Monday, May 4, 2015

Dieting - Elimination Style

For the past month or two Joy started complaining about being really tired.  She would ask to go to nap, she would lay on the couch and watch her sisters play.  No matter what we were doing she was always tired.  She also has this weird habit of saying she is "SO hungry" and begging for food but as soon as we sat down to eat she would be full without even taking a bite.   Her tummy is always bloated and her skin eczema has been bad still.  The tiredness thing made me a little concerned.  We thought that maybe she was anemic since she doesn't eat enough food to get the necessary nutrients.  I took her to get some blood work done to see if that was it, and hoped that it wasn't something much more serious.

We didn't really have a doctor so we went straight to a lab and had it done.  I warned Joy about what would happen and she seemed okay with it because it would help us find out why her tummy was always hurting.  This little girl was such a champ!  The place had nothing to make it more "kid friendly".  I just held her on my lap and she watched the whole process without flinching, crying or making a sound.   About halfway through she said in a quiet, deep voice "Ow, that hurts"  and then she was done!  I was so proud of her.   We got some pizza afterward to celebrate (her favorite food).

The results came back completely normal so we were relieved but frustrated that they didn't give us any answers so we took her to a new doctor - Dr. Jensen.  He is an integrative M.D. and wow, what a difference!   He actually LOOKED at Joy,  he spent half and hour with us (as opposed to the 2 minutes we are accustomed to) and I felt like he actually was trying to figure out what was causing her symptoms rather than throwing a prescription for zantac or hydrocortisone cream at us.  He wanted her to go on an elimination diet for 3 weeks, hopefully her symptoms will clear up and we will slowly introduce the eliminated foods back one at a time to see what/if any of them is causing all her problems.

SO,  we started the diet.  NO: dairy, eggs, gluten, various grains, corn, oranges, peanuts, soy, meat besides chicken and sugar.   Wait, what?!   Rice is okay.  Thank you God for rice!  I found a 1 week meal plan with recipes for this exact diet and that has helped immensely.  We are ALL doing the diet to make it fair for poor Joy and who knows?  Maybe it will help us in unexpected ways.

Paige is doing great on it. She had a few days of cracker withdrawals but is fine now.  She is the happiest and loves spaghetti squash spaghetti.

Joy is having a good attitude about the changes because she knows it is to make her feel better.

Josh is being a good sport, I am impressed.

I am trying not to die and spending 5 times longer in the kitchen than I normally do.

Claire is not. happy.   Here she is crying over carrots for lunch and sweet Joy is trying to console her.

"This is good." has a new definition for us.  It used to mean,  "This food tastes great by normal people's standards! I would serve it to guests!"  Now it means,"I can swallow this."

Rice pancakes are "good"

 Zucchini, apple, banana, rice flour brownies are not.

Today marks one successful week on the diet.  We have noticed little, if any change - which is discouraging.  But we are sticking it out for three weeks so we can say we did and be sure, once and for all that it is or isn't a food sensitivity.

It's not all bad.  I kind of enjoy the challenge and it is broadening our horizons.  
The biggest plus to this diet is that the girls have stopped begging for food 24/7. Knowing that your next snack is going to be a vegetable makes you not so hungry.


Thursday, April 2, 2015


Ever since I was little I have wanted to hatch and raise chicks.  So when the opportunity presented itself I jumped at it!

A sweet family from our church had some broody chickens so they supplied us with 12 eggs and an incubator - Plus a whole lot of new chicken knowledge.

At first 21 days seemed like a short amount of time.  Indeed it is considering the transformation taking place inside the eggs. BUT it was the longest 3 weeks of my life! Worrying about temperature and humidity, second guessing the 3 different thermometers I had in the incubator (which all read different temps!) and hoping that some would make it out alive.  I've read that 60% hatch rates are consider good.

We only candled the eggs a couple of times. We found that 5 of the eggs were not fertile, we cracked them all open and there was no growth whatsoever, just a regular, warm egg.  The other 7 all seemed to be alive and well. It was amazing to see the movement inside.  

On day 19 at 11pm. I suddenly remembered I needed to take the eggs out of the egg turner and raise the humidity in the incubator for hatching.  (horror stories of half hatched chicks becoming shrink wrapped in their own egg goo swirling through my mind) I quickly set everything right in the incubator and as  I put the lid back on I heard a "Cheep cheep!"  I thought for sure I was hearing things but a little later I heard it again!  How on earth can a chick chirp from inside an egg?!  I googled it and sure enough it is common.  Wow!  I felt so helpless thinking of the poor chick in there begging to get out and of course there was nothing I could do.   I couldn't even tell which egg it was coming from.  I was up late that night!

The next day the girls were ecstatic to hear the cheeping and see some "pips" take out of one of the eggs.

That night we went to AWANA and when we came home we found the first two hatchlings flopping around in the incubator. 
  A third egg was about to hatch so I let the girls stay up and watch it.  So amazing!   They finally went to bed at 10:30pm.   I noticed another egg was about to hatch so I stayed up to video tape it.  It was so cool yet frustrating to watch.

