Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas was not exactly picture perfect.  On the 23rd, we had planned to see Christmas lights on the way to Grandma's house, but the thick layer of ice on the side windows of the bus would not melt fast enough.  It was blocking our little passengers' views.  Therefore, we had to postpone this annual outing to Carthage.  Then Nate sat in front of french doors that caused most of his photos to be overexposed so there is virtually no photographic evidence of his Christmas gifts. Hannah ate too much Christmas candy and had it suddenly revisit us at Christmas dinner.  We arrived at the farm and the propane tank had been turned off so there was no heat. We all huddled around the oven and ate pizzas while waiting for the whole house to heat up.  Each of these non-photographed items will probably be more memorable than most of the photographed events.

Below is a collage of a few of the 2013 Christmas highlights.   This is the first year that Vanessa had something that she desperately wanted for Christmas.  She has been asking for months and thanks to grandma and grand-dad, she got it...a Nintendo DS.  Everyone had more fun, just because Vanessa was so excited!  Plus I got a picture of my folks that proves that my Dad has a ton of fun when he is annoying my mom. (I hope you can see his big his smile in the photo on the collage.  If you double click on the picture, it will make it bigger.)

Like most families, challenges are all around us.  Owning multiple houses and trying not to let multiple mortgages rule us, having what seem like "the usual" unexpected stresses and most importantly knowing that God has it all under control gives us reason to celebrate His amazing love and sacrifice.  May He help us to remain faithful and may we be better examples of His love during the holiday season and throughout the year.

Reflect upon your present blessings,
of which every man has plenty;
not on your past misfortunes,
of which all men have some.
--Charles Dickens

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Spirit Challenges

Not only have I been neglecting my blog, I have been neglecting Christmas.  Oh, I have made cookies, sent cards, received cards, put up a couple Christmas trees...but my heart and spirit are just not embracing Christmas this year.  This failure on my part to feel all the joys of the season is only intensified by one our of children, who I am sure could easily hold and defend the title of "Miss Merry Christmas".  (You can probably tell which child from the photos below.)
Christmas cookies are NOT a dieter's best friend, but they are a must in our house!
Decorating one of the Christmas trees.

Christmas isn't complete until we ring the bell!

Stamping the special postmarks in Noel, MO
The Postmaster's Elf

Like many people, I am going through the motions, but I simply feel too unsettled to really feel the extra peace and joy that Christmastime brings.  As many of you know, we bought 2 homes in Kansas and have been in the process of transitioning to Kansas.  We were in the process of widening doorways, adding bedrooms and building ramps when we learned that our new community's school will be closing.  As a result of the closing, the kids will be bused to a school with three unconnected buildings and many steps.  (I cannot even get into the office or lunch room.)  The buildings require frequent trips outdoors to get between buildings and this setup will not work for three of our children.   We are researching our options including out of district placements which Kansas allows, but so far no district has committed to taking our whole family.  Due to these situations, our Kansas house is not home; our Neosho house is not home and the Ava property which does still feel like home is too far away to visit regularly. 

Please be praying for us as we try to ensure that Kansas is the right place for our family before we complete this move. 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and
do not be afraid. ~~John 14:27

Monday, October 28, 2013

We need more pumpkins...to eat!

As I travel along this weight loss journey, I am constantly trying new foods or old foods in new ways.  So for the past few days, I've been experimenting with pumpkin since it is in season and on sale for $2 a pumpkin.  Plus when I found out that a cup of pumpkin is only about 50 calories, I knew I had to find some good recipes for it!  AND it is a great source of vitamin A and a good source of potassium.


So far I have made boiled and mashed pumpkin two ways.  One was with some sweetner, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.  It was a sound dish, but a bit bland.  The other version had chicken broth, butter buds and a bit of Ms. Dash.  It resulted in a nice variation on starchy potatoes as a side dish for the roasted turkey tenderloin with which I served it. 

We were shocked how good
Roasted Pumpkin tastes!

