Sunday, March 19, 2017

THIS IS US ALL CRYING

Unless you've been under a rock, you've probably heard about the show, This Is Us.  You've probably watched it, and if you haven't - let me just say that this blog post will contain some spoilers - you've been warned.  Each week, John and I have curled together on the couch to watch the next installment.  Some weeks it's been uplifting and funny and heart warming and other weeks have been heartbreaking.  Usually its a mixture of both, and just about every week I found myself crying.

The cast does apologize for all the tears in this funny video, in case you missed it's rounds on Facebook.



The fact of the matter is - this show really does feel like US.
Here is the check-list of things we can relate to on this show.
 - a father who dies ✅ (it actually features two fathers who die for double the tears)
 - trans-racial adoptive family ✅
 - the stress of having multiples ✅ (though we only have twins, not triplets)
 - imperfect marriages ✅
 - anxiety/mental health issues ✅
 - child's birth-family drama ✅
 - kids who grew up in the 80s ✅ (the triplets are 36, and we are 35)
 - regular sibling highs and lows ✅
 - family who really truly loves each other and finds ways to make it through the tough issues that make up real, everyday life ✅

Obviously, we are not the Pearsons, and for that, I'm grateful.  We aren't quite as good-looking, and for the sake of TV world, they did get an extra helping on the drama front which we don't need. We also have God as our cornerstone, which I wouldn't trade for anything.  But we relate to enough of each episode to keep us hooked and hoping for more.  It's relatable and funny and has the crackle of reality to it.

During certain episodes, I have shed seemingly buckets of tears - please do not even get me started on William dying.  It was so beautifully written and poignant and tragic and stunning and heart-wrenching.  For me, the show has been a great outlet.  Real life is so full of ups and downs, and I don't always take the time to "feel" all of them.  This Is Us gives me a place to feel life, and for me, that has been helpful.  As a bonus, it's an entertaining show.

So - if you haven't watched it - take this as my recommendation.  It is by no means perfect - but it's good, and we thoroughly enjoy it.  I cry a lot and don't seem to be in the minority on that.  We are looking forward to season two!

Monday, March 13, 2017

HIGHS & LOWS OF LATELY

March is almost halfway over, and I realize that I'm just not keeping up with all the things (i.e. the blog).  Mostly, I feel okay about this.  I've been making an effort to sleep more, and other things just have to fall by the wayside.  Here's a sampling of our highs and lows from recently.

High: John's parents moved to Little Rock!  This has been a long time in the making, and we are thrilled to have more family in town.  The move went incredibly smoothly all the way from Colorado to Arkansas, and we thank the Lord for his help in all the details that went into it.  Our kiddos are super excited, and we "helped" them unpack when they got to town.

Untitled
Untitled
Untitled

Low: The one downside to this was that John was gone for three days to help, so I was winging it here on the home front.  But - we all survived.  It does get easier the older the kiddos get - though I would still not call it easy.

Untitled
Untitled

High: Going dairy free is really helping Violet's skin, which is a huge blessing!  And, the less that she is uncomfortable, the more we are all enjoying life.  Here she is after attending all of dance class last week with the treat she earned for doing so.

Untitled

High:  Flowers blooming everywhere.  I feel all 😍😍😍 about this.

Untitled

Low:  I feel less excited about the sudden and drastic cold weather left turn this month has made.

Low:  I feel even worse about the way this change in the weather seems to be affecting my sensitive-to-everything children.  We are currently battling coughs with the twins, accompanied by a fever for one.  In other sick news at our house - last week I got the stomach bug, which was intense, though it was mercifully short lived.  And another child woke up with a crazy bad case of hives that had swollen one of her eyes almost shut.  She was most concerned about missing her teacher's birthday celebration at school, and after a little anti-histamine and a couple of hours, she was able to make the celebration after all.

Untitled
(I'm really thankful that these two swallow any medicine with no fight whatsoever - it's a real gift - they think it's fun!)

High: Finding ways to bake without milk and eggs.  I guess this isn't necessarily a "high," but there is not a line-item for "Necessity" in this blog post, so I'll go ahead and put a positive spin on it.   I purchased "Vegan Buttery Sticks" (their actual name) at Kroger and managed to make donuts that were quite tasty - though a little strange texture wise.  I've got a ways to go on perfecting a donut recipe.  Three out of four children loved the donuts, and all four loved seeing Moana again while eating Moana inspired treats.

Untitled
Untitled

Low: Picky eaters.  I don't think anyone prepared me for how challenging family meals were going to be - even as children age.  Maybe especially as children age, because I expect more from them.  Unfortunately, I still have some underperformers in the eating area, with one being particularly difficult.  It did inspire this sign that is currently up in our breakfast nook.

Untitled

High: Seeing Phantom of the Opera with friends.  I've always wanted to see this production, and while it is not my favorite musical, it really was amazing.  The music has been familiar to me for years, so I enjoyed putting a story with the classic.  We had a great night out!

