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Friday, December 31, 2010

New Foods, New Things, New Year!

So I just went back and looked at my blog post from last year at this time, and here are what my 2010 goals were: 

Spiritual: Family devotionals every week night. Superman usually does a "quiet time" with the kids every couple days, but I'd like to see that more consistent. Right now the kids are assigned days to pray at meals (Monday is Mr. C, Tuesday is J-Man, etc), so on their days they'll also pick what Bible story we are going to focus on in the evening.

Physical: Finish running a 5K in under 27 minutes, and finish a 10K in under 55 minutes.

Life in general: Start writing letters again. I mean, e-mail is great and all, but there's something exhilarating about getting an unexpected note in the mail. My goal is to send out 2 letters per month.

I'm happy to say that I actually {pretty much} met my goals! Although we didn't do devotions every night, we have done them pretty much every weekday morning during the school year.  I didn't run an actual 5K race in under 27 minutes, but I did do 5K on the treadmill in that time! And, I didn't quite meet the 2 letters per month quota, but I would say I averaged about one per month. Pretty good, I think. 

These past few months have been exciting around our house. Superman has been working his little tail off to get things done on the farm--cutting up downed trees and brush, clearing MUCH unwanted shrubbery, putting up fences and building a pig pen for our 2 new pigs, Tasty and Yummy: 

I have 30 chickens coming at the end of January (sooooo needed since we go through more than 75 eggs a week in our house!), and as part of my Christmas gift, Superman is going to get my coop up-and-running for all my little sweet chicks. We're hoping to get a few cows, pygmy goats and sheep in 2011.

We had a great Thanksgiving and Christmas, and really enjoyed the family time over the breaks. I have to say, it's pretty much the best having a teacher as a husband. He's home with us 1/2 the year! The kids don't yet realize just how blessed they are. 

So after my discouraged post awhile back about Superman's dietary restrictions, I was referred by a friend to the book "The Paleo Solution" by Robb Wolf. It talks all about the decline in health of our nation and promotes eating a "Pre-agrarian" diet (I really don't like using that word...I prefer "lifestyle" or something similar) of meats, fruits, nuts, seeds, and veggies. I decided since Superman already pretty much had to eat that way, I would attempt it and see how I felt. I had already cut out dairy for a month and was feeling quite a big improvement in my joint pain in the mornings, and figured I had nothing to lose. So, I completely re-vamped our eating habits, and I cannot believe what a huge change it has made in my life! It's been two months now, and my joint pain is virtually gone. I am much more even-keeled, rarely getting the dreaded "afternoon slump." I feel more energetic, clear-headed and just physically younger than I have in, well, frankly, as far back as I can remember. And on a side note for the ladies (if you're of the male sex, you may want to skip to the next paragraph...), my cycles are regular for the first time in at least 12 years! 

So, I have no desire to go back to my "old way" of eating. I decided to splurge on Christmas and went ahead and indulged in a few rolls and some pasta. Boy oh boy did I feel it the next morning! I woke up as stiff as I had been just a few months back. That in itself was encouragement enough for me to continue on. I rarely miss the old foods, as I've come across so many great blogs with yummy recipes. Our kids are all healthier, Superman is feeling great, and I feel better than I have since pre-adolescence. I highly recommend trying this if you have physical ailments you can't seem to shake! I truly don't feel it's a "diet," more of a way of life. I just don't have the desire to put my body through that physical stress if I don't need to. 

Well, this post is getting a bit long. I suppose I should break for now. I hope to update in the next few days with my goals for 2011...but don't hold your breath. I think I said I was going to try to update regularly on my last post, and that was over two months ago. Sorry!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Food Allergies and Discouragement

Some of you may remember my post awhile back about Superman's diagnosis of Celiac Disease. His life has improved dramatically since he cut gluten out of his diet...he's gained 20 pounds (which was very needed!) and feels so much better. But still not better. He continues to have issues that plague him. And it's discouraging. I know how discouraging it is to me, and I have to multiply that multiple times to get to the angst he feels. 

He recently went to a doctor, well, actually, a chiropractor who came highly recommended by a colleague. This colleague's son was plagued by many symptoms like Superman, and after exhausting all the conventional medical avenues, decided to try the "naturalistic" path. We have, I'm somewhat ashamed to admit, always turned our nose at the "natural" remedies found in unconventional medicine. Maybe because neither of us have really been exposed to it before...I don't know. At any rate, to make a long story short, this doctor says Superman is sensitive to corn, dairy and soy as well as incapable of processing wheat. Wow. If it's true, it'll explain why he just hasn't felt healed yet...but I must admit, I'm a bit skeptical.

With this news comes new responsibility for me...I'm the one who has to feed Superman; it's in my job description. And as much as I'd like to just say, "Well, you're on your own..." I have to find meals that the kids and I can enjoy that will also be edible for him.

