Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Since Simon was a toddler, I've suspected something.  I remember reading an article about toddlers getting cranky because they have such a fast metabolism their blood sugar can dip dramatically.  Simon was the moodiest of babies, genuinely sweet and smiley then swinging dramatically to full on screaming and miserable.  It was not the typical "I want my own way" tantrums either, he was truly undone.  I started carrying high protein snacks and cheese sticks with me because there was a real cause and effect relationship between frequent snacks and Simon being more himself and not so cranky.  I brought this up to our pediatrician at various well child visits and he agreed that Simon may have a greater need for more frequent snacks.  He was always underweight and over tall for his age, so there could be no doubting that high powered metabolism he was born with.  

Simon was also the only child I ever had who would put himself down for a nap, and sometimes more than once a day.  I wish I could have associated the frequent naps with when we had ice cream or some other sugary treat.  I just didn't really put the two together.  I was always amazed at what a great napper /sleeper he was and chalked it up to, he is growing and burns up all that energy so fast so of course he needs to nap a lot etc..etc..etc..  I should have paid closer attention, it was a real clue that his blood sugar was off and we are really lucky that thanks to those frequent high protein snacks, we never had a real crisis.

Two years ago in the Summer time, it was Simon's job to mow the yard.  The Summer's in Texas are HOT and the heat turns up quick during the day.  I was working at the time, and I had told him at 7 am to get out and mow quick before the heat of the day was too much, the yard was getting overgrown and fast.  I went to work and thought nothing else of it.  Several hours later, the church secretary was at my job and she was frantic.  The phones had been down at work that day, and there was an emergency with Simon.  She came to my office to get me because no one could reach me by phone.  Simon was in the emergency room.
*I love my church family*
Apparently, Simon had a doughnut and orange juice for breakfast and then set out to mow a bit late.  The heat was already blistering hot.  Somehow he wandered from our home, all the way to our Parish.   Our priest saw him trying to open the doors to the church to go inside.  He could tell Simon wasn't walking right and when he got to him, Simon's eyes revealed that he wasn't there.  He wasn't talking coherently and it was very frightening to our Priest to discover him in this state.  Luckily (God is good) Simon's uncle was at the church, so he took Simon directly to the emergency room and the secretary set out to get a hold of me, even going to my job to find me so that I could be there with Simon.  It was very scary.  I'm still in awe that in this state of disorientation, Simon went to our church.  This speaks volumes to my heart.
The diagnosis was heat exhaustion, when I arrived they had already begun IV fluid and so there was no way the glucose test could be done to check if he was having a low blood sugar episode.  The diagnostics of this episode were unfortunately slanted in the direction of possible drug use.  Simon had a really good friend whose father was going through a rough time and there had been rumors of his using.  I never had reason to worry about this friendship (still don't) and yet when this was brought to my attention all my guilt of working, Pete being gone, and the fear that we may have created a situation ripe for Simon taking a wrong path, eclipsed my ability to think rationally during this crisis.  We ordered EVERY drug test, they ALL came back negative and I have spent a very long time feeling guilty over not going with my gut and insisting we follow up on possible hypoglycemia.  This is why I really preach 
"Do not parent from a place of fear or guilt"
 Nothing good comes from that place. 
 It is not Christ centered and is not leaning on your own understanding of your child.  A very hard lesson learned.  Simon spent two more years with hypoglycemia not being diagnosed. 

The episode of heat exhaustion did make me more alert to Simon's frequent naps and mood swings though.  Pete and I began discussing possible hypoglycemia even more.  He was growing so fast, that ravenous appetite and constant sleeping could also just be  symptom of growth - and he had always been moody.  Teenage years really muddy the water of trying to figure this out.  God placed a good friend in my life this past year, her husband has hypoglycemia.  I was able to bounce a lot of what I was seeing in Simon off of her and she encouraged me to get him tested.
On the day his class celebrated Valentines Day, I picked him up from school and during the 5-10 minute drive home he passed out in the van.  He had been dozing on the way home from school during the year, but this was like he was completely out of it - much like what I suspect Father Jeremy saw when Simon was at the church.  I called the Dr. and made an appointment.  

