Chubby lizards

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Zoers got to pick out some lizards at the dentist this morning so of course my little gal picks 4 total - one for each member of her fam. She made sure to add that she got the green one for Max because they both have crazy hair. But the pink one is Mom.  Because she’s chubby. 😳

 

NOT gonna lie, it stung for a split second. Until I didn’t let it. Until I changed the narrative in my head. Until I remembered her sparkling eyes were looking up at me and would register my reaction.

 

I may not have been as successful at the whole body image thing in my younger years but my greatest success at slaying that dragon will lie in my unwavering attempt to model healthy behaviors - physically, mentally and emotionally for both my kids.

 

While they will inevitably be bombarded with unhealthy images of what a woman *should* look/act/dress/behave like, they will also grow up watching their mama deadlift at the gym, they are right by my side as we conquer mountains literally and figuratively, they join me in meditation. They peak out the window when I’m leading a crazy monsoon yoga class and they are my sous chefs in the kitchen as we strive to make food choices that fuel our active lifestyles.

 

I used to think eating disorder recovery had to be the absence of any negative self talk - now I’m learning that for me it’s likely not gonna vanish entirely but that being able to look it straight in the face and kick it square in the balls feels pretty damn liberating.

 

The universe clearly knew I was going to be reminded of this today since this amazing quote showed up in my newsfeed this morning. I weigh the burden and the worry and the stress of raising good humans. But I also train for the load and I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to showcase my strength. 👊🏼 #workinprogress #parenting #bodyimage #changethenarrative

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Rescue Spotlight: Our First Foster!

If you’ve followed any of the Sunshine Tribe community service adventures so far you know that we do a lot of donation drives to either serve homeless pets or underprivileged kiddos.We’ve raised money for pet food and back to school shoes, we’ve adopted families for the holidays and we’ve been known to pack a ton of Sunshine Sacks full of snacks and hygiene items to hand out to homeless people on the street.We’ve picked up trash and have been passionate Wild Keepers.

 

But we wanted to do more.


And if you’re a parent of a kiddo under the age of 13 then you know how much of a struggle it can be to have hands on volunteer opportunities for our little ones. 


Enter dog fostering!!  Since we don’t have the greatest reputation of keeping our animals at the ranch at a minimal level, I realized that fostering for a program where the dog is already spoken for and there is ZERO chance of our bleeding hearts keeping said foster was probably the best for us! 


We were so excited to pass the test for A Soldier’s Best Friend!  Leslie the Foster Coordinator actually thought our full, active house with all our farm animals was a great fit for a dog getting ready to live a life as a service animal.

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We met Daphne just a few short weeks ago.  She was shy at first.  Having just been broken free from an animal shelter in Bisbee, AZ - she had weathered some storms literally and figuratively.  Her first week with us was plagued with the craziest monsoons of the summer - and she was a champ. Calm, loving and attentive, she was right by my son’s side who struggles with some storm anxiety.  I had an inkling then that she was absolutely destined for her new job.


Through the program we take her to weekly classes at their awesome facility working on some basic commands.  She is a fast learner - not knowing any of the basics including “sit” - she caught on quickly.  Over the weeks in our home she came out of her shell, learned to play with our crazy dogs, learned our house rules (for the most part!) and we learned that she has a passion for playing hide and seek with Mr. Sunshine’s shoes, adores squeaky toys and loves a good high five.


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And of course she wasn’t the only one learning through this adventure - my kiddos, ages 7 and 8 got so much out of this.  They actively participated at the training sessions happily serving as distractions flying by us in wheelchairs and crutches, throwing balls and hoola hooping all while we tried to keep the foster’s attention in training.  They have been instrumental in getting Daphne comfortable with time in a crate, they’ve brushed her, bathed her, walked her and kept up with her training at home.  They never batted an eye at the extra feedings and poop cleanup. They graciously dealt with her jumping up on them (she likes to greet you face to face!) and they were instrumental in this being a successful venture. 

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Today we say goodbye to Daphne.  She met her veteran and his family and they instantly fell in love.  And even though I’ve always known she’s spoken for, it’s going to be hard to say goodbye to this little lady.  Out of respect for privacy I likely won’t have an actual photo of her with her new man but I will always have the image of them meeting for the first time.  He bent down, they came nose to nose so gently and then she put her paw across his arm and he smiled.  THAT was our why. 


To Daphne - you have a beautiful purpose in this life and we were honored to help see you to that mission.


