PHANEROO \fan-er-o-oo\Greek: to manifest in word or deed.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Correct Me If I'm Wrong (and I'm rarely wrong)

Just joking on the title! Ha ha, funny, funny. But, really. I'm going out on a limb here, and correct me if I'm wrong. Has Easter Sunday become more like Mercedes Benz Fashion Week? If you go out into the various retail stores, and into a church on Easter Sunday, you might begin to believe that it is. Most everyone has become accustomed to the secular Easter equation: Bunnies + Eggs + Baby Chicks = Easter. It's fun watching the kids run across the yard hunting for eggs (weird tradition by the way). And then when they crack open the egg they find not a yolk but a bunch of sugar and chocolate (did I mention how weird that tradition is?). But seriously, another tradition that bothers me more because it is so popular, and expected, in church among Christians is the parade of Easter frock. It bothers me when the focus of this hugely important day of remembrance turns into a day to unveil a new summery, floral dress, sparkly new shoes, and coordinating handbag. Don't get me wrong. I'm a girl and I innately love all these lovely things. But if I'm not careful, my head and heart during the days and weeks leading up to Easter can drift more toward "What am I going to wear on this big day?" instead of "Praise you Jesus for victory over sin and death!" Therefore, I decided months ago, in a way to protect my straying heart and mind, that I would forgo purchasing any Easter-wear for myself and children. We will still be respectful and wear appropriate clothing to church - Schaeffer believes his Batman shirt is his "Sunday best." But, no new clothing for us. I will wait until it all goes on clearance the week after.

~As an aside, BJ and I were discussing Easter a few weeks ago. He said, "You know how people tailgate and camp out in the parking lot of the stadium before the Super Bowl? Well, since Easter is like the Super Bowl for Christians why don't we camp out and tailgate on Saturday night in the church parking lot?!" I love my hubby and his wildly crazy ideas. I honestly believe he would do it. Maybe next year when Charlotte is a bit older we can consider an all-night Easter tailgate party.~

A School Year in Review - Many Praises!

(Grab yourself a cup of coffee - this is a long one!)

Whew! Just 4 more weeks of school left before summer break and before we wrap up Lily's first year of school. In a lot of ways it has flown by. In a lot of other ways it has painfully dragged on. This year we faced a lot of challenges (and we continue to face some) that has tried to drag us down, slow our momentum, block our way. But we are prevailing in this first year of homeschool (with the help of a God-sent co-op program).

The year started off with Lily getting glasses just before school began. Her vision was worse than 20/400 in both eyes - that's beyond legally blind! And after a few months into school, and a few months into wearing her glasses, her vision strengthened to 20/70 with her glasses - still legally blind (considered low vision) but strong enough for her to succeed in school with no visual impairment aids. My little girl is a trooper! Now her vision with her glasses is 20/25 in both eyes. Dr. G is striving for 20/20 or better and he tells me we will get there by the time she is age 10-12 years old and that's without glasses. Praise Jesus that Lily's vision problem is completely correctable!

Just two months into school my pregnancy with Charlotte turned risky with threats of pre-term labor. I was sidelined many days with contractions coming 4-6 times an hour. When those occured I had to lay down and rest and hope they calmed down. School was placed on the back burner on many days. I was on medication and restricted activity to control the contractions. Praise Jesus that the pregnancy went full term and Charlotte is a happy, healthy, little girl!

And then a week before Christmas, Lily fell and broke her arm. This involved an overnight stay in the hospital and surgery the next morning to place pins in her arm and install a cast. She wore her cast for 3 weeks. During that time she struggled to bathe, dress herself, get comfy in bed to sleep, do school work, and many other things. We lost even more time doing school. Despite this hurdle, praise Jesus that Lily was able to keep up with her learning and continued to grow in her knowledge of math, reading, writing, science and social studies!

