Monday, May 31, 2010

The Inventor

Cody's mind amazes me. He is truly always thinking. He invents things. He takes things apart and makes them better. He can repair almost anything. He did not get that from me, for sure!

So, we had this dilemma around here. Our swing set will not stay down while the kids are swinging. Cody solved that problem with the below invention.
I love to see how he thinks. I cannot wait to see what this boy does when he grows up!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Graduate!

This was Sam on his first day of Kindergarten.
Bright-eyed, and ready to learn.
This is Sam today, a Kindergarten graduate and First Grader!!
He is older and wiser.
His brain is so much fuller than it was 9 months ago.
I am so proud of Sam this year. He started off struggling. His fine motor skills were definitely not where they needed to be in order for him to form his letters easily. He was discouraged at first, but he didn't give up. Now, when I look at his writing and see the progress he has made, I am SO PROUD of him. He has worked really hard. He has matured so much. He has grown in confidence as he has experienced successes this year.

Sam, YOU DID IT!! You didn't give up. You persevered. There were lots of tears and wailing at times, but now we can rejoice as you move forward!! You can enter first grade confidently, knowing that you can conquer anything.

Each student was asked to bring their favorite treat/dessert to share with the class for a feast today. This is what Sam chose to bring:
A snack mix with pretzels, Cheerios, Goldfish, star marshmallows, and mini Kisses.
It was a huge hit!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yay, Me!!

I exercised twice this week. Yay!!

And now, I cannot walk.

Our New Toy

Rick, Cody, Lauren, and Sam are all taking drum lessons. They LOVE them. We have a friend that has taken on the challenge of teaching them. It has been such a blessing to our family. Up to this point, they have been going to their lessons and then just practicing at home with their drumsticks. They have all reached the point of needing actual drums to practice on.

Matt, their teacher, found them a great set at a great price. Rick, Cody and Lauren went to pick them up. You may be asking if I am crazy. The answer is probably, "yes," but that is for many other reasons. The drums are in the basement and don't create too much noise in the rest of the house. I just love seeing them have something that they are learning and enjoying together. It is way easier to take care of than a pet!!

Here they are practicing:
My Drummer Boy
Lauren focusing as she plays.
Notice the bandana around Cody's head. Yes, it may look cool, but that is not why he is wearing it. He is one of our sensory kids. He put it on to keep the noise from hurting his ears so much.
Sammy Jo Jo
I just had to include this picture just because it is cute. Isaiah is hitting the punching bag.
Look at the passion in his face!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Never Too Late For Mothers' Day

Here we are on Mothers' Day morning. My crew and me. I am so blessed to have them.
Rick took the day off so that we could all go to church together. That is a rare occurrence when your husband is a pastor. We rode together, checked in the kids together, and left together, all in the same vehicle. It really is a novel idea. Not sure if most think about that as being special unless they never get to do it.

We got Chipotle for lunch. No, we did not eat at the restaurant. That would not have been enjoyable. We brought it home. Chipotle is one of my favorites.

I took a nap, probably my favorite thing to do these days. It doesn't happen very often, so when it does, it is special.

That night, Rick and I went to see the movie "Babies." It was cute and interesting to see different cultures. Honestly, the African and Mongolian lifestyles were the most appealing to me. They were simple and loving and were not based on material things. The Americans annoyed me. I think I just get tired of all of the "stuff" we have and things we do that we think are so necessary to life.

I am starting to let go of some of the "stuff" of my life. It has too strong of a hold on me sometimes. That is a whole different post.

For now, I celebrate the calling that God has given me as a mom.

Now, I must go to "mom duties." I have 6 kids worth of clothes to organize, sort, and get ready for summer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I am not really a big fan of jewelry.

I love my wedding ring and wedding band.

When we started dating, I asked Rick to never buy me any jewelry unless I specifically asked for a particular piece.

Early into our marriage, I expressed a desire to some day have an emerald and diamond ring.

10 years ago, as a Seminary graduation gift to me and a gift to celebrate the upcoming birth of our second child, Lauren, he designed an emerald and diamond ring that he gave to me.

I loved it and have been wearing it for 10 years.