To our veteran - we hope that this girl brings you comfort, a sense of calm and above all else a little sunshine each day.  Thank you for your service.

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Rescue Spotlight: Miss Maggie Moo Pie

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Welcome back to our blog!  This is the first in our #sunshineranchrescue series where we’re gonna give a little bio of each of our rescues in hopes to inspire more to #adopt!  Thanks for reading!!!  

 

Just a reminder - you can get a pure bred gorgeous pup like this even through a #rescue! 

🐾This gal had been purchased for thousands of dollars by a college grad student who didn’t know what she was getting into. 

#MissMaggieMooPie was locked up in a kennel a full 24 hours a day when we met her at 9 months old. She only knew to go to the bathroom on the concrete and the student was scared of her high energy. When we went to pick her up she reminded me of a wild crocodile that would just writhe and spin on the end of the leash. My kids were still kind of small and I worried she was potentially too much for us as well but I couldn’t leave her in that situation. 

🎾It took us literally just hours at home to realize all she needed was an outlet and that was playing ball - she is a retriever after all! She would play for hours a day if we all had the arm!  Her other favorite past time is frequent swims in the pool and playing tug of war with our maltipoo.  

💗Two years later she’s a huge part of our family - still has a few quirks (like counter surfing 🙄) but overall she’s a happy, healthy, well adjusted Labrador!!! 

 

Spread Sunshine: Back to School Shoe Drive

Our tribe may not be headed back to school being that we’re homeschoolers and all but that didn’t stop these little #SpreadSunshine Crusaders from kicking off an awesome donation drive to collect brand new athletic shoes for kiddos in need. 

Tribe members collected donations from friends and family and were able to tally almost 30 new pairs of shoes!!!  We were super excited to partner with Harvest Compassion Center on this project and even got a full tour of their facility where we learned how we can help even more in the coming months. 

Super proud of these little kiddos - aged 2-12.  Proof that big or small, one person can truly make a difference. 

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Spread Sunshine: Age Boldly!

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I'm at breakfast with my beautiful family on vacation - I glanced down at my arm, it's wrinkly.  Like the skin is getting a little thinner in places and it's different than in my 20s. 

And my mom used to point those things out about her like they are such a negative.  I get it, that was my first reaction too.

Then I glanced at my baby girl.  I would NEVER want her to feel that way about her beautiful skin.  And just that acknowledgement and a big breath....and all of a sudden I was hit with tons of beautiful reasons of why I have skin like that.

I was born and raised in a gorgeous desert, I live to be outside, I have carried two babies, I have been fortunate enough to travel and reach the age that I am.  That is to be celebrated, not loathed!

We are responsible for this culture of vanity where aging is considered a curse.  Which means we can undo it, we can change the tide.  We can evolve and teach our babies the beauty and memory behind each laugh line.  My skin tells a story of adventure and challenge and trial and error.

Let's not forget that.

Let's revel in it.

Let's be honored and grateful to age.

Less focus on looks, more focus on love and life. Let's make peace with ourselves! 💗✌🏻️

#peaceloveandsunshine #beauty #positivity #aging #glowing #workitownitloveit

Spread Sunshine on the Darkest Days

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I struggle to join the social media world as it relates to current events - after all, this space, the "vibe" of this tribe is all about sunshine and yoga and positivity with a couple of cute kids and a few funny ranch animals thrown in the mix.

But to remain silent in times of terror or injustice seems like sharing and even helping to spread the darkness.  So instead I will continue to spread light.

First with my kiddos - relentlessly driving home the themes of respect, kindness, love and tolerance.

And secondly through my role as a yoga teacher.  Peace starts at home - in our own very hearts and minds.  We must love, respect and accept ourselves.  We must let go of pain and fear and intolerance towards ourselves and then go out in the world and spread more light and love.

Enlightened minds free of judgement and hatred - that's how we change this course.  Do your part.  Share in the responsibility. 

Teach.

Lead.

Guide.

Do.

Be.

Grow.

Learn.

Listen.

Evolve.

💗☀️✌🏻️

Spread Sunshine: Mermaid Pose

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I nailed mermaid pose today in class for the first time in years. For someone who has advanced degenerative disc disease, nerve pain and a not so mild case of scoliosis, it was a triumphant moment.  So much so I had burst of tears just stream down my face in svasana.  Total release of pent up exhaustion, frustration, isolation, fear - you name it!!! SO many emotions surround these types of chronic injuries/conditions with all the stress they cause personally and almost the even more difficult part of how much stress they cause to loved ones around you.

