Saturday, April 21, 2012


I admit, I'm a complete Do-It-Yourself kinda freak. I LOVE any project that I get to blast my personality and hard work into. Its my instant gratification, if you will. I'm also an avid Pinterest-er...its scary. (Thanks a lot Steph for getting me hooked on that) This last Christmas I made the grandparents window frame picture...frames? Yeah I'm not sure how you say classify it, but it was definitely an idea inspired by Pinterest and infused with Robynitis...I can say that I learned how to successfully 'glaze' a window pane with putty (now that was an interesting concept). I'm blessed with Rob's grandma who lives very close and she's also an avid DIYer. She's like a walking home project expert. So when I got the window picture frame idea and began searching (A LOT OF SEARCHING) I was able to glean great advise from her. It was an awesome project and I thought I'd share it with you on here, just in case you want to give it a shot!
Okay so first...gotta find a window. I love the old windows that I remember being in the house my Granny lived in in Washington state. Kinda old farm house with multiple panes. I went to flea markets and antique may find that due to the current rise in DIY projects and specifically for windows like I was looking for, prices have gone up. Its a tad annoying since it's OLD and usually has crap on it. But in my world, crap adds character...see? Perspective. LOL

I was able to find several at an antique store in downtown Greeley and chose 2. Both needed extensive glaze work. Fortunately, Sue was experienced in glazing and got me started. I wanted to keep the character of being old there, but I wanted the glass to be completely secure.

You can find glazing putty for window panes at Home Depot (and I'm sure Lowe's or any home store) for less than $5. And then you will probably want to snag some project gloves since the stuff is a bit messy. My idea was to create a frame of pictures that would be interchangeable from year to year.

If you look closely you can see the clear picture sleeves

I also wanted the pictures to be securely set behind the glass...why? I have little hands that really cannot keep to themselves, so behind glass was much safer that way I'd only be potentially cleaning finger prints instead of replacing pictures consistantly. But I didn't want whatever would hold the pictures in to be a eye-sore when displayed. I found out that at Michael's they have scrapbooking picture sleeves that are plastic and CLEAR! PERFECT! So I used those and glass glue (also found at Michael's) and was able to apply a small bit to the end of a toothpick and touch the sleeve and stick it on there. The easiest way to make sure I got the sizes right was putting the sleeves on the actual pictures and laying them down in the area with the glue ON and removing the picture as soon as most of the glue had set, just in case the glue managed to get out from behind the sleeve itself and damage the picture.

After I had placed all the pictures where I wanted them I had each child dip their hands in glass paint and apply it to the window under their designated pictures. This way their ages were 'frozen' in time, but their current pictures could be replaced with new ones as they grow. Our newest addition will have to do his foot since he doesn't understand holding still. :) Again, I loved this idea with the pictures because it was nostalgic and personal. It took my time and intentional effort...making the gifts I gave personal to me.

It wasn't all that hard, just super time intensive. I think each window took me at least 11 hours. On each one I also added twine around the edges because I wanted the 'barn' or 'older' look.
I chose a horizontal display since I knew that it'd fit better for the recipients

I took a wire brush and ran it over the outside to 'weather' the paint that was already on it and then took a very dull beige and took a few swipes over the exterior to add more depth and more 'weather' to it...if that makes sense. Highly recommend them. Anyway here are the pictures as my project unfolded!

here is the vertical display...although the picture I took is a bit awkward

Happy DIY-ing!!!

Gluten Free Fruit Pizza

Since I've been gluten free for 3 1/2 years I have had a lot of practice trying to find things that I like. Admittedly, I can be pretty picky (NOT all the time, contrary to popular opinion) and I'm leery of trying new foods...SO in light of all that I will share with you all some of my favorite recipes.

Recently I got a new cookbook, Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley and Marcia Shultz Dahlstrom from my brother. IT ROCKS MY WORLD.

Fruit Pizza

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
3 cups gluten free all purpose flour (I use Arrowhead Mills)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup carbonated water
1 tsp vanilla
1 8-ounce tub cream cheese
6 cups fruit pieces -strawberries, kiwi, mango, blueberries, raspberries, seedless grapes.

