Category Archives: Blessings

focusing on the good!

2013, Quick Update

Family

We’ve definitely had several transitions in the past few months–most notably, our Trinity-girl is now 5 months old(!!). She is utterly adorable–I’m continually shocked at what an easy baby she is. She’s almost always in a good mood (even when teething), eats like a champ, burps herself, rolls over onto her tummy, laughs at anything River does, and has just started “singing,” i.e., vocalizing like a baby dinosaur with high squeals and shrieks. She’s so overwhelmingly cute and cuddly that it’s almost unbearable. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to parent a full-term baby after first experiencing a preemie. It makes me delight in the effortless-feeling, developmental-milestone-smashing course that Trinity is on, rather than taking it for granted.

At first, having 2 children was a bit daunting–the first 6 weeks felt very overwhelming. However, thanks to Trinity’s great personality, River’s surprisingly open acceptance of her sister, and the help of friends, family and babysitter, I feel like we’ve found our equilibrium (well, as much equilibrium as one can muster with children in the mix).

Health

I’m still avoiding gluten as a holistic means of combating my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, although I’ve relaxed a little bit when visiting family. It’s so hard to find gluten free food at parties and gatherings that I tend to chalk up those days as ones that will result in my being very bloated for the following 72 hours. I find that I still have a rather addictive response to the combination of refined flour and sugar, and I’ve had some increased refined-sugar cravings after relaxing my gluten free regimen. Definitely NOT a coincidence, I think. I have settled into a good routine at home and have found that creating a 5 week plan of naturally gluten free breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners (complete with page #s for recipes, etc) makes it a lot easier for me to serve things that all of us enjoy. When I say “naturally gluten free,” I’m referring to meals in which the original recipes don’t call for gluten-containing ingredients. Example: a breakfast might be scrambled eggs with cheese and cottage potatoes instead of eggs with gluten free toast. I’m trying to eat “whole foods,” rather than using gluten free substitutes b/c most store-bought gf substitutes have a terribly high glycemic index and fairly low nutritional value.

I’ve also found an edible, tasty snack/sandwich bread from Elana Amsterdam’s  The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. I LOVE the high protein content and the dense, moist texture of her quick-bread recipes. Here’s a similar recipe from her website for her “Bread 2.0.” The bread is easy to make and actually tastes great without incorporating loads of sugar or rice-flour. I have to say that it’s definitely my best experience with savory, gluten free bread thus far.

On a less holistic note, I’ve also started taking Levothroid. I’m in awe at how fantastic I feel after just a week. My TSH was only at 3.1, but since that’s on the high end of normal and at a level that can have negative hormonal effects, my primary care PA suggested that I try a tiny dose (25 micrograms) to see if it made a positive difference.  My energy levels are higher than they’ve been in over 4 years, I’m sleeping well, and I don’t crash after just a few hours of activity. It’s beyond awesome to feel “normal” again.

I don’t love the idea of being on a medication for the rest of my life, but at this point, having low energy is just not an option, and I haven’t been able to find empirical studies showing that going gluten-free *actually* helps keep Hashimoto’s in check. The suggestion makes intuitive sense to me as a lay person, but I’m willing to concede that it may be misguided. Still, I feel better eating gluten-free, and since I have multiple generations of diabetes in my family history, eating in a way that minimizes my consumption of grains and maximizes my consumption of protein, whole fruits and veggies will still have massive health benefits. I’m not prepared to go Paleo, but I am convinced that eating as if I’m trying to manage diabetes (high protein, carbs from non-starchy veggies, etc), even though I don’t have diabetes, is probably the best thing for my body.

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Filed under 2013, Baby, Blessings, gluten free, Thyroid

looking forward to silence…

The Wunderhusband and I are attending a silent spiritual retreat this coming weekend. We’ve never done anything like this before, and I can’t wait to see where 2 concentrated days of directed, disciplined meditation, prayer, and Scripture reading take us.

Has anyone else done a silent retreat? Do you have any tips that you wish you’d known before you went?
Any advice on debriefing together after the event?

