Monday, April 28, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We are home safe and sound. My mom and I had a wonderful time visiting family and friends, and Ellie did so great! I have downloaded all my pictures and I will share them soon! I had 47 unread blog posts in my google reader. You all have been busy bloggers since I have been gone, geesh! I will catch up soon!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

King Corn

I just watched a really interesting documentary on the history of the corn industry. Two recent college grads decided to plant one acre of corn in the small Iowa town where their great grandfathers had farmed, and then see what happened to it once it entered the system. I would love to thoroughly comment on all the interesting aspects of the movie, but I am going out of town with Ellie and my mom tomorrow for four days. And, we are moving in 2 weeks. Yikes! Anyhoo, I will bullet some of the most interesting points in the documentary.

In the 1970s, the new agricultural secretary, Earl Butz, ended the practice of farmers getting paid to NOT produce anything. He wanted farmers to produce as much as possible.

Today, we spend on average 16% of our income on food.

Our great grandparents spent twice that.

Cattle used to graze on grass for 2 or 3 years to come up to market weight (that is when they are good to eat!)

Cattle in modern day "confinement" feed lots are fed up to 90% grain and not allowed to move around so that they gain weight faster (about 160 days to market).

It kills cows to eat this much corn. It gives them acidosis and ulcers and to combat this, they are fed low grade amounts of antibiotics constantly.

Cattle use 70% of the produced antibiotics.

Grain lots produce obese cattle with high amounts of fat tissue. "Fat disguised as meat."

Traditional grass fed beef is lean meat. A grass fed t-bone steak contains 2 g of saturated fat vs. 9 g in a grain fed cow.

The corn raised in Iowa is not raised for human consumption and has little nutritional value. It is genetically modified to have a high yield and starch level. The new strain of corn was created to withstand being planted very close together.

Our ancestors used to yield 40 bushels of corn on the same land that can now produce 200 bushels.

By the late 80s high fructose corn syrup commanded 1/2 of the sweetener market. Our consumption of table sugar has been taken over by HFCS.

70% of HFCS produced is used to make soda.

HFCS causes metabolic harm to humans and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

1 soda a day doubles the risk of diabetes.

Eastern Colorado used to be all grazing land for cattle. It is now corn fields and feed lots.

Has an overabundance and surplus of corn produced too much? Is this non-food the raw material for an unhealthy society? Very interesting questions.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Religious Freedom and Parental Rights

Let me begin this by saying that I don't agree with polygamy or the religious beliefs of the FLDS church, but I have been so upset by everything that has been happening in Texas. I believe in the freedom of religion, and I believe in parental rights and that the Bible supports parents being ultimately responsible for their children. I am mostly upset by the precedence that this sets for the future. What is so crazy to me is that 400 children would never have been ripped from their mother's arms if they weren't part of a religious sect. The authorities claim that a girl reported that she was being molested, but now they think that the call was a fake. Why in the world would they take EVERYONE'S children away? Why didn't they just take the men away until they figured out what was going on? How many 13 or 14 year old girls get pregnant in our country every year? Are their parents arrested? Are all the children in their school or neighborhood taken from their parents because that happened? How many dad's out there have children by 3, 4 5 or more women? Puff Daddy comes to mind. None of these things are okay, but they are not prosecuted. Sexual abuse is never okay, but is this the best way to deal with it? Is foster care a better system to put vulnerable children into? How many foster care children are sexually abused? I know that kids in the system are much more likely to end up teenage moms, drug addicts and convicts. Foster care can't possibly be the answer. They are saying the kids have been physically abused. Is this the next step to outlawing our parental right to biblically discipline our children? This is not a far off concept, look at Europe where some countries have already adopted this ban. I even heard that the authorities were thinking of vaccinating the children because they called them a "danger to society."

If this is an issue of religion, it has no place for the authorities, unless the law is being broken. Teenagers getting married, although not common in our society today, isn't uncommon throughout history. If the parents allow it, it isn't a crime. I am not sure what the law says about age and marriage, but 400 children taken from their families, COME ON!

We need to be fighting for the right of religious freedom because it affects Christians and our right to worship the one, true and living God. Men died and wars were fought for us to have these rights, we should not be giving them up so easily. No, I don't agree with the FLDS, or militant muslims, or most other religions out there, but they have the right within the laws of our land to practice their religion as I do mine. Freedom of speech guarantees us all the right to say what we want, and I personally would rather know what my enemies think about me than have them thinking it in private. Making speech a hate crime if we don't like what is being said doesn't make people stop hating, it just allows them to do it secretly, and catching us off guard when we are attacked.

