Monday, August 15, 2011

Reality Bites!.....but not that hard

Summer is over :( and that stinks for a few reasons.

1. Its still sunny and hot and it sure feels like a splashpad day (yes i know, the beach side bikini days have been     
    replaced by motherhood)
2. School starts. It really seems unfair, as soon as you stop dreading the start of school for yourself, you have kids!
3. The ice cream man in colorado will surely disappear soon

I think i've spent the majority of this summer dreading the fall. I took a big break from blogging and we had a pretty nice summer vacation. We took a trip, got lots of visits from friends, did some hiking, rediscovered the love of golf, and discovered tennis.  But underneath all that fun there was always the dread.........i get it every.single.year.

As a homeschool mom I get really excited buying new curriculum and planning all the things we will learn throughout the year, but I also get really overwhelmed. After a few months of not schooling, I realize that a regular mom has a full time job just keeping up with the kiddos and cleaning the house. My days become super full and around July I always wonder how in the world I ever fit homeschool in, and how in the world I will be able to do it all again. Often I consider the option that last year's me was younger and must have been smarter, more rested, and perhaps even organized. I know this year's me could never compare and therefore I begin my rationale. If you know me, you have probably been fed my rationale atleast once. Last year it was "I cannot homeschool three school aged kids so somebody will have to go to school" and then this year it was " I cannot homeschool three kids bec I'm having a baby"...I'm also fairly sure I've used that one before. I have a few more in my bag of tricks and I'm sure there will be new ones. As usual, come Aug, I chickened out and began scrambling my curriculum together. I realized the kids didnt want to go to school, we would be out late on school nights with activities, I would have to actually get children dressed and out the door hours before my brain functions, and I would miss out on all those benefits I tell other people about. Most importantly I accepted that homeschooling is def God's plan for our family......atleast for this year :) remind me that come July.

It hit me yesterday that school should start this week. So I cleaned out our homeschool cabinet (formerly the home of Mikasa's Palatial Platinum china) organized all the books and even created a fun new spot. The school supply shelf. Who knew that would be so great but it really made today go easier and gave a home to the school supply lists i half filled when i was struggling with this years doubts.

Then reality hit.............i was really gonna do it.......the same thing i do every year yet always seems such a huge task....

Today I decided to start with just 1 homeschooler. Piper , my first grader. And I have to admit today was awesome, easier than i expected and left me wondering what exactly i was dreading in the first place. We did Bible, Phonics, math, science, Lang, and handwriting. Including chores and 2 meals served we were done by 1:48pm. I was flippin shocked! We ran some errands and around 3 I decided to go ahead and have Paxton's first day as well. We got most of his work done (he is doing some computer schoolwork this year that hasn't been set up yet).

I am totally not delusional. I know everyday will not go so well, but what I do know is that there is potential. I know while some days will be crazy, some will be amazing just like today. Some will remind me exactly why I chose to be a mom, to stay home, and to be my kids teacher. I need days like this to remember on the days that aren't quite so nice. Yes, there were poopy diapers, dirty dishes, laundry, and a couple of minor injuries but in all it was a fabulous day and I even got half a shower! Life is good :)

In conclusion, summer is over, but there is lots of fun still to be had. School starting wasn't so bad, and the ice cream man still came around! Now lets see how it goes come january when we factor in even less sleep, and a snuggly new baby to distract me from my job performance :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

I drank the koolaid

I know its been awhile since i have blogged, and I promise to update on all the new happenings in our household asap but I recently drank some kool aid and now have a new passion I simply must share.

Its is rare for me to leave church on a Sunday morning truly carrying a new passion. I have to admit it, when there is a small group, a discussion, a little one on one I tend to learn more. In a big sanctuary I'm often easily distracted by the lights, music, pretty people, even my own Bible. This Sunday was a lil different. I heard one of those messages you just know you were meant to hear, given by E Scott Martin of Chi Alpha Ministries So i just have to share it with my friends, Christian and non-christian alike (non-christian buddies please bear with me).

Did u know that there are as many as 53,000 Mormon (LDS) young adult missionaries serving worldwide today? These are kids that sacrifice two years after high school during the time normal kids are developing careers and going to college. As many as 90% of all Mormon young adults in Utah will serve a mission. All are UNPAID! Wow, hows that for faith and dedication.

I know I know, many Christians are getting defensive about now. Mormons are required to do so right? Wrong. Encouraged, yes but not exactly required. They are brought up learning that giving a period of their life to the mission field is what they should do. The parents  and kids spend years saving up to fund their missions as well. So my question is, why aren't Christians doing the same?