This is a new favorite in our house!  However, it takes a lot of hand strength and time to cube it.  In order to make roasted pumpkin, a fresh pumpkin must be cut up into 1" or so pieces and the peel must be cut off.  Then spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray and place the pieces on the cookie sheet.  Finally season with the seasonings of your choice, but so far our favorite is a bit of salt and Ms. Dash.  Finally, spray the top of the pumpkin lightly with cooking spray and put it in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.  The pieces should be turned over after about 12-15 minutes as the bottom starts to brown.  It has a very mild pumpkin flavor and it is yummy.


This has been my least favorite so far, but it was the easiest.  We cut off the top and cleaned out the inside.  Then we salted it lightly and turned it upside down in a baking dish with about 2" of water to bake.  I baked it at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes and the let it cool and cut it apart.  This resulted in a taste similar to a spaghetti squash, and I think it would be a good soup stir-in as it stays firm.


These were toasted a longer time by request so your seeds
don't have to be this brown to be yummy.
This year I tried a new roasted pumpkin seed recipe and it has the kids fighting over the seeds.  We start by boiling the seeds in salt water until they start to look gray.  Then drain the water and pat the dry on a paper towel.  Finally, place in a baggie with a little oil (and I do mean a little...like 1/2 a tsp per cup of seeds...it goes a long ways!) and some seasonings like just salt or Cajun or whatever you love on popcorn.  Place the seasoned seeds on a cookie sheet in a single layer and then bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes (depending on how toasted you like them).  It is best to stir them every 8-10 minutes while it cooks so the seeds cook evenly.   

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall Rally

Well, it has been a few weeks since I mentioned weight loss and some of you may be wondering if I am still losing weight.  Indeed I am, but it is coming off more slowly as I get closer to my goal.  Unfortunately, I still have a LOT to lose before I reach goal.  I have now completed losing 58% of the weight that I need to lose.  So when I consider how much more there still is to lose, it can get depressing, even with my past success.  I find that I need the accountability of weekly weigh-ins at TOPS even more than ever to keep me on track.
Yes, I am showing off my pin....
but I did take it off before I went shopping.

Today was a special TOPS day because it was my first TOPS rally.  This morning around 9am, people from all over southwest Missouri met in Joplin to get encouraged and to encourage each other in their desire to be a healthy weight.  I would never have guessed in January when I went to that first TOPS meeting that I would be 115 pounds lighter by October, but if I had known, I would have been a lot more satisfied while dealing with hunger, cravings, old habits and new foods!  I certainly never would have guessed that I would even have lost a 100 this whole year so it was really special to receive my 100 pin today.

The rally was a great opportunity to hear how others were staying on track, reaching and keeping their goal weights for years.  It was a good reminder that even though "goal weight" is a long ways away, the ultimate goal of maintaining a healthy weight is never going to end and I am always going to need the support of people who will help me be accountable for my weight....I am so glad that I found a group as great as TOPS for that gentle, and sometimes crazy, but always consistent accountability. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Exploring Kansas

It has been a long time since I posted, but we have been busy!  We have left the farm, and we have been back for a weekend visit because we miss it.  We purchased two homes in Kansas which we were preparing to be our new home, but now we have learned that the ideal school that we thought our kids would attend is likely closing so we are a bit hesitant to invest much more in the houses since we do not know if they will hold their value after the school closes.  We still have our home in Neosho and we are just starting the transition towards being Kansans. 

This Saturday was our first Saturday in Kansas, and we spent it exploring Hickory Creek Farm, which is just outside McCune.  Daddy had a debate tournament so it was just the kids, our helper, her younger brother and I.  This was my first time driving the bus, but we took mostly dirt roads from McCune.  I was relieved that we did not even meet another car on the way there.  By the time we were headed home, I was much more comfortable with the bus.  I might even drive it again.