Just a few weeks ago Lily faced another hurdle when we were instructed to place drops in Lily's eyes to dilate them 3 days before her next eye exam. I don't know the exact reason this is needed, but Dr. G gave the orders and we followed them. Unfortunately, dilated eyes become very blurry and especially with vision up close. This added another challenge with school work. Her vision remained blurry for at least a week following her eye exam. We made some accommodations to help Lily see her school work. At home I wrote all her lessons very large on a dry erase board. We skipped handwriting lessons that week because it was a huge frustration for her. It was apparent that she couldn't see the lines on her handwriting paper. For her days at school, I transposed all the problems on her worksheets onto plain white paper with a very large, bold Sharpie marker. Her teacher said it really seemed to help her. Praise Jesus we got through that week and Lily even got a cute new pair of purple glasses with a new lower prescription (+6.50 instead of +7.50 as before).

During this school year, and even before then, we have observed Lily having problems with certain things. These problems have become more pronounced with the added expectations of having to learn to read and write and remember facts and processes. Her teacher at River's Edge is noticing and now even the room moms are noticing what we've observed for many months now. After being strongly advised by our pediatrician, we took Lily to be evaluated. The results are not complete yet because we still lack a language/auditory evaluation, but the preliminary results are pointing to dyslexia or some sort of auditory processing disorder. We praise Jesus for placing in our path the most fabulous, experienced, intuitive, knowledgeable, kind-hearted Occupational Therapist this side of the Mississippi! Her name is Mrs. Kathy. She explained that these initial evaluations are a process of elimination. Lily scored on a 5-year-old level for visual integration and a 4-year-old level for visual-motor integration. She is 6 years old. The language/auditory eval next week will help us get a fuller picture of what could be causing the delays. Kathy is familiar with Lily's history since she worked with her 3 years ago when she was going through feeding therapy and occupational therapy due to sensory processing disorder. Kathy observed that Lily could use a little bit more help in maturing the nervous system in regards to the vestibular system. Sensory therapy is an amazing thing! If you've never dealt with this sort of thing, it will blow your mind how complex the brain and nervous system are and how certain activities can greatly affect a child whose nervous system lags behind in development. I cannot explain it, but I'm so grateful to God for placing the right people in our path who have a very deep and thorough understanding of this and who have devoted their lives to helping "sensory" children. We praise Jesus that we will be on top of these issues before they cause major frustration and delays in Lily's abilities at school!

We look forward to summer break! I foresee lots of outdoor adventures and some lazy days (for the kids that is. I'm way too busy with 4 kids to relax). I was making small talk with the wife of our co-op's administrator today, Mrs. Moe. She spoke such truth, and I'm certain she didn't even know it was what I needed today. As she was walking away she said, "the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). This verse has resounded in my heart and soul all day as I have struggled with a mixture of thoughts and emotions about our first year of homeschool. Some of these thoughts and emotions are from the deceiver himself, some are from my weak sin-nature, and some are from the heart of a mom. I praise Jesus for surrounding us with amazing people who bring encouragement, understanding, and words of Truth at just the right time!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pretty Blue Nursing Dress

I'm working on losing about 25-30 pounds, thanks to Charlotte. Only kidding! It was my fault for putting on more weight than I should've during pregnancy number four. I've decided it was because I'm no spring chicken anymore and the metabolism isn't what it used to be. Nonetheless, I'm left with 25-30 pounds to lose and I'm hoping to do it before my bro-ham's wedding in June. If I reach my goal of 25 pounds then I am going to allow myself to purchase a new nursing dress that I found and really adore. I hope to buy a size SMALL. Since I'm only 5' 2" that should be a very realistic goal. The challenge is to cut out enough calories to lose weight, but not too many that it jeopardizes my milk production. I definitely don't want Charlotte to go hungry! Therefore, I have to be careful to get enough calories but focus on healthy ones. So, I've made two changes to my diet:

1) Eat whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean meat like chicken and fish. I eat 4-5 times a day since I get hungry often from nursing. For breakfast I eat a scrambled egg and 2 pieces of whole grain toast with a glass of skim milk. Then I make a smoothie (more about that in a minute) around 11 a.m. For lunch I've eaten a variety of things, such as, a salad or buckwheat soba noodles with snow peas, carrots, and red pepper seasoned with a bit of soy sauce. For dinner we eat a big variety of things. This week we had a new recipe called Sweet-Potato and Black-Bean Chili garnished with a tablespoon of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro. It was yummy! Other nights we've had a strawberry and spinach salad with chicken, walnuts and feta cheese. That's BJ's favorite. Some other favorites amongst our family include roasted chicken and steamed green beans or baked salmon with mashed sweet potatoes.