But here's the thing, while I celebrate this today, I finally have come to realize life is a constant ebb and flow - and so to is my yoga practice and my physical abilities.  I'm gonna wake up on a "bad back" day and this pose is going to feel like it's a million miles away from available.  And that's going to start needing to be more ok with me. I need to continue to find acceptance of that fact.  Fighting it sucks the life and energy out of me.  Accepting it with some grace and compassion and moving on is - in a word - peaceful.

So celebrate your victories, seek loving support during your times of struggle and know that it will be a constant, beautiful wave of change.  💗☀️🙏🏻✌

PS: check out those monsoon clouds!!!!  Gonna be an epic sunset flow tonight, hope you join us! #yoga #sunshineyoga #mermaidpose #scoliosis #ekapadarajakapotasana #peaceloveyoga #positivity #acceptance #grace #sunshineranch

Liquid Sunshine

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One of my all time favorite ways to make sure I'm well hydrated and in tip top shape for an outdoor summer activity is this lovely! It's a beautiful concoction of liquid chlorophyll, chia seeds and water.  Add a spritz of lemon or a drop of peppermint if you're feeling frisky!  The chlorophyll is said to help detoxify and can help reduce inflammation, chia seeds are full of fiber, healthy Omega 3 fats and tons of antioxidants.

 

Rumor has it there will be some on hand at sunset yoga tonight to try! #liquidsunshine #wellness #neverstoplearning #sunshinetribe

Spread Sunshine

May my kids never know the feeling I have when I see pictures of myself like this. 


The self loathing and criticism hits so fast there's no stopping it, it's like a freight train.  I see the bulges and soft spots on my body long before I notice the beautiful landscape and that sweet boy clutching my hand. 


Body image issues, eating disorder, whatever the hell label it needs - it is absolutely an honest to goodness lifelong challenge and it has all sorts of interesting phases.  From unhealthy habits like starvation to fad diet obsession to fitness overload - I have been there, done that and it's certainly worked its way into this blog even at times.  And possibly more alarming - sometimes it lays dormant so you think you might have actually tackled it - but then at some point, it sneaks back in.  It's why I don't talk about it much actually, I'm certainly no expert in taming the beast.


However, personally, I am so very grateful that my overall love of life and especially now my love for my children truly helps keep that demon at bay.  Most days I'm focused on just really trying to make healthy choices but it's always in the shadows in some capacity.


And honestly I know so many of you are in this mostly silent battle with me.  You don't have to shout it from the rooftops or vow to increase awareness or even publicly declare your association to this problem - but you do have to keep putting up a major fight. 


You can do it by stripping down in public to your bra so you can frolick in a waterfall with your kiddos, you can do it by not overthinking your food choice, you can do it by exercising simply to feel amazing and you can do it by just quietly reminding yourself that you will continue to try hard tomorrow. 


We deserve to feel freedom from these feelings - even if it's only for a moment. We need our littles to see strong, confidant, happy mamas and we need each other to make that happen - my kids aren't just watching me, they are learning from you too. 


Less self loathing, less passive aggressive remarks, less obsession ... more smiles, more love, more acceptance.  💗☀️👊🏻✌🏻️

Grateful yet grumpy...

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I've always been a bit of a restless spirit - it exhausted my parents and now it does the same to my husband (who is technically my kindred spirit in this but just just doesn't like to admit it).  Turns out I can even exhaust 5 & 6 year olds. 


My kiddos needed a homebody day - on a day I planned a beautiful Spring wildflower expedition.  This usually last minute gal even had our snacks packed, Camelbaks pulled out, trail map saved on my phone all prepped last night in anticipation of escaping the suburban mom routine. 


But it was a clear no go this morning. 


So I behaved like an immature teenager and still drug us all to the gym so I could at least lay my heart out on my yoga mat and try to sweat out the disappointment but now we are home. 

For. The. Entire. Rest. Of. The. Day. 


While I haven't lost sight of how grateful I am to be on this motherhood path, I am honest enough to voice how truly suffocating it can be at times.  I know I focus on the sunshiney moments with this account and I'm beyond grateful to be the type of person who usually sees the glass not just half full but overflowing......but I guess I just wanted to also use this platform and shout out to all my fellow free spirit mamas - take care of your adventurous spirit in the midst of dishes and the Tball practices and the mad rush to Super Target. 


