Monday, September 27, 2010

Girls Weekend!

In my last post, I mentioned my besties.  Well, here they are!

Aren't they pretty? 

Our husbands let us plan a getaway weekend JUST FOR US and we have been looking forward to it for months.  We spend the entire weekend at the beach, talking till midnight, reading magazines, watching movies, eating healthy foods (hahahahahaha), shopping and just relaxing.  No schedules.  No plans.  Awesome.  Husbands, we love you! 

Of course we had to get a group shot!  It's not something we do often because it gets forgotten in the chaos of screaming, crying, whining children that we are usually surrounded by.  But with a handy self-timer and plenty of time to ourselves, we got some winners!  I am positive the girls are A-OK with me sharing these.  I mean, they posed for them, right? (please don't kill me)

So, we said,  "Sexy pose!"
This is what I see:

Sexy-ish pose, Heehee, Youtalkintome?, Sexy, Scary

Let's try again:

Same, I'm embarrassed, I'm sorry,  Evil Eye, Demon

Okay, try silly on for size!

You know you are laughing right now!
You want more?

Hopefully, they are still my besties.  'Cause I really, really love them. They are my sisters, my gifts from God. 

I love you, you gorgeous girlies!
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

You don't own me

So.  This post is a long time in coming, but I'm ready people.  I'm ready.

I found out about 9 months ago that I have Celiac's disease.  After some awesome tests that I won't go into detail on, I was hoping for lactose intolerance or something less formidable, but no such luck.  Incidentally, I found out on New Years Eve, RIGHT BEFORE we enjoyed a HUGE pasta dinner with our good friends.  Lovely!  I decided to enjoy one last delicious meal before changing my entire eating habits for the rest of my life.  You gotta live a little!

For anyone who doesn't know about Celiac's, it means I can't eat gluten.  It's not an allergy - not an intolerance.  It destroys my intestines, which then means that I don't get any nutrients from my food.  The only way to be "well" is to never eat anything with gluten in it.  Sounds easy enough, except gluten is in EVERYTHING! 

At first, I was disappointed.  I was sad.  No more cake???  Oreos?  Stroganoff?  Think of anything super-delicious that you love -- it probably has gut-rot (well, for me anyhow) in it.  Wah!  I could talk forever about all the feelings and emotions I went through, but really, what good does it do now?  I had to visit a gastroenterologist, where I had a minor breakdown because I was the only person in the waiting room under the age of 65.  I remember thinking, "I don't belong here."  This is the kind of thing that happens to other people but never me.  I won't lie.  It sucked.  But when I went in to see the doctor, he said not what I necessarily expected, but exactly what this neurotic girl needed.  He told me that this disease was not a death sentence, it was not going to ruin my life unless I let it.  It is all about perspective and how you want to live.  Some people take such dramatic approaches to this "life" and in turn, aren't able to enjoy themselves.  I didn't want to be that way.  I wanted to be healthy, but more than that, I didn't want to drag my family and friends down with a constant downer approach to my digestive habits.

So, starting out slowly, I just eliminated a lot.  My husband was AWESOME with a capital A.  He never complained.  He was okay when I dropped several staple recipes that I could no longer eat.  He tried all the mooshy brown rice noodles and weird snacks.  My family just adjusted with me while I figured the cooking thing out.  It's definitely been a process, and having a baby does not make it any easier on the experimenting front.  Wyatt is at that awesome age where if you're in the kitchen doing anything at all, he just has to stand next to you, pulling on your pants (or your hairy legs, whichever) and screaming at the top of his lungs, "DEEZ?  DEEZ!"  That means "please" in case you were wondering.  Sometimes I think about chucking whatever food or drink I might be preparing/chopping/pouring at his face and seeing what he does...but I don't.  I mean, what kind of mother would that make me?  Anyhow, I digress.

Today, September 23, 2010 is a big day for me.  It is the beginning of the rest of my life.  You see, I have the world's MOST AMAZING FRIENDS.  You might think you have the best friends ever, but you don't.  I do.  There isn't enough space on the entire blogospere to describe why they are amazing and all that they have done for me.  The moment they found out about my life-change, they were all online looking up information and recipes and anything they could get their hands on.  They would see anything labeled Gluten-Free at the grocery/Starbucks/you name it, and they would buy it for me.  We have had get-togethers, sometimes for their kids' birthday parties, and they have made me MY own cake.  One of them even made a little green bean casserole dish for me on Easter, made with gluten free soup. Seriously.  Don't worry!  I'm crying just typing this right now!  They look out for me, even though it means extra work on their part.  This is, perhaps, one of the hardest things for me.  They all say it makes them happy to take care of me in this way, but I keep thinking, "but this is forever."  It is hard to know that because you have this problem, you will be accepting the gifts and givings of your friends and family forever. People who love you will look out for you, even when you are not asking them to. 

