May 2010

I must keep this brief.  You will see why.

The good:  the military medical paperwork came through, and we can officially move to our new assignment in Colorado now!  As of now, base housing is still available, so I plan on signing the lease on Friday.  The house is mostly packed, most of the furniture disassembled, and everyone is ready to go.

The bad: In just 4 days, we will be moving out of our “home” and into a friend’s home for the night, leaving for CO bright and early the next morning.  The time is almost here where we will be leaving the wonderful friends and memories we have made here to begin a new chapter in life.

The ugly: I sprained my wrist.  Yup, you read it right.  I had a half-dozen x-rays this morning and have been ordered to ice it and keep it supportively immobilized with a splint wrap.  I know myself and know that I will over-use it big time if I do anything to lessen the pain, so I haven’t let myself take any painkillers.  I am trying to control the swelling by simply icing and limiting use.  To make it better, it is my right hand–I am right handed.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to pick up a baby, change a diaper, prepare a meal, type a blog post, or prepare for a move with very limited use of your main hand?!  Certainly a challenge I hadn’t counted on!  My beloved has definitely stepped up to the plate and taken over where I fall short though.  He tapes the boxes, I pack ’em.  He is responding to most of my more urgent e-mails for me, and even taken over a great deal of the child care where needed.  I love him more every day.   Looks like I may be like this a few weeks yet. 

That being said, I don’t know if I will be able to post any more before we move.  If not, please keep us in your prayers.


Exactly 8 days from now, we will be moving out of our home and into a hotel.  9 days from now, I will get up early, feed the children, load them (and the dog) and a few belongings all into our van and head toward our new base.  9 days from now, I will see this city for probably the last time.  S will then spend that day loading the truck with a help from some friends, complete his work sign outs (we hope), and leave the next day.  The goodbyes started last week, with the big ones taking place over the weekend when our family worship group from church threw us a very meaningful and memorable farewell party.  Moving is such a bittersweet endeavor–bitter in saying goodbyes, but at the same time, sweet in the anticipation of what God has in store for us in the near future.

The house is almost packed.  All pictures and wall hangings have been removed.  The decor is packed.  We will mostly complete the packing this weekend.  The kids are definitely getting a bit more difficult than usual.  The chaos of ever-present changes in environment and routine that aren’t understood leaves the babies quite cranky.  S and M are bickering a bit more than usual.  Even the dog is becoming more clingy, following me around like a shadow half the time (a big deal when he weighs about 80 pounds!).  I’m sure I’m becoming a little tired of the changes in attitudes and getting a little more impatient myself.   

Thank the Lord for dear friends who have offered to help in so many ways.  One friend brought her little boy over and just hung out for several hours yesterday.  It was a wonderful distraction for us, allowing me time to just fellowship with another mother, and giving the kids an opportunity to play with someone new.  I was then invited to join them and another friend with children later in the day for dinner.  Since S was gone last night, I jumped at the opportunity to get out and fellowship probably one last time.  This same friend offered to take all my children one whole morning this week to let me get much-needed tasks accomplished without interruption.  We received another offer for this weekend.  2 families will each be taking 2 of our children for an evening and a night to allow S and I some time to celebrate my upcoming birthday and just have time to remember that our relationships as a family are more important than any of the stressors we are facing now.  I cannot thank all of you enough for the help! 

As far as the move is concerned, we have little resolution on any issues since my last moving post.  We are still planning on base housing, nothing new there.  We have not yet received any news regarding the medical paperwork that is holding up the process.  S has been trying to contact people to find out the status, but no one is responding.  Because I cannot technically live on the base, S will be officially done with his job here, yet cannot officially sign out without the paperwork process being completed, we will unload the truck into the house and then head to the farm within 2 days.  Essentially, 14 days from now, I will be at Red Gate.  We don’t know for how long, since I can’t return to my new “home”  until we get word the paperwork is completed and S can officially out-process from this base. 

Thus the adventure is now in full swing.  The next few weeks could be challenging as we complete packing and cleaning, live in hotels, me driving 13 hours, inspecting houses, and signing a lease with 4 children in tow, meeting up with S to unload the truck into the new house, getting all our addresses changed, heading on another day-long drive to the farm.  In the midst of all that, I have to pack all the supplies (including my medical supplies) for an undetermined amount of time. 

My prayer at this point is that we can go with the flow, complete our tasks one thing at the time, take each day as it comes, keep our focus on God and family, and look forward to starting this new chapter in our lives.  I know things may be difficult for a while, but I also know God has a great plan and a purpose for all this.  I am indeed eager to witness how everything plays out, and to look back a few years from now, and hopefully have all the mysteries of this time make sense.

