Friday, April 29, 2011

Seven Days In . . .

I am officially seven days into this intentional eating plan and I have made a few observations thus far . . .

1. I have not missed a single day of writing down what I eat and staying within the determined amount of calories and foods . . . that makes me happy.

2. It takes a bit longer to think about what I'm going to eat for meals instead of just pulling out whats there . . . but once I figure it out, the food tastes really good and I'm kinda proud of making it myself.

3. We have less garbage from eating so much less out of a can or box or bag . . . I guess we're more green now too!

4. I am full . . . I really thought I'd be eating like a chicken and hungry all the time . . . I'm not . . . yeah!

5. Although I haven't noticed any changes in my body (and can't weigh or measure for 6 weeks - yipes!) I have noticed I already have more energy . . . one of my biggest goals in this whole thing.

6. I love doing this with my mom . . . she is always just a phone call or text message away from answering questions or cheering me on.

7. I am overwhelmed by the support . . . I have so many great friends. It's been fun to share something positive about myself and have such a great response - thanks ladies!!

8. This way of eating is contagious . . . the girls and Travis are eating a ton more fruits and veggies too . . . and loving it . . . the other night we had artichokes and the girls had a hay day peeling and biting with their teeth . . . another night we had beets and Haley had seconds . . . then thirds . . . then they were gone and she was wishing for more!!

9. I went to the grocery store today and it only took me about 10 extra minutes total to read a few labels and buy healthier options . . . and it was so fun looking into a cart 3/4 full of fresh foods . . .

10. It's amazing the clarity in food choices . . . with writing everything down, counting the calories and avoiding sugar and empty carbs, there are so many things I would have put in my mouth just because they were there - not because I was hungry or my body needed the fuel . . . awareness is a wonderfully surprising thing!!

Overall, I'm thrilled to have made it so smoothly to Day 7 . . . there have certainly been hard moments . . . like when chocolate sounded fabulous (but not on the plan) . . . or when we made homemade peanut butter cookies for an after-school activity and I ate sugar snap peas instead (not the same) . . . or when we were out running errands and I would have normally stopped at McDonalds for a quick lunch and tasty yet unhealthy bite - I resisted and ate a yummy homemade lunch later instead . . . but all of these temptations (when weighed against the end goal of a healthier me) have quickly passed and I felt so much victory in each one.

God has been so faithful in blessing this process . . . I'm praying everyday for help to be successful . . . to really honor Him by taking care of the vessel He's given me. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Soggy Start to Soccer

Tonight was Hannah's first ever soccer game . . . and in special soccer fashion (or so I'm told) it was cold and rainy and wet. She was soooo excited as she got ready . . .

We loaded up lawn chairs, huge golf umbrellas, gloves, hats, sweatshirts, raincoats . . . you get the gist. Dad had the video camera, Mom had the digital and Haley had her Leapster (she wasn't super excited to sit on the sidelines in the rain for an hour . . . who can blame the kid . . . but I keep telling her, her days are soon approaching . . . that's what family does!!). I really should have gotten a picture of the cheering section all bundled up on the sidelines (our good friend Carrie came too . . . she played soccer throughout her childhood and adolescence so it brought back fun memories).

She warmed up, she volunteered and played goalie for the whole first half, sat out for about 5 minutes of the second half then ran her little bum off for the rest of the game . . . almost a whole hour of running and kicking and cheering and jumping . . . she spent the whole time in the goalie position jumping up and down - she was so excited! We kept score on the sidelines . . . not how many goals but how many kids feel on the wet muddy field . . . we got distracted and lost count somewhere around 10.

Our favorite moment was a girl on our team we'll call "Sophie" who had a propensity to kick the ball to the other goal . . . and not just once . . . but over and over and over. Her parents were seated next to us and were yelling "NO - Sophie the other way!! Go the other way!!" . . . then in about 5 minutes . . . "NO - Sophie - your goal is the other way" . . two minutes later . . ."Sophie turn around!!" . . . until the Dad couldn't take it anymore - when Sophie got the ball he just threw up his hands and said "Oh, great!!" We laughed until we cried.

Watching their enthusiasm and excitement and energy was so fun - they don't care what team they are on or even what side the goal is on . . . they are just so proud to be on a team and chasing down a ball . . . it's the little things in life . . .

As a side note, I guess I am officially a cliche . . . a mini van driving soccer mom . . . wow . . . what has my life come to?! It's come to an amazing journey of watching these precious darlings grow up fast as lightning right before my eyes with a desperate attempt to soak in each day . . . as I tucked them in tonight, I blew raspberries on their tummies - something I haven't done in a really long time. They both giggled with such glee and I left their rooms with such a smile on my face . . . now that's one of the little things worth living for!!

