Saturday, April 30, 2011

we're back

I took a few days' blogging vacation to go to this place...

With these people....

And we met some of these guys....

And rode some of these rides:

And experienced quite a bit of this:

Got a few naps in....especially after swimming (hence the lack of shirts here):

And took in all kinds of natural beauty from this:
 To this:

And even this:
 And everything in-between....we drank it all in! 

And thanks goes to this handsome guy, who made it all possible with all his hard work.  I love you, Babe! 

And thanks goes to Wes' darling cousin, Bethany, who took such wonderful care of our little Jonah while we were away.  It was so nice knowing he was in good hands and having a total blast himself.  There were many times we said to ourselves how glad we were that we left him home (even though we missed him like the dickens while we were away!).  Thanks, are amazing!

We had such a fun vacation!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Micah woke up from his nap yesterday just in time....

Don't you just love it when your Mommy covers you with blankets hot from the dryer?
Simple pleasures.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"embrace" and goals quarterly updates....a little late, but worth the wait

I like to do a little update on my goals every so often to have for my own record.  Given the crazy-even-more-out-of-balance-than-usual lifestyle we've had this year so far, I am a little late for a quarterly update, but thought I'd just catch up and do it anyway.Each year, I choose a one-word theme for the year.  This year, the word I picked was EMBRACE.  (You can find out more about what I am talking about here, here, or here.) 

I have actually done a lot of embracing this year, but in different ways than I originally planned.  Some things have changed, but I still want to keep most of the goals I have.  I love the quote that says, "Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Isn't that what having goals is all about?  Having some direction in your life, and then knowing that if you try, it will all work out?  That's definitely how it is for me.  I've kept record of most of my goals throughout my life, and whenever I get a chance to look back I realize that I accomplished far more than I realized before.  I think that the same experience rings true with this phase of my life.

I had a lot of spiritual goals, I think because before all this happened, I knew that it was time for a little more recommitment there.  I am happy to report that I met most of those goals, and the ones I didn't were due to my health issues.  Fasting doesn't really work when you're nursing, and when I weaned Jonah, it was because of my health problems.  I have attempted fasting twice now, both times I didn't make it as long as I'd hoped.  I get really jittery, dizzy, and shaky, and it scares Wes and he makes me eat.  (I just found out today that I'm pre-diabetic, so it's probably some kind of blood sugar problem.)  I'm thinking that for now, I need to think of another way to fast until I'm physically capable again...maybe choosing simple, small meals, or giving up something else that I enjoy for that day?  I'm not really sure, although I'm open to suggestions.  :)  I've also had the thought that maybe I've had to learn about being on the receiving end of fasting...I know there have been some people dear to me that have done that for me.  Fasting really is something so important and I can't wait for the day that I can participate in the process again.

The other spiritual goal that I haven't been able to fill as easily lately is visiting teaching.  I am so darn frustrated and sad about it.  I was doing pretty well for quite awhile, but they keep changing my partner, and the last couple partners I've had are people that I really care about, but seem to be either independent or not into visiting teaching right now (my current partner is brand-new in RS, so I'm sure she has no clue about what's going on).  I feel terrible that I can't be the strong person in the partnership, but I can't.  Last month, I missed my 100% for the first time in a long, long time.  And the last few months before that were really only drop-offs of some kind.  I LOVE the women I visit, but it's been a struggle to juggle between Wes' crazy work schedule and all my doctor's appointments and such.  I know all three of these women could really use a good visiting teacher too, so I feel even more terrible about it.  I had all these lofty goals of attending the temple together, calling every week, dropping off goodies...really building a good relationship with these women and my partner, but now I am back to square one:  just do anything you can do.  It really makes me sad.  I just keep praying for my sisters and telling myself to be patient and to do my best.  That's all I can do, right?

On a more positive note, it's been phenomenal to see my faith grow this year.  And to see how that affects my whole family.  I think Wes and I have grown a lot together, and the boys are starting to really understand things now.  It's fun to see things "click" or to explain to them that the feeling in the room they are feeling is the spirit.  It's an amazing thing to watch a child's testimony develop and grow, and even more amazing to realize that it's largely due to what you are teaching them.  It's pretty incredible.  It's going to keep getting more incredible the older they get, I think.  Wow.

