Monday, April 14, 2014

Wheat Free Test Results

This is what the counter top looked like. . . twelve items to taste test.
So, I conducted a wheat-free snack test today and it was a much bigger success than I ever imagined. I had visions of Dax hating everything and Tiki liking most, but deciding to not like it to be like Dax. Well, it was such a smashing hit that all five kids wanted to be involved.  I'm so excited--excited because it was fun and because they have some self-proclaimed "yummy" options!!!  This round was simply snack food and lunch box items--not cereal and pasta and bread yet.
I put each item in a baggie because I knew if they (mostly Dax) saw that package, his taste buds would be swayed!
Below are the twelve items we taste tested.  The number on the package was my "secret number for the clear baggies.  The initials on the bags/boxes are who thought that snack was a "yes."  I'll keep you all posted on how the bread, tortillas and pasta test goes when we do that one!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wheat Free Twins

So, we are taking a trial week of wheat free for the "twins."  Why?  Well, for a few reasons. . .  where to begin?

First of all, wheat isn't great for us.  It just isn't.  When I stay away from it, I feel so much better.  That is one thing I've realized on these products and with this new healthy lifestyle.  When I stay away from the things that aren't good for me (like wheat), I just feel better.  Do I still eat wheat?  Some.  I'm not really the die hard type when it comes to food.  But I feel awful when I eat it.

Secondly, I have read and heard that taking wheat out of his diet could be great for Tiki.  I've heard it from other adoptive parents.  I've heard it from other parents of children with some issues.  I've read about it.  I actually tried to be wheat free for Tiki, but that only lasted about 6 hours.  I just didn't have the motivation.  There was a will, but it wasn't strong enough and so I didn't really make the way.

Third, Dax has been struggling with major tummy issues as well as skin issues and this really annoying habit of sniffing all of the time and he doesn't even realize he is doing it.  Well, yesterday I was talking with a girl friend and she told me that they have tried to go wheat free for one of their boys because he was sniffing all of the time and his skin was weird. . . .

So, I have me and Tiki and Dax all maybe needing to be wheat free.  We're going to try.  We're going to give it a week.  For this week I'm going to try to be wheat free for the twins.  Will I be able to tell a difference in a week?  I have no idea.  I'm hoping for some sign that it is working either with Tiki's behavior or with Dax's sniffing or skin or tummy.

We'll reevaluate after this week.  Will I ever be a 100% stickler?  I doubt it.  But let me give it a week before I make any drastic statements.  I think, like with most things, moderation is the key.  I don't think being extreme is wise.  I don't think saying "ever" or "never" or whatever is wise.  I just want to see.  What is wheat doing to my boys?  Can I be consistent?  So many questions.  We'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Israel & Palestine

Andy and Hays had the best time in Israel and Palestine last week.  As they've gotten over jet lag, more details have come out and both sets of eyes light up when they talk about it!  The trip was SO MUCH MORE than just a steps of Jesus time.  Andy really used the trip to show the Kivu kids and parents the steps of Jesus and then how to actually love the way Jesus told us to love as they crossed the border into Palestine and saw what the news never shows in terms of what is truly happening over there.  One of Hays's many highlights was spending time with his friends from Bethlehem.  They went caving together and had a surprise birthday party for one of the girls together and ate together.  How fun to get to visit your Palestinian friends as a fifteen year old?!?!?  Hays literally is on cloud nine and is hoping to do an exchange program next school year.  I'm all for it for him!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Hall Family

So, one of Andy's best friends in college is staying in Southwest Colorado with his family for several weeks and they headed our way today (we are SO thankful that they will be "heading our way" several times over the next three weeks).  His family sold just about everything and bought an RV and they are touring America with their 4 kids.  Their travels and adventures are unbelievable!  You can see their journeys HERE.  So fun!!!

Anyway, they came over today and we headed to Molas for some sledding.  It was cold and snowy and weather you'd only go out in if you were from out of town!  We hit the mountain anyway!!!  It was a blast!  No one noticed the cold and we stayed up for hours!  Then we headed home for dinner and playing.  The kids got along so well and it was so refreshing to be with old friends!

There will be many more posts to follow about our adventures with the Hall family, I'm sure!!!
Mike and his wonderful wife, Heather!
The boys (Hays & Andy are still traveling the world).

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dance, Staycation 2.0 & Catch Up

I keep getting behind in my blogging this year.  I have so much to say about so many things.  I love my family and my life and I am so busy loving them that I forget to update. . . but I for sure need to keep up because this week I deleted ALL of the pictures off of my computer and my blog is my only back up, so I realized this week how thankful I am for this space!!!

