Saturday, October 30

The results

I talked to Beth's pediatric GI doc yesterday. He said the biopsy indicates celiac disease, and with her high numbers in her blood test result in addition to her symptoms that he most definitely recommends a gluten free diet.

It's bittersweet. It's nice to have a firm diagnosis so that we can treat her. It's good that treating her is merely a matter of diet change, and that she's so young that she'll most likely not sustain any permanent damage. She probably won't even remember the days when she wasn't gluten free.

On the other hand, it's still a big change. It might sound silly but I mourn for her that she won't have a no-worries lifestyle, that her life won't feel "normal." I know I KNOW that no one really has a "normal" lifestyle, that we all have our concerns, that it's not that big of a deal, yadda yadda... But seriously, as her mom, I need everyone to understand that this IS a big deal. Right now, at this time in her life, in my life, in our lives. I know we'll get through it and figure it out, but let me have a little time to be sad for her. Everything in life revolves around food, most social gatherings involve food of some sorts. Just today we had our All Saint's Day gathering of home school families and it was a potluck- I was first in line with a few other moms of children with allergies, picking out the foods that our children could eat. I am so lucky Beth loves raw veggies and fruit because otherwise all she would have been able to eat is the pasta dish that I brought. So, I know this isn't about me, I know we'll all get through it. I just need a little time to be sad for her.

That being said, I still appreciate everyone's prayers. We've always prayed for God's will to be done in our lives, and while I don't believe God "gave" Beth celiac disease, I believe he's given us the means to get through this. We will continue to pray for God to give us whatever we need to bring us closer to Him. Please continue to pray for Beth's health, that she won't experience any side effects from this, and Ryan and I receive the inspiration we need to guide her through this as carefully as possible.

Thursday, October 28


Today I took the kid's to my Grandma's house for a little lunch and visit. I'm so blessed to be less than 15 minutes from her and to have the opportunity to visit pretty much whenever we want! We enjoyed the lovely breeze outside while Bethany and Luke took turns playing on the tree swing that my Grandfather slung over a tree limb I don't even know how many years before. I commented to her that I loved to see them play like that together, both giggling and laughing with joy...

...Until I gave them the dreaded two minute warning. It was nearing time for us to go home, and I don't usually compromise when it comes to missing naptimes. After two minutes I called for them to come to me and Beth melted down, completely and miserably. I mean this was The Works, screaming, kicking, yelling NO at me, even a couple attempts at hitting me. (This is incredibly unusal behavior for her, and part of me wants to attribute it to her celiac but mostly I think it's just because she's 3-going-on-13.) I had to strap her into the car seat before I could get the boys in, there was not an ounce of cooperation on her part. She cooled down on the way home and had a nap today, I know she's been tired because I hear her jump out of her bed at 6:45 most mornings!

The rest of the day went fine, very well I'd venture to say. Tonight before bed time she and I spent a little extra time rocking. My girl needed some extra hugs and I indulged her, not wanting her to fall asleep thinking about what went wrong today. We talked a little about the meltdown, I asked her what I could have done to help her feel better and obey Mommy better, and she offered her advice (to ask her nicely to get into the car). We agreed that tomorrow we'd each use nice words with each other.

I then explained to her that God gave her to me to be her Mommy, and that she had to learn to obey Mommy and Daddy while she's little so that one day, when she's bigger, she could obey God. I told her that Mommy and Daddy obey God right now because we learned how to obey our parents when we were little. She asked me why we have to obey God and I said that God gives us rules to keep us safe- just like Mommy and Daddy gives her rules to keep her safe. Like not playing on the staircase. She seemed to understand in a way that almost-4-year-olds can.

I think our talk went pretty well, and we finished off our time together by talking about the fun things we would do tomorrow. As I was rocking her in silence I could feel her little body get heavier, and I prayed that God would help me fall head-over-heels into love with her even more. I love my children more than anything, but even on challenging days like today it's hard to see them for what they are- children- and not take their fights personally. I know she doesn't tell me "no" because she's trying to drive me insane, I know she's asserting her independence and testing my limits. Still, it's hard to think about that in the heat of the moment of a heated and very loud argument! Before I carried her to bed, she told me that she loves me more than anything in the entire world, and I cried. That makes it all worth it.

Wednesday, October 27

Luke pretends

How to behave

I never claimed to be an artist, but this picture at child eye-level gets the point across.

