Thursday, October 27, 2011

A visit to the doctor

So, its been about 2 weeks without my computer.  I am using a laptop for emails, but don't have access to my documents or photos yet.  Roger has been working on getting everything moved to a new computer but it isn't all there yet.  Its been challenging - and sometimes frustrating.  Though to be honest, I've mostly not worried about it since there is nothing much I can do.  (Wish I could do this with all areas of my life!!!)

I am missing blogging though - and getting further and further behind.  LOL

I did want to post a quick update though.  I took Eliana in to see the pediatrician this week.  Her last visit was in June (several times) for another round of blood work to confirm Celiac disease.  At that appointment she weighed 27 pounds and was 35' tall.  Definitely on the petite side for a 4 year old!

The doctor immediately noticed her color and her demeanor and said how much better she looked!  Happy and  social and just back to herself.  :-)  Thankfully we had no "owies" at this appointment which was a nice change from her last round of visits.

The big news ... her height and weight.  This appointment was really to check and see how she was doing since diagnosis.  (And as a parent of a child dealing with a medical condition, I have to confess that sometimes these meetings seem like an evaluation of my ability as a parent to help my child monitor his/her medical condition.  Is the number going to reflect that we have done what we are supposed to be doing?  I've at times been made to feel like I not doing a great job, though never by our wonderful pediatrician!)  Anyway, it was nice to feel like all the work that has gone into changing her diet has made a difference.

Are you ready for her numbers?!

She has gained ...   3 pounds!

She  has grown ...  1.25 inches!!!  I was stunned by this one!  In just 4 months!

Just shows that it really is important for her health that she be gluten free.  I knew that, but it is still nice to see that it has made such a huge difference.  I can see that too though in just the way she feels.  She is so much happier now than she was earlier this summer.

Next week we have another appointment.  This one is her yearly visit to the cardiologist.  I'm expecting it to be an easy one and hoping for no surprises!

More later as soon as I can figure out how to upload pictures from my new computer.


Monday, October 17, 2011


My computer has a virus and my sweet dh is trying to fix it.  It's been about a week now without it.  I can't access my pictures,  documents and much of my email.  Will try to catch up when things are fixed.  Hopefully soon.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Produce Co-op

I am really enjoying being a part of a produce co-op this year.  It is forcing helping us to eat more fruits and veggies.  That is a good thing.  Another bonus is that it is helping greatly with our food bill!  I highly recommend doing this if you are at all interested.  I know many areas have co-ops.  For various reasons, we decided to start our own.  Here is how it works for our group.

1.  We have 6 families.  So all food purchased is divided by 6.
2.  We shop once per week - usually on a Friday or Saturday morning - early.  We shop in the bulk area at our Farmer's Market.  Going early makes for a better selection.
3.  We shop in pairs.  Helps with making decisions and just makes it more fun.
4.  We come home, sort and then wait for the others to pick up and pay.
5.  We aim to spend between $25 and $30 per week.  We hope to get at least 4 fruits and 5 veggies.  We often have 10 or more different items.

The first photo above is what the back of my van looked like filled with produce.  The photo below is the boxes of food spread out on my driveway.
This is one weeks worth of food.

The selection varies week to week.  We have a list of "please do not buy me this" so that nobody gets something that they hate.  That being said, we have tried some new things just to see.  

A couple of times we have compared what we've purchased to what it would cost in the store.  We have found that the same produce in the store would cost $50 to $90 more than several of our local grocery stores.  Its a great savings!  

Just wanted to share in case someone else was looking for a way to save money and eat more natural foods.  This is working well for us!  


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beyond Co-op: Sarah Plain and Tall #3

We continued our fun learning with Sarah Plain and Tall.  In this co-op we learned about shells.  We spent time learning about the basic types of shells.   We learned about bivalves, tusks, chitons and

There was a wonderful display with pictures and also lots of real shells to examine and touch.
We learned about the animal inside a conch.  (A sock was used for demonstration purposes.)

