Yesterday we had stake conference. We had a visiting general authority because there was a change in the stake presidency. It was a big deal. There were lots of people there. Elder M. Russell Ballard gave the concluding talk.
To be honest I don't remember a lot of his talk because at that point Spencer was beginning to break down. Two hours of sitting still combined with the day light savings time change meant he was also hungry and tired. I think he handled everything really well considering the situation. What I did catch from the talk was that parents need to work on not raising their voices at their children. Easier said than done and something I'm already working on. Very quickly after that comment he addressed the children. I poked Evelyn and said he's talking to you now. Her ears perked up. He said children need to respect and obey their parents without arguing. (I wish I could remember his exact words!) He said they didn't have to agree with their parents but they were to be respectful. He went on to explain that they should ask their parents further about the rules they felt differently than their parents about so they could better understand why such a rule was in place in their home. Immediately Evenly turned to me and said, "Mom why do you make us do a job every morning?" I responded that we all help in our home to get the work done. That by working together we have time to do fun things together. If mom and dad did all of the work we wouldn't have time for fun family things. After a few minutes passed I felt I need to add to my response. I nudged her and said, "Evelyn Mom and Dad also ask you to do jobs because someday you are going to be a grown up. We're teaching you so that you'll know how to be a good grown up. Imagine what kind of grown up you'd be if we didn't teach you how to do the things grown ups know how to do." She beamed and said "Really?" I guess the thought of learning how to be a good grown up was really appealing.
To add to that I asked her to do her job this morning and there was no complaint. She quickly went and did the work. My jaw was on the floor.
It struck me how much more communication we need between children and parents. Its easy to think that communication is happening just because we're together so much. Togetherness does not necessarily equal communication.
Though I don't remember all or even most of what Elder Ballard said he provided the opportunity for a great teaching moment for both of us.
What made the experience even more special was getting to shake his hand. We were told that the stake presidency would be set apart immediately after the meeting because Elder Ballard had another place to be in the afternoon. Meaning there isn't time to stop to say hi to him but as we were filing out of the building he passed by us and put out his hand to shake hands with each member of our family. So to add to our special moment Evelyn shook an apostle's hand, the very one that spoke and she heard the message.
So I'm making changes in more things than I expected with this corn allergy. There are a number of products I didn't think were made with corn, for instance distilled vinegar. I always thought it was made from wheat. I guess since the government subsidizes corn its in more products than ever before. Since corn and wheat are both grains it's logical that there will be overlaps in their potential uses.
I usually cleaned most surfaces of the house with a mixture of vinegar and water. So that's out now. Instead I spray with water and wipe. I've learned that most cleaning products including vinegar really aren't very effective unless they are left on the surface to be cleaned for several minutes before wiping. I usually spray and wipe so they weren't doing much more good than water anyway. If I want to be sure the surface is not only free of visual dirt but those little germs we can't see, I spray the surface with diluted essential oils that have disinfecting properties and let it dry. I really like it too! It seems just as clean as before with the bonus of being healthy, natural, and great smelling.
For more essential oil combinations with cleaning properties click here. I just notice both links are by the same author but different sites. Maybe I should go look into her natural home cleaning books!
Even though change can sometimes be frustrating, a lot of good frequently comes from moving out of our comfort zones. I find I like this cleaning method better than what I was doing before and it seems to be even less expensive than using vinegar and water. Definitely smells better too.
I'm still working out what to do about liquid dish soap. For now I'm using mostly bar soap but there are a few things that just clean up better with the liquid. Suggestions anyone? Maybe I'll just have to use gloves.
So after three days of candy, two children vomiting, and one child who continually came to me to open candy that I couldn't eat but smelled delicious I decided to do something I've never done before. I offered to buy my children's candy.
Oliver has really wanted the Lego Harry Potter computer game but we told him we weren't buying it. I don't have a problem with the game or Oliver occasionally playing video games. We just weren't putting out the money for another game. So he's been saving every penny he comes across. He earns a quarter a week for bringing in the garbage can (an extra chore). So slowly but surely he's been gathering money. He has almost ten dollars which isn't enough yet but I'm proud he's really stuck to it. Its been months now.
