Saturday, July 31, 2010

What's Cooking in the Kitchen

So we had our big shopping day yesterday. It makes for a long day, be we get a lot done. I still have to make my way to the health food store to grab some soup bones. They told me they should have some in today. It was rather odd to look into my cart and see a lot of nothing…..Actually yesterday we had a LOT of school supplies in the cart, so we had something in there, but I am talking about food. I really didn’t think we purchased too many processed foods. But now I see we did! On our soon to be new diet the only processed food allowed would be some canned tomatoes (with only salt and nothing else).

Now her is an example of just how foggy my brain really is: (Tracy, no laughing allowed!) I have talking to my sister about this diet since she first told me about it. After reading and finding out I can do the Full GAPS diet I thought we would all start out on that, and work everyone backwards in stages. The funny thing, or not so funny, is that I kept thinking of the full gaps diet as being NT style eating. So here I was, talking with my sister the other day, and she was telling me that even on the full gaps diet you can’t have grains and milk. Oh, yes, I know I told her. Seriously it was not computing in my brain. For some reason I kept thinking she meant the intro gaps diet (never mind we were calling each stage of the diet by it’s proper name), and I kept telling her that I would be soaking all my grains and making sourdough. It actually hit me late last night…..WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!! We are NOT supposed to be eating any grains!!!! (Hey, I said don’t laugh!) Just another example that I definitely need to be on the GAPS diet! Soooooooo, that really got my head spinning! Now what!?! So far I came to this conclusion:

Normally I take an all or nothing approach to changes. None of this baby step stuff. But this time around for many reasons I think that will be the best approach. It is mostly for Jed’s sake than for the rest of us. As you may know we are hoping that his tube will be removed in a few weeks. But in the past Jed has had issues with food. He has really changed in this area, but I’m not sure how he will handle the changes that we need to make. Any food changes I had in the past he was still getting 90-95% of his food needs by tube. So our first phase will be to go NT style eating, with lots of bone broths. No processed foods. And adding a lot of probiotic foods. Jed is pretty much hooked on juices made from concentrate. He also loves store bought bread, and chicken nuggets. All of which do not fit in this diet. He does like fresh made juices (from juicing here at home), and will eat meat in general. The bread thing…..well he prefers store bought over homemade. So we’ll see how it goes. All my grains will be soaked. I did have oatmeal in our meal rotation, but it is a grain and I will try to pull it out, just keeping wheat the only grain in there. The big difference this diet has with a gluten free diet is that ALL grains are out of the question! So all those gluten free ‘flours’ out there are out for us. You can only use nuts, ground into a flour for baking. Um, nuts are really expensive!! So there will not be a lot of baking going on around here when we go grain free.

So stage one for us will be to go NT. Then stage two will be to get rid of all of our wheat baking. Stage three for the rest of the family will to go on the intro diet, which is limited to about 5 foods. Seriously it’s insanely limited! But hopefully because we are working backwards there will be some die off and healing taking place making the intro diet as short as it can be. But even the NT style diet is a lot of work! Here is what is “cooking” in my kitchen:

Here are two pots with items soaking.  The back on is soaking navy beans, which I plan on making into a fermented bean dip.  The other is a pot of almonds soaking.  I will dehydrate these when they are done soaking to be used as a snack or 'flour'.

This is some homemade yogurt in the white towel, hung up on my cupboard handle.  Beneath is a bowl catching the whey, which will be used in a bunch of fermented dishes.  Whey is what helps with the fermenting.

On the left is a crockpot of milk warming, to be made into yogurt.  This seems to be the only way I will make a yogurt that needs heating as my trials with the heating pad never worked out.  On the right is a pot of black tea steeping, to become kombucha later on.

And lastly are two jars of water kefir 'brewing'.  You can barely see the grains on the bottom of the jars along with an egg shell (it gives the kefir needed minerals to grow).

Must be off to cook some breakfast...pancakes, *unsoaked* (gasp!).  Hey, there are a LOT of changes that need to be made, and it will take me a couple of days to get everything up and running :-)

Belated Birthday post

It’s a bit on the late side, but here are a few pictures from Moira and Jonah’s birthdays. ‘I only uploaded a couple pictures from each due to the fact that each picture takes about 5 minutes to upload. If the process is interfered with then blogger cancels out all pictures that had uploaded thus far making you start over. So in order to keep my sanity I chose to put the odds in my favor 

Moira had a defunct piñata. It eventually worked out, and everyone had fun. She chose to have an ice cream cake. She had chosen vanilla, but there was one layer of chocolate and one layer of vanilla. She was not too pleased as she didn’t want any chocolate in it at all. Somehow the cake all got eaten up anyways! Moira enjoyed having some friends over to celebrate. It was short and sweet….very sweet with all that piñata candy.