Oh, I have come to love ginger!  That ugly root is capable of making my life soooooo much easier.  Outside of the rare occasion I took the powder form out of my spice cabinet when baking, I knew little about ginger until about a year ago.  You may have read the post about a challenging grocery shopping experience I had last April.  (You can read it here.) Well, that trip was the first in a series where it became apparent that our little girl had a major problem with motion sickness.  We never know when it will strike, but as a general rule, we can expect that any car ride over about 15 minutes long will result in vomit.  I have tried putting her in the center of the back, against a back window, and even in the front seat.  Nothing helps.  And once the messes get started, it continues to come at regular intervals.  

Well, shortly after the adventure last year, when we realized this was a big problem, we also realized we had a trip to Red Gate coming up.  That meant a 24-hour drive in the van!  I HAD to find a solution to this problem and quick!  One day, after cleaning up more disgusting mess while on a day trip, I swung the car into a health-food store to see if they had anything to offer.  I explained our difficulty, and the incredibly knowledgable lady working there led me to her supplement aisle, and picked up a bottle of chewable ginger tabs.  She swore by them.  I figured, at worst, I’d just be out $10, and best, we might find help, so I bought them.  As soon as I got back in the van, I gave M a tablet.  We then drove the 3 hours home.  For the first time in months, M didn’t once complain about her tummy hurting!  Still doubtful and thinking “coincidence,” I did not give her any tabs on our next 1/2 hour trip.  Sure enough, she threw up.  On the following trip, I gave her a tab, and she was good to go!  Eventually, we made the 24-hour one-way trip to the farm, giving her ginger tabs every 4 hours.  Not once did she vomit.

I decided to do a bit more research on this little root, and discovered that, sure enough, it is a well-known, ancient cure for tummy illnesses!  It has been known to relieve general nausea, pregnancy morning sickness, and motion sickness.  I was onto something here!  I gave it to M pretty religiously for a while.  After several months with no vomiting, I got a bit lax and forgot one day.   I was quickly reminded of the ginger when I heard M’s tell-tale “cough, gag, choke, cry” in the backseat.  Thus, ginger became a good friend.

Recently, we were house-hunting when M came down with a tummy bug.  She began vomiting one evening, had a slight fever, and continued to vomit every 1/2 hour for most of the night.  At one point, I was so tired, I asked S to take over and let me get some sleep.  After the next vomiting spell, he decided to experiment.  He went to the van, got a ginger tab, and had M eat it.  She didn’t vomit again.  Apparently, it soothes the stomach somehow, much like the modern day pink liquid–only safer.

Now, I will say that the ginger has not proven to eliminate these episodes 100%, but I would definitely estimate about 80-90%.  There is no doubt it has helped tremendously.  I have also found that we have more success if we give her the tabs about 15 minutes before getting in the car, rather than giving it to her after we are already driving. 

So, if you have issues with vomiting children, I would definitely say, “Give ginger a try!”  It can’t hurt, and it may make your life so much cleaner!!

I heard about this concept a couple of years ago, and assumed I was the only person who couldn’t come up with it on my own.  I have since been informed that few parents have heard of this idea, so I thought I would share.

If you have children, you have undoubtedly, at some point in time, faced a dreaded crisis in the car or while out and about.  It never fails that during such a crisis you need some commonly used item, but don’t have it.  The crisis can be anything from a diaper blow-out to car sickness to a cold child.  Fortunately, I have found an wonderfully easy and low-maintenance solution!  You simply pack a small bag in the trunk of your car with all the items that could make your life easier.  There is, of course, no limit to what you may decide to put in this bag, but the following is a list of what I currently pack, or have in the past (and I have, at some time or another, needed every item!)

  • Spare diapers (for the forgotten diaper bag) 
  • A cheap travel bag of wipes (handy for older kids too!)
  • Spare baby bottle and a can or pack of formula (for those unexpected delays)
  • Changes of clothes for each child, including underwear (for oops! moments while eating or when they just can’t “hold it” any longer).  The exception is if you have several children, and some that wear clothes within 1 or 2 sizes of each other.  You can get away with having only 1 set for 2 children in this case. 
  • Snacks (for those delayed lunch times)
  • Baby burp cloths or hand towels (for whatever mess could happen)
  • Gallon ziploc bags (for wet or messy items, or just to serve as a trash bag)
  • Back-up Toy (you never know!)
  • Lightweight jacket for each child (we use these all the time, even in the summer since most places we go have the A/C blasting!)
  • Anything else you can think of.  I have been known to occasionally have hand sanitizer, disposable bibs, and even lotion.

I pick lightweight items, so I can fit all the above for all my children into 1 backpack or tote.  It’s not in the way, but is there if I need it.  In addition, I have learned to carry a first aid kit with basic supplies like ointments, cleaners, and bandaids.  We have a seperate one in the car, but if you don’t, then definitely add it to your emergency kit.  The only maintenance that is required is to make sure you refill whatever you use, and go through it when the seasons change (warm/cold) to put appropriate clothing in.  That is also a good time to check on expired baby formula, dried out wipes, or expired snacks. 

This is well worth the few minutes you invest to get it setup!  You will be thankful many times over that you did!

My little girl is growing up!  Can you tell by her smile that she reached a huge milestone today? Look closely!

