Monday, December 6, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Breathing “Thanks.”

I’m sitting here on Thanksgiving night, with a big mug of tea and a full heart. We had a wonderful day with family, but there is one thing that has been on my mind more than anything else when I think about what I am thankful for. It’s how far we’ve come from the daily agony of having a child with mental illness.

I watched a documentary about a boy with autism the other night and remembered all too vividly those long inconsolable meltdowns. The hopelessness of facing another day, another week, another year, with the same issues. The isolation from the world of normal family life, the separation from your child by illness that has stolen them away, wondering what the future holds for them, for you. Not daring to hope, but needing to hope enough to try the next treatment, the next therapy. Living in survival mode and when there was a lull in the symptoms only being able to try to catch up and take a breath.


I have been breathing for awhile now. She has been stable for many months. I don’t even remember since when. It wasn’t sudden or dramatic or the result of one particular thing. It has just been all of the right things coming together, in a way that only God can take credit for.

This past week she made the honor roll at school. She is figuring out her social world and building relationships with her peers. She takes personal responsibility for her homework and her time. And I most proud of how she helped me chop vegetables for our thanksgiving cooking this week. She worked WITH me. It sounds like such a simple thing but it’s one of those that I naturally expected my little girl to do with me, and I have had to set aside so many of those dreams.

I used to not even dare to think that maybe the stability would last. But it has. The right combination of 4 different medications, weekly therapy with the same therapist for 6 years, and sending her to school. But mostly just waiting. Living the life God gave us to live, with the child he gave us, one day at a time. Sometimes just barely surviving those days. Relying on the prayers of the people who loved and cared for us, when I didn’t pray myself. It was a LONG eight or so years and I’m sure there will be some very tough times ahead. But I’m taking a breath now to say, she’s stable, thank you God, she’s stable.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Non-candy store

I don’t want my kids to miss out on the fun of getting a big bag of candy on October 31st. But I don’t want all of that candy to become part of their bodies and brains either.


Beatrix discovered the wonders of candy last year.

And knows what she’s after this year.


But how do you get those darn tootsie rolls open?!



Maybe you just eat the paper…. hey Mom!


I guess pretzels are good too.

Acadia and Lily are not happy with only eating the pretzels. So we’ve come up with a happy solution all around…

The non-candy store.

In this store the goods are good for you and the candy is the cash!

Here’s last year’s store:


Strawberries, pistachios, spritzer, toys, games and art supplies


And here’s this year’s store:


Organic fruit sour gummy worms and bears, peanut and almond butter squeeze packs, sparkling cider, art and school supplies, socks, hair things, cups, and the coolest thing: window climbing ninjas.


They still had some candy left after buying all the stuff I had, (my prices weren’t high enough!) so they portioned out the rest for the next few days. But this is all the stuff I kept OUT of their tummies and off their teeth:


I know there’s other creative methods of cutting back on candy. What are your ideas?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Celebrating Reformation Day

When I discovered that October 31st is the day protestants celebrate Reformation Day, that was the end of trying to come up with a Halloween alternative. Not only is there something else to celebrate besides the “harvest” or the “hallows”, it is something so important that it is the foundational to our faith as believers! For the last 5 years we have thrown a Reformation Day party and celebrated the important truths of Scripture that were re-discovered during the reformation. This year we focused on the truths that are found in the 5 Solas : Sola scriptura ("by Scripture alone") Sola fide ("by faith alone") Sola gratia ("by grace alone")Solus Christus or Solo Christo ("Christ alone" or "through Christ alone") and Soli Deo gloria ("glory to God alone").

105_1475Our carnival style games were centered around 5 questions and answers about these Solas:

Where can we find the good news? ~Only in the Bible

How can we be saved? ~ Only by Faith

How can we be accepted by God? ~Only by Grace

Who is our only hope? ~Only Jesus Christ

Why does God save us? ~Only for his Glory


We transformed our church building into the White Horse Inn, which was a place in Cambridge where the early reformers met to discuss the ideas of Martin Luther. His books were smuggled into England hidden in bales of cloth.



The kids had fun with our “horsey” theme this year!

105_1477After playing games to earn coins, the kids traded them for candy.



And a good time was had by all.

Stay tuned to find out what happens to the candy my kids brought home!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

In which we do not go down with the ship

sinking boat

The last several months have been some rough seas for my kids. In December we went to NIH for updates in the research protocols that the girls are involved in, and they told us that Lily has ADHD. Finding that out seemed to trigger depression in her and she has really struggled with anger, sadness, and frustration in addition to attention problems. Acadia has not been very stable and her nighttime anxiety has become OCD. All of this has made homeschooling very difficult to say the least. Having two kids at home together trying to do math while riding emotional tides and attentional tire swings is a perfect storm. Throw in a vocal toddler who wants to be in the middle of everything and the S.S. Homeschooling starts going down.

