation I am in balance. As I navigate grief over losing my Roy Boy I find this oil very comforting.

The opposite of Sadness is Joy. Joy is often is so, well–happy–that you may think you don’t need an oil to support a positive emotion. But smelling an oil like Magnify Your Purpose or Awaken or…surprise…JOY! can open your brain up to more creative activity (remember the Happiness Advantage?) and range of emotion while experiencing joy. 

Also, linking a positive experience with a smell can be beneficial in the future. Similar to Pavlov’s dog salivating at the dinner bell, when you associate a smell with a happy event, in future times just smelling those scents will fire your brain to experience those joyful emotions again. For me, I have very positive emotions tied to using Gentle Baby while snuggling my sweet little ones. Every time I smell that oil it takes me back to a sweet, tender time in my life.

So try Magnify Your Purpose, Awaken, Peace & Calming, or any oil that gives you that positive emotion and work on storing up good emotions associated with that scent.


Ecclesiastes says there is a time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4). We are to express all of these emotions–repressing them will only hurt our mental and physical health. Dr. Caroline Leaf writes in her devotional Switch on Your Brain Every Day, “When you express your emotions in a healthy way, including allowing yourself to feel pain when someone hurts you and forgiving your enemies, you allow the free flow of neuropeptides and energy, which in turn allows all bodily systems to function as a healthy whole. However, when you repress and deny your emotions, whatever they may be, you block the network of quantum and chemical pathways, stopping the flow of good chemicals that run your biology and behavior.” Basically you can train your body to not feel these emotions, which can dramatically affect your physical and mental health.

So to sum up, emotions are good when processed effectively, and they affect your body. Your physical organs and tissue body. Essential oils are amazing because they can help you process and release emotions. 

First identify the emotion. Let yourself feel it in your body.

Smell an oil. Use the book by Carolyn Mein or just grab an oil!

Think about or look up the “way out.” The other side of that emotion and maybe an affirmation to go along with it. 

Inhale the oil and maybe apply to the alarm point on your body like we talked about. If you don’t know where, you can’t go wrong with over your heart.

If you ever feel the emotions are surfacing quickly or too intensely, take a break and process the emotions in a time frame that is more comfortable with you. When you are ready to continue, pick up where you left off. Overwhelming emotions generally indicate underlying emotions that also need to be cleared. As memories and emotions surface, it can be helpful to journal, go for walk, meditate, talk with a close friend or therapist, or exercise as you process and release.

To recap, the oils we talked about today are Purification, Stress Away, Release, Peace & Calming, Frankincense, Lemon, Sandalwood, Forgiveness, Valor, Joy, Acceptance, Magnify Your Purpose, and Awaken. 

Next week we’re going to dive into the fascinating world of emotions and genes and epigenetics, as well as take a look at the Aroma Freedom Technique and how to use that to release emotions. 

Thanks for taking this time with me. I feel honored to share this information with you and I hope you grab an oil right now and take some deep inhales!

If you’re new to oils and don’t really know how to order them or use them, head to to top of this website to browse through my free classes, or if you’re ready click that “Get Started” button in the upper right hand corner! 

If you’re watching or listening to this please click that Subscribe button and give me a rating if you feel so inclined!

Until next time, continue cultivating your abundant life! Bye!

Parenting-thing

The Battle Belongs (Part 3)

Two and a half weeks has passed since Tatum was discharged from Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, and so far her eye has continued to heal and look better and better!

If you missed part 2 you can read that here

Looking back I can see the repeated hand of Yahweh in our midst. The draining of the abscess spontaneously prevented her from needing surgery. After we recovered from a sleep shortage she felt pretty much back to normal–just stuck in a hospital room with the full attention of both of her parents. She was sort of in heaven, lol! She never experienced any pain despite what had to be a lot of pressure in her sinuses!

You can see on the right how the pus built up in the sinus cavity and into the orbital cavity, displacing her eyeball

To answer some questions I’ve received a lot:

The team of doctors *think* it started as a virus “with no symptoms” that made the cilia in her sinuses “tired” so they didn’t move out mucus–just on one side. At that point it became sinusitis, and the pus built up until it made it’s way into her orbital cavity and formed an abscess. Thankfully the abscess formed a head on the skin between her nose and eye and began to drain spontaneously, and continued to drain well with warm compresses.

She never felt any pressure or pain at all! She felt “sick” and had a fever on Christmas and the few days afterwards. On the 26th she woke up with her eye swollen shut.