The kids loved Hickory Creek Farm and due to the flatness of Kansas it was much easier for me with my wheelchair than our Missouri favorite at Right Choices Corn Maze.  Hickory Creek does not have accessible hay rides, but Grace carried Vanessa onto the wagon.  Jon has never cared for hayrides so he and I sat that out with him.  The playground area was awesome.  It has great activities, and it is mostly fenced which made watching Nate easier. 

Now I must say that I had always thought Ava, MO was very rural with country fun.  However, Kansas has reset the bar on rural fun.  While we were at Hickory Creek, we saw and even participated in events and activities like duck races, pig races, chicken races, rope making, and hay bale moving contests.  BTW-The duck race was my favorite!  Those ducks really move!

If you get a chance to come checkout Hickory Creek Farm, then please let Ruth know that we sent you and let us know so we can meet you at our new houses and give you a tour!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My "Tell All" Weight Loss Blog Entry

As I promised, now that I have lost 1/2 of the weight that I need to lose.  Here are all the terribly true details.

Start Date:                                          January 8, 2013
Start Weight:                                      319 (at TOPS)  

Current Weight as of Today               213.25 (at TOPS)

Weight Lost So Far:                           105.75

Current Anticipated Goal Weight:    115

This is me with our TOPS chapter President
from last week's meeting.
I am currently eating around 1200 calories a day and track my portions instead of directly counting calories.  I go to TOPS once a week and see a weight loss specialist every 6 weeks.  My diet gets adjusted by the specialist as needed, but I currently eat 4 portions of carbs, 6 portions of protein, 4 portions of veggies, 2 portions of fruit, 2 portions of milk protein, and 2 portions of fat/oils.

When I started in January, I was allowed more portions than now and I felt like I was starving. The portions seemed so small!  Now I typically feel satisfied with the portions that I should eat in order to keep losing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Getting closer...to "tell all"

I have promised a "tell all" blog post when I have lost 1/2 of the weight that I need to loose.  Well folks, we are close...VERY close....like...only a 1/2 pound more to lose... CLOSE!

So I thought I'd share my weight gain story before I share my weigh loss story.

Two months before I started losing weight:
I realized that even I did not have enough kids to
hide my weight problem in photos.
I knew I HAD to lose weight!

When I was in my twenties, I exercised and followed a vegetarian diet.  Then I married a man who expected meat at meals, and I gained a little weight.  Then I had a child, and I gained a little weight.  Then I had a job with a lot of stress, and I gained a little weight.  Then arthritis started making exercise painful, and I gained a little weight.   
Then 3 years ago, we had a child with a life threatening heart condition.  A few months later, we added 4 children to our family after the earthquake in Haiti, which brought us to a total of 10 awesome children.  My round the clock schedule, my lack of personal time, and my need for energy made food the “go to” for a pick me up.  I snacked in the car to stay awake.  I snacked at midnight when I was tube feeding our son.  I needed my next “food fix” to keep going...or so I thought, and I gained a lot of weight.
I wanted to lose weight, but I did nothing until January when I faced my 40th birthday.  I was depressed and disappointed with myself.  I decided it was time to make serious changes to improve my health.  On my birthday, I went to my first TOPS meeting.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Grace decided it was time to runaway.  She just couldn't take isolated country living, limited internet and constant sibling "companionship" anymore.  However, since she does not have a driver's license, she had to have me runway with her!  She was hoping to head into Ava for free internet at McDonald's, but I had a better idea.

We started with a stop at Henson's Gas Station in Champion, MO for some gas. (If you haven't been to Champion, you must check out their news.  Its a favorite web site of mine.) Grace had not been to Henson's and asked if they took debit card.  They were polite and did not laugh, but I did!  Then Grace was bewildered by the 40+ year old gas pumps so Betty Henson came and personally taught Grace how to pump gas.  (I couldn't believe Betty remembered my first name after all these years!  Its been over 30 years!)

