Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gluten-Free Christmas


I made a turkey dinner from scratch. All gluten-free. This is far off from a store-roasted chicken and stove-top that made for Thanksgiving a few years back. My challenge was going to be tasty stuffing. I followed a recipe from a small gluten-free recipe magazine with great success.

The Cole's notes version: I made gluten-free corn bread and cubed it. After sauteing onion and celery, adding fresh parsley and sage, I mixed the cornbread with the spice and drizzled enough chicken stock to make the bread moist. The stuffing baked for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. It complimented the turkey, potatoes and green and yellow beans perfectly.

The house is still standing and no one suffered food poisoning, in fact a few people went for seconds = proud gluten-free kitchen moment for me. The gluten-free sugar cookies and M&M blondies turned out "delicious" too (Rylyn's new word for when she enjoying food).

And because gluten-free stuffing is not as cute as these two...here are some recent pictures from a winter visit to the park.


Rylyn looking for the Downy Woodpecker we saw the day before.
Addisyn giggling at mommy.
Wide shot.

Bible Reflections:
Isaiah 42:8-9
New King James Version (NKJV)
am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
And new things I declare;
Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

-Every day is new. God knows the new before I do. Just like I can trust Him with my mistakes, I can trust Him to guide me in my new endeavours. I was dreading looking for a gluten-free stuffing recipe and unknowingly, a friend placed one right in my hands!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I received a comment that I was nominated for a Liebster Blog Award, an online chain letter of sorts for bloggers. To my nominator...thank you for including me.  I will receive the nomination but pass on accepting the award. *wink, wink* I will fulfill parts 1 and 2 of the rules below to honour the nomination, but as I do with most forwards, will not pass it on. I thought it would be fun to answer the questions as I have not written anything in a few weeks.

The rules for the Liebster Blog Award are:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the question that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with under 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot "tag back" the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate.


    11 Random Things About "I'm I Mom Now What":
  1. I have kept a diary since I was 14. Blogging seemed like a natural progression after discarding my teenage "letters" of woe.
  2. I used to tell people I did not plan on having children to close any conversations that included, "So when are you going to have kids?"
  3. I am enjoying learning to cook and bake gluten free.
  4. My youngest daughter Addisyn has now been out as long as she was in. lol.
  5. My husband named both our daughters.
  6. I am going to be an Aunt soon and I can't wait!!!
  7. I have a cat with shifty blue eyes.
  8. I have never mowed a lawn in my life.
  9. I just finished reading Celiac Disease for Dummies and was glad I had a university education while reading it...it is not for dummies.
  10. I believe in a relationship with Jesus not religion.
  11. I save at least $10/week using coupons.
Questions from 2peasandadog:

1. What is your favourite article of clothing? My Volcom t-shirt. First it was my BIL's, then my husband's and now it is mine.

2. Name one thing that always makes you happy. Baby giggles.

3. What is your fave restaurant? Gluten-restricted, two under two...what is a restaurant again? Right now Boston Pizza as it is one place we can eat out.

4. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and during what time period? Cliche, but I would want to see Jesus and His miracles.

5. What bill do you hate paying the most? Car insurance. Ugh!

6. What would you be if not a teacher? Midwife.

7. If you had to choose a TV character to be your friend who would it be? Gordan Ramsay

8. What is something "quirky" about you? I used to have socks with the days of the week printed on them...I wore them on the wrong days.

9. Which category do you fall in: "MAC" or "Other" when it comes to computers? Other presently...hopefully MAC after Christmas.

10. When teaching do you like tables or desks? Tables

11. What is your favourite subject to teach? DRAMA!!!

Check out my friend's teaching blog http://2peasandadog.blogspot.ca/
Thanks for the nomination.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Happenings

Santa Claus Parade

The Smithville Santa Claus parade this weekend kicked Christmas into high gear for us!

Grandmas, Daddy and Elves awaiting the parade.

Yes, Rylyn is asleep in the wagon. Hilarious. No, she did not sleep through the whole parade. The emergency vehicles' sirens took care of that. Thankfully, they didn't scare her and she began waving eagerly at whatever was passing by.

Our parade tips: camp out close to the start of the parade (less wait time, more enthusiastic participants), bring your own hot chocolate (and take any that is offered), cuddling children while sitting will keep you warm as will dancing to the music.

Light Tour

We also went for our first Christmas light voyage in the car. To our surprise the recent warm weather mid-November encouraged glowing houses much earlier than usual.

If you are in the Niagara Region I suggest checking out a light and music display in Beamsville, ON we stumbled upon. Park at Ryn's Furniture on Ontario Street and tune in to 89.3 FM. Some Googling found a YouTube Video and an article about the Powell Family light display from previous years. The experience is grander live.


Nativity

Although we enjoy the commercial side of Christmas, we try not to get lost in it and keep our celebrations focused on the reason for the season, Jesus. We hope to attend a live Nativity in Beamsville, ON at Calvary Gospel Church. Like the Santa Claus Parades and Light Display another annual event. This year (2012) it is running on December 7, 8 and 9 from 7 to 9 pm. Once again Googling found an article from previous years. The Nativity is more like an open house between 7 and 9 pm. The tour takes approximately 20 min.

Please feel free to share any annual events or gems near you!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Snotty Nose Rant

A little girl no more than one year-old crawls over to my children and me. I am with a friend and her daughter at an Early Years Play Centre. The neon green train tracks extending from her nose to her lips are glowing as she attempts to crawl into my lap. Her caregiver is nowhere to be seen.