There was nothing I could really have done to prevent it–how do you prevent something you don’t know is happening?! Yes, I asked multiple doctors.

There was nothing more I could have done than what we did (again, I asked because I don’t want to repeat this!). She was on antibiotics on the first day her eye swelled up. I even scheduled a repeat doctor visit because I was concerned the antibiotics she was on weren’t strong enough if it was periorbital cellulitis (which it was), so we switched and it seemed to improve. As someone who’s been able to handle almost every ailment at home with three kids (and a dog) for the past 8 years, I’ve made it my mission and my business to educate myself, and had three different doctors ask what my medical background was, lol. However, I think God was teaching me how little control I *actually* have.

And you know what–even if she HAD to have surgery, even if we had a much longer hospital stay, even if the really scary things that are associated with periorbital cellulitis had happened–he is STILL a good God. This world is broken–we broke it. He’s going to fix it all, eventually.

As a mama, reflecting on my time in the hospital I thought about how our Abba, our heavenly Daddy, does so much for us. I was *always* with her, an arm’s length away and ready to do whatever needed to be done. But I’m human. I got tired. I had my moment of tears when I learned they weren’t going to do surgery and I could release some emotion. I need my alone time. I get touched-out (like snuggling with her in her bed and she unknowingly elbowed me repeatedly in her sleep).

God doesn’t need “me” time. He doesn’t need a break from us. He doesn’t need a nap, need a break, need a cup of coffee. He’s always there, by our side, willing to do what He knows we need and be Who we need Him to be.

The girls and I have been listening to Everybody, Always (for kids) by Bob Goff on audio (read by him, which makes it even better). There’s a chapter where he talks about one of his kids who likes to skydive, and so he secretly took lessons to learn and told his son the next time he went skydiving to invite him to watch. Instead of just observing, he strapped on a parachute…much to the shock of his son…and assured him he’d be fine–how hard could it be? When it came time to jump, Bob talks about seeing his son leap out of an airplane and he had an overwhelming urge to be with him. He jumped so hard he literally jumped out of his sneakers. That kind of love–jumping out of your sneakers to be with someone–is one I know a lot of you have experienced, and I love knowing that amount of love is just a drop in the bucket compared to the love He feels for you.

So as I write this tonight, in an actual comfortable chair instead of the hard plastic one in the hospital, I’m so very thankful to rest in the knowledge of His love. To have experienced His indescribable peace. I have friends right now who are dealing with illness, looking at upcoming surgeries for themselves or their kids, or are sitting in a hospital room. My prayer is that you would feel him wrap His arms around you in His overwhelming love. If there’s a way I can pray for you, please feel free to drop me a line through this site or email me at kait@cultivatingabundantlife.com

And know that like in 2 Chronicles 20, the battle belongs to Yahweh. We pray, get prepared, and worship, and He takes care of the battle.

Tatum this past week earning her Bat badge in our homeschool group
Adventures, Parenting-thing

The Battle Belongs (Part 2)

If you missed Part 1, you can read that here

**On December 26 Tatum woke up with a very swollen eye. We talked with a Doctor and had her on antibiotics just hours later. I was concerned it was more serious so on Tuesday we saw another Doctor, and got on a different antibiotic. It was improving—swelling down, fever gone, etc. when New Year’s Day she woke up with much more swelling, and I could see an abscess. We went to urgent care, who directed us to the ER, who called in an ophthalmologist, who said we needed to transfer to Portland.**

The first battle was emotions. Just telling Tatum we were going to Urgent Care sent her sobbing uncontrollably. We got through that with prayer, a lavender Aroma Ring under the mask, reassurances, and a kind doctor who took one look at her eye and sent us to the Emergency room. We picked up my mom on the way, and with each new thing at the ER–repeating the story of the past week, doctors asking the same questions, doing the same exams–she grew braver and more confident. 

Then a certain ophthalmologist who could use some compassion training showed up and said bluntly we needed to go to Portland, probably by helicopter, and when Tatum asked if I was going with her he said, “maybe.” Uhhhhhh…Mama is going, no question about that, but it sent Tatum into a panic. Thanks, dude. He just gave a thumbs up and said, “Cool, a heli ride!” 

I thought my mom was going to murder him right there.