Jonah had just a wee little family party with cupcakes. He kept trying to grab the lighted candle while we were singing the birthday song to him! Silly boy. Jed couldn’t understand why we were not singing to *him* as he really thought all birthdays belonged to him! He kept saying, “Mine? Mine?” Meaning- my birthday? Sorry kiddo you only get one. Jonah really loved his truck with animals that came with it. The only down side is that the truck doors pop off very, very easily. But the boys do not know how to put them back on. So for the first week or so I spent a lot of time ‘fixing’ the truck.

Here are the pictures:

This last one is of Jeremiah singing to Moira. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I already started a post on this topic, but decided that it was a bit drawn out :-)  So I thought that I would just give you some links to start off with if you are interested in this diet and from there you can probably use google to help your search.  Please note that this is not a "diet" in the 'I need to loose weight' category.  This diet is one for healing.  Healing what?  Well there is a VERY long list of illnesses/diseases that it helps to heal.  I'll give you a short run down of who should be on this diet.  Basically if  your mother or you have taken any of the following, then you need to be on this diet:  Have been vaccinated, been on birth control, have taken multiple rounds of antibiotics throughout your life.  And I think it is safe to say that *most* people fit in this category (at least here in the USA).  Now when you go to the below sites do not let the list of 'biggies' throw you off and make you think you don't need this.  I think a lot of people gloss over the fact that they have some seasonal allergies and think that beyond that they are healthy.  Any allergy is a symptom of the fact that your immune system is not working properly.  Maybe you don't have any of the biggies, but you might experience fuzzy thinking, or lack of energy, or a host of minor symptoms that you probably think just comes with age.  Well that would be true, except it only comes with age due to the damage that has been done by the meds we have taken and the poor diets we have been feeding ourselves.  So do check out this diet and see if you or a loved one might find relief from your dis-ease.
GAPS diet
GAPS guide
GAPS -more info
Gaps-more info

Well I think that should suffice for now :-)

I have been pondering when and how I will be implementing this diet.  There are two parts to the diet.  The Intro Diet and the Full Diet.  The intro diet is broken down into six phases, the first being the most limiting.  And I do mean *limiting*!!  However that is where the gut can actually heal like it needs to from all the abuse it has taken.  The problem for me is that I can not do the Intro Diet while pregnant.  So I have to wait till the baby is born.  My wee little plan is to wait a few months after the baby is born and then work my way backwards to phase one,each phase lasting a few weeks to a month.  I can start the Full Diet now, and it is highly advised that I do in the reading.  But for everyone else that means a few things.  The first being that they will all have to wait at least nine months before we start our way working backwards to phase one.  The problem is that some of them really, really need to be on this diet NOW. This diet can take anywhere from six to eighteen months for children, so really I don't want to wait forever to start.  Jed really needs it for many, many reasons!  He is obviously not absorbing food properly as the amount of food he eats compared to the amount of weight he has gained does not equal up.  Not to mention that even though we supplemented him with iron he was still pale a clean white sheet!  That is probably due to the bad bacteria/yeast in his gut consuming the iron before his gut can absorb it.  Plus with a healthy gut he will be able to detox properly.  He might still have symptoms, but hopefully they won't be as severe as we have seen in the past when we have tried to detox him from the mercury. 

The problem I am having with starting everyone on this now is that they will see me eating "forbidden" foods on a daily basis, which might make for some extremely unhappy children.  I did come up with a plan early this morning, that might work.  Since I still plan on working our way backwards into the diet (in hopes of easing any die-off symptoms) I could make multiple batches of the 'forbidden' foods to freeze for me later, that way while they are in the most limited stages they won't smell all the 'good' stuff cooking.  Then I will have to just eat my food in another room, behind a locked door :-)  Well something like that anyways.  Hopefully this will mean that by the time the baby comes they will be in the last stages of the diet, making cooking a bit easier, since they will be able to have more variety.  And hopefully since I will be practicing making all of the needed fermented foods I will have a system down before the baby comes.  Or at least have helpers to take over in those early weeks of newbornhood. 

Well off to make up my grocery list.  Next month (which is only days away!) we start schooling again....towards the end of the month.  With our new approach means I need a new routine/system.  So I need to write up a plan of action for our schooling and new diet.  I really enjoy the planning part.....I just don't really have the talent for the implementation part!!!  Ha, Ha!!  Not to mention I really need to get on the ball finding a new midwife.  I will be 17 weeks this Friday!  I think I need to find someone before this pregnancy is half finished, don't you? 