I remove the girl from my lap, position myself between the germ-laden child and my own, and I say (loudly in hope of a parent or caregiver hearing), "You can play with our toys, but I do not want you on my lap." I am red-faced with embarrassment of not knowing what to do.

Jesus would have wiped her nose. What is a mom to do without facial tissues in her on-hand arsenal? In today's age, I don't know if I am even comfortable wiping the child's nose knowing potential health risks, not to mention the controversy it could cause.

Because Jesus would have wiped her nose, I am left to question my feelings of disgust for the child rather than compassion. I hate it when children's noses aren't wiped to point that Rylyn boasted a red nose last October to March due to my constant wiping. I try to use a warm face cloth when I can.

I hope next time I can respond with more compassion, "Oh you poor thing, does your mommy have a tissue you can use?" I need to see the everyday through His eyes. Perhaps I would have gently advocated for the child who seemed lost from her caregiver. And perhaps, the two nannies who were more interested in talking to one another than watching the children in their care would have heard me.

I may hate snotty noses, but I love children.

Bible Reflections:
~The book of Matthew on several instances (14:14, 15:32, 20:34) speaks of Jesus's compassion toward others. To provide food, healing. Mark 20:34 says the people were like sheep without a shepherd and Jesus had compassion on them. Later in John 21:17 Jesus tells Peter to feed His sheep.

Lord whatever lost lamb you bring my way, help me to care for him or her instead of judge.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hello Pumpkins II

By popular request...

Tiger (Rylyn) and Skeleton (Addy)

Being "berry" cute

Mom is the mad scientist that transformed her children into these Halloweenies!

For those of you wondering...Quincy (our cat) got off the hook this year.

Hello Pumpkins


While carving our pumpkin last evening.

To Rylyn, "Do you want to put your hand inside the pumpkin and feel the guts?"

She scrunched her nose in disgust and firmly replied, "No," while shaking her head.

Tonight we will grace our neighbours with our presence. Rylyn a tiger and Addy a strawberry.

***

Our lives have been in a constant state of change for the past 2.5 years. The pace has been fast. I feel like I don't know what is next. Before, next had hit me before I had time to ponder. I find myself waiting on God for the future. After waiting for babies to be born, test results to come in, I find this waiting refreshing.

Bible Reflections:

"Blessed is the man whose strength is in You...They go from strength to strength." -Psalm 84:5,7

-Whatever is next will allow my life to glorify God. It will take me from this strength to a new one.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Out of the mouths of babes

Conversation with Rylyn at 21 months old:

Me: "Can you say, 'I will listen to Mommy' ?"

Rylyn: "I will listen...to me."

Me: "No, 'I will listen to mommy.' "

Rylyn: "I will listen to...meeeee."

Me: "No, 'I will listen to mommy.' "

Rylyn: "I will listen to..."

Me: "Mommy."

Rylyn: "Meeeeee. Rylyn. I will listen to Rylyn."

This is where I gave up and started laughing.

Bible Reflections:

"But whoever listens to me will dwell safely. And will be secure, without fear of evil." - Proverbs 1:33

-Too often I listen to everyone but God. Advice. Gossip. When I take time to listen to what God has to say in His Word, I can be safe and secure in my decisions.

Forgive me Lord for when I act like a toddler and only want to listen to myself. Thank you for when you respond with love and laughter and help me to hear Your still small voice in the everyday. Amen.

Check out Hands Better Full for a good Bible Reflection from our cousin Mike.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vintage Vogue


Another hidden gem...to feed my love to shop! An eclectic shop hidden in Smithville, ON named Vintage Vogue carrying gifts of all sorts: new, antique, vintage and re-purposed. The shop has three rooms filled with goodies (you would never know from the outside). It is on McMurchie Lane across from Foodland, open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm and Sundays 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. I highly recommend a visit! Owner Cindy Kyle will greet you with a smile!

Vintage Vogue boasts Coach accessories to antique toys and vintage jewelry. My favourite find so far is a key holder I purchased for our foyer. You'll have to visit us to see it...and then you might as well visit Vintage Vogue too.

The little lane just beyond the Chiropractor's Clinic is McMurchie Lane.

Don't be fooled when you walk in, the store takes up most of the building.

A picture inside borrowed from Vintage Vogue's Facebook page.

www.vintagevogue.ca
https://www.facebook.com/VintageVogueSmithville

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Two Under Two Go to the Zoo

We "got" away last weekend. Before all the leaves have turned a new shade, Chris and I will have left the decade of our "twenties" behind. A trip to the GTA with the family would celebrate thirty for us both.

We do not have a photograph of our most memorable moment. Rylyn was whining as she had just woken from car nap. It was time for dinner. On our way home from the zoo we stopped at a restaurant called Casey's that has a gluten-free menu. We agreed Rylyn could bring her blanket in to the restaurant (something we rarely do as it is a bedtime only friend) and we would order her a chocolate milk. The decisions were made so that we could enjoy dinner rather than battle the whines (we'll save that for home).

I went off the washroom with the trailing words, "Get her a large chocolate milk, the small glasses are never enough." I came back to a supersize glass and a kid chugging milk through a straw. She drank almost all the milk in one (very long) sip. I am pretty sure the capacity of the glass exceeded her stomach. She went from being the grumpiest kid on the planet to the happiest. I will let the pictures below speak for the rest of our trip.