After hours of waiting to figure out transportation up there, we learned we were flying up there in a small plane. I made a frenzied trip back to the house (trying to follow my mom’s directions of where she parked the car and hopping a fence to get there faster), where I threw stuff in bags, not knowing if we were going through airport security or if I needed to follow the 3 ounce rule so leaving most liquids (like toothpaste) behind, and trying to grab as many comforting things for Tatum as possible but forgetting things like underwear for myself…priorities, right? I hugged my littles hard and kissed my old dog as I flew out the door. Driving back I listened to the song “Waymaker,” and felt that inexplicable peace wash over me. After parking I still decided throwing the bags over and hopping the fence shaved off a few minutes since we thought the plane was leaving very shortly. I pulled my quad as a thanks for that decision, LOL!

After wearing the mask in the ER I was starting to get a migraine, and often if it develops it can last 4-7 days. I did NOT have time for that. I literally dumped Cool Azul oil blend on my neck and shoulders and took a mystery OTC pain med from my mom’s mixed bottle of things, and then God fought the next battle for me. The transport team was totally great with Tatum and I not wearing masks in the ambulance or the flight, especially after they commented on the good smelling oils and I told them why I had used it. 

Then Doug, one of the EMTs, asked if we had any congestion or physical problems flying. I haven’t flown in 3 years because the last two times I’ve flown I’ve had intense sinus pain. Living in Oklahoma my allergies got worse and worse, and on a flight home the pain hit me like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I thought I was having an aneurism or something because the pain was worse than pushing out a 10 ½ lb baby naturally! So when I did mention that, Doug looked a little dubious and said I might experience some pain. I told him you could chop my arm off but I was going and he nodded his approval. 

At this point, Tatum was almost chipper. She’s so polite and friendly, she won over the team right away. Even getting loaded up in the gurney, hooked up to vitals, strapped down for the journey, making sure her stuffed dog was there, she had a great attitude and the fear and panic of before was nowhere to be seen. Thanks God–You handled that battle.

The friendliness and calm of the transport team helped Tatum have fun in the ambulance ride to the airport, and I snapped a few pics of her smiling as she was being loaded onto this tiny 5 seater plane. By that point my migraine had dissipated as well–chalk another one up to God for winning that battle. 

We loaded up on the aircraft and Doug asked her if she’d been on a small airplane before. She said, “No, but my mom has when she went to Africa.” 

“You were in Africa?” he asked and I told him I’d been to Uganda and we flew to northern Uganda in small planes. I got to share a bit about what Far Reaching Ministries got to do in Gulu, Kitgum, and Mucwini as we taxied around, and then we took off. As we climbed, Tatum had fun watching the lights and trying to guess the layout of the valley floor in the dark.

I thought I would be on edge, waiting for that stab of pain in my sinuses, nervous about such a tiny plane, worried Tatum would be scared…but none of that existed. You’d have thought we were off on the grandest adventure and we were both relaxed and content. Peace that passes understanding–just like He promises. It was loud on the plane, so I pulled out my kindle and read another chapter of Love Does by Bob Goff. And wouldn’t you know it? He goes to Gulu in that chapter…I love God winks. After we landed, I also realized I had experienced zero sinus issues…thanks again, God!

Loaded up in the ambulance where it was quieter, Doug asked more about the mission trip. Tatum piped up, “Was that the time the guy tried to drive you and another lady off in the night?” To which I chuckled, “Nope, that was a different trip.” Haha, there were some big eyes on that. 

Doug asked if I was afraid when I told him about Joseph Kony and the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) being active in the area when we went. I replied we’re safest where God wants us (and still very much believe that), the ministry was monitoring the activity, we traveled in armored vehicles, and had been briefed on what to do if there was an attack. 

One night while there, however, my roommate had a cold and had taken Nyquil and passed out. The generators went off at 10, and I was sitting in the dark on my laptop writing out my thoughts for the day when the screaming started. Over and over, blood curdling screams from just over the compound wall outside our window. My heart was pounding, my palms were sweaty. “Don’t open the door, stay inside,” is what we had been told. I tried to wake my roommate with no luck. I made sure I was right with Jesus and prayed.

I looked up from telling the story and noticed Cindy who was doing all the paperwork had stopped and was listening, and the EMT to my left was not working on his tablet anymore. I glanced at Tatum who was sitting there with a smile, knowing the tale. 

Eventually, the screaming stopped and somehow I was able to fall asleep. The next morning everyone looked a little tired but no one said anything about it…so I wondered, was it a dream?

We loaded up into the armored truck and as we pulled away from the compound someone asked, “Sooooo….did anyone hear screaming last night?” The truck erupted with everyone talking at once–What was that? I thought we were being attacked! I was so scared!

Then we hear laughter and look over to see Francis–a Ugandan–cracking up. Through his laughter he said, “The GOATS–they scream when they are stressed!” 

