Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April Challenge

March ends today, and I must say, I am pretty proud of myself for completing this month's challenge. (Am I sinning by being prideful about this accomplishment? : )

Anyway, I read my Bible all but 3 days this month. I am embarrassed to say that this is way more than I most likely would have. Now, I think of it each day and am reminded that I can take that time out. I am always glad I did it. I ended up reading Psalms, Proverbs, and most of Ecclesiastes. I am thankful for a new habit in my life.

Now, for April. Some of you will read my challenge for April and be appalled that I am not already living this way. Others will think I am crazy for going to this extreme. It is all about where you are in your journey.

I want to give some background info first. I started feeling sick in June. We thought I had a parasite from Africa. After months of continuing to be sick, losing 30 lbs. and many tests I finally had some answers in Nov. So, I began my treatment the beginning of Dec. I took the meds in Dec., Jan., and Feb. and was still not better. I was then informed by the Dr. that it could be 4-6 months before I would see results. So, I pressed on. This month, I turned a corner and am feeling like a normal person again. Feeling better has brought me to the realization that I am feeding my family horribly. I have been eating what I could keep down, and feeding my family what I had the energy to prepare(which was usually quick and easy and not very healthy). I still need to remain on my meds for at least 2 more months, in order to prevent my symptoms from returning.

Now that I am feeling better, I am keenly aware that we need to eat healthier. Not to mention that I would really like to keep the weight off that I lost. I am going to do this slowly, with a few changes each month. Here are the changes we are making in April:

We are going to eliminate from our diet:
1. Food with High Fructose Corn Syrup.
2. Food with Partially Hydrogenated Oils.
3. Artificial sweeteners.
We are going to add to our diet:
1. Fish oil
2. Flax oil
3. A green drink
4. Good eggs(with omegas, not the cheap ones anymore)
5. Hormone Free milk

There you have it. This is a start. It is not all that we need to do to be healthy, but I believe we have to start somewhere. Now, I do need to qualify that we are all about balance around here, so I am not going to throw away a bunch of food. We will finish off what we have, but that is dwindling because I have been shopping with this in mind lately. Also, I am not going to prohibit the children from participating in the food served at school or parties that they might have. If we are invited to someone's house, we will gladly eat what is served and accept any meals that are brought to us. Finally, toward the end of the month we may decide there are a few items that we want to keep despite the fact that they break the rules. We are going for less processed and less yuckiness. I feel like that is a reasonable way to handle this. If we eliminate this stuff for the month and go really strict, I am afraid it will only last for this month. I am trying to make permanent changes to our lifestyle.

I would love to hear any ideas or suggestions that you may have or have tried, especially when it comes to snacks for the kids. I am open and trying to learn. So, tomorrow is the big day. I am actually kind of excited to see how we do.

My Little Fashion Diva

I have never seen a 21 month old child so fashion conscious as Laila. She has definite opinions about the clothes and shoes that she wears.
Isaiah so loves having his picture made
that I can rarely get a picture of her alone
They are both pretty adorable aren't they?
Well, yesterday was the perfect illustration of what I am talking about. Laila needed some shoes so after school I took her to Target to shop. I expected to walk in and pick the shoes that I liked without much input from her. NOT SO! This chick had definite opinions.

This is somewhat of a new thing for her. She is becoming more independent and opinionated about a lot of things. It is a little surprising because, up to this point, she has been a pretty laid back little gal. Not anymore. She has various ways of showing her frustrations when things are not going her way. If she is holding something, she throws it. If she is near the person who is upsetting her, she tries to hit them. Sometimes she will scream or spit, and other times she "carefully" lays herself down on the floor in defiance(I say it this way because most kids would throw themselves down screaming and crying, but not Laila. She would not want to hurt herself in the process. She is a smart girl.) Fortunately she is pretty tender-hearted and quickly softens saying she is sorry.

Back to yesterday. I found several pairs of shoes that were her size. I would show them to her and she would very strongly say, "yes" or "no" to the shoes. She would throw a fit if I put a pair on her that she did not like. I couldn't believe it. We narrowed it down to two pairs that she liked. I brought both of them home and figured I could return whichever pair we didn't use.
These are the shoes that she chose
I told Rick we are in big trouble if fashion is already this important to her!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

One of Those Days

Today is just going to be "one of those days."

It is so hard to get going after a break.

It was a rough morning.

I got everyone out the door and to school, but I suspect there were some casualties along the way.

We have had some really lazy mornings around here over the last week.

Having to get up early, get dressed, eat breakfast, and leave this house in condition to be shown if called upon was not an easy task.

It almost sent me over the edge when Lauren said, "Mom, can I look on the internet to answer some questions on my homework?"


That just set the tone for the whole day.

Now, the little ones are down for their nap.

I am going to eat lunch ALONE, read my Bible, and have some time to regroup before picking up the troops from school.

The rest of the day doesn't have to be "one of those days," and I am determined to do everything in my power to change this day.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Pet Peeves

For some reason, I am feeling a little grumpy today.

Maybe it is because I see spring break slipping away and real life approaching.

We have done a lot of relaxing this week. I am not ready for that to end.

Now, I have to get this house back in order and hit the ground running on Monday morning.

Hopefully we will start to have some showings now that spring break is over. There is nothing more irritating than keeping the house clean for showings and then not having any!!

In the spirit of grumpiness, I thought I would share some of my pet peeves with you. Enjoy!

1. Hair stuck in the soap.

2. Crumbs in the butter.

3. Random socks and shoes lying around my house.

4. Toothpaste on the bathroom counter.

5. Everyone using my island as a dumping ground for their things.

6. Stepping in something wet with socks on.

7. Stepping on something mushy with bare feet.

8. Children taking their bibs off while eating and getting food all over themselves.

9. 7 people all talking to me at the same time.

