Monday, April 26, 2010

attitude of gratitude

Yesterday Beau and I sat in our church with our beloved church family and enjoyed another beautiful sermon from Pastor Harms. He touched on the topic of gratitude which got me thinking afterwards. Everyone is grateful for something. Everyone has blessings, but what should we do with our gratitude. To God, we send prayers, to friends we send notes and hugs but isn't there more. After all, sometimes we say thank you when we don't even mean it. Actions often speak louder than words so I'm thinking that is the way to go. The Bible says Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him, Colossians 3:17.

I'm so grateful for my family, my husband, my children, and the wonderful friends the Lord has added to my family along the way. I would love to spend everyday doing things to show my gratitude for all of these people, making calls, buying gifts, etc , but I still have to cook, change diapers, clean the house , run errands, homeschool etc. God said every word or deed though right? I resolve today to clean this house for my family as if I'm preparing for Jesus to sit around our table tonight. I will cook our simple meals today , nourishing these children he blessed me with, showing Him my gratitude for them as you would take care of something special you have borrowed from a friend. I will treat each friendship i have with importance attempting to show His love back as I have received it from Him through them. I'm certain I will forget to act in gratitude from time to time, but I will try to walk in His footsteps. I will attempt to show my gratitude for these blessings in every word or deed as often as I can. It is the least I can do. I am not perfect and will require some reminding, but I can trust God to take care of that!

This week I lost a special person. Certainly it is not just my loss, but a loss to everyone who knew her. I am sad, I have shed tears, but i am grateful. Grateful she walks today with the Lord in a whole and healthy body. Grateful so many others will do the same because of her. I can no longer show her gratitude for the lessons she taught me and my children. Never again will I be able to send her a thank you note or flash her a smile, however I can share what she has taught me. I will show my gratitude for her life every time I share one of her lessons with a child, and every time I think of her example and make a better decision. She was a gift, a wonderful gift!!

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change

Thursday, April 22, 2010

what u take away

As a child I was in and out of church (Central Church, memphis tn) . pretty inconsistant. I did a brief stint as a private school student so i got some religious training there as well (ECS). I cant tell you what I learned or share a great biblical lesson with you, but what I can say is that I was saved. There were still many lessons to learn, many things to experience, and a relationship to build with the Lord, but I was saved, and all the rest is just details. Though I hadnt yet begun my walk with Christ, I left Memphis Tn with a knowledge that Jesus died for my signs, a faith in the Bible as God's holy word, and a little feeling that as my family grew, i wanted them in church.

Our first move was to Fort Polk La. Some might call it the arm pit of the Army or the country for that matter, but God had to put the alligators somewhere and they wouldnt all fit in Florida. I never started attending church there, but I did start bugging beau about it. We just werent all that thrilled about giving up our sundays, every sunday, maybe once in awhile right? Christmas, Easter? but I did get a small taste of a church family there. I volunteered for VBS that summer. I met so many wonderful people, they all knew each other, shared their love for God and his children, and left me with a little bit of "I want some of that". I dont know exactly what it was but i packed up my "IWSOT" and moved it to Alaska after a year in the bayou.

In Alaska, the first person I met was Linda. I knew we would not be friends. She was a bit older than me, pretty, athletic ( a personal trainer no less) outdoorsy, pretty much my opposite and she and her family were allways in church, talkin about church lalalala. But there was something in me that loved Linda and vice versa. And so we became best buddies. She would be there for me during my wilderness time. One thing she did was consistantly invite me to church with her (Anchorage Baptist Temple) and so one day, while Beau was deployed and feeling lonely, i took her up on that offer. I went, I listened, I learned, and I knew that was where I should have been all along! during our deployment the people there adopted Beau, prayed for his safety, mailed him letters and goodies. They also took care of me. The pastor of my class would stop by, people helped with the kids, they loved me and I loved them. I started taking Bible studies, did a little more of that volunteer stuff, and when Beau got home he joined right in. They were immediately happy to meet him and cared about him too. Before he knew it he landed a gig in the Christmas pageant and found himself walking with Christ too! "I Got Some Of That"