I love the relief laughter that story gets 😉

Doug asked if I was of any particular denomination, and I replied, “I love Jesus, I don’t think he was particularly concerned with denominations and divisions. Just love God, love people.” The EMT to my left nodded and said, “Right on,” and told me his wife had done missions in South Africa. 

We arrived at the hospital and Tatum and Doug fist bumped that she was one minute off her guess of arrival time. Once we were in our room we were greeted by a flurry of doctors and nurses. More relaying the story, more exams, and the kindest nurse ever flying around trying to get us situated and apologizing for all the commotion and working her darndest to get us feeling settled.

I was ready to battle for our medical choices, but we were completely respected and it was not an issue in the slightest –God handled that battle. 

We hadn’t been told if there was a limitation to visitors with Tatum but when Matt arrived it was not a problem at all. Another army down.

Tatum was still in unbelievably good spirits, and our nurse said she had her choice of who to work with that night and had hit the jackpot with our kiddo. Seriously–through the night Allie made our transition and all the craziness great and I so enjoyed talking with her.

They wanted Tatum to do a COVID test, and I decided that for that night and the urgency we needed to get things going that this was not going to be my hill to die on and not push back on that. She was nervous, so I offered to go first. Turns out I didn’t need one, but I still offered so Tatum could watch it being done. Not pleasant, and my test swab went straight in the trash, but it helped put her mind at ease and get through it. 

A few hours later she and I went to get the CT scan. When the technician asked me to step out of the room Tatum had a moment of panic, so I asked if I could suit up and stay. I got to wear the super cool lead clothes to stay close. 

Earlier in the day at the ER, the abscess had spontaneously started to drain and did so for two hours before drying up on the flight. Around 4 in the morning I suggested a warm compress to help clear the crusties, and when she pulled it away that abscess was draining a ton! I don’t want to get graphic if you’re not into medical stuff, but Allie and I sat on her bed with her tag teaming wiping all the pus draining. A bit later we had the results from the CT scan, and confirmation there was an abscess along the eye and that it went pretty deep. Initially they were talking about draining it in the emergency room, but after learning how much it had drained decided to take a “let’s wait and observe” approach. As of writing on Monday night it’s definitely looking like we’re getting out of here without surgery–another battlefield God decimated for us!

She and I fell asleep around 6 in the morning, and thankfully the nurses let us sleep until about 10:30 when Tatum woke up. The day passed with lots of check ins and more draining the abscess, Matt bringing tacos and Thai food and doodling markers and a stuffed animal for Tatum. We listened to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, she played chess and tetris games on the kindle, and Marco Polo-ed Matt’s parents to chat with the girls. We actually were able to get a really sound night of sleep…do they test the nurses here on how quiet they can be because I’m a light sleeper and hardly noticed them!

Being a super light sleeper, I sleep with earplugs and usually an arm over my ear. I could still hear each time the door handle open or someone was walking around in the room. In the early hours I woke up to hearing multiple sets of feet walking around much louder than the nurses and turned my head expecting to see a few doctors.

No one was in the room that I could see, and as I looked around I heard in my heart–Just us.

Just us angels here making sure you’re ok. I said out loud, “Cool guys–thanks!” and went back to sleep. Like I talk to angels all the time, you know. Me and Mary and Zechariah and Joseph.

When I woke up again I was thinking about the biblical portrayal of angels. Not Precious Moments looking ones, but warriors. The Hebrew word is messengers, and I got the message. Just us–nothing else to worry about.

As I write this it’s Monday evening, we’re still on track for no surgery, and switching to oral antibiotics tomorrow to transition to getting us home. We get to be with our favorite nurse again tonight, Tatum is not going to know what to do transitioning to limited Kindle time after this, and I’m going to hop in the shower before settling for the evening.

Thank you for all the prayers–we have felt them all and seen God’s hand in this during every step. He has granted deep peace, joy, and laughter during this very unexpected New Year’s week. I’m sure there’s more miracles and victorious battles to come, so stay tuned.

Adventures, Family culture

The Battle Belongs (Part 1)

When Tatum’s eye first swelled up on December 26th, as I was praying I was led to 2 Chronicles 20:26, “On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, for there they blessed Yahweh (the LORD).” 