So back to the Halloween candy. When I mentioned that I'd purchase any candy that was left at a per piece rate Oliver jumped on it. He was very careful to keep the ones he still wanted but made a few bucks on the rest which he promptly put in his savings jar. Evelyn found a few candies to earn some change. Spencer, who received the same amount of candy as everyone else, only had two pieces left and wasn't about to give them up. He did find and an open, unfinished candy to trade for a few pennies.
So I decided to extend it further. For every candy Oliver receives from school for good behavior or good work and brings home uneaten, I'll purchase for two quarters a piece. His eyes bugged out. That's double the income of his only paying job or chore and way more than he got per piece of Halloween candy. We both get something we want. I get a child eating less sugar by choice who's following instruction and improving in school and he's going to get that game soon. I think he'll be proud of the work he's done to get it too. I know I am.
So I've got a new doctor who I'm really excited about. I like his philosophy. I believe in what he does. So right now I'm doing a detox/elimination diet. Its something he wants me to do once or twice a year but right now it will show me foods that cause me problems.
The elimination diet is an eight week (longer if needed) schedule of when to bring in what foods back into the diet. The last two weeks I've been able to eat chicken, turkey, fish, nuts and all the vegetables I'd like, plus supplements tailored to my need and condition. Tomorrow I get fruit again. Yeah!!
In less than two weeks I began to feel much better but also found a culprit. Two times I've had foods that unknowingly had corn, a soup that I didn't prepare containing cornstarch and an electrolyte drink that had maltodextrin. Both times I ended up sick for about two days and that was without have had much of either item. Maybe about 1/2 to 1 cup of the soup after a large salad and two servings of the drink. In realizing that both were corn I started looking back and realized corn fits the pattern of my illness.
I've tried telling multiple doctors sugar makes me sick. They all just said it was odd and dismissed it. I would stop eating all forms of sugar other than fruit and then bring it back. Sometimes I'd do fine and other times I would get sick. I couldn't figure out why sometimes I'd get so sick and other times I expected to get sick and didn't. I knew sugary foosd were a culprit but never really thought about it being the type of sugar. I thought I was dealing more with a blood sugar/diabetic issue than an allergy. So I was right, sugar makes me sick, but not all sugar, just corn in all its lovely forms.
So the great news is I can get better! Just cutting it out one week and I could tell the difference.
The bad news is in two weeks of intentionally not eating corn, it still found me. Corn is in practically everything. Thankfully I'm not so allergic that physical touch makes me sick, except when I've had way too much like the glucose drip at the hospital last year. After the sugar drip due to too low blood sugar everywhere there was medical tape or a sticky monitor I broke out in hives, gross, huge, swelling hives. I was given benadryl and told to come immediately back if my mouth, face or throat began swelling. I didn't know it at the time but the light bulbs went on last night and a few internet searches showed I was right. Yep corn in the glucose, corn in the tape adhesives. Yet I've handled adhesives and corn starch frequently without problem so I'm not overly concerned with corn products except for food.
Thankfully I had a doctor's appointment already scheduled for today so I was able to talk to my doctor about it and not have my head spinning with questions for long. He agrees I'm allergic or at a minimum intolerant to corn. At the end of the eight weeks I'll try bringing in more grains, each with a trial period. He's concerned I might have problems with more than just corn. Cross my fingers I don't have to cut all grains out of my diet. Please at least one grain for eating! He wants me to read the Paleo diet and thinks there is a good chance this is how I'll have to live and eat - fruit, vegetables, lean meats, sea food, and nuts. No grains or milk. Though since I don't go into anaphylactic shock I'll maybe still sneak a treat here and there!
Curious about what I have to watch for when shopping? Check out this list at CornAllergies.com. I'm sure all my wheat intolerant friends and family understand this perfectly. Wheat is in everything too. So I'm a littler overwhelmed but excited to know I can get better. Soon this will all be normal. At least since I'm already eating mostly a whole food's diet I don't have a huge amount of relearning to cook but I'm really concerned about eating foods others prepare.
So if I pass on the cookies or candy, I'm not trying to be high fluting or lose weight! Trust me, I want them.
Chris and I drove to and from Utah to Arizona for a friend's wedding. Counldn't get over the landscape. I had to be an adult to finally appreciate it.
We started our crazy kitchen remodel as soon as we got home. It took a few months but was worth it!