Spring Dance
Maggie's Middle School Spring Dance was last night and she looked so beautiful and so happy!  She and her best friend, Lexy (who just moved here this year and we are so thankful that she and her whole family are here) got ready together at our house.  I love Maggie.  She's so down to earth and so fun and sweet and compassionate.  She's great.  Lexy is wonderful, too--always one to tell me that she loves me and to give me a big hug.  They were so fun to watch and to help!  Seventh grade is almost over for her and I can't believe that my baby girl is getting so old.
I had to take this picture because Maggie thinks its funny that I have a "putting on make up" picture from all of her dances.  Also, I just loved the back of her top, so it killed two birds with one stone!

Staycation 2.0
I never finished catching up from the rest of our Staycation.  Well, it truly was a STAYcation.  The kids stayed in their jambes most of the time and relaxed.  Even though I was frustrated, they really needed the down time and I think each one of them preferred the stay cation to a vacation this time!!!
It was so nice to have Andy home with us!  I love him!!!  (The hat was Maggie's compassionate gift--Andy was cold after a 40 mile bike ride so Maggie gave him her hat.)
Staycation meant some long overdue Honey-Do projects!
At one point all of these kids spent the night.  It was SO FUN!!!  The older boy on the far right is a friend of ours from Cabo (he lives in Arkansas).  We met his family when the kids were toddlers and we have been with them in Cabo each year since.  He and his friend came to Purg to ski and they met up with Hays.
The boys hit the slopes for the last runs of the season with 7 inches of fresh pow.  Staycation--we live at a ski resort.  We are so blessed!!!
Girls had a bowling day.

Catching Up
Andy and Hays have been in Israel and Palestine this week and it has been really fun and quiet and relaxing with just the five of us.  We've decided to walk 50 miles as a family between now and camp, so we take walks after dinner around the neighborhood.  Its been fun.  One night we even grabbed the Greenbergs (neighbors) and had a two family walk.  I buzzed Dax's hair the other night.  He has issues with going to sleep at night and when Andy is gone it is "worse" because he wants to sleep with me.  So, that night I told him he could only sleep with me if he let me buzz his head (thinking he'd say no).  He said yes.  Needless to say, he's worn a hoodie every day since.  The littles love Baylor.  He's their play toy.  So yesterday they dressed him up in Dax's hoodie and made him leave it on.  Poor guy.  At least he is a sucker for physical touch and attention!
Standing in my tub while I buzzed off his hair!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Honey Maid

Honey Maid had a commercial a few days ago showing all different kinds of families.  They had multi-racial families and families with gay parents and families with one parent and "traditional" families.  It really was a great (and accurate) picture of America today.

When I was watching it, I thought to myself "I wonder how long before people lash out at them like they did at Cheerios and Coke during the Super Bowl. . . ."

Of course, it didn't take long because people are so hateful and people are so phobic of whatever and people are so quick to take to social media with their piety (picking the speck out of the eye of another while their own log is blinding them).  Its so stupid and I am so sick of people being so ugly and hateful.  So many people being the furthest thing from LOVE.

I'm posting this video, though, because Honey Maid responded to that ugly hate the way that people should respond.  They are responding with love and not with hate and not with lashing out in return.  Honey Maid is doing it right and I'm impressed!

It doesn't matter what your view on family is--they responded the right way--the way that all of those tacky "haters" should have responded!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Let It Go

The song is catchy, I belt it out whether it is actually playing or not.  I love the movie, I love the music, I love the characters!  "Let It Go" is a great song and Frozen is a great movie.  I'm a fan!

My favorite movie line (maybe of all time) is when Olaf tells Anna, "some people are worth melting for."  That melts my heart!

But I love the movie and the song "Let It Go" for what it means to me.  (I realize that many people have many theories of what the movie is standing for and what letting it go is representing, but this is just for me PERSONALLY).

The movie starts with Elsa and Anna loving her magic and playing and being sisters who adore one another.  Then Elsa's magic hurts Anna and from that point on, it is a secret and that secret then becomes a fear that Elsa is nearly paralyzed by until it isn't a secret anymore and then it is a big fun wide open freedom. . . . (and so the movie continues).

For me, this speaks to me about fear.

I can think of several fears that hold me back from happiness and one fear in particular that robs me almost daily of true happiness.  In the movie I watch Elsa's fears keep her from relationships.  I watch her fears isolate her and keep her from being who she can be.  Then when her "powers" are exposed and she isn't fearful anymore, she finds such freedom without her fear (until she becomes fearful again and then ultimately realizes that true love is more powerful than fear).