As I went back to read the whole story, the gist of it was that three armies were coming against Judah. Jehoshaphat gathered everyone–including women and kids– together to seek Yahweh, and ask what the heck they should do! They prayed, “we are powerless against this great army that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

Yahweh spoke to Jahaziel who had the courage to speak up, and told everyone, “Hey peeps, chill out! Yahweh is telling you ‘do not be afraid by this army, for the battle is not yours but Elohim’s (God’s).’” (paraphrase mine)

Did Jehoshaphat flash a shaka sign and get to sit back and put his feet up? Nope, they all still had to gear up and go down against this army. But they were reassured, “You will not need to fight this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of Yahweh on your behalf.”

Then you know what they did? They had a worship party! They stood and praised with a very loud voice! The next day, Jehoshaphat picked out his best worship leaders to lead their people out to battle.

This next part is so cool…when they began to sing and praise, Yahweh set an ambush against the three armies and they fought each other and finished each other off! When Jehoshaphat got there, they were all dead. They spent the next 3 days gathering the goods, clothing, and jewelry and on the fourth day, they got together and blessed Yahweh.The name of the valley–Berakah–means blessing. 

Pretty awesome story, and I thought cool, maybe we’ll be done with this eye battle in four days and be healed! But Yahweh’s often not quite so obvious…

After seeing progress from oral antibiotics for a few days, on New Year’s Day Tatum woke up with a visible abscess next to her eye, and it was quite a shock. From urgent care, to the ER, then finding we needed to go to the Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland was an even bigger shock. But all week I’ve had the song “Battle Belongs” by Phil Wickham playing in my head. “So when I fight, I’ll fight on my knees, with my hands lifted high, Oh God, the battle belongs to You. And every fear I lay at Your feet, I’ll sing through the night, Oh God, the battle belongs to You.”

I was expecting a lot of battles in days to come. I’m a mama bear; you can be sure I’m going to ask a lot of questions and protect my kid to the best of my ability.

But the Lion of Judah trumps the Mama Bear. He’s way better at handling these battles than I am, and here is the testimony of armies he’s cleared for us.

You can read Part 2 here…

Waking up the morning after Christmas—pic shared with her permission
Parenting-thing

Rule #1

When you go on regular walks or hikes and have three kids but only two hands, you have to lay down some ground rules.

Ask my kids what’s Rule #1 of hiking and they will all chime together, “LISTEN TO YOUR MAMA!”

Ask what Rule #2 is and they’ll all say, “Always stay on the trail!”

Rules 3-8ish get a little jumbled after that…don’t yank up plants or throw rocks at your sisters or lick mushrooms and that sort of thing…

She was crying half a second before this pic 😂

I find the longer I’m a mama the more I realize just how rotten kids are…and how rotten I probably was as well. (**who me? Never!**) Bennett, our 3 year old, just LIVES to aggravate her sisters (and often her parents). Nothing, and I mean not ice cream or slides or her crocodiles, brings her more joy than seeing her sisters get upset. We’re hoping it passes, but it’s just a gas to deal with until then!

So tonight while trying to get them ready for bed, after about the 9th time I’ve asked Bennett to put on the pajama shirt she’s been slinging around her head like a cowboy throwing a lasso, she delightfully looked at me and shouted, “RULE NUMBER ONE! DON’T AGGRAVATE YOUR MAMA!”

Oh man. That’s how the baby gets you–humor. “Don’t smile DO NOT SMILE” I think.

“RULE NUMBER TWO!” She continued in a drill sergeant voice…still circling the pajama around her head, “DON’T PLAY WITH THE TOYS THAN ARE NOT YOURS!”

Well, even if she’s not practicing the rules at least she knows them!

**We did finally get her to bed after warnings followed by consequences that were completely shocking (despite the warnings). The tears melted away during a hug and she sighed happily, content with my rising blood pressure, turned over, and went to sleep.**

Adventures, Family culture

The Past 9 Months

Well hey there, it’s been a minute, right?

Most of those who would follow this blog also follow on Instagram or Facebook, but in case you’re new here’s a recap!

Last January we decided it was time to sell the house, travel more, and figure out where we want to move–yay!

Then my brother and his wife moved back in with my parents so that got put on hold…fast forward to last summer and we spent an awesome two weeks in Colorado and Utah being with family, Matt and I went to the Young Living International Convention, our girls got to experience the farm in Mona, we hiked in the Rockies and got to see family. It was magical–the kids did awesome traveling and we couldn’t wait to go again!

After we got back we prepped and painted and finally got the house on the market…and had a full price offer from the first person to view it!