Then we took the dirt roads to Assumption Abbey.  Grace had never been there and Fr. Paul took time to give her a tour and tell her about their daily lives.  She was impressed with their self-sufficiency, devotion to worship and hospitality.  The monks start their days at 3:15am and have worship 7 times a day.  They are very self-sufficient and even sew their own clothes.  The monks make and sell fruitcakes 6 days a week and they ship these fruitcakes around the world.  This is their 25th year of making fruitcakes, but when I was a child, they made blocks.  The Abbey offers a quiet retreat for contemplation and prayer. 

 We also stopped at the creek on Abbey property and enjoyed the beauty and quiet.  However, when I saw their posted signs, I think they need to sell these signs too. 

Finally, we headed to Rockbridge Trout Ranch for the afternoon.  This is one of my favorite places, but I've never brought any of our kids here with me so now my getaway is no longer a secret.  The Grist Mill is a great place to soak up the great views and enjoy some beverages (and per Grace's request....free internet).  The temperature was only 70 degrees with a light breeze so it was a perfect day for this outing.    It was a great day to runaway!  I'm glad Grace thought of it.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Summer Days in the Country

"What do you do at the farm?"

 So many people have asked me this question and they assume that our "city" kids must be bored.  However, so far except for a few rainy days, the kids have been delighted with country living....the creek, catching critters, visiting Cousin Carl's farm, playing casting games with the fishing pole, going to town to Ava Drug, and building tents inside the house are their favorite activities so far. 

Ava Drug's Soda Fountain is a favorite treat.

David and Vanessa with a critter.

We still have lots to do and we are quickly running out of Summer Days to fit it all into on this visit.  The kids seem to think that this might be a good place to visit every Summer so maybe we'll just take another walk and save some of the other activities for next Summer.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

10 Pounds to Reach 1/2 Way to Goal

As some of you know, I have agreed to a "tell all" blog entry when I reach half way to my goal weight.  I missed last week's weigh in so I could take the kids to appointments.  So today's loss of 5 1/4 pounds is for a two week time span.  As of today, I am 10 pounds from being half way to goal!  That awful before picture and my progress pictures are coming soon!

I have to say, this Summer has been tough on my diet.  The kids are always eating and I'm stressed by the upcoming move with getting all the planning and preparations ready so food is extra tempting as a cool refreshing treat right now. However, I'm committed to making this lifestyle change stick!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Camp Joy Memories

Today I had the pleasure of taking my teen daughters to Camp Joy near Ava, Missouri.  I attended there as a child, my family volunteered there, and our family had their first Fleming Family Reunion there 45 years ago.  (Yes, the same family reunion that we just attended for its 45th meeting for 3 days over the 4th of July at Camp Mission Point.) 

Camp Joy is a special place to me and to my family.   It embodies most of the values that we hold dear.  The name J-O-Y stands for Jesus-Others-You as the priority list that we should each seek in our lives.  Plus Camp Joy is a community event and a community effort.  One man named Oscar Cunningham and his family had a vision for a youth Bible camp for the rural churches around Ava. They had a passion for inspiring young people to consider a path of service to God and others.  Oscar took his vision and passion and shared it with others in the area.  People, who could build, came and helped build.  People, who farm, donated cows and hogs and veggies and fruits.  People, who could cook, came and cooked.  People, who could serve up God's love to young people, came and enjoyed their time serving.  It is truly an amazing environment created to welcome everyone to consider a life lived for Christ.

In front of the Girl's "cabins"....I think I need to find a picture of
the real "cabins" that we had 30 years ago.

Now Camp Joy is not your average camp.  It has no pool, no water slide, no grand activity buildings, no paved roads, no lake, no luxury cabins, no fancy kitchen/dining facility, limited wheelchair access, and limited air conditioning.  By materialistic standards, it is a below average facility.  But what Camp Joy has had from the first time it opened its doors to campers is a desire to welcome Christian and un-Christian youth to consider a life changing commitment to Christ in a wholesome, activity filled week away from the distractions of everyday life.  It is a chance to slow down, to be loved and to learn about God's desires.

Sidewalks!  Everywhere!  What a great addition!