I will get off my soapbox now, but I write this because I can imagine a time that my children would be stripped from me because we homeschool, or disagree with the government, or practice a conservative religion. This should not be so.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bennett and Ellie

I have maintained from the beginning that Ellie looks like a darker, not so chubby version of Bennett. They do have different looking chins, Bennett had a dimple in his when he was smaller, but they look alot alike. This is a picture of Bennett at about 4 months old, and I couldn't get over how much he looks like Ellie in this picture.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bennett, The 5 Year Old

I am a little late with Bennett's birthday post, but Jeromy, Ellie and I went on a 2 day jaunt west to go to a homeschooling conference and just got back late last night. Bennett's birthday was on Friday, but we celebrated it on Thursday because the conference was Friday and Saturday. Bad mommy and daddy to be gone on his birthday, I know, but he didn't know the difference.

Bennett was adamant about wanting a surprise birthday party this year, and somehow we pulled it off. I told him that we were taking him over to grandma's house because he was going to stay the weekend with her, which was true, but he didn't know I had made a cake the night before and my mom had decorated for his party. We walked in the door, and he immediately saw the decorations. He looked at me, but wasn't quite sure what was going on because there was no one there. We walked in closer and my mom and dad jumped out and screamed, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" He was so scared I thought he would cry, but he managed to keep the tears back and even laughed a little. Once his blood pressure returned to normal, we had a nice celebration. He requested orange chicken, rice, and asparagus for dinner, which everyone enjoyed, and he and Rachel had gluten free cake and soy ice cream for dessert. They seemed to like the cake, but it didn't look very appetizing. It is one thing I have not had gluten free success with.

Bennett opened up all of his presents which included Lincoln logs, a sword and shield, clothes, t-ball, remote control car, some school books, and other assorted goodies. I can't believe I am the mother to a 5 year old. It seems like yesterday that I was in labor for 36 hours and gave birth to a little baby boy who they grabbed out of my arms and poked and prodded because he was having breathing problems. It was a hard start to life, but we are so thankful that he is a strong, healthy boy. We are so privileged to be raising such a smart, future leader, and we strive to be the best parents and support to him we can be. We love you Bennett!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Our New House

We spent some time at our new house tonight, taking pictures and lots of measurements. We like to plan where everything is going to go before we move in. It makes moving day much easier, so we aren't having to make spur of the moment decisions with heavy objects. (Our moving help always appreciates that too!) Rachel and Bennett went into the backyard to play when we got there and within 5 minutes, Rachel fell on the back cement patio, scraped her hand badly and both of her knees (even through her leggings.) She spent the next 35 minutes wailing. Our real estate agent is so great that she tried to read her books to get her mind off of her pain while we did our stuff. Rachel isn't prone to drama, so she must have really been hurting. Every time we visit the house, we are more and more excited to move. This time was no exception. We are looking forward to being all settled in and starting a new chapter of our life there. We really love the open floor plan because it makes the living space seem so much bigger. In our current house, all of the rooms are closed off and it makes the space feel tight. Enjoy some of the pictures we took tonight!

This picture was taken right upon our arrival/pre-fall. The backyard is a pretty good size. This picture only shows half of it. There is a nice storage shed on the other half.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Silly Girls

Ellie is quite ornery with her six month little bad self on many an occasion these days. This is her favorite trick when we forget to buckle her into her bouncy chair. Although when we do buckle her in, she arches her back and stands up and comes out the top of it. We are not using the bouncy chair very often these days. She hangs out in her excer-saucer mostly.

Yes, she has ended up on the floor (more than once!)

Jeromy took this picture one morning when he went in to get her (he brings her into me to nurse before he goes to work). She had pulled down part of her crib bumper and was cuddling with it. She is just like Rachel in that she rubs her face with her blanket when she is going to sleep.

Rachel is her cute, happy little girl self as usual. She is such a ray of sunshine in our home, and we are so thankful for her. She is an endless blur of silly songs, hopping around dancing, and is happy to live in her own little world. I wish I could live there!