During this time a couple of friends got me to a women's Bible study at the post chapel. It was another life changing experienced. Sure I was saved, I was churchgoing, but what now. At the Ft Richardson PWOC I was welcomed with open arms. They didnt care that I had not been a lifelong church attending allways perfect Christian. They loved me inspite of my flaws but there was more....these ladies encouraged and facilitated my spiritual growth. They were mentors, they got me in His word, learning daily. They helped me establish the habit of spending daily time with the Lord. In addition to all of this, these ladies gave me the confidence to develop my own ministry. They helped me believe that God can use me to reach, teach and help others. So I left Alaska with a family of 5 , one on the way, and a sense of fulfillment in Christ. I had a job and a purpose. most of all "I Got A Little More Of That"

As soon as we arrived in Arizona, we moved in and found a church. That church was Sierra Vista First Baptist and we jumped right in. We got into a sunday school class and i continued volunteering. They had a womens bible study and there I learned from women older than me, was encouraged by women my age, and felt Christ's love. We were welcomed into this church from day one. Treated like we had allways been there. Never judged, never doubted, only loved. This is the love Christ shows to each of us and it is a churches job so share that love with others. SVFB is doing a great job! This is the first place in my life where i can walk into a room and not wonder "will there be someone to sit by". It sounds trivial, but that is huge. I know no matter what function or class or service im attending , the people here love me. There is allways someone to sit by. Someone who will show Christs love to me.

As we prepare to leave this church and head to Colorado Im thinking of what I will take with me as I go. Certainly a sense of family. I know , no matter what, i have family in Arizona! but also a renewed spirit. SVFB has challenged me. The members have trusted me with their children, allowed me to grow my own little ministry , to have input on the children's ministry as a whole. God has used this church to have me do things I never ever thought I could, would, or would want to and I have Loved every minute. During our time at this church, through sermons, and leadership shown, my husband has emerged as the spiritual leader of this family. We leave here a stronger family with Christ as the head and heart and we thank the people of SVFB for helping us on this journey. I pray that our family has left this community with a teeny bit of "IWSOT" and that seed grows in our absense.

I hope that every person reading this finds a church like the ones we were blessed with. I truly hope, if you already have one, that you take it upon yourself to be the one making others feel this way about your church. Our church in Alaska was a 5000 plus member church. Our church in Arizona is just a few hundred. That military chapel, even smaller.
All showed Christ's love to us. both helped us to grow. Its not about the size of the building, it is about the people inside. Let someone know you care they are there. Make them want to come back because they feel His love there! Leave them with a little bit of "IWSOT"

ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, copy Him and follow His example, as well-beloved children imitate their father

Sunday, April 18, 2010

yep we are homeschoolers :)

I just felt inspired to write about homeschooling today after seeing a friend under fire for her choice to homeschool. It makes me so sad to see or hear that and ive experienced my fair share of it. my heart goes out. Nobody ever feels the need to question why you wore that shirt, how you paid for that big screen, why do or dont you put your kids in preschool or let them date etc etc etc.... but soo many people either inwardly or often outloud, feel that they have the right to question how you educate your child. I want to scold those people or spew statistics at them (10 u.s. presidents were homeschooled as well as Albert Einstein), I want to remind them that homeschooling is a right and is currently legal in the free nation they live in, that soldiers die to protect these freedoms, but I decided instead to share a bit of our lives with them in hopes of showing why we have made our decision and why it works best for us and many other families like us.

One of the first concerns people allways question me about is " Wont they be unsocialized?" and the answer is, No....well, Yes in a see, when you meet a homeschool kid you can often tell them apart from others. Occasionally they lack a bit of style, and when i use the term "lack" what I really mean is , they dont allways know what is in with the local high school kids. They often wont have a clue about the "in" brands etc. and most wont care, but they have their own style for sure. Some go for comfort, some care simply about beating the heat, staying warm, or simply doing their own thing sporting duct tape accessories and big red glasses :) They are insanely creative!
Homeschoolers spend all day in close contact with an adults. Usually their parents and their parent's friends, so they are pretty good at adult conversations. When your child is with you all day long you talk about everything, there isnt much to be hidden. Socially this does make them a bit different than the average kid but certainly not "unsocialized". They eat with utensils, use indoor toilets, help out around the house, watch documentaries and get their PE hours on trampolines out back and organized sports teams. Once nobody cares about "cool" and "popularity", once high school is over and real world sets in, it is my personal opinion that none of the homeschool awkwardness will matter and homeschoolers mesh right into the real world with ease. In fact, ive known an amazing mother/wife/all around well liked intelligent woman for awhile and had no clue she was homeschooled. And for those of you who need more concrete evidence just trust that as homeschool moms, we make more than the average effort to get our kids out and about, making friends and interacting with others through homeschool groups, class days , and coops so they will be great socialized individuals!