To be quite honest, I feel overwhelmed. I have a hard enough time thinking of something to make for each meal when there are no diet restrictions. Coming up with new ides that don't have any of those ingredients is going to be, well, a challenge. I think I said before I like a good challenge every now and then. Well, I don't think I'm really on board with this one yet.

I feel bad complaining. I mean, it could be so so so much worse. And it's not. But still, this is my reality, and it is hard for me not to be a bit discouraged by it. This coupled with the fact that our kids have been pushing me to the edge of sanity this past week...I've completely fallen off the "no sugar" wagon and resorted to replacing almost all my meals with sugar. I'm not exaggerating, either. This past week, I have barely eaten anything of substance. I've eaten plenty of chocolate, cookies, tootsie rolls, and any other sweets I can get my hands on, though. I feel stressed.

I think my mood could be the dictionary definition of the word "slump." It irritates me that I feel that way. Here I am, living in my dream world on property...our kids are healthy...our roof didn't leak when it rained over the weekend...there's a fire crackling in the stove...I'm making a pumpkin pie from scratch (whoops! More sugar...). What in the world do I have to complain about? Sigh.

I suppose we're all allowed a few "off" days every now and then. I think I'm just ready to be back "on." 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Changing the Title of My Blog...

Seeing that my life has evolved into much more than solely adoption, I've decided to update the title of my blog.

Superman has been calling me "Country Wife" to remind me that I'm not responsible for all the manual labor that needs to be done on our property. Believe it or not, it's actually hard for me to stay inside and cook food or wash dishes when I know everyone else is outside lugging brush or working on a project.

So, I figured I would throw that term into my new title. I'm hoping I'll be able to update more often now that we're "settled" ("settled" is a relative term, right?) into our home. Hope you'll come along for the ride!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Time's Still Not Standing Still, But I Feel Compelled To Update...

I'm officially a country wife. I've tossed out a dead chicken, listened to {hundreds} of rats run wildly in our sub-floor (and then become used to the decaying smell of their flesh...), pick-axed a garden, hauled branches, and hiked through Yellow Star Thistle wearing my oh-so-wonderful Muck Boots. I've cut the head off a {small} snake, taken a cold shower (not by choice), started a fire in a wood stove all by myself, and learned to tune out the 5 a.m. rooster calls {yawn}.

I've watched llamas mate. And turkeys. And chickens. I've hurriedly ran to my car while it's dark, wondering what that sound was in the bushes. I've fulfilled a life-long dream of ringing a dinner bell and yelling, "Cooooooooommmmmmmmmme and gettttttttt ittttttttt!"

I've learned that dirt is not going to kill anyone; in fact, it just might make the day of a cranky toddler.

I've roasted marshmallows. On a Tuesday. Just because we can (and it feels like we're camping every time, no matter how many times we do it). I've gone on hikes on land we call our own and marveled at the beauty of God's creation just by looking out our front window. I've stood at the top of our driveway and thought, "How in the world did I get so lucky that the Lord blessed me with this amazing life?"

I've realized there will never be a shortage of projects. We will always have something to work on. And most importantly, I've re-learned that this life is so short, and we just never know when it can change drastically.

Yesterday, my father-in-law (who I have considered my own "dad" since Superman and I started dating) was in a freak accident. While helping Superman haul some branches with the tractor, one branch became stuck on a tree, and the tractor flipped over on top of him. I was inside the house when it happened, so Superman had to re-tell the story to me. Suffice it to say, he was sure his time on this earth with his dad was about to be over. It was nothing short of a miracle that saved my father-in-law from certain death. It's amazing he walked away with a broken rib and some bruises, and kept his life.

And it reminded me just how fragile we are. Had that spinning wheel gone one inch further, I would be helping to plan a funeral instead of worrying about my broken dryer or what I'm going to make for dinner.

And so, friends, that is a brief recap of what has been going on at our little farm. We've been here one month, and it has been an exhausting, thrilling, life-altering, amazing experience so far. I can't imagine what excitement the Lord has planned for our future...but I'll just hitch up my britches and jump right in!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

News Break: Blog is taking a back seat...

As if you hadn't already noticed, this blog is taking a back seat to other things in my life...

This summer has flown by, and Monday Superman goes back to work, and I go back to being a teacher to our kids.

I just re-read THIS post about things that hinder me. I wrote about how we felt conflicted spending money on our own kids when there are so many other children out there in need. After much praying and contemplative thought, we (Superman and I) came to the conclusion that right now, these kids are our ministry. We can't help every child in need, but we can help the ones the Lord gave us. We didn't have to adopt. We (as far as we know) could have just had biological kids and called it even. But we knew the Lord's will for our lives involved us bringing in kids who otherwise would live in unstable situations. That is our calling. Not everyone's. And so, that is where our life is right now. I don't feel guilty for not plugging into every ministry at church or not saying "yes" every time someone asks for help. My priority right now is to take care of these kids. In 11 short years, Mr. C will be leaving the nest. Which means we have 11 short years to make as much of an impact on his life as possible. And the same goes for our other four little ones. Time is short, and we only have one chance with them. So I plan on seizing this opportunity and making the most of their childhood.

