Friday, November 7, 2014

Litany of Humility for Mothers

(A dear friend of mine shared this with me and it was too good to not continue to share it!)

A Mother’s Prayer of Humility

October 31, 2013 by 
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being Mother of the Year,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being the most clever mama…
From the desire of being the craftiest mama …
From the desire of being told my kids are the best …
From the desire of having the best behaved children …
From the desire of having the biggest house…
From the desire of being the best cook …
From the desire of being the most efficient …
Deliver Me, Jesus.
From the fear of my children failing …
From the fear of being left out of playdates…
From the fear of messing my kids up …
From the fear of forgetting to train my children properly …
From the fear of my children leaving me …
From the fear of my children rejecting me …
From the fear of doing things the wrong way …
From the fear of falling behind…
That other Mothers may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be more crafty than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others insight and methods may increase and I may decrease …
That others chore charts may be chosen and mine set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may be more organized than I, provided that I may become as organized as I should
Written by Rachel Balducci, inspired by her need for this prayer

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Beach House

Since we have lived in Maryland, we have had the opportunity to occasionally go and stay at a beach house that belongs to some of Luke's family. We love going there! The kids beg and beg to go to the beach house. Sometimes I think that they think we have different places where we live. They will ask me on random occasions,"Where are we going Mommy? To the hotel? To Grandma's house? To the beach house?" Or..."Mommy, I wanna go to the (insert hotel, Grandma's house, or beach house)." And I must confess, we share their excitement! :)

So sweet, she wanted to bring with her the banner she had made as a decoration for the Hoedown focus party just the day before. 

And right after I took this picture, as we were heading in the front door, my arms were so full of bags, and Owen in the car seat over my arm. As I'm struggling through, Casey, who is already inside the front door and is watching me, sticks out his hand in a gesture of, "here, let me help you." My heart absolutely melted. It's a beautiful thing to me when a small child recognizes someone in need of help, and offers to help them. There wasn't much Casey could do, but he wanted to try! 

I think they look so much alike in this picture!

Hailey had such fun picking up sea shells

Casey didn't like the noise of the waves.

He preferred to look at the water from a distance.

They found this sand castle and and fun poking at it, and inspecting it.

Hailey got such a thrill out of running from room to room and finally claimed this one. Unfortunately, I couldn't let her sleep in there by herself. I think she liked it because it was the room with the starfish decor.

I love catching them in moments of sibling sweetness :)

Enjoying a much deserved rest and drink. 

The perfect place for the team to decompress.

When you don't have a lot of toys, you line up multiple cups of water. And it occupied them for a long time! We desperately need to simplify at home!

Our quiet, gentle, pensive daughter.

Family beach walk.

Helping Casey brave the water. 

Pure bliss.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Country Hoedown

I know this is a much belated post, but I don't care :) I so badly want to remember how sweet the kids are at events like these. And this one was especially bittersweet. Since we were leaving staff officially, this was going to be Luke and my last focus event that we would host as missionaries.  It was the end of the year focus part, the theme was a country hoedown, and we had the perfect set up. 

All year the team had referred to our house as 'the ranch'

All Hailey wanted was those dorritos. As soon as she saw them, she put herself in charge of them. She made sure they made it safely on the food table.

Casey was feeling a little timid and shy, I think it was the darkness because he loves people and typically is so social. But Hailey was right there putting her arm around him and telling him, "don't worry Casey, I'm right here, I got you."

Already being such a gentleman

Stomping around in the hay that was scattered all over the back portion of our driveway. It makes me smile how it looks like they are line dancing.

Never far from his pals, Ellen and Jenna

Loving those chips!

The party was a huge success. There were over 100 students that came and many were saying it was the best party they had ever been to. Not pictured is the bonfire, mechanical bull, and stage where instructions for the line dances were given!