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Grease  large baking sheets and set aside. In a large bowl stir together sugar and butter until well mixed. Add egg and mix well.
2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, stirring until commbined. Add carbonated water and vanilla and mix just until blended. Divide dough into 3 portions.
4. Place dough portions on baking sheets. Using your fingers, press and shape each dough portion into a circle about 9 inches in diameter. Build up edge of each dough circle.
5. Using a fork, make holes in the bottom of each dough circle. Bake about 15 minutes or until edges of crusts begin  to brown. Cool on baking sheets.
6. Spread cream cheese on top of the cooled crusts and arrange fruit.

Those are the book's directions. I will tell you that I made one big one and one small one. I've just used the cream cheese and while it was wasn't as good as I wanted...SO I added a tsp of vanilla to the cream cheese and 2 tbsp of brown sugar to the cream cheese and instead of using an 8oz tub I used 2 bricks of regular cream cheese. I warmed it up and made it as smooth as I could before I spread it on the cooled crust. Our family thought it was better that way and added yumminess. BE SURE TO POKE HOLES IN THE CRUST BEFORE YOU BAKE IT...otherwise its BAD. Its also going to feel sorta limp while you are shaping it on your sheets. I'm used to shaping pizza dough so I guess I thought it'd feel like that and it wasn't at all...made me nervous. LOL

Eh Gluten...who needs it!?

Well I certainly am one person who does NOT need gluten. It does very yucky things to my body...panic attacks, IBS (EW), and a myriad of other side effects that now that I didn't even know until I was OFF gluten.

A little background, I've never been 'allergic' to many things. I HATE fish, so I could always pretend that I am allergic so I don't have to eat it...but in all honesty I'm not 'allergic' to gluten either...just severely intolerant. Yes, there is a difference, although after a lot of reading, I've learned that if you don't attend to your intolerance it can become Celiacs, which is the actual allergy. If I accidentally eat gluten I know right away. I hate to be graphic, but before I even knew what gluten-free was, I was living the part of Dumb&Dumber when Harry is responding to the overload of X-Lax in his system...and add in that I'm holding the bucket and vomiting all at the same time when ever I ate basically anything. Oh was ugly. Gluten was also effecting my hormones...causing a whole different level of horror in my body. Bloated constantly and a forever period, jeepers...I don't know how I was still alive!? LOL Ironically though I was not anemic, although by the amount and frequency I can't believe I wasn't. I also couldn't lose weight for the life of me. I was always moody and struggled with anger. I was a M.E.S.S.

In 2009 I went to see homeopathic doctor...and yes, she's an actual doctor. She did a few tests on me, but upon hearing all my ailments told me to go off of dairy, gluten, and processed sugar. Because of my IBS I rarely ate dairy anyway so that was already crossed off the list. I hadn't even heard of gluten nor did I know what that no white or wheat flour. No bread. No pasta. No fun. I thought, no big deal, I don't eat that much bread anyway. I had no idea how much bread or gluten that I ate until I couldn't eat it! ITS EVEN IN CANDY!? UGH...seriously. I went off it for 10 days and didn't notice anything necessarily I tried a little experiment and at one of the Pillsbury Crescent rolls. OH MY DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN. I hadn't been so sick and such a FREAK in a LONG TIME. I was so thankful that my hubby was home because I could not control my anger. It was so scary, I had no idea that a FOOD...A STUPID GRAIN could have so much control over my brain for crying out loud!? I was in and out of the bathroom ALL day and I have no idea how anyone could poop that much. It was HORRIBLE. I was a firm believer right after that day that I NEVER wanted to eat gluten EVER.AGAIN. However I learned some really valuable facts. Did you know that it actually takes your body 90-120 days to recycle all of your blood? Yep, and so if you go off of something, while you may see things change or results (like I did), you won't actually see the major results until all of your blood recycles and there isn't anymore gluten in your cells! This was amazing to me. Which is why, if you go 'off' something and are only off it for 3 or 4 weeks it won't make all that much difference or you try something for 3-4 weeks and see no results, this is why. You haven't given your body enough time because its still in your blood. Until its all out and your blood has recycled your body can't has to 'reboot' in a way. SO that became my new goal...go off gluten for 90 days because I WANTED to see the results of what it would do for my body.

