Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lots and Lots of Hawaii Pics...Enjoy!

We had an absolutely wonderful time in Hawaii last week, on the island of Kauai. I was spoiled in every way, time with Curtis, 80 degree weather in December, good friends (Brad and Debbie Welch, neighbors at our old house in West Valley) to share it with and lots of fun things to see and do. I really couldn't have wished for a better vacation.

This is the view from our patio, just a few steps from the ocean! There was a really nice bike path that ran along the shore for several miles. We rented a tandem bike and took turns with Brad and Debbie riding to a really nice beach up the rode.


We had lots of quality, romantic time together and no kids to chase thanks to my awesome mom, in-laws and neighbors. Thank you so much!


We spent the first day, Sunday, going to a craft fair, church, and playing shuffle board, a tradition we started on the last vacation we took with the Welches. We also planned our next trip together: Disneyland in 3 years with our kids. I really love traveling with Brad and Debbie. I think Curtis and I would have gotten a little bored all by ourselves.


We really enjoyed body boarding. I felt like a little kid going back for more and more.


Brad and Debbie had fun too. =)


Thanks to Debbie winning a catamaran boat ride, we got to see dolphins jumping right alongside our boat and we snorkeled and swam with sea turtles.


The boat was supposed to go up the Napali Coast to see the huge cliffs that rise from the ocean, but there were record breaking 50 foot waves.
The south side of the island was calm and beautiful.


We kayaked down the Wailua River and then hiked to Secret Falls.


I loved the beautiful smaller falls on the way.


And swimming in the large pool at the bottom of Secret Falls. It was refreshing. The falls were so powerful that it felt like I was in a hurricane when I was up close. It is not a good idea to stay under them long, rocks and logs can fall and cause major damage.


The hike through the jungle to get there and back was awesome. The temprature was perfect and the scenery was gorgeous.


We spent a morning listening to a timeshare presentation so that we could get $100 off our airplane ride. We did not buy anything.


Brad got to see a whale, but the rest of us missed it. It was not quite whale season yet.


The island was beautiful from the land, air and by sea. You can't go wrong on Kauai!


We hiked to Queen's Bath on Friday. It is a large pool formed by lava rock.


The hike down was once again gorgeous. I just love beautiful waterfalls.


This tree had a huge branch hanging out over the shore.
I loved climbing it and sitting with the waves rolling in below us.


We flew into O'ahu on Saturday and saw the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor. It was a somber place. I learned a lot about how it all happened those many years ago.



We drove around the whole island, saw the Pineapple Plantation, beautiful scenery, lots of hot surfers and the Laie Temple. Honolulu was too big and confusing for us. We prefer the laid back, small town feel of Kauai.


We got dinner at a small hole in the wall restaurant where they piled boxes in the dining area, couldn't figure that one out, but the food was cheap.


We were welcomed back by SNOW!



I am so grateful that we got such a good deal on everything, especially the condo. I am grateful that I was able to lose a lot of weight and feel a little more comfortable in a swimsuit, only 2 pounds short of my 60 pound goal, for which the reward was Hawaii. I am so grateful that I had plenty of energy and am feeling practically normal. I am grateful for the quality time I got to spend with Curtis and that Brad and Debbie were able to come with us. I am grateful that my kids did so well while we were gone and for those who cared for them.
I am so lucky! =)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Curtis's Big Reveal!

Curtis has been working tirelessly on a new website. He had this great idea several months ago, building a site where people can make their own matching game using photos and videos and then they can share it with friends and family. He launched it today and it turned out great.
You can build your own matching game for free! You can also have it professionally printed or pay for the pdf to print it yourself. You can become a fan on facebook or follow on twitter.
Go check it out!
www.MatchTheMemory.com

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Audrey is Reading!

The other day I got out a beginning reader and went through the lessons with Audrey. She caught on so fast, I was surprised how well she read without much coaching. I asked her if they had been teaching her how to read in preschool and she said no! I guess she is a lot like her dad. He was reading fluently before he started school and skipped kindergarten because of it.

video

This morning she asked me, "Can I say heck or hell?" She couldn't remember which was ok. Curtis said, "You shouldn't say either." Audrey responded, "You mean I shouldn't say either one!" We laughed because a four year old was trying to correct our grammar.

Audrey wanted some water in church today and instead of asking nicely she whined, "Wa-wa!" (which is what Nathan used to say for water.) I told her to talk like a four year old, so she said, "Agua!" She has picked up on a lot of Spanish words and uses them often, sometimes she even signs and says the word in Spanish. I guess English is just too simple for her.