She is pretty good at silly faces too!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

House #2

Well, we did it! We just bought our second house since moving here 2 1/2 years ago. We signed the papers last night and should close escrow in May. This was a much different process than the last time we bought a house. The first house we bought we were looking for "the" house. The one we would grow old in, raise a family, have a little farm out in the country. We found that but decided we jumped the gun by a few years, so we sold it and got completely out of debt. Yay! This time around we were looking for a good rental house. Our plan at this point is to live there for 2 years and then keep it as a rental property. We are hoping to do this a few times before we find our next "dream" home. Housing prices are much more comfortable for us here than in good 'ol CA, so we were able to get a good deal on a little 3 bedroom 1.5 bath, 1258 square foot house. The kitchen has been completely remodeled, and it is super cute! It has wood floors throughout and carpet in two of the bedrooms. We are moving from an 1800 square foot house that we have completely filled to the brim, so can anyone say, "GARAGE SALE!" Luckily our new place has a deep one car garage (we don't currently have one at all) and an outdoor storage unit that has a concrete floor that we can use to store our extra stuff as well. The only rooms that we will really miss is our current really large laundry room that always has piles of laundry to be sorted, stain treated, washed, folded etc. Our new washer and dryer are stacked in the kitchen behind a door. Where am I going to keep all the laundry?! The other room we won't have is our playroom that holds all of the kids toys, play kitchen, tool bench for Bennett, my computer desk and treadmill. What we are going to do about that, I am not sure yet. It is going to take some creative storing I think. It will be good for me to not be able to just send the kids downstairs to play anytime they start frazzling my nerves. It will force me to work on their behavior a little more. I won't have any other choice!

We are excited and looking forward to this new phase in our life. There is always something new going on with us! (And thankfully we save all of the good boxes from our last move!)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Yes, blog readers, I know that I have been seriously neglecting all 25 of you :) I still haven't really felt like blogging and on top of it, we have been really busy. Since we have been doing lots of unrelated things, I will randomly update you.

-We have spent the last two weeks looking for a house to buy.

-Yes, we just moved a year ago, but we never live anywhere longer than a year, so we were due.

-We have been praying our friends will help us move AGAIN!

-Rachel and Ellie seem to both be sick with some kind of a cold. Bummer!

-This is Ellie's first illness, and the binky seems to catch all the runny stuff coming out of her nose. That's either good or bad, I can't decide.

-Bennett discovered that he can make and save spit in his mouth and then drink it.

-I am getting a taste of how gross boys can be.

-We put an offer in on a house.

- I ran for a total of 4 minutes today. As pitiful as it sounds, it is progress. Previous times I tried to run, it put my back out again, and it took days to feel better.

-Bennett is almost 5, and he has lived in 6 different houses.

-Rachel got a pink booster seat to sit in and is very excited about her new big girl seat.

-Rachel has her "just in case" puke bowl on her head like a hat. That girl is so funny!

-I am going to be out of town for 2 of the next 4 weekends before we are potentially moving.

-I have about 9 meals in the freezer so far. I have been trying to do 3 or 4 per week.

-Some of them are even pretty good.

-I have been making about 2 loaves of gluten free bread a week and even Jeromy says it is really good. Hooray!

-I got my english muffin rings I ordered last week and am looking forward to trying my recipes for gluten, egg and dairy free crumpets and hamburger buns.

-Don't pity me, please.

-You'd think with my limited diet I would be back to pre-pregnancy size already, but alas, chips and dark chocolate are allowable.

-I only exercise when I am not pregnant, never when I am, but that will change if I am blessed with another baby. My poor body is just not bouncin' back like she used to!

-I got a Chicco umbrella stroller a couple of weeks ago for all of the traveling I am going to be doing with just Ellie, and I really like it!

-Looking for a house takes up your whole life between computer searching, looking in person and taking Jeromy back to the good possibilities, I am looking forward to having my days and nights back.

-I am getting really excited for the 4 day trip my mom, Ellie and I are taking to CA for my cousin's wedding. It has been a long time since my family has been together.

-It is just as easy to pack in 2 weeks as it is to pack in several months. When you only have a couple of weeks, you just pack it all and don't have to sort through what you can't live without for a month when you will have to pack it eventually anyway. It allows for no procrastination, and I seem to need that. (I speak from experience!)

-Ellie is the same age that Rachel was when we moved to WA, but thankfully showing no signs of crawling yet!