Again I hear ya, You are not called right? the mission field isn't for everybody right? .......WRONG....the Bible says in Matthew 28:18-20 Go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS baptizing in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.

Now I know what you are thinking, the homefront is a mission, and that is true. But it says Go and it says All Nations, so I'm certain Jesus isn't talking about our next door neighbor. He means what he says! It doesn't say "unless you are a mom" "unless you have a good job" " unless you got into college". The Word is truth, we are all called. So maybe we don't all feel the calling, but I don't always feel called to love my "crazycomplainabouteverything" neighbors either, nevertheless I am called to do so. I realize we all have responsibilities we feel are important and don't think we can drop it all and head for the unevangelized world on a redeye tonight ( if u can, go , really, i mean it!) but what I'm saying is, we are all called, and if we pray about it and are willing God will provide the means. He is with us always! and more importantly whatever you think impedes your mission, know that it does not impede Gods!

Now that you are pondering the price of tickets to South America....or perhaps my sanity....where can you start? Prayer, thats the first place to start. Dive into selflessness and make sure all your reasons have nothing to do with you. But we can also take a note from the Mormons.....start with your children. Do not fed ex your mini-evangelist to Madagascar just yet. What we can do is challenge each other as Christians to raise our children with the value of selflessness. From this day forward I will be encouraging my children to serve a year or two in foreign missions. Perhaps at a time before they have all those responsibilities impeding us grown ups from serving. We can teach our children that people that we cant see are important and worthy of our time. We can teach them that ALL people are worthy of Gods love. What might be the hardest part is teaching them that doing for others is better than doing for oneself. Maybe you will lose the opportunity to go on a fabulous vacation with friends, they may give up the years of living single before marriage, or postpone having children. They might even put off admission to their favorite college. It is so easy to say Jesus is number 1 in my life, until I have to give up something truly important to me, something I have worked hard for, to make sure He stays that way.

I know what you are thinking. The mission field is a dangerous place for my children. My response is twofold. The mission field is a dangerous place for those living in it, but they are there and we can offer them hope. More importantly, God is bigger than that! He is bigger than laws and diplomats, he is stronger than a jail cell and more powerful than a bullet. He has promised to be with us always specifically when serving the Great Commission, and I believe him. To encourage your children to serve might mean sending them to a very dangerous place so do not take it lightly when you have those conversations, but I can say with blessed assurance that it will not go without reward :)

Here is how my first convo went with Parker 12.....
me: what did u learn about today in church?
P: evangelism
me: really, we learned about that too, what do u think, would u be willing to spend time evangelizing at some point
P: nah , not really, im not called
me: we are all called, havent u read the verses. (shared those verses and my stats)
P: yeah, i think im called to be an air traffic controller
me: there is alot
to be contd..................

Why should you really care?
* 1.6 billion people are completely unevangelized
*only 10% of current missionaries work among them
*70,000 people die daily,  unreached :(
*90% of intl students go unreached while in the U.S. (an interesting fact Chi Alpha ministries is working to remedy)

those are the depressing stats but amongst the depressing ones I found a fantabulous fact. 10,000 converts for Christ are reported yearly making CHINA the country with the most missionary converts. Great work guys!

I know my non-christian friends are wondering why I have bored them but I truly believe service is a virtue. Perhaps you have no interest in serving, or asking your children to serve for Christ. Well, there are so many ways to serve the less fortunate. I believe all children of any faith should be encouraged to give of themselves to the less fortunate. To serve is to gain. This builds appreciation and character, true perception of need vs. want. A young woman who has served to provide food to those experiencing hunger will never again  take a meal for granted.

here are a few new pics of my future missionaries :) hopefully lol

I want to say thank you so the many serving on the mission field today. You have all taken a leap of faith and given selflessly blessing the world with your service! I love you :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

bananaloupe :)

I'm still loving my green smoothies and trying a new recipe daily. The green smoothies are giving me energy, despite lack of sleep and helping the hubby get healthy in preparation for the Tough Mudder in June :) They are also changing the way the house looks. Apparently green smoothie lovers decorate with fresh fruit bowls....