As far a physical goals go.....ha!  Out the window!  I had big plans to tone up, I have a bike race I was signed up to ride 60 miles in on May 7th (now I'll be lucky if I even get to ride at all....maybe 20 miles?), get a sourdough start and learn more about sprouting wheat and other grains, get back into figure skating (purely for fun and exercise) and riding.  And the real clincher - getting up and going to bed early.  Why is this SO hard for me?  I'm getting better at it now though.  And with the new health information I received today (more about that later), I'm going to have to get to bed early, sleep longer than I usually do, and take a nap every day.  I don't know how that's going to happen, but if it does, I will probably feel a lot better, and Wes would sure love it.  I'm definitely going to do my best.  And if I'm able to stick to the darn diet I was put on today, I won't even have to think about losing more weight....I'll probably be thinner than I've ever been in my life.  I'll definitely take that little perk. 

Serendipitously, it's really better anyway.  All of the things I've gone through have taught me so much that I wouldn't trade for anything.  And if I'm able to get through it, I think I'll pretty much have self-discipline nailed, which would be amazing.  Not to mention everyone will probably be healthier, since I cook the meals and go to bed last.  And going through what I have has brought me so much joy and fulfillment in ways I could never have experienced with the goals I had set physically.  It's time for some new goals in that area for sure.  In a good way.  I'm anxious to sit down and do it.

Family goals have been fabulous.  I won't go into the logistics, but I will say I've learned a lot and had so much fun!  Being sick has forced me to depend on Wes and the boys a lot more, and it's been good for everyone.  We've focused a lot on this one....EMBRACING our family.  I love my little family and I am so grateful and blessed for the growing together we've done.  There's still things that need to be done, but doing a 5-Facet Review on each family member with Wes once a month really helps with that.  And of course Power of Moms, the "Rescue the Family" project, and the Power of Moms Retreat I just attended have given me a much stronger vision and conviction too!  There's nothing better than family.

"Home" goals that I've set for embracing have also gone pretty well.  The thing that's been really fun is hosting an ethnic dinner monthly.  We do it quarterly where we invite another family in to participate, and really go all out, and the other months we just keep it simple and fun and educational.  It's a fun tradition for sure.  The only thing I'm struggling with right now is the garden.  I think between being sick and knowing we're moving, the motivation hasn't been there too much this year.  I haven't even begun on the back yard (if I ever do), but I am enjoying the flowers and herbs in my front yard.

Financial goals have also gone very differently than planned.  A big plus is that I finally was able to put an organized plan in place for keeping track of medical bills in their various states (to be paid, paid in full, insurance problem, etc.), and it's been TONS easier keeping track of them.  We are pretty on top of them too, and have managed to stay out of medical debt with everything that's been going on.  That being said, medical bills can suck the life out of paychecks, and our is no exception.  We had big plans to pay off our cars by now, but it's going to have to wait now.  I'm happy to report that we did put quite a chunk on one of them though, and I'm content with that for now.  You can bet that this area is going to become a much bigger focus in the next week or two.  There are still many things to go through....lots of plans have changed, and out desired outcome has changed a little too.  We have some big ideas and plans, and I think if we do it right, we will actually have a lot of fun!

"Self" goals:  I had big plans for this area.  Even before I got sick, I knew I was SEVERELY lacking in this area.  Although I had big plans for self-care and development of all kinds, of course they went differently also.  But what I have done has ended up way, way better for me (can you detect a theme here?).  I still have many things I want to do, but I'm happy I have learned that Mommy is a person.  It's been a huge thing for our family.  It's been fun to start to remember things about me that I had get to know myself again.  It's been fun to see my family respond to it as well.  My kids have definitely inherited my love of music, and Wes is starting to want in on it too.  I'm anxious to see how all of this serves me in the near's going to take a lot of self-care and discipline to do some of the things I need to do.  The thing that is great about it is that if I can do those things, I will be healthier and more energetic than I have since I was a kid.  (And maybe even better, because I am told that I will have NO allergies when this is over.  Heaven.)  Stay tuned. 

Power of Moms and Rescue the Family project goals have gone pretty well.  I've been a late starter due to some things out of my control, but I have some big ideas and lots of support and vision, and I'm going for it!  Boy howdy am I excited to see how this plan goes.

EMBRACING for the first quarter has gone fabulous.  Sorry about the lengthy post....I need a good record for myself.  I really do feel like I've EMBRACED everything good that's come my way, and my heart is just spilling over with gratitude, joy, and contentment.  Saying that word to myself over and over when things get tough has been such a strength.  I'm really loving EMBRACE.  It's been serendipitiously perfect.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

butterflies are emerging

And do you think this guy is happy about it?

This little guy isn't too sure what he thinks yet.

But man alive Kolton was fascinated.

We got to watch two of them actually emerging yesterday.  It was incredible.  I don't know what I expected, but it happened a lot faster than I would have imagined.  It was only a matter of second from when they chrysalis opened until the butterfly had completely emerged with crumpled, wet wings.  Isn't nature amazing?  I can't wait to ask God how to make a butterfly.