(I want to say as a side note: going off gluten doesn't cure anything and I'm in no way saying that if you go off gluten you will be better or healed...I just know that it absolutely healed my body of the major issues that I was having. And it didn't actually cure everything in my body either. I still ended up having a hysterectomy 3 years after going off gluten. BUT I absolutely know that had I not gone off gluten I wouldn't be where I am now. Now that I know what it feels like to FEEL GOOD...I NEVER want to go back. Even when I break down and eat a few cinnamon twists from Taco Bell...I pay for it dearly and am reminded FAST why I went off gluten. Its simply not worth it for me.)

I mean if you look at it this way, a doctor will tell you after surgery not to expect to feel better or have energy for at least 6 weeks! It takes your body that long to heal even from the most minor surgeries. I have had MANY surgeries...3 knee surgeries, spinal fusion, 3 kids...just to name a few and so I can say from experience that this is true...I'm exhausted for AT LEAST 6 weeks, and in all actuality its a full 6 MONTHS before I really notice that I feel somewhat normal. Take into account that its not just the surgically effected area that your body is healing right...its also having to do overtime with your liver and kidneys from that heavy-duty drugs that the doctors pumped through your body just to put you to sleep...all of it...takes time. I'm not knocking using drugs for surgeries either...I fully appreciate them...hey, without them I NEVER could have had my spinal fusion...and let me tell you morphine was the little brother to what they sent through my IV. My poor body has been through the I know everyone else has as well. So naturally if the food I'm eating is just causing more disruption its all making it very difficult for my body to even function properly.

 I know when something is wrong in my body simply because I've learned to listen to it. Yeah yeah, fine that might sound a little crazy, but its true. So how could I have expected to see big results after just a few weeks of changing something when I've probably had this gluten intolerance since I was much younger? That is YEARS of my body trying to heal itself on top of surgeries and stress and everything else that creates havoc in my body. I'm just like the rest of you...we live in an instant gratification world...I want it fact, I wanted it YESTERDAY...but with the human body it just doesn't work that way!? I have tried so many diets and loseweight pills...none of it worked for me, so I can say that yes, I got caught up in that mentality that if I didn't see instant results I gave up on it. Now, if I had stayed with any of them I don't know if they may have eventually worked...but I truly believe that its the gluten that was causing my body its complete inability to heal or function normally. In fact, I didn't see results to my physical body outside until 6 months later when I went to try on jeans. I used to be a 9/10 or size 32/32. I'm only 5'3...but when I was trying on jeans and realized that I didn't even unbutton the 32s to put them on, I about screamed...or maybe I did...LOL It was AWESOME...I had no idea. I mean I knew my belts were having to help me out, but I had no idea that I was shrinking like this. I eventually stopped at a size 26/32 and a 27/32!!!!!!!! Or a 4/6. THAT IS A WHOLE 4 SIZES!?!?!?!?!? Keep in mind though, I haven't actually lost WEIGHT...I just lost INCHES. 

How is it that I lost inches but not weight? Well my intestines were SO inflamed from the gluten that ANYTHING that could even cause irritation to a system was doing it times 10. I didn't really have IBS...not in the sense that that was just it and deal with it. It made me angry with the doctor that diagnosed me because not once did they suggest a dietary was the flippant, ' will always have this.' WHAT!? NO! I refuse to believe that and I will prove you wrong...which I have done...and will continue to do so. ANYWAY... gluten has these little fibers that when you eat them they break up and the fibers will essentially 'lay down' on the walls of your intestinal tract and build up...that causes your intestines to become irritated and unable to even absorb properly. So what happens with something that becomes irritated? It gets inflamed and basically anything I ate was irritating it...I'd drink coffee and I'd have to be by a bathroom within MOMENTS of drinking it. Yes, that fast. It'd run right through me. I'm sorry to be graphic or gross, but that is how it feels and if you have lived it, ITS HUMILIATING and awful. My intestines were so inflamed that it was making me THAT bloated. My intestines aren't perfect now, but obviously since I've lost 4 inches I'm doing something right by them! LOL And just because I have given up gluten doesn't mean I don't still struggle with self image or weight. Going gluten-free doesn't mean going fat free!!! Jeepers, a lot of the recipes I use has TONS of butter in them!!!! I'm totally a butter lover, but it was really surprising to me that it will call for so much! (I will be posting some of my favorite recipes for dessert pizza, lasagna, and other meals that we enjoy)

