Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Grocery Trip of Surprises!

It's not often I finish a grocery shopping trip with a bounce in my step.  It is often very discouraging to see the limited amounts of foods that actually are foods that I want my family and I to eat.  And of the foods there is a list of reasons why I should just leave them there, but alas, since I am yet unable to supply all of our food locally this is the next best option.

But today was different!  I was surprised to see an organic choice for several foods that I don't normally see.
  • tomatoes
  • mushrooms
  • sweet potatoess
  • oranges
I don't normally buy tomatoes in the winter, to me it is like buying corn or strawberries.  What is the point when all you're paying for is looks?  'Cause the taste just doesn't compare to what I can get from my own garden.  But I have to admit that I have had a great craving for tomatoes in this pregnancy and have been bringing them home from time to time.  So finding an organic option makes it all the better!  My kids and I enjoy oranges, but even they notice when they are not organic.  A while back I bought some and they just sat there.  The kids didn't want them, I didn't want them.  The flavour was just blah.  But then my sister picked some organic ones up for me on her way back from the city and they just loved them!  They actually tasted good enough to eat!  The organic ones I picked up today were also very good!  What a great surprise!

On top of that I found a good deal on havarti cheese that does not have calcium chloride in it!  It's amazing what you can find if you're willing to look between the cracks in the floor and up on the ceiling tiles!

Besides the food I also enjoyed the fact that my children were all well behaved despite the fact that we were there right before lunch.  No one needed to use the restroom.  No tantrums or fighting.  Just easy shopping.

To top it all off, my bill was lower than I had estimated!  Not bad considering all the extra organic food that I threw in!

When I came home we had a wonderfully simple lunch - the kids just had a mix of oranges, cheese and cucumber, yogurt.  They loved it and thought it was a great lunch.  Me on the other hand, I had a really great lunch!

Grocery Day Salad

Lettuce, havarti cheese, feta cheese, tomato, cucumber, orange pieces, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, homemade mayonnaise, dill olive oil (that I infused myself :),  dash of salt, fried chicken.  (the green ones are organic :)

So good!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Be An Encourager!

When we began  our journey to improving TR's health I felt very alone.   There was no one I knew that was facing similar struggles.  My poor family had was privileged to listen to me all the time (which is actually why this blog started!  So that I could share without hurting their eardrums :) 

I am amazed at how things have changed!  I was commenting to TR a few weeks ago after talking to a friend on the phone - "She's having the same struggles!" He thought at first that I was excited that we weren't the only ones with health problems - and maybe that is true to some extent.  It is a relief to have people I love and trust to share the experience with.  I'm not excited that some are struggling with their health, but it does feel good to be able to talk about it.

And even with those who are not making enormous changes to their eating habits I feel as though I am not viewed quite as weird as before!  That feels good too :)

In the midst of all this awareness of what we as a people are eating I am finding there is a lot of conflict arising.  Not direct conflict of course - you maybe would even disagree with me that it is conflict - but rather a more hidden conflict :)

I touched on this a little bit in my post "When You Hear One Thousand Voices", but I wanted to really spell it out here, because I am hearing it more and more.  Out of my mouth and out of others mouths.  And I don't think it needs to be this way.

"I made cookies today . . . they had wheat in them, I know that's bad, but . . . "
"I had bacon with my lunch, I know you don't eat bacon, but . . . "
"We went out to eat the other day,  I know that fast food is so bad for you, but . . . "

(These are all fiction statements - but they are based on things I've heard, said, or read.)

In a time when those making changes need the most encouragement we are apologizing for not all making the same choices.   

I don't think it needs to be that way.

Don't assume that because your friend wouldn't make the choice you did that it is a wrong choice.  In fact I'm sure your friend has made compromises just like you.  We've all strayed from our "ideal" diet.  We all have more changes that we'd like to make that still seem a little too hard (or expensive!).  Instead of feeling discouraged in the face of our friends we should instead be lifting each other up and encouraging one another.

A few weeks ago I was very discouraged.  The weight of my family's health was on my shoulders and I felt as though I was doing everything wrong.  I was feeding them all the wrong foods and they were paying the consequences.  A close friend of mine was privileged to bear my burden with me and as I was speaking she interrupted me (like all good friends will do when you're going on and on down the wrong trail!) and said "Look at how far you've come!  You have done so much for your family.  Just think about all the drugs TR would be on and how much pain he would be in without the changes you've already made.  You are NOT failing!"  What wonderful encouragement!  

