we are blowing through our food budget at an alarming rate as we are purchasing and preparing organic protein (meat), veggies and some fruits for every meal. that adds up *quickly especially when not having the usual other staples like rice, rice pasta, etc.

last week i was determined to figure out a way to use quinoa to add substance to our meals, in a way that was palatable for the boys especially (i was unsuccessful in trying to incorporate it as a rice “substitute” – josiah totally rejects the texture).

i created this turkey quinoa meatloaf and am so grateful because it’s quickly become a favorite … filling up bellies (josiah’s especially) with nourishing delicious food, which makes me a happy mama.

turkey quinoa meatloaf:

in a large bowl, combine:

equal parts cooked quinoa (i cooked in homemade chicken stock) and thawed organic ground turkey. i had one pound of ground turkey)

a generous pour of olive oil (likely a few tablespoons)

generous shakes of real salt (1 – 2 tsp plus)

generous shakes of garlic powder

chopped fresh oregano & basil (1 tsp of each once chopped finely)

1 tsp of balsamic vinegar

beef gelatin (powder form – about 1 tbsp dissolved in to a cup of water and allowed to sit on the counter until it congeals – added about half this mixture to the bowl)

mix thoroughly together and place in meatloaf dish. cook at 400* for 1 hour.

there is no way this can look good in a picture! haa. but i wanted a visual for my own recollection.

there is no way this can look good in a picture! haa. but i wanted a visual for my own recollection.

healing update

September 18, 2015

we met with josiah’s wonderful doctor yesterday. it’s been 5 weeks today since we got the (devastating world-shaking) report on his food reactions.

i left the appointment feeling encouraged! first, she said a few times how great josiah looked – how his appearance  and disposition was so much less “inflamed”, more settled, less reactive and heightened (my words, the gist). we’ve heard that from my family who sees him regularly, too.

it’s beyond obvious that we have removed foods that were unquestionably stressing his system, inflaming his body, triggering reactions and inflamation and ill-health. and to know that he IS being healed, that he IS responding and moving toward healing … well, there’s pretty much nothing better in the world.

that being said, we’ve got a ways to go. itching at night (and the accompanying sleeplessness) remain intense. in fact, the night before our appointment yesterday, he had been awake from 1:30 – 5:30 am .. itching, then hungry, then having his also-awake brother messing with him, then itching some more. the impact of that profound loss of crucial sleep is real and we are desperate for that to improve.

one of the things i absolutely appreciate about our doctor is her complementary approach: not all A or all B but she looks at the benefits and holistic picture. in our case, she believes eczema is an auto-immune disease and that there are times that the use of steroids are prudent in the long term healing picture. i shared with her that in the past, i think the dissonance i had with applying the steroid ointments (and seeing quick awesome short-lived results) had been because it has felt like a bandaid approach – fix the outside while continuing to subject him to that which is *creating the problem. it is so freeing right now to *know that we are actively and unwaveringly feeding him only that which we believe is healing and so the topical application for a very short burst of time will be a complementary action … a both/and. that resonates.

another light bulb moment came as we talked through his current diet. she repeatedly validated that this is intense and difficult AND that it is short term. she noted that his current diet is a “deficient diet” but i understand that we are not, in this short season, attempting to ensure he has this perfect well-rounded diet but instead aiming to *eliminate foods that are hurting him. that is not a forever strategy but one that is clearly moving him toward healing. and like she said, in many stages of parenting, the one you are currently in feels like how it’s always been and will always be and yet – we know that stages change. this one shall too.

we will continue on our current supplement protocol, continue to feed him from our restricted list, and look at some other things (stool sample to asses gut flora, parasites etc; do more to allergy-proof his room, etc).

as we left, she weighed and measured him and our sweet josiah is in the 75th percentile for weight (40.5 lbs) and the 90th percentile for height (44 inches)!  he is such a gift and delight … this amazing boy. my heart could burst!

giving love to papa last week

giving love to papa last week

with cousin hayden last week ;)

with cousin hayden last week ;)

words from grandma today

September 15, 2015

oh, my heart is so full.

i just hung up with the phone with my grandma, braving to return her call even as the boys run amok, hoping for a few quiet moments.

we talked through all that is happening lately; she wants to know how everyone is doing, and we process and sort through recent events like maddie’s return to school, caleb potty training, josiah’s healing, papa’s health, etc.