Yesterday my mom was talking about the special protocol for an MRI that my sister Alaura and I will be getting next week. It is a new test to look specifically at the veins, particularly the ones that drain the brain. The insurance company can only recognize it as an MRA, which looks at the arteries, not the veins. Audrey piped in, "That's because they don't know what an MRV is!" Mom, Alaura and I laughed so hard. It is amazing what kids hear and understand.

Alaura did a language analysis on Audrey a couple of weeks ago and concluded that Audrey speaks at the level of a seven year old. She amazes us everyday with how smart she is and the things she comprehends. I think kindergarten might be a little boring for her, but she will still love it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Yet another blog...

So, I really want to keep track of, and share, all the things I am learning about ways to help MS and to spare all of you who are not interested, I have created a new blog. I hope to be adding to it whenever I come across things that I find interesting and helpful and probably updates on my progress and feelings. You are welcome to visit it or follow it. Let me know if you would rather be on an email list and I'll add you to it.
Thank you all for your comments, support and helpful suggestions! =)

www.mymsnotes.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Compost Box

I plan on growing an organic garden next year and because I have so many produce scraps, I decided to make a compost box so I can add good stuff to this future garden.

After lots of thinking I came up with my own design. It was really easy and done in about 30 minutes from start to finish.

Here is what I used:
10 - 8 foot 2" by 2"s
4 - 3/8" by 3' rebar
1/2" drill bit
Hammer

What I did:
I had Home Depot cut the 2 by 2s in half, then at home I drilled a 1/2" hole about 1/2" from each end.
In the place I wanted the compost box I started stacking the boards onto the rebar, first the top and bottom and then the two sides, again and again until they were all used.
Then I pounded the rebar into the ground.
Voila! All done! How easy was that!

The kids loved helping me, next spring I will probably be ready to build another so I can rotate them.

As Nathan Would Say: Hawoweeen!


We carved our $17 pumpkin on Monday and all of us enjoyed the freshly baked pumpkin seeds.





Curtis said that Audrey looked like Jon Bonet Ramsey with her makeup on. I don't know if that was a good or bad thing.



Nathan was pretty good at sitting still for his makeup, but was glad when it was done.


Audrey says she was a butterfly (I think she looked more like a fairy).
Nathan was a bear, we never got him to growl while in the costume though.


What a cutie!


After a long day filled with sticky candy and chili from the ward party, they really needed a bath.


All clean for Sunday! I just wanted to show off our little professor with his corduroy, elbow patched jacket.


Audrey got her picture taken too.


We had a fun Halloween. I am setting aside a whole bucket of candy to use as stocking stuffers. No need to go spend more money on something we have plenty of!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Before and After, So Far

So a lot of you have been asking for before and after pics. Honestly, I don't have a great before picture, but this one of me playing the Wii in April is ok.




And here I am about 6 months later and 50 lbs lighter.


I love being smaller and healthier. I know I can still lose another 20 to 30 pounds, but it will come. Didn't Audrey do a good job taking pictures of me?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The $17 Pumpkin


A couple of weeks ago Audrey explained to me that pumpkins grow in a field called a pumpkin patch and we can go there and pick some! I thought that sounded really fun and we decided to go as a family and pick out our own pumpkin. I looked online and Hee Haw Farms said you could pick your own pumpkin in their field for 30 cents a pound.

When we arrived they explained that you have to pay for the farm yard entry and then you can pick and pay for a pumpkin. At $5 each (Nathan was free) we decided to go have some fun.





The kids loved the animal train, Curtis and I even got to ride on it!

The corn pit was really fun, too.

This rabbit was the sweetest rabbit I have aver had the pleasure of holding!


Nathan can't get enough of driving!

Hayride!

Pony ride!

The goats reminded me of our family's little farm in Houghton.
I can't seem to convince Curtis that having one ourselves would be fun though. =)

We had a really fun day and got one really expensive pumpkin. I can't wait to toast some pumpkin seeds.

Oh My Little Nathan...

He is growing up too fast! Two weeks ago he figured out how to climb out of the crib, but of course couldn't climb back in, so we switched him to a toddler bed. He loves it as exclaims, "Big boy bed!" when we put him down. I was hoping because he can get back in on his own that he would choose to take naps there, but instead he cries at the door till he falls asleep and wakes up with carpet impressions on his face, but the boy still needs a nap each day, so I'll take what I can get.