Yes, thats three huge bowls full! Kinda also increased our monthly grocery trip by about a hundred bucks, but that is ok as long as it all gets eaten...or drank :)

My latest fave recipe has to be the Bananaloupe. Easy, Simple, Delish and most importantly, healthy! When I first decided to try it I loved that it was short with few ingredients. All I had on hand or could get easily. I loathe recipe with odd hard to find ingredients so this one was great....and then I remembered my fear of cantaloupes. As a child I loved cantaloupes but then as an adult I found them intimidating. How do u pick a good one? I tried a couple of things and got bad results more than once. I even tried buying only local grown cantaloupes figuring I could not go wrong...but still couldn't get it right. To make matters worse, in Arizona I frequently bought a cantaloupe that turned out to be a honeydew on the inside? now that is scary!apparently it can happen both ways either on accident or on purpose?... I have finally figured out how to get a good cantaloupe after watching a few vintage ladies that seemed to know what they were doing.

1. even colored skin....i chose the cantaloupe colored skin a few times but really you just want an even toned melon, bright blotches mean its not ready.

2. tap on it, it should sound hollow....i watched alot of them do this so I'm sure :)

So after careful selection I got three, brought them home and went to work!


3 Bananas
1/4 cantaloupe
2 cups spinach
a lil water if u need it, and a lil flax if u r brave :)

Thats how much the recipe makes.....

The smoothie is super sweet! cant taste the greens or the flax at all. One thing I have been learning along my green smoothie journey is that yellow/orange fruits make sweet smoothies.....berries/apples can make things slightly bitter and often brown toned...still great tho! This recipe is def a keeper :)

my new friend the Vitamix wanted to pose for some shots...he is such a diva! but I love that I can now make enough smoothie for the whole fam in one batch! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the dog post

As many of you know we have had not so good luck with dogs over the years. In fact, 3 dogs in 3years, all had problems, none made it much past a year. They were great dogs (american bulldog, great dane, neopolitan mastiff). They were oh so cute, all purebred, all from breeders. Our first puppy came from a farm type breeder out in the country. They were nice, the dogs were healthy, but we didn't know our breed. We didn't research and we just wanted a puppy. Turns out american bulldogs/pit bulls are pretty much the same thing and they are often and commonly dog aggressive. Our neighbors had small dogs so this didn't work well :(. Our next dog was an impulse buy. The great dane from the wal-mart parking lot. Just another reason to avoid wally world. They always have puppies in the parking lot, they are all super cute...but you just don't know what u are getting. The breed turned out to be perfect for our family...but it also turns out they have lots of health we don't have a great dane :(. Then came the Neopolitan Mastiff. She was gorgeous and came from a "good" breeder. We went to their home, met the doggy parents, handled the puppies etc etc....we even researched the breed and new what to expect. Again, breeders just often are not what they seem and our Peanut had epilepsy and eventually passed away during a seizure. So we were left dogless and sad but we did learn something, perhaps getting a puppy from a breeder isn't the right idea. I vowed when we got another dog we would not do that again.

Fast forward a year or so and I had finally talked Beau into letting us get a dog. I was definitely tempted by the puppies in the pet store and the ones in the paper. They were super cute, but through all my dog problems I learned alot about potential warning signs and let me tell you, those puppies were full of them :( I began searching the shelters....the problem was I just love certain breeds and I'm a sucker for a cute doggie, and well...there were alot of faces only a mother could love lol. There were also certain breeds I wanted to steer clear of and there were tons of those mixes in the shelter. Eventually I began looking at rescues and found some really amazing places in our area. I found this place where you can get a dog thats already trained! and its still a rescue pup so you are doing your part to help the pet population    check it out, they are amazing!

Beau is known to change his mind so we didn't have time to wait for the appointment they had so meanwhile I kept searching. One of the dogs Beau mentioned liking was a Great Pyrenees. I love Giant Dogs!! so I looked and found a Great Pyrenees rescue in our area. If you are local you should definitely check them out. The rescue is run by a couple who love pyrs and a little help from volunteers. They do such a great job caring for all the dogs and I think all the dogs would be happy to stay with them lol. They told me on the phone that they liked to let the dog choose the family. We hoped for a male around 18mos. We wanted to skip all the potty training, chewing, and general destruction a large breed puppy does. Plus we figured problems are usually revealed by that age. Even though we had our specific hopes we agreed to let the dog choose the family and knew we might come home with something totally different.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the largest dog Ive ever seen in my life. Beau had once seen a dog of equal size but it was a St. Bernard. Immediately we thought that perhaps we had bitten off more than we can chew. Perhaps these dogs were much bigger than we thought lol. As we entered their home the massive beast was gentle with our children and we were impressed! They first showed us a litter of rescued puppies and their mom, soo super cute! but we were avoiding the puppy stage. FWIW if u r looking for a puppy they are probably about ready :) Then we went to the yard to meet our potential adoptees. Greeting us at the fence was a happy 140lb 3-4yo male named Buddy! His coat was a little dirty because he was previously not treated well and grooming isn't his favorite thing. We met a couple of other dogs but I think it was love at first sight with Buddy.