2 years ago as we worked on the adoption process for Isaiah and Laila, I found a necklace that I wanted on Etsy made by Junkposse. Click here to see it. Rick got it for me for Christmas '08.

I wore it every day leading up to bringing Isaiah and Laila home. It connected me to them. My intention was to give it to Laila when she gets older. It had the word "hope" stamped all over it. Her middle name is Nomathemba, which means "hope."

I wore that necklace every day Rick was in Swaziland in February. It connected me to him and what he was doing.

One day, while he was gone, I lost it. I was heartbroken. It wasn't just a necklace. It represented the calling that we followed in adopting Isaiah and Laila. It represented all the pain of the process. It represented the hope that these children have brought to our lives. It was something I wanted to give to Laila some day.

Well, today it happened again. I looked down when I was driving the kids home from school and the emerald was missing from my ring. I couldn't believe it. I just told Rick a few days ago that I was concerned about the diamond in my wedding ring coming loose. Little did I know that only a few days later that would happen to my emerald ring.

Really, it is just a piece of jewelry, a material thing, but its significance to me is so much more. I don't know what God wants to teach me. Maybe He wants me to hold loosely to the things of this world. Maybe He wants me to place all value on Him and the relationships He has placed in my life. Really, what is a ring? It is a piece of metal with "rocks" attached.

Still, I feel a little sadness every time I take my thumb on my right hand and go to adjust that ring that has been on my finger for 10 years, the ring that is no longer there.

Abba Dabba Doo

When I think about Abby, I think about my organized, hardworking, cleaner girl, who has a sense of humor that I get and love. It is easy in a family of 6 children to get lost when you are in the middle. Abby has found her niche. She is not into sports like the others, but loves to dance. When the other 3 big kids are going to drum lessons, Abby has decided she wants to learn piano. While Cody, Lauren and Sam each look most like either Rick or me, Abby is a good blend of the two of us. Abby has had a hard year at school. Not because she is struggling academically. Actually, she is excelling in every way. She is also a great helper to her teacher and often gets the opportunity to help her classmates. She loves that!!

Abby's struggle has been headaches. Not just, "oh, my head hurts a little today." I am talking,"excruciating pain many days of this year." We have tried everything medically possible and still don't seem to be finding real relief for her(eye tests, blood work, MRI, neti pot, allergy medicine, peppermint oil, antibiotics, caffeine, migraine medicine, etc). It is definitely made worse by her sensory integrative dysfunction. The conclusion at this point from the dr. is that she is suffering from migraines. Right now, I am just trying to get her through this school year. We had several weeks where I got a call every day to come to school and get her. We have 4 more days after today. Then, I am hoping to get some answers for her this summer. It is so hard to see her in so much pain and really have no help for her.

I had the opportunity to participate in 2 events with her at school. The first, was the celebration of her summer birthday. She will be 8 in July
The Almost Birthday Girl
Dirt Cups - Her requested dessert to share with the class
The second event was a field trip to The Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This was her first real field trip, and we got to ride the bus!!
Abby on the bus
Doing experiments in the Health Lab
My little scientist
I am thankful to have had the opportunities to share in these activities with her. It is really hard some days to give each child the one-on-one time that they need. Thanks, Mandy and Dana for helping me with the little kids. If you want to see what Isaiah and Laila were up to on this day, you can go here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

House on the Market Blues

Can I just complain a little?

Our house has been on the market now for 2 1/2 months.

I am not surprised that it hasn't sold. This is a bad market. I expected it to take a while.

It seems that people that schedule showings really don't consider how hard it is on our family.

Do you really need 2 hours to see our house? It is not a mansion.

Do you know how much work it is to get it ready?

If you schedule a showing, please show up!!

Today, we received a call at 9:20 about a showing from 11:00-12:00.

We said, "yes," and got to work.

It really was a miracle that we got it all ready in time. We drove away from our house at 10:45.
At 11:12, we received a phone call from our agency saying that the showing had been cancelled. They didn't like our neighborhood.

Once again, our whole Saturday morning was taken for no reason!!

Do I sound bitter?

Friday, May 21, 2010

More Isaiah

If I was a really good mom, I would have a cute picture of Isaiah to go with this post. Unfortunately, picture taking has gone down the toilet with all the craziness in our lives right now.