The second question I get alot is "how can you homeschool if you dont have a teaching degree?" Well, im pretty sure every teacher I encountered throughout my public school educations wasnt allways the smartest, and certainly many could have cared less if i learned at all. Many many were excellent educaters, but far from all for sure. I can also admit that while i was in school i was more focused on what i was wearing, who I could impress, what social event i would get invited to, sporting events, how to get out of trouble and all that jazz. That was in high school, but as an elementary student there were hours spent waiting on other kids to finish, waiting in lines of 25 kids to go potty, lining up, washing 25 sets of hands and plenty of other stuff that isnt allways academic related. That leaves me as a homeschool teacher with alot of extra time to spend with my student. We figure stuff out, look it up, read a book about it. Yes there are times when mom doesnt know, but we find out the answer thus teaching my children to use their resources and that even grownups will need to do this from time to time (even people with math degrees own a calculator right?). A teaching degree is geared toward teaching an entire class. As a homeschool mother I am able to figure out my kids learning styles and teach them the best way for them. I can choose a curriculum that meets their needs and individualize it for them specifically. If that isnt enough of an answer I will make you a little more comfortable with our abilities by assuring you that there is a plethera of curriculums available, often the same ones used in schools. Experts create them and there are teachers edditions that instruct us how to teach each concept, right down to telling us what to say and what items to have on hand that week. Also, many homeschoolers do it online through government approved, state paid for programs or use teaching dvds, so in a sense, someone with a degree does it. We employ tutors and do state standardized testing when necessary, and the average homeschooler tests well above grade level (not to brag but my Parker has skipped a grade and completed a standardized test proving it was an appropriate academic decision).

In addition to all the not so fun academic stuff there are the perks :) and yes there are many. I never have to wake kids up and beg and argue them out of bed. They get all the sleep they need so they start school well rested, well fed and ready to go. I dont have to be dressed, dolled up and ready to meet the world at the bus stop or drop off either. I get to enjoy my morning coffee on my time! Most days we are done around noon and get to take the time to enjoy 2 if not all 3 meals of the day together as an entire family unit. The kids do chores and they do them well! Like well enough that mom doesnt have to go back and do it. They spend more time at home watching what I do, learning to clean and cook and care for others. They know what it takes to run a household, things dont get done by magic elves while they are away, and mom is not sitting on her butt eating bon bons! There are no misconceptions. They value our time as a family and we do it all together. Yes, this does mean I grocery shop with 5 children but there is a positive spin as well ( I have 5 personal assistants so nothing gets forgotten). There are tons of real world field trips. We have been to farms, airports, museums, indian sites, caves, hiking you name it. We go in groups, we go as a family, we experience the world on our own schedule. We can finish a book and watch the movie in the same day. Though there are laws in each state, in general, we can learn about what the kids have shown an interest in and foster their own interests and talents. It truly is a fun lifestyle!

I dont write this to put anyone down for choosing public or private school. I know there are reasons many cant homeschool and many reasons why school outside of the home works for other families. My sincere wish is that every parent with a child who is miserable in school or struggling academically etc, knows that homeschool is a valid, legal, and very doable option. their child can be educated and become intelligent even if they dont go to prom or learn in a classroom. If you think you cant, know there are options out there to support you financially, emotionally, and academically. You can do it too!

So please when you meet one be respectful and dont underestimate a homeschooled child. They are smart! You dont need to quiz them in the grocery store to make sure their mom is doing their job. Very few homeschool moms are lazy bums. It is certainly not an easy choice and puts a cramp on the bon bon intake for sure. Instead, assume they can talk to you about the classic novel you read, assume they can help figure out the mistake on your reciept, but most importantly assume they will help you get those groceries out to your car with a smile because they are being raised very carefully with love and consideration by a parent who has made a difficult choice to go outside of the social norm and make educating this child their lifes work.