As for me, I'm gonna try to ditch the 'tude and go paint something turquoise, sip a second cup of coffee and snuggle a ranch animal or 20.  #consolationprize #gratefulbutgrumpy #wanderlust #momlife

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Sunshine Grub {Incredible HULK Protein Punch}

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We have the sickies over here and my kiddos have zero appetite - clearly I needed to tap into my supermom book of tricks.......enter the Incredible Hulk Protein Punch {if you name something - even if it's green - it has a better chance with your kids! 😉}.

This drink isn't very big yet it hits all the major macro nutrients {protein, carbs and healthy fats} along with a ton of vitamins and minerals to aid in immune strengthening - so basically it packs a superhero punch for sure! #sunshinegrub #sunshinetribe #wellness #nutrition #greendrink #foodisthymedicine

Spread Sunshine {and patience}

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Last night after an ugly wait at urgent care we found ourselves hungry and the thought of having to wait for me to make dinner at home didn't sound appealing at all. We ran into the store for a rotisserie chicken and a few other items to make my sick little gal more comfy - in other words, Popsicles - the girl deserved a darn Popsicle!


While in line, the guy ahead of us had trouble with his debit card (and yes I totally considered picking up his tab but it was a bit out of my range).  He stepped aside to make a call asking the cashier to let us go ahead.  Grumpy cashier guy didn't know how to put the order on hold and began to page his manager all the while not hiding his frustration.


The man was never able to resolve his card issue and said he lived close and was going to grab his wife's card and asked to please set his items aside.  Meanwhile my sick kids were - thank GOODNESS - being super pleasant and even letting mommy flip through a a magazine uninterrupted {total bliss for a mom am I right?}. 


Sure enough the cashier also doesn't know how to cancel an order and is visibly irritated that his manager hasn't arrived to save the day.  He apologized profusely and started to really rag on the customer that he should have his finances in order and the manager should be more responsive blah blah blah. 


I stopped him from ringing up our groceries for just a second, looked him in the eyes and said - I get to come in a beautiful store with limitless fresh food options - if waiting 5 extra minutes is the most challenging part of my day, I'm doing pretty fanfreakingtastic.


His entire body language changed.  Shoulders relaxed.  Brow unfurrowed.  Smile turned up and then he thanked me for the reality check.


This was not some big heroic act on my part - this is just how we should be interacting with one another.  Less judgement, more acceptance of circumstances.


Life is too short - stop complaining - start appreciating - spread SUNSHINE.

Spread LOVE and Sunshine {day 14}

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Day 14: #spreadLOVEandsunshine.....


14 years together - countless bouquets of flowers, lovely dinners and some amazing trips under our belt - but the most romantic and greatest gift my husband ever gave me occurred on our living room floor a little over 6 years ago (get your mind outta the gutter people!🙊)


I was staring down my first work trip and Zoe was just a couple months old.  Quite frankly I just completely broke down - the thought of leaving her was agonizing and despite never having thoughts of even having children let alone being a stay at home mom .... I knew in that moment what I was meant to do. 


And he loved me right through that moment.  I will never forget the look on his face and how accepting he was of who I am at my core. 


No matter how laser focused and goal setting you may be, life is a crazy whirlwind of twists and turns and bumps and burns - and marriage?!?!  Marriage bears the brunt of that - it truly does - there is no way imaginable to ever prepare two people for what they will face in a lifetime together - but that willingness to stick it out together, to take turns in shining moments, to ebb and flow, to ride the waves and to recover from the crashes together - that is romance.  That is love.  That is life.  That is to be cherished and celebrated.  Raw, messy, beautiful, evolving, stubborn, crazy, everlasting love.


Happy Valentine's Day from our tribe to yours. 💗☀️

Spread LOVE and Sunshine {day 13}

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Day 13: #spreadLOVEandsunshine...


I don't really have the words to describe my love for my first born. 


We knew her name and personality and could almost picture her years before we actually had her.  My husband and I both envisioned this curly haired blond sassafras we'd have if we ever had a child - we could never have known though just how amazing she would end up being.


Zoe embodies all the good things in the world...it's completely fitting that her name means "life" in Greek. 


My goal as her mama is to preserve her innate sense of kindness and sunshine despite what's thrown at her. 


