February 28, 2010

Small World

I met Hannah this morning. She was visiting our church for the first time. She has bright eyes and a contagious smile. Immediately, I like her. We chatted a little bit. She's the 6th of 11 children in her family. It turns out that her family attends the same religious group that my chiropractor with 9 children attends. They all have large families and are very open and friendly. They are seriously good people. I shared that we had 5 children in 5 years. I didn't expect her next question. "Wow. Do you have 2 in diapers then?" Uh, no. If I had known that little comment would lead to me dropping a bomb...I probably would not have mentioned it. Most people say something like my hands must be full with 5 kids. They are. With 5. With 4. It's still true. My hands are full. Grieving for a child can be as weighty as actually having that child run around your house, dumping his dinner plate, or coloring on walls. And I am the mother of 5 children within 5 years.

We continued...I was a bit uncomfortable having definitely changed the atmosphere around our conversation. I wanted to make it positive. I'm a different person now. If I could, I would take all of the lessons I've learned since September 2008 and be a better person without having Evan die. Alas, it was not meant to be. Evan continues to change me. He is the catalyst for much of my growth.

As more of my story unfolded, Hannah surprised me by blurting out that she had prayed for our family after Evan died. Her compassion for a family - my family- who she didn't know touches my heart. And the connection I feel with her solidifies.

Another family that goes to my chiropractor's church moved in three doors down from our old house not too long before we moved. We knocked on their door on Halloween 2008. They invited us in. We chatted for 10 minutes or so and the boys got treats. Our story unfolded a little bit. They had heard about us from our chiropractor. They didn't know we were neighbors. They had been praying for us. Hannah came to our neighbors after we had gone.

So many of our paths cross each other. It's a small world. And so much smaller with the personal connections and prayers we offer on behalf of others.

February 26, 2010

Awards


My wonderful son was awarded today for "always being kind and respectful to [his] classmates." I love this. Especially since he shows little mercy with his siblings at home. Occasionally these days he will not tease them for a few minutes a day. That's usually when he's playing the card game "spider" on the computer. Other than that it's a hit here or a kick there. Calling a name or pushing. Everyone is "stinky" or "stupid". What I'm in awe of is how different Graeden's behavior is at school...and I've witnessed it when I've been in the classroom. Someone's pencil box falls off the desk and he's right there, of his own choosing, helping to pick up the contents. Maybe we should be giving out awards at family home evening. Throw in a date with Dad for ice cream and maybe we can get some kind and respectful behavior at home.
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February 25, 2010

Going Rogue


Just Read: Sarah Palin's audio book, Going Rogue: An American Life. Loved it. But actually, I listened to it. Sarah actually reads the audio book and it's neat to hear her voice as she shares her life and beliefs. I spent a few hours cleaning my room just to give me an excuse to listen to longer segments than a 15 minute drive to school or 7 minute drive to the Y. I finished in one day...the mark of a truly good book. 


What I liked most is how REAL Sarah is. I really like her as a person and I want to read her blog. I identify with many of her beliefs. I finally understand some of the energy issues with Alaska. For example, for decades oil companies have sat on their land leases and not developed oil fields responsibly like they could/should have done. Not only is American oil not being accessed, but since we NEED oil for energy and products we are pumping billions of dollars into other countries economies that we could be keeping in ours....and other governments aren't held to high environmental standards like we are...and other governments can jack up oil prices or cut production and some Middle Eastern countries that have lots of oil actually hate Americans...not so smart to depend on them. 

I truly hope that Palin is not done with the national stage. I think we could use a few more politicians like her in every political party.

February 24, 2010

Yay!



Every time we get these Blue Diamond Smokehouse almonds out we hear an audible "yay!" from Jocelyn. It is pretty much the cutest little voice ever. I'm not sure how she chews them up with only 6 incisors but she does and she LOVES them. As I type, she is sitting on my lap eating and every few almonds I hear another "yay!" escape her lips. I'm pretty grateful for them because she doesn't really like eating much of anything else these days. Funny how early food preferences come in.

February 17, 2010

Cookies for Dinner

It's happening. I'm turning into my mother....trying to "hide" nutrition in my cooking. Well, hide isn't exactly the right word. My kids actually like dumping grain into my new grain mill and hearing the racket and then seeing the flour appear in the bin. But seriously folks, this is getting out of control. And by "this", I mean me.