He also is binky free! He kept chewing right through them. I would give him a new one and the next day it was destroyed. I was scared to take binkies away completely, I didn't know how he would react, but he did great, no crying or complaining. I think having the exciting new big boy bed helped.

He is talking so much now too! The other day he was sitting quietly reading a book and Curtis and I heard him say, "Three, two, one, BLAST OFF!" He also loves saying "I love you!" He is such a sweetie.

He still loves my green smoothies (though they are a rich red most of the time now because of the beets I have been putting in). He also loves my green water (dehydrated greens in a water bottle). Audrey still won't taste either one.

I love my little guy! He is so much fun.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Today...

Today was a pretty good day.
It started off with me being surprised by Obama's Nobel Peace Prize and
unimpressed by the moon "bombing".
We brought Audrey to the school bus and chatted with neighbors.
I did the dishes and cleared off the computer desk (both long over due).
I answered emails and read and posted on the MScured yahoo group while Nathan watched a little bit of Barbie and a little bit of Pooh (he can't ever make up his mind).
Nathan and I got Audrey from the bus stop who told us about a train that said, "I think I can, I think I can!"
After lunch, I played in the perfect fall weather in the backyard, jumping, resting, reading and tickling on the trampoline.
I planned out the size I want to build my compost boxes and figured out how to open the chicken coop roof. Anyone know of any good books on raising chickens in your backyard? I have a lot to learn about gardening too.
I made raw fudge and Nathan and I dipped flax crackers in it, Audrey dipped apples in it, before putting it in the fridge to harden.
I got two orders from my BuzzAboutBaby website.
We went on a bike ride and I decided I really do want a nicer bike, at least a nicer, wider seat.
We played at the park. I got to pretend I was a princess, find a buried treasure and create pictures with bark.
It is only 5:00 and I still get to make dinner, watch The Office Wedding and snuggle with my hubby.
I am so blessed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ta-Da!

So I have been in a quandary of sorts recently. Because of my recent weight loss (45 lbs so far!), I no longer have any pants that fit. I am really tired of constantly pulling up my pants, but here's my dilemma: I am still losing weight and I want to be pregnant again soon, so I will be shrinking or growing. I just can't seem to justify buying a pair of pants that may only last a couple of months.

Last night I had an idea. I noticed that there were no stitches between the "border stitches" of the waistband on my pants, a perfect place to string some elastic through. The result:

An elastic waist band that will grow or shrink with me!
I know it's kind of sad that I am resorting to elastic, but hey, they now fit, without falling off, they didn't cost me anything and you can't even tell with my shirt down. I think I'm going to do this to some more of my pants!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Kettle Corn Recipe

(We were obviously painting on the day this picture was taken.)

I mentioned my new favorite treat, Faux Kettle Corn, on my Slenderization Status blog and have been asked for the recipe, I thought I would post it here. My kids love it too!

3 batches of air-pop popcorn or 2 batches of stir crazy popcorn: Pour into paper grocery bag or large mixing bowl

Blend together (in a blender, mixing by hand doesn't work as well, I've tried):
1/3 cup agave (I suppose honey would work, but might have a stronger flavor)
1/3 cup coconut oil (if solid, place in container in a sink of hot water until it is a liquid)

Pour this mixture gradually over the popcorn and mix, then gradually sprinkle on:
1-2 tsp. of sea salt (to taste)
Shake or stir well.

Enjoy!

Clarifications

From a recent experience I had, I realized that I may be slightly misunderstood, so I want to clarify a few things, and the more I read and learn, the more my opinions change, so next month all might be different, but right now these are the things I want to comment on:

1) I am under the care of a medical doctor, a neurologist, and I am doing the things he tells me to do. I feel it is important to track my condition and have medical guidance in what I do.
At my last appointment he said, "What you are doing is working, keep it up!"

2) The neurologist is the one who told me not to take the drugs for MS, for the sake of my unborn, or in my case, un-conceived baby. This opened the door for me to look at more. No one could make me sit on may hands with my fingers crossed, hoping I would be ok while I waited. I have learned so much now and am doing so much that I feel if I am doing well and my yearly MRI's come back with no new lesions then I feel no need to start the $1000/mo. injections that even my neuro calls toxic, but they are not out of the question.