And neither can Kolton.  He has played with them all day for two days now.  I love how much he loves nature.  And I love that I get to help them discover it all the time.  Being a mom, watching the magic happen, is truly the best job in the world.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I wish so much I'd had more control over my camcorder or even my camera tonight. 
Tonight was Kolton and Micah's first t-ball game.

And man alive was it ever fun to watch!  Those two little ragamuffins melted my heart when they stepped up to bat, and even more as they valiantly (along with every other kid on their team) went after every ball that was hit. 

I loved the way Kolton beamed when he finally got to be the one in the outfield who actually got the ball.  He was so proud, and so was I.  I still can't believe how very fleeting childhood is....even more so when you are the mom.  I wish I could just freeze time sometimes.  My little babies are growing up so fast.

Jonah is in the thick of some major teething, and screamed all day today.  I was hoping he might have worn himself out before the game tonight, but no such luck.  He screamed and cried the entire time.  I was one busy mommy running around the bases with Micah (who would only play when I was with him), wrestling the squirming, grumpy baby in my arms, while trying to keep an eye on Kolton who kept checking to see if I was watching him and even smiled and waved several times in the process.  I loved it all, but no way (especially without Wes, who worked the PM shift today) did I have room (or arms) for any kind of camera.

But those sweet images will be etched forever in my heart.

I love being mommy of three little boys.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I first learned about the word serendipity when Wes and I attended a fireside with my parents given by Linda and Richard Eyre. I totally fell in love with the concept and tried to recognize and write down as many serendipitous moments as possible, but these last couple months it fizzled out with all the other crazies going on.

Lucky for me, Richard serendipitously gave the same little speech (with some pretty entertaining embellishments) at the Power of Moms Retreat I attended this past weekend.  And I loved it even more than I did the first time.

I think that was because it really has the best of both worlds - organized and spontaneous - and I've gone from one extreme to the other this past year.  From learning Mind Organization last summer and incorporating it immediately (which completely changed my life), to getting sick and having to totally let life control me for awhile, serendipity seemed to pop out at me, because I think I'm learning that in my life right now.

SERENDIPITY:  state of mind when a person through awareness and sensitivity frequently finds something better than that which he was seeking.

Don't you just love that?

That definition was preceded by two things that really stuck out to me.  The first one being that we were asked two questions:  Do we want to be a more spontaneous or structured person?  Do we want to be a more proactive or reactive person?  I raised my hand for spontaneous and proactive (as did most of us in the room and it was quickly pointed out that being spontaneous is a reactive quality.  I had never really thought about it before, but isn't that so true?  Light bulb moment for sure.

Then we heard a story about how the word serendipity came to be.  I'll give you the shortened version:  there is a story about three princes in Serendip (I think?  In the ancient Middle East...) who went to find their fortunes and meet their goals.  To make a long story short, none of them found what they had set out to find.  One found Love, one found Loyalty, and the other found Peace....all three princes had found something even better than they had set out to find.  I guess some old scholar in Europe read this story and created the word serendipity.  Isn't that fabulous?  Even the word itself has a story.

I think it stuck out to me even more because I'm right at the stage of finding the balance between planning and throwing those plans out.  Life needs to be lived with purpose, and you can't do that without a plan or goals, and then the Lord steps in a gives us something even better than the dream we conjured up.  Isn't that usually the way it goes?

I could go on and on, but really it's not a hard concept.  Although I think it's something that's absolutely critical for a joyful, fulfilled life.  Just understanding it and thinking about it brings so many times in my life when I set off to do something and something even better came along.  It's all about the spice of life....serendipity gives life its flavor.  I love it.

Something that I am going to try to EMBRACE more in my life is noticing and appreciating all of life's serendipities - big or small.  It's kind of like a whole other dimension of gratitude (although you couldn't replace gratitude with serendipity), having both makes you feel an even deeper sense of meaning and appreciation in life.  And that's what I was going for when I chose EMBRACE this year.

I am excited to see how having this awareness will enhance or better my goals and life experience this year, and many years to come.  I'm hoping to keep a little log of some of my serendipities.  Hopefully some or most of them will find their way here, and I've also decided to write them down daily in my Gratitude Journal.  I wonder how many I could notice throughout my day if I was consciously thinking about it? 