Now, that doesn't mean I want to spoil them. Quite the contrary. But I do want to give them opportunities to find their passions. I want to help them discover the gifts the Lord has given them, and help them to find what it is they want to do with their lives. And part of that is something I am so excited about! You may remember a post awhile back (I can't seem to find it, though...) about how I longed for some land to raise some animals on, to olok out and see nothing but God's creation and just be a country girl. The Lord truly knows the desires of my heart, and it seems that it is in His will for us to raise our kids in the country. We're in escrow right now on a beautiful piece of property: 10 acres! The house is absolutely nothing to be excited about. As a matter of fact, we'll be losing 2 bedrooms and a bathroom...and the house is manufactured. But the land...oh, the land! I'm in love. This photo really doesn't do it justice. Just being out there, hearing the roosters crowing in the distance, watching the llamas grazing next door, seeing lizards scurrying feels like...home.

And so, my poor little blog is going to go by the wayside indefinitely until, well, frankly, until there's more time in the day. These next few weeks will be filled with packing, teaching, packing, teaching, and calling a gazillion different places to update our address. At some point I'll be back on here, but in the meantime, enjoy your kids, seize your "moment" with them, and don't stress about the little things!

See you on the flip side!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I'm not normally the type to be apathetic. As a matter of fact, I am rarely lukewarm about life. I find joy in many things...our kids, our home, our church, my marriage. I have much to be grateful for, and much to appreciate. But the last few months I have found myself on a bit of a downward emotional slant. You know when your're going down a slide with shorts on a hot day and your legs kinda stick so you don't go flying down? That's kinda how I feel. Not like I'm on a big roller coaster of emotions, but that I'm just kind of slipping downward a bit. I've been exhausted. That could be related to the five children running mad around our house and constantly needing attention. Or, it could be something else.

The other night as I was reading my Bible, I got to thinking about where I'm at in my relationship with God. I realized that maybe the melancholy I am feeling should be attributed to my stagnant faith life right now. I think I may have slipped into complacency. During the school year, I am involved in an inductive Bible study that keeps me digging through scripture for answers and seeking out a deeper relationship with the Lord. I am balancing schooling and cooking and cleaning and being a wife and a mom with my number one priority...God. But this summer has been nothing but enjoyment with my family. That's not a bad thing, though. I mean, how many people would do just about anything to have a husband home for 2 months and loads of fun activities planned all summer long? We've been thoroughly enjoying the time off. But what did I do with the Lord? I'm ashamed to admit I have fallen into the trap of "bare bones." I read my Bible each night, but then what? I'm not stretching my faith. I'm not actively seeking Him out throughout the day. I'm not being persecuted or forced into deepening my faith.

Yesterday after I told Superman how I was feeling, he insisted that I hide for 30 minutes and spend some quality time with God. That was in the morning...all day things came up. The kids needed tending to, dishes needed to be washed (or the pile would quickly grow into a mountain), laundry needed to be done, we had errands to run. Finally, almost at bed time, he forced me into our room and told me not to come out for a 1/2 hour.

I sat there staring at the wall for the first five minutes. I flipped through my Bible, trying to find something applicable to how I was feeling. I went to the back and looked up all the verses related to "discouragement," "faith," "separation" and "God's love." Nothing was really hitting home for me. I put my Bible down and decided to write out a prayer to the Lord. I laid it all out...I apologized for my selfishness and for letting my worldly responsibilities take over my life. And I begged Him to draw me close so I could feel that same fire I often feel when I am right in my walk with Him.

It was nice. I think I realized just how much life's responsibilities can interfere with my relationship with God. Now, I just need to remember how to put my daily tasks onto the back burner and deepening my relationship with Him to the front. I think it's time for me to make a change.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chicken Little {{Graphic}}, My birthday, and 12 years of wedded bliss

So once again, two weeks has gone by and I'm not sure how. There's been lots of activity around here...

As promised, here is a visual account of our adventurous chicken slaughter a few weeks back.
My brother and I really had no idea what we were doing. We watched some tutorials online, but there's no real understanding until you've actually done the deed.

We were a bit worried that he wouldn't get the head cut off with one swoop, but in the end, he did a great job...

I just couldn't keep my eyes open. It's like how eyes automatically shut when you was just an automatic reflex. But, as you can see, he cut clean through!

People always use the term "running around like a chicken with its head cut off," but I really underestimated just how much she would be flopping around. She was flopping so much I couldn't hold her down and had to take off running!