Tuesday, October 26

2-year and 4-month appointments

Yesterday the boys had well-baby visits. They're healthy! Luke was 28 lbs even (50%) and almost 34 inches tall (32%). Jack was 18 lbs 2 oz (93%) and 25.75 inches (76%). We weighed Beth too and she was 36 lbs.

At 28 lbs, Luke still has another 6 lbs to go before we'll flip him forward-facing in his car seat! He's cutting two new teeth (lower canines) and is sooo cranky right now because of it.

Jack's starting a new thing where he cries for about 5 minutes as we're putting him to sleep but then totally passes out. It's really the only time he cries though! He's napping very predictably three times a day, an hour in the morning, about two hours in the afternoon, and 45 minutes in the early evening. He spits up so much, so we give him a bath every other day- luckily the spit up doesn't seem to hurt him though because he smiles right through it!


I'm always flattered when people come over and are impressed with the state of my house. (What they don't know is I usually spend too much time the night before making it look like that!) I feel like I can never keep it up and that it's no where close to what I actually want it to look like. But, that's my own personal (almost sinful) battle with "gluttony of the home," and that's not what this blog post it about!

I've collected and created what I think are a few good home-managing ideas and thought I'd share some of those ideas. As you know, I'm a Type-A, first-born child, unhealthily obsessed with lists, charts, and schedules. One day I might need therapy, but again I digress.

Our new house has a huge master closet. Obscenely huge. In fact, we still have multiple boxes in there of things we haven't unpacked yet (I should just give them away, obviously we don't really need that stuff if we haven't used it in 7 months, right?). I keep clear bins leftover from the move on my side of the closet, each with it's own label: "sort," "donate," "return to owner," and "sell." I toss stuff in the bin and deal with it at a later date when I get the itch to do some deep-cleaning. I need to have a "return to store" bin also since I usually have two or three things I need to return but alas, I'm out of room. I find that these bins help me reduce clutter and elsewhere (aka my dresser top) and allow me the freedom to take care of these things later when I actually have the time to think.
as you can see, it's time i emptied my bins!

Something I'm perpetually working on is my daily schedule. I don't follow anyone's rules to the "T," like Fly Lady, Managers of their Homes, Motivated Moms, etc. I think, while those rules definitely have tidbits of great information, that I'm too much of a do-it-myself person to follow someone else's plan. I do what works for me. Oddly, I find I get more housework done in the morning if I'm still in my pajamas instead of taking the time to get dressed, which is probably the opposite of most stay-at-home moms! So while I read books about schedules (right now I'm in a book club that's reading A Mother's Rule of Life), I keep my own thing going and so far it works out pretty well. I will most likely need to readjust the schedule as the kid's get older (I long for the day when Beth's old enough to make dinner and Luke can mow the lawn!) but for now, Mommy and Daddy do almost everything.

I find that my schedule adds and element of freedom to my day though, and this is something I've been able to articulate after reading A Mother's Rule of Life. If you have your time allotted for each thing you need to accomplish, then it frees you up to not worry about it. Got a pile of laundry waiting to be folded? Don't worry about it, you will take care of that at 4:00 while the kids are having a snack. Messy floor? Don't even think about it, because you plan to mop that night after the kids are in bed. I don't spend time worrying about the current state of things because I know it'll get taken care of.

Realistically speaking... My "schedule" is definitely more of an ideal. Have you ever had anyone suggest your four-month-old will stay on a schedule? Yeah, I'm laughing too. Every day is different, but if something doesn't get done when it's "supposed" to, it'll happen eventually. Usually.

That being said, one thing I do always try to do is to follow my 30-second rule: If it takes under 30 seconds to accomplish, then do it. Instead of just putting the dirty cup in the sink, take the extra 30 seconds to rinse it and put it in dishwasher. Instead of putting your brush back on the vanity, take the extra 10 seconds to put it in the drawer (or whenever you keep it). If it's under 30 seconds, do it.

I am trying to "let go" of my Type A perfectionist tendencies (don't laugh) by enlisting the children if possible. Some favorite chores for my three-year-old and two-year-old involve anything with a dust rag (they love to dust), wiping windows, vacuuming (especially under the sofa cushions!), sweeping, feeding the dog, "mopping" with the Swiffer Wet Jet, and stacking/organizing plastic storage containers. Though they won't get to do that one anymore since I recently switched to all glass storage and ditched the plastic. (I'm trying to be healthier and they say it's going to give us all cancer one day anyway. The whole de-glutenizing of my kitchen was as good of an excuse as anything to get rid of it!) So what if it's not perfect when they're done, it's better than it not getting done at all, right?