We have decided not to go down with the ship. I love homeschooling, when it is what it is intended to be: A nurturing environment where kids can learn and grow. But it has become something else. And it has not been good. I care too deeply about the emotional health of each of my little girls to pretend that we can just continue this way. 

This is a big leap for me. I have not thought about sending my kids to school before. I feel like I have been brought to this moment and then given the grace to make the decision and move forward.

While Dan and I were in the process of discussing this, I was reminded of a song I have loved for some time. It’s a reminder of who is in the midst of the “perfect storm” and that the safest place to be is out on the waves with the God who controls them, not clinging to the boat that is sinking fast.

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out his hand
But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
You you'll never win
But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Voice of Truth ~Casting Crowns

Friday, May 14, 2010

We heart mini donkeys

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We happen to think that mini donkeys are downright adorable and the other day we saw a mother and baby as we were driving by. So we stopped and asked if we could take a closer peek. The owner was kind enough to turn off the fence and let the kids have a little visit. 2010-05-13 0062010-05-13 002

   This little baby is 3 weeks old and his name is Jumping Jack.2010-05-13 010  2010-05-13 019

“Okay everyone I am going to turn the fence on…..NOW”!2010-05-13 013

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Gotta love the perks of homeschooling. Spontaneous field trips!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Losing it....the weight I mean.

We started eating real whole foods last fall. But I hadn't been losing any weight. Dan asked me if it would be motivating for me to have a goal/reward/carrot. I said well, yeah! So we came up with the goal of losing 10 pounds and he would get me the Wii balance board and Wii Fit Plus. I accepted the challenge. It took me about two months and I am still losing. I LOVE playing on Wii fit, but that's not really how I'm losing weight. I promised my facebook friends I would share my secret so here's what I'm doing.

  • Eating whole foods as much as possible, avoiding processed foods, corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.
  • Replacing vegetable oils or shortenings with traditional fats and oils.

  • Drinking raw whole milk and eating full fat dairy, butter, cheese, etc.

  • Limiting breads and giving up processed cereal.

  • And my number one secret for making this all work.....COCONUT OIL!

Here's why I think the extra virgin coconut oil is the catalyst for my weight loss. It contains medium chain fatty acids that increase metabolism, keep me feeling satisfied longer, and reduce my sugar cravings. I cook my eggs in it for breakfast. I put it on my oatmeal, in my coffee or tea, or make a warm vanilla milk drink with it. I sometimes cook or bake with it when it fits the recipe. I use a couple of tablespoons a day, and when I hit a plateau with my weight, I make sure to work on incorporating it into my diet more. Find out more about coconut oil, good fats, and weight loss here.

So that's my secret. It's working well, I'm not hungry, I try to limit portions, but I still eat dessert sometimes! I'm trying to excercise too. I have lost 15 pounds so far and am hoping to lose more. I feel like the food I am eating is nourishing me, and my body is letting go of what I don't need now, that it's happier :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

How to get a really strong iced coffee for $1.05 (and rip off DD)

Yeah. I'm pretty pleased. I just got this really robust iced coffee for really cheap.
It's because I married a Java Genius. When I'm at home my JG just makes me an iced coffee with espresso, ice and half 'n half. But he figured out a way to get this same Beautiful Beverage when we're on the road, without paying a lot of money for it.
And although I'm not willing to share my JG, I will share this fantastic secret with all of my Dear Readers. Here's whatcha do.
Go to Dunkin Donuts and ask for: a double espresso, on ice, with cream (and sugar, if that's how you take it). But hold on, it's not quite that simple. Now comes the hard part. You must wait while the teller is momentarily befuddled. "Can you repeat that?" he says. And you do. "That will be a dollar five," he says. And yes, that's $1.05 for a BB at DD without even having your own JG!
So, DR, are you curious why it costs so much less than a regular iced coffee? It's because you're not paying for water. A double espresso (also known as a turbo shot at DD) is only $1.05, and they don't charge extra for cream or ice. If you make the mistake of ordering an iced coffee with a turbo shot you're going to pay somewhere around $3 which is just too much to shell out very often.
And if you don't drink coffee and you still want a novel way to cool off you can try Lily's method:

Let me know if you try either of these hot tips, I'd love to know what the tellers tell YOU!

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

A few of my favorite things

The beautiful shape of these mangos. What a fantastic Designer!

Blue sky in the background, chubby cheeks in the foreground.

Morning sun making shadow masks, jammies stained with that one little sip of Dad's coffee.

Bair piggy toes peeking out from blue jeans, gripping the floor with all their might.

This bright yellow vintage highchair, it makes me happy when I look at it.

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