Yes, she made it all the way over there all by herself...and with no head, to boot!


Finally done.


Placing her into a scalding bath to loosen the feathers.

She was only supposed to be in there for 90 seconds, but it ended up being close to 3 minutes...I think that may have played a role in the toughness of the meat.

Plucking the feathers was actually quite a bit easier than I thought!

All the icky stuff.

My bro with his finished product:

Aw, she was a good little chicken...

My 32nd birthday was on July 1st.

We spent the morning picking blackberries and got $1 large sodas (which our kids never get!) at McDonald's.

Miss G just got water. Shh, she doesn't know!

My running partners gave me a gift certificate to a local cupcake shop. You know what these are? ROOT BEER FLOAT cupcakes! I kid you not. Seriously divine. I threw my "no sugar" vow out the window for my birthday. I figured I'd enjoy it while I could.

Superman's grandparents were really generous and gave me some spending money for my birthday. I decided to get a food dehydrator with some of the dough, and it's my new best friend (aside from my Kindle). =) We've dried some plums, and I'm making plum/blackberry fruit rolls as I type.

Kids eat free at Carrows every day for the summer, so we decided to go out one night. You get one free kids meal for every adult entree purchased, so Mr. C decided to draw a mustache on himself so he could pass as a grown up. It must have worked, because the waitress didn't even question us. He is pretty convincing, afterall...

And being that yesterday was 7/11, it was free Slurpee day at 7-11. It's become a tradition that every year for our anniversary (which just happens to fall on that day), we really splurge and go get the whole family free Slurpees. Mmmm....watermelon.

I'm really excited about a speaker who we are flying out to speak to our adoption network in November. I'll share more about her next week!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Preparing dinner and giveaway results!

First off, sorry for not drawing a name on Friday. My bro and his family are out here visiting from Idaho and our days have been full of fun-ness and activity.

Friday we butchered our no-longer-laying hen. We were slaughtering virgins, but we are no more. It was quite the experience. I think the fact that she wasn't a meat chicken and was a year-and-a-half old made from some tough chicken. It was more like chicken jerky. And oh, the term "running around like a chicken with her head cut off" is really just barely an exaggeration. That girl was practically chasing me without her head on. It may not have been actual running, but it was definitely aggressively flopping. My bro was actually the one to cut her head off. Nothing like some good ol' family bonding! I'll be posting pics soon.

And now, the results of the giveaway (Superman helped me out):

Congratulations, Essie! Just send me your e-mail address and I'll send you your Amazon gift!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Life Flies By, So I'll Do A Giveaway!

Superman has already been on summer break for two weeks. Tell me, how did that happen? I think having kids makes time go faster. And I really mean that. There must be some sort of crazy quantum physics/time warp thing going on. Because I'm sure that the last two weeks have only been two days.

At any rate, since we just had a time warp, I've missed blogging for a few weeks.
Superman and I had an incredible trip to San Francisco to celebrate our upcoming 12th anniversary. It's amazing what a little over 24 hours away from children can do for the soul.

We saw "Wicked" and even though Superman was asking if we could leave early before we even sat down, he ended up really liking it!

We took a tour of 'Cisco on Segways. Seriously worth the $70/person. It was probably one of the most fun outings we've done together. I was a little worried that my uncoordinated self would fall off {ungracefully}, but I made it through without any incidents.

We walked Fisherman's Wharf and hung out at Union Square and just really enjoyed each others' company.

Mr. C was the proud owner of our family's first black eye. He got a good shiner after running full speed ahead into a metal gun that shoots balls out at a birthday party.

I mean, really, is that not the prettiest shade of purple you ever did see?

Mr. C was pretty proud of his eye for a few days, but he got a little tired of everyone asking what happened. Luckily, he had his seventh birthday to look forward to! Can't believe he's already 7...

We celebrated the first day of summer vacation by doing...what else? Eating!

We spent all last week at our church's Vacation Bible School. There were over 800 kids there, and Superman and I were in charge of handing out Otter Pops. I don't think I need to cut anymore wrappers any time soon...although I do have quite the system down. The kids had a blast.

And Father's Day was a success at our home. The boys made daddy a card that truly spoke to his heart:

...And I gave him a mandarin tree to plant since his last one was a casualty of a big wind storm a few months ago. I did, however, make sure he knew that I loved him by displaying my undying affection for him on myself:

I finished reading "In Defense of Food" and "Farm City." The latter of which, I must say, is now one of my favorites.

And so, that brings me to my giveaway! After being gone from my poor little blog for a few weeks, I noticed I've passed the "50 followers" mark! Amazon has become my new co-best friend (shared with my Kindle). I wanted to share a little of that love. To celebrate, I'm giving away a $20 gift card for!

Just leave me a comment and you're entered! I'll be drawing a name on Friday.

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