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Filed under Blessings, processing, spirituality

A new addition…

no, I’m not pregnant. :)

As you all know, my much-loved Ford Focus, Ginger, is gone.   The wunderhusband and I have spent all weekend researching on Consumer Reports and on our Toyota dealer’s website. We have an awesome guy who helped us out last time we needed to get a vehicle–I highly recommend him. His name is Fred Williams, and he can be reached at 800-619-8698 (for all you So Cal residents).

We now have Audrey, a beautiful, new (to us) RAV4. She’s named after Audrey Hepburn, my favorite actress of all time (wunderhusband’s idea). This car is AMAZING–there are even buttons on the steering wheel that control the volume and radio station! :) She handles beautifully, and is a lovely silvery-gray with gorgeous, darker gray interior. And….SHE HAS A MOONROOF! I drove home in the rain with the inner cover pulled back, so anytime I glanced up I could see the rain falling over me (but not on me)! :)

Yep, I officially have my dream car. At age 28, I have my dream car. How unbelievably awesome and amazing is that? I’ve been dreaming of having a silver Rav4 with a moon roof since 1998!

Thanks a million to the Wunderhusband for letting *me* pick our new car instead of using this as a reason to get a new car for himself (he’s the one paying for it, after all), and most of all thanks be to God for His provision!

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When the stars converge…

or rather, when 4 of my most favorite things converge–the Wunderhusband, hydrangeas, swing dancing, and stars–it makes for a downright awesome anniversary trip!

Happy THIRD anniversary of marriage to US! :)

 Eeep. Three years married. That makes me sound old.

After a whirlwind 2  days in AZ (where my beautiful cousin got married and my best friend celebrated moving in to her gorgeous NEW HOME), we enjoyed Northernmost CA–Eureka & Arcata for 4 days.

Northern CA Highlights include

  •     visiting the Loleta cheese factory & sampling 30 kinds of freshly made cheese to our hearts’ content! Yep, this was the first thing we did on the actual day of our anniversary. My favorites were the “Herb and Spice Havarti” and the “Chipotle Jack” (both of which managed to come home with me).
  • chowing down at the Samoa cookhouse with my super-cool Uncle Tony. Mmmm…Peach cake!
  • Touring the most beautiful beaches this side of the world with said super-cool Uncle.
  • Strolling along beaches that “smell like an oyster shooter”, according the Wunderhusband.
  • Kayaking at moonrise on Humboldt Bay with the Wunderhusband.
  • Visiting the Kinetic Sculpture Museum  in Ferndale and standing mesmerized in front of the pieces for several minutes.
  • Having my assumptions about halibut completely re-written–when fresh, this fish is perfectly, scrumptiously delectable. A fabulous, tender-plump, juicy white fish with a delicious, delicate flavor that is beautifully complimented by lemon and garlic. I’m gushing, I know…but having only had my own defrosted and poorly cooked halibut, my world was definitely rocked by just how amazing this dish was. Thank you to the Waterfront Grill in Eureka for the eye-opening experience! :)
  • THE REDWOOD GROVES! Oh my….these trees have such palpable spirit and presence. Both the Wunderhusband and I were reduced to cries and exclamations of “Oh, THAT one….OOOOO–LOOK at the one over THERE!!” and “Oh, WOW” for about 8 hours. We had a fun time hiking down “Damnation Creek Trail”, aptly named for how easy it is to climb down and how difficult it is to scramble back up. The Redwoods’ thick, shady canopy makes hiking a breeze–no hot sun beating down, no glare, and nice cool air with plenty of fresh oxygen!
  • Sharing meals and time with the Wunderhusband. Priceless.
  • Finding a tiny swing dance hall at about9:30 PM, and (while walking in) realizing that I was standing with the Wunderhusband, next to a giant, wild hydrangea bush in full bloom, under a sky sparkling with (VISIBLE) stars. Definitely one of my most blessed moments. Ever.