we talk through how hubby and i are approaching some parenting processes, and she tells me how blessed i am to have a hubby like mike. and then, that he is blessed to have me.

she then says, “you are such a beautiful couple.” repeated a few times, with emphasis. and more … that we are perhaps the most beautiful, wonderful couple that they know; that our marriage is certainly the envy of some, and that GOD has certainly blessed us.

my heart nearly exploded and tears filled my eyes.

how acquainted i am with how imperfect we are; how often i stumble in trying to love well, how often we miss the mark in doing this marriage thing really well.

and yet, grace. and as we like to say, ‘team green!’ commitment for life.

these words of encouragement from my most precious esteemed grandmother could not mean any more.

{and what a great reminder as i head in to this day, to press in to loving and supporting my gift of a hubby even more than ever. thanks, grandma}.

science fun 9-15

“The gift & joy of teaching these precious babes … leading them to explore & uncover & discover = pure joy for this mama!!
Today, does it sink or float??:)
A super fun simple experiment … gather objects from around the house, pour a bowl of water and one at a time, hypothesize if each object will float or sink. Place sinkers on one side of bowl and floaters on another … count each … which side has more?:)”

i put the above photo and caption on facebook the other day … later that day, my hubby shared the photo on his facebook page and added the following comment:

“My boys do not go to school. At ages 2 and 4 they wakeup at school and are immersed in a wonderland environment of exploration, adventure and learning. They sleep, eat and live at school because it is their home, their school, their playground and their base from which they launch into learning about their community, society and universe. Every day is a new adventure in learning. Their mom is their guide, teacher, chef, referee, nurse, companion, authority, oracle and sage. She’s my wife, cheerleader and angel. Someday we will send these boys off to a setting with trusted teachers who will augment their solid foundation of learning. But I don’t see that happening for a while, perhaps a decade.”

his words blessed, encouraged and refreshed me. i am so thankful for the gift of this life: these precious incredible loves that i get to mother and love and raise and the incredible partner that is my husband. thankful.

His timing, not mine

August 29, 2015

just yesterday, josiah looked up at me and spontaneously said, “mama, i love our new minivan!”  and a couple minutes later, “mama, i love our home.”

i smiled and agreed and told him how thankful we are that God has given us this home, and our van.

and i remembered again … how long the waiting felt. 

how i battled against coveting a friend’s home, or their minivan.

how all the voices around us and our culture screamed a message that said,  “you *have* to get a bigger house! after all, your hubby works from home, you are having more babies, it is time to move! and it is absolutely time for a bigger vehicle – have you started shopping!?”

truly, we did outgrow our car. then, the a/c died in it and it needed other repairs and during a hot smoky summer season when finances were super tight and driving anywhere in a hot semi-functional car became overwhelming, our dear friends showed up and gave us theirs. an old, well-worn, unattractive yet *totally* functional car WITH A/C. total grace.

and we drove that gift for a year and daily felt the gratitude of the gift – the a/c! the strong engine! GOD humbled my heart as i got over the appearance. funny, because i never considered myself a car person and certainly didn’t feel attached to the image of any vehicle. and yet, circumstances orchestrated by God’s grace revealed that indeed, i was attached to STUFF. it does define us in ways we don’t realize. it took a year of grace to really get the deep gratitude for FUNCTION, not appearance in any way.

and we waited … for the time that GOD would provide for us to buy something, not move forward with the protocol of our culture that says to charge and become indebted and accumulate, regardless of one’s capacity to actually pay. we determined to let provision inform our timing, not our wants and desires.

the time did come last month and it’s hard to capture how gratifying it felt to find just the perfect used minivan … and how every detail is something we still squeal with delight over! we waited, we chose gratitude in the waiting, and now we look back and see how good His timing is – always.

we were stretched and humbled and grown and shaped during the waiting.

and i know more than ever that the growing during the waiting is so much more valuable and lasting than any “thing” we set our hopes on.