Let's be the words of encouragement to those who need it.  Whether it is with making food changes, exercise changes, financial changes, or any other life changes.  

It is hard to change and feeling like we're not doing it right is so very discouraging.  Don't feel you have to do it like you perceive those around you.  After all, our example is Jesus, not our neighbour.  If you really feel like you're doing it wrong, let Him be your judge and your comfort.  Bring it before Him and seek His counsel.

Let's be encouragers!  Let's be lifting each other up in prayer and speaking words to build each other up!  When we all get to heaven I doubt that our Father will ask us why we were still eating wheat when we knew it was hurting our bodies.  Rather He might be more interested to know why we were tearing each other down instead of building each other up.  Why we spoke negatively about someone elses changes instead of praying for them.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thess. 5:11


On another little side note that is not related to this post at all, I wanted to share a special moment I had this morning.  My sweet Kara woke up very happy and instead of crying like normal, she was just chattering away in her crib.  When I went in to get her she just squealed and was so very excited!  I picked her up and she put her arms tightly around my neck and gave me the sweetest hug.  Such a wonderful moment to treasure :)

*I'd love to hear from you!  Please feel free to drop an encouraging word in the comment box :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

An Attitude of Thankfulness

Lately it seems that I have been repeating in my mind "I need to be thankful, I need to be thankful."  Surely if I tell myself over and over again it will become second nature, right?
I could list a whole bunch of things I'm not thankful for - in fact, it might even be kind of easy.  But I have so much to be thankful for and those are the things I want to dwell on!  So here's my thankful list :)

  • TR has a very good paying job that keeps him busy and that he is very good at.  He is happy in his job and has a boss that is great to work for.  I'm also very thankful that his boss recognizes how hard TR works and is giving him (and I!) a paid vacation :):):)
  • The sun has been shining through my windows lately and it fills me with such joy!
  • Kara has the cutest and sweetest manners.  She nearly always remembers to say "thank come" and is very caring.  Yesterday Benjamin was crying from an "owie" and Kara runs to get a cloth and wipes away his tears, giving him hugs.  Her tenderness and gentleness are such a balm to this Mother's heart.  
  • I can send my 2 bigger kids outside to play on their own.  What a wonderful thrill it is to watch them playing in the snow and using their imaginations.  
  • I have a great big compost bin that TR built for me.  When I go out there with another bucket to dump I think about the rich soil my garden will become thanks to this pile of leftovers :)
  • I have begun my second trimester and have enjoyed great health.  Not only did I not have morning sickness, but I also have been feeling less achy and tired than in previous pregnancies.  
  • TR brought home 4 "after eight" chocolate bars for me the other day.  This man really knows me :)  
  • TR did not bring me flowers on Valentines day.  (yes I am thankful for this!)  He knows how much I hate environmental toxins and chemicals and flowers from the store are certainly treated in a very unnatural way.  He told me he had thought about it and then remembered how I felt about store flowers.  In this case it really was the thought that counted :)
  • My family has been healthy!  Benjamin still prays (everyday) "thank you Jesus for the food.  Thank you that I'm not coughing or puking or have a fever.  Thank you that I'm strong." And we are so very thankful!!!  There have been no runny noses or flus in our house for about a month.  Hurray!  What a wonderful blessing it is to be healthy!  Especially here where we live, where it is almost more common (in the winter) to have a runny nose than to not.
  • I am surrounded by my family and I am coming to realize more and more how very blessed I am by this.  Not only do all of my siblings (I have 5 sisters, 1 brother) and parents live in my town, but we all get along and love each other very much.  I have great relationships with my family and I have never known a time when there wasn't help when I needed it.  What an awesome privilege!!!!
  • I come from a family that loves the Lord and that is such a rich heritage!  My Grandma prays for each of her grandchildren and I feel very blessed by this legacy.  Both of my parents and all of my grandparents either were or are believers.  What a blessing!!  
  • So much of the food in my house comes from a local source and this makes me very happy!  
  • I have a garden plot to plant in!  Not only do I have a small plot at my house, but my Mom has room in her big garden out of town that she lets me plant in too!!
  • TR is not on any prescription drugs and hasn't been for nearly 2 years. 
As you can see I have so very much to be thankful for!!!  I could really go on and on.  I have been so richly blessed and I want to spend my days with an attitude of thankfulness!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

1st Wheat Filled Meal

I encountered my first wheat filled meal this weekend - and it looks like I was able to come away fed and unscathed! 