I let my fear of getting hurt (betrayal or self-image stuff or whatever) run my life so often and I see how it totally holds me captive and sometimes nearly paralyzes me.  It's awful and I feel isolated and it comes between my relationships.  It is interesting that in the end of the movie Elsa and Anna (and everyone) realize that true love overcomes the "bad" part of Elsa's powers.  Interesting because didn't Jesus say that true/perfect love casts out all fear?

The song "Let It Go" is such a fun and powerful reminder to me to really let my fears go.  Release them because being fearful has no good outcome and if I just let those fears go, I will find true freedom and beauty in relationships.

I don't know.  It sounded better in my head, but there are my thoughts on one of my most favorite belt-it-out songs!!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gwyneth Paltrow

I woke up this morning with my beautiful daughter sawing logs beside me (Andy and Hays are on their way to Israel) and instead of getting up and starting my day, I decided to cruise the Internet so I didn't wake her up.

Well, I found Gwyneth Paltrow all over the Internet after her interview with E! News where she said that being a movie star mom was harder than being a mom with a regular 9-5 job.  You can imagine all of the backlash and "open letters" and Facebook rants that has caused.

It got me thinking.  Being a mom is hard.  Period.  I can't really imagine any scenario where being a mom is easy.  Then you mix "the grass is always greener" with being  a mom and you're toast!  I bet that at one time or another (some of us at more than one time) truly believe that "if only I _______" then being a mom would be easier and I'm sure that all of us have thought that being a mom is harder than we imagined at one time or another.

I think everyone is right!

I think Gwyneth is right.  I know it is hard to be a mom.  Period.  I'm sure it is hard to be a mom when you are working 14 hour days on several different continents, especially when you're the type of person who wants to be hands on and be a consistent person your two children can count on.  I can see how that would be hard.

I can also see why everyone is enraged by this because we see her life of luxury and chefs and nannies and personal trainers and date nights with her (now ex) hubby and jet setting and we probably day dream about how easy and fun that would be.  We probably have all "if only-ed" her lifestyle at least once.  I know that I "if only" certain movie stars and think that with that money and that lifestyle I'd probably have an easier time being a mom.

But being a mom is hard.  I know it is hard for all kinds of moms.  I see the great stay at home moms and great home school moms and great moms who work "regular" jobs and great moms who work less than "regular" jobs and great doctor moms and great teacher moms and great camp director moms and I know their back story.  I know that there is loneliness.  I know that there is "not good enough" stress.  I know there are days crying on the bathroom floor and days crying out to God.   I know that no matter what being a mom is hard.  I know that we have all fallen into the trap of thinking "if only _______, then it would be easier."  We, moms, are all in this together whether we are you or me or Gwyneth Paltrow.

I work really hard.  I think I have a pretty great mom life.  I work several jobs, I volunteer at the mountain, I'm getting my Masters--I'm busy.  I for sure have my "if only" moments (mostly involving more money, less work, more jet-setting, a chef and a personal trainer and a maid), but I know in the bottom of my heart that no matter what, being mom would still be hard.  We moms work so hard trying to be great moms!

I get up early to start the laundry and unload that dishwasher so I can snuggle with Dax before my non-smugglers wake up.  I hustle them to get through their morning routines while I make lunches, clean up breakfast spills, make sure child A isn't in the room with child C because mornings are tough and one is grouchy and bossy and one is annoying and that combination in the room before 7 a.m. doesn't work.  I make sure everyone has everything they need and that I am dressed before we all straggle out the door a few minutes late.  Then I drop them all off at school with a hole in my heart because I am feeding them to the wolves of bullies and girl drama and whatever each specific child's "wolves" are.  Then I stuff multiple 8 hour days into one 7 hour day and pick them up.  Sometimes I pick up tears, sometimes I pick up bickering, sometimes I pick up silence, sometimes I pick up a list of "things we need at Office Depot", sometimes I pick up happy.  But this pick up leads into my few waking hours with my kids and we are all getting one another's "left overs."  We've all given our all at school and work with friends and teachers and jobs and assignments and we give each other our left over energy and many times that 4:00-6:00 time is a nightmare as a result.  That is when the "glory of motherhood" is the darkest and those "if only" moments creep in.  In the midst of the tears and homework and fighting and needs there is dinner to make and a kitchen to clean up and before I know it, bedtime.  There isn't enough time for 30 minute tuck ins each for five children and eventually I flop down completely spent and feeling like a total failure!  If only I'd been kinder, if only I'd been more patient, if only I'd said this instead of that, if only I'd done this instead of that. . . if only, if only, if only.  Then I start to compare myself to the movie star moms with all of their help or the Pintrest moms who do everything perfectly or the home school moms who get so much quality time with their kids or the rich moms or the poor moms or the sweet moms or the whatever moms who are not me and then I start feeling like a failure.  BEIGN A MOM IS HARD!

