Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Our basement - the Score(board) is UP! :)

I am so sorry that I haven't been posting as much lately.   I think I have been preoccupied with other things - more on that later..........

Rod and I finally got to work on our basement.  No, it is not completely finished, but our storage side of the basement is looking much better.  And that is because we are putting stuff from storage to the finished side.  Since we were doing that I figured it is time to go thru stuff and clean and purge. :)

My inlaws gave us this ping-pong table.  We had to dismantle it to get it down our stairs and it has been sitting in pieces for probably the last 2.5 years at least.  So Monday, I helped Rod move it to the finished side and he got it put together.   I am really not sure HOW we got it turned over - this thing is a beast!  I decided that the kids were going to play under it so I might as well maximize that for us.  So, on one side is Maggie's Polly Pockets and Barbies and on the other side is Jared's Rescue Heros and some other car type stuff.  They think it is so cool.  Which is so funny because I am just thinking of all the extra floor space we have now! :)

 Rod got these lights at the TV station he used to work at.  They were being thrown out.  So he finally put these back up.  The red side of the basement will be our TV room.  It is dark and will be great to watch movies at.  Right now the basement is still more of a kid place as you will see in the next photo.  But the studio lights kinda go with our "movie room".

Now, the piece de resistance....  how do you write that in French? :)

Here is the infamous Scoreboard.  It's dimensions are approximately 3ft by 8ft.  It sticks out about 6 inches from the wall and well, I was worried that kiddos would hit their head on it.  So I placed a lot of their toys etc against the wall right under it to try to prevent any majorly banged up noggins.  Rod reworked the board's lights to show his highschool sectional championship score.  On a side note, how come he can remember the score to a game that happened almost 20 years ago AND the time left in the game, but still struggle to remember what day in June we got married?

Oh, yes, my preoccupation.  Yes, I am preoccupied with hearing issues with Maggie.  I am much less stressing about it now.  I think that is for 2 reasons; 1)God reminding me that He is faithful and lots of prayer by me and others for me and 2)learning more about the subject matter.  I've been learning oodles about the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) world.  I am still no expert by any means but I know a lot more now that I did 6 weeks ago.

There is so much that a child learns thru hearing.  They often learn more thru hearing than many other sense.  From what I gather, DHH children will often get lost in the school system.  They will get behind educationally and/or appear to be uninterested in the classroom.  But wouldn't you be uninterested if you couldn't hear anything that was going on around you?

We are trying to teach Maggie to advocate for herself - which is not easy as she still doesn't want to be different from the other children. We are trying to make sure that fill in the gaps for her at school as much as possible.  We aren't sure what she isn't hearing and what she is hearing in the classroom - I don't think that Maggie even knows.

There are some concerns that we have that will be addressed at her IEP (Individual Education Plan) case conference next week.  We really like her teacher and are really glad for the set up she has in the room.  There are just some other issues that have us concerned as well as preparing for next year.

I just did a quick search and there are lots of verses on "hearing".  On God hearing us and on us hearing God.  It is such a good thing that God can "speak" to us in many different ways, isn't it? :)

Psalm 62:
11 One thing God has spoken,
   two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
 12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
   according to what they have done.”

God truly is powerFUL! 

Live BIG!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blooming despite it all...

A couple of years ago, my father in law gave us some gourds that he grew.  I set them out in our front landscaping for decoration and thought that I would do more with them but didn't.  Winter came and I kept forgetting to throw them away.

I eventually did throw them away but they were just in pieces by then.

Fast forward a couple of years and look what we have going on.

I am wanting to redo our landscaping but um...right now it is not in the budget.  :)

But growing gourds by our lamp post wasn't what I had in mind for new landscaping.  You can see all the flowers in the top pic.  We'll probably have quite a few gourds to decorate with! grin

Rod doesn't think that this is quite as funny as I do.  I don't know there is just something about it that resonates with me.

Maybe because it is growing despite being in a horrible location: in rocks among those evergreen bushes.  I guess it reminds me that it is in those rough spots that I have tended to grown the most.  It is in the rough places that we have to dig down deeper to get our roots established in who He is.  We have to push ourselves to the sun Son.  And we always need to let what God is doing take preeminence in our lives.

I think that sometimes that desire to dig down deep is easier to find than others.  But it is still required.

How are you blooming?

In a Bible study that I am doing, the author is discussing thorns. "Why, Lord, do I have this thorn?"  I have a thorn and it is stretching me today.  It discourages me, it makes me doubt myself and makes me feel oh so weak.  But Jesus says "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

So, despite my thorn today, I will bloom.  Because He IS enough.  More than enough.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Here's where I am at....

Back in February I whined about how Rod and I started a new diet.  You can read about it here.  We started doing low carb. in February.

We are STILL doing it.  Yes you read that right. STILL.

Have we gone off diet?  Yes, we've splurged for birthdays, reunions etc but we've always gone right back the next day and continued.  No guilt.  Well, only a little guilt.

About 2.5 years ago, I had started a "weightloss program" and had done pretty well on it.  I was feeling pretty ok.  Then our life turned upside down.  I didn't care about what I ate or how much of it I ate.  I was stress eating and I was ok with it.  But I gained back all of that weight that I had lost plus a bunch more.