Didi ready to go

First stop Springridge Farm, Didi a little less excited than the first pic

Rylyn plowing the fields

On Daddy's insisting, look how happy HE is

Celebrating Beth's 30th with 80s style,
the fanny pack may be more 90s, but I love wearing it

Toronto Zoo, Addisyn and Mommy

Peek-a-boo

"Sno-Cone gone."

Lion cub

Giraffe

"That's the spot, Daddy."

Bible Reflections:
"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?" ~Psalm 8:3,4

-Thank you God that You are mindful of me. Of my family. And for the beauty of this Earth that reminds of us of Your greatness. Amen.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tooth "ache"


I could have thrown a parade over Rylyn's firsts.

There is a mourning that comes with the joy of firsts. That mourning is more profound with the second child than with the first.

Didi's first tooth is coming in. I felt it cut the gum today. Her toothless grins are now numbered and I am trying to keep hold of her gummy grin in my memory.

Bible Reflections:
Psalm 30:11 (NKJV)
11 
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness

Lord, thank you for firsts. As with many things in life, firsts too are about the journey, not the destination. Help me to savour the sweet moments of the journey with Your Grace as they pass. Amen.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Small Talk: World's Experts on Kids and Life

Have you ever felt like a well-meaning, total stranger was the "expert" on your child or life? I know I have! Although often annoying in the present, also often funny in hindsight. Enjoy these anecdotes from my day-to-day life.

Scene: Dollarama
Cashier - Looking at 2 month-old  Addisyn in her stroller. Your baby's one eye is tearing up. Has she been crying?
Me - No. It is just her tear duct. It is still developing.
Cashier - My son had to have surgery for that. You may need drops soon. Don't worry, I think they put them out now for the surgery.
Me - Smiles. My first daughter had the same problem. It worked itself out, hopefully that will happen a second time. Inside thought - Really? I'll keep that in mind Dr. Dollarama. Thanks for turning a molehill into a mountain.
Tip: breastmilk works wonders for clearing up tear-duct runny eyes.

Scene: Multiple locations, ON, Canada
"Child Expert" - Wow, your girls are big for their age. (Keep in mind these are strangers who have seen no progression in growth).
Me -  Inside thought - Really?  Which one takes the cake? The 19 month-old who is in the 3rd percentile for her weight or the 5 month-old who is in the 10th percentile for hers.
Me - Outside thought - Yep. They"re lil' porkers.
Moral: unless you know someone well, don't comment on size and even then exercise caution. I think of the countless teenage boys I teach praying to hit puberty next to their 6 ft peers.

Scene: Giant Tiger Parking Lot
Hick in Pick-Up - Trying to maneuver his truck around the shopping cart where Addy (in her carseat) sits in order to get a space close to the door.
Me - Loading Rylyn into her car seat. Cart is flushed to my car nearby. Stop. Look horrified. Grab cart.
Hick in Pick-Up - Leans out window bearing a grin missing several teeth.  Don't worry. I can drive around it.
Me - It would be inappropriate to type what I was thinking.
Tip: Park near cart carrels to make shopping trips easier...but choose carrels further from the door in case of hicks in pick-ups.

Bible Reflections: 

Proverbs 8:13-15 (NCV)

 13 If you respect the Lord, you will also hate evil.
       I hate pride and bragging,
       evil ways and lies.
 14 I have good sense and advice,
       and I have understanding and power.
 15 I help kings to govern
       and rulers to make fair laws.
~The stories above I tell in good humour, not out of spite. When it comes to advice I first look to see what the Bible has to say and trust in God for wisdom. I also try to remember that if I sift through the sand of advice I may be surprised to find a pearl. I would love to hear any funny stories the rest of you have on the "experts" in your world.

Friday, August 3, 2012

From the (Almost) Gluten-Free Kitchen

My three current television vices? Hell's Kitchen (I am still puzzled over this one myself), Master Chef and Chopped. Chris and I watch more culinary television than any other channel. Here are some of our latest inspired creations from the shows above. All gluten-free!

Broccoli Soup

Minus the walnuts with a sprinkle(?!?) of cheddar. Super yummy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvc8Au4YO60


Zucchini Fritters

Chris gobbled his up before his hotdog.



http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2011/08/25/zucchini-fritters/

Good Ol' Chocolate Chip Cookie



http://www.bhg.com/recipe/cookies/our-best-basic-chocolate-chip-cookies/

The pictures above are from my own products! Where the zucchini fritters and cookies called for flour I used Namaste's Gluten-Free Perfect Flour Blend. The cookies took 13 minutes rather than 8-10 minutes, but that was the only difference.

Bible Reflections:

John 6:30-32 (NIV)

30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[a]
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I am a Rock...I am an Island

Simon and Garfunkel's lyrics speak of someone who has been hurt (by love) so he or she retreats away from the world for protection.

We have had the attack of a nasty cold/flu virus in our household which has left me feeling like a shut-in for the past two weeks (aside from doctor's appointments). To top it off, we have been seeing a pediatrician for Addisyn's weight. Although all is positive (she is just long, lean and extremely active), I am feeling the pressure for both of my peanuts to put the poundage on, which of course I only have so much control over. I am feeling island-like. Isolated.

My friend from Arizona visited and was excitedly discussing her anticipation of the opening ceremony for the Olympics. Olympics? I had actually forgotten they were occurring.