I've been gluten free for 3 1/2 years now. I still steer clear of it. I don't know that I will ever go back to eating it. As I said above, I'm healthier than I've ever been. In perfect health? No way...I don't think I'll ever be because I don't believe that exists...but I do FEEL GOOD. I feel better when I'm consistent with my exercise regime, but with an infant, that has gone by the wayside...for now. I'm slowly getting back into it. I can eat anything I want long as it doesn't have gluten. I'm no longer off dairy, but I'm pretty picky with what I do eat. I still eat pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, pasta dishes, cake, even bread occasionally...but all of it is GLUTEN FREE. I think even just 5 years ago it used to be something only a few people ate...and they were the fanatics that didn't eat gluten, or the Celiacs...but did you know that just 10 years ago gluten intolerance or Celiacs only effected 1 in 100 people? Now its 1 in TEN people suffer from a gluten intolerance. THAT BLOWS MY MIND. There are so many options that we have now! I have the most AMAZING cookbook that my brother got me for my birthday and everything I've made so far has been DELICIOUS. I remember when I first began tasting gluten free stuff it was all NASTY. It tasted thick and dry...or just gross. I do miss regular bread...but not in a way that I crave it...just in the way that I'd miss a childhood when I walk past a bread store that has fresh french bread...oh mouth watering...but again, its not worth it to me to even taste it. The consequences are absolutely horrific for me still. I miss the easiness of making a sandwich quickly and running out the door. I miss the convenience of going to a restaurant and ordering whatever...most places have a very limited and sucky GF menu. But you will learn to improvise and what you can have.

 I think the most frustrating part is that people who don't understand how extreme my body reacts are incredibly insensitive to my complete self sacrifice of making this decision! Does someone honestly think I ENJOY being gluten free? HECK NO!? Its a pain in the butt!!!! I CHOOSE to eat things that I KNOW won't make me sick...I choose to eat things that will help me function...I HAVE to function and I need to be stable minded...I have 4 children for crying out loud, I don't have the luxury of choosing anything different. SO those of you have made this very difficult life-changing decision, I applaud you. It was the hardest and the best decision I have ever made regarding my health. You are not alone and there are so many AFFORDABLE options out there. Get used to having to take time to make yourself something different than your family if you choose entire family is gluten free except for lunchtime sandwiches and the Friday family night when my kids get Little Cesar's pizza...and I just have to make my own pizza or confession: I order in from Ambrosia's Asian Bistro since their egg rolls are gluten free and they have AWESOME pad Thai noodles, which are rice. You will be surprised to learn that a lot of Thai places are laced with gluten free entrees!!! They make a lot of plates with rice noodles. Now, clarification...I can still eat rice; brown, white, or wild, and therefore eat the noodles made from them.

Anyway I'll jump off my soapbox now and get a few posts off with some of my favorite recipes. I hope to be an encouragement to those of you in the Gluten free boat...its not as bad as you may think. If you are about to jump in the boat, but are nervous to do so...think about it this way...when you were little you were afraid of the dark because you couldn't see what was in the room with you, right? Well if you are just beginning to look into it and are afraid of what you are about to get into, its only scary because you are in the dark. Let those of us who have been rowing this boat awhile shed some light into that darkness. Its not as expensive nor hard as you think. Its just an adjustment!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hmmmmm,....what's that smell??

Wow, I'm on a roll today! Who knew that I'd actually get 2 blog posts off in one day. I'm laughing because I've been accused of 'public and showy' postings...Jeepers...That must be so offensive! Well I can't have you thinking that I'll stand for I thought I'd give you all a blessed break...this will be public and SMELLY!!!! LOL!!!!!  