Will my kids have a good time?  I have no idea.  They have been to above average camps and if they focus on facilities then they may be disappointed.  Little do they understand that the camp as it exists today is high class compared to the camp that I attended 30 years ago.  There have been so many improvements, and the commitments to serving Christ are evident in the improvements. 

The boy's "cabins".  Aren't they nice!

Will they think it is as great as I do?  Probably not.  They have not seen us sacrifice and work to make the camp the place it is today.  My grandparents died and we moved from the area before they were born.  This is an area where they vacation, not where they live and invest themselves.  My kids have no idea how important Camp Joy's ministry was to us.  They don't know what a sacrifice it is or what it meant for a small farmer like my grand-dad to donate a cow and the butcher fees.  The world that I lived in the 1970s is gone.  I knew only two faces at the camp today, but I do know that the passion and commitment of the community to carry out Oscar's vision is alive and well.   

Now my laugh for the day:

We came to the next to the last bridge before we got to camp. 
Grace did not want me to drive across it. 
She got out of the car and took a picture.

Grace let me know that I could send the photo to MoDOT
because they must not know about this bridge. 
Then I pointed out the sign in the tree and explained that "MoDOT cares".
I actually thought the old bridge looked pretty good....about the same as it did 30 years ago.
(I found it comforting to know that some things don't change.)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 185: Weight Loss

For those of you who have been wondering, I am continuing to diet and this week I lost 3.75 pounds which brings me to a total of 84 1/4 pounds lost.  This puts me at 40% of my way to my goal weight.  Needless to say, weight loss over the Summer is harder with all the kids home and snacking on things like cool, sweet treats. 

I have 25 more weekly weigh ins this year, but I have only 11 more weigh ins before our 15th wedding anniversary.  I am trying to reach the 1/2 way to goal mark in time for our anniversary.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Start of Our Country Vacation

Day 1

Our first morning on the farm started a bit later than our mornings at home thanks to everyone being extra tired.  Before, I was even out of bed; David was quizzing me on the finer points of free ranging the chickens that he convinced me to bring with us.  He is sure that a “free ranging” chickens is a bad idea without a fence, even if we are in the middle of 40 acres.  During these morning “free ranging” instructions, Mark came in the bedroom and curled up in my covers as I said, “Give them about ½ the regular amount of food because they are going to be eating a lot of bugs”.  Then Mark suddenly flipped over and looks at me with a very angry face as he says, “I am not eating bugs!”  Well, Daddy and I lost it laughing and quickly explained to Mark that we were talking about the chickens!   
The boys outside playing.
(Yes, this means that we traveled with our family, plus supplies, plus 2 dogs and 2 chickens in a box…until the chickens escaped the box and ran around the back of the bus.)

Then while Daddy got kids dressed,  I started what I thought would be a modest breakfast of about 18 blueberry pancakes, but then Vanessa wanted eggs and David wanted bacon.  Finally, after two hours of my playing the role of Cracker Barrel short order cook, I got the kitchen closed!  Then we started a busy day of unpacking, organizing and fixing (just in time for the air conditioner to freeze up).
It took what seemed like forever to get settled.  David was busy sheparding the chickens like sheep because he is sure that they will get killed or wander off.  We had a light lunch in the midst of our work, but by dinner, we were done and ready to relax with food, lemonade and time sitting in front of the fans!

Jon with his lemonade

Day 2
Obviously the kids aren’t eating bugs because they had a 52 pancake breakfast to start the day and they were back for cheese sticks and popcorn for a snack by 10:30am.  Grace and David went berry picking and ended up hitch hiking back home.  Apparently, no matter what you teach your kids, the rules don’t apply on the farm and with Cousin Carl…of course, I did not care if they rode with him!  However, if I was him, I’m not sure that I would have made room for sweaty kids in my car (who I found out later had “forgotten” their deodorant)!