I haven't even described the love and devotion and work that we each put into our kids to be shut out emotionally at times by teenage hormones.  That's a whole other blog post!  (Or planning a great stay cation only to have them opt out of the fun for the "stay.")

So, Gwyneth (and myself), it doesn't matter what job you have or how much money you have or whether your kids go to school or stay at home.  Being a mom is hard.  It isn't glamorous.  It isn't perfection.  It isn't white dresses with monograms playing in perfectly green grass inside a white picket fence.  It is hard and it makes me feel like a failure and a monster.  It is a making it from one minute to the next without losing your sanity kind of day that seems like a success often.

But. . .it is SO REWARDING.  Being a mom is great!  Being a mom is fun.  Being the person your teen texts from school because she's crying over something a nasty girl said is a high.  Being the person your little one comes crying to because you're always there is the best.  Getting a hug in the morning is worth more than millions of dollars.  Getting an "I love you" at night is better than a promotion.  Making memories and laughing and dancing in the kitchen is better than jet setting.  Serving Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese for the third time this week instead of having a chef is what legends are made of.  Sitting on the couch surrounded by your kids watching a Disney movie is better than any night on the town could be.  Playing Sorry and Blokus with your kids and your hubby is better than the best planned vacation on earth.  The laughter, the love, the snuggles, the dried tears, the notes. . . .

Is being a mom hard?  You bet!  Is it worth every three a.m. throw up on the new carpet?  Is it worth every feeling of failure?  Is it worth every load of laundry started before the sun rises?  Is it worth the missed job opportunity?  Is it worth the missed exotic trip?  Is it worth the heartache?  Is it worth all of the yucky?  You bet!  There truly is nothing in the world harder or better than being a mom (for me).  Do I feel like a failure?  Often.  Do I think "if only"?  Daily.  Do I have areas where I can improve?  Several.  But I love being a mom to my five kids and I am so thankful that they are in it with me for better and for worse and that we can laugh and love and cry and hug together.  They're my team and I love it.

So, Gwyneth, you and I both long to be there for our kids.  We long to give them consistency and love.  We both think it would be easier in another's shoes at times.  We both get taken away from our children because of work and other commitments.  We both believe that being a mom is hard, but totally worth it.  What you said caused an uproar, but we've all said it at one time or another (most of us just don't get the chance to say it on E! News).  Being a mom is hard.  We think it would be easier "if only".  But we wouldn't give it up for the world!  Sorry you're getting so much ranting for saying what we've all believed at one time or another!  Now I'm off to clean up that first spill of the day!  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Staycation 1.0

This post could really be titled several things.  Things including Forced Family Fun (my siblings will understand) or Payback's a B*%$#.  I realized yesterday (a quarter of a century too late) that my dad wasn't a lunatic making us do dumb stuff for a new book, he was begin a dad--a dad who wanted to have fun with his family before we all moved away.  How did I finally come to that very honest (and brutal) realization?  I became my father!!!!

So, we had big plans for Spring Break, but due to finances, those plans were put off and we decided to have a stay cation.  Andy and I thought "Why not?  We live in a vacation town!"  So, I planned a great staycation!  I wanted us to all make memories and laugh and have fun together.  I wanted there to be no electronics and no days of us all in our separate corners in the house.  I wanted to be outside playing and really laughing together.  So, on the calendar yesterday was sledding up at Molas Pass.  I finally got everyone and everything loaded up (including Baylor) and we headed up the pass.  The kids weren't excited, but I was staying positive.  We got to Molas and busted out the sleds and the snowboards and we all took a run and then they were done.  What?!?!  After much cheerleading and encouraging and some more sledding runs on my part (that ended in mommy tumbling off of the sled head over heels very literally), I decided to call it a day and let the gripers win.  Blah.  Andy tried to cheer me up saying that we had a fun day (30 minutes) and the kids tried to encourage me with the fact that they were so excited for the STAY part of the STAYcation.  Blah.  That is when I realized that my dad wasn't looney after all.  He just loved his family.

So, this morning I called my dad to apologize for making fun of his Forced Family Fun for the past three decades.  It was long overdue.

So, today we were all headed to snowboard at Purg. . .turns out I'm dropping Hays and his friend off and everyone else is enjoying their STAY.  We still have a couple more things that they're all excited about, but my Word Document Table of adventure is going up in ashes as I sit by the fire on my electronic STAYcationing.

Bah Humbug!  (But yesterday was REALLY fun!!!)