I really had begun to think that if you wanted a rescue you just had to go for a mix and you  might not get such a cutie. Not that there is anything wrong with a mutt, they are some of the best dogs, I just love learning about a breed and seeing the different personality and jobs in action. I'm also a habitual fan of the dog show lol and I love picking my favorites :) Buddy is proof positive that you can get a gorgeous purebred from a rescue. All of the dogs there were beautiful and they even had puppies. It feels so good knowing we gave a dog a home and we didn't contribute to pet overpopulation. I love my newly adopted Buddy!

Since Buddy arrived he has been busy guarding. This is his favorite inside spot, he loves watching for anyone coming to the door. Outside he loves to walk the perimeter of the yard and keep an eye on the kids. He has been to the groomer and didn't do so well but he is letting me brush more and more daily. I usually brush him once or twice a day....but that doesn't make a dent in the hair. To love a Pyrenees is to love fur...all over the place! We got some snow this morning and he is having a blast. I love not worrying whether or not he is cold, its obvious, he is not! Buddy does great walking on a leash, so great Parker can walk him by himself. His only flaw aside from the shedding....Buddy loves waffles and will do just about anything to get one. He will ignore a brisket left on the counter but no waffle is safe!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

more of that green smoothie love :)

We've been enjoying our green smoothies for about a week or so. There  have been a few flops but quite a few amazing recipes have passed the test. There are a few things I've noticed so far.

1. I definitely have more energy. the kids probably didnt need any extra but I definitely did. Its not enough to get me off caffeine but Im definitely feeling good!

2. I'm an awesome mom. At least the green smoothies make me feel that way. I feel guilty when my kids don't get a fabulous breakfast. Cereal, Oatmeal, blah blah...but there just isn't always time. The green smoothies erase that mommie guilt because I know my kiddos had a healthy nutritious breakfast, probably better for them than what I would traditionally consider a good one (bacon, eggs, toast).

3. We are learning to love new things, even old things we don't love and its all raw, meaning lots of extra nutrition!

One of the new things I've been learning about is Flax :)

some cool fax about flax :
 1. In the early 700s King Charlemagne ordered everyone to eat flax daily!
 2. It has no taste, or so they say, i find it adds a slight nutty flavor, but yeah, mostly no taste.
 3. It contains Omega 3s much like fish oils, great for your heart, arthritis, hair , skin , nails minus that whole Nasty part
 4. Women who take 2Tb daily for four weeks are shown to lower cholesterol by 9%
 5. It prevents blood clots, so its great if you are on hormonal BC as your risks for blood clots are increased.
 6. It is a breast cancer retardant, it binds estrogen receptors and estrogen feeds breast cancer!
 7. Great for diabetics! it slows glucose absorption in the pancreas which is easier on your organ.
 8. Keeps u regular , woo hoo!

I love flax so far, lol. There is more but thats enough for now right! so, what are the cons? well.....

it makes some brown specks in your smoothie, you can tell children these are strawberry seeds and generally this works, even when you have not in fact used any strawberries in the smoothie :)

I've been adding flax to our smoothies and sprinkling it on our salads. Nobody notices and again, I'm feeling like an awesome mom providing my family with health benefits even though they have no clue :)

I want to share one of my new favorite recipes from The Green Smoothie Handbook. It's green but otherwise tastes pretty normal :)

Peachy Green:
2 peaches ...preferably fresh but I had some home canned ones from a friend and they were delish
2 handfuls of spinach (any greens work though, i used collards)
1 cup water

works best when you blend the greens first. don't forget to toss in your flax! I have to double this recipe to make a full blender so I'd say it serves one or two small people.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

what u grillin?

In our house we have always had some grill drama. My father was a gas griller, and his food was always fabulous! Beau's learned from his dad that charcoal was the way to go. During the engagement there was a stand still but in the end I won out.....because we inherited my dad's old gas grill. Shortly after Beau was sold. Although he maintained his status he fell in love with being able to start the grill and cook a burger while he was home on an hour lunch. Much less prep time with gas.