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Filed under Blessings, marriage, travel

a tiny piece of parenting…

I got to experience a miniscule but very moving bit of the parenting experience today. I was blessed enough to be able to spend time with the wuggies (who are heading out to Texas this week!) The wuggies are a pair of 3 year old boys (twins), and a 1.5 year old girl.

The day was a mixture of everything–I got to the house expecting to pack boxes but ended up being more useful as a kid wrangler. Mom and Dad knew where they wanted everything, so keeping the kids out of their way was the best thing to do. Things were awkward for about 2 minutes, then the kids and I were used to each other and playing like old friends. It’s truly amazing to interact with 3 individuals who respond in some way to EVERY sound that comes out of my mouth: I sang a random song, and they all turned and stared (in horror or interest,  I’m not sure). I asked questions and all 3 responded. If they didn’t understand the question, they echoed it. If they thought it was silly or didn’t want to answer it, they pointed out something else.

It was fascinating to see how the twins play together without their sister–they function as a pretty cohesive unit when together, even though they have incredibly different personlities. They were amazing when I walked them to the park (in the Doopah Mobile…aka, mega stroller). They talked the whole way there, commenting on passing cars, trees, scenery, and the park. They add adjectives to EVERYthing: “Look a tree, a BIG, GREEN tree”; “look, a boat: a BLUE boat”.

At the park, they repeatedly admonished each other to “watch your head” and “be gentle”. When we found some rolly poly bugs, they found a “Dodders bug”, a “Mama bug”, and “lots of baby bugs”–everything is assumed to have a family unit, even the fish in their picture book backgrounds! I was surprised at how fun interacting with little boys can be–they are incredibly creative and verbally expressive!

Getting home, we ate dinner, Mom and Dad headed out to a meeting, then came the joy of changing 3 (very) dirty diapers. LOL! The kids were tired and started to get a bit delirious and, well, extremely active.  That probably had something to do with the cake I fed them for dessert.

Bathing all 3 was surprisingly easy–they were all (thank God) very cooperative and tried to help me by finding things that I needed. Then came an amazing moment: after a day of constant noise, screaming, yelling, fighting, pushing, loud playing, etc., all three beautiful amazing children spontaneously cuddled up next to me and on my lap as we read Curious George. As they chatted about the pictures and pointed out all the details in each one, I realized that if necessary, I would, without a second thought, die protecting these bundles of innocence and potential.

Then someone threw a fit over not wanting to wear a long sleeved shirt, etc., and it was back to the less sublime part of being around kids.  :)

On  a lighter (though mildly horrifying) note, I managed to make all 3 kids cry at the exact same time: NOT ON PURPOSE! It was bedtime, so, I read them 4 stories, gave them water drinks, and brushed their teeth. The twins were already nodding off, and Tembo was knocked out on the floor. I snuck out, turned out the light, and shut the door. To my horror, about 2 seconds later, I heard THREE sobbing children. Yep, that light went on and STAYED on. :) Just call me the Toddler Whisperer…NOT!

Thanks much to the Wuggies’ parents for entrusting me with their amazing family for  few hours..what an amazing experience.

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Filed under Blessings, family thoughts

::happy sigh::

One lovely, fabulous, AWEsome characterstic of being in the artifical womb of higher education is that irreplaceable feeling of closure and accomplishment at the end of a quarter/semester. WOW…after 3 years in corporate-drone-land and 4 years working with a non-profit organization, I appreciate that feeling so much more. There’s just nothing else like it in real life. :)

::Basking::

yes, my first “real” finals week in 7 years is over.
:-D

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ok, SERiously…

It’s been 18 hours, and I’m still in shock. I have a VERY cool World Lit Professor right now (my fave class, of course). She’s young, yet well traveled, very well read, has an interesting global perspective on the world, etc….in other words, she’s unusally well-rounded for a literature person. Since she’s young, she’s really good about using technology (which is SO nice in a professor), and so I occasionally email her links to sites that I think she might enjoy or that pertain to somethingwe talked to in class.

Here’s a recent email exchange: Continue reading

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