He is good! even when circumstances look bleak, when we can’t see light at the end of the tunnel … seek Him, trust Him and rest in His love.  we are known and loved. 

healing josiah

August 23, 2015

it’s been 9 days since we learned the list of foods that our josiah could safely eat. the list is stunningly short and at times panic-inducing for this mama. especially for those first few days, as my hubby felt relief and optimism (finally, answers! clarity!) and i could connect intellectually with those reactions, my emotions were sunk with overwhelm. what would i feed my family??

i’ve come to realize (duh, perhaps) that this preparation of foods is so much  more than the rote process for this mama – it is LOVE, and giving it and blessing by the foods i prepare for them each day. 

i like them to be happy, these people of mine.

so, back to the list. when we arrived at our doctor appointment last friday, she so sweetly invited us to sit down and brace ourselves, saying that josiah’s results were the most severe and worst she’s seen in 15 years with just one exception.  gulp. ok.  we reviewed the results, asked a ton of questions, and proceeded to create a “YES” list that he could eat.

yes list

the excellent news is that he can eat any meats, which is great as we are a big meat-eating family. but he can’t have rice and that is a staple for nearly every meal in our home. he reacted profoundly to all grains, legumes and nuts with the exception of pecans … so we have quinoa, millet and amaranth to work with. another relief was that blueberries are acceptable as they are his favorite fruit – phew!

i dove in and for days, barely looked up. i told my family on our drive home from the doctor that my priority, my focus, my total obsession (let’s be honest) over the coming weeks would be cooking and experimenting and researching foods. and that’s proven true. i’ve done multiple experiments, mostly with quinoa and millet (whole, flours, in tortilllas, creamy, pureed … and on and on). the results for those have been dismal.

i was super hopeful with this beef pot pie the other night …

pot pie fail

but oh my gosh, the quinoa millet crust had that bitter taste that has proven inescapable with those two when i use them in flour form. UGH.

there was a no good nasty bad day here last week between hubby and i … and how i hate arguing. but emotions were raw and this whole endeavor brings so much to the surface and we are so different and our processes are different. and i really need words of affirmation and i’ve married a logical process guy who doesn’t always slow down to acknowledge and build up my feelings that are crashing all around. ugh. but thankfully, GOD gave me grace and insight and revealed again the stinking pride in my spirit that keeps rearing it’s ugly head. i am so thankful to have a partner on this journey who is walking every step with me, present in every appointment, passionate and committed and supportive … leading us well.

so we came up with a process to simplify my life and this entire undertaking: i do meal experimentation mostly at lunch. for dinner, i stick with the meals that are so far tried and true. my list of things to try grows daily and some days i can’t tackle as much. but i am thankful that things are getting easier and that we are increasingly able to create and serve the foods that nourish.

i am a list girl. these are my pages of notes, ideas, foods to try.

i am a list girl. these are my pages of notes, ideas, foods to try.

josiah (and the rest of us) have loved a pot roast creation i’ve made; sauteed chicken breasts made the list; whole roast seasoned chicken; hamburger patties. the challenge remains the carb side – again, rice was a staple always. we’ve just never eaten potatoes very much and this week i’ve tried so many potato options: baked fries (both regular and sweet potato), mashed, baked … the only semi success was shredded fried hash brown potatoes. so. much work to do there. quinoa has been an ok side with our meat but isn’t totally loved.

here is the best part of all of this,and really the headline to this whole post: josiah is healing. we realized yesterday that he’s had only 1 major sneezing/sniffling burst total vs the *several he was having each DAY before changing his diet. his system just seems more relaxed. he is settling. he continues to have profound itchy spots (mostly feet and knees) but his skin overall is less irritated and red.

he is taking his daily supplements, and needing benadryl far less. he continues to wake at night but it’s always due to being hungry so we feed him of course … can’t stand my babies being hungry. we are so focused on filling his belly. meals. snacks. before bed. and still, he wakes at night. but he hasn’t woken with consuming itches at night so that’s an improvement.

i anticipate a long process of healing; of his allergic-to-foods picture changing as the health of his gut and digestion improves. this isn’t a forever “diagnosis”, this list … just a tool to start the journey.

and we are so thankful.

big boys room

August 8, 2015

we finally did it: moved both boys in to their own big beds, in josiah’s room.

this move, or *some* move, has been months in the making. i’ve known we needed to do something, but i’ve been ambivalent … torn.