After hearing about the various shells and the animals that lived in them, it was time to get hands-on with the learning.  The kids volunteered to be various mollusks so we could learn more about the unique characteristics of each one.  First up, was the gastropod.  Animals in this order include conches, snails, slugs and more.   The animal has eyes on stalks, The smaller pair of tentacles is used for the sense of smell and touch.  Of course there is a large shell in the animal's back.
A bivalve - clam, scallop and oysters fall into this category.  These animals have shells that are in two halve or two valves.  The "foot" sticks out and is what the animal uses to dig or to move.
Joshua volunteered to be a tusk - a tapering shell shaped like a tusk with openings at both ends of the shell.
Last up was the chiton with a shell composed of eight separate plates.  
After learning about shells, they each had the opportunity to pick two shells and draw them in the notebooks which we made in the first co-op.  I am glad for the opportunity to have done this nature notebook to go along with Sarah Plain and Tall.  We have sporadically done nature notebooks over the years, never really sticking with them for long.  I purposed to do better during this study.  What I found was that Isaiah really enjoys doing this!  That really encourages me to do more of this!

Can you pick out the various "shells" that the kids enjoyed for a snack?  There is one of each of the four we talked about.
More information on how to identify a shell for those who wanted to learn more.  Shell Detective information can be found here.
For the second half of our co-op we focused on writing - specifically on how and where to get ideas for a story and character development.  The kids were challenged to come up with various ideas, to think, create and brainstorm.
Not sure how to flip this picture as I took it upside down.  Anyone else know?  One of the resources used for this lesson.
The kids split into two groups.  One worked on creating an idea folder where they could jot down ideas they had for setting, characters, plot, etc.  This is something to add to as they have fresh ideas.  They were encouraged to think that ideas are everywhere if they will just take time to look for them!
The other activity was to work on their characters.  They drew a picture of their character on the outside of a file folder.  On the inside, they wrote ideas and thoughts about what the character is like - physical descriptions as well as character traits.  Some of the kids were excited to share what they had come up with too!

Once they finished in one area, they changed places and worked on the other.  Writing is an area in which I've always struggled.  Its good for me (and my children) to have some help in this area.  I want them to see writing as fun (it can be) as well as know things they can do to improve their skills.  (I can use these tips too!)
All in all, another wonderful co-op.  Love this time and this style of learning.  :-)


Monday, October 10, 2011

Blowing Rock ...

I love this place.  We've been coming here for so many years.  I started this post after our last visit there, and just couldn't get to adding in the words.  Our time visiting this place is soon changing as my parents are moving.  Change is never easy, and the emotions involved are many.

We went back to Blowing Rock again for a long week-end - and I'll post more pictures on that soon.  For now though, here are some from our last visit.

My parents live on the side of a mountain.  The view is amazing.  I know you can only get a peek of it here, but you can probably see why hanging out on the deck is a favored spot in good weather.
I have pictures from many years of my children in this spot.  I never tire of them.
As we try to pack up, its the spots all over the house that are familiar that will be missed.  There is no way to take all the the things that are in this house and some things will just be missing.  Even if all of the "things" could go, it still wouldn't be the same.  A collection of family photos.  Eliana loves looking at the bottom one and pointing out who the people are in it.  Not even all of them on that wall either.
Wedding photos.
Gathering at the huge farm table for games, meals and conversation.

I had taken a lot of photos of the house, but perhaps those don't need to be shared.  Its kind of sad seeing pictures where things are removed from the walls and shelves and boxes are cluttering the floors.  We have so many memories here.  Thankfully, we can take those with us wherever we go.

I will miss this place and know that my parents will even more.  I'm not even sure how to put this into words.   My parents built this house and it has so many special, personal touches - from a library with bookshelves on 3 walls, (I would love a room like that) to a playroom with built in bunk beds.  

From a craft room with light coming in from two sides to a wall of memorabilia from my Dad's coaching days.
We've gathered here for holidays and just for fun days to visit.  I will confess, that the change is hard on my heart.  I know its harder for my parents.
We are trusting in God's perfect timing on this.  Trusting Him to provide and care for all of us.  As I was praying about this change this week-end, I was reminded of the words in the Blessings by Laura Story.  (Its beautiful if you have never heard it.  Click on the title of the song to go listen to it.)

"The pain reminds this heart that this is not our home."

We can't always see the bigger picture.  In truth, we have been richly blessed in many ways.  Our memories of time in this house is a blessing.  Given by a God who loves us completely.  Even though changes are ahead, we know God is with us.  He is near.  I'm praying for my parents that they will know God's mercies with them as go through this change.  We love you both!

More later with pictures from our most recent visit and the fun new memories we made.  As a special treat on the way home, Rebecca and I made a detour to visit my sister while picking up something at Ikea (so we didn't have to  pay $60 in shipping).  Rebecca and Keri had fun hanging out - even though the visit was short.