(the before oven)
(faux wood counter tops and tiny sink)
After: Full size oven and all the storage you could want, including an appliance garage. No more appliances left out on the counter. They are all hidden. I think my favorite item turned out to be the pull out garbage can. My dog can't open it! We finally out smarted the dog!
Nana bought a trampoline.
Spencer turned three. He loved this cake. Yep its just store bought cupcakes and donuts stacked. These are treats we don't really buy so it was something unique in our house. Sometimes simple is best.
May I introduce you to Super Snake Man. Spencer's interpretation of a superhero's super tight costume is just writing on himself with markers. The face, arms, legs and belly are all involved. Lucky for us Super Snake Man is a good guy. Word of obvious advice, don't take pictures of behavior you don't want to encourage. I've had to confiscate all the markers for Super Snake Man's repeated offenses.
We've already had our first trampoline injury. Our trampoline has a net enclosure to help keep the kids from falling off when jumping. Now that enclosure doesn't work if you walk on the trampoline frame outside the enclosure. That's what Oliver did, nothing wild, just fell off the side on an out stretched arm. Snap! Broken bones. It was one of those brakes that makes your stomach flip flop when you see it, obviously broken.
Evelyn was pleased to wear this cute blue dress. This dress has a history. It was smocked and made by my Grandma Patsy for my mother to wear when she was this size. It was found while rummaging through a closet. These pictures are in Grandma Patsy's garden. Reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.
An unusual case of helmet butt
A few games of hose head. (see Family Fun's Website if your curious)
Time is passing by faster than I can believe. A few days into April I figured I had better change my calendar to the next month. To my surprise the calendar was still on February, and yes I did forget a few things in March (like blogging) - no wonder! As it is I can't believe April is half way over but thankful its April as I am every year.
This is the time of year that the flowers and sun seem to come back out. Being outside even just a few minutes to take Oliver to school I felt like a bear coming out of hibernation (minus the starvation factor). It feels so good out there today! The sun felt warm on my skin for the first time this year and the grape hyacinth, tulips and daffodils are blooming.
Spencer is my nature lover and has been since he was an infant. Its fun to see that he has a difficult time getting into the car because he has to check out the flowers in the front yard first. As we were climbing into the car today Spencer heard a plane and said, "Mom, someone left their jet outside!"
I really have been in hibernation myself. Sometimes I struggle with people; I've never been a real outgoing, people oriented type person. Sometimes its a stretch for me to even to go ward activities. No one's done anything to offend me or anything. I just happen to like people in small doses and smaller groups. Sometimes I feel like getting away from everyone. I think someday when I'm rich* (hahaha) I'll have to build some sort of escape - somewhere I can go lay in the grass or dirt and no one will know because I'm far enough from everyone to just have a little of my own space. Then I can come back to reality and function again. In addition to some of those feelings lately, I've been indoor a lot, planning. I've been almost completely consumed with planning our new kitchen. This has been fun but infuriating at moments too. Now that its almost figured out, I feel like I can think about other things again. Though that will probably be short lived until the kitchen is actually put together.
Our to do list: Clear that we can make the desired changes with the electrician (oh and city permits too), pull out the existing cabinetry, lay tile, paint walls, have the electrician do his work, put together and install Ikea cabinets, have a countertop installed (not doing that ourselves), install sink and fixtures, and last cook a batch of cookies in my new, normal size oven!!! I'm excited and just hope it only takes a few weekends of our own work to accomplish.
I've been talking so much about how to arrange the kitchen, its rubbed off on my children. Evelyn put in her advice too. She told me we should change the table by cutting a large hole of out its middle. We would carefully keep the dinner plates around the remaining circle. When I asked where we would put the food she said just between each other's plates. My favorite part of her suggestion was how special birthdays would become. She said we would put the birthday child's chair in the middle of the hole in the table and sing to them! Talk about a child that literally likes to be the center of attention!
*Actually as far as waiting for being rich or having money to do things. I think its overrated. Do I mean go get a loan that is outrageous to do whatever your heart desires, ha NO, not a chance. One thing I have learned from observation is that people do those things that are really important to them. If its important enough, we find a way to get things done. As I'm witnessing this around myself, I'm learning its true in my life too. There are things that I think I long for but when I really look at what I want, what's really important to me I already have it or am in progress to make it happen. That's not to say those things won't change or that there won't ever be new things to aspire too. There's a lot of relief knowing I'm in charge of my life and its not just happening to me.