I have a few more things to share about Isaiah. He is such a wild little man:

- I think he has a good sense of direction. He has become a backseat driver. He likes to inform me which direction to go when I am driving, and he is usually right. He often questions how fast I am going and why I am stopping at a red light.

- When Isaiah washes his hands, he sings, "Scrubby dubbers, scrubby dubbers." It is really cute. I used to say that when I washed them, and he has picked it up.

- Anytime we go somewhere, the minute he walks into the room, he announces to everyone, "I'm here," as if to say, "I know you were all waiting for me. Now the party can begin."

- Going shopping or really anywhere in public with him is quite a challenge. He is exhausting to keep up with. I literally have to contain him in the cart, or I will lose him.

He's crazy, but I love him!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

You know it's time... shave when you 3 year old son says, "Mom, how you got whiskers on you legs? Did Daddy give them to you?" (Because he knows that Daddy has whiskers on his face.) My life has become so busy that I have to schedule in a chance to shave. Isn't that pitiful?

Isaiah and Laila are so funny these days. I just have to record some of their cuteness so that I never forget it.

I think I have probably shared that boundaries are an issue around here. Isaiah really does not understand what is and is not appropriate. Here are a couple of examples:

1. He will go up to random people at the grocery store and pat them on the butt. It is always fun having to apologize and then having him apologize to the person.

2. Earlier this week, while we were out, he saw a man that he didn't know. He said to him, "Hi, Mr. Pooper." Yes, another proud moment for me.

- Isaiah likes to listen to VeggieTales and The Chipmunks in the car. No matter what music we are listening to, he will always say, "Is this my song?"

- Another thing he will do in the car is say, "Please pause the music. I have a question for you." Then he will say to me, "Mommy, God loves you very much. God has a plan for you life."

- Isaiah hates going to bed. I think he is afraid that he is going to miss out on something if he goes to sleep. Every time he has to go to bed, he cries his way up the stairs to his room. We affectionately call this time, "The Trail of Tears." Thankfully, he sleeps great, he is just not happy about it.

- Laila has become quite the little singer. She sings all the time. Even if you can't understand the words she is saying, you can hear the tune of the song and recognize it. It is so cute.

- When I walk into their room in the morning, Laila always sits up in her bed and says happily, "Hi, Mama." She will say "bye-bye" to her blanket and her "noni"(pacifier). Then, she kisses her "noni" 3 times.

- They both still love to watch Little Einsteins. They both LOVE to play outside. I think they will have lots of fun this summer. I am really looking forward to taking our whole family to the beach this summer. That should be quite the adventure.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Did It!!

I went the Y today and exercised!!

Honestly, I haven't officially exercised in over a year.

Between Isaiah and Laila's adoption process, our family's adjustment process, and my sickness, it was just more than I could handle.

That being said, there are some days where I feel like the work of living my life is a workout.

Every evil force in the universe was fighting against me going today. It was a mental battle that I almost lost.

I had plenty of reasons not to go.

This small victory is something that I needed.

I didn't love the class that I went to, but it was a start. Going for the first time for me is always the hardest.

Isaiah and Laila did beautifully in Child Watch. That, too, my friends, is a victory.

Now, I am so exhausted I think I need to collapse for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Powerful Message

Do you remember me talking about the message that John Piper shared at the Orphan Summit VI that Rick and I attended a couple of weeks ago?

Well, I think you should have the opportunity to see it as well. The below link is a written version. Not the same as hearing it, but powerful and impacting in any form.

I hope it speaks to you like it did to me.

I would love to hear how God speaks to you through this message.

Really, Really Weary

I knew May would be hard.

I knew I would not have much rest.

I knew it would take every ounce of energy I could muster to survive.

Today is one of those days where I feel "done."

Everything in me wants to go into my bedroom, close and lock the door, crawl under the covers, and pretend like no one else exists in my world.

That is not going to happen. It can't happen. There is still too much to do.

How do I keep going? Something has to give or my sanity will.

The two little ones are down for their nap. This is supposed to be my "alone time" of the day(honestly, I can't remember the last time I actually had my real "alone time" without something taking over.).

I don't even have the energy to prepare something to eat for my lunch.