For years we considered having both, but that takes alot of space and often our grills don't make it through the move. In alaska we toyed with the combo grill (both gas and charcoal) idea for a bit , but assumed a ton of grilling wasn't going to happen and so we purchased our very own gas grill. It was so pretty, all stainless steel and impossible to clean. made a lovely mess on our back porch too....rarely got used.

In arizona that same grill was murdered. When you have a mastiff and something that smells like meat in the same backyard, one has to go. Peanut worked very hard and spent an entire summer pushing the grill off the porch eventually leading to the demise of our grill.

As soon as we arrived in Colorado we knew we needed a new one. Again we toyed with what to buy and eventually decided we were indecisive.........insert FIL here......

Beau and his father have a "you have it i need it too" relationship. in gen either of them can convince the other to buy just about anything lol. My fil had just acquired a Traeger grill (beau and his father share that same dynamic with the store Costco). Beau was sold, he needed one! ....i wasn't so sure

my first question was, what does it look like (gas always beats charcoal in the looks dep.)

well, its pretty cute right?

my second question, what the heck is it? Well the Traeger is a grill that uses wood pellets to smoke the food. you can get all different kinds of pellets for different flavors (applewood, mesquite etc). It uses indirect heat so less charring and burning etc. It boasts the flavor of charcoal with the ease of gas.

After using the traeger for a few weeks I have to honey can you come home early to grill dinner every night!! I'm not a big meat eater (former vegetarian here) but it is delicious....BETTER THAN BACON...which is the ultimate meat! I'm in love. its tender, cooked perfectly without burning and I have never ever even at the best restaurant devoured so much flavor. We have tried a few things but I was most impressed when we did a know the tough cut of beef that normally takes all day to make was delicious in just a couple hours. BEST.ROAST.EVER!

the Traeger has a couple of other benefits...did you know charred meat increases your risks of pancreatic cancer? most grilled meat has some charring. here is a link but in a nutshell they ask many who suffer from pc and they report an increased intake of charred meat hmm  traegers dont char because the smoke heat is indirect! although you dont get the grilled look but ...meh...i do love black stripes tho :(

also charcoal as we use it in the u.s. is under regulation in Canada.... gen the Canadian govt seems to be a little more health savvy than ours so im always interested in their laws concerning consumers. 

fwiw i do not think everyone should stop eating gas/charcoal grilled meats! but i do think a little less of anything concerning at all is a good thing. especially when there are alternatives :)

Finding the Green Smoothie Love

For a few years Ive been hearing from my crunchy mama friends about green smoothies. Ive always thought it would be interesting and even tried it myself a couple of times. Typically we have frozen spinach on hand, and I have on occasion tossed that into our smoothies (typically made with fruit, juice, yogurt) and they were ok. you didnt really taste it much but nothing fabulous happened. ???

Recently a friend gave me The Green Smoothie Handbook. Wow, there is so much more to a green smoothie than just tossing in a few extras. Who Knew!! Now its time to try. I'm going to be having a green smoothie for breakfast and lunch for the next fourteen days. My husband is coming along on the journey....because he has no choice lol....I eat P90x food for dinner right?? I don't expect the kids to fully join me but they will be provided as much green goodness as they can handle :) Anyone else want to come along for the ride?

first off....What is a green smoothie? A green smoothie is an instant drink made from 60% living raw fruits, combined with 40% living raw vegetables broken down to make the simplest most complete and nutrient dense meal possible "The Green Smoothie Handbook"

sounds good to me!

what are the benefits?.......Instant energy! Chlorophyll is a blood cleanser and detoxifier, Halts those bad cravings, Balances blood sugar!

What about weight loss?....I am not chugging green smoothies to lose weight, as far as humans go I'm generally of the smallest variety.....I want to be healthy, I love easy meals, I love healthy kids and setting a good example!....however, if you are searching for weight loss, green smoothies would be the perfect complement to a healthy dinner, a few healthy snacks and a lil daily exercise for sure!

I'm starting my green smoothie journey by learning about about some of the veggies that don't make it to my plate everyday..or every year.....heck, i dunno if I've ever tried kale or fresh parsley????