The results were very conclusive.  He had hypoglycemia, and once we had the diagnosis, everything clicked into place.  My friend's husband who was about Simon's age when he was diagnosed met with Simon and really went over how to live with this.  Simon has taken it all very much to heart and I'm impressed with his discipline to avoid the sugars and simple carbs.  The hardest part is school and work.  He has to have frequent high protein snacks, and he can't enjoy the treats that are provided to the class.  His French teacher is wonderful though, she always brings a whole grain treat for Simon if the class is enjoying some delicious French pastry.  I am still learning and adjusting.  The diet is really how we should be living anyway, you don't really appreciate how much sugar you allow in your kids diet until you have a child that cannot eat it - at all.  It is a growth process for me, I love to bake and serve up treats to my kids.  We are all learning.
Those mood swings have almost faded out of his day to day life - it was sugar all along.
I asked him after his diagnosis if he had ever had some of the symptoms that happen in the night.  Reading up on hypoglycemia I learned that when you live with it you can get VERY shaky and especially when you sleep  your sugar levels can dip dangerously low.  He told me that it would happen everytime we had a poker night.  I still shudder at the thought, we always played using M & M's instead of money, Simon has a particular gift for poker and is almost always the winner.  *big sigh* God is so good, he took care of this boy when his parents were very slow to catch on to what could have been dangerous, even placing people in my life to point me in the direction of that mysterious something.
  I made sure to share with our priest when we finally had an answer, the answer we should have gotten when Simon had the heat exhaustion.  Our priest shared that he kept Simon in his prayers because he had noticed on more than one occasion that Simon looked grey and about ready to pass out often when helping as an altar server.  You can be sure I appreciate those prayers.
I love this guy so much and really appreciate all the people God placed in our life to help us figure out the hypoglycemia.  I reinforce to Simon how loved by God he is because the Holy Spirit really placed the clues out there for us to find, and even though it took us a while but we did finally figure it out.

Simon does not view this as a cross, he sees it more as a challenge and he absolutely feels the difference in his own body now that he is eating in a way that accommodates the hypoglycemia.  He also feels the love that has been shown him through this entire diagnosis, for a teenager to know he is loved in such a tangible way - wow, God really is so good!

Monday, April 28, 2014


Our Friday began with going to a Theatricks Workshop presentation of  "101 Dalmatians" &
 "Robin Hood".
I helped out with the costumes in these fun shows and two of the boys helped out with the workshop.

Tobias (in the hat) played the role of Tobias in Robin Hood - his character was constantly eating in the show so he didn't have to dig too deep to connect with the character and give a performance.  We were really impressed with all the kids, they only had 2 days a week for 3 weeks to put these on, a great job was done by all.

Simon played Little John, chosen because he towers over everyone.  At only 14 he is mistaken for much older all the time.

Once the show was over, we traveled the airport to bring home our Marine!  Here he is enjoying some Saturday morning Duck Tales with #9.  

Saturday evening we enjoyed Sherman's Symphony Orchestra. We are so fortunate our community is blessed with this Orchestra.  Students get in for free, FREE.  It is such a gift to let our children enjoy this culture and the entire evening is family friendly as well as affordable for a large family (like us).  We like to go for ice cream afterwards and hear what the kids thought.  The second part of the program was from a teenage composer, D. Shostakovich, this impressed the older boys a great deal.  Elijah even noted that he thought it sounded like teenage angst in one part.  I love that he said that, and that he was paying attention.

Sunday, Faith helped me prepare a huge Sunday dinner with Jonah's favorites.  Although I didn't make everyone's favorite (tator tot casserole) (and that was brought up more than once) the meal was enjoyed by all and my Mom was able to join us. 
I really let Faith help me, I relied on her for the first time really and she was a HUGE helper in the kitchen.  I am so proud of her!

They are already fighting over who is getting too much mac & cheese.
The menu was:
Baked Ham
Oven Roasted Broccoli

I wish #1 Noah was home for this, but he will be here after graduation on May 10th.  
Oh, and we also had some Apple Pie for dessert!