Ok, here is a better hint…

That’s right.  She got her ears pierced!  I can’t believe it has happened!  After all, babies aren’t supposed to have pierced ears, and she is my baby girl!  Or so I thought until I look at her now.

When she was first born, we knew this day would eventually come, and S and I agreed to wait until she was about 4 years old (or older), AND expressed an intense desire to have them pierced.  I just never dreamed that desire would be so strongly vocalized so early on.  Over the last 6 months or so, she has really been developing into a “girl,” playing dress up in her princess dresses, fixing her hair, playing in my clothes and dresses, and desiring to do anything else that makes her “pretty.”  I only wear make-up about two or three times a year, but she has seen enough that she loves “make-up” (I give her clear lip balm, but she doesn’t know the difference).  She loves to have her nails painted, and she has really fallen in love with jewelery.  Nothing makes her feel more special than when I let her wear one of my “mommy necklaces” on Sundays.  In addition, she has really become fascinated by my earrings during that time.  She plays with them in my ears, watches me put them on, talks about them and how they got there, and so forth.  We decided this summer, for her 4th birthday might be a good time.  However, then I found out that her pediatrician offered the service, and with the upcoming move, I was leary about whether the new base would offer such a thing.  I loved the idea of having a pediatrician do the deed rather than some teenager at the mall.  S agreed, so we decided to do it a little early. 

We explained to M that it would hurt, and talked about it all the week prior.  As it turned out, the first one went flawlessly, but it did hurt.  So, a nurse and I had to hold her in position for the doc to do the second one.  Then it was over, she cried for just a second, and then she felt so proud!  She wanted to see in the mirror immediately.  I had promised her that we would run to the store afterward, and she could use her allowance money to buy something as a treat.  So that’s what we did, and she chose a plastic necklace package to compliment her new gold earrings (you can see one of them in the pic).  $6 only buys so much jewelery, ya’ know!

So now she is one step closer to being a grown-up, “real mommy”–her present dream in life!  And what a worthy aspiration in my opinion!

Thanks to First Fruits Farm, I have found the ultimate granola recipe, and had to share it!  This recipe makes quite a bit, so be aware.

The Ultimate Granola

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cups honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 9 cups rolled oats (I actually use a mixed 9-grain)
  • 1 cup wheat flour (I use fresh-ground soft wheat)
  • about 2 cups of anything else you want (raisins, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds, coconut, sesame seeds, millet, salt, cinnamon, dried berries, vanilla, etc.)

First, combine the oil, butter, and honey in a sauce pan and heat until nice, thin, and runny.  Meanwhile, pour oats and flour into a large stockpot (if mixing by hand) or mixing bowl (if using a mixer).  Pour warm oil mixture over oats and mix until all grains are well-coated.  Add in other ingredients and mix well.  Pour and spread mixture as desired (see below) onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, or until just golden on the edges.  Cool completely.  Depending on the size of your baking sheet, this last step may require 2-3 baking sheets to use all the mixture. Enjoy!!

  • For granola cereal/snack mix, just pour mixture onto cookie sheet, and gently spread over cookie sheet about 1/3 -1/2 inch thick.  There will be some gaps.  After cooling, this can be crumbled further if desired, and stored either in the fridge/freezer to make it last longer, or at room temp if you plan to eat it within a week.
  • For granola bars, pour mixture onto cookie sheet, and use a rolling pin to firmly press it into a 1/3 inch solid sheet of granola.  Slice (I use a pizza cutter) into desired sized bars, then gently roll over the top again to press any crumbles back down. Bake.  Allow to cool for a couple of minutes.  While bars are still soft, use a spatula to gently break them apart where you previously sliced them.  Cool completely.  Store in fridge or freezer to reduce the amount of crumbling.  

As we sit here waiting to see how God will work in our assignment and housing situation, He has no doubt been working in other areas of our life. 

Back in January, we were getting concerned about our baby who seemed to be falling behind developmentally.  On his 1st birthday, he had a doctor’s appointment with a specialist who told us he suspected N had cerebral palsy.  The next 6 weeks brought countless doctor’s appointments and physical therapy appointments to try to prevent him from falling too far behind.  Finally, an MRI gave the official diagnosis of CP.   When I asked what we should expect, the doctor explained that, while N had a mild case, we should expect significant delays.  He likely would not learn to walk until well past his second birthday.  He likely would have trouble with certain tasks requiring limb dexterity and fine motor skills.

The next couple of months were spent trying to loosen his ankles and getting him standing on flat feet instead of pointed toes.  He had to go through a series of foot/ankle casts, eventually being fitted with leg braces to prevent him from standing on his toes.  In the mean time, the Physical Therapist focused on getting his weaker left side strengthened to match his stronger right side. 

Well, I had to show you how God has blessed us, and 15-month-old N, in a tremendous way recently, and in such bigger ways than we could ever have dreamed…..

“For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ ”   —2 Corinthians 6:2

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