Switching up the status quo, even one that isn’t working, takes some inertia and energy, huh? lol. and then there’s that bigger piece, that i think was laying quietly beneath it all: i haven’t been totally ready to move past this season and move in to one where my boys are really just big BOYS. no more baby. no more cuddling for “nursing night night” with “baby” caleb. we have, by the way, done that nearly every night of his entire life and it’s been beyond sweet. words really can’t capture the heart-filing magic and sweetness of cuddling beside my squishy boy, nursing him as i comb my fingers through his hair, breathe in his yumminess and exhale the craziness of the day.

so, bedroom-switching. caleb’s technically been in our closet (his crib) although most nights is in bed with us. and josiah has been in his crib – still! – because … it’s worked. he has loved it, been comfortable and it’s a familiar cozy nest for him. so switching that up didn’t feel as urgent. i went back and forth about what to do – order a big bed for them to share? twin beds? i went through various scenarios of danger in having them alone in a room because they are absolutely still line-of-sight boys and cannot be unsupervised while playing because they ALWAYS hurt each other, scream, taunt, threaten, compete.

last month when i was gone overnight with girlfriends, hubby did some shopping online and ordered toddler beds to be delivered. i LOVE that he did it – just made the decision and did it.  i may not have ordered small toddler beds but it’s FINE and not permanent but a great transition size. he got lightening mcqueen for caleb and spiderman for josiah … great choices … plus bedding.

the beds arrived this past week and i did all the prep work to get rooms rearranged, clothing sorted and combined in one smaller dresser, bedding cleaned, new mattress purchased, etc. hubby got beds assembled late the night before last so we waited til last night. and last night was the first presidential debate so we got another late start.

i had forgotten in my planning that one major step in moving things around was that the crib needed to be taken apart and removed. hubby worked on that upstairs and i had some tears with him as i shared the emotional piece of all this change on my heart. (for him, it’s very matter of fact :-)). no more crib after over 4 years of a baby being in there; no more changing table dresser to lay and change babes (and big boys) on … the crib bumper and wall decor that matched, coming down. being replaced by crazy cartoon super heroes, lol.


once the beds were made and the room all ready and cute, maddie excitedly had the boys come upstairs to take a look. caleb was ecstatic! giddy! jumping in his bed, jumping out, exclaiming, hyper. josiah had a completely different reaction: he stood back, had a slow knowing smile with me, and wanted me to hold him. so we cuddled in the rocking chair and talked about this exciting change. but he didn’t want to lay in his bed. and it wasn’t quite bedtime so both boys went downstairs to finish their cartoon before bed.

i wanted to have a normal nighttime routine so we did the 2 things as usual: jammies & teeth. then hubby sat in the rocking chair in their room and read stories as he does every night. i could see as he read that josiah was super tired, on the verge of falling asleep, and was also very itchy. when those 2 things are in play at bedtime, i often rock him to sleep to soothe him and allow him to peacefully fall asleep (vs laying down itching). i rocked him but caleb was still very hyper and super excited about his bed. he was loud and had to have daddy remind him of rules and sit beside him, to quiet and rub his back. but it wasn’t working. he was keeping josiah awake so hubby took him downstairs. josiah fell asleep in my arms but not before caleb stomped back upstairs, making noise, demanding to be rocked, and eventually waking josiah. GRR.

eventually – like, a good hour more – i had rocked both boys to sleep and lay them in their beds. they were so delicious and precious sleeping soundly in their big boy beds. i came downstairs and collapsed on the couch with hubby. bone tired.

the rest of the story is funny: both boys ended up in our bed during the night but we have no idea how exactly. maddie says she heard josiah wake and saw him walking downstairs. but no one saw or heard caleb until i woke at one point and he was in bed beside us. i had expected to be wide awake, laying in bed in hypervigilant expectation of hearing them wake. i guess i was tired. :)

so we are easing in to this, lol. i had bought prizes and unabashedly bribed the boys that whoever stayed in their big bed all night until the blue sky morning, would get to pick a prize.

didn’t happen. maybe tonight? *dreaming*.

it does feel really good to be moving in the right direction. i am SO READY to have my room and bed back with just me and my man! even if they end up there by morning, having designated spaces for boys to sleep separate and away from us feels like a very good exhale.





totally sneakily took this pic of caleb after he'd fallen asleep

totally sneakily took this pic of caleb after he’d fallen asleep


and josiah :) phew that the flash didn't wake him up, lol

and josiah :) phew that the flash didn’t wake him up, lol


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