Quite frankly this world needs more people like her.  She is passion, grace, sweetness, determination, love and generosity with the perfect splash of silly and spunk to round it all out.  💗☀️

Spread LOVE and Sunshine {day 12}

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Day 12: #spreadLOVEandsunshine...


I love that these 2 have each other. While they are vastly different in so many ways, they are actually kindred spirits in countless others. 


As an only child, I sometimes just watch them in awe - today I was running a wicked fever and these 2 literally just played and played and played outside alllllll day.  They ran with the goats, made forts, had mud kitchen crazy fun, busted out gymnastics moves in the garage, made us all lunch and giggled through their messy, dirt filled sweaty day. 


Don't get me wrong, we for sure have those moments where it's not all rosey but overall they are besties and I love their friendship so much. Tonight I caught them relaxing and watching a little Curious George together like this. Be still my heart! 👫💗☀️😍

Spread LOVE and Sunshine {day 11}

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Day 11: #spreadLOVEandsunshine


Things I'd never thought I'd declare my love for.....dinosaurs, monster trucks, RescueBots, tools, trains, tractors and Legos.


Raising a boy is its own special experience - and my Mr. Max is such a quintessential "boy".  He came into this world full of mischief and energy and a stubborn zest for things his way.  If we are being honest, it's been more of a challenge to learn how to parent this little guy but a big focus for me is to continue to see things from his perspective instead of my own. 


He allows me to see the world in an entirely different way and for that I'm truly grateful.  So much love for this little man. 😍

Spread LOVE and Sunshine {day 10}

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Day 10: #spreadLOVEandsunshine


There is nothing like an Arizona sunset.  I have seen the sun set in Rome and East Africa, NYC and Seattle.  I have spent countless days on the road for my old job in farm country in central California and spent summers of my youth snuggled up beside campfires in southern Utah.  I have seen the Dallas skyline and the foggy nights of London. I have strolled along the streets of Paris and sipped cervesas by the Mexican sea - so grateful for those experiences as they strengthened my love of home. 


Many more places to adventure in this lifetime but it's so lovely to be content where you are in the present moment too. 💗☀️


"I am rooted.....but I flow." ~Virginia Wolf

Fighting Allergies - Naturally

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How we fight allergies naturally: showers with eucalyptus diffusing, nose flushes with our Neti Pot, essential oil blend of lavender, lemon and peppermint on our feet, teaspoon of local raw honey mixed in a shot of lemon juice, water and apple cider vinegar and since they hit especially hardcore this morning we have also added in the homeopathic remedy of 'allium cepa' tabs by Boiron.

Try not to underestimate your kiddos ability to care for themselves.  Max actually hates the nose flushes but with continued explanation of why, he fights through it and is now awesome at doing them solo. 💗💪🏼👊🏻

PS - please disregard the heaping pile of laundry! 😳 #homeopathy #allergies #arizonaliving #naturalliving #fightnaturewithnature #holistichealth

Spread LOVE and Sunshine {day 6}

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Day 6: #spreadLOVEandsunshine

 

Oh this one is a challenge - on this day - let's do our best to love our bodies exactly where they are today.  Not after we lose 10 pounds  or after its trained for a 1/2 marathon or after we stick a strict pull-up.  Today with all its flaws and challenges and shortcomings and aches and pains - let us love it for carrying babies and the ability to give bear hugs and shoulder great responsibility. 

 

My body and I have been at odds with one another for over 2 years now, as I try to push, it sidelines me quickly.  There are days I completely lose my patience, there are days I give up, there are days I'm indifferent and there are days with tears - today though I chose love.  I love that it survived an agility/stability focused training session with my super hot trainer this morning (it's my husband folks, don't worry).  And I love that by the end of it I was able to stick a yoga pose on a wobbly ball long enough for this pic. 😊😘 #loveyourbody

Spread LOVE and Sunshine {day 5}

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Day 5 of #spreadLOVEandsunshine


From the smell of the desert after a rain to the summit of a challenging mountain to the sand in our toes next to crashing waves to the quiet of a forest first thing in the morning. 


There is nothing that sets this mamas soul on fire quite like being in nature.  It's a huge component of our parenting mantra as well - you can literally witness a shift in our kiddos if they haven't had time to just be free outside. 


We celebrate dirty clothes and muddy feet and wind blown hair.  It's a sign we have slowed down long enough to soak in the very best parts of being here on earth.


Our wish for you today is to get dirty, feel sunshine on your face, to breathe in a huge fresh breath and to catch the glimpse of sunset.  💗☀️