Monday, July 26, 2010

God's protection

I've been feeling far from God lately.  My fault of course, seeing as He is always there!  But He showed me he was still looking out for us the other day.  I've been feeling a bit low.  Seemingly everything is breaking, or kids getting little tiny ailments. Seriously things could be SOOOOO much worse, and I am thankful that they are not.  But sometimes it's the little things that keep on happening that start to add up!  So anyways here is what happened the other day:

I was in the process of making dinner.  I needed something from the back fridge.  I HATE having to go into my laundry room.  I despise it.  I know, I know, I need to overcome that :-)  I just don't like climbing over things or navigating obstacle courses in my own home.  So Flannery happens to be walking by, so I asked her to go back there to get what I needed (milk maybe?).  She brought it out to me and went walking on her way.  She failed to notice that she knocked something over in the laundry room.  That something would happen to be my iron.  Now 99.9% of the time I unplug the iron immediately after I am done with it.  Except this one time the other day!  I did put the dial to "OFF".  Now I don't know about you, but the last I checked there was a particular meaning to the word, "off".  As in whatever may have been 'on' will now not be 'on'!  Apparently that is not the iron manufacturer's definition.  The other day the girls took to making up some sewing projects and needed my help with the ironing.  I kept unplugging it after each time.  But after the sixth  time or so, I must have either forgot or assumed I was going to be right back to use it again for one of the girls.  Either way I didn't unplug it. 

So here I am making dinner, unaware that my iron had fallen into a basket of laundry, and was ON!  I asked Flannery to put back the milk.  And at that moment something spilled and I needed a paper towel to wipe it up.  I had JUST had a roll of paper towels not 15 minutes ago in my possession.  I was looking "everywhere" for them.  I mean on top of the counters, on the floor under the table, etc.  Not to be found.  I was about to ask Flannery to grab another roll since I keep our extras on a shelf right next to the back fridge.  But I thought better of it knowing that this particular child has a hard time with more than two commands (put milk back, close the fridge door, get paper towels on the white shelf).  I brought myself to step back in our very own obstacle course.  And lo and behold I see my iron laying in my laundry pile.  I pick it up to find out that it was getting HOT!  Thankfully I caught it in time.  I unplugged it immediately and then went and got my paper towels. I kid you not that I tore off a towel and went to put the roll on my middle counter and to my surprise I put it right next to the "missing" paper towels!!!  They were right there on my middle counter the whole time and I never "saw" them!!! Granted my counters were less than clean, but still!  Paper towels standing up, do stick out above the 'landscape'. 

I am very grateful that I didn't see those paper towels, because then I would have never gone back in my laundry room.  Or if Isabella had been the one to put the milk back I would have asked her to get them, and she wouldn't have noticed my iron.  Now maybe the worst that would have happened would have been some clothing would have been singed, but it could have turned into a full blown fire.  I am thankful for God's protection.

Friday, July 16, 2010


That would be relaxin the pregnancy hormone, not the relaxin' of putting up your feet :-)  I finally got to see our chiropractor yesterday.  I was having my usual issues, hip/knee/ankle pain and a past issue of a pinched nerve in my neck that gives me a headache.  That headache lasted two full weeks with a couple of days off before it started back up. Thankfully it is more annoying than painful, but after two weeks I was pretty through with having it.  If you have never been to a chiropractor who practices applied kinesiolgy I highly recommend it.  I'm not sure how it all works, but basically she will pinch certain muscles and test their strength to determine which organs or systems are not working properly.  As she was adjusting my back I thought it odd that my mid back had a lot of adjusting that happened.  Before I said anything she told me that the mid back area is responsible for your immune system.  She told me my immune system was very depressed and then asked if I was sick.  Yup, I told her, with the month long cough thingie that is going on in our household. 

She had to a lot of adjusting of my legs (by pulling on my heals and whatnot).  I thought that was odd.  Afterwards she told me to expect that my right knee might be sore later (it was my right  knee that had the pain in it that made me make the appointment).  She told me that my relaxin was at work already.  And that it had relaxed the ligaments/tendons, not sure which, around my tibia.  My tibia was rotated outwards.  She said that she had never had anyones tibia actually click back into place like mine did.  I feel special now :-)  Why do we seem to get those types of 'special awards'?  Any which way, it's back into place now. 

I was very happy to hear that she thinks that by keeping my hips in alignment at the end of pregnancy that it should help with delivery.  Basically with all my children my hips have been horribly misaligned.  That makes the inner hip circle into more of an oval making it very hard for large headed babies to make their exit.  I'm not sure how hard it is on the babies, but I can attest it is very hard on this momma :-)

I also found out my adrenals are in high gear. She told me I need to find a way to deal with my stress.  If not then by the third trimester I will be feeling very fine, but only because the baby's adrenals will be kicking in and providing my lack of chemicals that I need.  What that means for the baby is that it will be very prone to getting sick.  Not something I look forward to especially since the baby is due in winter when sickness abounds anyways!  So I need to start practicing my relaxation techniques now.  I am thinking that might have been the problem with Flannery.  I was VERY stressed in her pregnancy due to many issues.  And that child got sick when she was only ten days old.