I love the word, its meaning, and its importance.  I'm so grateful Richard serendipitously shared it with me and many others this past weekend.

jonah's sailboat room

I never really got around to posting pictures of Jonah's room.  There have been some finishing touches I've wanted to make, and I had planned on tying the bumper pads back on for pictures also, but I'm beginning to think it's going to be quite awhile before those things happen.  And given the fact that we are listing our house soon, I don't think I'll be doing anything more to the house.  But I LOVED all my ideas and I LOVE decorating and making a house a home, so I wanted to remember how much fun I had with this room, complete or not.  In no particular order, here goes.....
 (I got the rocking chair on KSL for $50. Not the best, but it does its job and fits well in a smaller room.)

I've had fun deciding which pictures to put here.  I'm hoping to put some with multiple family member in it in the near future.

Here is another KSL $50 purchase. The hutch and changing table.  I was pretty proud of that good deal.  This is probably the nicest piece of furniture we own, in addition to the big boys' bed (which was also purchased on KSL).  I love it!

That picture of the lighthouse in the background, you can't see it very well, but it's made from Jonah's footprint.  I know a pretty talented lady from my MOPS group last year that came out and did all three boys' feet and they all turned out darling!  (Don't worry, painting that picture frame red or blue is on the to-do list.  I don't love the back, but it was all I had laying around home at the time.)  Also, I love the picture of Joseph teaching Christ as a toddler how to pray.  I met the artist at Swiss Days last year and I just had to have it when I learned the little baby in the picture was Jesus.  What a beautiful portrait of something we don't see very often.  Perfect for a baby's room. 

 I also painted the life preserver and the shelf.  I thought they turned out pretty cute...

I know this doesn't match, but it melted my heart when I read it so I thought I'd stick it up on the shelf anyway.  Isn't it so true?

I found this darling lamp on the internet for $30.  It was perfect for the room!

The mobile was found on a classified website in Texas.  (A Pottery Barn mobile that matched my Pottery Barn bedding that I got unused on KSL when Micah was a baby.  Once again, cheap, cheap, cheap!)  The mobile was new in the box, and the gal selling it was kind enough to ship it to me for no extra cost.  I was ecstatic!  I LOVE it!
I also painted the letters.  Found them precut online for a steal with free shipping.  Score!  I love the way it tied it all together.

(I didn't realize I didn't get a good picture of the rug, but it's equally cute and I got it during PB's 25% sale.  I paid a little more than I did for everything else, but it was still a steal in my opinion.  And it's so soft and nice....I wish I could get one for every room.  One day I will have wood floors with rugs everywhere....)

I had fun designing and putting the room together.  I turned out just the way I pictured.  I can't wait for the day when we have our own house again, where we will stay for a long time, that I can fix up and have fun with.  Until then, I'm sure I'll find some fun design ideas to keep me busy.  Decorating is so much fun!

i've found the diamond in the rough

I've had one of the busiest, craziest weeks since the holidays, so I'm going to keep this post short.  My brother found this fabulous app for phones, computers, and iPods called
I have been looking for a way to integrate all our family calendars and to-do lists into one place, and finally decided it didn't exist.  I figured it wasn't too bad with the implementation of Mind Organization for Moms, which pretty much changed my life for the better in too many ways to even count.  I decided I'd just be happy about that and make it work for me.

Well, this app is the yummiest icing on the cake ever.  It integrates calendars, shopping lists, to-do lists, EVERYTHING!  It texts or emails reminders and updates to everyone.  It is so easy  to use (I am NOT of fan of technological planners....I'm a paper girl and I prefer hard copies of stuff like that.  But now I am CONVERTED.), so accessible, and EXACTLY what I had been dreaming about but didn't think existed.

Wes loves it too, which is even more icing on the cake.

Thanks for the recommendation, Mom and Dad.  I owe you big time.

Check it out.  It won't disappoint.

Friday, April 15, 2011


In our family, life from March until May is a big blur due to holidays and birthdays galore, among gardens going in and spring cleaning and two to three doctor's appointments a week.  Throw in the Motherhood Retreat and Board meeting for Power of Moms and getting more aggressive with the church's "Rescue the Family" project I am helping with (among countless others) and we are officially overcommitted and crazy!  That's all in addition to regular life....needless to say, I was geared up this year for what I knew was coming, and I am now in the thick of it.
A few things I will touch on (but not elaborate due to time constraints) are:

Today my doctor told me that he doesn't think I have Hashimoto's, Graves, or TED.  He got my lab results back and I have severe heavy metal toxicity.  I made a separate appointment next week to discuss the lab results, bring in my blood work, and be advised about how to go about treating this.  He also said I was making amazing, fast progress. 

Very encouraging.  Hang in there, Megan.  This too shall pass.