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Isn’t she pretty? She was a good home 🙂

We moved in with my parents, and planned on Thanksgiving with Matt’s parents in Paradise, CA when on November 8th I got a call. They were evacuating due to a fire, and so were a large portion of Matt’s family who lived there. Thank the Lord they all made it out, but Matt’s parents, sister and her fiancé, aunt and uncle, another aunt, and a cousin and her husband, along with numerous other family friends lost their homes in one fell swoop.

Considering by the time we knew it was all gone, and our flight was scheduled to leave on November 13th, we had some big decisions to make. We found an Airbnb on the southern Oregon coast and booked places to stay for a week while the smoke cleared out, and flew to California. The first night we spent with Matt’s cousin and his wife and their 3 girls…oh my goodness! The riotous joy of 6 little girls that grew to 7 girls and one baby boy when another cousin and his wife came–it was a cousin-fest! Though we left that day for Oregon, the girls couldn’t wait to get back and play!

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Oregon was magical. There’s no other word for it. The beach, the sunsets, the ocean, the redwoods–it was deep nourishment to my soul.

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After getting back to Chico, we decided we needed to spend more time there. With rental cars at a ridiculous price, and Matt needing a new(er) car anyway, we decided to cancel our flights, buy a car, and drive home! Yeah, we’re a bit crazy.

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We got back to Oklahoma December 9th, and flew right into the holidays!

Now we’ve rounded the corner into February and I’m so ready to get back to the oily education that I love! We’ll be filling up that calendar more, and begin offering a lot more classes you can access at anytime on our YouTube page–subscribe to get the latest updates!

I’ve dive more into that later, just wanted to give a bit of a filler for what we’ve been up to the past 9 months! We’re not 100% sure what our next step is but we keep moving forward with faith!

Adventures, Family culture, Parenting-thing

5 Lessons From Hiking With Kids

Looking ahead to summer there are a lot of trails I would like to see, especially during our two weeks in Colorado and Utah coming up in June.

Last week I nabbed a pair of Ahnu Sugarpine hiking shoes from REI (thank you dividend!) and when they got here today we all were so excited we decided to go try them out right away. I figured it would be good to get them all outside and on a “hike,” because while they’ll play for hours on a playground getting from Point A to Point B is a whole different thing.

The big girls pulled on their hiking boots as I put on mine, and we headed to Mitch Park with a backpack, 3 water bottles, and two types of snacks for a bit of an experiment.

All went fine at first. The girls scampered, giggled, climbed rocks, pointed out flowers blooming in the grass…

You only wished you were as cool as them. I can almost hear some theme music…

That was the first 5 minutes.

It was almost 90° outside, and despite the high winds their cheeks were getting flushed and they started begging for water like they were lost in the Sahara.

We stopped in the shade and everyone chugged from the big water bottle…impatiently waiting their turn.

When Tatum was done she squatted down so I took the opportunity to point out she was in a lightning position…

 

So we all crouched in the lightning position. Yay us. And the 834 lightning-related questions that followed from my curious 6-year-old.

We chose our next route and Kenna was fascinated with the sign…and chose to show it off in style. This kid has more ‘tude and style than she knows what to do with!

A few minutes later I got my first “Up?” from Bennett and I checked my phone to see our distance… .35 of a mile 🤦🏼‍♀️We made it another third of a mile and one more water bottle down before I gave in and got her up and into the back of my backpack (finally putting those WAFA skills to use!) and we kept on cruisin’.

We spotted birds, drank more water, ate a snack, drank more water.

Lesson #1   Assume my children are part dromedary and carry three times the amount of water I think we need. Let’s just say we’re going nowhere in the mountains without a LifeStraw.

I noticed a gully with a clear cut trail across that cut out a significant part of our path. Since Tatum was exclaiming she needed to go to the bathroom, a shortcut looked like a good idea.

We started downhill when Kenna–my often too-fearless kid decided to become terrified of going down a little trail. And of bugs…all of the sudden. Kenna, who often will pick up bugs to inspect them, squeal with delight over the cuteness, and I have to warn not to touch the quarter inch stinger on the cicada killer. But there she was, having a mini meltdown in a gully about all the bugs…that I couldn’t see.

Lesson #2 Assume your kids will do a 180° on their preferences and personalities at any time.

Once we reached the bottom of the gully it actually turned out to be one of the most interesting features I’ve seen in Mitch Park–ever! And we’ve been walking there for six years!

Once at the bottom it wasn’t quite so windy, and there were trees and bushes so I gave Tatum permission to relieve herself “like a hiker.” You’d have thought she hit the jackpot–ever since she first peed next to a tree while hiking in Colorado it’s the height of outdoorsy excitement for her.