I permanently borrowed a whole grain book(let) from my parents a few years ago because of its outlook on grains. I liked it because it supports using whole grains to feed our bodies and doesn't rely on supplements or vitamins or whatever else makes up the new fad. And it is supported by the Word of Wisdom, a health law I firmly believe in. The book teaches that each grain has a body function that it helps support. For example, oats help the bladder, barley the heart, wheat the liver and there are more. If you combine these grains into mixes then the benefits of the flour on your organs and health become synergistic. 


I just made the kids Cookies for Dinner. These bad boys are made with kamut/wheat/barley/oat/pea (yes that green tint is from peas) flour. I substituted in ground flax seed instead of using oil or butter. No sugar...well there is agave syrup - the sweetest low glycemic miracle ever. And peanut butter and banana. I like these cookies and so did my kids. I like the look of the ones I rolled in my hand better than the ones I just dropped on the pan. There are several recipes in the Cookies for Dinner book, but I decided to just see what happened when I substituted my special flour, sugar and fatty flax seed into a normal recipe. It works. Hallelujah. I think we're going to survive without white flour.

February 15, 2010

Avatar

 

In this film publicity image released by 20th Century Fox, the character Neytiri, voiced by Zoe Saldana, left, and the character Jake, voiced by Sam Worthington are shown in a scene from, "Avatar." The film was nominated Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 for an Oscar for best picture. The 82nd Academy Awards will be presented on March 7.
Tymon and I went to the IMAX this afternoon. Wow. Intense.
I had a sore bum after 3 hours. And the 3-D glasses hurt my ears.

I'm not whining. It was a beautiful love story.  One that we've heard before. I liked it the first time I saw it. They called it Pocahontas.

"Doughnuts"

For Valentine's Day, Tymon got me a grain mill. Now to most people this may not sound exciting and may even land them in The Dog House. I, on the other hand, really wanted one.


The first thing I wanted to try was making an alternative flour...like as in one not made with wheat. I had about 1/2 a cup of 3 different "grains" and so I decided to use those up because they've been in my pantry a long time...not as long as my yeast...but a fair amount of time.
These little balls were suposed to be parmasan cheese biscuits. They should have been fabulous. Jovana and I used to make them...and they don't need yeast so everything was looking good. Ha h ahahahhahaaaa. Wow. It turns out that navy bean/yellow split pea/lentil flour is disgusting....even with the parmasan. Who knew??? The best part is that the boys called them doughnuts and they each ate several along with Jocelyn. And I thought their taste buds were getting more developed. Nope. At least my baking efforts didn't go to waste. I think I'll stick to recipes in my new book: The Power of Flour, which teaches you how to cook with lots of different flours.

February 14, 2010

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow

Tonight Tymon and I saw Annie. It was SO good. Tymon keeps telling me that we saw it last time it came to Seattle. But I just don't remember it. There were several jabs made at President Roosevelt, the lousy economy and his New Deal. What's funny is that there seemed to be so many similarities between him and Obama.

Seeing Annie and her adoption story, I'm reminded of my recent thoughts that our family should adopt again. Ever since the earthquake in Port au Prince last month, I've been thinking that we should adopt a Haitian child. We talked to Graeden about it. He liked the idea. He wanted an older brother. Then he thought we should get a couple of girls. "Let's get two because we have a lot of room on our trampoline and there are only 3 of us (he doesn't include Jocelyn). A lot more than 3 can jump at the same time." And really, is there a better reason to adopt than that? We have plenty of room for more kids to jump.

Then I think about how crazy it would be in our home to add another child. And often, I just miss the little someone that should be here. Yes, I'd be delighted with my Little Extra Crazy. When I imagine our reunion, I think of it like Sara's with her boy...and a true miracle like Lazarus's. Only it'll feel so much sweeter having my own miracle. Tears of Joy. Pure Joy.

February 12, 2010

Bunny Bread

I've been loving Amazon the past few months ever since I got the Prime membership. What I love is not just the free shipping on Amazon products, but that they arrive at my front door in just two days. Wow. And if I want it faster...like the next day...it's only $3.99 extra. I love it.



My latest find is a great bread maker. Well, it's supposed to be great anyway. It had great reviews. The loaves online always looked perfect. I wonder if I got the same product... 