Jonah's definitely doing better on the hypoallergenic formula, and the eczema has improved dramatically, although the cradle cap has gotten much worse.  He now has bleeding sores on his poor little head because he keeps scratching it.  I need to figure out what else I can do to remedy that.

Kolton has "adopted" a slew of potato bugs and brings them everywhere we go.....the grocery store, Grammy's, the doctor, the mall.  You name it, these bugs have been there.  It's like a mini traveling circus.  Every so often I hear, "Mommy, I'm really, really sorry, but I dropped a bug in your car and I can't find it.  I PROMISE I won't take the lid off the bug jar anymore."  This is typically followed by pulling over and locating the escaped bug.  How are they all still alive?

I finally got the guts to pull out my new Silhouette machine for Melinda's baby shower my mom and I threw last night.  It is like playing with a toy - SO FUN!

I also got the guts to try out a gluten free cake mix and a bread mix.  I have a cousin-'in-law with Celiacs that was coming to the shower and of course I already know what it's like to go somewhere and not be able to eat ONE thing.  I was excited to be able to have something there for her and I to eat.  It was all pretty good, especially the cupcakes!  I would never have guessed they were gluten free.  In fact, my plate was empty because no one could tell the difference.

I am still washing and rewashing and rewashing again loads of laundry from being too busy to even move the laundry from the washer to the dryer.

My parents' swing set blew over last week during a big windstorm.  Wes helped my dad tip it back up so my dad could begin repair.  He hurt his back and spent all day yesterday on the couch.  Poor guy.

To add to his bad luck, he just got passed up on a promotion FIVE minutes away from our house (he commutes for an hour right now) because they said that it's in the store's best interest to leave him where he is.  He is the only competent one working there now, and the only one who compounds, so Walgreens kindly decided to pass him up on less gas money, a pay raise, and better location because they didn't want to replace him.  I never realized until now that sometimes you can get punished for being a good worker.  We are both so ticked.  Especially Wes.  I wish there was something I could do to help him feel better.

I got to Skype with a fellow Power of Moms board member tonight about the "Rescue the Family" church project. She is amazing and inspiring.  I came away so lifted up and so anxious and excited to be a part of this much-needed project.  The adversary is so scary and so strong.  I want so much for this project to be a beneficial tool in fighting it and saving the family.  I am also extremely grateful for being a part of my own family and to have the knowledge I is all such an extraordinary treasure.

Since I had so much success with the gluten free baking, I decided I would finally try this pizza that's been sitting in my freezer for the past couple weeks:

Seriously, seriously meh.  Absolutely disgusting.  I couldn't eat it and neither could the boys.  We had cold cereal for dinner instead.  Good old Cinnamon Chex saved me once again.  (Shhh, don't tell but I let them have a cupcake after dinner.  They ate one heck of a healthy dinner tonight.  Green smoothies will be in order tomorrow morning, and leftover cupcakes are already in the trash.)

In addition to all of the madness, we found a killer deal on airline tickets and decided to take off in the near future to the good ol' Magic Kingdom with the big boys.  I am now planning a vacation right along with everything else.  But boy howdy I am EXCITED!  It has been way too long since we've been to Disneyland.

Jonah is this close to standing up.  Man oh man am I in trouble!  But boy is he getting fun! 

I love being a mom.  :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011


That is what happened a few days ago to the caterpillars.  The boys were absolutely tickled pink and also fascinated.
(Please ignore the fact that you get a nice shot of Kolton's nostrils.  I really can't wait until my photoshop class next month.)

We can't wait until the "metamorposisis" (in the words of sweet little Micah) is complete and these pupa emerge as beautiful butterflies!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

bright blues

How can Mommy not melt when these shining, baby blues are looking at me?

at least spring is "springing" inside

I LOVE springtime, and I LOVE Easter. This week, I got to get out my Easter decorations. My collection is pretty meager so far, but I love everything I have. I also went to a wholesale wood place last week and bought myself a few Easter crafts to do....I will share those when they are complete.

Here are some of my favorites:

I got this sweet little bunny from a family I used to nanny for back when Wes was in pharmacy school.  I think of those beautiful, sweet little girls every time I see this cute little bunny.  I miss them like the dickens! 

These beautifully crafted candles were hand carved for me, live, at this event that my mom and I visit every year.  If you've never been, don't miss it!  It is something I look forward to all year.  Some years, there is a Swiss candlemaker who carves the most beautiful candles.  She hand-dips them right there and carves through the colors and mold them with some pretty intricate looking tools.  She makes it look so easy!  I buy a set from her whenever I find her, and this was my choice this year.  Isn't the detail amazing?  I love the bunnies' eyelashes!
 I think they look fabulous next to my Jim Shore Easter basket.  I LOVE Jim Shore also.  (If you haven't heard of him before, you can check him out here.  I love his whimsical, creative pieces and buy them whenever I can.)