"Different, not less" Temple Grandin

Friday, April 16, 2010

yet another breastfeeding blog

I have breastfed 5 children for a total of 40months and counting and yet things still dont allways go perfectly. With the first I fell into the trap of letting others feed the baby. I thought I could have my cake and eat it too, but a couple of months in I was all dried up with no clue why? With the second all went pretty well but I had to drive to alaska and spend a week on a boat, it was rough and around 7mos there wasnt much left. With the third, I thought i was a pro, i had made the mistakes, learned from them and had no probs. Even Piper was a pro, she latched so well she fell asleep instantly and only nursed about 5min every few hours, until day 5 when my milk was all gone??? turns out you actually have to stimulate breasts more often than that to make them produce milk :) with the help of a LaLeche League volunteer and my mil I was able to regain my supply and continue on nursing until 8months when she suddenly decided she wanted nothing to do with boobs or bottles and we switched to the cup. sooo with number four I knew, i had finally made all the mistakes there were and this time it would be bliss. Pearce was born, all went smoothly, nursed like the pro I knew I was until day 3 or so, on came the cracks and the bleeding and what the heck ? It was a rough start but after that infamous 2 week hump all was well, I bought stock in Lansinoh and moved on. this time it was great, he nursed until 18mos when Pike was growing in the belly and mama just couldnt do it anymore, SUCCESS finally!

Now pregnant with my fifth baby this time was gonna be bliss. I had nothing left to learn. I knew it all, but oh when you know it all, how hard you fall :( Adjusting to a fifth child has been a challenge. While pregnant i sported the phrase "whats one more" with delight. But once he came, it was a little harder than I had expected. We got through it, adjusted routines, employed new distraction tactics and got Pearce pottying independantly faster than you could flush. Nursing however was bliss. No engorgements, no more pads, it was great. I can nurse here or there, i can nurse anywhere, on a plane, at the zoo by the crane, I can do it wearing a hat, I can do it inside kartchner caverns being spied on by bats. Nothing left to learn my dear, but oh my breastfeeding crisis was near..................

Pike is 5 months old, nursing fabulously to sleep with each feeding and then last night, I was out of milk. Yes there was some in the fridge, but he doesnt like that brand. The good stuff was all gone?? You see you have to eat in order to make breastmilk and you have to drink water, not just coffee. who knew? and so I learn one more lesson in breastfeeding. As a mom of five, with 3 actively homeschooling, volunteering, cleaning, etc etc sometimes, i forget? But it was sad and scary to have a hungry little guy with nothing to eat :(

Now its shout out time: the most important key to breastfeeding success is support! a husband who doesnt push you to quit , he asks what can I do. Friends who offer their advice and solutions, who have been there done that and truly want to help ( thanks to ashley , jen, and a few others) a mother in law who allways reminds you that when in doubt, give LaLeche League a shout! I could have sat down and cried and given up but because of all of the support, that wasnt even on the brain. you can successfully troubleshoot your breasts! and its much easier than a computer.

And so , with the help of my neighborhood angel (Melissa that would be you!) and her delivery service of mothers milk tea, fenugreek, and a fancy boobish bottle, we have plenty of milk this morning and the crisis has been averted!! YAY Pike and I are so greatful.

I write this to encourage all mothers and mothers to be, to breastfeed. give it a try! dont be discouraged when it doesnt go as planned. not much in life does. Just because something is natural and you are made for it, doesnt mean it will be easy, but it will allways be worth it :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

the wilderness

Over the past few weeks I have been studying The Exodus with the help of my church ladies and Priscilla Shirer of course :) Today we touched on our wilderness. The Isrealites were a big group of travelers on a 40year journey through the desert, not unlike you and I. Though each of us may never be asked to roam the desert for 40years, or ever, we all will come to a point of wilderness within our lifetimes. Most of us will have more than one. Maybe your wilderness will be literal, maybe not, but you will have one. If you havent yet, Heads up! You might be in for a move to Alaska, a loss of someone you love, a time of depression or loneliness, a natural disaster, who knows you might even be pregnant , lol. One thing is for certain, life is not allways easy, fortunately for us it is Gods problem. Psalm 55:22

Im relatively young by american lifespan standards (soon to be 27 :) but I had my wilderness. It was dark and ugly but fortunately I was delivered just as the Israelites were. Because I have emerged a stronger, more faithful, forgiving and caring person, today I am able to sit at His feet and thank him for that time. The Lord used this period to grow me as a mother, a wife, and a Christian. I had no choice but to cast my cares upon him. Though this was by far the worst time in my life, I look back upon it with a smile. I remember the peace and happiness I experienced feeling him in control. I acknowledge wholeheartedly that it was the Lord who brought me through. He gave me many special people to help along the way. Some were aware and helped in obvious ways, baking, babysitting, bringing smiles :) and there were others who had no clue, yet shared their lives and gifts with me, helping me to make it through each day.