I'm so thankful for my family.  I'm thankful for the good memories I have of my life with them.  I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned and how my values have been shaped by my family.  I'm thankful to live close to my sister and parents.  I'm thankful.  When things overwhelm me or my emotions start mounting, I need to remember all that I've been given.  Thank you God for the rich blessings of family!

In His Love,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Isaiah!

Birthdays.  We have two birthdays in a six day span.  They are just 2 years apart and most years have celebrated with joint activities and/or a party.  This year though, they opted for smaller and individual.  It works that way too.  For many years we had big parties - not necessarily in size - but more in the effort put into them.  I loved having a theme with activities, food and a cake all relating.  It was fun.  A lot of work, but made for great memories.  

I'm learning though that we can also make great memories in doing things more simply.  There isn't a right or best way.  Isn't that true of so many things in life?  

One activity that Isaiah was really interested in doing was something we had done for Christopher.  Now, it was much easier doing this for the person mostly likely to get up LAST.  It was more tricky doing it for the person who usually gets up FIRST.  He also shares a room and I didn't want the surprise to miss him!

I stayed up late and decorated the door with lots of balloons and streamers.  Before doing this though, I made a large sign to hang on the door that told him to STOP and not open the door.  An arrow pointing down indicated my cell  phone with instructions on calling me before he opened the door.  
Shortly after 7am, we heard the phone.  What was funny though was when we asked Isaiah how many times he had called.  He said, "About 20 times".  I laughed.  Then I checked my cell phone.  I scrolled down and down while counting.  I laughed again.  He HAD called 20 times.  (In our defense, the only phone that rings is downstairs and hard to hear.)
Can you see the delight that this surprise brought?  I love being able to give my children things that they want. Especially when it isn't a material good but rather an experience.  Simple.  Fun.  Sweet.
One of our family traditions is that you choose your foods.  My children have started their own traditions of the upholstered chair being the special seat for the birthday person.  (Isn't it a fun thing when they add in their own ideas and start family traditions?!)  Isaiah chose waffles and chocolate milk.  (Other food choices this day were tacos and pizza.)
We headed out to Best Buy in the morning.  Definitely a store for guys!  It was pouring outside and there were very few people inside.
So we made ourselves at home and enjoyed our time there.
The red plate - another family tradition.  I have a red notebook to go with it to record when we use the plate. I haven't been good about using that though.  At least the pictures keep a journal, right?
Two hands full this year!
We also repeated the sign with things we love about him.  When Isaiah looked at it, he wondered why we only listed 10 things we loved about him while Joshua's noted 12 things.  Guess that part of it wasn't so clear. LOL
His special gift from us was a new camera.  He is having fun taking pictures and movies.  I love seeing the world through their eyes too!
The following day, we had a small party.  (This was the day that worked for Christopher to come home and so this is why it was chosen.)  We hosted a nacho contest.  People could choose to work individually or as a team - we had both.  We also had a huge spread to choose from - hamburger (taco meat), sausage, cheese, tomatoes, bacon bits, lettuce, sour cream, hot peppers, olives, refried beans, corn, and salsa.  They went to work creating!
Each team had the opportunity to present their creation to a panel of judges.  They were judged on taste, presentation and creativity.  Isaiah chose to be a judge rather than a contestant.  After sampling these plates, we then went back to create more of our own choosing.  It was a delicious party activity.
Time for the birthday cake!  Can you tell what it is?
Its supposed to be legos.  I used muffins to make the knobs on top.
We then played a game - electronic Monopoly.
It was a fun evening!
Isaiah was also given light sabres and it was fun testing them out with his biggest brother!
We had a great time celebrating!

Isaiah, I love your heart for God and for others.  It blesses me that you enjoy reading your Bible and learning more about God.  I love how you are willing to give things up in order to keep peace.  You have a generous spirit and are willing to give up many things to help or make someone else happy.  

Isaiah is smart, creative and funny.  He has a great sense of humor and is easy to spend time with.  He also gives some of the best hugs ever!  He is hard working and diligent in things large and small.  

Isaiah, I'm so glad you are part of our family!  What a sweet gift you are to us every day!  I pray that God would continue to mold and shape you.  I pray that you will use the gifts He has given you wisely.  I pray that you would always know that you are deeply loved and wonderfully made!

I love you!