Untitled
Untitled

High :  This Saturday, I was walking into the mall by myself.  I was carrying one twin and had another (crying) twin by the hand.  The girls were running ahead while I called out to them to slow down.  I actually had a guy hit on me in this exact moment.  Now - his sanity could *NO DOUBT* be questioned, but I realized that I am now to the age where I actually thought to myself - "Welp.  All is not lost.  I've still got it.  Whatever 'it' may be." 😂🤣😂🤣

Maybe I'll get around to writing more again soon - I've missed it!  I regularly compose blog posts in my mind while doing other things.  Hopefully, I'll get to writing more of those out.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

CONFESSIONS OF A FOOD ALLERGY MOM

It was between speakers at our CFA conference in Dallas a couple of weeks ago when my phone rang.  The nurse from the twins' school was calling, which always sets off alarm bells - especially when I'm out of town.  She immediately set me at ease by saying that there was no emergency.  (We are, of course, on first name basis, because she sees one of my kids for daily meds, and we have had at least one health scare where I had to rush up to the school for an impromptu breathing treatment for the other twin.)  However, she was calling to say that the school was in the process of re-evaulating all food allergies and would from here on out be strictly adhering to all doctor recommended protocol.  In our case, this means no milk or eggs for William and Violet at all.

For me - this was a super bummer.  They have no immediate reaction to these ingredients when in prepared food, so we've been pretty lax.  Because of the new policies, instead of them being served the daily provided lunch, it is now up to me to bring their entrees.  I completely understand that I have been so spoiled up to this point, and I also fully comprehend why the school is making this move.  But - it seemed like such an inconvenience to me when I first started thinking about it.

However, the more I thought about it, the different it looked.  John and I talked about it, and we decided that this was as good a time as ever to pull some stuff from our family's diet to see if it doesn't help some of the other issues (mainly skin related) to clear up.  Since our hand was being forced at school, we decided to take it the rest of the way at home - especially with Miss V who seems to have a pretty fragile little ecosystem.

fullsizeoutput_4ace

Why is milk in EVERYTHING?  It is, you know.  All the good stuff.  Cheese, chocolate, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, cheese.  You may be picking up a theme here.  And guess who loves cheese?  Everyone in this family, except Lily who will eat grilled cheese and mac and cheese but will not eat pizza with cheese.  This is unexplainable and also annoying, but I digress.  The idea of actually cutting dairy was pretty hard to swallow and wrap my mind around.  I'm not great at being real disciplined, and doing this all the way takes much more focus than I naturally have on such things.

So, the first day that I was sending lunch, I automatically sent a Wowbutter and Nutella sandwich for William and Violet to school, since V is also allergic to peanuts, and their class is nut free.  The teacher had to gently tell me that Nutella is made of hazelnuts, and then I came home to read the ingredient label to realize that it also has milk, because it tastes good and of course it does.  The teacher was so sweet about it, but really, she had to have wondered about me and not for the first time.

🤣🤣🤣🤣

We are hardcore doing this thing now.  I'm reading all the labels.  And while I am still eating cheese/milk products occasionally, it is not around Violet.  I went to Whole Foods and did find dairy free chocolate chips, as well as dairy free "Cheezy" Mac.  The chocolate chips are really good, and the "cheezy" mac is mostly okay.  It's also gluten free, so I am not sure what it is actually made of, but it came from Whole Foods, so it must be healthy. 😜

Thankfully, I was already subscribed to a meal-planning service this year (Prep Dish, love it!), and I've been preparing Paleo meals for us at home where dairy is always optional.  This is a lifesaver in the face of this change.

I have never wanted to be THAT mom - the one with the highly allergic kid who is on high-alert and needs to watch every single thing.  I certainly don't feel equipped to be her.  I've carried epi-pens with us for years, but I've never had to use one.  Because the worst thing that has happened is flat out vomit and nothing life-threatening, I've been able to skate by without too much real skin off my back.  But, times change, and while dairy is certainly not life-threatening to us, we need to know if actually cutting it all the way will make a real difference in some of the issues we face.  I'm gonna be THAT mom.

Sorry for the over-dramatic tone of this entire post - losing cheese dip at our weekly family Mexican meal out is not the worst thing that has ever happened - far from it.  But it is an adjustment for everyone, and I'm working hard to make it work. 😝💪🏻👊🏻  Wish me luck and send me any tips you might have!

Monday, February 27, 2017

GUYS CAMPING & GIRLS SUSHI-ING

Every year, the guys from our D-group head off for a getaway at the Buffalo river, and we girls hold down the home front.  This year, it came up suddenly, and they managed to squeeze it into the last part of a week so as to be home most of the weekend, which we all certainly appreciated.  Though some guys couldn't attend because of sickness or work, several managed to make it and had a great time.  They stayed in a cabin and canoed 20.8 miles on the Buffalo and spent a lot of time around a camp fire.  All in all, a great couple days of guy bonding.

Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled

As always, I am so incredibly grateful that John has other men to spend quality time with - we are richly blessed with relationships that lead us closer to the Lord and also happen to be a lot of fun - something I will never take for granted.  On Thursday night, several of us ladies got together with a bunch of the kiddos for taco night at Court's house - something my children were SUPER excited about.  They also showed some love on the way over.

Untitled
Untitled

Then, on Friday night, we got sitters and headed out for sushi and a movie!

Untitled
Untitled
(apparently we all got the neutrals memo)

Several of us saw Hidden Figures, and it was just a great as I had heard it was.  I loved it, and I am looking forward to showing it to the girls when it comes out for rental.  These friendships are treasures in our life, and I am so thankful for the time that God allows for us!

Past D-Group Weekends
{2016} {2015} {2014} {2013}