I usually hang plastic Easter eggs all over the trees in my front yard (something my mom did that I copied), but I haven't had a chance to this year with all the wind and snow we've had lately.  I am officially SICK OF SNOW and I still crusade every year to move somewhere warmer.  Something's gotta give someday, me or the snow.  So far, I think I am winning, but we'll see.

I'm also thoroughly enjoying these purple shamrocks I got for our Ireland dinner we did last month.  They are so easy to care for and I think they are so beautiful.  I love the little pink blossoms!

Now all I need is for the snow to melt so I can start playing in the dirt.....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

a movement

I came across this beautiful post on my good friend's blog the other day.  I LOVED it!  And also this post from another friend's blog.  Someday (when I get around to's that for honest?) I will post some pictures of my beautiful mess too. 

I saw a pillow once emroidered with the quote, "A clean house is a sign of a wasted life."  Isn't that the truth?  Sometimes I repeat that to myself on the really bad days....does anyone else have a hard time with the messy house on Sundays?  I swear, our house gets to looking like a bomb exploded in it sometimes!  I don't know what it is about Sundays and messy houses....

I feel so blessed to have one big and three little reasons for my beautiful mess: my boys.  So here's to "letting go" and EMBRACING my beautiful mess!

Now if you would please excuse me, I wish I was going to say I am going to clean my house, but I am going to go outside to play in the dirt with my boys.  ;)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

guilty pleasures

Going gluten free hasn't been too terrible so far.  I've lost a little weight due to the fact that so far I haven't had any bread or cookies or pasta.  (I have some GF alternatives, but I haven't gotten around to dabbling with them yet.)  There are actually a TON of GF products at a local store here.  Although they are pricey, they are worth the money because they taste good and give me a good amount of convenience.  (I haven't tried cooking GF too much yet - other than slight recipe tweaks - because I am not sure if this is permanent and I don't want to spend tons of time and energy on something that may be temporary.  I did buy all kinds of new flour the other day though, and I think I will dabble a little.  There's just nothing like homemade baked goods.)

But at least for now I have these little beauties to keep my taste buds happy:

Also, last night I went out with the girls (Wes' side of the family) and we ate at Buca Di Beppo. Definitely one of my new favorites. They had a good amount of GF options and we got a chicken dish for me. It was DELISH! I already can't wait to go back.  Mmmmm.

Tonight I'm making Italian chicken with GF cream of mushroom soup.  I thought I'd share the recipe since it's identical to the regular version with the exception of a gluten free soup.  This is a great Sunday recipe because it's cooked in the crockpot and there's always plenty to share.  :)

Italian Chicken
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg. Italian dressing mix (I use Good Seasons or Wildtree)
1/4 C water
1 block cream cheese
1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup (I like mushroom because I think it gives it a more restaurant-y flavor, but I've also used the chicken and it's still really good.)
1 pkg. (or 1-2 C) sliced mushrooms - we love mushrooms, so we usually double this amount. 

Put 4-6 chicken breasts in the crockpot.  Combine water and Italian seasoning and then pour over chicken.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  After 4 hours, add the remaining ingredients and cook on high for an additional 2 hours.  Serve over pasta or rice.  (Sometimes we also throw in some peas or steamed broccoli in to squeeze in some more delicious and nutritious vegetables.  I think we'll do some peas tonight and serve oven roasted broccoli on the side.)


Saturday, April 2, 2011

feeling good

Last night I slept 7 1/2 hours.  I couldn't believe it!  I am really tired, but I think my body is realizing how sleep deprived it is and that it finally can sleep.  Hopefully I will catch up soon.

I can't even begin to describe the lift and relief I feel.  Finally, I've made a decision, have a fallback in place, and I don't have to do any more research or focus on anything except life.  I truly feel I have done everything I can/need to at this point and now it's time to give it to God. 

The sunshine and warmth outside just makes me feel all the happier right now.  I really am a girl who loves sunshine and I think I need to be in a warmer place where I can have it year-round.  Either way, we are enjoying the fresh air and sunshine and have been outside all day long.

Conference is fabulous so far.  (If you don't know what General Conference is, you can read all about it here.)  I always feel like I come away from it so fed and so inspired.  I feel so grateful and blessed to have the gospel in my life and a Heavenly Father who loves me so deeply.  I soak in so much of the guidance and advice sent to me through the church leaders and other members.  They are all angels among us and have blessed my life in many ways.