Big day today, our cleaning deadline for the party tomorrow.  Moira chose an ice cream cake for her party.  We still need to go get her pinata and decorations.  But before we can do that we have to finish our cleaning.  I have two large drawers and on small drawer to finish in the kitchen before I am done with all our cabinets.  Phew!  Can't wait.  It is so nice to be able to put things away or get them out without wrestling with the chaos.  I wish now that I had taken some 'before' photos.  But everything was sooooo messy I couldn't bring myself to do it. Off to work I go!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

a prayer request

I know, I know, I already posted one last night for Saoirse.  And to correct any confusion about that request, I guess the prayer would be for this "bite" to get better on its own, without having to call or go to the doctors.  The problem right now is that we don't know if it is a bug bite.  The good thing is that the pink area has not expanded any, maybe even the tiniest bit better today (maybe), but the raw area is larger, probably due to yesterday's itching fest (before she got the remedy).  So prayers that it heals quickly, whatever it is. 

But it seems we are in one of *those* modes of trial (small of course).  Last night Isabella came home from being out with Jeremiah at his soccer practice.  She was limping.  It's just an ingrown toe nail, but its all swollen and painful.  Ah, lovely.

Then this morning Jed threw up.  I was hoping it was due to the cough he had and that maybe he choked on some mucus.  However since it was almost 8 am, I was very suspicious when he lay right back down and fell back to sleep.  Hmmmm, not good, he normally is awake by this time.  He came out into the living room with out me hearing and I was surprised to see him when I walked in the room.  I asked him if he was ok.  He said, yes, and then immediately proceeded to throw up.  Yeah, you're ok alright!  It's 10:30  now and he is *still* sleeping!  I gave him a remedy for vomiting and he hasn't vomited since (two hours ago), I can only hope I got the right one and that the sleeping is a healing tool.  I've noticed with illnesses when the child gets the right remedy they fall asleep.  Weird.  But I suppose it's the body's way to shut down to heal.  So pray for him and a quick recovery.  Thus far in Jed's four years tummy bugs come and go quickly.  The problem of course is that he doesn't always keep them to himself :-)  This Saturday is Moira's birthday party with friends.  That's only 48 hours away, plenty of time for others to get sick, which means we would have to cancel the party.  I would hate to have to do that to her.  Moira seems to always end up with the short end of the stick.  I know she would be really upset.  So please pray we all stay well through the weekend.

Thank you all!  Off to hopefully finish the rest of my kitchen and get the girls busy with picking up the outside yard.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pulsatilla is my friend

Pulsatilla happens to be a homeopathic remedy.  I'm not sure if I can sum up my most recent appointment with our homeopathic doctor in less than a novel, let alone my phone conversation with my sister afterwards.  All good!  Lots of information and a wonderful sense that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  For the past two weeks I have been feeling very depressed and fearful/worrisome.  Now it is normal for me to feel more worrisome during pregnancy, it's just something that comes along with the hormones I suppose.  However these past two weeks were beyond what I would consider normal for a pregnancy.  I had a hard time getting things done, which had nothing to do with any physical issue. I was overly fearful of simple things.  So as I was speaking with the dr. he told me that the pulsatilla I was on was supposed to help with the mood swings of pregnancy.  However the lycopodium I was on was counteracting the pulsatilla.  The lycopodium was for the side effects of yeast and for my sugar cravings.  And the nat-m was for my heart.  So he was trying to figure out what we needed to keep and which remedy may need to be dropped.  He asked me a couple of times of any other symptoms.  The problem with that question, which I learned from Jedidiah's care, is that the oddest things may be a symptom.  So we were about to end our call when I told him how I was really getting tired of the fear and to illustrate my point I told him how I am normally afraid of bugs.  But the past week or so when I am outside if a bug flies anywhere near me I *freak* out.  Like scream, jump, and my heart starts racing and I am trembling.  Way beyond normal.  So the dr. had an ah-ha moment.....the fear of bugs happens to be covered by the nat-m I am on.  And if any of you remember how homeopathy works you will know that a remedy, when too strong, will exasperate your symptoms.  Since I have a fear of bugs, the nat-m was making it worse because the dosage was too high!  Who would of thought!  So due to a cough I had he put me on a lower dosage of pulsatilla every hour, along with my nightly higher potency of pulsatilla.  I slightly coughed all of one time today!!  Yeah, a huge improvement.  Plus the pulsatilla is supposed to help with my depression.  I'm not sure if it is the information I got the other day that is helping with my mood, or the pulsatilla, either way I feel so much better today.
It is late and I won't have the time to go into detail of the astounding (at least it was to me) information that my sister read in her most recent Weston Price Foundation (WPF) magazine.  It was funny because before I sent her their mail she told me to keep the magazine to read and send it the next time.  But I know how I love new magazines so I decided to send it her way.  So when I talked to her she told me, "You *really* should have kept the magazine and read it!"  No problem, because she filled me in :-)  If you want the full details of the link between mercury, systemic yeast and a whole host of "issues" ranging far and wide you will need to get the latest magazine from the WPF.  Or you can wait till I put up a summary when I have the time :-)  Fascinating stuff though.