I tell you, my boys loved the virgin loaf. We named it bunny bread. ha ha ha...it's pretty much the saddest thing I've ever made...or seen for that matter. To be fair to Zojirushi, I think that my yeast was too old. Apparently, I haven't done any baking in a while because the expiration date on my yeast was in 2005. Oops. I'm happy the banana bread turned out better.

February 9, 2010

Dr. Elliott Is In The House


This morning I entered the kitchen to find Dr. Elliott (4 years old) with Jocelyn (16 months) and my blood glucose tester. He had a test strip loaded in and was adjusting the finger poker. I caught him right before he was about to collect a sample of her blood. So, yeah, Dr. Elliott thinks this is a game. Oh, how I wish it weren't real!
Sunday morning, I tested each one of the kids' over night fasting glucose levels. Jocelyn was so cute. I wanted to do the boys in order of age so I could keep the readings in order and not forget who went in when. Jocelyn watched as each boy got pricked. She sat next to me holding her finger out patiently in between each of her brothers...desperately wanting a turn. I have put that image in my mental photo album.

February 6, 2010

LOST



As of 10 minutes ago, Tymon and I are now up to date on the new season of LOST. I firmly believe that the title of this show is less about people being stranded on a time shifting island and more about the confusion of me and other viewers trying to follow multiple dimensions, love triangles with dead people, resurrection of the dead, smoke clouds creating bodies to possess and going on killing rampages, several sets of island natives, the same person being alive in two different places and the hook of time travel in the plot. I just don't get it. And I can hardly wait for the next episode ... maybe we'll have to wait a few weeks and then watch several in one sitting. I like it better that way...it's not nearly as suspenseful and I can breathe easier.

February 4, 2010

Come Hell or High Water

Jovana was a joy to have in our home. We shared more life experiences together than one family should ever really have to share and in so doing she truly became one of us (sorry to the Paunovic clan, we're actually out to steal her from you). One of the greatest blessing of having Jovana stay with us was her dedication to accomplishing the only assignment she technically had. In the beginning, we talked about various chores that are necessary to keeping a household running. We gave her a choice of what she wanted to do and she chose one of my most dreaded tasks...the dishes.


Jovana leads and active life. Always doing something. (I guess everyone is always doing something, but Jovana's activities were pretty worthwhile somethings.) It didn't matter what had happened during the day, whether she came home on the school bus or after play practice or we picked her up from a debate tournament at 11:30 pm, Jovana ALWAYS did the dishes when she got home. She even did dishes if she had been out of town on a trip for a few days with her exchange group or the debate team and came home to a full sink. It didn't matter what time it was. It mattered to her that she completed her chore.

Oh how I love Jovana! Not because she did the dishes all the time. But because she taught me about how much effort and diligence it takes to accomplish goals. It's not something that just happens. It really requires dedication.

Last week, after living in a disaster zone of a home for weeks, I had an idea. Usually, my ideas are short lived. But this one I named: Come Hell or High Water. So already, just by putting hell in the title of my idea, it was destined to be a hit. I emailed Tymon with a list of daily duties. He could chose one for him and one for me. I did the same. We discussed it and then we decided to either do the one we chose or the one that meant the most to the other. Tymon chose dishes and I chose counters with the school papers/mail sorting mess.

AND...after a week, our house still has disaster elements to it. BUT at the end of the day we are both putting in a little bit of effort and it's paying off with LESS chaos.

February 2, 2010

Stuck

Since working on the heaps of paper in my disaster zone of a home office, I have had a song stuck in my head. I found it while sorting and filing and recycling. One of the reasons why it takes me so long to do this project is that I like to relive the past when I look at old things. So, I found a folder from a program I was involved with when I was 16 years old. The song I Walk By Faith by Janice Kapp Perry and Joy Saunders Lundberg was in it. Instead of just looking at it and moving on, I stopped what I was doing and had a song break. Yes, if you were in my home you would have seen me sitting in a pile up to my head in boxes and papers and belting out the tune:

I walk by faith
A daughter of heavenly parents
Divine and I in nature
By inheritance
And someday 
When God has proven me
I'll see him face to face
But just for here and now 
I walk by faith
Yes, just for here and now
I walk by faith

There's more to it. But this is the part that repeats endlessly in my mind. Just in case you, too, would like it to stick in your mind: you can see the sheet music here and listen to the song here.
 
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