Instead of relaxing a bit, I have to make sure that Sam gets his schoolwork done. We have to prepare a snack for his class tomorrow. I need to sit down with him and engage him as I look through the artwork he brought home from his first year of school.

I have 2 1/2 hours before we have to leave and pick up the big kids from school. Then, a whole new chaos enters my life.

I know I am complaining. I know I chose this life.

But, I also know I am not the only mom feeling this way right now.

So, I am choosing to be honest about how I am feeling, hoping that someone will resonate with my emotions and struggle.

Even though we struggle, we are not alone. Many moms are dealing with these exact same feelings.

Many moms are saying in their hearts, "what was I thinking when I committed to this? "This" looks different in all of our lives, but the emotions are the same.

So, I am going to see if I can find 5 minutes to regroup. 5 minutes to breathe in and out and remind myself of all of my blessings. 5 minutes to close my eyes and do absolutely nothing!!

Can someone please bring me some Oreo Cakesters, cookie dough, or a French Silk Pie Blizzard? I am sure that would make all the difference in the world.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tea, Anyone?

If you know me, I am not really a girly girl. I am most comfortable in jeans and a hoodie. I broke out of my comfort zone to take the girls to a fancy tea. It was a new experience for us. We enjoyed broadening our horizons and the food was delicious. We had 4 courses: 1. soup 2. fruit 3. salad 4. a variety of mini desserts. All the while drinking our tea with our pinkies in the air. This was definitely a day that I am thankful we were able to share together. The thing that made it even more fun was being with friends!!
Lauren and Abby
Sitting at our table
Love my girls, minus Laila.
I just don't think she is ready for this yet!!
Williams and Clapp girls
Each course was a piece of art in and of itself.
The Tomato Soup and Heart-shaped Cheese Herb Biscuit
Of course this is not how we live every day. Taking time out to enjoy beautiful things every now and then is a good thing.

Great Mom

Cody's class at school had a Mothers' Day Tea yesterday. Of course, I forgot my camera so I will have to describe it for memory's sake.

They had decorated tables with paper flowers they made and table clothes. For a science project they planted bulbs that had begun sprouting that they gave to each of us. Around the room were many quotes about moms that the kids had written and decorated. Some were funny and some brought tears to my eyes.

We were served tea, yummy desserts, and cheese and crackers. The children served us. For the program, they recited a poem about moms and read the quotes. Then, we played a game like the dating game, but with our children. They had to answer questions about our favorite things like color, food, movie, etc. Cody and I won the first round!!

It was a really special time. Cody is a boy, so sentimental things bother him. The thing that I loved is seeing him interact with his classmates. He has a great sense of humor. I saw that he and I have a lot in common in how we interact with others.

The most special part of the day was the poem that Cody wrote for me. He really does know me well. I will always treasure the words. Here it is:

Great Mom
Mom is magnificent, marvelous, and miraculous.
She loves me, my family, and life.
She is good at cooking, cleaning, and helping.
She also makes me feel heavenly, efficient and content.

Laughs when she's happy, hears a joke, and when she's surprised.
She frowns when she's mad, sad, and annoyed.
Loves to go to the beach, Hawaii, and to Africa.
Helps me with homework, school, and cooking.
Expects me to do chores, dishes, and trash.
Surprised when I scare her, when she's awake, and has no work.
I couldn't live without her love, support, and care.
My mom is the light in the darkness.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ketchup Snob

I admit it. I am a ketchup snob.

Only Heinz Ketchup for me and my family.

As you may know, the good old regular Heinz Ketchup has High Fructose Corn Syrup in it!! UGH!!

We had a big bottle that we were finishing. I was dreading the day it ran out because I just didn't want to say goodbye to the yummy ketchup.

Meanwhile, I bought a bottle of Private Selection Organic Ketchup. (I realize that Heinz makes an organic ketchup without HFCS, but I have been having trouble finding it.)

Today is the big day. We opened the new bottle. I didn't tell the kids. I wanted them to eat it without knowing to see if they noticed the difference. Guess what? It tastes good!!! I like it and apparently they do too. No one has complained at lunch today. In fact, they asked for more.

I really love it when this healthy thing turns out good.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cannot Get a Grip

I just can't get a grip on my life right now. It is busy, overwhelming, full of activity, and never stops. I am pretty emotional, crying a lot and trying to figure out what God is doing in my heart.