I am so fortunate to be able to look back upon my wilderness and share it and laugh about it now. This is the best and most important part of having one. Embrace it! Love it! It is now a part of your testimony.

Do I want to head back into that dark forrest. Heck no, but I dont fear it. This is another benefit to making it across the desert. You know it is possible. I know he will take care of me. I know if you let him he will take care of you. Each day since my wilderness has been a win/win. Either im in a peaceful time reaping his blessings and spreading his word, or im not. Im in the wilderness leaning on him, growing closer, building my testimony and preparing for the other side.

Ive been told im a go with the flow type. I say Whatever alot :) not because I dont care, but because it doesnt really matter. When the Isrealites made it through the desert and entered the promised land, God reminded them of his promise "Have I not told you, Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you allways" Josh 1:9. This promise was for everyone, dont sweat it, he has it under control. Let things go and live your life for him. No matter how big or small, he takes care of it all :) With this promise I know I can handle whatever life throws at me because I have an awesome coach in my corner!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

wanna wrestle?

Wrestling is a favorite Kempe past time. When I married Beau I was also privelaged to be on the recieving end of all the wrestling memories. I might as well have been there. I am painted a beautifully clear and vivid picture of each and every match about once a week by my husband, and I also get to experience them once a month or so from my mother in law, lol. As much as I enjoy the stories, pictures , videos etc (not to mention I am the world's biggest fan of Beau in a singlet) it is soo much more fun getting to do it myself.

Not technically myself, as I have yet to participate in a match :) but I am there on the sidelines taking pictures and gritting my teeth. I knew our kids would wrestle before they were born. that was clear, but what I never knew was how fun it would be to become a wrestling mom!!!

Parker has wrestled for a couple of years now and is truly loving the sport. He has trouble with team sports sometimes, there is a tendency to blame someone else when things dont go your way, but he has learned to depend on himself while wrestling. It is so exciting to watch him grow.

Paxton is starting for the first time this year. He was apprehensive at first. There was the fear he would have to wrestle his brother and all the bigger boys he'd been watching the past few years but after quite a few long talks he has grasped the concept of weight classes, so dont be alarmed if he immediately requests your weight upon introduction. He prefers only to converse with 50lbers these days. haaaaaa After this he got really excited and spent weeks practising before the first tournament. When tournament day came, sometime around 5am Paxton discovered the singlet. "Heck no im not wearing Parker's old swimming suit". How could we have forgotten to mention the singlet to him? How did he not notice it in years past? well somehow the singlet has slipped through the cracks. He truly believed parker swam in this outfit last summer and we expected him to wear it in front of all his wrestling friends lol. After a tantrum that ended in me saying "put it on or you will not go" we were on our way. It only took 5 seconds of him seeing other boys in singlets for him to get over this and he hasnt mentioned it since. He loves wrestling. Still isnt quite sure why we dont want him to lay on his back but he allways comes off the matt with a smile so we are proud :)

We are so blessed with a great coach and a couple of great team moms. I rarely have a clue what is going on but they allways make sure things go smoothly and everyone is where they need to be, and I love them for it!!!

I am lucky to catch all the matches with a nursling on my front, a toddler hanging onto my leg and a princess and all her little petshops in tow, but the last 2 tournaments I brought Grammie along for assistants. She had fun reliving the days when Beau was the one on the matt and loved watching the grandkids follow in dads footsteps.