10. Computer problems.

Okay, now that I have brightened your day, maybe I can let go of these grumpies. Funny, while I was typing this, I got invited to a friend's house tonight to watch a chick flick. Maybe that is just what I need to get rid of the blues.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Big Breakfast, WWF, and Gogos Galore

Since Grandma is leaving early in the morning tomorrow. We decided to have our big family breakfast this morning so she could participate with us. It was yummy as always.
After breakfast, it was time for some "tickle monster wrestlemania."
Look at those expressions

The girls prefer horsey rides
So violent and aggressive
The kids love Gogos(I am not talking about Swazi grandmas here). They are these little figures that they battle with. This week, Grandma has jumped on the Gogo bandwagon with them. Today, she took them out on the search for more Gogos.
They are hard to find
Evidently, there was a stop at Baskin Robbins while they were out, too.
Lauren and Grandma playing Gogos
Gogo Wars

More Snow, Daddy's home, and Grandma

Abby took Isaiah and Laila out to play in the snow on Thursday. They had a blast!!
Swingin' in the Snow
This chick ate enough snow to water log herself
Rick and his mom
We love having Daddy at home this week. Why, oh why does he have to work for us to survive?

Rick made snow cream for the kids for dessert on Wed. They loved it. Rick and I also got a date night last night. One of the benefits of having Grandma in town. Thanks, Grandma!!

Let it Snow! UGH!!

We woke up on Wed. morning to this. This is our back yard. If you notice, the snow fills the whole bottom level. It reaches all of the way to the swings on the swingset. I am not a fan, especially on spring break.
Rick's mom watched Isaiah and Laila for us while Rick and I took the big kids to see "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." I have not laughed that hard in a long time. We heard a lot of mixed reviews about the movie, but decided to risk it anyway. The kids and I have read all the books and love them. If you are not a fan of potty humor, I wouldn't recommend it. We kind of like that kind of humor around our house. I definitely want to see it again. We have been quoting the movie and laughing hysterically about it all week.

When we returned home, Grandma went out to play in the snow with the kids. What a nice and brave woman she is. I prefer my role as hot chocolate maker and blanket warmer while they play outside.
They were making a snow fort with our block makers
They made 2 walls preparing for the battle ahead.
Snowball fight!!
Abby's stash of snowballs while hiding behind the wall.

Skate City

We spent time at Skate City on Tuesday. This has become one of the kids' favorite things to do. We had coupons so all of us were able to skate for only $6.00. I was so proud of that deal!
Isaiah and me
The Fowlers and Goads joined us. I don't have any pictures of them. Rick's mom took all the pictures.

Castle Park in Woodland Park

On Monday, we took the off roading route to Woodland Park. Rick, Mary, Lauren, and Abby rode in the Jeep and I drove the Suburban with Isaiah, Laila, Cody, and Sam. There was still a lot of snow and it was treacherous at times. Let's just say that I was exhausted by the time that we got there.

Once arriving (I am told it is all about the journey), we went to the Castle Park. You see, I tend to be a destination girl not so much into the journey. I prefer the quickest way to my destination. That is why I would way rather fly than drive. Unless of course we are talking about tropical places with beaches. Then, I could drive all day taking in the beauty. Unfortunately, there is none of that here in this winter wonderland that we call home.
The Boys (Don't you love Sam's new pose?)
Sam the Man
Laila Bear
Cody Chillaxin'
I like to call this one, "A Boy and His Funyons"
The Whole Crew with Grandma
The Big Kids (There is that pose again)
Me and my boy
Abby doo ya
After the park, we headed to Dairy Queen
Laila enjoyed her ice cream!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

African Adventures

I just had to share some of the many pictures from our first days with Sanele and Dema. We continued to use their birth names for a while. We did not want to change everything about their world right away. Slowly, we started calling them both names. After a while, Isaiah decided that is what he wanted to be called. We still call them Sanele and Dema at times.

I feel a little stressed when I look at these pictures because those first days were really difficult. It was hard to be away from Lauren, Abby, and Sam with no idea of when we would return.

My body was in a lot of pain from carrying both of them around most of the time. I was not used to it. I also was not sleeping very well. I was always nervous about Isaiah waking up and feeling afraid.

We had to deal with language issues. I began immediately teaching them both how to communicate in sign language. That was a lifesaver. It gave us a common language to communicate with.

We did a lot of waiting on paperwork to be completed with no end in sight or idea of when things would progress. Sitting in government and dr. offices also took its toll on us. We would go for days without any progress, and then it was like the Amazing Race trying to complete several things in one day because the opportunities had opened up.

Isaiah's whole word had changed, and he didn't know how to respond at times. He was violent at times. Dealing with that was very challenging. It was obvious from the beginning that he was one strong-willed little guy.

Laila honestly settled in really easily to being our daughter. It was like she felt safe at last. Within a couple of days of taking custody of her, she attached to me. When we were out in public, some of the African women would try to take her from me to hold her. She would have nothing to do with that. She only wanted me to hold her. That was surprising and encouraging.

I have no regrets, I just don't want to candycoat how hard things were at times. Despite the difficulties, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. It truly has made me into a different person, a better person. These two little people have changed my life. I can't imagine it any other way now.

He has the most adorable little smile, and let me tell you, he knows how to use it!
Laila's scrunchy face entertained many in those early days.
I love clean babies fresh from the bathtub.
Big Daddy and Little man
Isaiah wearing Rick's glasses.
This picture sums up the exhaustion we dealt with.
Having Cody with us was such a blessing in so many ways.
Bathing Beauty
Laila doing another trick. She would put the whole binky in her mouth!
We would not have survived without Jumbo and Kriek.