5 cent ice cream and 10 cent soda!
Then a lighter lunch of Ramen noodles with veggies and leftover grilled chicken from dinner last night.  The boys, Vanessa and Hannah settled in for some movies in front of the fan with Daddy while David, Grace and I snuck off to town.  We went to the Ava Drug first.  We ordered our 5 and 10 cent ice cream and coke and Grace also opted for a $3 tuna salad sandwich with chips.  (Of course being a dieter, I skipped it all and was the big spender because I ordered a 75 cent iced tea.)  Our total for the outing was $4.26!  Then we picked up a case of popcorn for $3 and bought some cards and toiletries.  Finally, we headed to Wal-Mart for a head of lettuce and a wading pool.  They had a pool on clearance with 3-D sharks on the bottom and it came with 3-D goggles.  I expected David to want it, but I laughed when 17 year old Grace wanted that one too!

Pool fun


The kids spent the afternoon in the new pool.  Then we had slow roasted pork tenderloin, collard greens with pinto beans, mashed potatoes and pumpkin custard pie for dinner.  I’m not sure why the kids eat so much here, but once again they cleaned their plates a couple times and emptied the pots and pans!
I can't decide if I should caption this one as
"One of the sexiest photos of my hubby ever"
"This is what teachers do poolside on their
summer vacations...wading pool side".

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It Came Back!!!

Jon in his stroller right after it
was returned.
We are so happy and excited and relieved!

Jon's medical stroller was left in front of our garage this morning.  Some wonderful person returned it to us and just in time for vacation!  I was dreading the thought of vacationing without it, but now I am ready for our trip to the farm and family reunion.

Many thanks to everyone who prayed with us about the return and to everyone who passed the word through fliers, Facebook posts and word of mouth.  It has been so uplifting to see so much concern by so many.  We are thankful for the police's help and for the media's work to bring this to the attention of the public to help us find it and for the person who brought the stroller home.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"I've lived in the US for most of my life"

Today is an important milestone in my list of David's life events.  However, he disagrees.  David insists its just another day, but he happily accepts the special lunch out with Daddy and he is not complaining about a dinner of his favorites. 

As of today, David has been in our family for longer than he lived in Haiti.  As of today, he can say, "I was born in Haiti, but I've lived in the US for most of my life." 

It seems like David has been a part of our home forever, but the unfortunate reality is that his adoption took a long time and he was an older orphan.   David has a real history that started before he got to America. 
David using chopsticks the "American way"...LOL!

In truth, this day is bothering David a bit too because it makes him realize how much of his younger years that he no longer remembers.  And in truth, it bothers me a little too.  It makes me realize just how much time he was not under our loving care and how much time he was not building memories with our family that we can share with him after he has forgotten his early years.

Despite the bitter sweetness of today, it does mean that David has been in our family for 5 of his birthdays and Christmases.  This will be 4th of July #6.  He is already planning what fireworks are needed with Daddy.  Better yet, he doesn't remember that he was the little boy who hid in the basement his first Independence Day and he kept yelling in fear, "They coming."  He wouldn't even look out a window and we all slept downstairs with him that night.  This year, David will be making the noise and loving it....No one could convince me that adoption isn't one of the best outcomes after early tragedies.  I'm so blessed to be a small part of it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Managing Stress and Wheelchair Thieves

The missing chair.
As most of you know, we are planning to move later this Summer and the stress of packing, fixing up, cleaning up and finding potetial buyers is a bit crazy right now.  Add to this that we will soon go on vacation and my house has a true circus of boxes!  Ring 1 boxes are packed to move.  Ring 2 boxes are sorted to give away or sell and include things like clothing that our youngests have outgrown, homeschool books, and regretable home decor that I purchased while under the influence of the 1980's. Ring 3 boxes are stuff for vacation like water wings, swim suits, board games, crock pots, extra bibs, diapers.wips, Oxygen tanks, feeding pumps...the uniquely, usual stuff that our family takes on vacation.  Then there is sometimes a Ring 4 accumulates, which is often placed beside the garage. It is the ring where we put stuff that we are moving to make room to make my Ring 1, 2, or 3 stacks bigger! 