Before I go I just wanted to share that I got a ton of stuff done today!  I am finally getting to cleaning out my kitchen cabinets.  They still had all the saw dust in the back and corners from when Jeremiah redid the counter tops.  Part of my job cleaning out the cabinets was to reorder them and move some things around.  We had a plastic box filled with odd and end game pieces that needed to all go back to their home.  A lot of game pieces!  And I had 'help' from the boys as well :-)  It got finished, it just took a while! 

And lastly, but very importantly, please pray for Saoirse.  She got this 'bug' bite on her belly button.  She woke up with it the other day.  It was itchy, swollen, pink and hard to the touch.  Benadryl didn't do anything for it.  So this morning it was the same, not better, but at least not worse. So I've been trying a remedy, which helps with the itching.  That at least prevents her from scratching at it and making it raw.  However, now she started a cough.  That really isn't totally out of possibilities as we have been taking turns with this month long cough.  But this cough takes so long I just can't remember if she was one of the first to have gotten it.  So is this the start of the month long cough, or is it a new one?  I might be feeling better, but I really am not in the mood to have other things pop up to take the place of my depression!!  Ha!  If it doesn't get better soon I will probably call the homeopathic doctor.  Seriously, when we have an acute illness, homeopathy works quicker than conventional medicine.  But a call costs money.....and that doesn't grow on trees (although my girls convinced the younger two girls that it did!).  So I will see if my treating it will be the ticket, if not I know I have the option to call.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A rapper in the family

With all of our craftiness (of the textile kind) you might think we have a 'wrapper' in the family.  One who has the gift of packaging items in lovely creations.  Nope, not that kind.  There was no typo in my title.  The rapper I am talking about is of the musical kind.  Kind of funny to think of one of my children and rapping in the same sentence, but tis true, tis true.  It came about after a week long runners camp.  Some people from our church made up a rap song to help the kids remember how to study their Bible.  Isabella came home the first day and declared that she was going to rap the song in front of the church.  At the end of camp week they have the campers come up and sing the song.  We thought her declaration was a bit bold, but behold she was right.  She practiced and memorized the lines all week.  Today she and a few other kids did the rap while the other campers sang the course.  The video is below.

The girls loved the camp.  I know Moira was a bit apprehensive to think that she might have to be running, all day, all week long.  But such was not the case.  At first there were devotions in the morning, then the kids rotated through different stations where they learned each track event.  They also had water games and snack time.  Everyone had a great time!  I was a bit concerned since this is July in the South.  Not exactly the best time temperature wise.  And lo and behold after twelve years since the running of this camp they had the highest temperatures yet.  Not exactly a record I wanted to see broken.  Thankfully the kids did fine, we did have Flannery come home one day needing to take a few minutes with a frozen bag of peas on her head to cool down.  I think she may have had heat exhaustion.  After the week long camp they put on a full fledged track meet.  For the most part it went well.  Moira was disappointed that she didn't make it into the finals for her field events, although she did place sixth in discus and received a ribbon for it.  Only the top three highest scoring kids got to go to the finals for the field events. 

Our first runner of the family to be in an event was Saoirse.  She decided to run the 400 meters.  I stood at the half way mark to cheer her on, then ran over to the other side of the field to cheer her to the finish line.  At the half way mark she was looking good, smiling at me and running strong.  But the last 30 meters or so she started to cry and wanted to stop.  There were many children who did that throughout the night and either one of their parents or their camp counselor would come along side of them and run in (or walk in some cases) with them to the finish line.  Jeremiah ran out there with her to help her in to the finish line.  Come to find out the poor girl had a side ache the whole time and had a hard time breathing!  So she did not have fun running.  Isabella was brave and entered many running races.  The first being the 100 meters.  Her knees had been bothering her a bit after a week of running and the 100  meters kind of brought that back up.  Her next event was the 400 meters.  She did well, running wise, but the poor girl couldn't breathe at the end.  It scared her and we needed to calm her down and take in slow deep breaths.  But that did not deter her from doing the hurdles and the 200 meters (which she had a hard time breathing afterwards as well).  But I was proud of her persistence to persevere.  Moira ran the hurdles and I was very glad that the event went well for her.  She was happy with her race. Flannery ran the 400  meters and she did very well, most certainly she is our natural athlete.  She was way ahead of the other girls in her race.  But she did slow up a bit as she hasn't learned about pacing herself yet :-)  But she had fun. The meet went late, we left there around 11 pm!  Everyone totally crashed before or as soon as we returned home. I think they are all looking forward to next years camp.  Although the camp only goes to age 12, so Isabella can only participate as a helper.  But something tells me that she will do well in that position :-) 

A long week for the girls. This week will prove to be a bit busy with Moira's birthday tomorrow (!), a homeopathic appointment and a chiropractic appointment.  Then we need to come up with some plans for Moira's birthday party at the end of the week.  She's invited a few friends of hers for a party.  Someone asked me if they could bring anything....ha, ha!  I told her I had NO clue what we were having or doing at this point.  The older girls like to make up their party plans and then we go over them together to see what will be feasible.  Sometimes they have grand plans, quite outside of the birthday budget. 