I am hoping my isolation (or should I say quarantine) is over for a while and that I can have more of a Kanye West or Kelly Clarkson approach the hiccoughs in our family life. I am learning to live in the storm rather than look for away out. The a storm is not a bad place to be. Jesus was sleeping on the boat caught in a storm. I am feeling rock-like. Stronger.

I am grateful for friends and family who helped me feel connected despite my isolation the past couple of weeks.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes you fighter..."
(Kelly Clarkson's Stronger)

Bible Reflections:

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
"6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

I am learning that there is nowhere I can go, where God has not gone ahead of me. I am learning that when we are isolated by trials it is in order that we may draw near to Him. I am learning that we must not stay in isolation, so that we may out pour His Love with genuine connections to others.

"You are my strength when I am weak, You are the treasure that I seek, You are my all in all."
(You are my All in All)

Didi and Daddy after a walk in the rain, she stayed dry and fell asleep...
...the rest of us got soaked all in the name of getting Daddy some chocolate milk.

 (We could have driven the car, but walking with the chance of rain seemed more exciting).

Friday, July 13, 2012

As Time Moves

Rylyn received her official Celiac Disease diagnosis yesterday. The Dr. said that the scope results were textbook. From here I will be advocating for follow-up with our family doctor and pediatrician alongside our yearly check-ins with McMaster Children's Hospital. Chris and I have both had blood tests to err on the side of caution and Addisyn will be tested once she is on solid food.


Time is a funny thing. The appointment which seemed so far away is now behind us. We will continue to pray  for healing for Rylyn because God is her creator, we have seen miracles before and He longs for us to come to Him with our concerns so that we may draw near to Him. We are also praying for Addisyn as we will be seeing the pediatrician for her weight in the next few weeks.


On a less important note, there is no progress with Jenny Maids, but I do know DealFind is inquiring about the problem prior to refunding my money and as per Better Business Bureau's policy, Jenny Maids has 30 days to respond to my complaint. I won't give up, but this too will be behind me shortly.

James 4:8a

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.


As mentioned, here is the video of the girls I have shot and edited. I included a shot of Rylyn from January so you can see the difference in her face and body. She has already put on almost 2 lbs since going gluten free so I look forward to posting before and after pictures at a later date. I hope the video brings joy to your day as the girls do to mine.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jenny Maids Review

First of all, if you are reading this to see if Jenny Maids (cleaning service located out of St. Catharine's, ON, Canada) is worth your time and money, please hear me loud and clear, NO. Put away your wallet and save yourself the stress.

I will be upfront. The purpose of this review is to deter anyone from using Jenny Maids, a service that is customer unfriendly. I want this review to negatively impact their business. Not because I am so spiteful I want them to go under. Rather, I want them to change their way of business to improve. However, if Jenny Maids continues to function how they presently operate, then in my humble opinion, they deserve to fold and file for bankrupcy.

History: Last fall (2011) I purchased three vouchers on Dealfind.com for 3 hours of Jenny Maids cleaning service (9 hours total) for $29 a piece or $87 total not including taxes or gratuties.

Secondly, I have NOTHING positive to say about this company. I will explain both short and the long of it. The short of it is that I have been trying to redeem my vouchers now for 2 months with no luck. Jenny Maids, please watch the movie The Rainmaker. It is about a lousy insurance company that initially denies all claims and keeps denying claims. They operate on the principal that the client will give up. No payout, equals full profit.

The long of it is it is my suspicion that Jenny Maids operates their vouchers on this principal. Jenny Maids, the client in The Rainmaker is that small percent chance of a client that does not give up, hires a lawyer and forces the insurance company into bankrupcy. At this time, I am not looking for a long legal battle over something as frivilous as having my home cleaned. On the other hand, I will not give up until I feel justice for my time and money is served.

People ask for their homes to be cleaned because they are looking to save time or because they need help. The main problem with Jenny Maids is they create more work. It is a battle to make an appointment to get one's home cleaned. Then, when they do not show up or cancel, one is left with all the housework that was counted on being done. Of course, one must also factor in the time spent to prepare for the cleaning.

I have made three appointments. Two which were cancelled minutes before the appointment time (the maids for our area had called in sick) and the third was a no show. I called after each of the first two appointments to reschedule and voice my frustration. In addition to these calls I sent emails. After repeated requests to speak with a manager or have one phone, I am still waiting.

The phone number on the vouchers does not even work. I initially had to Google them to find a different number to use. Once dialing this number one will NEVER get a person, just a machine. Jenny Maids calls one back, probably in hopes of not getting an answer. The circle continues in hope of the client giving up indefinitely.

Finally, here is an excerpt from my last email to Jenny Maids:

"I would like to reiterate, with emphasis, it is NOT okay:
-to cancel an appointment minutes beforehand, when services such as this require 24h cancellation notice from their clients
-to be under staffed
-to leave a family in need of help with cleaning unserviced, especially when I have made an appointment and already paid you for the service (people make plans around a clean home)
- to make more work for someone who has paid to have a service to lighten their load

I have two babies. I need help around the house. I was counting on this appointment today and your company let me down AGAIN.

I will once again attempt to speak with a real live person next week, which I was unsuccessful at this week. I am first dealing with you. This is my first step. If you are unable to uphold your end of service I will expect a refund in full. The secretary [name removed] said she would forward my concerns to her supervisor [name removed] and she would phone me back. I am still waiting for that call.