3) I feel strongly that anyone in any condition should do their own research and work together with their doctor to incorporate what they found. I mentioned vitamin D to my neuro and he said, "Yes! I just read a study on how high doses of vitamin D have reduced occurrences in MS. But because the ranges were so varied, 4,000IU to 20,000IU, I set it aside." Wow! Here is a simple way to help people with MS and because he didn't really understand it he set it aside. He was more than happy to assist me in using this therapy though, because I brought it up.

4) I do not eat completely raw. I experimented with this and I feel healthier because of it, but because I didn't like many of the recipes I felt there were holes in my diet. I love cooked broccoli, but not raw, so I cook it and enjoy it. Mostly I am eating whole foods, with as little additives as possible and avoiding foods I feel I am sensitive to (gluten and dairy are the two main ones).

5) Diet is not the only thing I am doing. I take several supplements that double-blind, medical studies have shown to help (omega-3 oils, vitamin D, specific antioxidants), and I am seeing a wellness doctor who is helping me with emotional freedom techniques (which I feel got me through my miscarriage), heavy metal detox and immune support supplements. Curtis doesn't believe in a lot of the alternative stuff Dr. Babcock uses, but he cannot deny the results. I feel like a new person compared to just a couple of months ago and Curtis can attest to this.

6) The doctor clarified, at my last appointment, that I have not actually been diagnosed with MS yet. I have to have a second episode for that definite diagnosis. Well, I'm not wait around for that. I am doing everything I can to never have another. But only time will tell. He said on average episodes happen every 18 months. It will be years before anyone who has MS knows if what they are doing really works.

I know I'm babbling on, sorry, one more.

7) This goes along with #3. Medications alone with not stop MS. The meds only slow it (if they do anything at all for some, besides cause horrible side affects). I met a woman at a park with two young children the same ages as mine. She was using a cane and struggling to maneuver over the wood chips and failing to keep up with her kids (I caught one from falling off the play structure for her, she just couldn't be there with them). I was pretty sure she had MS and decided to talk with her. She said she had been on Copaxone for 2 years and it has worked great for her. She only recently started using a cane. In my mind, an episode once in 2 years isn't far from the average 18 months without meds. I would not be satisfied with a therapy that after only two years left me using a cane, but surprisingly she was. I asked her if she had tried any alternative therapies, she had honestly never even heard of them.
On a more personal note, I give my aunt Wendy as an example. She did all her doctor said, used Avonex for years and as we speak hardly has the strength the lift a fork to her mouth. This is someone I love, who lived with us and close to us, who came to Sunday dinner when she could. I guess my point is THERE HAS TO BE MORE, more that I can do.

I hope to never turn down a chance to learn and grow. I love all your support and advise.

"Moppies"

I bought funny microfiber mopping slippers the other day.
I thought it would make mopping my floor easier and more fun.
They worked pretty well, but need straps on the back to hold my foot in while I scrub.
The kids enjoyed it a lot! Audrey was good enough at it to spray the solution on the floor and shuffle over to mop it up. She came up with the name "moppies". She's so creative, she makes up a lot of words, just like her mommy. =)
Nathan couldn't figure out how to spray on the floor, just at himself, so I did it for him and he shuffled on over too. It was really cute to watch.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More of the Kids...

Pic at Dino Museum ($2 Tuesdays in August)


I know I have been a little "selfish" with my blogging, talking mostly about me and the dietary changes I have been making, so I need to post about my cute kids.

Audrey got into the preschool they have at the elementary school. She gets to ride the bus every day and loves it! Her friend Colton goes with her and if he is not on the bus she will not get on and instead cry for him. I guess she is a little scared to do it alone.

Nathan is talking more. He can repeat a lot of the things we say and even says I love you, but more like: I wuh woo! Everything he says is so sing songy. It is really cute. If you tell him to do something he'll say Why? and then after you tell him he will say Oh!. Whenever he finds a headband or necklace laying around, he puts it on and says, "Tute!" (cute) or "Diddy!" (pretty). We all get a kick out of that.

I have been feeling great. My energy has increased, I am thinking clearer, finishing projects and I can actually think ahead to prepare a tasty dehydrator snack. I am working on cinnamon almonds right now. Raw foods can taste good! Speaking of tasting good, I am still loving my green smoothies and am starting to experiment with them more. Today I put in a cucumber, 2 celery stalks, spinach, a banana and a handful of green grapes. Mmmm! If you don't believe me come on over and I'll make you one! =) It is exciting to be feeling so good.