My heart is full. Divine Mercy Sunday was beautiful.  Canonizations, great feasting, great family.  The older boys ended Sunday with work and Youth Group, I got some gardening in and relaxed with Pete being home!  Then I got to go visit with my sister-n-law, perfect ending to the weekend!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Juicing - Why I Love It!

In June 2011 the hospital my husband worked for closed it's doors without warning.  Our world turned upside down, no paycheck, no job and lots of fears.  God took care of us through the entire journey.  I had to learn a lot during the process of letting go and trusting God, one of the most important things I learned was how to better take care of myself.  I took a job with the Grayson County Clerk's Office in August and Pete was able to go back to work for a previous employer in September  We say many prayers of thanksgiving for that.  We found out the new job would involve travel so he began to travel full time.  In October of the same year I went to a health fair with my employer.  My blood pressure was sky rocketing fast, and I felt awful too.  The stress of the last few years of economic downturn + the job loss took its toll on me.  It really hit me hard that if I had a stroke or heart attack, my kids would have even more heaped on their shoulders.  I had an enormous amount of guilt over what they already were dealing with.  We had just gone through a cross country move and job change the year before, a job loss, my going to work for the first time and their Dad being away.  It was too much for my health to give them another sucker punch, and my blood pressure was getting way out of control.  

I first saw Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead during this time.  I then watched Hungry For Change.  I started to read anything I could about lowering blood pressure and getting healthy.

One of the key things that stuck with me was the concept that God made our bodies to crave sugar and fats when we are starving for nutrition.  The diet I was consuming was not nutrient dense.  What if I began to eat lots of nutrients, would that turn off those craving for the junk food?  I decided to start juicing.  I NEVER meal replaced and made sure to focus mostly veggies, not fruit.  I do juice citrus, but I don't juice apples (I'd rather eat that fiber).  I just wanted to pack as much nutrition into those juices as I could.
A typical morning will have kale, cucumber, grapefruit, celery, carrots, ginger, beets, herbs and peppers.
I can jam a lot of nutrition into my morning juice and with the live enzymes it really fills my body up with lots of vitamins and minerals.

I use a Champion Juicer (that we purchased in the 90's)
The little bowl usually fills up a few times as I go, I pour it through the strainer in the yellow pitcher.  My Champion strains really well, but there is always foam and I detest the foam, so I strain that off.

*blek* Foam

Very little pulp is left, great for gardening!

Some mornings we add Chia seeds to our juice.
Linus ALWAYS drinks a little and when Noah is home he does too.  Sometimes all of them want some and sometimes they don't.  I never push it on them, it is up to them.

My little juice guy!

A before photo, this is one of my oldest and dearest friends.  We grew up together at First Baptist Church Longview and try to meet up with Lynne (not in photo, this is Ben) and her husband once a year.  This was the best 'before' shot I have.  This is right before I began juicing.

My 40th birthday party a year later, and over 70 lbs lighter, healthier and blood pressure back in a normal range.  I do still take one pill a day for my blood pressure, but I was on 3 different ones when it was at it's worst.  I feel better than when I was in my 20's.  My brother is next to me in this photo, he flew in for my big day when Pete couldn't be there.  Our next get together, Pete will finally get to come - I am so HAPPY!

Now Pete has decided to join me on this journey, which is good because this Winter I got so busy I forgot the habits that help me feel my best.  Starting over with Pete is really a boost to both of our health.
I also like that we are showing our kids that we can make changes to improve our health so that we can be there for them.  

I never did a juice cleanse.
I never meal replaced.
I did try to eliminate sugar.
I do my best to fill up on veggies and fruit before any thing else.
I do not believe in cheat days, or cheats.  If I want something sweet, I enjoy it within moderation.  A small bite is just as good as a whole plate of pie.  If I filled up on salad first, I don't even really want too much pie.
Crowd out bad foods by eating good foods first.
Anything that begins with "I deserve this" is usually a bad idea in the long run.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in every day life~

~Every Thursday at Like Mother Like Daughter~

*First, I have sorely missed my blog, my blogging friends, and capturing our memories.  Now that life has finally settled a bit (before the real fun of graduation season begins) I'm determined to be back.  I had no idea how easy it was to slip out of a habit I enjoy so much.  Pete is home now and life is settling into a new normal.  We are still in that honeymoon phase of 'isn't it wonderful' and I suspect that will last a good long time.  So onto {Pretty, Happy, Funny Real} and oh how I've missed my favorite link up!