With this much-larger house I have now, I've learned something that most seasoned moms probably already know: keep things where you need them, not necessarily where they belong. Instead of keeping all cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink, keep them where you need them so you can easily access them. In my case, that involves keeping a tub of Lysol wipes right next to the toilet to wipe up little-girl messes. (Pretty soon little boy messes too! We're talking to Luke a LOT about potty training and I think he's almost ready!) I liked the coffee cabinet idea I read about, as it turns out I already had this done before I read about it. :-)

My last "tip" isn't really a tip, it's more of a trick. Fill the spaces and the mess will be less noticeable! Do what you can to change things up. I get bored with the look of things quickly and could easily spend thousands of dollars just making my house pretty. Obviously that's out of the question so I "shop" my storage closet and look for ways to reinvent things. I'm by no means as cool as this chick or some of the other neat blogs I like to visit, but I try to gather inspiration. Recently I brought out a bunch of photo albums and the kid's brag books we had stored away, organized my bookshelf by the color of the bindings, and hung a few pictures/crucifixes/knick knacks I had stowed away. I tend to be a minimalist (it's cheaper) but it's amazing how much adding a few things warms up a space. I like to decorate only with things that mean something to me, so that slows the process because I won't just go pick out cute things at TJ Maxx to decorate with. Sure, this arrangement of white plates on the wall is really neat, but I don't have a collection of antique plates that are sentimental and I'm certainly not going to buy some just to get the look. You might- and that's cool, show me a picture because I love collections. Maybe one day I'll have one too!

okay, occasionally i buy cheap decor from tj maxx. i'm sure this one was created for me though, as i am told i have my hands full literally every time i leave the house with my three children. this is my new motto.

So don't laugh at my meager attempts to impress. I lack imagination but follow neat blogs and have creative friends, and I like to think that I can pull stuff off occasionally!

Saturday, October 23

Luke's Birthday

Luke had a wonderful birthday! We started off bright and early with a portion of his birthday gift waiting for him when he got downstairs in the morning: a small wooden train track with two trains! He and Beth immediately were drawn to it, Luke had huge smiles on his face! After breakfast we let Luke open the rest of his gifts, two books from Beth and Luke and more wooden tracks and trains.

He and Beth played with those for about an hour until we decided to let him open his gift from MawMaw and PawPaw:

Yup, a John Deer Weed Eater! Talk about big smiles on a little boy's face! He knew immediately what it was and how to use it. Between that, the trains, and his two favorite books, I'm pretty sure this 2-year-old was in heaven.

We had a quick lunch, put the kid's down for an early nap and got ready for our big afternoon! We met friends at a local pumpkin patch where they were having a free "fair." We brought (gluten-free!) cupcakes, sang happy birthday, opened a few more presents and had some fun! There was a petting zoo, a playground, pony rides, a corral-type place, swings, pumpkin painting, and more fun things. Beth and Luke ran around with their friends and with Grandma and Grandpa. We were there for about two hours and they had a blast. Jack stayed comfortable in my Ergo sling the entire two hours, he snoozed for awhile but was mostly taking it all in. He appeared to have no desire to ride in the stroller, so I carried him. :-)

After the pumpkin patch we went to dinner with our out-of-town friends, and it was really good to see everyone and catch up. Beth and Luke both really enjoyed the tortilla chips and green sauce! On the way home we decided to stop by another pumpkin patch that was a little closer to home, since we didn't get any actual pictures of the kids and the pumpkins at the first patch. (They were charging $5 just to take your own photo!) We had about 15 minutes of day light left so we hurried in and got a few pictures before the sun went down. I took about 20 pictures of the three kids but none of those turned out, they were pretty blurry since it was pretty dark by that point and poor Luke was so exhausted, he was staring blankly off into the distance! I did get a couple of good ones of Beth and Luke though, sitting in an old tractor!

We got home at about 7:15 with some very exhausted children! BUT! Luke hadn't blown out a candle yet! So for the sake of another photo op (and for bribing them to behave in the car ride on the way home), we put them in their chairs and gave them each a cupcake right when we got home. Now, if you've ever met my children, you know that absolutely nothing- not even complete and utter exhausten- will come between them and chocolate. They are their mother's children afterall! So they battled their droopy eyelids and inhaled another cupcake after Luke blew out his candle, then Ryan hearded them upstairs for bed as I put Jack to sleep. All children were asleep before 8:00 pm, without any cries or protests (and I'm sure that's a new record!). Mommy was pretty tired too, but somehow I found the energy to stay up editing all of these photos. Oh, and this is only 20 or so of the 245 I uploaded from my camera!