-I can't come up with anything clever, so this is the end of the post!

Stay tuned for possible house news.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Jonnie's Gone

How do I gauge life now? Can't count now how many days since transplant.. ..right now all I think of is that it is almost one day since Jonathan died. I just now asked Mike how long we will live before we stop feeling like someone is missing? How many days and weeks before our head stops asking "oh....where' s the baby?" or " oh my, who's not here?". How long till our heart starts beating without us reminding it that we must still keep breathing. What saves me is the sea of little faces that surround me looking at me to save them. Those faces say "Mommy, you're home" "Mommy stay here!" "Mommy, did you know Jonnie is dead?" "Mommy, when will he come home?"

Mike got to the hospital about 5:30 last night. The nurses had already unhooked Jonathan from many of the machines before Mike got there. Jonnie was only still on the vent for breathing and just the IVs for pain control. The nurses moved a couch for us to sit on next to Jonathan's crib. I put on some wonderfully soothing lullaby type CD scripture songs. When Mike came and we started cuddling together with Jonathan on the couch. Mercy Me's song "I Can Only Imagine" started playing and it was followed by song after song just speaking to the situation we found ourselves... .saying goodbye to Jonathan. We held and talked to him about till about 7:30 before we asked the nurses to remove the ventilator. We thought maybe he would stay alive several hours after the vent was removed but his heart only kept beating 15-20 minutes. We kept praying over him; telling him how much we loved him; assuring him he could go.....that we would be with him soon. It was all extremely peaceful and holy. The Lord's presence was vibrant and palatable. He was there, and then he was gone.

The nurses were fantastic! They took imprints of his feet and hands and a professional photographer came and took 100s of photos of us as as we spent his last hours together. Late last night my sister Lisa went with Mike with the death certificate to get the permit to transport Jonathan's body. Mike and I were exhausted. We needed to sleep before heading home. We were able to stay in the PICU room with Jonathan and we slept till 4:00 AM. Then the staff helped us wrap him up and put him in the car to bring him home. Once here we first went to the Funeral Home and spent some time there working out the details of all the funeral stuff. hard to drive off and leave my baby there!

We were walking in our front door to greet our children by 10:30 AM. Lots of tears but also much rejoicing to be together too. My sister Katie had been here with the kids and done an excellent job preparing and talking to them about Jonathan. I will forward the obit info to this group instead of repeating those details here.

I feel dead and empty and completely used up inside. But it's okay. It is just the place to be in order to see how intimately Yahweh knows our weakness' and how perfectly only He can meet our needs.

hoping to dream of holding Jonathan once again

Friday, April 4, 2008

Please Keep Praying!

This was Julee's post this morning:

Jonathan is dying. My sister Lisa and I just had a meeting with his doctors. It is possible to put him on a heart/lung bypass machine but it is pointless and won't save him. Jonathan now has a "do not resuscitate" order , and they have disconnected many of the machines he is on. He is still on the vent and pain meds. Mike is on his way here to Seattle. His Daddy and I will have time together with him to hold our baby and say goodbye. The vent will be removed when we are ready. I imagine we will be bringing him home tomorrow sometime. I wish we were in a place where the kids could come and say goodbye to him, but it just isn't a possibility for us. Please pray for the other kids and for their needs to be met. Pray for Mike and I as we go through this holy time of Jonathan leaving this world.

God is always good.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Will You Pray With Me?

This is a local family who have adopted a dozen children foreign and domestically. They have adopted teenagers, children with DS, CP, missing limbs, etc. and are now facing losing their 2 year old little boy who has Down's Syndrome and is in Seattle undergoing a bone marrow transplant. Please pray for God's loving arms to be wrapped around them and their family right now. I can't even imagine the magnitude of emotions they are going through as they wait and pray for their little one. Please pray for them!!

This was the mom's email that she sent out this morning:

Jonathan went downhill through the night. He is now being fully supported by the ventilator. They are just now deciding what of ventilator to switch him too. I believe he will be on an oscillator type vent. There is some talk about a lung bypass machine. They are trying the Ribovirun if they can get him stable enough on a vent. The nurses told me I should have Mike come up today. I called him and he left home at 8:30 AM.

" I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will given over to the Lord" 1 Samuel 1:27-28

"He is the Lord; let Him do what is good in His eyes" 1 Samuel 3:18

I trust the One who made us and loves us. Nothing can change that.