Lesson #3 Always carry toilet paper/tissues/baby wipes and plastic bags with you. Thankfully I was prepared.

With 90% of our water gone we ate a few more snacks, Kenna calmed down about the bugs, Bennett was down from the backpack and exploring, and things were looking up. I even managed to find a rock to do a group photo…this was the only place where the wind wouldn’t knock the phone over and I could prop it up.

Lesson #4 Always carry one of those mini tripods for your phone. Memories are the big things and the everyday moments.

 

We hiked up the hill–Bennett insisting on doing it herself a lot and sometimes fully face-planting in the red Oklahoma dirt but keeping on. The girls spotted some trash we gathered and threw away (made my Leave No Trace heart so proud), and by the time we were just maybe one fifth of a mile away from the car they decided they were having way too much fun to go home.

Bennett became quite desperate to show me every flower in the grass. Kenna’s eyes became quite adept at finding all the bird houses and bird feeders in the area. Tatum spun in circles. When I realized it was almost 6:00 and we needed to get home to make dinner, Bennett became the noodle child, Kenna wanted to stop and admire everything, and Tatum became the task master trying to help me drive them forward. Which leads me to my last lesson.

Lesson #5 Give yourself three times the normal amount of time to do any hike. 

Yeah, that has to be the slowest seven-tenths of a mile EVER.

BUT, it’s a starting point.

Everyone ate a BIG dinner (which isn’t always the norm).

Bennett crashed as soon as we put her in her crib.

I hardly had a moment to realize my new hiking shoes were amazingly comfortable…even carrying a 10 pound backpack and a 30 pound kid.

And the girls want to “hike” again. Tomorrow.

I’d call that a success…but glad of my lessons learned!

Adventures, Family culture

Zoo Day(s)

It’s times like this weekend I’m reminded how very blessed I am to be a mama to three such unique and wonderful girls.

Tatum is becoming more independent and adventurous. She used to worry about running to the mailbox while I stood at the open door watching her. Yesterday I asked her to grab the picnic blanket from the stroller while we were sitting in the elephant presentation area (I could see her the whole time and it wasn’t more than 25 feet away), but whereas before it would have taken a lot of reassurance that I could see her the whole time and it was ok, she chirped, “Sure!” and hopped down, ran to grab it, and came back waving at the zoo employee who was showing people to their seats. Sometimes I have to remind her I don’t need an additional parent, but then she’s a great help to me at the same time. She and Tatum play together a LOT, and she has a special place for Bennett–helping her out and trying to carry her around (she’s 30 pounds!) She’s learning so fast–reading things we haven’t even touched in phonics! She is THE big sister, and enjoys that role.

Kenna has become very much a mama’s girl the past couple of weeks. Maybe it’s a phase, because my once “jump first, think later” wild one now has a meltdown if I leave her sight. Heaven forbid I run an errand without her. That’s ok, I think this phase might be fleeting so I’ll take it. She is learning to play with Bennett, and it’s becoming more common to hear them squealing with laughter together. She is very much about HER space, though. HER shelves. HER bed. HER toys. I get it, it’s got to be hard to have a big sister who gets a loft bed and shelf far above the reaches of the baby, and here you have to put up with the meddling on the ground floor. She is ridiculously adorable. When I took her hair down from these buns she looked in the mirror and giggled, “Mama, my hair is wiggly!” It’s a good thing she’s so cute, so that when she calls from her bed at 11 pm that she has to go potty, and afterwards pipes “Pank you!” as she skips to bed your heart skips with her.

My Bennett Rae–Bennie Boo at the moment (her nicknames change a lot).  She is also going through an attached-to-mama-at-the-hip phase. This morning when Matt asked if she wanted eggs she said yes so he cooked them up, but when it came time to leave my lap to eat she wouldn’t have any of it. She loves to be sung “Bye-o Bye-o Baby” and if I don’t sing it she will–and pat me with her chubby little hands. She is obsessed with Roy and Peek (the cat) and pretty much any animal. She fell in love with a full page picture of a bison in a Backpacker magazine, and I accidentally said “buffalo” first and then corrected it to “bison.” Well, BUFF-a-whoa it is and she loves them. Today we got to see them up close and personal at the zoo, and I bought a hat with the outline of a bison on it…it’s now an ongoing war between me saying “bison” and Matt saying “buffalo” and so far he’s winning. Bennie is fiercely independent, want to do everything her sissies do, and is a world of toddler contradictions wrapped up in ridiculous cheeks and cuteness.