I am still processing what I learned at the Orphan Summit.

3 things stand out to me:

1. I went to 2 sessions on Trauma and Adopted Children taught by Karyn Purvis(She is very well known in the adoption realm for her book "The Connected Child"). My eyes were opened in those sessions. You see, I had pretty much decided that Isaiah and Laila did not have "trauma" in their pasts. What I learned is that just the circumstances like poverty, unhealthy pregnancies, lack of nutrition in the early years, and losing their mom are enough trauma to affect their brain chemistries. It is our job to nurture them back to health. Because they are young, it will be much easier, but we have work ahead of us. That overwhelmed me for sure. I was sitting in the session thinking, "I have 6 kids. 2 of my bio kids have sensory issues. 1 of those children has Celiac disease. 2 of my children are adopted and have the trauma that comes along with that. I don't want the other 2 to get lost in the shuffle. How in the world can I be the mom that they all need me to be? I came back home looking at Isaiah and Laila differently than I had before.

2. John Piper spoke on Friday night. His message from Hebrews 11 was that just because you are doing what God had called you to, does not mean that it will be easy or smooth. In fact, you may be persecuted, tortured or die for your cause. Many who have adopted have gone through some horrific and painful circumstances. I know many people that have been in that situation. Many others are in countries around the world fighting for the cause of orphans and widows. Their circumstances are not easy. In fact, many are living their lives in danger every day for their calling. That does not mean that God is not in it or that they did not hear from Him. As Christians we always want to focus on the blessings of God. We also tend to judge each other based on the blessings in each others' lives. If we are blessed, then we must be following God. If we are not blessed, then we must have some sin in our lives. That is just not so. Look at many of the New Testament believers who were imprisoned and even died for their faith. I loved this realistic view of the Christian life. It is easy to get wrapped up in a "cause" for Christ and glamorize it to the point of not really grasping God's hand in it all. It is easy to think we are in control or that God needs us to accomplish His purpose. Don't get me wrong. I pray that He chooses to use me, but I also rest in the fact that HE is the one who is in control, not me. This message brought me down to earth. It grounded me in a way that I needed.

3. The greatest thing I came away from the conference with was the need that my children have for me. God burdened me for my kids. He has given them to me. This is my calling. That doesn't mean that I can't reach out to care for orphans. That doesn't mean that I don't continue in the work of Beyond Survival. That doesn't mean that I don't minister in my church. The problem for me is that things have become lopsided. I am off balance, and my children are the ones paying the price. I have to reign it in. I have to say, "no" more often. I have to make them more of a priority. It is funny that I came away from a conference primarily about orphan care and adoption with this perspective. I expected to be more "on fire" for the cause of the orphan. I expected to come away with new ideas for Beyond Survival. I expected to be burdened in a new way for adoption and orphan care. Instead, God gently reminded me that my primary calling is one that I am overlooking and often downplaying.

Since we have been home, there have been so many things that have shown me that my life needs to change. I can see it in my kids' eyes. I can hear it in their voices. Emotionally, we are all drained. God has been using all kinds of sources to get His point across. "I hear you, Lord. You don't have to do anything drastic to get my attention. It is fully yours."

For me, June 13th is about way more than just being on vacation as a family. It is about a new start for me and my kids. I have several commitments between now and then that I must fulfill. Once those are complete, I plan to choose more wisely. I plan to take a few days to think through before I commit to something. I plan to take time this summer to pour into my kids' love tanks. God has given me a big job. I can't bear the thought that I could get so caught up in my care of orphans that my own children feel orphaned by the cause their mom is pursuing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Adjusting the Challenges

It is May 10th and I have not exercised even once so far this month. Last week, my parents were in town, my schedule was insane, and I was so sick coughing up a lung, that I could not have exercised even if I wanted to.

I have decided to adjust my challenges for the month. Since our vacation time begins June 13th, I am going to have my challenge for this month begin today and go through June 10th. That gives me an opportunity to maybe meet my challenges for the month. It also gives me the rest of June off from challenges since that is our vacation time.