My possible next steps will be to do the following:
-contact DealFind
-write a negative review on my blog, which receives a lot of traffic and I imagine will affect your business... www.momnowwhat.com
-contact the Better Business Bureau and give a negative report
-legal advice with possible action

I am not looking to make enemies. I am just trying to get a service I paid for and to improve your business' service for others in the future. I would not treat anyone the way I have been treated by your company. I have been firm, but I have NOT been rude, lost my temper or used profanity and yet I feel like my concerns are being ignored. What will it take to have my home cleaned and concerns heard? Thank you and I look forward to your response and call."

If you have made it to the end, thanks for reading. I have already contacted DealFind and plan to follow-up this entry with the Better Business Bureau. DealFind's response will determine my next steps, if any. I will keep you posted.

I plan to follow up this extremely negative post with a video of the girls I have been filming and hope to edit this week. As per my Facebook post, Rylyn's scope went well and we get results late next week. Thank you for your support and prayers.

***

Psalm 25:20-21 (NIV)
Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.

-I think this says it all!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fail Safe

Ephesians 6:1-4 (NKJV)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

James 3:2-3,6,10,17-18 (NKJV)

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

***

My children provoked me to wrath this morning. Becoming a parent means you will do and say things you never thought possible. For better, for worse. Children teach you both about utter unconditional love and utter frustration.

I tell my students at school that I have a jar of patience. I let them know when it is close to being empty to help them know when they have worn me thin. We are all human after all. I tell them my jar of patience can be filled by their choices and I could use their help with that. I also inform them that my jar of patience refills over night.

Today I woke up and my jar of patience was empty. Whining and tantrums had filled my night. Oh, and feeding Addisyn, but that didn't empty my jar as much as the sleeplessness caused by the former.

My alarm clock this morning was more fits of screams from Rylyn. I don't whether this is symptomatic of her eating gluten or toddlerdom or both. I guess I will find out in a couple of weeks. I do know, after a week full of episodes like this, and a full night of being patient, I had no more patience for screaming or tantrums.

I plopped Rylyn down at the table to eat breakfast, gave a consequence on which I would not be able to follow through, and attempted to work through my frustration by failing to accomplish morning routines more quickly than usual. Chris brought Addisyn down and left with a kiss and the reminder to call if I needed him today.

I sat on the couch and thought, "What I am doing?" I needed to refill my jar. I prayed. I repented. I read the words from the Bible I posted above. I apologized to my children for not being the role model I should have been this morning.

One of the wisest things I have read was said by a God-loving man named Oswald Chambers: "Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action." God's grace covers our failures so we can move on. Today, I filled my jar of patience by remembering this. Through His grace I bridled my tongue and actions and made peace with God, myself and my children. If by God's grace, we do not let the sense of failure corrupt our new action, then we have not failed at all. I would call that success, my friends.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pre-op and Shop!

We had Rylyn's pre-op appointment today.

Everything is in order for her scope on June 27th to confirm Celiac Disease.

Chris and I made sure we arrived at McMaster Children's Hospital early to allow for traffic and feeding Addisyn before the appointment. We were sitting in a rest area in main lobby. I watched several parents with their children walk by; some had tears in their eyes and others had smiles. Nonetheless, I felt like I was in positive place for my child to be receiving medical care.

The anesthesiologist we met today further confirmed this feeling. He had a terrific bedside manner. He was the first doctor since the start of Rylyn's concerns to talk to us like we were loving parents and like he cared about our family and the outcomes. I know the other nurses and doctors mean well, but I feel defensive the way some go about asking their questions.

Doctor: "What did she have for breakfast this morning?"

Me : "A glass of milk, a banana and Rice Krispies."

I questioned whether that was the correct answer or not, which is absurd. I know the health professionals are doing their jobs and I imagine they deal with many hard-to-serve parents. The nurse we spoke to today looked surprised when we were comfortable with and understanding of the rule where only parent may be with Rylyn before and immediately following the procedure.

Leaving the appointment we felt reassured that we are on the right path.

After a picnic lunch at a nearby park, we stopped off at Limeridge Mall's Gymboree for their "Nothing Over $13.99 Sale." I bought the girls almost $200 worth of clothes, only paid $88 and received a coupon for $25 off of a $50 purchase in July. I saved over $100 today buying six outfits. Chris would argue we would have saved more not going at all.

I bought each of these in 2 sizes so the girls can match.

Left for Addy and Right for Rylyn


Bible Reflections:

Psalm 61:3-5

New King James Version (NKJV)
For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.

-My daily morning devotionals this week have been about "abiding" in Jesus. We abide in Jesus not when our devotions to Him take the greatest amount of our time, but when our power and strength are found in Him (Chambers, 1963). When we abide in Him, power and strength comes from trusting in His shelter.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nursing-Friendly Summer Outings

...or maybe just kid-friendly?

I like to get out and about even with two under two. However, with Rylyn suddenly toddling about on two legs (Aside: Yay Rylyn for walking! She must be feeling better. Although we are still waiting for her scope for Celiac diagnosis, and thus, are feeding her gluten, she has put on a pound! I think no gluten for or after dinner and one Pediasure a day are helping!) and one to breastfeed, planning for safety and sanity are important.

If I don't have someone else with me to chase after Rylyn, I find, bringing a snack or meal for her to eat in the stroller while I nurse Addisyn works well. Rylyn is just learning to run away, so I can hardly expect her to understand boundaries, although the teaching has begun.

We are enjoying:

1. Classic car shows - Our favourite is the local one at Grimsby Gateway on Tuesday Nights. We can enjoy DQ for dessert! This is fun for the whole family to get out, walk and socialize.