Kale...full of antioxidants, fights cancer, loaded with calcium, vitamin C and K, 7 times more beta-karotene than broccoli, and get this....protein!  WOW....oh yeah, there is a downside, it kinda looks like a disease, or a flower..I'm not sure but def doesn't look like its for eating which is probably the reason I've never picked it up!

as i grow on my green smoothie journey Ill be learning and sharing more about the specific ingredients to this smoothie a lil bit at a time.

on to the fun part: Recipes :)

today's recipe : Alpha Green
-1 handful of flat leaf parsley....(they don't have this at my local grocer so i used italian curly leaf, no bombs went of so i assume its ok)
-4 Kale leaves ..(they only had flowering kale at my grocer, again no bombs but it comes in purple and white, i chose white cause a purple smoothie would be too normal)
-1.5 cups water
-1 pear chopped ....pears arent in season so none at the grocer, i went for a green apple or two
-1 bag peaches or mango...i chose mango cause it was organic and on sale :)
-2 bananas

blend greens in water till smooth,and remaining ingredients and blend ....easiest breakfast ever (blending of the greens first is essential otherwise you get floaty leafy chunks that kids complain about lol) it was super smooth and I swear Pike had 3 cups!

you will notice there is something missing from this. there is no juice , no yogurt, no honey...consequently no sugar. this had me concerned. I've made natural smoothies with all fruit that had no extra sugar, not exactly the tastiest......

well the verdict is in! the smoothie was amazing. it was just as sweet as any sugar filled smoothie and aside from the pea soup visual, nobody would ever think it was full of veggies! That's it, I've officially found the love! i mean, all the benefits are great but if it tasted like poo , well , it just wouldn't happen kwim! I'm super excited to read more and learn more. I love that I'm loving veggies that haven't had their goodness cooked out (even frozen veggies have usually been blanched leaving them less nutrient dense).

After our smoothies we had gymnastics. I do not do gymnastics, so why do i need energy? because we are there for 2 hours, i spend the first hour chasing Pike as he tries to participate with a little bit of chasing Pearce mixed in. Then an hour of assisting Pike as he wants to do everything Pearce's class does. I have to say, i felt pretty good and i was pleasantly surprised. I did get a little hungry so I required a snack or two but I'm still pretty happy with my results for sure!

I'm currently getting all my info from "The Green Smoothie Handbook" by Jan Rowland. To get your own copy contact Raw and Scrumptious at 719-460-8884 76599 co springs, co 80970   $15

Saturday, February 19, 2011

life after loss

Ecclesiastes 11:5 as you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body was formed in a mothers womb so you cannot understand the works of God, the Maker of all things

For anyone who doesnt know, about two weeks ago we lost what would have been our sixth baby to an early miscarriage. This was not my first run in with the dreaded m-word. Unfortunately many many women have encountered miscarriage and many of those women have shared their stories and experiences with me. I want to thank you, it is always comforting to know you are not alone and no one can understand like those who have been in your shoes.

So many have showed me kindness and asked how we are doing? and I'm sure many others are wondering but don't feel comfortable asking (the plague of a miscarriage mom, nobody really knows what to say).  I wanted to write and give an update as well as share my story. I know for many people a miscarriage is very private and that is ok, in a way my blog is very private to me  no matter how many people can read it and this is just what i do :) Most women are uncomfortable talking about it. Either they have been there and its emotional, or they have no clue what its like to suffer a loss. Id like to think that I fall somewhere in the middle being both on the receiving end of blessings and losses.

Well, how am I doing? Ill give you the answer you almost always get from me. Great. I am physically healthy, i have 5 beautiful blessings, a loving husband and though my heart aches for the children i have lost, i am grateful always for all that I have received. There are times when it hurts more than others, usually an hour or so everyday. It becomes less over time but hits like a brick every so often. I haven't cried in days but that doesn't mean that I wont. But really and truly, for the most part I am ok.

It has been about two weeks since I noticed the signs of miscarriage. At 8wks there was spotting. Not too concerning but abnormal for me. Looking back, i knew. I called my husband home from work and laid down to rest, praying it would cease and all would be well tomorrow. The next day the spotting was still there and so I went to the doctor. I received a blood test and an u/s. I saw my baby (measuring small) and saw a heartbeat (a little low). I was sent home feeling positive assuming the pregnancy was younger than i had thought. I laid down thinking of my beautiful tiny baby and how scary the day had been. Beau took some of the kids to the grocery store, both of us assuming things would be fine and I should res.  With no warning, my blessing was lost. The baby whom I had just met, whose heartbeat I had just counted hours before, was resting warm in my hands. At the ultrasound this baby measured 5.6wks. I held this tiny child of mine still in his/her sac. There were tiny hands and feet, there was a face all a bit larger than a golf ball. Looking back I wish I had a picture of this miracle, how amazing something so small could be so perfect. And then came the tears.....The realization that this was real, this was really happening to me, again. I could not say the words for hours. Beau and the children came home and sometime much later after dinner I told them.