We had a sweethearts supper at our Church this weekend and TR and I had not planned on going.  For one thing - and in my mind the biggest thing - is that he might end up working and I sure didn't want to go alone!

Turns out he had the whole weekend off and they had a few tickets left, so very last minute we planned to go.

Being last minute we didn't have a chance to make sure the menu would be agreeable for us.  We were told it would be Parmesan chicken and pasta.  I figured I would be able to have the chicken and surely there would be salad right?

What I forgot is that parmesan chicken is often breaded!  So I had to scrape the bread off the chicken :(  And the salad was a caesar's salad which really isn't all that filling once the croutons are in your husbands bowl :(

But thankfully I am not celiac and I don't have a major sensitivity to wheat.  I was able to scrape the bread off and eat the chicken and still enjoy the meal.

I have to say that it is a bit of an uncomfortable experience to be picking at a meal and appearing to be very picky in front of people that don't know why I'm leaving so much food on my plate, and why I'm putting some of my food on TR's plate.  Some at the table knew that I can't eat wheat anymore, but there were two couples that wouldn't have known.

Oh well . . . at least there was something I could eat and I was able to enjoy a wonderful night out with my sweetheart - our very first celebration of valentines day!  He has always been working in the past, even while we were dating, so this was an exciting first! :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

I'm Sure Spring is Nearly Here!!!

I have always been one to feel a little blue this time of year.  I  wouldn't call it depression, but just blue.  I am the person who needs Spring!! And I wait for it with great eagerness and anticipation!!

In the past few years I've combated these last few months of Winter with making an effort to go outside.  A few years ago I was babysitting a small boy and I remember that Winter being very hard.  I only had a car back then and with two children of my own and no way to fit a third car seat in the there we just had to stay home.  Even errands like grocery shopping had to wait.  Being cooped up for several months during a time of year I already find a little difficult was  . . . well . . . difficult :)  After a while I realized that I needed to actually do something about this so I bundled up the three little ones (almost 3, almost 1 and 18 months) and braved the outdoors!  Chloe walked and the younger two rode on a sled with the 18 month walking sometimes.   I had to put Benjamin in a booster seat (on top of the sled) that had a back on it so he wouldn't fall out of the sled.  We walked to the nearby parent link center sometimes.  Sometimes we would borrow toys from them and that helped when we were at home.  It gave the kids something new to play with for a while.  But mostly we just walked.  The kids loved it and it was great for me to get out of the house and breathing some fresh air.

The winter after that we had to brave the cold again to put some smiles in the air - only this time I realized that poor Benjamin did not like going for walks!  He would scream if I put him  in the sled and would only be okay if I held him (perhaps he remembered the time he fell out of the sled the previous winter?).  By this time he was nearly 2 and not that easy to carry!  On top of that I was pregnant and easily tired.  So our jaunts outside were mostly Chloe and me outside in our yard while Ben slept.

The winter after that I had a small babe and I would bundle her up in a wrap and wear TR's jacket over top of us both.  Then we'd go out walking.  Ben was fine with the sled this year and even loved to get out and walk.  We had some slow ambles as everything is interesting to investigate (even snow clumps!).  And there were moments when we'd have to stop and watch all the interesting street cleaning going on.  But it wasn't the exercise so much as the change of scenery, the birds, the air - just being outside.

It's so therapeutic for me.  In the summer we pretty much live outside and I find it hard to be indoors so much in the winter.  Yesterday I was so very tired and it wasn't a good time  to nap.  I bundled up the older two as Kara was napping and we all went outside for a bit.  I fed the bunnies, carried out the compost, shoveled out swings so the kids could play on them, breathed in the air.   By the time I came in I was ready again to face the tasks ahead of me without too many yawns :) I'm so thankful that the weather has been warmer this week and we can enjoy being outdoors!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

152! & Wheat Loss

I had my first prenatal today.

The very best part?

Hearing my baby's heartbeat :)  152 beats per minute.

*sigh*  I could listen to that sound for hours . . .


On another note that I think is pretty cool is that I wore pants the other day that didn't fit me 3 weeks ago.  Strange don't you think?  In a normal pregnancy you gain weight and clothes become tighter - not looser!

Not that I'm trying to lose weight by any means!

A few weeks ago I noticed that I could only wear my pants comfortably if the button was undone.  That was highly annoying and so I just resorted to leaving them in the drawer.  I'm not actually big enough for maternity clothes yet so I've just been wearing looser fitting skirts.