D.D. checks out the cars at her first car show

2. Hidden Parks - The one below is part of Green Acres Park in Stoney Creek. It is a menagerie between apartment buildings near Second St. off of King St. We also enjoy a couple parks in the Beamsville surveys, including the one off of Cedarbrook Lane. There are tons of these little gems spotted throughout the region. Lunch, shade and green space makes for a great adventure for a mom with two in tow. Especially, since there usually are not huge audiences when disaster strikes....

Keeping walking and you will hit Green Acres Pool, a lovely park and picnic area trails behind


Rylyn rides a Little Tykes Pony at the park
Bible Reflections:

"O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hidden from You." Psalm 69:5

-I have been amazed at God's grace of late. I would be lying if I said I have not looked to my own sin to blame for Rylyn's illness. You know, was it something I did? God does not work that way. He wants me to choose to love Him and receive His grace on my own. He does not manipulate with ultimatums. When I feel hidden in the beauty of a park, I know He is there. I cannot hide my imperfections from Him, but that is okay, because His grace covers them completely.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

No Frills, Take Two

Today I needed milk and bananas. I thought a trip to the Zellers liquidating in Hamilton would be adventurous and there is a No Frills next door. We parked next to a Zellers cart carrel with carts from Zellers in it. We found some deals at Zellers, unloaded at the car and then endeavored over to No Frills with our Zellers cart...no searching for quarters this time.

With Rylyn sitting in the front of the cart and Addisyn in the bucket seat inside the cart, I pulled up with my groceries to the "1 to 16 Items" till. I was organized and had my Visa in hand, when the cashier informed me they don't take Visa. Pardon me? Everywhere but Costco takes Visa, including my local No Frills in Beamsville. No Visa in Hamilton No Frills stores.

I didn't have my wallet because one only takes the bare necessities when trekking in and out of a vehicle with more than one child. Thank goodness the cashier was pleasant, apologetic and offered to put my groceries aside while the "Zellers Cart Bus" with 2 passengers was driven back to the car to get cash. The girls were content and there was no line upon my return, therefore, I was not frustrated in the least.

I understand the owners are promoting PC Mastercard and this allows them to save money. I like my Visa Rewards program and one credit card is enough for me. No Frills has taken no frills to the max. Having no frills may mean better prices, but at lesser customer service. I am not talking about luxuries here, just the basics. Food Basics has those and prices to match.

No Frills, I hereby dub you mom unfriendly, especially if kids are in tow. Sorry Loblaws, with coupons and price matching I will be enjoying the same savings and taking my business elsewhere.

Addy says "Boo" to No Frills
"I love shopping!"

Bible Reflections:


"Kind people do themselves a favour, but cruel people bring trouble on themselves."
-Proverbs 11:17

Lord, help me to treat others as You would. Thank you that a positive attitude makes a world of difference when life throws you a curve ball.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You're Invited...



Addisyn and Rylyn on May 24 Weekend
...to the Smithville Mom to Mom Sale at the Smithville Royal Canadian Legion across from Tim Horton's this Saturday May 26, 2012 from 8:30am to 12:00pm. Cost for entry is $2 or a non-perishable donation to West Lincoln Community Care.

I will be there vending my distractions from chaos hobbies including cards and gift baskets. My love for shopping and finding a good deal in combination with crafting resulted in the new hobby of creating gift baskets. (My gift cupboard was overflowing). As I am not trying to make money, the baskets are a steal of deal (highest price is $35!) I have never done this before, so my thought is to give it a go. If I am successful I have funding for my maintaining my hobby and if I am not successful, I at least have a lot of gorgeous gifts.

So come on out and say hello to Addisyn and me!

On the chaos front, we have our next appointment with our pediatrician; June 4, midway between now and the scope date. In the meantime, I can call if I have any concerns and am taking Rylyn's temperature and weight each morning. Her infection has cleared with the help of rest and anti-biotics. The infection itself probably made all the unknowns at the time more stressful, because Rylyn was even less like her usual self. We are maintaining gluten in Rylyn's diet until the test as per doctor's orders, however, we have decreased the quantity and are not giving any to her after dinner to make her more comfortable (especially at bedtime). We are enjoying smiles once again. Her eyes lit up at fireworks last night. Once again, thank you for the continuing prayers and support as we journey this road.

Baby Girl Basket, Spiderman Basket, Bath and Body Basket
Most are baby baskets since it is a Mom to Mom sale


Bible Reflections:

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that our youth is renewed like the eagle's. -Psalm 103:1-5

Praise God for good news amidst chaos. Every good and perfect gift comes from You.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

411 and 20/20 Update

We just returned from our consultation appointment with the GI Clinic at McMaster Children's Hospital. Our Dr. has more credentials than Dr. Derek Shepherd. Rylyn is booked for a gastroscopy (biopsy and visual of the small intestine) for the end of June with follow up 2 weeks later. The gastroscopy will confirm Celiac Disease as well as give more information about the severity. Now it is a waiting game. I feel better but not great. In the medical world this appointment is soon, in mommy world it is light years away.

I am waiting to hear back from our pediatrician what will be happening with her until the appointment. I am suspecting weekly weight checks and monitoring overall health (as Rylyn's immunity is down). The Dr. we saw today said Rylyn's physique and listlessness were classic symptoms, as well as, her long eye lashes. Apparently they are the only thing that keeps growing while the body is on gluten, there is no research to say why this is for sure.

