I am very pumped to have Ashley Olson contributing to my blog today! If you look up “spunky” in the dictionary, you might find Ashley Olson’s face beside the definition. She is truly the embodiment of an energetic, hilarious and vivacious mother….and that is with 3 boys in tow. I don’t know how she does it! Another boy may have sent me right over the edge into Nuttyville. Knowing her, she may tell you she already lives there.
Before Nuttyville, Ashley and I go WAY back to London, Ontario in the ‘90s. The memory I have the most of her pretty face is actually seeing it upside down, because she was always found doing hand stands. While still fitting in the occasional handstand (see below), this gorgeous gymnast, mother, Rodan and Fields Consultant and wife to accomplished musician Michael Olson so willingly agreed to contribute a blog entry about her angle on motherhood. I knew I wanted her to write something for me after reading many of her entertaining motherhood moments with her boys. I connected with them so much, and I know if we were closer we’d have a good laugh (and cry) together about it all :). Before I was a mother, I couldn’t tell you exactly my game plan for producing the most cherub like child, but as I watched other mothers, I sure knew what I wasn’t going to do (so judgmental!). I can say for sure that since then, I have sufficiently done everything I said I wouldn’t do, and probably even worse! Sometimes motherhood is survival of the desperate. Thankfully, The Lord has been with me in those desperate moments to help me be a much better mother than I could be without Him. Below, Ashley shares the “secret sauce” she’s discovered helps her survive the trenches of motherhood. I need this “secret sauce” more and more each day. I wish it could be bottled up and bought in bulk! And let me tell you, She’s also been so kind to share a recipe you’ll want to eat in bulk, because it will warm up your belly and give you strength for the day…espeically if you’re a mom of boys!
This is just one of my fav Ashley Olson Facebook posts about mothering:
“As Michael and I were sitting amongst all the whining and crying children tying all the little boys shoes, he stared at me blankly and asked, ‘What were we thinking?’.
I reminded him that we wanted lots of grown up children coming home for thanksgiving one day, and that it would get easier, and maybe one day it might even be fun…
‘I was talking about the laces. Should’ve bought the Velcro shoes’, he said.
Well, there ya go.
Grace and Relationship
Before I had kids I was a total expert on parenting. It’s simple. Don’t let them eat in the car, and in turn, your vehicle won’t turn into a giant heap of rotting garbage. And obviously don’t allow your young children to watch TV. Rather, encourage them to play with wooden toys, educational games and do homemade crafts. Doesn’t seem that difficult.
Well, let me tell you. Enter three boys (not all at once, thank you my sweet Lord) and those ideals lasted about 0.4 seconds before I was whipping out iPads and slinging bags of goldfish into the third row, while driving (always late) to pick up yet another child that I had brought into this world. So many children.
You see, the more kids I had, the more I realized how little I knew. Like, why is saying poop so hilarious? And at what age can you finally stop wiping their bums? I discovered my surmounting need for grace – for them and myself. I also realized the more I devoted to relationship with my boys and the other weary moms who were also drowning in my same insecurities, the more freedom I found.
Grace and relationship. Not clean floors and faces. Growing in grace for the little people around me who are figuring out what body parts can do (ohmyword) and how many legos will actually flush down the toilet. And, grace for myself. Let’s all just take a deep breath…in..out. It’s ok to fail and be messy and live in the unraveling. Really, it is ok. You are not alone.
And relationship. This is vital. It’s God’s design. Community is crucial for our survival. We need each other for encouragement, for prayer…for coffee creamer.
Grace and relationship.
This is what my journey with the Lord has looked like. From a somewhat, albeit unintentionally fake relationship where I believed I knew more than I did, to one of surrender and authenticity. There is power in the real. The genuine. The exposed. He wants that from us. His grace is more than sufficient for our mommy guilt, our comparison games and our overwhelmed and weary hearts. So, peel back the layers. This is where growth happens – both in our relationships with each other and with our creator. Grace and relationship. Herein lies the secret sauce. And, it’s delicious.
Butternut squash and ginger soup
2 small or 1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced onion
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Dash of cinnamon
5 cups chicken broth (1 quart)
Chopped fresh parsley and sour cream or Greek yogurt for garnish
Preheat oven to 375. Place squash cut side down on oiled baking sheet and bake about 50 minutes or until very soft. Remove peel and cut into large chunks.
Heat oil in large pot over medium-low heat and mix in onion, sugar, ginger, garlic and cinnamon. Sauté until onion is tender. Add squash and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes.
Pray and thank the Lord that you own a Vitamix. (If you don’t, start saving up…)
Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return to pot. Ladle into bowls or cups and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with optional sour cream or Greek yogurt and fresh parsley.
Dip a hunk of focaccia in there and call it a meal on chilly night. Yum.