P.S. To all friends whose blogs are by invitation only. I was keeping my list of invitation only blogs on a bookmark that was lost when we upgraded our out of date windows software to a newer version. So if I haven't commented for a while its because I haven't been able to reach your blogs! I'm happy to read along with any that reissue the invitation. Trust me, I read so much more than I write! Thanks folks!
Evelyn had a birthday and was just beaming the whole day. She was thrilled to be called to the front of the primary for them to sing to her. I was behind her but a number of adults later told me how thrilled she looked to have everyone singing the happy birthday song to her. She was the only one to have a birthday that week so it really was just for her.
Spencer is almost fully toilet trained! Hurray! He'd been pretty good about it but at one point decided he just wouldn't ever go to the bathroom at all, not even in diapers. So while we weren't having accidents like with the other trainings, we had to do a lot of backtracking to help him along. Once he decided he was ready he did wonderfully, even through the night!
Oliver has been recognized twice in the last month at school. He was recognized for being one of the most improved students and second for being a good citizen. I think every mother wonders how her children behave when they aren't around. I'm proud (and relieved) to hear that Oliver is kind and respectful.
Chris has been looking at going to graduate school. Jobs just aren't available and he hasn't been able to find a high school right now willing to help him in an alternative route to getting a teaching license. So he's looking at a Master of Education that would also provide a track to being a licensed teacher (since his education wasn't already in education).
Me we'll I'm busy too. I'm trying my luck with sourdough bread. So far I haven't been successful but the dough that never rose rolled out to be tasty crackers. I just purchased some new fabric over the holiday weekend to recover my sofa. We've not only worn the fabric that's currently on it but completely worn through it. I'm a little baffled by how quickly that happened since the kids aren't allowed to run on it or anything. Its just been used plenty I guess. I'm excited to see the new fabric on it!
My camera is charging and my next goal for my posts is to get some pictures going again. :)
This last week or two has been spent immersed in books. I've been reading about nutrition. Since my health concerns are centered around Crohns (everyone's got something right?), which is specific to the digestive system, you can see my renewed interest in what I eat. From various blogs I've been reading I kept coming across the book Nourishing Traditions, about eating what's been made for thousands of years. My library didn't have the book on hand when I was there but they did have the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. That's the research the Nourishing Traditions is based on. I figured it was probably a better beginning place anyway. I have been so amazed at what I'm reading. I always knew eating better equaled better health but I never saw it spelled out quite like this. Weston Price, the author, is a dentist from about 70-80 years ago who wanted to know why his US patients were getting more and more cavities instead of fewer. He compares primitive diets to more modernized diets of groups around the world. He finds significant differences between the health of those on primitive diets and those on modernized diets eating sugars and processed foods (and imagine how much more processed our diets are now in comparison!) I've never read a health or nutrition book and felt so moved to change my behaviors. I'm also questioning some of what I've been taught all my life about food, a good start and well intentioned but maybe thousands of years of eaters knew something about what their bodies needed.
I'm also reading Real Food by Nina Planck. Her book explains what to eat and why. I'm not super excited to go back to the grocery store anymore, though I know I will at least for now. Another fascinating book.
I'm not much for purchasing books. I go through too many to keep in my house, so I support my local library frequently. But these are two books I might consider keepers on my shelf. I want them to refer back to and so I can hand over the information about my choices when someone looks at me like I'm a crazy person!
So I'm kind of turning into a health nut but from what I see many people feel better by making the changes suggested in these books and it appears to be rather permanent changes. How much of this is just telling a one sided story? I don't know yet. My next step is to read a little of the other side of the story to get a full picture before I make any major changes. I'm not sure what the other side is but I know someone will have a complaint for what these individuals have researched, there always is.
That said I do feel good about what I'm reading and learning. Its nothing major, pretty much to eat a well rounded diet, except for things such as sugar and processed foods which I already knew were on the don't eat very often list - if at all. Its mostly eat foods in their purest forms. Yes cooking is foods is fine but but raw is important too. I'm also learning how adversely the wrongs foods, or I should say processed foods, can affect us. That's what stunned me and I don't mean just adverse weight gain. We're talking major stuff like bone development, arthritis, heart disease, insulin problems, reproductive problems, immune system problems and so on and so on. The list keeps growing and growing the more I read.