I need to tone up a little (which I will once I can exercise), but I am really, really, really happy to be my skinny self once again.  I am back in my small, pre-Kolton clothes, some of which I've had since Wes and I were dating.  It's been fun to wear my dear old clothes again!  And boy oh boy shopping is fun again too!

Another thing I've noticed since the Neuromodulation (but I've also been off gluten for five days, so we'll see), is that my hair is starting to change.  It didn't fall out at all yesterday.  It's still a little dry, but not nearly as bad as it was before.  We will see which change caused this.  My friend that has Celiac says hair loss is a sign of gluten intolerance.  But it is also a sign of thyroid problems.  I guess it could have been both.  Honestly, I don't really care how it happened, I am just glad that my hair is finally starting to go back to normal.

Wes' cousin does home parties where she sells these products.  I have absolutely fallen in LOVE with them.  I use the face wipe every day, and I've even tried it on my arms (after Kolton was born, I got this weird red, bumpy rash on the back of my arms and NOTHING I've tried has gotten rid of it.  I was told it wasn't ever going to go away, and that a vast percentage of people have this same rash somewhere on their bodies, but I don't believe it.).  My arms have dramatically improved in the past couple weeks.  Still red, but not nearly as red as it used to be, and the bumps are gone.  Nonexistent.  Boy am I glad.  Just in time for short sleeves.  :)

I cleaned out my pantry today.  Took everything out and scrubbed it down.  All of the wheat, spelt, oats, rye, and barley products are GONE.  They are hanging out in the basement for now.  I've got lots of things in there now that I'm not sure what to do with, but at least it's accessible and I have a some really great resources while I relearn how to cook.  I've decided to err on the side of convenience until I know whether of not this gluten-free stuff is permanent.  I've got lots of flour blends and mixes ready to go.  If I do this permanently, then I will start to figure out how to actually convert existing recipes and such.  But at least for now I won't starve. And I'm starting to realize that although it would stink, I could do it, and I wouldn't have to compromise taste.  It's just going to take a little more preparation.

I have been reading this book, and so far it's fabulous:
I just started it, but it is really interesting information about the benefits of fasting.  It's supposed to be great for autoimmune disease.  And the nutrition information is great too.  I just love to read about the healing power of food, and about what our bodies can do if we give them what they need to do it.

We tried oven-roasted broccoli the other day, and now we are all hooked.  I am amazed!  I can't wait to try oven-roasting more foods.  It completely changes the flavor and texture.  I always love to learn new ways to cook veggies.

The boys all slept in today and we've had so much fun with the whole family together.  I love my sweet little family so much!  And we love it when Wes is off on Saturdays.

All in all, life is good.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Today is a wonderful day so far!  We had a picnic breakfast outside in the sunshine.  Jonah us down for a nap and the big boys have been delightedly playing with this:

Then the doorbell rang, and these babies arrived.  The boys were in hog heaven.  Especially Kolton.
Man alive we are excited for butterflies around here!

Today, we are going to play outside in the gorgeous weather we are having today!  Then I get to go up north to see my aunts and cousins while we celebrate the upcoming birth of my darling cousin's baby boy.  What a welcome blessing after Jaci endured such a tough ordeal with cancer and chemotherapy.  She is an inspiration to me and always has such a good attitude about life.  I am excited to celebrate this much-anticipated joy with her tonight.  We're all going to have a ball!

pinching myself

Today I am full of hope.

This week has been so full of emotional ups and downs.  From all the busy things at the beginning, to the new developments at the end.

I did go see a new doctor on Wednesday, and he was fabulous!  Very competent, caring, and thorough.  He explained a lot of things in English, that I could understand.  He wanted to mainly treat me nutritionally, which I really liked.  (I am believer in the healing power of food.)

The clincher:  to follow his 6-month program was going to be $6,000.00 .  And our insurance wasn't going to cover any of it.  $6,000.00 plus labs and supplements.  The insurance may have covered a few of the labs.....the rest would be up to us.

Wes was all gung-ho about it.  I think he is so sick of me being sick, that he would do or pay anything of it meant having his wife back.  He was so excited about it, that I felt like I had to at least try, although I was just so sick to my stomach about all the money.  Not to mention, he told me that gluten and thyroid cells look almost identical in your body.  So once you have an autoimmune thyroid disease, you are gluten intolerant for life.  I really, really, didn't want to hear that.  And honestly, I don't believe it.  But Wes told me that I just needed to accept it and let it go - if that was the difference between being sick and being well, then I should just be gluten-free.  Easy for him to say from where he stands. 