A Blessed Easter

What an incredible Easter we had this year. The girls woke up to special baskets full of surprises in their rooms then came downstairs to a plastic egg hunt. They were so excited!!

We got dressed up in our Easter best (the girls of course, the cutest in their new dresses . . . when did this tradition stop for adults? Maybe next year . . .)

Then we got in the car and drove to Church of the Beloved (the church were Ryan pastors) where we sang worship songs, listened to an incredible message, and then participated in Juniper's baptism . . . what a special day. She was so angelic and smiled during most of it. She looked endearingly into her Daddy's eyes as he welcomed her into her heavenly Daddy's kingdom . . .

Travis and I were so humbly honored to be asked to be this precious little girls godparents . . .I pray we are able to live up to such a title . . . praying for, guiding and showing her the love of Christ throughout her life.

After the service, we headed to Grandma Merry's house where we shared a wonderful meal and had a celebration for Mo's second birthday. He was a bit overwhelmed by the loud singing and clapping but successfully blew out the candles and smiled with pride at his accomplishment. We gave him a felt board a box full of felt stories he'll be able to enjoy with mommy and daddy and Grandma and Grandpa gave him a new trike!! Fun times to be a little boy!

Although the sun didn't peek out till the evening, it was a beautiful day to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and savior . . . He is risen and I for one am thankful He is!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

New Starts

We have been excitedly awaiting the day when we could start our vegetable garden for the year. Let me start by saying, for the last four years in our little home, we have been pathetically unsuccessful in creating a garden whatsoever. We have some beautiful perennials that come up faithfully each year thanks to the previous green-thumbed home owner but our continual yearly efforts to grow veggies, herbs, pumpkins, anything really, has failed.

A few weeks ago we started the "Jiffy" brand indoor greenhouse and have been tending it on our kitchen counter . . .

Last week we gave the plants field trips to the deck for the day to begin the acclimation process of the great outdoors and today was the grand day of planting out little veggies . . .

With a hope and a prayer, some good sun and rain, we might just have a garden yet!!

On another note, I am starting a new plan for myself today. I am joining forces with my mom to be intentional about our health . . . we are beginning a new chapter of eating healthier. Thanks in part to the large amounts of steroids and various other medications I have taken over the past two and a half years, I have gained just over 100 pounds . . . not fun - and not something I'm proud to announce into the blog-o-sphere. Going in and out of various stages of crisis, that has been the least of my problems - gaining weight sucks but not breathing sucks worse. Suffice it to say, it's not obviously something I'm overjoyed with. I know a part of it has not been my fault - I didn't chose to start all these medicines and live in a sedentary bubble but I know my attitude has become progressively apathetic to the area of food . . . that changes today. We decided a few weeks ago we both needed to loose weight . . . and more than loose weight, we need healthier bodies. I put so much time, money and effort every single day on medication, breathing treatments, special air filters, special soap and vacuum and cleaning supplies and mattress covers and the list goes on and on . . . the least I can do is spend at least as much time, money, and effort into intentional eating of healthy foods . . . I am writing down what I eat all day and restricting the amount of calories (to a healthy number based on doctor information). I am cutting out all sugar and empty carbs (bread, pasta, chips, crackers etc.). I am making sure I drink a ton of water all throughout the day . . . it's not rocket science and it's not meant to be a fad flash in the pan diet . . . it's meant to be a chance in mentality - a more focused approach . . .

As I was writing in my journal last night I was pondering what this means to me . . . I know it's going to be hard. I know my body might hang on to weight as I'm still taking the medication. But I know that this is giving me hope and control over an area I don't have a lot of hope or control. My goal is not to loose the 100 pounds (although I'd love to . . . I'll take even 10) but my goal is to give my body the best chance to fight this chronic disease that I have. . . in hopes of not avoiding the unavoidable flare ups but recovering faster when in the middle of them. And living the best, healthiest, lifestyle I can in the midst of this unfortunate diagnosis.

Here's to new starts . . .

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Five Year Old Field Day

While I was working on some paperwork the other day, Haley decided to take her own little photo shoot around the house . . . I thought I'd share some of her masterpieces (and some are really quite cool! :)

A Pre-Easter Party

On Sunday we had our dear friends the Luna's over for an Easter party . . . the kids went on a scavenger hunt for baskets full of prizes, we ate special tea party food on fancy tea trays (cucumber/dill sandwiches, scones with lemon curd and homemade whipped cream, fresh strawberries and grapes, chicken salad with nuts and grapes etc.)

We pulled out foam, glitter glue, markers and stickers and made colorful decorations . . .