Back to what I was saying...  They and a few others bought me cookbooks.  So many.  These cookbooks don't just have the gluten-free recipes in them I need, they offer so much information about basics of cooking and baking gluten-free.  So for 9 months I have poured over them, marking pages and putting them back.  I wasn't ready.  My baby was still too needy and I didn't have the time to try new things.  But today.  Today!  My children were in good moods, everyone had had lunch and had full bellies, and I did it. 

I MADE PUMPKIN BREAD.  And I can eat it!!!  And people...YUM.  You wouldn't know it wasn't made with death flour.

Perhaps this doesn't sound like the biggest accomplishment to anyone else, but to me, it is a new start.  I have always loved baking and come from a family with the most incredible passed-on recipes.  Silly as it may seem, it has always been a part of my identity.  It feels so good to have this part of me back. 

Has anyone actually read all this? 

To my friends and family and all those (because there are many,  many others who have given me cookbooks, web links, etc.) who have helped me this year, THANK YOU.  You have no idea what you have done for me.  I wouldn't have had the confidence I needed to move forward.  And back to something my doctor said..."You're going to make mistakes, and that is okay.  You live.  You learn.  It's not gonna kill you." 

My perspective is this:  I want to be as healthy as I can so I can live a long and happy life.  I will not let this disease overcome my joy of living or my joy of being in the kitchen.  My kids will still come home from school to fresh cookies, whether I can eat them or not.  What matters is I am here to enjoy life with them and I am happy!  YOU DON'T OWN ME, CELIACS!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Goodbye Summer

Is it just me or did summer just zip by this year? It seems like the sun took forever to even show up and then it was weekend to weekend of one thing or another and then BOOM! Henry's back in school. Even though I feel like I barely got a taste of a true, long summer, I have been reflecting on what made this summer perfect. It's very simple:

Almost every day, we played for hours in the backyard. These are the times that I remember how incredibly blessed I am to get to be at home with my children. I get to witness the unfolding of their relationship. Sometimes that involves tears, time-outs (for me, too!), and make-up hugs, but there are also the really great moments:

Jim and I got to watch Henry develop a bigger interest in sports,

and learn the lessons of try, try again and "we don't play to win, we play because it's fun."

Wyatt is at that beautiful age of exploration. Everything is new and worthy of his full attention (for at least 10 seconds or so). He loves being outside. He loves the sandbox.

He loves his brother.

I'm pretty sure these brothers are the center of my most cherished memories this summer.

This little one learned that Daddy's arms are always ready to catch him,

and are always available for a little snuggle.

This mother learned that her firstborn was no longer a toddler, but a little boy.

Who loves his very flawed and imperfect mama a lot.

Though today I could write about the trials I am facing as a mother, I have decided to end summer on a good note and remember the wonder
and joy
that these kids, my kids, brought me.

But hey there, reader...don't worry. I am not living in a dream world! Moments like this:
did happen. Perhaps frequently.
But this family knows that this summer was perfect.
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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sweet Chili Sauce

Kind of an oxymoron, if you ask me. Although, it does perfectly describe life with these two firecrackers:

Let's be honest. Kids are awesome. Kids are fun - the spice of life!
They can exude warmth and comfort far better than nutmeg and cloves.

And can pack way more of a punch than any hot tamale.

My children can out-do any lemon in a sourface contest.

Occasionally, you have to deal with a little blandness, but that never seems to last too long.

The best times are sugary-sweet. Sharing is plentiful and everyone has love in their hearts.

That is, until a little Cajun tries to liven things up.

Attempting to tone down any spices and their inherent ability to kick it up a notch can often lead to a bit of nastiness,

but a good dose of Daddy's dilliness can turn around any recipe for disaster.

These two kids rock my world! Sometimes its their sweetness and ability to melt my heart with the slightest affectionate word or touch. Other times its that how do I love them so much it hurts, yet I want to be far, far away from them right now kind of a feeling. Either way, they are mine and although we're in a "season" (haha!) of life that has everyone pulling their hair out (and covering their ears) at times, I'll take them. Spices and all.
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