So it was out of Ring 4 that someone came in our yard and took Jon's pediatric stroller that we use all the time so we don't have to always take the lift-equipped, deisel-gussling bus.  Yes, I was actually stupid enought to sit this valuable piece of our lives in our yard.  It was folded up like an umbrella stroller folds and I am thinking that the theives thought that they were stealing a jogging stroller.  I have been praying and posting on facebook in hopes that the person would realize what they have and bring it back!  Please be praying with us.  It was purchased for Vanessa and we passed it on to Jon when Vanessa outgrew it.  It seems that insurance will cover most of the replacement costs, especially since Jon needs it.  We have actually just been saving the insurance company money and saving us the co-pay money through "hand-me-downs".  However, we have been warned that it will take a while to get it approved and ordered so please pray that we get the replacement before Daddy's summer vacation is over.  There is never a "good time" to have something like this happen, but having Daddy home to help lift/carry Jon is going to make this problem much more manageable.

This situation has angered so many people, but I'm not angry.  I'm disappointed by the realization that people do steal things, even our stuff. I'm frustrated by the inconvenience to us and limits that this puts on Jon's summer activities such as the water park where power wheelchairs are really not a good idea.  But what I really want and am praying for is for it to just be returned....afterall, we really are very blessed, Jon wasn't in the chair when it was taken!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 162: Weight Gain & Kids Who Cheer Me Up

Today was a REALLY bad day.   It was the worst that I have had in a while so I guess I was overdue, but "Wow, oh wow!" 

If I had know, I would have stayed in bed this morning with the covers over my head.  I won't go into all the terrible highlights but the day got rolling with weighing in and having a dreaded and feared gain.  My first gain in 162 days of dieting.  I am not surprised because trying to sell our house/buy another has me stressed and I've been staying up late packing so I'm not getting my rest and of course, my kids are at home eating all day long!

Other highlights were a professional group's error that is causing me to look like I don't pay my bills.  The dryer went out.  I broke my key off in the ignition.  I had a terrible headache and the kids seemed to be extra loud.  Plus we added more "to do" to my list for getting the house ready.  I tried to turn the day around with a diet approved lunch salad from Subway, but Nate got it and dumped my drink into my salad which made it wilt to an icky, slimy meal.

One last highlight (or lowlight, more appropriately) was finding out that our realistic first option for a house in Kansas (not the dream group home) is going to be auctioned for cash so we may not be able to get this most affordable home. 

My Kids to the Rescue

The little guys just knew I had a headache, but they brought some much needed comic relief to my afternoon. 

First, Mark let me know that his tummy was hurting and a few presses on his tummy revealed that he was obviously constipated.  I asked him if he had pooped today and he said no.  I asked, "When did you poop last?" and he said "In the potty."  (I love these funny "still learning language" conversations.)  So we reviewed that I was not asking where, but when...like yesterday or Sunday...and his answer was "Someday".  I think he meant Sunday so after drinking a cup of warm water and a bathroom visit, he let me know that the water fixed his tummy ache. 

Then Luke crawled on my lap as I was on the computer looking at the newest Camp Kivu pictures and saw this picture of Grace in a raft.

He asked if Grace is still at camp (for the thousandth time since she left 9 days ago).  I said yes and he pointed at the picture and said, "This is Grace at camp."  I said yes and in a very concerned voice he asked, "Her camp flooded?"  Now I must tell you that I was tempted to just say "Yes!"  As a mom I find my kids going rafting to be terrifying.  Frankly, I would prefer that Luke think that he should only do that if the camp floods!  However, I was a good mom and explained that camp did not flood and that she was having fun.  Much like I feared, Luke let me know that he wanted to go to camp and do that. 