These girls, they are more challenging and stretching than I could have ever imagined. More exhausting and repeating (oh my gosh, the repeating) than I could have anticipated. But more fun and adorable than I know what to do with.

We headed to the zoo on the first warmer day all week–I’m all about there being no bad weather only bad clothing, but when it feels like it’s below zero we just don’t have the gear to play outside long in that. So all week we were only outside in short spurts and then headed inside to warm ourselves by the fire. So walking around outside for hours felt glorious.
We finally saw the elephant presentation, too! We’ve been coming to the zoo since Tatum was a baby and have never made it to one! I love elephants, and so do the girls…so imagine my surprise when they were far more interested in snack time and asking when we could walk through the big cat forest than actually watching the elephants 10 feet in front of them. After asking repeatedly “Anyone want to get a picture with the elephants?” I gave up and got one of myself, because I could have sat there and watched them all day!The Oklahoma Zoo (and Edmond in general) have a ton of bronze statues throughout, and the girls always love climbing on them if they’re not too hot. Tatum hopped right up on the goose but Kenna…well…she was a little fearful after I put her up there.

My middle girl also seems to be a bit sensitive to smells–note the nose holding? Yeah, she did that a lot. Here we’re just looking at a caracal–a type of cat–not exactly stinky monkeys.

Last stop was the children’s area petting zoo. Fun fact–the goats are all named after towns in Oklahoma! This is Dewey, and we learned he is a glory hog, like to be up on the bench, and if you sit down he thinks he’s a lap goat and will snuggle right on up to you! I didn’t quite catch it, but he and Tatum were definitely having a snuggle fest!

And of course my animal-lover Bennie was in heaven. She thinks every animal is like her Roy and she can just get in their face and love on them, lay on their side, and basically OWN them. Even our outside cat, Peek, lets her treat him like this…yeah we might have to work on that. Thankfully these goats and sheep were pretty used to crazy toddlers and took it in stride.

Matt got home that afternoon from a trip to Portland, and brought the girls a board game book–with dice attached! They played a few rounds together for a fun family night.

The next day we wanted to get outside as a family and debated where to go…but sorry for the newsflash but Oklahoma in January is…brown. Every park or lake we talked about going to just didn’t seem worth the trip…so we headed back to the zoo! I have to say, watching your kids get really excited about an animal is pretty darn fun. Bennett loved the owls, the house mouse, the weasel that was running around like he had a touch of OCD, and of course the bison (BUFF-a-whoa!).

Tatum and Kenna got an up close view of a rattlesnake who was checking them out….

He followed their fingers and they played a game to see who he would follow the most.

Note Kenna’s nose holding…

And we got to look at the fur of a black bear up close as he hibernated. Bennett refuses to look at the camera…

It was so nice to be outside in the warm sunshine and cool wind, and even though there was a toddler meltdown on the way home it was totally worth it.

We may not be traveling just yet, but we have made it a priority to have more family adventures… Even if that’s just a trip to the local zoo.

Family culture, Parenting-thing, Uncategorized

Mamahood is…

Mamahood is knowing exactly how to hand your four-year-old a banana so she doesn’t see the tiny blemish.

Mamahood is not leaving your house all day except to check the mail but by the end of the day your feet hurt.

Mamahood is using your toddler’s bottle of milk from the fridge for cream in your coffee.


Mamahood is not being able to stop your toddler from going fishing in the dog bowl with her bath toys because you’re pumping and don’t want milk to get everywhere.

Mamahood is weighing 13 different contributing factors when your kid asks if they can play with play-doh. Factors include the distance between meals, their level of energy, their level of rascaliness (I’m sure that’s a word), how clean the house is, and whether or not you were planning on vacuuming the second time that day.

Mamahood is bouncing your baby until your biceps are sore praying they’ll nod off, and then missing their snuggles when they’re asleep. 


Mamahood is deciding what’s for dinner based on how much energy you have for cleanup.

Mamahood is throwing impromptu dance parties just because it’s Wednesday. 

Mamahood is perfecting your band-aid rule book. 

Mamahood is letting them play in the backyard paddling pool and deciding they are clean enough for bed.


Mamahood is wearing nine different shirts in a day when your baby is on a spit up spree.

Mamahood is having your eyes water every time your baby laughs because it’s so beautiful you can’t take it. 

Mamahood is eyeballing the bench at the gym trying to decide if it is wide enough to nap on. 

Mamahood is working so so hard to ensure enough boredom for them to be creative.

Mamahood is magic kisses and hugs that heal the hurt.