Although he couldn't tell me in these exact words, I'm pretty sure he'd have said it was an awesome birthday! All day long he had huge smiles on his face, got to experience a lot of new things and places, play with friends and family that he loves, and eat lots of chocolate cupcakes. Pretty great for a 2-year-old. :-)

2 Years Old, Happy Birthday Luke!

Happy 2nd Birthday Luke!

You are the cutest 2 year old out there!

You are still obsessed with lawn mowers, weed eaters, and tractors. You love to play "Bay-er" (Bear) with Daddy and Beth, which is basically a glorified game of chase around the couches! You yell for me, "Ma MA!" even when I'm standing right next to you, and it makes me laugh just because of the way you say it. You mimic every single little thing Bethany does, from her posture to her play to her words. Every day I think you learn 10 new words and even though I don't understand each and every one of them, you're persistent enough to repeat it over and over until I understand! You love to cuddle with me at the end of the night before we say our prayers, but I think you'd secretly rather be in bed cuddling with your beloved Nuk, which we allow you to only have in bed. You love that hunk of stinky plastic. You always ask Mommy to draw trucks on the Magna Doodle and put up with the fact that I'm not very good at it. One of your favorite things to do is climb up onto the sofa and launch your face into the pillows, and I'm so afraid you're going to miss and get hurt but it hasn't happened yet! Everyone comments on how much you look like your Mommy, and I love that one of my three children favors me so much! Your imagination continues to grow and the substitute toys you come up with are so creative: a child-sized broom for a weed eater, a small red wagon as a lawn mower (you push it behind Daddy as he mows), a sippy cup as the snow cone machine (you LOVE snow cones!), and yesterday a rosary as a stethoscope! You're reverent in prayer already- well, usually- as you fold your hands and bow your head while we pray grace before meals.

Mommy and Daddy pray for you every day, that you grow up to be a strong man with faith in the Lord and a well-formed conscience. I hope that you continue to grow up to be a giggly and imaginative little boy, who loves his family and God. I pray your next year is as fun as the first two have been! I love you Lukee!

Thursday, October 21

Biopsy Update

Beth, all ready to go before we left for the hospital this morning!

Thank you all for your prayers! Beth did very well today! Ryan went with her as they prepped her, and I held her as they put her under and was there as she was waking up. She ate a couple of orange popsicles and felt better after a couple of hours, but overall I think she came out of the anesthesia very well! The nurse was impressed she didn't cry at all when he was taking off all the things attached to her, lol.

Her doctor said it went well, and that he thought things looked pretty healthy to him. He wouldn't elaborate anymore because we have to wait for the biopsy results to get the most accurate answer. We'll know toward the end of next week. He said that today was just about confirming celiac disease, and we'll figure out the next step next week.

I can't tell you how much it means to us- especially Beth- that everyone has been praying for her. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Just a really beautiful pic of her. :-)

Another visit with Grandma and Grandpa

Last week we spent a few days with Grandma and Grandpa while Daddy went out of town. Tons of fun for the kiddos since Grandma and Grandpa's toys are WAY cooler than the millions of toys we have at our house! Old is made new again... All those great toys were Daddy's toys!

And a recent favorite photo of Luke... This is his "NO MORE PICTURES MOM!!!" face, hehehe.

Wednesday, October 20

Biopsy tomorrow

Beth will be having her biopsy tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 10:30 am. Please say a prayer that it goes smoothly and that her results are negative. I'm actually not sure when we'll get the results, but I will post them as soon as I know!

I recently read something the other day that I thought was kind of cool. A friend interviewed her daughter and put it up on the blog, so I thought I'd do the same occasionally. Beth is a big talker, but sometimes she can be shy so not everyone gets to hear her deep thoughts on life. For example, yesterday she told me that my maiden name is a funny name, then proceeded to list the words it rhymed with. I was laughing so hard because I've truly heard it all before.

How are you feeling today?


You’re feeling sick? Why?

My energy just went away. That’s why I’m so sick, because my energy went away.

I’m sorry to hear that.

I know. One day I’ll feel much better. When I eat healthy stuff I’ll not be sick anymore.

What do you want to do this afternoon?