Lastly, at bedtime, I kept hearing cricket sounds and I started checking all the windows to see which one was open because the air conditioner is running.  I climbed over a bed and around moving boxes and still found no open window.  This whole time Matt who was supposed to be going to sleep, kept trying to tell me something and I kept telling him hush so I could hear the cricket.  Finally, he insisted on telling me something and he said "The noise is from Jon's crib toy."  I almost died laughing because sure enough, Jon had activated it himself and it was playing a lovely cricket's tune.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day 155: Weighing In

Well, today was my 21st week in a row that I have lost weight and it has been a tough week.  With the kids home from school for the Summer, someone is always eating and I have to cook a lot more than usual.  Tonight, we had supper that included 1 pound of hamburgers with cheese, 1 pound of sloppy joes, 3 pounds of grilled chicken, toasted buns, raw veggies, 2 pounds of pasta and cookies for dessert.  It was hard to JUST have what I could have and nothing extra!

As of today, I have lost 72 1/2 pounds since I started planning my diet carefully on January 8th.  This means I am now 35.5% of my way to reaching my goal weight and today that goal seems a long ways away!  But I continue on my journey to better health through what seems like the "Summer of Kids' Endless Snacking".

My dinner plate...Lots of raw veggies to curb my hunger!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day 127: Weighing in for Week 17

Losing weight is hard work!  There is lots of meal planning, cooking, and not much eating!  There is exercise (ideally) and there is watching out for stress that can stop weight loss in its tracks!  Frankly, I'm getting rather worn down by the whole process and especially by the constant cooking of tasty, but not the tastiest of foods.

So today's weigh in was a good time for the encouragement of  breaking the 60 pound mark.  As of today, I am exactly 62 pounds lighter than I was on my 40th birthday on January 8th, when this all got started.  That may sound like fast weight loss to you, but it feels pretty slow to me.

This means that I am now 30.4% of the way to my goal.  I still have a long way to go, but 4 more pounds and I'll be completing 1/3 of this battle!

Dieting means lots of lunches that look like this.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day in an Adoptive Family

My parents: I look like them, and we
have been a family my whole life.
Mother's Day is not all fun and happiness at our house.  It is not that it is bad either, but it is different when children have a family of origin.  Like many families, our kids make plans and loudly whisper secrets the week before.  They make cards and gifts and pick dandelions.  They tell me to go back to bed so they can "surprise" me and everyone works hard to celebrate me. 

However, as an adoptive mom there is a "shadow" over the day.  Some of my children acknowledge it and others think it doesn't matter, but I know it matters.  Maybe it doesn't matter at age 4 or 6, but it matters a lot by the time the kids are tweens because the "shadow" is a part of their history, their genetics and their future.  Most of my kids will have children that look more like a stranger than like my hubby and I.  That is not a bad thing, but the future will reveal more about their past and they will wonder whose nose their child has and if members of their first family were very tall and if they liked the same things. 

To make this day tougher, our children have already lost their first parents to death or abandonment or unfortunate circumstances.  The question of why does God let bad things happen is very real, especially around Mother's Day.  We don't want to rewrite the past into a fairy tale, but we don't want any of our children to ever think that they were unloved for even a second of their life!  So we focus Mother's Day on God's love.  God loves me and blessed me with the incredible experience of being mom 10 times!  God loves them and when bad things happened, He helped make a path for them to be in our family as He had planned for them.  God is the reason that we are a family, and we try to focus our thanks to God who gave birth mom's and caring orphanage workers and brought about adoptions.  It doesn't make the celebrations any simpler, but I wouldn't want it to because God had beautiful plans for each of my children and those plans started in the womb, not when I became their mom.  

"A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy & the depth of that privilege are not lost on me." -Jody Landers

Sunday, May 12, 2013

David Turns 11!

David chose his birthday celebration to start with going to a movie with his big sister and hero Grace. 

Then he chose for him, Vanessa, Corrine and Grace to head to Carousel Park.  This was Vanessa's first trip to the park and David took lots of pictures.

Finally he ended his celebrating with presents and his favorite meal, which is breakfast with lots of bacon.