From the moment a mother becomes pregnant she loves the baby. She has thought of everything even in just a few weeks. Her plans have changed and that child has a place in her heart. It helps to have many arms at home to hug, but it is by no means easy. My last miscarriage was at 15wks and was much harder in every way. To see my baby was a blessing. It removed the up and down emotions that followed my last loss. I knew my child was gone and knowing that for sure was much easier than wondering for days/weeks if things would be ok. I am thankful.

I know that God has a plan for this. There was a purpose fulfilled, a lesson taught. I know the Lord had me carry this child for just a few short weeks to serve a purpose. This was his will, and though it is hard, i am ok with that. I am not angry with God or even myself. I know there is little one can do to cause or prevent a miscarriage. This was simply meant to be.

Perhaps the Lord will see fit to bless us again. Perhaps not. Either way I will be praying for a healthy pregnancy for all of my many many expecting friends and I will be praying for the many mamas suffering from loss as well.

romans 8:28 and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose

Saturday, January 29, 2011

how do you do it? cloth diapering 102

I get this question almost everyday in regards to various things. And really, i rarely have an answer. Mostly that is because I alone could not do it. God helps out alot! He can make pregnancy woes dissappear, he can make 5 kids spend an hour playing quietly in the playroom, he can make an extra hour in my day to go to the gym. Sometimes he just makes things happen and sometimes he provide for our family in more practical ways.

One way I do it is with cloth diapering. I bought a few cloth diapers for baby num 2 and 3 but never really figured it out. Baby number 4 (Pearce now 3yrs) was my first fully cloth diapered child. 3 years ago I purchased my first full set of cloth diapers. While I have purchased a few diapers here and there because they were cute, It has been three years since ive NEEDED to buy a diaper. baby num 5 was completely diapered in the same set. And now that we have announced the arrival of baby num 6 this sept I realize what a true blessing cloth diapering has been. I originally got started for around a hundred dollars. So one hundred dollars to diaper 3 babies is pretty AMAZING!

I wrote a blog post awhile back entitled cloth diapering 101. so we'll call this one cloth diapering 102 :) Before I blogged about prefold, kind of the original "modern" cloth diaper. very close to the old school flat dipe. The cheapest for sure, but not the easiest and can def get pretty tough with a combative toddler. Another great option are pocket diapers. there are many great brands, fuzzi bunz, rumparooz, bumgenius, snap-ez and flip. there are most def a few more but those are my favorites. Pocket diapers are easier to work with than prefolds. they consist of a diaper with a waterproof outer layer, and a water wicking inner layer that helps baby feel dry. They also come with 1 or two inserts (think washable maxi pad).
      here is a fuzzi bunz on the left and a  snap-ez fleece pocket on the right ( these are one of the few pockets that does need a cover)
There are some great things about pockets :)

1. the insert comes out and this makes them easier to get clean, and easier to get dry!

2. if they are prestuffed, they are as easy as a disposeable diaper for dads, babysitters and church nurseries.

3. you dont have to use their insert, you can stuff them with prefolds, microfiber rags, pretty much anything absorbant you have on hand. and the best part is, you can double or triple stuff them making them, imo, the best cloth diaper for over night!

smaller for a little one
snapped open for a big kid 
4. many pockets have the "grow with me" option. this means these diapers can snap down small for newborns or unsnap big enough for a toddler. sounds crazy but trust me, ive tried it, it def works. these might cost a couple dollars more but they are well worth it considering longevity. (see above pics)

5. even pocket diapers without the grow with me snaps, still have alot of adjustablility making 1 diaper fit for a very long time. for example, pike was fifteen lbs when i moved him to a size med fuzzi bunz. he is twenty five lbs today and this same diaper still fits great. (notice action pic of pike, and orange fuzzi bunz above)

6. CUTE FACTOR , pocket dipes are reallly the cutest because they come in tons of prints and colors and you dont have to wear a cover and hide them.      

this is one of my fave sites to buy pockets. mostly because she allways carries something pretty :) and it is a super smart mama who knows and uses her own inventory. if you need help deciding or washing give her a call and she is allways glad to help! i love that :)

here are some more sites to help u out:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

spillin the beans

First I'd like to thank all of our wonderful friends and family for being so supportive and welcoming the announcement. It is amazing to know that when our sixth child is born he or she will be loved and cherished. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response and couldn't ask for more. Sure there were a small number of negatives but very few and easy to brush off. Just in case you are still holding your we don't know what causes it and no there are no immediate plans to fix anything that isn't broken. lol

Many mamas who responded asked how far along I was ( a few weeks, not totally sure) and why I chose to announce so early. Amongst pregnant women its pretty commonplace to wait until you are a couple months into the pregnancy to tell the world, but we chose to announce pretty quickly and I have a few reasons. Many families are concerned about miscarriage and those often happen in the first few weeks so it makes sense to keep mum.