Needless to say, I'd already been off gluten for one day, so I figured I'd do if for a month or so and see what happened and how I felt.

The doc also wanted me to go on an anti-inflammatory diet.  No gluten, no grains, no tomatoes, potatoes, or corn.  No eggs, beef, pork, shellfish, or canned meat.  No dairy or eggs, margarine or shortening (not that we ever use the margarine or shortening). No peanuts or peanut butter.  No sugar or other artificial sweeteners, no alcohol or caffeine.

What can I eat then?

Plenty of water.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, peas.  Fresh fish, chicken, and turkey.  Good oils:  coconut, flax, and olive oil.  Seeds and nuts (except peanuts of course), and nut butters.

Sound hard?

I thought so, and I LOVE fruits and vegetables.  But I knew that if we were going to pay so much, I couldn't fail at this diet or anything else this doc told me to do.  I spent a good part of the day trying to figure out how to eat out (I have a baby shower tonight and a dinner with Wes' girl cousins and Oma tomorrow night), what I needed to buy and have on hand, what I could cook ahead in case I needed to just grab something and go.  And of course, how to get through my fear of the raw foods I so dearly love.

Then I received and email from this new friend.  She had just done her first Neuromodulation treatment, and was so excited about it.  The cost?  $300.00.  It might end up being a little more, but even if it ended up being $3000.00, it would still be less than half of the other doctor.  And this doctor though there was a chance he could completely reverse not only the autoimmune problems, but allergies and food intolerances also. 

Once I got this email, I just knew I had to try this first.

Wes and I had a big talk and decided to back out of the other thing and use it as a "Plan B".  I made an appointment for the next day (They had just had a cancellation - what timing.)  I went in on good faith and came out wondering if this was really going to work, but committed to the program anyway, knowing I had a Plan B if I needed it.  I tried to keep an open mind.

After I left, I didn't feel any different.  I even had some anxiety symptoms (heart palpitations, shortness of breath) when I initially got into bed.  But I knew I was having them because I was going to bed a little later than normal after doing quite a bit of laundry and ironing for that late at night (poor Wes didn't have any clean clothes to wear to work, so it had to be done).  I said a prayer that I would know whether or not this was helping, and also that it would be the thing that did help.  I wanted this to work SO BAD!

I woke up this morning to Jonah's noises at 2:24AM.  I had slept for three hours straight without having any trouble falling asleep.  I went back to sleep and woke up to Wes' alarm at 6:00.  I don't even remember the last time I was rested enough to hear that alarm, or Jonah's cries for a bottle shortly after.  I got up to get J's bottle, and to my surprise, my eyes opened right up!  They are still droopy, but I didn't have to push them open with my fingers.  Then I noticed my mouth wasn't nearly as dry as it had been lately upon waking (the doc thought my dry mouth was a fight-or-flight response, from panic attacks, rather than just sleeping with my mouth open.  It made sense to me at the time, and now I totally believe it.).  I got up and drank some water and felt like I had a different neck/throat.  The feeling of a huge lump that's been there for the past few years was completely gone and even breathing felt a little different.  I couldn't believe it and neither could Wes.  I had a hard time making myself go back to sleep this morning (Wes made me), but when I did finally get over the excitement enough to do it, I slept another three hours!  My sweet boys slept in pretty late this morning, and I was able to also since they weren't in my room waking me up for breakfast (I know it's sad, but that's the way it's been the past few months.  One day I will be my early-riser self again.).  In one night, I got the equivalent of three nights' sleep for me.  I am SO happy!

The edgy, keyed-up feeling I've had since all this started is almost gone.  I had a decent breakfast this morning since my best friend, Celest, sent me away to find a GF restaurant and get a few groceries while she watched our kids.  (I have felt so blessed and grateful to her for all the love and support she's given me throughout this whole ordeal.  She is a saint, and I hope one day, I can be there for her when she needs it.  I am so grateful that Heavenly Father knew I would need her.  She has been a big rock in my life from the minute we met and I love her dearly, like a sister.  She is such a good, sweet, fun person, and I will be forever grateful for her friendship and influence in my life.)

Right now, I feel tired.  It's like my body finally realized it can sleep soundly and now it's all it wants to do.  I am going to take a nap today when the boys go down, and try to get to bed early tonight.

I go see the doctor for my next Neuromodulation treatment on Monday.  I can't wait!  He also told me to go off gluten - for three weeks.  I'm on day 4 now.  Cross your fingers for me and wish me luck!  I have faith in rapid, effective, whole healing.


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