The funniest thing about all this is I just can't get away from wanting my own small farm. Living in a small town has intrigued me since at least my teens. As I've gotten older I've thought about having a farm and realized much of what I needed was really just sunlight. I needed to be outside. Being outside helped keep me exercised and provided sunlight which both helped to keep postpartum depression at bay. Those days are past and I don't deal with the depression much, just normal does of bad days here and there like everybody else but reading these books has me wanting my own farm again. I can't get away from thinking what my children will learn from the work and experiences of farm life and how we will benefit nutritionally. I don't know anything about about farming, just bits from books and blogs. Right now it seems too tall an order but I think we'll baby step there if Chris supports the idea - at least a garden if nothing else.
I know I've said nothing about the family today but I don't think I've been able to have a conversation this week without something about this topic in it. Its kind of consuming my mind at the moment. If its all a bit jumbled that's because its that way in my head. I think I've gotten so much information so fast I'm having a hard time fully sorting it in my mind. Its like my eyes have been opened. This information has been here for years I just was unaware of so much of it or it just wasn't the right time for me to address it. Who would have thought I'd ever be so interested in understanding things like grass fed beef vs grain fed beef , raw milk vs pastuerized milk, mass production vs. small farms? Not me, I figured there might be some quality differences but didn't know those differences could actually be affecting my health. More to read, more to learn.
Ok so I kind of disappeared from the blogging world there for a while but life is good and I'm hoping to get back up to blogging speed, once a week for now.
As you know I've been quilting the past few years and even purchased a long arm quilting machine. Well after Christmas I went and got a business license. I don't have my official certificate but I do have the go ahead to do business. The official certificate should be arriving at any point. I'm in the process of putting up a website and blog/gallery for the site. All I can say is its fun!!! I don't plan to make this a full time job. I'm figure I might as well offer my skills to others and if possible get paid a little to do it too! My business is called The Winding Bobbin. More to come on this as it develops.
Family is good. I keep seeing how big Spencer is and realizing I'm out of the baby stage. I don't know if I'll be back there again or not but I do miss some of it. Though I think I'm going to miss the toddler age more. Its so funny to hear what Spencer has to say and how he plays. The other day he was saying the word stupid at the lunch table which is not allowed in this house. I scolded him and he stopped. A few moments later he told me his stomach said a bad word. I asked him if his tummy needed to go into time out. He said yes, grabbed at his stomach and pretended to throw it away from him. What was really odd was watching him watch it float away up to the ceiling. Next he started to whimper, almost in tears, that it wasn't coming back! So I said to call it back and pretended to watch the invisible stomach float back toward him. When it got close he grabbed it and you could see the look of relief on his face.
We've had a nice change in Chris's work. He has been absolutely hating his job for the past few months. It was just getting worse and worse. They were even threatening his job if he couldn't get his crew to turn out the appropriate numbers. That's understandable but Chris just couldn't stand the way they were so demeaning to him and his employees -actually the whole department. For example Chris was told a couple of times he'd have to threaten the jobs of his best employees, just because they had one or two bad days and we're not talking major problems. His best employees were getting fed up and wanting to quit. Chris knew there was a better way but just couldn't get the support from management above him. So they just kept going in circles. Eventually some changes were made and Chris was kind of a floating supervisor helping where needed. He would come home telling me about how the other side of the building doing the same kind of work but a different department treats their employees better and are still able to keep the work standards high. Well he lucked out. A manager from that side of the building saw that Chris was just kind of a floater and picked him up to be a supervisor on his shift. Chris is still doing the same work but feels good about what he's doing. They have a much more positive and logical way of managing their crews. He may still have to threaten employee's jobs but it is when there is a real problem. Its interesting how a different perspective can make such a difference in the same work. I really like how pleasant he comes home from work. I hope it continues. He's still looking for full time work but now it feels like we can hold out until he can find it. The last few months were spent trying to handle one week of UPS at a time, doing his best not to quit since he had a family to support. What a blessing! I still feel sorry for all those people under the other management.