I am adding a little to my challenge. In addition to the green drink and exercise, I am going to do a pantry and freezer clean out. Because I stock up on things when they are at their lowest prices, I tend to get too much food. Right now, that is the case. So, I plan to use the next month to use up the things I have and buy very little in the area of groceries. That will be a great thing as well since we have vacation coming up. If we ever sell this house, and at this point, I am skeptical, then it will be great to have less food to move.

Today begins my new challenges. Pray that I can get rid of this cough so I can get to the gym.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Busy Week, Busy Life

I have not stopped going since we returned from our trip to Minneapolis.

We have had a lot of sickness in this house over the last week. I have had dr. appts., kids staying home from school, and lots of little ones that need to be held.

My parents also arrived in town this week for a visit. We are so glad they could come. The kids have been excited to get some time with Papa and Grammy. They are in school still so that really limits the opportunities they are having to spend together. We are trying to make the most of every minute we can.

May is always a crazy month. It seems like the schools feel the need to pack every field trip, special day, concert, and party into this one month. When you multiply that by the 4 children that I have in school, I think some days my head might just spin off.

All of this is to say, I haven't had a chance to fully process all that I heard at the Orphan Summit. The overall sense that I went away from the weekend with was that I need to focus more on my children. I can be so consumed with orphan care that I leave my own kids fending for themselves at times.

Maybe I don't always prioritize going on that field trip or spending one on one time with one of my kids because I need to work on things for Beyond Survival, planning this event, making sure these kids get sponsored, etc.

I have 6 children that God has entrusted to me. Rick and I have made the decision for me to stay home for a reason. Don't get me wrong. I don't have to give up on the ministry that I have to Swaziland. I just need to regroup, gain some perspective. Taking care of my children, my home, and being a wife is more than a full time job. I am not sure I have done such a good job lately of prioritizing that.

It is funny that I would go to a conference on adoption and orphan care and come home feeling led in this way. Realizing that God has me in this season right now for a reason. There will be a season later when the kids are bigger and less needy where I will have more time available to work on Beyond Survival.

I feel very strongly that the needs of my kids should not take a back seat to the needs of the other children that I am ministering to. We have 2 children with sensory issues. Those don't just go away. They need help processing their lives daily. We have 2 adopted children that have issues to overcome based on the trauma they have faced those first days, months and years of their little lives. We have 2 more children that can get lost in the shuffle of dealing with all of those pressing issues of adoption and sensory processing disorder. I can't get this time back. It will be gone, and I want to look back knowing that I fulfilled this calling to its fullest.

Coming home from the conference just confirmed the things I was feeling in my heart while there. God has shown me this week how much my kids need me. God has been pounding into my stubborn head that I must shift my focus. I must regroup. I must live differently.

May is pretty crazy. I am continuing to look to June, hoping I can make this summer one that is a fun, regrouping time for our family.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Green Drink

We started the green drink this morning. The kids were so excited!

Then they tried it. You would think that I was making them drink the bodily fluids of some wild animal.

This is going to be fun.

After dropping them off at school, I ran to the grocery store and saw the Naked brand of green drink on sale. I decided I should buy it to have a comparison. It costs about the same as the other one I am using. I debated back and forth about spending the money. It is expensive when you have 8 people drinking it.

It rang up wrong at the cash register. I was in one of those self-checkouts so I couldn't really do anything about it. By the way, I hate self-checkout when I have little ones with me. I do good to keep up with them when someone else is doing the checkout, much less when I have to do it, too!!

After I finished, I went over to check the price. I was right. It rang up wrong. I marched over to the cashier to get my $1 back. Hey, a dollar is a big deal when trying to save money. I probably wouldn't have even bought it at the price it rang up. Little did I know that I was going to get it for FREE!! It made it all worth it. I will enjoy every sip of my FREE green drink!! I the kids don't like it, I won't be thinking about the money I wasted.

Rick was right...

Sickness abounds in this house, some new, some continuing.

While we were gone, 5 out of the 6 kids had some form of sickness going on.

While we were gone, I got some kind of nasty cough thing as well.

Isaiah has had 3 different sicknesses in the last week.

There are like 5 different things swirling around this house.

We have been so healthy this year!! It has hit all at once.

Kind of funny that we are so sick after spending the month trying to be healthier in our eating!!

Who knows if I will get to the gym this week? Rick was right.