I don't know about you, but smell is one of those senses that is the most strongly connected to memories for me. Good and bad. Seriously, any smell can instantly whisk me back to my childhood, or if its a Pumpkin Spice candle it will instantly make me nauseated. I'm sitting here, in a sort of shock that its spring and warm enough that we've had to turn on our attic fan. Our neighbors are enjoying their fire do I know this? Our fan is pulling in the sweet smell of burning aspen trees. I have a love/hate relationship with this smell. Quite honestly I have a love/hate with many smells, but wood burning smoke sparks different memories for me...again, some good and some absolutely horrific.
(Just a little background info on me: I am the only girl in a family of ALL boys. I'm not a typical girl...I LOVE to get dressed up and be a GIRL...but, sit down when I tell you this...yes I enjoy shooting things. I also enjoy hunting with my dad. Granted I haven't been hunting in a few years, but it doesn't make the adrenaline rush of killing an animal any less exciting. I hear gasps at such a statement...hey, we actually EAT what we relax. And if you have an issue with girls shooting guns or killing things, this is definitely NOT the blog for you. SO this is your forewarning: I will offend you repeatedly...and in light of the smell thing...hey look! I found your nose! It was in my business...HAHAHAHA I have wanted to use that for a long time...)

 Wow, so that was way off the subject...anyway, back to the smoke still wafting into my living room. The aspen branches my neighbor is burning just brings me back to camping trips as a child. My brothers and I drinking pop by the fire so we can have something to use as a small target, sharpening our shooting skills. I LOVED this. I loved sitting around the fire, roasting marshmallows...the part that I did not enjoy is the smell of campfire that reeked in my hair and clothes and sleeping bag when I woke up...knowing it wasn't going to get any better since we were out for a few more days. And to this day, while I love the idea of camping and the fun surrounding my family memories, I'm NOT a fan of fire pits (even though I have one) because no matter where I stand that stupid smoke likes to seek me out....YUCK.

The smoke smell that fills me with dread is very specific smokey smell. Its the smell of items that were not meant to be burned in a manner to bring heat, but rather one that came as a mistake of a house's rafters built too close to the chimney. The smell of burned sleeping bags, clothes, insulation, drywall, and like a soggy grossness that I can't really explain, but definitely one I hope you NEVER smell for yourselves.

Another smell that will always remain dear to me is actually the smell of a freshly lit Merits cigarette. WHY? Well because that's what my grandparents smoked when I was little. This was before car seats were mandatory....and I wonder if my grandparents would have enforced it anyway...since my preferred riding spot was right between my Grandma and Grandpa in the FRONT seat of my Grandpas truck or their massive pimpin' Lincoln Town car. My grandpa was my hero. I'm not sure why, but he was. I have so many wonderful memories of him. And no matter how horrid 2nd hand smoke may be, I always seem to gravitate towards the poor person lighting up as I drift back into my childhood reminiscing about learning to tie my shoes, watching for the 'stinky cows on your side,' and listening to Paul Harvey religiously every morning while my Granny and Grandpa drank their Folgers coffee and smoked a cigarette...only to come back to hear 'The Rest of the Story' at noon and eat my grilled cheese or pb&j and again watch my grandparents drink their coffee, eat their lunches, and light up one more before Grandpa headed back to work. 

Or my Grandpa stoking the wood burning stove in their basement...I could LOVE winter for that very reason alone...every person with a wood burning stove is filling the air with that amazingly 'homey' aroma. You know, the kind that makes you breathe in deep because its such a distinct and earthy smell. I love it.

I didn't realize until now how many different smoke smells there are and how many of them spark a different memory. If you are tired of my Memory Lane, stop reading now, its only gonna get worse. 

I mentioned above that Pumpkin Spice makes me want to throw up...when I was pregnant I happened to be the most sick during Christmas. And the favorite smell for many was that disgusting little orange candle that seemed to burn constantly and everywhere. UGH...and ironically I'm sad to say that there are actually SONGS that make me feel queasy...'Feliz Navidad' happens to be one of them. I will forever loathe that song. BUT I was talking about smells, not sounds or songs, which could be a whole other blog. Most candles that are Harvest anything or Cinnamon...oh Lord, I have a hard time not erping constantly. My beloved husband tells me I make it impossible to get a gift for because if it smells like something I will possibly not like it simply because it reminds me of someone or something that makes me sick. Maybe that is why I LOVE spring...I love the smell of lilacs. Again, I'm thrown back into my Granny's house and her windows are open and the smell of her delicious lilac bushes are engulfing all of my senses as I color at the breakfast bar while she does dishes. Its strong, but sweet. IN my mind, I can 'walk' around my grandparents house and 'see' each flower bed blooming and I remember getting into trouble when I'd be unable to resist getting into my Granny's strawberry patch that had a metal covering on it to keep out other pests, besides bunnies and birds...but I think mostly me. LOL!!!