Last song of the night, the focus girls singing "Cowboy Take me Away" by the Dixie Chicks. I joined them right after this photo. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Owen turns 1

My baby is one today and I am super emotional about it. This past year, we have been through so much together. Words can not express my joy and gratitude for his life. I have learned on a deeper level the truth that love only intensifies when there is sacrifice. My love for Owen is so strong. I love all my children equally, don't get me wrong, but with Owen, there has been tears, pain and suffering. And the sense of accomplishment, pride, joy and love I feel on this his first birthday can not be described.

When Owen was three months old, he began breaking out in these full body rashes. Eczema literally covered his whole body. My doctor told me to try the elimination diet which I did. It was funny because on Dr. Sear's website, he recommended eliminating everything at once (all the common food allergens) and then slowly reintroducing them one by one to see what it the culprit. I thought, "that's crazy, I'll just do one at a time."

Well, it turned out to be everything. Owen is allergic to everything. And that is not an exaggeration. Since I was nursing, I was having to avoid all these foods for him. I couldn't have dairy and did you know that 'no dairy' includes no cheese, butter, milk, creamer, sour cream, cream cheese, ANY cheese!!! the no dairy itself was depressing. But then there was no: eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, coconut, coconut oil, oatmeal, brown rice, tomatoes, oranges, lemons, limes, nitrates, sulfites, citric acid, chicken.

And that's not all of it. He would itch against the rubber of his bib, he would itch his hands on his car seat buckles. I would have to wrap a burp cloth around his car seat buckles so he wouldn't scratch on them. He was a constant itchy mess. And I WOULD see improvement, lots of improvement when I avoided all these foods. But if I ever slipped, just the tiniest bit by mistake, he would be in so much agony. 
4 months old

6 months old

The trial and error of it all was so frustrating. So I would eliminate a food, and then 2 weeks later, have a little bit again, to see if it was a trigger. Almost every time it was, and he would be in pain. He and I cried together when I fed him a piece of chicken and he broke out in hives. He and I cried together countless times when his body was SO red and itchy and I would be carefully rubbing cream on his body. While he screamed from the pain. He and I cried together when I had some peanut butter (reintroducing it in my diet, just one time, to test and see if it was an allergy), and he was writhing in pain, and I had to give him a small dose of benedryl. 

7 months 

8 months

9 months 

And there was nothing anyone could do for us. Nothing. I researching endless hours online. I tired different things. I talked to lots of people. My doctor wasn't helpful. In March, they referred us to an allergy specialist in Hershey, PA, and our appointment was made for October 16th. They put us on the waiting list if there was an opening sooner, but there never was. Regardless, they can't do an allergy test on an infant. They do it at a year old. (So we go to the appointment next week, and I know it will be good. I am dying to find out if he has outgrown any yet! But I'm not getting my hopes up too much.....)

So end of June, beginning of July, Owen was 9 months old and I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't eat anymore fruit, vegetables, and steak. I had lost of ton of weight, and quick frankly did not feel healthy at all. The diet was affecting so much of my life. We had to make a change. 

By the grace of God, I found a wonderful naturopath doctor through a friend's recommendation. When I called to make the appointment, the first thing she said after hearing my situation was, "I can tell this has been very hard. And I can help your son. I am confident I can heal him." 

I cried. She understood. I felt relief and so much hope.

She helped me begin the weaning process and gave me a recipe for rice milk formula. I began making rice milk from scratch and adding a bunch of vitamins and other ingredients to fortify it. Owen began thriving on the rice milk formula and I could eat again like a normal person! Although my body had essentially gone through such a detox of all those foods, that reintroducing them all at once, totally messed me up!!! My body did not like it!! haha. 


Seeing Owen and his soft skin today I am amazed. He is doing so so well. He is completely happy, content, adventurous, and just full of pure joy. His diet continues to be a lot of work, but seeing his good health makes it all worth it! I am in the kitchen a insane number of hours each week. I feel like I live in my kitchen. I miss the outdoors. I make him huge batches of rice milk twice a week, and all his other food I do from scratch as well. Everything has to be so pure. We have turned into such an organic family! 

But I just can't get over him. Or get enough of him. What a year it's been. Owen, I am so thankfully for your life!! I am blessed beyond measure to be your mama. I love you! Happy Birthday!