Can I count the 3 hour coughing fit that I had last night as my exercise for this week?

Monday, May 3, 2010

May Challenge

So, the April Challenge is over. I feel like I did pretty well at eliminating things from our diet. We are chugging right along without High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Oils, and Artificial Sweeteners. I plan to continue that.

I will say, I have decided to make a few exceptions. I plan to chew sugar free gum. Trident has both xylitol and aspartame. Aspartame is pretty far down on the list so I am going to risk it on that one. I tried Spry gum. It was okay, but came in very small pieces and didn't keep its flavor very long. I have also decided that I just may have a soda every once in a while. Before the challenge, I was having one almost every day. For this month, I had about 5 natural sodas for the month. I don't really like them. By drinking them, I am just trying to convince myself that I do. So, after having a few sips of soda this past weekend on our trip, I decided I am going to have one every once in a while. I am not going back to my old ways, just for a treat.

That brings me to drinks in general. I like flavored drinks. I have said this before, but I want to elaborate. I really like Crystal Light Peach Tea, but it has aspartame so I gave it up. I also really like coffee occasionally with yummy flavored creamers and agave nectar. This month, I gave up the creamers and went to half and half. You know what I decided? I really don't like coffee that much. I mask it so much that it is really just a yummy treat by the time I get it. I also don't like alcohol. So, my options are limited when it comes to flavored drinks that I like that fit my guidelines. My decision: Definitely, I need to drink more water. Occasionally I may have a soda, I will try to incorporate more tea, and coffee will only be an occasional treat as well. That feels like a good balance for me at this point.

What I didn't do this month was try a green drink daily. I bought that last week and started it on Sunday. That is part of my challenge for this month, green drink every day. I also didn't really take the time to add flax to food so I will be adding that this month as well. I bought the good eggs and the good milk and did fish oil most days.

All in all, I would say this month was a success. I made some big changes in our diet that I plan to continue for the most part and add to this month. The real shock will come when I find out what I spent on groceries this month. I know I went over my budget. I just don't know how much yet.

The bigger challenge for me this month is exercise. We joined the Y. I told Rick I was going to make my challenge to exercise 3 days a week. He said, "You should make it one day a week." I said, "That is not a challenge." His response, "For you it is." Now, he does not mean that I personally can't or won't do it. He knows that realistically my life has so many variables out of my control that I would feel very defeated if I set my challenge and couldn't meet it. Sick kids and other circumstances out of my control will often derail my day. So, I am following his advice. One day a week to REALLY exercise, more if I can make it work.

I haven't truly exercised in a long time. Adopting Isaiah and Laila and caring for them has been my exercise. My body went into shock when we brought them home. I was carrying both of them weighing over 20 lbs. each a lot. I was in so much pain. Then, Isaiah broke his leg and Laila still couldn't walk so I had 2 children that needed to be carried or pulled around in the wagon all the time. It was hard. That doesn't count the sickness I dealt with for 10 months. I wasn't eating hardly anything. Exercise was out of the question at that point.

So, there you have it. My challenges for this month: exercise, green drink, and flax along with continuing the things from last month.

I will say with the fits that Laila has thrown today, I think restraining her flailing tantrums multiple times should count as my exercise for the week!!! I think she is punishing me for leaving her for 4 days!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Where to begin?!?

We are alive! We did make it home!

We had a great trip with much learning, growing, and connection.

We also returned to much spiritual attack which should be expected after such a great trip.

It is still discouraging.

I have some amazing friends that really went above and beyond while we were gone dealing with crazy schedules, and kids with sicknesses of many different varieties.

They improvised, provided forgotten lunches, picked up sick kids from school, prepared meals, and loved my kids as well as me in my absence!! How can I ever repay you, Lauras(2 friends named Laura helped out), Andrea, Jill, Julie, and Lisa?

Today has been hard. There is much that I have to share. There is much processing that I am still doing.

I want to share about the conference. I want to share about what God is doing in my heart. I want to share how my April challenge went and about the May challenge I am beginning.

I feel a bit overwhelmed at this point, but I have some clarity that I haven't had in a while. I loved being in an environment of people that believe in orphan care and adoption. It was refreshing. It was challenging. I am ready to move forward.