I LOVE the smell of pomegranates...lotion, candles...the actual fruit. I laugh because I don't know how my mom managed my brothers and I as we tore into the delicate and confusing fruit, knowing full well that whatever we were wearing was instantly ruined by the rich and red juice. I basically hyperventilate whenever the fruit is touched because inevitably my children are wearing church clothes or something white. I also love grapefruit and mandarin because as a candle it also reminds me of spring and SUNSHINE. On thing I always have a blast doing is going to the Yankee Candle store and smelling candles with my friend....we usually end up with ginormous headaches, but are out again begging for more punishment by walking across the street to the Christmas store and being bombarded by more holiday smells! Oh...and really quick back to winter smells...freshly cut evergreen wreaths...Yikes, that is like sensory and memory overload...nonetheless it brings a rush of Christmas memories filled with laughter.

Sunscreen...not really a smell that I enjoy wearing, but one that I like; simply because it reminds me of summer, and swimming, and sunburns. LOL Or lathering my children up so that they can just get wet and come back to get more.

There are so many out there, but these are just several of the ones that are most recently on my mind lately...What are some of the smells that you will always remember and instantly bring you back to a time that you cherish? 

Life in the Fast Lane...kinda...maybe more like the HOV

Okay so I admit, I haven't taken as much time to blog as I had previously wanted to. BUT I will say that with 4 children the phrase "I wanted to" is basically limited to taking a shower by myself, sleeping a full, consistent, uninterrupted 6 hours (although we are SO CLOSE!!!), oh and keeping up with laundry. Yeah, so, I occasionally skip along with Alice in her finished laundry Wonderland. LOL Don't misunderstand, I LOVE my life...absolutely would not change it...but the routine I had previously established and functioned under is not only gone with a 'd'...its completely reconstructed. Shoot, can I add in there a clean house? Wait, no, that hasn't really ever been something I have really had...but when I leave my house I picture it being the kind of clean that I've always wanted. HAHA (just go there with me for a moment...its a survival method I've had to use in order to think that SOMEDAY my house may actually remain clean!)

Wow, so 4 children was never something I saw myself having. I always shake my head and think to myself that those dumb 'think of yourself in 10 years' school activities never really prepare you for what will REALLY be happening in 10 years. Like when we go to the pediatrician's office and I'm hauling my kids in and I'm startled when I count them. I don't know why, but each time I'm shocked, like, wait, were there this many when I woke up this morning? Uhmmmm, I'm still trying to wake up. I remember thinking a few times before we received that AWESOME phone call that Josh was born that I was so lucky to sleep in until 9am that I really had better enjoy it...oh and believe me, I DID!!!! It was as though God was giggling to Himself because He knew what was coming. ;) I love how He works...while the sense of humor is irritating at the moment the 'funny' hits, but now, looking back, I'm laughing too. Culture shock is now redefined for me in the experience of going from 4 year old to INFANT. If you have ever done it, its HILARIOUS...mostly because you are so sleep deprived all you can do is laugh!

Josh has been in my arms since January 9th. I'm still in awe that this precious baby is here...FINALLY. I can sit and look at his chocolaty brown plumpingupfast cheeks and thank God for every moment I've had him. That wait? SO.WORTH.EVERY.MINUTE. I have many friends that are in that DREADED waiting process or just beginning their journey, but who have already adopted and KNOW that waiting phase. UGH...I'm constantly praying for their hearts and MINDS while they wait for God's green light. I'm just saying right now, for the record, SO NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT PHASE AGAIN. On the 6th of April he will 3 months old...where has the time gone!?!? Not only is this beautiful little boy growing like a WEED on Miracle Grow, he has begun to make eye contact and coo...*sigh* the kind of things that melt my heart. He also has an incredibly good set of very STRONG lungs. Just ask my friends who have had the unfortunate pleasure of being on the line when he chooses to exercise them! Yikes, when this kid is hungry, LOOK OUT PEOPLE; GET A BOTTLE PRONTO. GOOD HEAVENS. I recently found a miraculous little bottle of Heaven called Gripe Water. Oh my gosh, if your kid gets hiccups, is gassy, or tooty...INVEST NOW. Josh seems to get gas bubbles in his tummy and no matter how well I burped him after his feedings it wasn't helping. I don't remember my older kids getting gas like he does, so this was a whole new world for me. And I fortunately had a friend who's baby suffers from the same kinda thing, but was informed by her friend who's baby had this stuff must work in many realms! I just have to say, if you are considering adoption and are worried about feeling connected to your baby or fearing that 'it won't feel the same,' please read more stories of families who have will see that YOU FORGET THAT YOU DIDN'T ACTUALLY BIRTH THIS CHILD. Yeah, I know he's black, but I was laughing with a friend who has black children too...when I'm looking at Josh and then I look at Duncan, its like my eyes have to adjust to Duncan's skin color because I literally forgot that Josh WAS different. I know, it doesn't seem possible, but truly, I'm waiting for it to sink in as well. ;)