And the mommas even had time to play one of my favorite card games (Five Crowns) while the kiddos ran around and played outside in the sunshine.

It's good to have good friends . . . and fun to have something to celebrate together!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fun to be an Aunt

My sister in law sent a picture of my adorable niece and nephew and I had to share . . .

So fun to be an auntie . . . and can't wait to snuggle them both soon . . . Happy 2 Year old Birthday Mo-Mo!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Beautiful Group of Women

For the past fours and a half years, my life has been so blessed by MOPS. As my final year is coming to an end, I am feeling a bit of sadness, a bit of excitement to move on to the next chapter, and mostly lots and lots of memories and good times. There's not a magical formula to what makes MOPS so fabulous . . . but the biggest factor is the people. It's incredible to see what a bunch of women can do when they come together - they make fun crafts, they learn to be the best wives and moms possible, they grow, they share, they laugh, they cry, they take care of each other, they keep each other grounded, they create lasting lifetime friendships, they live life together, they meet at McDonald's for hours of mess free playing, they send emails and Facebook messages and texts and phone calls to stay connected, they make little changes that effect their whole family, they bring meals to each other, they have baby showers, they pray for each other, and each and every one is better because of MOPS . . .

I was hoping this picture would copy bigger . . . still working on it . . . but hope you can get the gist . . . there are 75 families represented here . . . each with a unique past, story, family, dream, and beautiful smile . . . Thank you MOPS for changing my life . . .

Monday, April 11, 2011


I went to my pulmonologist today for a follow up appointment from the hospital . . . she still heard a wheeze in my lungs which is rare for me and she wasn't to happy with . . . yet had no reason or solution. Her thought is that after such a long hard exaserbation, my lungs are flat worn out and will take a while to recover.

The game begins again of attempting to taper prednisone as much as possible without creating another flare . . . I had gotten down to 6mg prior to this flare and am now back up to 60mg. It's a slow-as-molasses process that is two steps forward and one step back with the hope of getting as low as possible to lessen the side effects and allowing it to become an effective medication when needed for another flare. I am also only three days away from completing the mega-series of antibiotics from the hospital. This can also be a precarious process as I am prone to infection and sickness with a weakened immune system.

After discussing all these processes to come in the following weeks I asked her the million dollar question point blank . . . "Is this it for me?" . . . I have been scoped, scanned, and screened . . . I have had a surgery . . . I have tried various types of medications and vitamins . . . I have traveled to another state in hopes of a new idea . . . and I had to ask . . . is this it?!

She quieted down and said, "I'm sorry - it looks like this is it." She said that sometimes this form of severe asthma can disappear for no reason as quickly as it came in someone's 40's or 50's . . . a nice conolation considering the fact that I just turned 30 . . . chirp chirp chirp . . . this is the part where I should have something uplifting to say . . . some Pollyanna quip about how we'll get through it (which don't get me wrong - we will - if I'm not one thing for sure, it's a quitter) . . . but right now I just want to let this soak in.

I need to come to a place of acceptance now . . . I need to realize that there are no other ideas to try, diagnosis to find, places to go . . . this is it. There will inevitably be good days in this process but this is a process full of asthma . . . an up and down journey of flares and management with the occasional hospital stays mixed in.

I want to clarify that I'm not giving up . . . I will still take my medicine everyday, avoid major triggers as much as possible and continue visiting the best doctors I've found for my condition . . . acceptance is not the same as resignation . . . resignation is an unresisting attitude - a once-and-for-all statement of throwing your hands in the air . . . but acceptance . . . an important step I think in moving forward - stop fighting for a change and learn to live the best full life I have with what I've got . . .

And what I've got is an incredibly supportive loving doting husband, two beautiful active healthy busy girls, a mom, dad, sister and in laws who are on this bumpy wagon with us, a bushel full of friends who make me laugh, listen to me cry and love me either way, and a God who is bigger than any diagnosis, bag full of medication, rainy day or crummy attitude. . . and none of that is Pollyanna but the truth - the solid rock on which I stand.

Acceptance . . . not there yet . . . but heading in that direction . . .

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Sunday with Crayons

What do you get when you mix two little girls, a rainy Sunday and a box of crayons?

Saturday, April 9, 2011


One of the lessons we've learned as a family throughout these last few years of illness is to cease the day . . . we don't know when good days will come or how long they'll last so when we have opportunities to do fun things, we do it!!

Hannah had been biting her nails and so I made a deal with her . . .  if she made it a whole month without biting them, I'd take her to the nail spa for a real manicure . . . today was the big day . . .

It was a precious time of making memories and relaxing together - some much needed connection and fun . . . I love you sweet princesses . . . there is nothing more wonderful in the world than being your Mommy.