I picked these dishes out when I was 18 years old and had no idea what I was doing when registering for our wedding at Dilliards.  I still love them today and would absolutely pick them again!  They are no longer being made, and I still would love to find the tea pot somewhere.  The design is Blossom Time by Nikko.   I remember a few raised eyebrows when we set for 15 place settings, and I am so glad we did because 9 children later, 15 was probably an underestimate.  

The actual moment they got to hug their Dad as he rolled in the driveway after a very long drive from New York to Texas.

Our community is going to do an outdoor production of "A MidSummer Night's Dream" - Shakespeare In the Grove!  (I'm going to sometimes use my kids names now, it is fun to use their numbers, I just love their names though).
Noah #1 will be home for the Summer after he graduates from College and he will play - Starvling
Tobias #6 - Flute
Faith #7 - Mustardseed (and the director promises that was not intentional, but we love it)
Linus #8 - Moth
This will be a first for our community, and I just know it is going to be amazing!

Cousins having a great Easter together!

This is also for Heather's "This Week In My Kitchen"
Four of my teens attend school.  Packing their lunch is a feat, and I actually enjoy it.
Today's lunch for everyone but #5 Simon.
*Bag of chips
*Pastrami Sandwich
*Cheddar Cheese Stick
*Carrot & Celery Sticks
*Boiled Egg

Simon's Lunch (hypoglycemia)
*Quinoa Oat Crackers
*Double meat/Double Cheese Sandwich on Ezekial Break (no simple carbs allowed)
*Apple & Grapefruit
*Cheddar Cheese Sticks
*Boiled Egg
*Carrot & Celery Sticks

Monday, April 7, 2014

Master of Ceremony for #6

We enjoyed our dessert in reverse order for #6's Master of Ceremony.  He wanted brownies, or sundaes, and we came up with sort of an ice cream soda combination that was a real hit and perfect for an afternoon treat.  #5 was recently diagnosed with  Hypoglycemia and we have worked really hard to eliminate sugar in our home - but we do enjoy a treat (and it was Sunday).  We decided to enjoy these while #5 was at work (funny thing is, he works serving ice cream - but somehow at work it doesn't really want to eat it after serving it all day, but at home it is a different story). 
*I have more to share about that Hypoglycemia diagnosis sometime soon.*

Here is #6 enjoying Stromboli (his choice).  The best pic is on Instagram, with #8 photo bombing!
*recipe at end of post*

*affiliate link*
He also selected an episode of Dr. Who for us to watch.  It wasn't this episode, I think it was A Good Man Goes to War.
Little ones can't really see everything about this episode so we also watched a selection for our Wonderful World of Disney Nights too.

*affiliate link*
I absolutely love this movie, and my kids enjoy it too.  We had not seen it in a good long while, so it was perfect for last night!

I really enjoy letting my kids have their nights planning the evening.  Sometimes we play games, sometimes we star gaze, sometimes we watch movies.  Since Summer is approaching and longer days are here, they get to vary it up a bit.  I know some of them are planning picnics and hikes for their Master of Ceremony Night.  I can't wait!

*I repeat this 3 times for 3 Stromboli's or to make enough individual ones for my family*
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose or bread flour
1 Tbs yeast
1/2 Tbs salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs veg. oil (or olive oil)
1 cup warm water
I place all ingredients in my kitchen aide with the dough hook and mix until a sold ball of dough forms (sometimes I need to add a bit more flour) then I place each ball of dough into a large greased bowl, drizzle a little more oil over top and allow them to rest for about 30 mins. while I work on the sauce.

I roll the dough out on a prepared pan and then layer up my ingredients.  We like mozzarella with pepperoni's, hamburger with cheddar cheese, veggies and cheese.  Lots of combinations can be enjoyed.  I then bring up the edges and seal them tight, place in the oven and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.  If I make individual ones I decrease the heat to about 375 and bake about 15 minutes.