The other day I was really wanting to wear pants and since I was just going to be at home I figured what did it matter if I had to have the button undone all day?

I didn't have to undo the button once!

So instead of gaining inches around my middle - it seems to me that I've lost instead!  I haven't been sick.  I've been eating like normal - except . . .

Except for wheat.  I haven't eaten wheat in about a month.  If you do any research on it, lots of people say that they lose weight - and specifically inches around the waist by abandoning wheat.  And that is what I believe happened to me.  It's not to say the pants were loose on me all of a sudden - because they weren't, but they certainly were not as tight as they had been.

Certainly not the reason I gave up on wheat, but a cool side effect anyway :)  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Moving by Fast!

I am around 13 weeks.  13 weeks!!!!!!  Seems a little unbelievable to me actually.  The first trimester is  nearing an end and soon, very soon, I will feel my baby moving!

I find it interesting how things change with every pregnancy.  This time around I find it even more astonishing how I will sometimes forget that I'm pregnant.  Not that I really forget, but it's not the first-most thought in my mind.  I have my first appointment with the doctor soon and instead of waiting anxiously like I have in past pregnancies, I am so busy caught up with what's going on with my other three children that I actually am starting to hope that I won't simply forget to go!  Not that I'm not excited to hear the heartbeat for the first time (because I am!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

What a wonderful gift is new life! 

I find myself often looking at Kara and while I'm very happy to have another baby, there is a measure of sadness for me in her being a big sister.  With every new baby the youngest one grows up.  And does it quickly!!  I feel sad that once the new baby is here Kara will be a "big girl".  It just happens and it's normal and natural - but it still pulls at my heart strings a little.  Not that she's not already growing up!  Every day she astonishes me with how she is losing her baby-ness.  The other day she asked for toast with "honey on the top" (how Ben always asks for toast).  She sounded so big!  She's often stringing together three words in her sentences now and almost always responds with answers when questioned instead of just copying back.  Although there are times she copies back and it makes the kids a little frustrated!  For example:
"Kara this is your car."
"Yours?" With head slanted and the cutest expression of questioning in her eyes.
"No Kara, it's yours!"
"No, yours!"

Putting her socks on so we can head out the door :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

1st Time Skating

Yesterday was a very exciting day for my Chloe - she went skating for the very first time!  About a month and a half ago I was in a second hand store and I looked at the skates with her foot size in mind but I really wanted to buy her hockey skates and not figure skates and either they didn't have any or I changed my mind (I can't actually remember why I didn't end up buying any!) I think I was also hesitant because I didn't want to buy her something that she would never use.  TR owns skates but is usually so busy in the winter working that he has never skated much.

We ended up going skating with some friends of ours and I began to wonder if maybe she would appreciate some skates.  So when I was back at the second hand store last week I looked and to my excitement, not only did they have a pair that I thought would fit Chloe, but it was also 50% off!  So I paid $3 for the pair.  I thought that even if she had no interest in them I wouldn't be out much money at all.

Was I ever in for a surprise!

She absolutely LOVED the skates.  She put them on in the porch and kept them on for 15 minutes sometimes. 

She would wake up in the morning and rush to try on her skates again.  She would ask and ask again for us to take her skating.  I was supposed to go to a woman's retreat on Saturday but TR ended up working and I had to stay home.  On Friday night she didn't know yet that TR was not going to be home with them the next day and went to bed so excited because Daddy was going to take her to the "skating park" the next day.  I think it was almost all she thought about!  I couldn't take her skating on Saturday, but on Sunday it finally worked to go!

We went with my sister and her boyfriend, Mark.  TR didn't skate as he was very tired that day - he got to watch Kara and Benjamin play all over the bleachers :)  Mark is a good skater and he was so kind and patient and taught Chloe how to skate! 

It was so precious to watch.  She had this serious expression on her face and was so intent on concentrating on learning.  She fell a few times, but nothing serious or painful (I was so thankful for that!).  She did not want to stop and we ended up being there for over an hour. 

She didn't complain once that her feet hurt or that she was tired.  By the end she was pushing her support away and skating to it, and even skating towards Mark without any help.  I was so proud of her!  I have come to realize that when she wants to do something she goes hard core for it.  With the same enthusiasm and determination that she is learning to swim, is the same as when she was learning to skate yesterday.

Even Benjamin got to skate! Although I think he had more fun falling down on purpose! Silly boy :)