2) This second change to my diet has boosted my nutrient intake. I've started using Visalus nutritional shakes (or smoothies as I like to call them), which is mainly soy and whey protein that you mix with skim milk and fruit or a bunch of other choices like peanut butter and unsweetened cocoa. Wow! This stuff is so yummy. And, it helps to boost my protein intake since it has 20+ grams of protein per smoothie and contains 5+ grams of fiber, plus a whole slew of other great nutrients like A, B, E, and D vitamins, calcium, potassium, folate, niacin, and so many more.

With these small changes that I've made over the past 2 weeks, I've already lost 5 pounds. I've had more energy from eating more nutritious foods that my body must've been craving. Plus, I feel better about sharing those nutrients with Charlotte.

I've tried to walk or run at least 3-5 times per week to boost the fat burn and to get a break from kiddos, breathe some fresh air and clear my head.

I hope to hit my goal if I lose about 2 pounds per week.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Free Gifts at

Griffin is beginning to outgrow his size medium gDiaper covers, which come in sizes small, medium or large. No fear, Charlotte is waiting in the wings for his outgrown dipes. But, I was left with a delimma - do I purchase the next size up or do I purchase a one-size cover, such as GroVia or Flip? I decided to go with a one-size so that Charlotte and Griffin can share when needed. I chose the Flip Diapering System because it is a lot like gDiapers with the inserts and waterproof cover that can be used over and over. A little while ago I ordered one Flip diaper with one of their Stay-dry inserts to give it a trial run. I like them as well as the gDiapers and the inserts from the gDiapers can be used with Flip and visa-versa. Today I went online to Cotton Babies' website (they are the peeps who make BumGenius, Flip, and EconoBum) to order more Flip and they are running a special where you get a free gift of a pack of disposable inserts (great for traveling and no time to stop and do laundry), and when you spend $100 on their site you get free BabyLegs. I wanted to share this info with other moms in case you were looking into purchasing cloth diapers, specifically Flip, EconoBum or BumGenius because now would be a good time to buy from and get some free stuff.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A New Blogger Friend

I wanted to direct your attention to some friends, the Ellis'. I am so excited for them as they traverse the adoption journey.

P.S. Thanks for all the uplifting messages left in the comments from "I need to know...". It is so helpful to know that I am not alone, especially on a day when I felt like an island unto myself. I spent some time in prayer and asked God for calmness of spirit, peace, and understanding of how to deal with each individual little-person living under our roof. He fulfilled my requests and today was much better. Love all my sister-mommies out there!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I need to know...

I need to know that I'm not alone. Today was tough. I am not going to lie. All four kiddos were especially rotten or demanding today. I won't go into all the details but generally they were all acting their ages: Lily (6), Schaeffer (3), Griffin (almost 2), and Charlotte (2 months). With days like today, I need to know I'm not the only one who...
...sometimes wants to throw in the towel and give up on this parenting thing.
...wonders if my voice is being heard over all the craziness in our home.
...has sat in the middle of the floor and cried out of frustration.
...lost my temper and raised my voice one too many times.
...locked my bedroom door and got into the shower just to drown out the demanding cries for just a few minutes.
...wonders how I'm going to start another morning with a happy positive attitude on only 4 hours of sleep.
...begs for just a 2 hour break that doesn't involve thinking, reading, correcting, or wiping.
...has forgotten to take photos of the fourth child and then has realized she is 2 months old already. avoiding making any more appointments, promises, or anything else that would require a commitment of my time. missing alone time with a neglected husband.
...feels guilty for not doing more today.
...hopes to read a good book again one day. envious of people who tell me of their amazing "quiet times" with God and then feel guilty over my sin of envy.
...embraces any moment that brings me to my knees in prayer and then calls it a daily devotion.
...has researched how much a nanny costs.