Hindsight really is 20/20. I was looking back and rereading a couple of my posts related to "teething nightmares." Everything make sense now. Teeth pain was probably tummy pain. Apparently, Advil helped. Vomiting was intolerance to gluten. What did we give Rylyn when her teeth were hurting? Crackers, bread, gluten. "Easy-on-the-tummy" foods! :S This is not to say that cutting teeth do not cause pain or irritability in our children. Rylyn had teething pain before she was on solid food. It is to say, it is okay to second guess yourself or third guess yourself.

I am trying not to be too hard on myself. We have never stopped trying to be the best parents we can be. There are three things we did right: 1. We documented concerned behaviour (mainly vomiting). 2. We took Rylyn to the doctor and brought up these concerns. 3. We responded with love. I keep telling myself that God's timing is perfect. We are moving forward.

We have to keep Rylyn on gluten until her testing is done. We are purposefully poisoning and starving her. The small intestine will absorb minimal nutrients as long as she is on gluten. We watched her little tummy bloat from feeding her pasta. This is going to be the most difficult part of the process for us. On the flip side, we are trying to take in all of Addisyn's subtle daily changes. Her eyes looked much bluer than yesterday while sitting in the pediatric courtyard. When I need a smile, innocent of all that is going on, I look to her.


Bible Reflections:


"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you."
-Jeremiah 29:11-12

This was the verse Chris and I selected for our wedding. God has a future and a hope for our whole family. We are to call on Him because He is listening. We will continue to pray and believe. Please continue to pray with us for Rylyn's immunity and our sanity over the next six weeks. We also believe in miracles and will be praying for healing. I feel the need to thank God for our blessings at this time: for our appointment today that was scheduled within a week (there is a 15 month waiting list), for the rush on the the gastroscopy, a pediatrician who set things in motion, a specialist who is just as urgent, for Chris and I both being off work, a tremendous support network (including amazing family and friends) and two beautiful healthy girls.


Comic Relief:


At Harvey's. "Cute girls. Are they twins?" It's already started. 2 months and 16 months. I thought the first time we would get asked this Addisyn would at least be one. Rylyn was waving her hands around and shouting and Addy doesn't even know what a hand is yet. The guy did have pretty thick glasses. The girls will be sharing clothes before I know it.

On a walk. Mailbox pictured below. Roped and duct-taped shut with a sign that reads "No flyers please." You could just remove it, the same sign is posted on your front door. I think it made me laugh more than the neighbours that parked a toilet on their lawn with a sign that said "Please don't poop on our grass." Not a word of a lie. You know you're a redneck when...

Chris took the picture on his phone...so it is not the clearest

Monday, May 14, 2012

God's Got This

I will post Rylyn's medical updates on my blog. We want to keep everyone abreast of any news good or bad and the prayers coming. This is the easiest on us during this time of chaos and will help keep the phone and inboxes at bay. As soon as we know, you will too. I think I may cash in my home cleaning gift certificates this month! :D
____________________________________________

"Thriving."

That's what was written on Rylyn's 6 week report when we were being released from midwifery care.

***
Friday:

"She's not thriving. She's not growing. If she loses more weight, we will have to hospitalize her. She has an ear infection because her immunity is down, that is what is causing the fever."

These are the words presented to us by the soft-spoken and gentle pediatrician we have been seeing the past two weeks only three days ago. If I wasn't paying attention to semantics, it would be like listening to the gentleman, and friend, with the English brogue reading scripture at church.

There is one blood test not in. We are warned that if that blood test comes back negative we would be looking at testing for Cystic Fibrosis (CF). My eyes well and I feel like I am in somebody else's body.

We leave the office and drive home to find a blessing: a phone call from the pediatrician saying the blood test is positive for Celiac Disease and we would be scheduled with the GI unit at McMaster for more testing.

***
Friday night:

I start a medical journal. To help ease my mind, I write down questions for our Monday appointment with the pediatrician.

For the first night ever, Addisyn is in her crib and I am in my own bed with Chris. We had been co-sleeping: me in my bed and Addy in the bassinet or Addy in her crib and me in the single bed across from it in the nursery. The initial relieving effects of the phone call we had received earlier were wearing off. Rylyn's room shares a wall with Addisyn's room. My mind needs  peace...the less I can hear the better. I am still worried about the unknown and CF. The seed had taken root. I cry and pray myself to sleep.

***
Saturday:

It is clear Rylyn is fighting something. I look at her. Really look at her. She lies on my chest. I count what is left of the rolls on her body. Two. One on each thigh. How didn't we notice earlier? Thank you God for this step back to look. Thank you for Addisyn...healthy, happy. Thank you for two parents on leave together.

I close my eyes to sleep that evening and I see my little Rylyn in a coffin. Why am I thinking like this? I realize I still feel like I am in someone else's body. Trying to uproot my worries, I cry and pray myself to sleep.

***
Sunday (Mother's Day):

Rylyn needs sleep. We can't go to church. I am still thinking about the unknown. I am still thinking about CF. Her cough has worsened but her fever is gone. I need to know people are praying. I really wish I could go to church today.

"I figure if people can home school, I can "home church" from time-to-time." The words of a wise friend come to mind. Thank you Jeanette. I sing and put on some worship songs as I "home church" and use the Internet to my advantage. I request prayer. I know Chris is at church leading worship and requesting prayer there.

Chris's parents feed us lunch. My parents feed us dinner. I know people are praying. I feel more like myself.