I'm so glad I taped it because when I got up early the next morning to go to work (after 3 hours of sleep) the last eggs had hatched.   I couldn't believe that they had all made it out - no casualties or drama.  I put them all in the brooder where they are happily making musical peeping sounds.
The girls are in love. 

 Five of the chicks are black or mostly black 
and two are a brown and yellow. 
I think the black ones are females because they have longer wing feathers (I've watched youtube videos on this) but that is just my very unprofessional opinion.  Interestingly, the two brown ones were the first to hatch and seem to be a little bigger and more aggressive than the others. Time will tell I guess.

In the meanwhile we are enjoying these precious babies.  In a week or two they will be ugly teenager birds.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cousin Time

This week Michelle came down to spend the day with cousins and Nana.  We went to our favorite park because we thought T.J. would enjoy the splash pad.  It won't be much longer that we'll be able to go to parks!
We ate lunch which was interrupted by multiple bathroom trips and then hit the splash pad.

 Snack Break!
 Paige loves her some hummus.

 The kids tired of the water pretty quickly, so we played, 

  went to the bathroom some more,
visited the fountain
and played some more.   Timothy can make this go around all on his own!  (that is impressive)
Speaking of impressive.... here is a decent picture of four, hot, tired kids on a moving swing.

   Josiah was there too! He slept and ate and was a good little baby.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Last week was Claire's first week of basketball.   I very much hope
that one day she will be able to play for the EVAC team, just like I did
in high school so we are getting her started young.  Hopefully she'll
be better than I was when she hits junior high!

Friday was her first practice and Saturday was her first game.  She LOVED the practice and was pumped for the game.  However,  her coach did not actually go over what they are supposed to do in a game apparently.

Up to this point, Claire had only played half court so having two baskets was confusing - especially because she didn't understand that each team only shoots at one of those baskets.   Claire has a great shot and made a basket!  Unfortunately it was on the other teams hoop but that's okay!
Only 8 baskets were scored the entire game and her's was one of them!

Also,  she had never guarded someone before and no one explained to her (because I didn't know) that YMCA gives each team member a different colored bracelet and it will match someone's on the opposing team.  Before the game starts they meet in middle and match up their bracelets and whoever has your same color, is your man to guard.   A pretty good idea to keep the kids from quintuple-teaming the kid with the ball but it would have helped if the coach had told them this ahead of time.... or even after the game was under way.

Here is an example of the complete and utter lostness.

I am glad I took video so we could watch it afterward and I could explain (graciously!) to her about the wrist band thing and show her how she is not helping her team when she is prancing around at center court.  I am proud of her.  She took what I had to say well when we practiced later that day she was SO much more aware and felt much better about the whole thing.

She is usually pretty capable athletically so I think next weekend she'll do really well.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Owls, Frisbee and Bikes

We recently found out that we have an park right near us that is a habitat for burrowing owls. 
We went to go check it out last week with Josh.
The girls loved the owls.  We saw five of them.  Most run into their little pipe homes when we got close but this guy was brave and let us get close to him.
It's not an exciting park, just a walk way with rows of burrows and desert to walk around in.  The girls enjoyed picking flowers and putting them in their hair.

 We also headed to Discovery Park again so Claire could give that bike hill another try.  She wasn't quite ready for it so she played frisbee with Josh
 while Joy practiced riding her "big girl bike". (with training wheels)
Paige wanted to play frisbee too.

Just a fun relaxing day. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

February in Arizona

 This week we went to RiverView Park in Mesa with my mom.   We had a picnic lunch and Paige enjoyed the short picnic tables made just for kids.   I enjoyed not worrying about her falling off the bench.

Claire LOVED the zip line and spent quite a while zipping back and forth.
Claire and Joy like the disc swing but Paige will NOT stand for any of it.

Paige's favorite thing at this park is the cement slide. 
 Joy likes it too. 
 The whole design of this slide is absurd.  There are no steps of any kind leading to the top so young children have to scale loose rock up a pretty steep slope to get to the top. 
  Tiny rock avalanches cause them to slip and fall and unless they are very determined or have a lot of help they'll never make it.   Then all their hard work is rewarded by a slow, high-friction ride down hot cement.   
Look how fun it is though!

The best part of this park (at least to Claire) is the 50ft climber.  
She was very brave and went as high as she was physically able. The ropes get too far apart for her to reach at the top.   I went to the top and it was quite difficult and unnerving.
 It would have helped if I had both my hands at full strength though.

View from the top

There are other, smaller climbers
that are pretty fun.   Joy is just now starting to like these types of things.  

 After a while we were all HOT.   We decided to let the girls take off their shirts and play in the splash pad.

They were so excited.   Paige loved it!

 Even Joy warmed up to it after awhile.

 Poor Paige was tuckered out after all the excitement. 

 A little more climbing and relaxing in the shade and we called it a day.