1. I cant keep a secret.

well not an exciting one anyway lol. deep inside, though i expected a few rude comments, I knew a baby is a blessing and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. I knew there were many people who would love our baby and love to know about our growing secret. Even though this will be our sixth baby, it is still really exciting to share. If you thought it might get old , think again. Just like every first time mom, I'm wondering what color hair the baby will have, talking baby names, and promising to eat better. Pregnancy is never boring, even when it has become commonplace in your household :)

2. The possibility of loss (yes i know, this is the big reason most people don't tell)

For me, I spill the beans. I already love this baby though it was an unplanned pregnancy. this is already a member of my family and a sibling to my children and a piece of my heart. In the event that I lose this baby it will be all of these same supportive people  both online and in person, whom i will turn to for support and comfort.

Somewhere in between my fourth and fifth child, we had a loss. I was fifteen weeks pregnant, and nobody knew. I cried, I went to the hospital, I slept, I was sad, it was very very hard. I did share my loss with a few close friends, but truth be told that took me days. I had to both announce a pregnancy and explain my sorrow. By the time i could speak of the pregnancy the worst was over. I no longer needed help with the other children, or meals, or a phone call or visit just to check on me (well maybe we all need those all the time :). So , for me, the choice to tell is a simple one. More people praying for the safety and health of our new blessing and more people there for me in the event that I need them.

I am sure this is not a choice for everyone. There is a disappointment factor and everyone handles grief and excitement in their own way. I would never propose to know the BEST way to do anything, but for me this is what works and I have my reasons.

When it comes to telling the siblings, they know almost as soon as we do. For the same reasons of course. I am not one of those parents who thinks me and my kids are best buddies however our family is a team. Its hard to keep a secret like that from your loved ones, especially the very ones who are probably the most excited. We let the kiddos know pretty quickly, and if we were to lose the baby it will be ok for them to cry with me, and ask me questions, and learn how fragile life can be. In most cases we will have a wonderful healthy pregnancy, and the kids will understand why I might be sick, or why i ate the entire box of fruit snacks. For us it just seems to fit when everyone is in the know.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

what moms of many wont tell you

Ive recently realized that there are a couple of things moms of many keep to themselves. Recently a few of my mama friends have announced their fifth and sixth pregnancies. Some of these were (gasp) planned! and some were not but all will be well loved and wanted. Either way the mamas were happy to receive the blessing of becoming a mother yet again. Sadly, each and every mama was met with judgemental statements, negative comments and the occasional disgusted snicker. Each and every mama ignored these and continues on with her joy, but there is most definitely a little chip on her heart.

First and foremost, each and every baby is a blessing. Each and every child was perfectly placed within their chosen family by the hand of God himself. A fourth or fifth baby is no less worthy of a welcome than a first, no less important, and no less loved. Just ask anyone who is themselves a fourth, fifth, or tenth child :)

The vast majority of big families aren't in fact ignorant of birth control. Yes , they know what causes it just in case you were thinking of being that one hundredth person to ask lol. Most have made a religious decision to accept God's blessings, are medically or morally opposed to many common birth control methods, or simply have the resources to care for a large family and choose to do so because they love it....or any combo of the above.

Big families aren't the norm and probably wont ever be. Its a totally different lifestyle, and if you haven't chosen it as yours, that's ok too. Different strokes for different folks.

A dear friend of mine once told me that to criticize someones family size is one of the most insulting things anyone can do. I found that statement a little silly. I had three children at the time....little did I know I would one day know all to well how it feels.

I have watched many big families hide a pregnancy to avoid the comments. I have shed tears with mamas over hurt feelings. I have even wasted moments of our busy lives coming up with comments to combat the hurt when all I wanted was to share my joy.

In the end, all I ask is that we all respect each others family size, be that 1 or 15. I believe children are miracles and no child joins any family without Gods approval first :) please don't try and tell him he was wrong.  Instead, say congrats, wish them a happy healthy nine months and share a smile for sure!

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

and on that note we announce another blessing joining our family this Sept....P6 is on the way :) we are nervous and excited and sincerely  hope you can share in our joy !