Check out our rapper.  The other three girls are in the stands off to the left, but you can only see Saoirse due to their orientation.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Today I have some thoughts to share on exercise.  Or more exactly, my journey with getting/staying in shape.  I have had many comments over the years that show peoples' lack of knowledge, or maybe just their attempt to escape reality.  For example I have heard many times about how I am "naturally" thin.  If I am eating something devilish I have gotten comments that it must be nice to eat what ever I want and be able to get away with it.  Or if I turn down food, I might hear that I can afford to eat this food as I am the type who can eat anything they want and not gain weight.  I always laugh when I hear these, because it couldn't be further from the truth.  The comment I made about people trying to escape reality was made due to what I see people trying to have an escape clause as to why they are not fit.  It shifts the blame to an outside cause, they didn't get a "naturally" thin body so they can't help it if they are not fit. 

In our society unless you are in a business that demands hard physical labor daily, or you live off the grid and grow your own food using hand tools, it is safe to say that in order to stay fit you will need to exercise.  We humans were made to *work*, and I don't mean at a desk job :-)  I mean we are physically made to work.  That is how we were created.  And when we mess with creation, it never looks pretty.  Think about it....not too many years ago people couldn't run down to the local grocers to buy a 5 pound bag of sugar.  Not too many years ago people didn't have the servants we do, not unless they were rich. Servants, you say?  Yes, servants, like your washer and dryer, your stove, your heating and AC unit, your vacuum......How did people wash their laundry when there were no washer and dryers?  By hand.  How did people stay warm without electricity?  By chopping wood and carrying it in and keeping that fire going 24/7.  How did people cook without a stove?  I think you get the was ALL work. All day long just to take care of the bare bone basics.  So when people went to cook up their supper they didn't have a pantry of boxed goods, like mac and cheese, or Hamburger Helper, or canned cream soup, etc.  They had to eat local foods in season.  There were no Twinkies, or Ho-Ho's.  I know many of you have read the Little House book series.  Did you ever notice what they had for meal?  A hunk of cheese and some bread was for dinner.  Or butter and rolls and some milk.  Meat was dried, and fresh meat was a rare wonderful treat.

So today, in our society, you need to lace up some shoes and get your heart pounding in order to stay fit.  And I thought, if I didn't drive anyone away with what I wrote above (!) I'd like to share my fitness journey.  Not for any other reason but to share the truth that it takes work to stay thin. 

I was a freshman in high school when my friend suggested we try out for the basketball team.  I'd never played sports outside of PE class, so this was new to me.  We gave it a try and we both didn't make the team.  So she suggested we try out for the volley ball team.  I didn't make it, but I believe she did (can't remember at the moment).  Come spring my friend suggested that we go out for the track team.  I told her I wasn't up for any more tryouts, but she reassured me that you only need to join the team, there were no tryouts.  I was game.  I was also totally clueless about anything having to do with working out and getting fit.  I wasn't overweight, but I was a bit 'soft' :-)  I had a lot of sinus allergies, which proved to be a bit more of a problem once I started to run.  I found out quickly that the $8.99 purple, Velcro, K-Mart sneakers I had were NOT meant for running in.  I thought I had broken my shins they were in so much pain!  After a week or two of having to limp around, and no money to buy a better pair of sneakers I had to quit.  But somewhere in those two weeks I was bitten by the fitness bug.  I wanted to learn more about getting in shape.  So with some babysitting money I bought my first "Runners World" magazine.  I found out from there that they made special sneakers for running (yes, this was a novel idea to me!).  I'm not sure how I secured the money to buy my own pair, but by the summer I had my own pair of running sneakers (New Balance I believe). 

It would be great to say that from that day on I just got out there and pounded the pavement and got in shape in no time, but that is NOT what happened.  You see, those allergies...well they had a component to them that I didn't know about until I started exercising, it was called 'exercise induced asthma'.  What that meant for me was that after I did a bit of walking to warm up, and then stretched, I could only run a total length of three houses.  We lived in a neighborhood, with houses relatively close together.  Three houses people!  At the end of those three houses I would be *gasping* for breath.  But I was pretty persistent about this getting in shape thing, and so the next day I got out there and ran those three houses again.  I'm not sure how long I could only do three houses, but eventually I could do 5 houses, then 10 then I could get to the end of the street.  By the end of the summer I was able to run a mile.  A huge accomplishment for me to be sure.  That fall I decided to join the cross country team.  Yes, call me insane.  That was a 3.2 mile race.  I came in last, pretty much the whole season. And I don't mean last by a few feet or by 30 seconds......noooooo, I'm talking like by 5 minutes or more!  I would have my inhaler at the finish line so that I could breath in a decent amount of time! 