***
Monday (Today):

Everyone including the 2 month old has slept through the night, except for me. I have been up refilling the humidifier, checking for breathing...etc. But I slept better than the previous nights.

Drs. Appointment:

"CF is off the table. If the next Celiac test comes back negative, which is very rare, it is something else. However, your daughter's cough has worsened, I want chest X-rays to make sure it isn't pneumonia."

CF is off the table. It was never the Celiac that caused the fear it was the CF. It is what I need to hear. Celiac and pneumonia? I can do this. My "out of body-in body" experience is over.

"God's got this." I think of the words I wrote to a friend in a card a few weeks back. She emailed me the same ones in a note of encouragement this morning. The night she opened the card she had said, "I am going to make this my new life motto." I think I have found a new life motto too.

***

No pnemonia. Initial consultation with MacKids GI Unit tomorrow. God's got this. In the meantime, Addy and I will be blogging as Rylyn naps. Alongside the support of prayer I will be singing these songs:



Passport Photo Gong Show

Rylyn in our new fav shirt: "Justin Beaver"

Close family and friends know that we are in a position of waiting on news for Rylyn's health. We are waiting for a Celiac Disease diagnosis. A Celiac diagnosis would be almost as good as miraculous healing at this point because the uncertainty would be gone. What lies within the uncertainty are diseases that are more serious. We thank everyone for their prayers and support during this time of waiting. It is tremendous encouragement to us and is an extension of God's love for us. I will, of course, be blogging about our experience; however, I blog chronologically and save and revise posts before publishing them. Here is a lighter one, the last of the "yet to be published," as the next few may be a little heavier on the heart.


I hope posting this picture isn't some sort of felony


Husband and 2 little ones needed passport photos. Remember Rylyn is 16 months and Addisyn is a ripe 2 months. We pack up the family of four to get the mission accomplished.

Stop 1: Local CAA (we are members and get a discount there): "Sorry we don't do young children. We don't have the proper equipment." (Really? Are you sure you don't mean you don't like doing passport photos for young children?) "We can photograph you, sir." (No thanks, we'll take our business where they will photograph ALL of our family members).

Stop 2: Local Portrait Studio (as suggested by CAA worker as a family-friendly option): "Our photographer is with a client right now. It would be an hour wait." (Apparently only one person knows how to operate a camera at this location which advertises passport photos from the window).

Stop 3: Sears Portrait Studio: Sign that reads "Out for lunch, back by 3 pm." (Okay, this is getting ridiculous, but at least we are at a mall and can walk around a bit). At 3 pm we return to find a new sign "Out of ink. No passports." (SERIOUSLY? We packed up and drove around to three different places with 2 under 2 and kept them happy for 2 hours!!! This was three strikes you're out).

The next day, we went to Wal-Mart Portrait Studio (who I phoned in advanced and who said drop-in, no appointment, no problem) and they were FANTASTIC. The whole ordeal took a total of 15 minutes, including settling Rylyn who did not want to leave daddy. They used a puppet and took the photo with her sitting on daddy's knee and had me hold Addy in a special way to support hear head, but hide the hands (hint hint CAA no special equipment needed). We should have went to them in the first place, although they were a little further out of the way. Yay for happy endings.


Husband Humour:
Chris: "Why do the girls need passports anyway?"
Kara: "In case we win an all-expense paid trip to Disney."
Chris: Rolls eyes. "Right."


Bible Reflections:
"A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired."
-Proverbs 17:22


Lord during our time of waiting, help us to laugh, like at the passport nonsense, that we may stay positive as we wait. Bless each person that waits and prays with us too. Amen.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mine for a Time

I brought Addisyn to visit my sister's grade 5 class.

Earlier, Laura had warned her students that she would not be at school if her sister went into labour on a weekday. This seemingly small amount of knowledge creates a connection between teacher and students. It says, "I trust you; I want you to know me." Since Laura's class knew she was helping deliver a baby "that weekday" she was away, I had to visit with the baby. I was privy to share in a bond I miss with my own class and cannot experience while respectfully releasing responsibility to my replacement.

We sat in a circle.

"Can you put the baby in the centre?" a student asked, hopefully. I placed her in the limelight.

We watched Addisyn's eyes dart from student to student, a mouth turn from pouts to smiles.

The questions continued, from "How old is she?" to "Does she puke?"

Then it is was my turn to ask a question, "I am learning to be mom. What do you like best about your parents?"

The answers surprised me...

"They believe in me."

"They feed me and put a roof over my head."

"They love me even when I make a mistake."

"My mom has a lot of swag." Read: "My mom has a confident personality and I think she is cool."

Simple. What these kids love most about their parents are the things which, in my opinion, are innate. Being there. Protection. Unconditional love. Because, they belong to one another.

Each of these kids spoke like their parents were their heroes. I hope mine speak of me that way one day. I left them with this thought: "When you go home tonight, tell your parents what you shared with me today. Sometimes parents need to be told they're doing a good job and it will mean the most coming from you."

Rylyn chillin' with my dad
Addy chillin' with my mom

Bible Reflections:


"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." -Song of Solomon 2:4

-The Shulamite woman speaks of her Beloved, analogous to a person's relationship with Jesus. He feeds and protects His sheep because He loves them unconditionally.


Lord, I thank You that you feed and protect me. I thank You that Your banner over me is love. Help me to feed and protect my children like You do, that they would know my banner over them, like Yours, is love. I thank You that they are mine, for a time, and we are Yours.