Um, play.

Play what?

Play like, Bear with Daddy when he gets home for dinner. And play chase if he wants to play chase, or play chase Wolf.

What’s chase wolf?

When Finley’s the wolf.

Oh, you like playing with Daddy?

Yeah, ‘cause he’s…I like him and I love him so much. You know who I love?


(points to me) You. You and Daddy. And Luke. And Finley and Jackson.

That’s really nice of you!


What’s your favorite thing to wear?

A dress.

Which dress?

This dress. (points to her pink dress-up dress she’s wearing).

That’s a very beautiful dress.

Thank you, I know. I think Jack’s crying for you.

I know, we’ll have to finish this interview later.

Yeah, now can I have my snack?


Sunday, October 17

Family Resemblence

Because I'm too tired to think, here's a couple of links I know you'll love!

and Jack!

Wednesday, October 13

A Novena for Beth

There are 9 days until Beth's biopsy, please join us in praying this novena for her healing. We are praying that the biopsy for Celiac Disease is negative, and that Beth has only a minor gluten allergy instead. A novena, for anyone who is unsure, is a prayer that is said for 9 days in a row for a specific intention. In this case, our intention is for Beth's healing, but ultimately for God's will to be done in our lives. Please pray this prayer with us every day from today until next Thursday!

Healing Novena

To Christ the Great Physician
We know that there is one physician:
Both flesh and spirit
uncreated, yet born
God in man
True life in death
From both Mary and From God
Subject to suffering and then impassible
Jesus Christ our Lord!

We ask O Great Physician, for spiritual, physical, and emotional healing, especially my intention of (the healing of Bethany).
You of both flesh and spirit.

May we spend all of our days in your healing presence
You the eternal Son born for us.

Grant us the healing benefits of your Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection
You who are true God and true man.

Grant us your true life in the midst of death
You, the true life in death.

Grant us to follow your example and that of your Blessed Mother
You, from both Mary and from God.

May our suffering be for our growth; free us, we pray, from that which we cannot bear
We ask You, O God the Word who became man to suffer.

We ask you to grant us this healing if it brings us closer to you,
Jesus Christ our Lord!

Monday, October 11


Our first building project is done! It took a very long time but it wasn't our fault (it never is, hehe). I made the mistake of painting the first coat with a brush that left horrible strokes, so we had to spend time sanding it down so we could repaint it. That small setback aside, they're done!

Sunday, October 10


I have no other words other than I just want to eat you up.

You are the smiliest, happiest, most enjoyable little baby on the planet, I'm absolutely sure of it. I just cannot get over how much I absolutely adore you.

Being your mommy has been such a blessing. God has truly blessed me in ways words can't describe, there's nothing I could have done to deserve you.

These pictures don't even do you justice, you are a million times cuter in real life!

You're a chunk. There's absolutely no other word to describe you! I love squeezing your fat little thighs, your chipmunk cheeks, and your squishy little belly. Beth and Luke weren't squishy little babies, you take the cake on that one my love!

You're happiest right after bathtime. You and I smile and talk to each other; I smile at you so much my cheeks hurt! But it's worth it!

No one believes you're only 3 months old! You've totally outgrown all the 3-6 month clothes we have for you, including all of the cute stuff from Cousin Lauren. Luke's clothes won't work because he was smaller than you and wearing a different season. Looks like you'll be getting some new clothes soon!

You don't love the sling very much, but we make it work. You prefer that Mommy or Daddy walk you around to fall asleep, but since you're the third in line we've come to expect such demands. You sleep pretty well at night, usually waking only to nurse then cuddling up next to Mama as we fall asleep together. I love sharing my bed with you.

Jack Jack, I have not one complaint. You're so perfect, and I love you so much.

Wednesday, October 6

Big Kids

Color by number, she did this all by herself!

Another pic of the cute haircut!

Tuesday, October 5

Weekend with Grandpa and Grandpa

Last weekend we visited Grandma and Grandpa at their house and went to a wedding in our college town. A nice weekend! Wouldn't you know my camera died at the wedding so I got only one picture, the other one was stolen from a friend!

Grandpa taught Luke how to "make" lattes.

Jack had some quality play time with Grandpa

And the best part of the weekend for the kids- a ride on the lawn mower! You can tell Luke loves it because he had his serious face the entire time, hehehe.

In case you wonder where Beth gets her looks from...

gorgeous girl

Beth's new "trick" of jumping off the slide. She was getting some major air!
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