We started to see an allergist by the beginning of this cross country season.  Supposedly he was one of the best in the field.  When the subject came up about me running he absolutely insisted that *I COULD NOT RUN*!!!  Under no circumstances should I attempt to do so.  I told him I already was, and he told me to stop!  ha!!  Well being a bit hard headed that just gave me more determination to overcome this asthma.  Yes, I was young and foolish :-)  But I did press on.  I remember track meets where I felt numb when I reached to finish line because of the lack of oxygen.  I never passed out or anything major, but running was HARD.  It was a battle every time I put on my shoes.  Eventually easy runs got to be easier to handle breathing wise.  But my races always left me wondering if I would make it to the finish line before I ran out of oxygen. 

I joined the track team in college, but a recurring knee problem led me to quit.  Although I was determined to stay in shape I was not willing to risk serious injury.  I could not get over some of the other teammates who I know have to be suffering at this present moment from the stress and injuries that they ran through in those college years.  I knew that this body of mine, if it was to reach old age was going to need two useful knees :-)  So the following year I heard about the Crew team.  I thought I would join that.  No tryouts :-)  Well, not in the normal tryout sense.  Our couch knew very well that the rigors of rowing would thin out the masses.  Alot of people joined the team for the prestige.  Those people quickly left after a few weeks!  The workouts were HARD.  This coach was serious about rowing, and he expected his team to be as well.  We were to be giving out best at every work out.  I certainly wasn't the best, but I wasn't afraid of hard work.  These workouts still left me gasping for air, but by then my lungs had gained more of an ability to take in air.  So I didn't need my inhaler all the time, I just made sure to have it on hand. 

Our team had 12 girls.  Enough for a boat of 8 and the other a boat of 4.  The boat of four was for the um....weaker ones....and that included me.  Like I said our coach was very serious about rowing and he would only spend his time on the best of the best.  So my little boat of 4 kind of got neglected.  I remember our boat sitting down to dinner one night and we had a little pow-wow.  We decided we were tired of being the neglected boat.  We determined that when we were to be rowing and easy pace that we would row in medium pace.  When we were to be at medium we would row at full speed.  And when we were to row at full speed, we would go all out silly beyond what we thought we might survive.  At first no one took notice.  But then a funny thing started to happen.  Our little boat started to keep up with the big boat!  We were actually able to have races with the big boat.  This was no small matter. The 8 boat actually weighed LESS than our 4 person boat, and there were only four of us to make it move.  Well come our colleges regatta, we actually placed in second place!!!  Our coach was totally blown away.  Unfortunately for me during that race I slipped a disk in my spine and that put an end to my rowing career. 

After that I stayed in shape by jogging or doing aerobics.  It's hard to be your own boss when exercising is not easy.  Making exercise a part of my daily routine really helped to keep it a part of my daily life.  Otherwise I was prone to put it off till later in the day, and that pretty much always came down to it being too late.  By making it a part of my morning routine I got it in and out of the way.  After the first 5 children when I was feeling ready to start back up (usually 6 to 8 weeks postpartum) I would try to set up a routine in the morning. The first few months were hard.  The baby wasn't always willing to cooperate :-) 

Things have changed since Jed was born.  I was getting back into shape like normal....until I started seeing problems with Jed. With the doctors appointments, then the hospital stay, all exercising was put by the wayside.  It took months to try and find a 'normal' to our new life with a feeding pump and meds.  I would say it was probably almost a year before I got back into trying to make exercise a routine again.  I did so with Jonah's pregnancy.  But after Jonah was born....well lets just say my little "pack" that I had with God about not ever having a child as needy as Flannery again didn't go through :-)  Jonah was a total handful.  And I honestly can say it wasn't until a few weeks before I got pregnant with this baby that I started back to exercising.  Of course a couple weeks into the pregnancy I had to stop due to my cardiovascular issues!  So now I find myself totally out of shape, in the worst shape I have ever been in. Not only out of shape cardiovascularly and muscularly, but also overweight.  Yes, I'm pregnant, but only 13 weeks preggers and lets just say a few too many pounds have made their way to my hips and thighs!  Ha!  Seriously I always gain a lot of weight when pregnant.  I'm talking 40-55 pounds!  Things are not looking good for me at this point in the weight category.  I find it very difficult to do every day things with an extra 50 pounds on me. And I really do not know how I gain that much.  I'm being very serious!  I exercise 5 to 6 days a week the whole pregnancy.  And besides the first three months when pregnancy cravings and being absolutely ravenous takes over the rest of the pregnancy I eat healthy normal portions of food.  Yet the weight piles on. 