For anyone considering a sport for their kiddos, dont leave wrestling out! We have had such a wonderful experience and loved every minute. I hope we find such a great group in Colorado. Wrestling is one of the few sports where boys of all shapes and sizes can succeed without disadvantage. Self confidence and sportsmanship are grown on those matts. I watch boys work so hard to beat each other, who have never met or been rivals for years, yet shake hands and even hug when the match is over. There are no losers because there is allways a lesson learned and a little esteem earned. What a fabulous sport!!!! And the best part is that unlike basketball or football, you can wrestle in the living room. All of my boys (esp pearce) are very good at wrestling people who are unsuspecting or unwilling. They wrestle their father daily, and poor poor piper. Basically , dont ever sit on the floor of our living room or you are fair game. We are trying to teach pearce he must ask before he wrestles someone, but we are so far unsuccessful :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

the real truth about Breastfeeding, babywearing and broccoli

There are a few things im pretty sure I know the truth about. Breastfeeding, Babywearing and Broccoli and today i felt like getting these secrets off my chest.

So when it comes to breastfeeding there are alot of things most people know and think they know. Most people know it is the best for their baby. Most women know itll help you get back into those post partum jeans. And any mother to be knows they want that perfect picture of a mom peacefully nursing their infant to be recreated in their home. Well rest assured all those great facts about the benefits are true 100% but what the experts dont tell you about are the true reasons to go for the boob! Here are the best kept secrets of those of us who love it.

1. we are lazy and forgetful lol. thats right, its true, after all i could bottle feed, but i would have to get up at night to fix the bottles. As it is i barely even wake up, i just latch him on and go right back to sleep. I would have to remember to bring bottles and formula with me everywhere. I can barely remember my diapers much less a bottle. In the past i have had to fabricate a diaper out of a spare pair of sweatpants found in the glove box, so im certain any bottle fed baby of mine would end up with a bottle full of whatever i could get from a drive through window. Fortunately my milk comes along even when i have a severe case of mommy brain.

2. sometimes we all just need a time out! and now there is a really good excuse. Somebody else will have to finish dinner, or take the toddler potty. you may just get to sit and enjoy the park instead of pushing the toddler on the swing or helping the big kids on the balance beam. Right now, the baby needs feeding and there just is no sub, so take a breath and have a break mom, its your turn!

Babywearing is another one with alot of misconceptions. baby bjorn, ergo, sling, pouch, wrap, whatever name you choose, it is widely believed that we use these things to help carry our babies/toddlers. well that may be a little bit true but there is alot more to it. Some of you are thinking, bonding, snuggle time, hands free for mom to continue housework etc. Ha! sure those are all nice benefits but the reality is babywearing is for the exhausted bout to fall asleep where she stands, full of coffee mama who just cant manage to balance one more thing on her hip even if that thing happens to be a perfect precious gift from God. U got it, we babywear because , when a toddler is on your back you never have to chase them! if you do find yourself chasing a toddler on your back you are hereby diagnosed with coffee overload syndrome and should promptly lay down wherever you are at and close your eyes, preferably do this on your front. Those of us who are babywearing immobile newborns are the ones chasing the toddler and find we can run much more quickly if our arms are free and never run the risk of having to abandon the baby in the shopping cart in favor of chasing said toddler who is making a break for it. This is a most common occurance in grocery/discount stores which contain starbucks and happens most often to those moms brave enough to nonchalantly stroll past the counter as if it doesnt exist. This is not me :)

But you probably want the whole truth. So here goes. The carriers are fabulous!!!!!! silk, cashmere, glorious color combos and prints. They elicit comments and stares galore and we love it :) We moms of littles have long since lost the ability to accessories and pulling an entire outfit together is a thing of the past. No matter though, I can match a Target tee to my latest baby wrap without much thought and score more complements then I ever got as a fashionista!!

And then there is that broccoli. well by broccoli i mean most vegetables really. as moms we are obligated to serve them, therefore obligated to eat them ourselves. in the enterest of presenting that perfectly sparkling plate with vegetables so brightly colored they appear to have been painted proffessionally, i must share a secret. once you employ this tactic, you will never serve a fresh veggie that is a day or two past its prime again. ok so technically you will but nobody will ever know........dunk it in boiling water for a few seconds. To those who are new to the concept, its called blanching. I learned it in alaska where no produce is all that pretty. Instantly veggies become bright and i mean BRIGHT. as in totally fake looking. then pop them out and serve. Yes I forgot the cooking part but if questioned do not divulge that you had a toddler on your back or were nursing a newborn, just say "the less you cook the more nutrients you maintain" :) works perfectly every time you forgot what you were making as a side! but no matter its appearance, broccoli is never all that great of a companion to breastfeeding. works fine with babywearing though !