So, are we getting into a routine? PRAISE.JESUS.YES. Oh my gosh...when we were in FL we weren't really in a normal situation and therefore anything before getting home doesn't count. The first 4 weeks Josh had his days and nights swapped. HOLY EXHAUSTION. I can honestly say I have never been so tired in my whole life. Its emotional enough just adopting and life that comes with the ups and downs, but add in no sleep? Yeah, I'm already a sleep whore and not getting my normal 7-10 hours knocked me straight out. CRIPES!? Fortunately nap time came and Rob was amazing and let me sleep. We took turns sleeping with the baby and being out with the older kids, but holy crap, I'm so thankful that he now has his days and nights in the right spot.

LOL!!!! I remember my older kids getting mad and having the 'witching hour' (which was actually not just an hour, but more like 3), but the complete 0 to 90 with sound and gusto was not something they had. I guess being the 4th kid he feels his needs will NOT be taken lightly, nor within a softer decibel range. YIKES.

I think if I were to be asked how it feels to have another baby (okay, not 'if' but when I'm asked) I have to honestly say that it has kicked my...butt...BIG TIME. I forgot how much work babies were! Natty and Isannah are less than a year apart and then Dunc is just 22 months younger than Isannah so I was in 'baby' stage for like 4 years. Nursing and/or pregnant. I look back and think, holy crap, how did I manage to survive!? I didn't realize how crazy I was then!? Even now its still a juggling process of trying to work around schedules and sports and school activities...finding quiet time...NOW THAT, dear friends, is hilarious. When I get a quiet moment I'm jumping in the shower as fast as I can or sitting on the couch with a blank stare and drooling. I basically want to high five anyone in the face to tells me that I'll blink and it'll be gone, or to enjoy these years...When my children are all tired and cranky and I'm tired from not sleeping, or from being sick along with my baby, I don't actually find 'joy' real fast. I don't really find anything real fast, but joy is definitely not what I jump to first. Especially when my older son is peeing out on the driveway or the squabbling that happens between siblings. YOWZERS. I'm learning that my children definitely do learn by example and its my job to lead them in many things. Its so very difficult when I'm weak or tired and cranky. But then I remember that the Lord is sufficient for me and He meets me where I am and puts everything aside and will hug me and tell me that its going to be okay and like my beloved Granny says, "this season shall pass." Which reminds me that He loves my children more than I do and is also sufficient FOR THEM. If those people say that you blink and its gone, why isn't it working for me, or should I double blink with one eye and turn around and do a cartwheel after I blink with the other...? Obviously I'm not blinking right because I'm still in the thick of it.

 I laughed today when a very dear friend of mine says that I give her baby fever...well and who wouldn't around such a deliciously cute baby such as Josh is? And then as we are getting out of the vehicle to go into a store and Josh is hungry and crying, I have to strap on my diaper bag and pull the ginormous infant car seat from the car I remind ANYONE and EVERYONE WHY they are so happy to be beyond the infant stages! LOL Truly, I'm not complaining...because I asked God to bless us with another child and bless us He most certainly DID ~ I have one! But that doesn't mean that suddenly life is all rainbows and skittles...its still hard, its still an adjustment, its still living by faith.

A few more things that I wanted to say...wait...crap, I lost my train of thought...