So I still have little energy.  But I can breath and my heart is acting normal.  So I went out and got some new sneakers and laced up yesterday for the first time in two months.  It's a slow start, 20 minutes of walking, but it's a start.  I plan on adding to that each week until I can get up to 45 minutes of walking.  I'm hoping that by pregnancy;s end I can be back in shape for the labor!  Oh, the labor, I will be seriously worried if I don't get in shape by then.  Out of 6 labors, three were HARD, two were easy and one was so-so.  And with all of those I was in shape each time.  I can't imagine going through labor otherwise.

Well not sure where I was going with all of that, just my story.  Hoping others will see that it doesn't come naturally for some to stay fit.  For me it is a lot of work, not only physically but mentally. Being disciplined to keep with it is not easy either.  It does get easier if I make it into a routine, but I still have to do it.  There is no easy out, just a determination to stay fit (or to get fit, depending where you are). 

This is REALLY long and it is late, so off to bed I go. 

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Do Hard Things

I'm finally getting to that post I was talking about.  Before I begin I'll set myself up to be held accountable for another post....Jed's b-day pictures.  The pictures are still on my camera.  It really seems to be too much right now to get them off.  Don't get me wrong, I've not been lazy or anything, I've been busy, and getting pictures off the camera just doesn't seem doable at the present moment.  I've been trying to do some of my bulk cooking.  And get this, I cooked up one of the packages of meat that was in the back fridge (which by the way produced some cold juice -one of the girls made some and put it back there, so I guess it's not totally busted) and it was totally fine.  So today I went about to cook up some chicken (think huge bulk pack from BJ's) that was NOT apart of the back fridge meat crisis and it was BAD!!!   What?!?  We had to return meat to BJ's and got this pack in return, and this one was bad as well.  Seriously we've not had a problem before this, so maybe it was a bad truck load as we bought the meat only days apart.  Either way, I'm out a pack of chicken.  I do have another one, but I need to defrost it first....and well, I need to move on to some other cooking for tomorrow. 

Ok, on to my topic at hand.  "Do Hard Things" (dht)

DHT is a book written by teens for teens.  Written by Alex and Brett Harris (their brother, Josh Harris, wrote the book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye") when they were 18, I think they are 21 now.  I had been planning on a Mother/Daughter trip to the beach with Isabella for her 13th birthday this coming August.  I was hoping that I could find a book on the teen years to have us both read before our trip to have something to discuss.  Before I was able to find a book we had a situation that arose that made it more clear that our values were not being passed on in the way we had hoped.  For various reasons that I won't get into we find we have a budding teen that values what the world does, which is not something we agree ALL.  So I happened to mention to a friend that I need a book, and she gave me a couple of titles.  Then she remembered that a friend of hers (who goes to our church) was a part of a book study that was just starting on the DHT book.  She told me that the dht book was the talk of the Charlotte Mason conference that she had attended the month before.  She told me that everyone had nothing but wonderful things to say about this book.  So we ordered it immediately and I got in contact with the study leader to see if there was room for another person or two (as Jeremiah or I will be going with her). 

I haven't even finished reading the book and I am heartily recommending it, it is that good.  The amazing thing is that Isabella stayed up late each evening to read the whole book. Now she is rereading it!  The book was written to get teens to rebel against the low expectations of our culture.  So if you have a budding teen, a teen, or anyone older I recommend this book.  I think we all need to hear this message.  You can go to their website to see more and read some articles:

The Rebelution

Another amazing thing is that Isabella asked that instead of going to the beach for her birthday if instead we could attend one of the Rebelution conferences!  The closest one is in D.C. this coming September.  She is bummed it can't be in her birthday month, but is very excited about being able to attend one of the conferences.  I'm excited as well as I am praying that this is an answer to prayer.  Not only will we get to go to the conference, but we'll be able to see my sister and her family!  Yeah! 

The book talks about different areas that we need to take the 'do hard things' mindset.  The first being about stepping out of our comfort zones.  I really can not remember them all, as I am still reading and processing. I can honestly say that so far the areas that I have read about all need work on in my life!  For starters since this is the most pressing of issues for me at the moment I will be working on getting the house in order and, here's the kicker, keeping it that way!  I know, it might not seem like a huge contribution to society at large, but it still needs to be done.  There is always some excuse that I have that it can not stay clean.  I mean, I have 6 kids, or they are sick, or I'm just not a born organizer, get the idea.  Don't get me wrong, when 4 of the children are sick and I'm coming down with it too....well there is only so much I can do.  Trying to attend to 4 sick children and having to cook, and clean up what ever mess said sick children may have made, that pretty much takes up my whole day.  BUT, that doesn't mean I have to settle for it being an excuse for the constant mess that my house is.  I need to raise the bar, as the book points out.  So that is where I will start.  I know there are other worthy, more pressing spiritual areas that could be dealt with.  I did just sign up for the 8 week Bible reading challenge.  So that is a start there as well. 

Ok, I have to end this as we are heading out the door for some errands and dinner....yeah a night off of cooking!
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