Now to be clear, I have a "syndrome" called Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.  It causes me grief in a variety of ways.  One of which is weight gain;  me and a skinny chick could eat the exact same food and I will gain weight and she will stay skinny.  There are other parts of it that I really hate about it.  But anyway....  The docs believe that PCOS is connected to insulin levels - so this low-carb thing isn't a bad thing for me.

I have lost about 30 lbs.  I was bulging out of a pant size and now can easily fit into the next smaller pant size. I even tried on a pair of pants that were a size smaller and they fit - but not comfortably. BUT!!  They. FIT!

Rod didn't weigh himself before we started and won't weigh himself now.  He is measuring his progress by his pant size.  I won't say for him where he is at but I think that he is really close to his goal.  He too was bulging out of one pant size and now those pants are way to big for him.  So he wears the next size down (unless I don't get them clean fast enough).  He wants to be in the next size down.  I kinda want to go shopping with him just to see how close he is.  He won't buy any new pants till he can buy the size he wants and umm.....Let's just say I am not quite as quick on the laundry turn around as he would like.

Now, whenever I watch Biggest Loser or whatever I always wonder how tall people are because I can't be expected to weigh the same amount as someone who is 3 inches shorter than me.  So, just so you know where I am coming from - I am 5'7" and to get my BMI to a "normal body weight" - I need to lose another 30lbs.  Yeah.  I'm not thinking that this is too realistic for me.  But I would like to lose about 15-20 more lbs.

I have plateaued in my weight loss - and I am ok with that as I also haven't gained weight.  I think that upping my daily exercise from nada to something will probably help break that plateau but also help me get better sleep. :)

So, here are some things that I have learned along the way - maybe it will help you.

1.  Eat more protein.  When I incorporate more protein into my diet, I am full longer.  I definitely do not feel cheated.
2.  Eat nuts - not only are they protein but they can be a salty snack to fulfill that craving.  We found that Walmarts Honey Roasted Peanuts were the best.  We often have trouble finding them in stock - so everyone else must think so too.
3.  I think that the longer you are on the diet the more your taste buds change.  I used to hate Dark Chocolate - I am a chocolate LOVER.  But I have learned that I now like dark chocolate.  Dark chocolate has lower carbs.
4.  A small amount of an indulgence is better than a huge amount.  Meaning:  I can get a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips and eat them slowly and feel that rush of chocolate and not feel engorged afterward.
5.  We've learned to really like Greek yogurt - less carbs and more protein.
6.  We eat a lot more vegetables that we ever have before.  If you look at your plate like a pie chart I would have 1/4 be meat, 1/4 be veggies and the rest be carbs (pasta, potatoes or rice).  Now it is about 1/2 veggies (maybe a little more) and the rest meat.
7.  Sugarfree jello and cool whip are your friends. Low cal and low carb.
8.  A tablespoon of peanut butter is a good thing.
9.  I ate/eat a ton of salads with this diet.  I learned to get lots of different toppings for my salads to change it up.  Olives, peppers, onions, different cheeses etc.  Yummy!

As we look at incorporating carbs back into our daily diet (sometime in the not so distant future), I feel pretty good that we will be able to remember these lessons and not go carb wild.

Oh, for those wondering about getting good deals on low carb foods:  Rentown (a little Amish store near me) is great for getting cheese for $2.39/lb or less, I can also get shaved meat (deli style) for under $2/lb.  Spices are really cheap there as well.  Pinehill is the Amish run salvage store that I have mentioned on here before.  I can big jars of pickles there for about $1.25 or for the kids - mac and cheese 3 boxes for $1.

Let me know if you local people want directions to my favorite stores.

I still have a ways to go......but God is good. ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

It is a gold ribbon.  Gold.  Not many people would know what a gold ribbon stands for.  Most people don't want to talk about it .... let alone even think about it.

It happens everyday to 36 families!  A mom and dad are told that their child has cancer.

Facts about Cancer in Children and Adolescents

  • Every day, 36 children are diagnosed with cancer.
  • One child out of five who is diagnosed with cancer dies.
  • Children’s cancer it affects all ethnic, gender and socio-economic groups.
  • The average age of children diagnosed is six.
  • More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year.
  • Three out of five who survive children’s cancer suffer late-effects, such as infertility, heart failure and secondary cancers.  
  • There are approximately 350,000 adult survivors of children’s cancer in the United States.
    • That equates to 1 in 640 adults ages 18-45


Two and a half years ago, when Mags got sick, the last thing that I wanted to think that she could be diagnosed with was cancer.  Three year old little girls with beautiful eyelashes and a great big smile don't get cancer.  Old people get cancer.  People who smoke get cancer.  Not my little girl.
This is Maggie (and Rod) on the day we went to Memorial for the first time and heard Neuroblastoma for the first time.  The day that we were told that we were going to Riley Children's Hospital.  Can you see how pale she is?  She was so sick and we had no clue.  I am not sure where I was as Rod took this picture and a gazillion others.  Maybe I was frantically packing for us to go?  Don't remember.  I can remember that the Memorial Hospital team gave us some gift cards to Burger King - her favorite restaurant at the time.  I remember the 3 of us sitting there eating in stunned silence - Maggie oblivious as to what the next days would bring.  Rod and I could hardly eat.

What people forget is that even when the battle with cancer is over - other battles may just be beginning.  There are so many side effects that come from this battle.

No child should have to endure this....  none.

Please help make others aware of this battle that goes on.

And just in case you've never seen it....