Dipping Sauce for Stromboli
2 (15 oz cans) tomato sauce
1 (15 oz can) crushed tomatoes
4 or 5 cloves garlic crushed or chopped
2 tsp. salt
small onion diced fine (saute onion with garlic then add the rest of the ingredients)
olive oil
Spaghetti Seasoning Blend (I buy the MSG free kind at Sams Club)
Dash of Red pepper
Allow all ingredients to simmer in a sauce pan, keep at a low heat.  Sometimes I also add red wine to this, about 1/2 a cup...if I do, I always add tomato paste as well (about 2 TBS worth).

Friday, April 4, 2014

My Daybook : : April 3, 2014

Outside my window - 
Spring is in the air! Just as I arrived home from taking the older boys to school a good ole' Spring time thunderstorm rolled in but you would never know it now, the sun is shining and birds are chirping.  I genuinely love a good thunderstorm, but am always happy to see the clouds clear too.  Today has just been beautiful.

I am thinking -
My 18 year old son made a comment a few weeks ago that I've been chewing on ever since.  I was lamenting (out loud) my lack of holiday decorating this past year.  I really don't go all out, but I've not been doing much of anything - which isn't like me at all.  Once I was done beating myself up about this, he says to me
 "We've been doing too much of nothing and not enough of something"
It really spoke to me and I agree with him.  These past weeks have been my bringing back into focus what needs to remain and what needs to go, as far as time eaters.  I think I've got a better handle on it now, and Summer will be here soon which is the ultimate slow down.  I am very ready and with all that is coming in the next month, we will need a slow down.
*1st Holy Communion
*College Graduation
*Catholic School Graduation
*High School Graduation

*but I did do a little touch of this and that for Spring & Easter*

I am thankful - 
Four years ago today we drove in this driveway for the first time, this place we now call home.  We had been gone from this town for most of 20 years.  Our families live here, we really felt so overwhelmingly happy to be back in Texas and back near family.  In 2011 my husband began traveling with the company he works for.  We were blessed by the job and while the travel has been VERY hard, we never lost site of the fact that he had a good job and one that he truly enjoys...but, why oh why must it keep him from home.  We don't have to wonder that anymore, because this April he will be working in our home town and we are overjoyed!  God is good, and we are VERY thankful.

Learning all the time - 
I have been really letting myself get stressed out about the education choices we needed to make for next year.  We have a wonderful Catholic school in our town, we have a son graduating from this school and our desire to find a good fit for high school was tearing me up.  Add to that, the worry about other ideas and how they would affect the kids for good or bad.  We were leaning heavily towards homeschooling everyone so that we could have the freedom to travel to see their Dad more, but God had other plans.  Knowing Pete would be here, turned all our talks and prayers in a new direction and I couldn't rest with all the undecided factors involving our older boys and then suddenly with our younger children too (since travel was no longer a factor).  In the end (and I realize how vague this all is, sorry) we found peace this week about all of it.  Ironically, the answer came from our priest and we value his helping us find our direction.

Celebrating the Liturgical Year - 
April 16th will be a German Feast for Pope Benedict
April 17 - Holy Thursday
April 18 - Good Friday
April 19 - Easter Vigil (#9's birthday)
April 20 - Easter (our 23rd anniversary)
April 23rd we will celebrate the Feast of St. George

From the kitchen - 
Lots of meatless meals lately.  No pictures though, I'll start snapping photos while I cook.  I made a delicious Red Beans & Rice meal that we really enjoyed.  Next time I make it I'll write down the recipe and share!

I am working on - 
This sampler, and I'm really enjoying it.  I want to be working on this cowl from Ginny @ Small Things.  Wanda has kindly agreed to help me.

I am creating - 
A better cleaning schedule.  The co-op we joined (which is wonderful) has this awesome cleaning program that I'm adapting for my family.  I think it is loosely based on something the Sidetracked Home Executives *affiliate link*  teach.

I'm breaking down the chores by room and putting them on index cards (which I plan to laminate).  I'm creating a file box with the cards divided by room and then when I assign a room to a kiddo, they can go through the cards to know what to do to clean the room.  I'll let you know how it goes.

I am hoping - 
To get our garden started soon.  The weather is ideal, but we need to make the time to till the ground and plant the seeds.

I am praying - 
I am about to begin the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  We love this devotion, taught to us by Fr. Bork (#1's confirmation sponsor too)

I am reading - 

I am a die hard Fannie Flagg fan!  My Mom is too, she loaned me her latest book and I'm just getting it started.  I wish I could share some beautiful Holy reading I'm doing for Lent, but the truth is I'm reading Fannie Flagg.

Pondering these words - 
"Why do we need solitude (and silence, which often accompanies it)? We need it because solitude makes us more sensitive mothers. Removing ourselves from constant stimulation and noise actually sharpens our sensitivity. Also, solitude forces us to face ourselves. In solitude we learn to like ourselves better because we are faced with our own company. It helps us heal from old hurts so that we can be free to enjoy the present and it refreshes us in ways that the company of others can't. Finally, solitude centers us and brings about a deep peace that cannot be achieved while staying immersed in either the good noise of friends and family or the awful noise of raucous media. We must retreat into quiet aloneness so that we can learn to be the women we were meant to be." 
 *and I copied this from her site, which has now thrown off the fonts from my site - so no worries the italics are from Jessica, the rest is mine (even if it is all white)
I got this from Shower of Roses and it really resonated with me.  Solitude is what I've been needing, not 'me' time.  I detest the idea of 'me' time because it feels so self absorbed.  Yet, I've been torn because I do need 'down' time which is possibly another way of expressing 'me' time except I don't see 'down' time as selfish.  Perhaps it is a play on words, but I think the quote above captures the deeper meaning I've been pushing towards.  I used to get solitude when they all had an early bedtime.  They all grew up, but there were still younger ones with early bedtimes.  The younger ones get up early, the older ones stay up late...before you know it any chance of solitude dissolves.  This is not easy.  As social as I am, I'm actually an introvert who craves solitude.  I'm still struggling to figure this out, and to be at rest with my children present (all the time), but I've reinstituted down time after lunch.  One hour every day that each person must be quiet in their room reading, drawing or napping....it just has to be quiet.  It is restoring for all of us.

I am listening - 
To #7 & #5 argue over why and how you should snuggle a cat.  Genevieve is the lucky recipient of all this attention.   

Around the house - 
A whole lot of cleaning has been taking place, but we are no where near done. I'm really looking forward to getting the carpets deep cleaned, but would like to just get rid of them even more.  Soon, soon, soon!

Upcoming plans - 
*Saturday - Ushering for Boeing, Boeing 
*Sunday - Master of Ceremony #6 is the host and stromboli is on the menu and most likely some Dr. Who too.
*Theatricks workshop

I look forward to sharing some more recipes and more plans for our Summer soon!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

~ Every Thursday at Like Mother Like Daughter ~

I am so in love with this sampler.  Inspired by Katherine, I picked up cross stitching again after seeing her Alicia Paulson sampler.  This will hang in my daughters room once it is complete.  I really think it is turning out pretty.


Pete took the boys on a fishing trip the last time he was home - they had such a blast.  Grandpa joined them and they caught a ton of Striper.  #6 had to leave early due to an afternoon performance of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe but look what he caught just before I met them at the dock and picked him up!  13 lbs for a 13 year old - I've never seen him so ecstatic!

Another {Happy} is some good news.  Nearly 3 years of being gone 3 weeks and home for 3 days, which sometimes the gone time stretched out to 6 weeks.  We are over joyed that in 2 weeks Pete will be working locally for the same company.  This is an answer to lots and lots of prayers!  It took time, but Pete and I knew God was working something out for us and he did in the best way!


I got a new phone (which I love) and found this on it just after I got it.  They boys were having fun messing around with the camera.  They all have had haircuts now.  I don't know what we would do without Dale Hill!

Our hearts are breaking over the latest tragedy, so very sad.  We are praying!

Please join Leila at LMLD for today's {P,H,F,R}

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